Ramaz School

The Ramaz School is a coeducational Jewish Modern Orthodox Day School, which offers a dual curriculum of general studies taught in English and Judaic studies taught in Hebrew. The school is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City.[1] It consists of an early childhood center (nursery-kindergarten), a lower school (1st-4th grade), a middle school (5th-8th grade), and an upper school (9th-12th grade).

Ramaz School
ישיבת רמז
RamazNewLogo BLUE RGB Large72dpi.jpg
60 East 78th Street (Upper School)
114 East 85th Street (Middle School)
125 East 85th Street (Lower School)

United States
TypePrivate coeducational Jewish Day School
Religious affiliation(s)Modern Orthodox Judaism
FounderRabbi Joseph H. Lookstein
Head of schoolJonathan Cannon
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)Blue and Gold
Athletics conferenceMYHSAL
MascotThe Ramaz Ram
Team nameThe Ramaz Rams
AccreditationMiddle States Association of Colleges and Schools, New York State Association of Independent Schools

The Ramaz Upper School is a college preparatory program, designed to develop an appreciation for and understanding of the intellectual disciplines that are part of western civilization. The Judaic studies curriculum provides an equally rigorous program through which the religious and cultural tradition of Judaism is both taught and experienced. It is located on East 78th Street, seven city blocks (0.5 km) away from the other two school buildings, located on East 85th Street. Approximately fifty percent of the Upper School student body advances from the Middle School, as well as daily commuters from the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, and Nassau counties in New York; Stamford and New Haven in Connecticut; from all over metropolitan New Jersey; and on a weekly or longer basis from more distant communities.

Ramaz was founded in 1937 and is affiliated with Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun ("KJ"), a synagogue located on East 85th Street, which shares a building with the lower school and is across the street from the middle school. The congregation and its rabbi, Joseph Lookstein, helped to found and finance the school.

Architect James Rossant designed the modernist Upper School building, completed in 1981.[2]


Founded in 1937 by Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein through the generosity of New York lawyer and philanthropist Max J. Etra,[3] Ramaz takes its name from the initials of Rabbi Moses Zevulun Margolies, the grandfather-in-law of Lookstein.[4] The current principal, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, is the son of Joseph Lookstein and was a member of the first class of six students.[5]

Classes were held in many locations over the years, including the vestry rooms of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun. After the closing of Finch College, Ramaz bought the college's campus and renovated the buildings.[6]

In 2007, Joyce Villarin, a former nurse at the school, treated a child for an injury that he claimed his father caused. Villarin contacted the father who admitted to injuring his son. The Ramaz administration told Villarin not to report the incident to the police. Villarin did report this and was fired in 2008 because the school thought that she was "not a team player." Villarin sued the school in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2009, arguing that the state's Social Services Law obligated her to report the potential abuse. Under the law, school faculty are required to report to state authorities a suspicion that a child is being abused or mistreated.[7]

On November 30, 2007, The Wall Street Journal listed Ramaz as one of the top schools for graduates entering the top eight universities in the country, with 10 out of a class of 100 (class of 2007) going to these schools.[8]

In January 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ramaz lost $6 million in the collapse of the Bernard Madoff investment scheme.[9][10]

The Ramaz School had proposed a 28-story project to be built in place of the Lower School during 2008–2010. The building would have replaced the current school with a new building split into ten floors used by the school and topped by 18 floors of condominiums. Air rights of the adjoining synagogue would be transferred for use by the adjoining school/condo structure. The project may have had to be scaled back following a review by the City's Board of Standards & Appeals because the height is more than what is permitted at this site.[11] The plans were withdrawn by the school in July 2008.[12] However, due to a fire in the adjacent Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun building in July 2011, the Lower school began to undergo repairs and refurbishments for water damage. Since the building was not ready to welcome students that September, the Temple Emanu-El of New York and Park Avenue Synagogue volunteered their facilities for students until November 2011. On November 8, 2011, the Lower school reopened its doors.[13]

Co-curricular activities and athleticsEdit

The Ramaz School's team name is the Ramaz Rams, and their logo is a Ram's head. Ramaz fields a number of competitive and recreational athletic teams throughout the school year. In the Upper School, there are varsity teams for both boys and girls in basketball, tennis, volleyball, and hockey, these teams compete in both the Yeshiva High School Athletic League and local independent school leagues. Ramaz also fields soccer, baseball, swim, table tennis, and track teams.[14]

