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Grand Opening of Bruriah STEM Labs Brings Together Supporters, Alumni, Faculty, Students and Local Dignitaries

Donor Commitment to Academic Exceptionalism Brings Dream of New Labs Into Reality

Longtime community supporters Danny and Claire Kahane of Englewood, NJ (formerly of Hillside),  joined by their son Jason and granddaughter, cut the ribbon to the brand new high tech Bruriah STEM laboratories

Bruriah alumna and Rhodes Scholar Miriam Rosenbaum, class of 2007, addresses the gathering, which includes other donors to the project, STEM faculty, local dignitaries, alumnae, students and administrators.


Elizabeth, NJ -- In a world where technological advancement seems to be progressing at break-neck speed, it is almost impossible to keep up with the evolving logistical needs and professional development demanded to remain highly competitive.

Not so though at the JEC, as students in both the RTMA and Bruriah high school divisions are offered opportunity for accelerated, progressive, and advanced STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.

Bruriah is enjoying an added bonus this spring as their brand new state of the art STEM laboratories have opened for full time use.

“STEM studies are at the forefront of educational advancement today,” said Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz, Associate Dean, “and it is critical for our students to have the tools and means to develop into competitive participants in this exciting and developing arena.”

Bruriah's original science labs were built in 1972, and over the years, have facilitated many outstanding achievements. Historically, Bruriah's AP Science scores have been among the highest in the region. 

Counted among their alumnae are a Harvard Health Professor and McArthur "Genius" Award winner; a Rhodes Scholar, Miriam Rosenbaum, who addressed the attendees of the lab ribbon cutting on April 26, and who conducted her graduate work in Bio-ethics at Oxford University; a Genomics & Bioinformatics Consultant at the Weizmann Institute in Israel; a "Teach For America" educator, committed to improving science education in inner city schools; a graduate student doing her Ph.D. work in neuroscience at Cornell & Sloan Kettering; and many other accomplished graduates in a variety of STEM-centric fields.  

The new labs, which JEC Executive Director Steve Karp has proudly described as, “among the most sophisticated and cutting edge out there,” will help Bruriah to continue to build upon these achievements, and enable current and future students to successfully advance into the highly competitive arenas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

 “Our new state of the art labs will enable students to take full advantage of our advanced offerings as they prepare for their future,” said Rabbi Joseph Oratz, Bruriah principal. “We have partnered with CIJE (Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education) to introduce our new STEM track in order to give our students the background, knowledge and creative processes they will need to compete in the science and technology fields in university and in their chosen professional fields.”

The new labs did not come cheap and were only made possible through the generosity of several generous foundation grants and significant pledges from a number of individual donors and families who have selflessly and graciously helped advance this project from vision to reality.

Three families in particular are to be recognized for their leadership-level support of this project:  Larry and Adele Diener, were the first to infuse a robust $50,000 contribution towards the challenge and subsequently hosted a highly successful parlor meeting at their home. The Dieners are no strangers to the JEC, and their family name graces the Bruriah building in recognition of their outstanding generosity over the years. Erwin and Lynn Fisch followed with an equally generous gift.  Known fondly as “Mr. Bruriah”, Erwin, a past president of the JEC Board of Trustees, chaired the fundraising efforts for Bruriah’s capital expansion. And Danny and Claire Kahane, another couple well-known for their outstanding philanthropic activities across a plethora of Jewish organizations, made the most substantial contributions to the project through donated construction, materials, equipment, capital, and both creative and technical input.

“Excellence in Jewish education has always been a priority to Claire and me,” said Danny Kahane recently. “We believe that it is essential for students to succeed equally in both limudei kodesh and general studies so they will be empowered to compete in the world around them and make meaningful contributions to both our own community and the broader society.  We see this as the ultimate kiddush Hashem, and are grateful for the opportunity to play a role.”

The new labs were dedicated by the Kahanes in memory of Dalia bat Yitzchak, a"h, the dear mother of Phil Levy, who passed away in July of 2013. “Mrs. Levy was an exceptional woman with exemplary middot,” explained Danny.  “She displayed a strong dedication to her family and the community. May the successes of the Bruriah students- both current and future - be a zechut to her memory.”


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