Farber Hebrew Day School
(Farber Hebrew Day School)

Farber provides general and Jewish instruction in a Modern Orthodox/Zionist context for 290 students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

Farber Hebrew Day School (formerly Yeshivat Akiva) in Southfield, has been accredited for the first time by ISACS, the Independent School Association of the Central States.

Farber provides general and Jewish instruction in a Modern Orthodox/Zionist context for 290 students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

“This is a wonderful milestone in the history of Farber Hebrew Day School and establishes the school as an institution with high standards and professional operations,” said Rachel Tessler Lopatin, acting director of marketing and communications.

The school’s 90 staff and faculty spent more than a year working on the self-study and various reports required by ISACS. The process began in the summer of 2019, on the initiative of Rabbi Scot Berman, former head of school. 

The self-study involved a dozen different areas, from finances to physical plan, personnel, curriculum and teaching. The committee undertook an in-depth analysis of operations more detailed than anything the school had done previously, Lopatin said. All the committees involved in the self-study completed their reports by June 2020.

Normally, a site visit by representatives of other ISACS-accredited schools would have been done the following fall, but because of COVID, it was postponed a full year, Lopatin said. 

Nachshon Wyman
Nachshon Wyman

The visiting committee was chaired by Steve Freedman, head of school at Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Jersey, and included five others from schools around the country. Only Freedman, who was head of school at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit until June 2019, was able to visit in person, with the other committee members visiting virtually. 

“I am a huge proponent of schools being a part of ISACS, as it indicates the school’s commitment to growth and excellence,” said Freedman, adding that Farber made the right choice to go through the rigorous process to become an ISACS-accredited school.” 

Lopatin said ISACS accreditation is a “stamp of approval” that makes the school eligible for certain grants and professional development opportunities. It also helps to promote the school as practicing “an identified standard of excellence among private schools in the Midwest area.”

Hillel in Farmington Hills and Frankel Jewish Academy in West Bloomfield are also accredited by ISACS.

Rabbi Josh Levisohn
Rabbi Josh Levisohn

Nachshon Wyman, a history and physics teacher, chaired the Farber accreditation steering committee.  He said the most challenging part of the process was maintaining momentum when the COVID pandemic added an entire year to the process. “Students and staff alike were left wondering when and how the results of our work would finally come together,” he said.

He said he enjoyed getting to know the nitty-gritty of every aspect of the Farber program. “I have come to realize just how incredible Farber Hebrew Day School really is,” he said, adding that Farber is second to none among mixed Judaic-general studies programs in the area.

“The ISACS process enabled us to shine a spotlight on ourselves, celebrate what we do well, identify areas for growth, listen closely to all of our stakeholders and plan for a better tomorrow,” said Josh Levisohn, PhD, Farber’s head of school. “We were so grateful for the kind comments from the visiting committee about the school, and we look to go from strength to strength in the next stage of the ongoing process.” 

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