State Sen. Daylin Leach at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy

Join us for a community conversation with State Sen. Daylin Leach to discuss issues of great importance to day school families, including day school scholarships, safety and school resources. Don’t miss this special opportunity to personally meet with Sen. Leach, whose district includes Barrack and the Perelman Jewish Day School Stern Center. Be part of the conversation, and let your voice be heard!

Please RSVP to Michael Litchman, (610) 922-2335.

Barrack Students Visit Home of the Paper Clips Project

From left to right, Maddison Barrack, Rebecca Shaid, Sarah Scheinmann and Emma Dorsch.

When their plane touched down in Tennessee, Emma Dorsch, Sarah Scheinmann, Rebecca Shaid and Maddison Barrack — four high school students from the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in suburban Philadelphia — did not realize that they were about to embark on a life-changing experience. Representing Barrack’s Holocaust Education and Reflection (HEAR) Club, the girls would be attending a dedication at Whitwell Middle School in rural Tennessee, home of the famous Paper Clips Project. [Read more…]

From Barrack to Broadway

David Treatman (left) and Alan Koolik (right), Columbia University students and theater producers in New York City.

David Treatman, a 2016 graduate of the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy,  and and his business partner, Alan Koolik, are two of the youngest producers on the New York theater scene. They are students at Columbia University: Treatman, a sophomore, and Koolik, a junior. [Read more…]

Children Teach Us Something Important on the Basketball Court

I recently went to the Wells Fargo Center to watch some kids play a pickup game of basketball. It was not your typical basketball game, however, but not because the kids were playing on the home court of the Philadelphia 76ers. This was a game involving students from the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr and the Al Aqsa Islamic Academy in Philadelphia. It was also the bar mitzvah project of Ari Abramovitz, a middle-school student at Barrack. [Read more…]

JBHA Open House and IAC Eitanim: High School Leadership & Entrepreneurship Program

The Jack M Barrack Hebrew Academy will have an open house and host the IAC. The Israeli American Council’s Eitanim program is a unique leadership and entrepreneurship project-based program for high school students, 9th-12th grade. IAC Eitanim allows the students to connect, explore, and experience Israel while preparing for college and developing professional skills.The program develops students’ creativity, self-learning skills, team-work skills, and a connection to Israel through real world challenges, while working with experts on creative ideas and innovative solutions and technologies.

Introductory meeting: Thursday 10/27 @ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
First three sessions: 11/7, 12/18, 1/12 @ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Second three sessions: 2/9, 3/16, 4/20 @ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Third three sessions: 5/11, 6/1, 6/1@ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

• The program includes 10 mandatory sessions and an optional summer summit
All sessions of the program are held in English and will take place at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy

• If you have any questions about the registration, feel free to contact Sharona Durry – or call 267-250-3835

Michael Steinhardt: Keynote Speaker at Barrack Hebrew Academy

unnamedHow do we ensure the continuation of the Jewish people? This is the question that consumes Michael Steinhardt. Mr. Steinhardt is this year’s keynote speaker at the Jack M Barrack Hebrew Academy’s gala.

Michael Steinhardt’s connection to Philadelphia began with his education at Penn, where he earned a degree from Wharton. After making his fortune on Wall Street, Mr. Steinhardt decided to focus full time on his passion for the Jewish world. He created the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life. Among many other initiatives, he was one of the founders of Birthright.

Mr. Steinhardt sees a bifurcation in the American Jewish community today. “Virtually 100% of Orthodox students attend day school,” he said. “Among the non-Orthodox Jews, attendance is between 5% to 10%.” He would love to see more non-Orthodox Jewish students getting a really excellent education in day schools. It is his fervent hope that the future generations of Jews will care about Judaism and Israel, and will be able to express this in fluent Hebrew!

“The Jack M Barrack Hebrew Academy is a shining light,” Mr. Steinhardt told me. “It is an example for all the other Jewish schools to emulate.”

March 9, 2016
Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue | 4200 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

  • 5:30 p.m. Cocktails & Dinner
  • 7:00 p.m. Program
  • 8:15 p.m. Dessert

Purchase gala tickets.

Politicon at the Barrack Hebrew Academy

barrackThe eighth quadrennial Politicon afforded Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy students a unique opportunity to shape and challenge their views on key issues impacting the 2016 U.S. Presidential Primaries. Politicon is a bipartisan political conference involving not just students and teachers, but also members of the local political establishment. The day included workshops, a keynote address and a mock election.


Representing the Republican Party candidates are (from left); Tali Glickman, senior as Carly Fiorina; sophomore Mati Zeff as Ben Carson; Aaron Bernstein, senior, as Donald Trump; Ben Rothstein, sophomore, as Ted Cruz; Michael Montague, senior, as Jeb Bush and Elliot Bernstein, senior, as Marco Rubio.

