A once-Jewish high school in N.J. become cinematic role model

As at Soldan and University City high schools here, a once predominantly Jewish high school in New Jersey turned largely African America. “Heart of Stone,” an award-winning documentary, focuses on Weequahic High School in Newark, N.J., in whose glory days novelist Philip Roth was among students. From a school many thought no longer worth saving, Weequahic is transformed by Principal Ron Stone. His vision, now part of a national movement, included working with a dedicated group of Jewish alumni to mentor and engage students and raise scholarship funds.

The Jewish Film Festival premiers the movie here at 7 p.m. March 9 in the new Arts and Education Building at the JCC Staenberg Family Campus, as part of the facility’s opening-week activities.


The program is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the University City High School Alumni Association.

Film Festival committee member Natalie Kauffman (Weequahic High, class of 1951) will be a panelist, along with U. City High Principal Tim Wernentin and Dorothy Walker-Neals, Soldan High, class of ’67, and a retired Soldan social studies teacher. The post-film discussion will be moderated by Alan Spector, U. City High, class of 1964, and author of “Hail Hail to U City High.”

For tickets, call the Jewish Film Festival Hotline, (314) 442-3179, to charge by phone. For information, call Zelda Sparks at the JCC, (314) 442-3169.