The school was established at Adas Israel Congregation by a small group of parents who wanted to provide their children with a pluralistic Jewish education in their home city of Washington, DC. The founders envisioned a school that would seamlessly integrate the teachings of our Jewish heritage with an excellent general studies education, all in a nurturing and challenging environment that recognized the individual needs of each child.
In 1999, the school became an independent institution. In 2002, Milton purchased a building on 16th Street to serve as the school’s permanent home. As the school’s reputation and prominence increased, its student population grew steadily. To accommodate this growth, Milton purchased a second building on 16th Street, which opened in the fall of 2013. The school’s North and South Campuses are the Kay and Robert Schattner Center, named in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Schattner in recognition of their extraordinary support.
Responding to a growing demand for a Jewish middle school in the city, and in order to align with the entry years for middle school in the region, the Milton Board of Trustees decided in the fall of 2014 to expand the school to add Grades 7 and 8 and to create a middle school.
The Gottesman family and Ambassador Alfred Moses joined together to provide a transformative gift to build the middle school, renovate and expand the Kay and Robert Schattner Center North Campus, and honor the late Milton Gottesman.
In the spring of 2017, the school officially became known as Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital. The middle school is the Moses Family Middle School. The first class of the Moses Family Middle School graduated from Grade 8 in 2020.
Milton Gottesman was a proud resident of Washington, DC, where he practiced law, pursued philanthropic and advocacy work in Israel and the United States, and engaged actively in the Jewish community.
Milton’s special commitment to children and education brought him to the school in its early years. He connected strongly with the vision of a Jewish day school in the District, and provided significant funds toward the purchase of what is now the Kay and Robert Schattner Center North Campus. Milton’s family provided additional support at the time of the North Campus renovation in 2010.
After Milton’s passing in 2005, his connection to the school continued through his family, who honor his legacy in their philanthropy. Their support for the school represents a firm commitment to education, pluralism, Jewish identity, and continuity – values that Milton celebrated.
In 2017-18, Milton sixth graders produced the documentary Coming Home: The Story of DC’s Only Jewish Day School about the school as part of a year-long study of leadership, collective memory, and institutional change.
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