Shalhevet Scottsdale is ‘moving forward’ after applications exceed expectations

First-year full scholarships are offered to all for hybrid program with most learning on Zoom


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GRAVE: A pamphlet about Nishmat Adin/Shalhevet Scottsdale was photographed on the grave of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz z”l in Israel by a Scottsdale rabbi last month.

By Benjamin Gamson, News Editor

Exceeding expectations, Shalhevet Scottsdale received at least 13 applications for the upcoming school year across ninth and 10th grade by its final deadline of May 1, according to school officials in Los Angeles.

“We’ve had a successful admissions process with between 13-18 applicants and we are planning to start interviews in the coming few weeks,” wrote Assistant Executive Director Nachum Joel in an email response to Boiling Point questions. 

Officials’ original estimate was between eight and 11 freshmen and sophomores who might enter the hybrid Arizona-Los Angeles program next fall, according to a Feb. 18 email from Head of School Rabbi David Block. 

The program, which was referred to in that email to Shalhevet parents as a “raw idea” and “still just a possibility,” has moved beyond that now, Rabbi Block said. 

“We’re at the stage [where] there’s significant interest enough to say that we’re going to be moving forward with the project for next year,” wrote Rabbi Block May 23 in an email response to Boiling Point questions. 

Shalhevet Scottsdale aims to give the area’s Jewish community a Modern Orthodox school by having students Zoom into Shalhevet classes and come to Los Angeles in person eight to 10 times per year. 

Because of an anonymous donor, Shalhevet Scottsdale is offering full scholarships to all students for the first year of Nishmat Adin. The original tuition was going to be $24,750 including travel costs. 

Shalhevet is now hiring two new faculty for Scottsdale, one rabbi and one Humanities educator, according to the Nishmat Adin website. The plan is for them to provide students with on-site help in any subject, officials have said. 

Scott and Brooke Stein, who are members of the board at Nishmat Adin whose son has applied to Nishmat Adin for 10th grade, agreed that Zoom presented a problem for some. 

“We have spoken to a few interested families who are hesitant to enroll their children because they believe it to be 100% virtual,”  Mr. and Mrs. Stein wrote in an email response to Boiling Point questions. 

But they said the new program would not be like the “Zoom school” students have experienced during the pandemic.

We’re at the stage [where] there’s significant interest enough to say that we’re going to be moving forward with the project for next year.

— Rabbi David Block, Head of School

“For one, the Scottsdale students will be meeting in person and will be in a physical classroom together with faculty members overseeing their classes and available to assist and supervise,” they wrote.

Second, they said, Shalhevet’s Los Angeles classrooms would be equipped with Owl devices to provide learners in Arizona with multi-perspective views of their classes. 

Lastly, the Scottsdale students would be attending orientation in person with Shalhevet students in Los Angeles, and will also be visiting the California campus every one to two months to learn in person with their LA-based classmates. 

They added that eventually, Nishmat Adin would leave Shalhevet Scottsdale and create its own school. 

“While of course a brick-and-mortar school is ideal, this was the best solution to get Shalhevet Scottsdale up and running immediately,” the Steins wrote to the Boiling Point. “We plan to establish a campus in the next few years and ultimately wean off of Shalhevet LA by hiring our own faculty.”

Dr. Ariella Friedman, the president of the new school’s board, described Nishmat Adin as a “private entity,” and said that Nishmat Adin/Shalhevet Scottsdale was the partnership between the schools.


Shalhevet Scottsdale is not the only new Jewish high school planning to open in Scottsdale. In the fall of 2022, the Oasis School, a non-denominational Jewish school is opening. 

Also, already operating in Scottsdale are an all-boys school called Yeshiva High School of Arizona, and an all-girls high school called Shearim Torah High School for Girls.

Mr. and Mrs. Stein said neither would affect the need for Shalhevet Scottsdale. 

“There is a need right now for a Jewish high school, and families simply cannot wait” until 2022 wrote Mr. Stein in response to Boiling Point questions. “The fact that we will be up and running by August 2021 has created an incredible opportunity for several families with incoming 9th and 10th graders to enroll in a Jewish high school immediately.”

“As far as the existence of the two schools, we believe that families will see the differences in the two schools’ curriculums, structures, and targeted demographics and decide which school is a better fit for their child and their family,” the couple wrote. “To think that Jewish families in upcoming years could have not one, but two Jewish high schools to choose from in Scottsdale is a wonderful prospect.”