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Torah Academy builds for future with new campus

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It was years of planning and hard work, but finally, on 1 June, Torah Academy opened its new Girls High School campus in Johannesburg. Sounds of laughter and chatter abound on the premises as the girls have now moved in.

Amidst the dwindling South African Jewish community, the Chabad community is growing. Rebecca Sarchi, the principal of Torah Academy Girls High, said, “We’re a Chabad school for all Jewish children. The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave a brocha for South Africa, and we’re therefore here to stay. Growth is a part of our staying.”

Yossi Liberow, the managing director of Torah Academy, said at the campus opening, “We’re standing here within the Jewish Johannesburg community, often said to be in decline. We constantly hear about mass emigration and the loss of community members. We hear about lack of funds from donors. Yet, here we are, standing in a brand-new campus that cost more than R40 million to build.

“Here we are with our girls, our future mothers and leaders, sitting excited in front of us. Here we are with a growing community, welcoming new families every day. We’ll never stop in our quest for growth, our mission to spread light, our directive from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to build, and our commitment to chinuch [education] and the Jewish community of Johannesburg.”

The new campus was created, according to Sarchi, because “the old campus was worn and not suitable for use, and its location, in Orchards, was decidedly unsafe for students, so it was sold”.

The new campus also boasts “bigger classrooms, a science or biology laboratory, a multi-purpose court, and a big davening room”.

Sarchi said Torah Academy Girls was different to other schools because “we’re a school with a neshama [soul]. We offer a warm and nurturing environment, as well as excellence in kodesh [holy] and general studies.

“Academics are a core part of our school. General studies are taken very seriously. Until now, sport has been limited at the girls’ high school due to a lack of facilities. Now that we’re blessed with a new school and a multi-purpose court, we look forward to taking our sports offerings to the next level,” she said.

The new campus won’t just help prepare students to pursue a rabbinical route such as going to seminary, becoming rebbetzins, or shluhois (representatives), they say. Torah Academy also plans to create youngsters who will go on to be doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, teachers, beauty therapists, homemakers, actuaries, and engineers.

“Our learners become the best version of themselves. Each student attains her academic potential, be it seven or eight distinctions or a university pass,” Sarchi said.

Torah Academy aims to create “well-rounded individuals who are committed to their Yiddishkeit and have a passion for learning. We want our learners to be ready to contribute to the communities they will find themselves in anywhere around the world. We want them to succeed in whatever profession they choose, and to make a difference,” said Sarchi.

As the school was being built, passersby saw the mantra of this new campus, “We can’t predict the future, but we can build the future”, plastered on the outside of the building site. Sarchi explained that it meant, “Only Hashem knows what the future holds, but we can build a new campus and look to the future with positivity and growth. So we’ve built a school for the future.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Choni Davidowitz

    Jun 20, 2024 at 12:44 pm

    R40 million? Orchards unsafe? So Fairmount will be safer? Better to have spent the money on permanent Aliyah.

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