School will add founders and donors to its name next year

DIG: The Feders, Gills, Friedmans, and Rabbi Segal wield symbolic shovels at a mock ground-breaking for the new building last June. Shalhevets new name will be the Jean and Jerry Friedman Shalhevet High School

Goldie Fields

DIG: The Feders, Gills, Friedmans, and Rabbi Segal wield symbolic shovels at a mock ground-breaking for the new building last June. Shalhevet’s new name will be the Jean and Jerry Friedman Shalhevet High School

By Sarah Soroudi, Editor-in-Chief, and Tamar Willis, Deputy Editor-in-Chief


Shalhevet will change it’s name to the Jean and Jerry Friedman Shalhevet High School when the new building opens, and the building itself will be called the Feder Family Campus, Board President Larry Gill announced at the school’s annual Gala Dinner June 12.
Dr. Jerry and Jean Friedman, who were at the event, founded the school in 1993 to offer a co-ed, Modern Orthodox Torah education along with research-based training in moral development.  Dr. Friedman also served as Head of School until 2009.
“The school is the legacy of the Friedmans and it should be forever linked with their name,” Mr. Gill said in an interview later.
He said he thought the school would still be called Shalhevet commonly.
“They’re not hoping to replace the Shalhevet name,” Mr. Gill said, noting that it was the Friedmans who came up with it to begin with. “The Friedmans want the Shalhevet name to live on for sure. I don’t think there will be a big change in the way the school is referenced.”
Originally – when they named the school at the time of its opening back in 1993 – Dr. and Mrs. Friedman decided against having their name as a part of the school’s name. But now they are comfortable with it.
“Many years ago they asked if they could name the school after me, and I said no, I didn’t think it would be right, because I was working here and so forth,” Dr. Friedman said.
“But now I think it’s different,” he said. “I’m very proud of the school, I think we’ve done a lot of wonderful things and have a good reputation. We’re doing really well with Rabbi Segal and are moving in the direction that my vision carried me to, so my wife and I are honored to have the school named after us.”
The name “Shalhevet” was chosen when the school was first established, after much consideration.
“The name originally came this way, which is interesting:  we kept coming up with Einstein Academy and different males’ names,” said Dr. Friedman.
“My wife, who wants women to be treated equally, suggested we call it Golda Meir school or something like that.
“Then my wife came up with Shalhevet and everyone bought into it because it wasn’t named after a male or female but after a biblical term about the flame and so forth.”
He agreed that the school’s everyday name wouldn’t really change.
“I think it’ll probably stay Shalhevet,” Dr. Friedman said. “It’s more of an honorary change, certainly I wouldn’t want to see the culture change.”
The June gala was held on the Sport Court, inside giant white tents set up specifically for the event. Supporters, alumni, and past and present faculty of the school enjoyed dinner, speeches and musical performances by the Choirhawks and a professional band.
The night ended with the Feders, Friedmans and Gills holding “golden” shovels and wearing hard hats, while posing for a picture. The shovels were poised over a sandbox, symbolizing the hoped-for groundbreaking to come. Also honored at the event were former board president Esther Feder, her husband Steven, and his mother, Margaret Feder, who together donated funds to keep the school alive during administrative and financial crises.
Mr. Gill praised their support and said the building name was well earned.
“Like the Friedmans, the Feders have given a tremendous amount of energy, money and love to the school,” Mr. Gill told The Boiling Point. “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of having their name on the campus.”
The Feder family has been supporting Shalhevet since before it opened.
“We wanted to do it much more anonymously,” Mrs. Feder told The Boiling Point.
But it was hard to hide their involvement, since it had started at the founding of the school, long before any of their children attended.
“I thought the Los Angeles community needed a coed high school in the Modern Orthodox community – we were at the meetings even before the school began,” Mrs. Feder said.
“The Feder family was one of the founding families over 20 years ago, and my husband and I wanted to continue on with that support.”
A final honoree was not present at the Gala, however. Mr. Roland Arnall, z”l, who died in 2008, was represented by his brother Claude.
Claude Arnall told his brother’s life story. A Holocaust survivor, founder of Ameriquest Mortgage and ambassador to Belgium, he donated millions of dollars to Jewish causes around the world.  After he died, his wife donated the piano he had played at the Belgian embassy to Shalhevet, where it is played in the Beit Midrash.
Mr. Gill said Mr. Arnall had been “a tremendous supporter of the school and kept the school afloat during a difficult time,” and that a large plaque honoring him would be placed in the lobby of the new building in his honor.
“Mr. Arnall gave a tremendous about of money, and unfortunately he passed away and we didn’t have the chance to honor him during his life,” Mr. Gill said.
It’s the school’s name change, though, that’s really getting people talking.
“I like the name of Shalhevet the way it is,” said senior Natalie Dahan.  “This name sounds a bit long, but I also think it’s important to show respect to the people who made this school happen. I will still probably call it Shalhevet though.”
The honorees, for their part, were more interested in talking about the school’s future.
“I hope that it [the campus name] is something that our children and grandchildren to come will be proud of,” said Mrs. Feder. “We’re very proud of the work that goes on every day and we’re honored to be a part of the new generation.”