Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy

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Berman Hebrew Academy
Berman Hebrew Academy Main Building.jpg
Front Entrance
13300 Arctic Ave

United States
Coordinates 39°4′25″N 77°6′1″W / 39.07361°N 77.10028°W / 39.07361; -77.10028Coordinates: 39°4′25″N 77°6′1″W / 39.07361°N 77.10028°W / 39.07361; -77.10028
Type Private
Established 1944
Locale Residential area
Headmaster Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan
Grades 2N-12
School color(s) Blue, orange and white
Athletics Cougars

The Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy, referred to locally as Berman or The Academy, is a coed Modern Orthodox Jewish day school serving the greater Washington area. The school has grades from Pre-K to 12. It was founded in 1944. The school moved to its current location in Rockville, Maryland in 1999, site of the former Robert E. Peary High School. It changed its name from the Hebrew Academy of Greater Washington to its current name after its benefactor Melvin J. Berman in the process. The student body consists of roughly 700 students, including about 190 in the Upper School.[1] There were about 200 students in the 2014-2015 school year. The school has a dual curriculum including secular subjects and judaics, with the school day generally split in order to cover both curricula. The NETA program serves as the Hebrew language curriculum for the school.[2] As of 2020, the high school is ranked as one of the top 50 Jewish high schools in the nation.[3]


The Hebrew Academy was founded in 1944 at 1202 Decatur Street, NW Washington, D.C by a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders and was one of the first Jewish Day Schools founded outside of the greater New York area. As the school has expanded in size, it has moved several times before arriving at its current location in Rockville.[4]


The Berman Hebrew Academy is split into four main sections. The Pre-school is directed by Rebecca Gautieri. The Lower School, grades one to five, is run jointly by Rachel Handloff and Suzy Israel. The Middle School, from grades six to eight, is run by Rabbi Moshe Shields. Finally, the High School recently hired a new principal, Mrs. Malkah Popper, to replace the current interim-principal Rabbi Shimmy Trencher.[5][6] Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan, beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, currently serves as Head of School, replacing Dr. Joshua Levisohn.


Grades 1, 2, and 3 consist of two classes: General (English) Studies and Jewish (Hebrew) Studies. Beginning with grade 4, there are four classes: English, Chumash, Hebrew and Navi. In grade five, there are five classes: English, Hebrew, Chumash, Navi and Mishnah. Middle and Upper school students take nine classes. Most students take English, History, Math, Science, Chumash, Navi, Talmud, Hebrew language, and an elective.

Extra-curricular programs

There are many extra-curricular programs and clubs available at the Berman Hebrew Academy including (Table 1):

Table 1 of Extra-Curricular Programs at Berman Hebrew Academy
Mock Trial Model United Nations Newspaper (Cougar Current) Drama (HADAS Plays)
Debate Team Student Council Math Counts A-Cappella
Israel Action Committee Medical Club Engineering Club Politics Club

(President: Yonatan Cohen '21)


The MJBHA fields cross-country, soccer, basketball, track and field, ultimate frisbee, baseball, and volleyball teams. The teams compete in the Potomac Valley Athletic Conference, the ISBVL for boys volleyball, and the WAFC for ultimate Frisbee.

Mission to Israel

Starting in 2004, every four years the entire Berman Upper School is brought to Israel for a ten-day long trip. The trip is meant to both connect the students to the land of Israel, some of whom may never have been before, and encourage students to "go to Israel for the year after high school and beyond."[7] The most recent mission occurred in 2018.

The Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy changed its logo and school colors from blue and yellow to blue and orange. This new logo which emphasizes a big "Berman" is meant to reflect, according to the Berman Hebrew Academy website, their "enthusiasm at being the Modern Orthodox Day School of the Nation's Capital."[8]

Notable alumni


  1. ^
  2. ^[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "2020 Best Jewish High Schools in America". Niche. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  4. ^ The Record, Volume 20, 1993-1994, pp. 29-38 by Evelyn Becker
  5. ^ "Berman Hebrew Academy: News: New Upper School Principal Announce..." Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  6. ^ "Berman Hebrew Academy: Our Administration". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  7. ^ "Entire US high school due in Israel for 10-day mission - Jewish World - Jerusalem Post". Retrieved 2019-02-17.
  8. ^ "Berman Hebrew Academy: News: Our New Look and Logo". Retrieved 2019-02-14.
  9. ^ Leftley, Nick (13 January 2015). "Ari Shaffir interview: 'You wouldn't want to tape a special on mushrooms'". TimeOut. Retrieved 25 March 2015.

External links

  • Official Hebrew Academy Website
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