A Brief History of Levey Day School
Levey Day School is Maine’s only Jewish day school. It began as the Portland Hebrew Day School in 1952, under the leadership of Shaarey Tephiloh’s Rabbi Morris Bekritsky. The school was Orthodox and had, at its peak, over a hundred students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
In 1969, the school became independent of Shaarey Tephiloh. Now called Hillel Academy, its stated purpose was “To establish, maintain and conduct schools to teach Hebrew religion, philosophy, culture, and secular studies.” In 1976, the school’s name was formally changed to the Abraham S. and Fanny B. Levey Hebrew Day School, in acknowledgment of a generous bequest.
In the early 1990s, the school shortened its name to the Levey Day School and became a member of RAVSAK, a national association of independent community Jewish day schools. Levey had become, as it remains, a community day school without affiliation with a particular movement.
In 2000, the school moved from Shaarey Tephiloh’s building to Bet Ha’am. In 2003, Levey moved again, this time into the newly constructed education wing at Temple Beth El. That space, designed with input from the school’s leadership, remains Levey’s home.
Head of school Gerri Chizeck joined Levey in 2014.