Ramaz's academic teams include their Mock Trial team, which competes in the New York State Bar Association's statewide competition and won the New York State competition in 2002, the New York City competition four times, and were finalists or semi-finalists an additional six times. Ramaz's Model Congress team participates in the University of Pennsylvania Model Congress tournament, and their Model UN team competes in the annual Yeshiva University National Model United Nations event. Additionally, Ramaz's College Bowl team participates in independent tournaments, their Math Team competes in the New York Math League and the Mandelbrot Competition, the Chess Club competes in the Yeshiva Chess League, the Science Olympiad team competes against 15 other New York and New Jersey schools in a competition administered by the Board of Jewish Education, and their Hidon HaTanakh and Torah Bowl teams compete against local Jewish Day Schools.[15] Ramaz Upper School students have also succeeded in numerous academic competitions in both the arts and sciences, including the 2004–2005 Siemens Westinghouse Competition,[16] the 2007 NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing,[17] the Intel Science Competition, and the American Mathematics Competition.

In addition to their athletic and academic teams, the Ramaz Upper School also has 22 special interest clubs, including an Arabic Club, Coalition for the Homeless, and Israel Advocacy Club that regularly attends the annual AIPAC Policy Conference, in addition to 15 fine and performing arts clubs. Ramaz's esteemed business investment club(BIC) has produced a significant amount of hedge fund managers. The Ramaz Chamber Choir has competed in national choral competitions, performed on CBS Sunday Morning News,[18] and at the White House[19] and is featured on the Best of Jewish A Cappella, Volume 3.[20]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ "Ramaz Mission and Legacy". Archived from the original on March 17, 2012.
  2. ^ Goldberger, Paul. "Architecture: A Bridge known as Ramaz School", The New York Times, June 4, 1981. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  3. ^ "Mission & Legacy". Archived from the original on September 25, 2008.
  4. ^ "Ramaz School Legacy". Ramaz School. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved August 8, 2007.
  5. ^ Gurock, Jeffrey S. (1989). Ramaz: School, Community, Scholarship, & Orthodoxy. Ktav. ISBN 0-88125-323-5.
  6. ^ Goldberger, Paul. "A Bridge Known as Ramaz School.", The New York Times, June 4, 1981. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  7. ^ Marcy Oster, Ex-Ramaz school nurse can sue under whistleblower law April 15, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  8. ^ "How the Schools Stack Up". The Wall Street Journal. December 28, 2007.
  9. ^ Mary Pilon, Private Schools Feel the Pinch Amid Recession, Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2009.
  10. ^ Stephanie Strom, Wall St. Fraud Leaves Charities Reeling, The New York Times, December 15, 2008.
  11. ^ Beyer, Gregory. "Condos Above Classrooms Strike Some as an Odd Mix", The New York Times, November 11, 2007. Retrieved January 8, 2008.
  12. ^ Snyder, Tamar. "Ramaz Pulls Plug On Condo Tower", HighBeam Research, New York Jewish Week, July 4, 2008. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
  13. ^ "Lower School Building Reopening After KJ Fire", News from Ramaz, November 4, 2011. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  14. ^ "The Ramaz School". The Ramaz School. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  15. ^ "The Ramaz School". The Ramaz School. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "Siemens Foundation 2004–2005 Winners". Siemens Foundation. Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  17. ^ "NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing 2007-New York". Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  18. ^ "Ramaz Chamber Choir - Al HaNisim". Vimeo. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  19. ^ "Ramaz: SPOTLIGHT: CREATIVE ARTS". Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  20. ^ "BOJAC: The Best of Jewish A Cappella". www.bojac.org. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  21. ^ Rabbi Dr. Adam Ferziger, Torah In Motion. Accessed January 28, 2016. "A native of Riverdale, New York, he attended the SAR Academy and the Ramaz Upper School. After graduation from Ramaz, he studied Torah at Beit Midrash l'Torah (BMT) in Jerusalem and Yeshivat Har-Etzion (Gush)."
  22. ^ Merwin, Ted. "'Bashert,’ Ari Gold StyleThe gay pop star and provocateur reclaims the Jewish concept in a new show.", The Jewish Week, July 12, 2012. Accessed January 28, 2016. "Reared in an Orthodox family in the Pelham Parkway section of the Bronx, Gold was discovered at the age of 5, when he was heard singing at his brother’s bar mitzvah. At the age of 6, he recorded a children’s album for CBS and went on to perform children’s voices on more than 400 television jingles. He attended Ramaz on the Upper East Side, and then went on to Yale and NYU. "
