Yeshivas Aish Kodesh brings students to Norfolk and sends them out in the world, fully prepared

March 18, 2021

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Yeshivas Aish Kodesh Talmudical Academy of Norfolk is a four-year high school for Jewish boys, offering a dual curriculum of Judaic Studies, along with a complete General Studies program —in a religious environment.

The pride and joy of the YAK staff is the opportunity to provide exceptional instruction in a small school setting. The average class size is six boys. Rabbis and general studies teachers are equally committed to the development and nurturing of graduates with a well-balanced faith-based and academic advantage.

David Rowzie teaches history and acts as the General Studies principal. “One of the things we try to do is fill in the gaps that exist when they come to us,” says Rowzie. There is no YAK ‘type.’ The boarding school attracts Jewish boys from New York, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, and Baltimore who want to get away from home and figure things out on their own. But as young students, they are all different. “Some arrive very talented in Torah and weaker in academics; others need time to find their place. They aren’t as strong with Torah as they are in academics, so we give them what they need to catch up.

“The rabbis and I are a united front when it comes to our expectations about class preparation, focus and on-time attendance. We expect the same from them in the morning when they study Torah, and in the afternoon when I teach them history,” says Rowzie.
What makes YAK special is the small class size. “Having been in education for so long I know how important individual instruction is,” says Rowzie. “Ultimately I want them to be able to have choices whether it’s to be a rabbi or an architect. I want them to go to the school they choose, not apply to several and go to the one that accepts them.”

Yeshivas Aish Kodesh students’ extra-curricular activities provide a positive outlet that extends beyond the classroom. Before Purim, the boys were engaged in a school fundraiser. “This type of outreach takes the local community and binds it to the three Jewish schools, of which YAK is one,” says Rowzie. “If the parents decide to send their kids here, it’s great. Either way, they realize the benefit of having this kind of school in your community.”

This is part of a series of articles spotlighting local and overseas partner agencies that are beneficiaries of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s annual Community Campaign.

- Lisa Richmon

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