The Solomon Schechter Day School Association is an organization associated with Conservative Judaism. The association provides guidance, resources, and accreditation for its member schools in the United States and Canada. The association operates under the umbrella of the education commission of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the congregational arm of North American Conservative Judaism.
The expressed mission of the association is to:
- ...strengthen the capacity of its member schools for assuring a meaning-filled Jewish present and future for their students, their families, and the Jewish community
The history of the association started with the opening of the first day school within Conservative Judaism, the Beth El Day School in Rockaway Park, New York in 1951. During the 1950s, other schools were started as the Education Commission within USCJ took an active interest in the trend.
The Solomon Schechter School of Queens, New York, opened in 1956, was the first school to be named after Rabbi Solomon Schechter. By 1968, a high school in Brooklyn, New York was opened. The school also has an institution located in West Hartford, Connecticut. Another Solomon Schechter Day School,which has students in grades K-8, Hillel Day School in Farmington Hills, Michigan a suburb of Detroit, which will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year (2007). Also well known is the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston (located in Newton, MA, which was founded in 1961 and currently enrolls over 500 students at the K-8 level.
Currently there is a very limited number of Solomon Schechter High Schools. Most of the currently open High Schools are centered around the Tri-state area due to the high concentration of Conservative Jews. Despite the dropping numbers of Conservative Jews worldwide, some of the Solomon Schechter Schools have continued to increase their number of students. One such school is the Solomon Schechter of Essex and Union which currently has over 800 students enrolled and is growing each year. The school is also one of the largest, consisting of two campuses, an Upper and Lower School, both located in West Orange, New Jersey. The Solomon Schechter School in Westchester opened a new upper school campus in Hartsdale, New York in 2001. The school now also has two campuses both in Westchester. Some of the schools offer as many as six languages: English, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish, and Arabic with limited studies in Ladino.