Nurturing Jewish Souls
The mission of The Starr Family Jewish Day School is to create confident and engaged Jewish adults through a happy educational experience rooted in traditional Jewish values.
Sensing discontent in the community and a possible closure of the day school, Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg and Rabbi Chaim Block organized a school board to explore the possibilities of creating a new entity to serve the vital role of the community’s day school. The Starr Family Jewish Day School was officially with the State of Texas on May 18, 2012 with an appointed board of nine: Aaron Sarfati, Ronen Bass, Dan Ashlag, Rivkie Block, Keren Ashkenazi, Malkie Marrus, Chava Shaul, Sara Bram, and Megan Fisher. This new board held its first meeting on May 30, 2012 and established the first executive committee: Mr. Sarfati as President, Mr. Bass as Treasurer, and Rebbetzin Marrus as Secretary. The early months were filled with setting up the organization: working toward tax-exempt status, creating the bylaws, defining roles, and changing our name to the Torah Academy of San Antonio. Time was also spent raising our first dollars. But mostly, SATA waited to see what would happen in the community, as the ultimate direction the school would take would be greatly affected by those outcomes.
By the end of 2012, the previous day school’s Board of Trustees had accepted the charter granted by the state and committed to close the community’s day school at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. This is when the STARR JDS board decided it was time to kick into high gear and go public with the school. We extended offers to Dr. Ken Rothrock and Rabbi Marrus to form our initial administration and quickly put together an open forum on January 27, 2013 (3 days after we officially hired our administration!).
Over the course of the next few months, our administration assembled a cast of highly qualified teachers and put together the programmatic & curricular needs for the school. The board worked to establish the seed funds necessary to operate the school, worked out the initial lease arrangement with Rodfei Sholom, and worked feverishly alongside administration to convince prospective parents that STARR JDS was the right fit for their student(s) (not an easy task when you consider how quickly everything was put together)!
STARR JDS ultimately opened grades K-5 with 25 students and a staff of 5 on August 19, 2013, combining grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-5. The first year certainly had its share of issues, but despite the late start and the frantic 7.5 months to get prepared, the first year was nothing short of a miracle and a success. Our parents were happy, our students were learning (reflected by very good national test scores), and STARR JDS was slowly fitting its way into the greater community.