There was once a time when Plainview residents were on the verge of losing a Jewish day school that was important to the community. Thanks to quick work by parents and leaders, that day never came: Mercaz Academy will be opening its doors on Sept. 1.
The Jewish Orthodox school’s name means “Center” in Hebrew. It will be taking over the site of the former Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC) Plainview campus located at 25 Country Drive. The school will offer a variety of programs and educational opportunities for Long Island children in preschool through sixth grade.
“We are very excited for what the upcoming school year has in store for us,” said Jeffrey Lichtman, president of the academy. “We have many innovations and enhancements on the way and we’re excited for the programs we’re bringing to the school that we think will be reflective of who we are and who our student body will be.”
Lichtman has a long history with the school and was one of the members of the purchasing committee. He graduated from HANC high school in 1974 and served on the board of trustees for more than 30 years. The current incarnation of the school is full of individuals like Lichtman, serving the former campus. The current principal is Rabbi Kalman Fogel, who previously served as the principal for the HANC Plainview campus.
The goal is for everyone involved to work diligently now and throughout the school year, in an effort to make all their programs successful and to ensure that all their offerings are easily accessible to local families. One such program that the school hopes will be a success is known as Grow Torah, an environmental education program that cultivates a compassionate and sustainable future driven by Torah values.
This program is expected to become a big part of the school going forward. At some point before the grand opening, both students and parents will assist in putting together a beautiful garden in a courtyard that will be used as a classroom.
“GrowTorah creates a garden for the students and in that space, there’s opportunity to learn concepts in the Torah concerning charity, communal responsibility, and faith, but also environmentalism, conservation, and biology,” says Lichtman. “What’s important here is the notion that these aren’t separate disciplines, that a person can be harmonious in their Judaic studies and secular studies.”
Registration for the upcoming year is currently open and tuition assistance is available.
Mercaz Academy is located at 25 Country Dr. in Plainview and can be reached at mercazacademy.org or 516-696-420.