You can imagine how excited our pupils were when they entered our new building for the first time just after last Rosh Hashanah. The shofar was sounded in the playground and the awe and wonder on those faces was a delight to see!
On 26 June this year, the new Wohl IJPS building on the Kantor Education Campus was officially opened by the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis. This was the culmination of a dream that started around 15 years ago when it was first mooted that we may be able to move onto the King Solomon High School campus thereby creating an educational complex on one site for pupils from Nursery to Sixth Form.
Of course, a new school building doesn’t just happen – it takes years of planning and perseverance, optimism and organisation, consultations and, of course, many frustrations and obstacles to overcome along the way! The contribution and steady hand of Mr Jonathan Goldstein and the JLC throughout the building project was of crucial importance. And we are, of course, so very grateful to those who have supported us financially and, in particular, Mr Moshe Kantor and the Wohl Foundation.
This new building provides state of the art facilities and a much improved learning environment for our pupils. Modern facilities improve not only the school’s physical environment but also its learning culture. However, a building alone cannot infuse the vision and passion that guide the school’s development. It is the human spirit and interaction between teachers and pupils which make the difference and we will ensure that our new premises support the best secular and Jewish education possible.
We have now reached another milestone in the history of IJPS: We have great grandparents who attended the former school in Stepney; grandparents whose children were pupils at our previous site in Carlton Drive and their children who are now our pupils in this beautiful new building. This is a potent mix which will ensure we continue to help develop the next generation of good British citizens with a strong commitment to modern Orthodox Judaism.
I have been involved with the school for some 34 years, as a parent, Governor and, for the last 11 years, as Headteacher. The community may have changed but the ethos, vitality and family atmosphere of the school remain the same. We are full of hope for the future which is interwoven with good memories of the old days back in Carlton Drive. As I approach my retirement, I am confident that the school will continue to go from strength to strength and that East London/Essex Jewish youth will continue to be a credit to the whole community.