Mock election have been held since 1988 at Barrack (then known as the Akiba Hebrew Academy), when history teacher Sharon Levin brought the tradition she had begun with her from a previous school. As has been the case with the elections, including 2008 and 2012, the school always represents the party out of Presidential power.

This year the school held a mock Republican Primary. Students playing Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush campaigned, held a debate a week prior to the event, and then gave their stump speeches at the end of Politicon.

The entire student body then voted. The results of the mock election were as follows:

  • Marco Rubio, 196 votes (Winner), played by JBHA senior, Elliot Bernstein,
  • Jeb Bush, 90 votes, played by JBHA senior, Michael Montague,
  • Donald Trump, 40 votes, played by JBHA senior, Aaron Bernstein,
  • Ben Carson, 15 votes, played by JBHA sophomore Mati Zeff,
  • Ted Cruz, 10 votes, played by JBHA sophomore Ben Rothstein,
  • Carly Fiorina, 1 vote by JBHA senior Tali Glickman, and
  • 7 write-in votes for other candidates

“The whole idea is to make students aware and active citizens, which at a school like Barrack is part of its mission statement,” explains Mrs. Levin. She sees this type of “experimental learning” as the perfect vehicle to involve the student body and, for some, to act as an initiation into futures of political activism.

Via workshops, students developed and challenged their views on: the death penalty; gun control legislation; discrimination in the workplace; immigration; the upcoming U.S. presidential election; and the media’s role in politics.

The keynote address was given by Republican Congressman Patrick Meehan (PA-7) who represents the school’s district in Congress.

Politicon Group Photo
From left to right:
Front row: Marcel Groen, Chairman, PA Democratic Party and Judge Risa Vetri Ferman, former Montgomery County District Attorney.
Middle row: Robert J. DeSousa, State Director for Senator Pat Toomey and his assistant, District Attorney Mark Bookman; Rena Shapiro, representing BuzzFeed; Sharon P. Levin, JBHA Head of School; Andrea Johnson; Dveera Segal, Professor of Law & Director of the Civil Justice Clinic, Villanova University; Ron Eisenberg, Deputy District Attorney of Philadelphia; Michele S. Levin, President, JBHA Board of Directors; and Jennifer Groen, Director of Admission & Strategic Engagement of JBHA.
Back row: Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro; Chester County Republican Party Commissioner Val DiGiorgio; Gary Kaplan, a market researcher; Bradley Bridge, Assistant Defender, Defender Association of Philadelphia; and United States Congressman Patrick Meehan.

Barrack Hebrew Academy Gala Attracts Hundreds

Jake Tapper and Sharon Levin accept $1,000,000 from Len and Lynne Barrack.

Jake Tapper and Sharon Levin accept $1,000,000 from Len and Lynne Barrack.

— by Sharon Levin

The Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy’s 13th Annual Gala attracted 525 members of the Barrack community.

Len and Lynne Barrack committed $1 million to the school. This brought their total in annual commitments over the past seven years to almost $6.5 million.

Journalist Jake Tapper engaged and entertained with his poignant and timely stories from the field. Tapper graduated from the school in 1987 when it was known as the Akiba Hebrew Academy, and shared charming memories of his time at the school. While he reminisced about his years as an Akiba student, he thanked the school for giving him the solid ethical and Jewish foundation that continues to guide him every day. [Read more…]

Celebrity Chef Jamie Geller to make Aliyah to Israel

Celebrity chef Jamie Geller, referred to by many as the ‘Kosher Rachel Ray, is making Aliyah to Israel next month with Nefesh B’Nefesh on the organization’s August 13th charter flight out of JFK airport, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency for Israel.  Jamie Geller was born in Philadelphia, and is a graduate of the former Akiba Hebrew Academy (currently the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy).  

More after the jump.

Nefesh B’Nefesh is teaming up with USA TV producer, best-selling author, and cooking celebrity to produce a self-documentary series following her, and her family’s exciting and emotional journey step-by-step as they make Aliyah to Israel next month. The series will feature individual episodes offering a behind-the-scenes look at the Geller family as they pack their belongings, say goodbye to family and friends, and depart on the special Aliyah charter flight. It will also feature the tear-jerking landing of the flight as they arrive in Israel with hundreds of fellow Olim (new immigrants) and document their first few weeks as new Israeli citizens.

Jamie Geller is the founder of Kosher Media Network (KMN), a 360-degree content provider and the first multi-platform network for the kosher market combining traditional media (magazines, books, and broadcast) with the latest in digital, online, and social media. In the spring of 2011, KMN, unveiled its Joy of Kosher consumer brand, with the simultaneous launch of – the first and #1 social networking community for the kosher foodie – and the highly successful magazine, Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller.

She has been nationally acclaimed for her bestselling kosher cookbooks, her kosher cooking TV shows, and has been a featured interviewee on ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS News Radio, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, New York Daily News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, and hundreds of other print publications.

Episodes can be watched at: