Shaloh House Jewish Day School honors CJP president, Barry Shrage


Brighton, MA: It began with a modest dream to do something different to showcase an excellent but relatively unknown school. It turned into one of the most memorable fundraising benefits in the Greater Boston Jewish community’s history.


"It was the best night out I can remember, and I go out a lot," said Shirley Spero, referring to the concert to benefit Shaloh House Jewish Day School in Brighton held on Columbus Day, First Day Chol HaMoed Sukkot. "I would give it a triple A+."

Mrs. Spero and nearly 600 other leaders and members of the Boston Jewish community laughed, sang along, and applauded heartily at the debut Boston performance of the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish Boys’ Choir. The concert, which took place at Temple Emanuel in Newton, was the brainchild of Shaloh’s Executive Director Rabbi Dan Rodkin and Beverly Bavly, a grandparent and strong supporter of the school who wanted to create a marketing event to showcase the school’s strengths.

"It was such a gorgeous evening," Beverly said. "Rabbi Rodkin works tirelessly to create an extremely high-level academic program for the children, while also ensuring their spiritual and emotional development. When you visit the classrooms, it is evident that his efforts are successful. So many people have never heard of the school. I want to thank the community for their support and for making this an outstanding event."

The 13-boy choir sang lively songs in English, Hebrew and Yiddish, executed precise choreography, and appeared in two-different costume changes. The choir – which has performed around the world – had not appeared in America for a decade, and the trip to Boston, Dnepropetrovsk’s sister city, was a dream come true for the boys, Rabbi Rodkin said.

Once devasted, the Jewish community of Dnepropetrovsk has been transformed, due to the work of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Kehillah project.

Shaloh House in Brighton is a K-8 Jewish day school that boasts an innovative curriculum. Its students have won national awards in English, art, and sports. They have also won eight gold medals at the International Math Olympiad and have placed first in their region at the New England Math League.

Shaloh House honored CJP President Barry Shrage for his visionary leadership of the Boston Jewish community for close to two decades and his efforts that have strengthened, Shaloh House and CJP’s sister cities Dnepropetrovsk and Haifa.

"Barry Shrage was a natural choice to honor," Rabbi Rodkin said. "He has been a great friend and confidante of Shaloh House since I became Executive Director six years ago. In addition, his dedication to Dnep has been extraordinary."

Mr. Shrage said that Rabbi Rodkin and Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki, Dnepropetrovsk’s chief rabbi, were the true heroes of the evening. "On the one hand, Rabbi Kaminezki has participated in the rebirth of one of the largest Jewish communities in the Soviet Union," Mr. Shrage said. "And Rabbi Rodkin has helped to create a new way of transforming the lives of Jews – particularly those from the former Soviet Union – now living in Boston."

"And the credit for the evening," Mr. Shrage said, "really goes to Beverly Bavly for her dedication and passion for the school."