Hawks, Ravens and Wildcats, the athletic team nicknames of the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway, Rambam Mesvita and Davis Renov Stahler high schools, respectively. Missing from that Five Towns sports moniker landscape is The Brandeis School. That will be remedied as the school and the Nassau Herald have teamed up to present a Name the Team contest.
Originally founded in 1930 as the Jewish Center School by Rabbi Irving Miller, a leading American Zionist at the time and leader of Congregation Shaaray Tefila in Far Rockaway, the school was one of the first in the country to integrate general and Jewish studies into a singular educational experience.
Fast forward nearly 90 years and The Brandeis School in Lawrence fields one boys’ basketball team with players in grades five to eight and one girls’ hoops squad with players coming from the same grade levels. The school colors are navy, bright blue and white, but the teams do not have a nickname.
“I think it gives the school an identity that can unite the students, parents, teachers and graduates,” Executive Director Reuben Maron said about having a nickname.
Miller’s school grew from kindergarten and first grade to having eight grades by 1935. A year later First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited JCS and wrote about the school in her newspaper column: “I wonder if many racial groups could not take a leaf out of their book, and if the result might not be far-reaching in making us understand other nations and what was drawn from them.”
In 1945, JCS moved to Congregation Sons of Israel in Woodmere and changed its name to honor Louis Brandeis, the first Jewish justice of the United States Supreme Court. Brandeis was known to be a strong advocate for open and vigorous questioning, and he revered education and service to others. He died in 1941.
The Brandeis School became one of the first members of the Solomon Schechter Day School movement, the educational arm of Conservative Judaism in 1965.
Now an independent Jewish School with a curriculum and programs and activities for students in nursery school to the eighth grade, the school, which renamed its campus in honor of Hewlett Bay Park resident Harry Laufer last year, wants a nickname. Laufer was a prominent Brandeis benefactor. A Holocaust survivor, he died in 2016.
“We are a Brandeis mishpacha (family) and to give our family a name to cheer at an event and bring us closer together would be incredible,” Head of School Raz Levin said.
Take part in the Name the Team contest with The Brandeis School. To submit an entry, go to www.liherald.com/brandeis. The winner will be chosen by the school. The winner earns bragging right, a plaque in their honor and other gifts from the Nassau Herald. Deadline for entries is July 21.