Our Stories

Welcome to Milton

June 8, 2017 by Naomi Reem (Faculty and Staff)

This week, parents, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the school gathered to celebrate the school’s renaming and to break ground for a significant renovation and expansion of the Kay and Robert Schattner Center North Campus. With much excitement, we announced that JPDS-NC is now the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital.

We were honored to be joined by the family and friends of Milton Gottesman – Ambassador Alfred Moses, and Ruth, Bob, and Bill Gottesman – who together are honoring Milton’s memory by naming our school after him. At this milestone moment in the life of the school and the Jewish community of Washington D.C., we were delighted to welcome the Honorable Muriel Bowser, Mayor of the District of Columbia and a longstanding friend of our school, as well as Brandon Todd, DC Councilmember for Ward 4, and local ANC representatives Dave Wilson and Stacey Lincoln. We were grateful to share this simcha with Bob Zahler, President of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and former Head of School Susan Koss. And we were saddened to be without our dear friend and supporter Dr. Robert Schattner, for whom the North and South Campus buildings are named and who passed away earlier this year – may his memory be a blessing.

Our new namesake, Milton Gottesman, had a special commitment to children and education that brought him to JPDS-NC during the school’s early years. He connected strongly to the vision of a Jewish day school in the District of Columbia and contributed significant funds to the purchase of the North Campus building in 2002 and its renovation in 2010. Milton’s quiet generosity, dedication to making a difference, and love for Judaism and Israel are qualities that will live on through his legacy at this school. We are proud of presenting Milton Gottesman as a role model for our students as we rename our school after him.

In this week’s parasha (the weekly Torah portion), Behalotecha, we read God’s instructions to Moshe and Aharon about lighting the seven-branched menorah in the Mishkan.  Bemidbar Rabbah, a Jewish text from the Fourth to Fifth Century CE, tells us that candles, like the ones in the menorah, can kindle other candles without losing any of their brightness. Kindling other candles multiplies the light for everyone. The same is true about kindling a child’s mind, and kindling a child’s soul – sharing your curiosity, love of learning, and spirituality with others never diminishes your own, but multiplies them.

We are thrilled that, with the addition of the Moses Family Middle School, we will be able to kindle children’s minds and souls, sharing our curiosity, love of learning, and spirituality with more students for a longer time.

Educating the next generation of knowledgeable and responsible Jews and citizens in the District of Columbia is far more than an accident of geography – it is an intrinsic part of our mission. This is a city like no other, and this is a school like no other. We are proud to call Washington D.C. our home and to serve as a transformative place of learning for so many students and their families.

In our 28th year as the only Jewish day school in the nation’s capital, we remain dedicated to our diverse and vibrant community and to fulfilling our mission and educational vision. Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital will continue to nurture students’ curiosity, cultivate their imagination, advance their initiative and critical-thinking skills, foster a strong sense of self and community, kindle their love of Judaism and Israel, and empower them to be engaged citizens.

We are strengthened and inspired by our community – students, parents, alumni families, faculty, staff, and friends. It is a privilege to celebrate this milestone with you, and to welcome you to the Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital. May we go from strength to strength.