Shayna Leib and Oren Opperer
Shayna Leib (left) and Oren Opperer (right). (Farber Hebrew Day School)

The program itself will have four core segments, beginning from the middle of 7th grade until the end of 8th grade. 

Farber Hebrew Day School has announced their acceptance into the inaugural Truman Scholars program, developed by the Tikvah Fund.  

Farber was one of 18 schools selected to participate in this new initiative that explores the foundational ideas, key texts and leaders of American civilization and modern Zionism —including the relationship between the United States and Israel.  

The two-year program is open to seventh-grade students from the selected schools. Two Farber students, Oren Opperer and Shayna Leib, will represent Farber in the program.  

Lizzy Doppelt, assistant principal of Farber’s Sara Rivka Friedman Elementary & Middle School, was a part of the interview process with students along with Head of School Dr. Josh Levisohn. Students were asked to fill out a small application and then brief, 10-15 minute interviews were conducted. 

“It was a terribly hard decision to the point we asked the actual Tikvah Fund if we could have more students,” Doppelt said. “It was very hard to narrow it down.”  

“These two students in particular really stood out for us in their dedication, work ethic and extracurriculars they’re already participating in,” Doppelt said. “The two of them have wonderful leadership qualities. A part of what we were looking at are people who can really hold their own in an unknown group setting, and we think they’ll definitely be able to.” 

The program itself will have four core segments, beginning from the middle of 7th grade until the end of 8th grade. 

For Phase I in the Winter & Spring 2021, there will be an intensive 10-part online seminar taken together with Truman Scholars from other participating schools. This phase will introduce the large theme of America and Israel as two nations and then explore the Hebraic influence on America. 

For Phase II in Summer 2021, students will have the choice between independent reading from a select list of important books on the theme of America and Israel, or the opportunity to choose from a wide range of elective courses in Tikvah Online Academy with options in Jewish, Zionist, and American civilization.  

For Phase III in Fall 2021, the now-8th grade Truman Scholars will again choose from Tikvah Online Academy elective. 

For Phase IV in Winter & Spring 2022, Truman Scholars will participate in another intensive 10-part online seminar taken with Truman Scholars from other schools. This part of the program will focus in-depth on the founding of modern Israel. 

“We hope the students gain an understanding of other people’s views and beliefs and the ability to engage in those types of conversations,” Doppelt said. 

“For us as a school to have our name and face out there as leaders in this type of education, I think it’s just amazing and a testament to the type of education we are providing and expect of our students.”