Kinneret Stories

The Davis Family
Kinneret Parents, 2008-2021

“When we first encountered Kinneret Day School in 2008, which we had known only as an awning on the side of the Century Building, we called it a “hidden gem.” Now, with our then pre-K student about to leave for his first year of college, we feel that it’s a little less hidden but no less a gem.”

“Our sons have benefitted from Kinneret in so many ways: academically, it is exceptional and helped them to excel across a range of subjects; socially, it is small enough for each child to be embraced and acknowledged for his own gifts; and religiously, it exposed them to a range of backgrounds, beliefs, and practices that will help to prepare them for a world of diversity and, we hope, acceptance of difference.”

“This last point feels especially important. Obviously we wanted a school with exemplary academics that would also allow our children to grow interpersonally, and Kinneret provided both of those wonderfully. But the opportunity to learn alongside Jews from around the world and those whose Judaism differs in some ways from ours has been especially valuable. New Yorkers have so many opportunities to seek out people just like ourselves and to feel comfortable in microcommunities of sameness. But Kinneret was unique in offering our children the opportunity to see that Am Yisrael is a principle we live: every child in their classes was part of the large family of Jews even if their ritual observance differed from ours. While a less diverse Jewish environment would likely espouse the same principle, our children had the chance to truly live that idea.”

“Being in a diverse Jewish space led to frequent and deeply valuable conversations at home about why we make the choices we do and how we can view others’ choices without judgment. The opportunity to enter the world with an understanding of the diversity of Jewish life feels like a gift that Kinneret gave our children. Working out those differences on a practical level — how does a school talk about religion? how does it incorporate prayer into the school day? how does it approach issues of kashrut or Shabbat? — is not easy. Segmenting ourselves into narrower and narrower bands of Jewish practice is both simpler and more pragmatic. But a school that grapples with these questions rather than avoiding them allowed us to articulate our values for ourselves and our children in the most concrete way possible. Jews of different denominations and backgrounds are not hypothetical constructs for my kids because of their Kinneret experience; we have seen that their Kinneret education has allowed them to enter the world with a wide range of important skills, including an openness to diversity.”

“Communal life is difficult, both for children and for adults, and finding a school that suits a wide swath of people inevitably leads to challenges. Being part of a diverse community rather than a monolithic one was not seamless for us, and there are times when more uniformity would have made our lives simpler. But it has been immensely valuable, and we would choose Kinneret again for what it has taught our children, both explicitly and implicitly. We don’t believe our children could have gotten a better education anywhere else, and that education extends beyond the excellent work of the classroom teachers, including a kind of moral education that is modeled rather than overtly taught.”

“Through Kinneret, we have become part of a school community but also part of a community of all Jews — secular, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Israeli, French, Argentinian, American, Russian — and that solidarity feels as important now as it has ever been. Kinneret offered our children a Jewish education that resisted siloing; too few such opportunities exist in our increasingly fragmented world, and we are profoundly grateful for a school that does so many things so well for the benefit of the entire Jewish community. “

The Donnard Family
Kinneret Parents, 2019-present

“We are so thrilled to be a part of the Kinneret family. That’s how we see it – a family. The school leadership, administration, and teachers have contributed to our children’s growth not only academically but also personally by instilling in them the core Jewish values of kindness, generosity, and responsibility. In the 3+ years we’ve been at the school, not one child’s birthday has gone by without a receiving a message from the Head of School. But beyond the personal, our children come home every day invigorated by what they’ve learned, whether it be about a science project, geography, or Shabbat songs and prayers. Our daughter, now in third grade, knows how to read and write comfortably in both English and Hebrew, and to see that kind of growth so quickly is a testament to the kind of teachers and curriculum at Kinneret. Our son started as early as one can in nursery and he races every morning to get on the bus because he can’t wait to see his teachers and friends every day. We feel at home at Kinneret and know our children are getting the kind of well-rounded education that will provide a strong foundation for them for high school and beyond.”

The Kolar Family
Kinneret Parents, 2018-present

“We knew Kinneret was a special place when we came for our tour, led by two poised, mature, and passionate 8th graders who shared their enthusiasm for learning, commitment to one another, strong Jewish identity, and love of Kinneret. We thought, ‘this is the kind of kid we want our child to grow up to be.’ As we did our due diligence, talking to parents of children of various ages including of alumni, we repeatedly heard the same things: ‘very strong academics,’ ‘the kids really learn Hebrew and after a few years it’s hard to separate the native Hebrew speakers from those who started without any Hebrew,’ ‘they know and love each child for who they are,’ and ‘they cultivate menschlichkeit.’ And this is exactly what we have found. Our kids have flourished at Kinneret. They love learning and are challenged academically, have a deep sense of Jewish identity, feel cared for and loved, and are developing strong values. We could not be more grateful to Kinneret for the outstanding experience our children are having at school.”

The Rabinovich Family
Kinneret Parents, 2012-2022

“We joined the Kinneret community when our daughter, now 14, started in Pre-K. We were impressed with Kinneret at our first school tour, with the engaged students we saw, the confident middle schoolers who led the tour, and songs coming out of the kindergarten classroom. We could feel the positive, wholesome energy in the hallways. The Kinneret community is international and down-to-earth. Many students speak a second language at home. On top of strong academics and small class sizes, Kinneret fosters in students an appreciation and love for Judaism and Israel, in a supportive environment that invites curiosity and connection. Kinneret teachers and administrators are responsive and care about children. They encourage students to make the world a better place, to grow into well-rounded human beings with a solid foundation of Jewish values that they carry with them beyond the walls of the school. Because of its size and values, by the time the class graduates, the students have developed strong connections with each other. They look out for each other and celebrate each other’s successes. Now that our daughter has graduated, when looking back, we are proud that we chose Kinneret, and would choose Kinneret again in a heartbeat.”