In 1980 several pioneering spirits spearheaded the creation of Yavneh Day School. This group of dedicated lay and educational leaders in the South Bay community recognized a growing need for a community Jewish day school. The founding families (amongst others) who were instrumental in the establishment of Yavneh Day School were:
|Ann and Rick Taven||Allan Schwartz|
|Sue and Michael Leitner||Ted Stengel|
|Joy and Rabbi Jerry Danzig||Sandy and David Mayer|
Devotion, vision, support, and spirit were crucial to this endeavor. Our Founders believed that the school would represent the merging of the modern world with the great traditions of the Jewish people.
How did Yavneh Day School get its name? Rabbi Jerry Danzig officially named the school at a Havdalah ceremony at Congregation Beth David. According to Rabbi Danzig, the name “Yavneh” is meant to be an acronym:
- Yud represents Yayin (wine), which symbolizes joyfulness and celebration.
- Vet is for V’samim, the spices that conjure a sense of spirituality and wonder of Jewish holiness.
- Nun stands for Ner, the candle that brings us light, enlightenment, illumination and clarification of Jewish teachings, Jewish thought and practice.
- Hei is for Havdalah, the ceremony which separates Shabbat from the rest of the week.
Rabbi Danzig’s intent was that Yavneh would be set apart from other educational institutions, providing all of the elements of Havdalah – the joyfulness and celebration, the spirituality and wonder of Jewish holiness, and the enlightenment and clarification of Jewish teachings, thought and practice. Our children would receive a solid education in secular and religious studies.
Yavneh opened its doors in 1981 at Congregation Beth David in Saratoga for children in grades K through 6th. Leah Bernstein was the founding Lead Teacher and Principal. Shortly thereafter, the school moved to the Oka Road site, which was an old public school and the home of the JCC. This was the school’s home until 2002.
In 2002, Yavneh temporarily relocated to the Kehillah Jewish High School Campus on Blackford Avenue (the former Blackford High School facility) in San Jose, where it functioned for three years. As the school's popularity continued to grow, Yavneh again moved back in 2005 to the new Levy Family Campus in Los Gatos, and added a middle school.
Over these past 33 years, Yavneh has had diverse and remarkable leadership. Who has directed our school?
Leah Bernstein, Founding Principal (1981-1983)
Bonnie Slavitt Moore, Principal (1983-1992)
Barbara Toren, Interim Principal (1992-1993)
Melanie Berman, Principal (1993-1996)
Elizabeth (Liz) Michaels, Principal and Head of School (1996-2001)
Joan Warner, Head of School (2001-2002)
Dr. Tony Russo and Mr. Meril Smith, Heads of School (2002-2003)
Lori Abramson, Head of School (2003-2007)
Steven R. Bogad, Head of School (2007-2014)
Zvi Weiss, Head of School (2014 - present)
Yavneh Day School welcomes parents seeking a distinctive secular and Jewish education for their children. With the continued support of our community members, we look forward to the next 30 years of continued growth and a prominent position at the forefront of Jewish day school education worldwide.