  23. ^ Palmer, Joanne. "Deeply HeldRabbi’s Shabbat talks to focus on joining theology to responsibility", Jewish Standard, April 19, 2013. Accessed January 28, 2016. "Held grew up in Monsey and was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was educated at the Ramaz School and then at Harvard, where he earned both a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate."
  24. ^ Damage to Diaspora ties, Jewish Living (Toronto), November 15, 2006. "Herzog calls his years at the prestigious Ramaz school 'the formative period of my life.'"
  25. ^ Lipman, Steve. "Ramaz Israel Row Points To Larger TrendsIn extending invitation to Khalidi, Modern Orthodox students seen seeking wider view on Israeli-Palestinian conflict.", The Jewish Week, February 25, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2017. "Matthew Hiltzik, a Ramaz alumnus and father of three current students at the school, said he supports both the students’ initial invitation to Khalidi and the administration’s cancellation of the invitation."
  26. ^ "Summer Bulletin" (PDF).
  27. ^ Nathan Lewin, Esq. to Deliver Lecture at Touro Law, Touro College, February 29, 2012. Accessed January 28, 2016. "Mr. Lewin attended Ramaz School and Yeshiva University High School and College."
  28. ^ Heyman, Marshall. "An Actress Turns a Page", The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2010. Accessed January 28, 2016. "Further browsing encouraged Ms. Lyonne to reminisce about the authors she loved as a high school student at Ramaz Yeshiva on the Upper East Side: Camus, Gide, Gogol, Hemingway, and, perhaps most randomly, the Comte de Lautréamont and his book, Les Chants de Maldoror."
  29. ^ Wallace, Benjamin. "What's So Alluring About a Woman Known As Man Repeller?", New York, February 8, 2014. Accessed January 28, 2017. "Leaving aside the eighth-year pronouncement regarding her indifference to others’ sartorial opinions, it would have been hard to foresee Medine’s modish future based on the black and gray maxi-skirts she was required to wear through her high-school years at the Ramaz School, a yeshiva on East 78th Street."
  30. ^ Biographies for "SELF-CONCEPTIONS: WOMEN, CREATIVITY AND JEWISH IDENTITY", YIVO, Retrieved January 2, 2007. Archived October 3, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Kehilath Jeshurun Bulletin, Online, September 6, 2006. Retrieved May 19, 2011. "Ursula Merkin...All of her children are alumni of Ramaz. Many of her grandchildren are either alumnae or current students in our school in which her son, Ezra, serves as Vice Chairman of the Board.."
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ Heller, Jamie. "Mukasey’s Pedigree", The Wall Street Journal Online, Law Blog, September 17, 2007. Retrieved September 17, 2007. "Mukasey graduated from Ramaz in 1959 and went on to Columbia College and Yale Law School."
  34. ^ Ramaz Alumni Living in Israel Archived 2014-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, Ramaz Website, (PDF) Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  35. ^ Century, Douglas "The Yemenite Madonna: Bronx-Raised Nini Becomes Pop Star Noa", HighBeam Research, The Forward, January 13, 1995. Retrieved October 17, 2008.
  36. ^ Cohen, Irwin. "Baseball Is Dull Only To Those With Dull Minds", The Jewish Press, February 7, 2007. "The best book you can get about Thomson’s homer, the 1951 season, the players, sign-stealing and more is Joshua Prager’s The Echoing Green. Prager, who grew up in New Jersey, went to Moriah Day School, Ramaz High School and spent a year in yeshiva after high school before going on to college and a writing career with The Wall Street Journal." Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  37. ^ http://amoreconservativeunionadcampaign.blogspot.com/2009_10_01_archive.html
  38. ^ Cooper, Helene; Landler, Mark; Sanger, David E. (February 12, 2011). "In U.S. Signals to Egypt, Obama Straddled a Rift". The New York Times.
  39. ^ Penny, Denise. "Isn't He Just To Tie For? If you thought Zac Posen was young...", New York (magazine). Accessed January 28, 2017. "Following in the footsteps of Esteban Cortazar and Alex P. Keaton comes Baruch Shemtov, a Ramaz student–cum–tie designer whose first collection sold out at Takashimaya."
  40. ^ Palmer, Joanne. "Who was that with Cory Booker? Adam Szubin, Iran deal defender, on loving Israel and growing up in Teaneck", Jewish Standard, October 15, 2015. Accessed January 28, 2017. "Mr. Szubin (the initial S in his name is irrationally silent, so when it's said aloud it begins with the Z) is Teaneck born and bred; he went to Yavneh Academy until high school, when he commuted across the river to Ramaz, the modern Orthodox day school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side."
  41. ^ Members of the Board of Regents
  42. ^ The United States Mission to the OSCE: Office of Public Affairs - Tevi Troy, Retrieved December 25, 2006 Archived September 23, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ Prozac Nation, The Jewish Journal (Boston North), July 2, 2004.

External linksEdit