In 1980, several pioneering spirits dreamed about spearheading the creation of a community Jewish day school for the South Bay. These dedicated leaders, recognizing a growing need, envisioned a school that would be set apart from other educational institutions in the area, framing a top academic program with the values and traditions of the Jewish people.
Rabbi Jerry Danzig of Congregation Beth David suggested the school take the name Yavneh, the city in which Jewish life and learning flourished after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70CE. He noted that the name happens to be an acronym for the elements of the Havdalah ceremony, a ceremony designed to mark the separation and uniqueness of the Sabbath day and the rest of the week. This acronym also reflects the uniqueness of our school and its community:
Y is for Yayin
The wine represents the joyfulness and celebration of Jewish life and learning.
V is for V’samim
The spices that awaken our senses conjure a sense of spirituality and wonder that we aim to foster in our students.
N is for Ner
The multi-wicked candle symbolizes the gathering of community and inspires enlightenment and illumination in educational exploration to encourage depth of understanding.
H is for Havdalah
The act of marking the separation of Shabbat from the rest of the week is a reminder to celebrate the uniqueness of each of our students.
Yavneh welcomed its first students in 1981 at Congregation Beth David and relocated to the campus of the former Berry School shortly thereafter. The site of our current home, the Gloria and Ken Levy Family Campus, was completed in 2005.
Since its inception, Yavneh has been blessed with a cadre of innovative educators, visionary lay leaders, and a supportive community. Together they have created a school that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the community’s children and is recognized worldwide as a leading innovator of Jewish day school education.