Tehiyah Day School, which closed in 2018, is disbursing its remaining funds to other Bay Area Jewish schools. (Photo/From file)
Tehiyah Day School, which closed in 2018, is disbursing its remaining funds to other Bay Area Jewish schools. (Photo/From file)

Tehiyah Day School’s last act: grants for East Bay students at other Jewish schools

Now in the final chapter of its 40-year history, Tehiyah Day School will live on for at least a few more years in the form of grant money that will help East Bay children attend Jewish day school.

The board of directors at Tehiyah, which closed its doors three years ago, has decided to use the school’s remaining assets to give a multiyear grant to Brandeis Marin school in San Rafael and Contra Costa Jewish Day School in Lafayette. The funds will enable those schools to provide support to East Bay families who want to send their children to a K-8 Jewish day school.

Tehiyah closed its doors due to declining enrollment and mounting debt in July 2018 and subsequently sold its El Cerrito campus. Currently in the process of  dissolving the nonprofit corporation, the board must distribute any remaining funds to a similar organization that shares “the same mission” as Tehiyah, said board president Kara Vuicich. “It’s a lump sum that would go to the schools,” she said. “They’re going to try to make it last.”

Though the final figure is not certain — the dissolution is ongoing and must be approved by the state attorney general — Vuicich anticipates that each school will receive between $200,000 and $300,000.

Both Brandeis Marin head of school Peg Sandel and CCJDS head of school Dean Goldfein deemed the grant a “a big surprise.” It “came out of the blue,” Sandel said.

A joint press release issued last week by the three parties said the grant “seeks to make Jewish community day school more affordable and accessible through the support of scholarships and transportation services from West Contra Costa/North Alameda catchment areas.”

The release also quoted Goldfein and Sandel as jointly saying, “Tehiyah pioneered Jewish day school education in the East Bay and to be connected with their legacy is a tremendous honor.”

Both CCJDS and Brandeis Marin serve former Tehiyah families, and “both of us provide transportation from that region,” Goldfein said. About one-third of the CCJDS enrollment, 65 to 70 students, comes from the Oakland/Berkeley area, he said.

Brandeis Marin has about 15 students from the East Bay enrolled among its 190 to 200 students, according to Sandel.

Neither school knows exactly when it will receive the grant, but “as soon as we get it, we’d want to make [funds] available to parents,” Sandel said.

When Tehiyah shut down, the board cited declining enrollment and “significant financial aid needs” of its families as key factors in its decision.

“We had a lot of families that required financial assistance,” said Vuicich, whose children now attend public school. “Cost and ability to pay is a continual barrier” to enrollment.

Parents should contact school admission departments for further information.

Liz Harris

Liz Harris is a J. contributor. She was J.'s culture editor from 2012-2018.