For Rabbi Daniel Loew, the new head of school at Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison, his new position is everything he wanted.
Originally from West Hartford, Conn., both he and his wife, Chanie, still have family there to whom they wanted to move closer as their five young children grow up.
Loew had also heard about the “wonderful history, rich tradition, and warm culture” that are hallmarks of the pre-K to eighth-grade school.
Four of his children, who range in age from four to 15, will attend RPRY, while the oldest will enter the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth. His wife, also an educator, had been teaching Judaic studies at Northwest Yeshiva High School in Seattle.
“We were looking for new opportunities on the East Coast and RPRY has such a wonderful character and wonderful family atmosphere, we thought it would be wonderful for our kids,” said Loew, who previously was head of school at the Seattle Hebrew Academy.
“We’re starting to know the community,” said Loew, who has moved his family to Highland Park. “We’re starting to get a sense of the community and it seems like a special place. We certainly made a conscious decision not only for me to work here, but to live here and to get involved in the community.”
He began in his new position Aug. 1, taking over for Rabbi Shraga Gross, who served for some 20 years.
Loew was selected after an “exhaustive” five-month search.
“The yeshiva received applications from many highly qualified and experienced candidates,” said search committee chair Dr. Barbara Strassman. “Rabbi Daniel Loew was vetted by a broad constituency of the RPRY family. He clearly stood out as the most qualified person to lead the yeshiva into its next phase of growth and development.
“Rabbi Loew is an exemplary administrator who brings to RPRY high standards for educational excellence as well as a strong commitment to students, parents, faculty, and community.”
School president Leslie Ostrin called Loew “a highly experienced, skilled, and passionate educator and school leader whose educational philosophy embodies RPRY’s commitment to academic excellence in a nurturing environment.”
She noted Loew was the unanimous choice of both the search committee and school board based on his administrative acumen, leadership skills, and commitment to the school’s educational principles and hashkafa, or outlook, and warm, considerate manner with faculty, students, and parents.
Loew holds a master’s degree in Jewish education from the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, and ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, both of Yeshiva University.
Before serving in Seattle, he was head of school at the Hebrew High School of New England in West Hartford for nine years. Loew and his wife have also taught in schools in Overland Park, Kan., and Columbus, Ohio.
The 41-year-old Loew told NJJN that he has many ideas for the 350-student school, but wanted to take it slow as he gets to know students, staff, and parents.
“It’s not all going to coalesce until the end of the summer,” he said. “I think Rabbi Gross has really set a wonderful tone and has done a lot of wonderful things here. He’s been extremely supportive of the educational faculty, and I was really impressed how dedicated to the school they are. My intention is to grow the school and stand on his shoulders to make it even stronger.”
Loew said, “I am not the kind of person to make a lot of changes before I understand the people and culture of a school.” As he has done in previous positions, he said, he plans to “empower and support the teachers, because really it’s in the classroom where the magic happens.”