Zvi Weiss, previously the director of early childhood and family education at Palo Alto’s Oshman Family JCC, has taken over as the new head of school at Yavneh Day School, a K-8 institution in Los Gatos.
The career Jewish educator has worked in a variety of settings, but this marks his debut as a head of school. He started last month, taking over for Steve Bogad, who had held the job since 2007.
“I am passionate about Jewish education that engages children in Jewish life, builds a meaningful relationship with Israel and provides a lens that enhances quality of life and learning while growing the future of the Jewish people,” Weiss said.
Born in Los Angeles to Israeli parents, Weiss earned a psychology degree at UCLA before going to graduate school in Israel. He served in the Israel Defense Forces and later worked as a preschool psychologist and coordinator of preschools in Israel. Later he worked at the Bureau of Jewish Education both in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
At Yavneh, he hopes to strengthen Hebrew language and Israel education, in part by instituting an annual school trip to Israel. He also intends to reach out to the many Israeli families living in Silicon Valley.
“They don’t think about Jewish identity because their Israeli identity is so strong,” he said. “They rely on visits back home and having Israeli friends to sustain their children. That isn’t enough. You need a stronger core Jewish identity.”
At Yavneh, where there are approximately 150 students, Weiss said he found a community of warm and caring staff, faculty and parents.
“I have a dream team working for me,” he said. “The teachers here are so committed. All are here because they love and care about the school. What I hope to bring more than anything is a fresh set of eyes.” — j. staff