SMDS-RJA hits new fundraising high at 10th anniversary bash

The Saul Mirowitz Day School/Reform Jewish Academy chose a circus theme for its 10th Annual Gala, but the event raised some serious dollars – close to $160,000, almost twice the amount raised last year. The event was “the most successful in our history,” said Patty Bloom, director of admissions and marketing for the school.

Bloom said a record number of 330 people attended the event on Sunday, April 26th at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton.

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Community and school benefactors Pam and Ron Rubin received the school’s Melvin Dubinsky Visionary Award and longtime volunteer Sue Matlof was given the I. E. Millstone Community Service Award. Both awards are named in honor of two late community benefactors who had supported the establishment of the school.

Matlof came to RJA as a volunteer five years ago and is now the school’s bookkeeper and an enthusiastic advocate and supporter. Pam and Ron Rubin have been supporters of RJA since its founding. During the school’s early years, Pam Rubin volunteered in the classroom as a reading tutor. Later, the Rubins helped launch the Alvan D. Rubin learning program, which now supports a full-time learning specialist and allows the school to cater to diverse learning styles.

Teachers Ilene Berman, Marsha Cobb, Jennifer Hartranft, Becky Lerner and Faye Siegel were recognized for five years of teaching excellence.

Cheryl Maayan, Head of School at SMDS/RJA said that the funds raised will help the school continue its standards of state-of-the art academic and Judaic excellence. “At SMDS-RJA, we engage in self-reflection and continuous improvement as a habit, and that has earned us a reputation as innovators in our field,” Maayan said.

“In the past three years alone, we’ve developed a science partnership with Washington University, a technology program that expands the definition of literacy, and a school lunch program that serves only organic or locally grown produced. Next year, we will introduce Singapore Math, which is making a mark in this country because of its proven ability to promote mastery of mathematics on an international level.”

Michael Rubin, president of the SMDS/RJA Board of Directors, also was pleased with the gala, adding that attendance was up at least 100 people over last year. “There was a buzz in the room,” he said.

Rubin praised the efforts of Susan Bosse and Shana Singer, who chaired the event, along with their committee, as well as Maayan and the faculty, staff, students, parents and friends of the school.