Emanuel celebrates 35 years

March 28, 2018 by Michelle Favero
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Emanuel School students and staff celebrated the Sydney school’s 35th anniversary at a special assembly, along with Rabbi Brian Fox, the School’s Founder, Mrs Dina Fox and other VIPs. 

Cutting of the 35th anniversary celebration cake with High School Head Madrichim Genevieve Goldman and Gabriel Wolf; Andrew Watt; Rebecca Lacey-Ehrlich, Primary Head Madrichim Alice Milner and Jack Goldberg with Sam Nathan in the front.
Photo: Ofer Levy

Emanuel’s Principal, Andrew Watt, delighted the students with stories and anecdotes about the school. He shared photos of the old school uniform which changed to the current uniform in 2002. The school’s archives uncovered that the old uniforms were donated to a school in East Timor instead of being discarded – an early commitment to reducing, reusing and recycling.

The school has grown exponentially since it first opened in 1983, with 53 students and 9 teachers. The site has expanded since then and the new Innovation Centre which will include specialist Hospitality facilities, a MakerSpace and flexible open spaces is due to open in Term 3.

The experience of the 35th anniversary assembly showed Emanuel School to be a product of several lifetimes of serious thought, from the school song to the National Anthem, to the cross-school relationships and learning opportunities. The School revelled in what it liked to do most – being itself, Emanuel.

Rabbi Fox and Mrs Dina Fox

Andrew Watt shared with the assembly: “Whilst our numbers have grown and our facilities have been developed, the ‘essence’ of Emanuel – that which makes it special – has remained unchanged.

“We have maintained our position that there is more than one authentic way to be Jewish, maintained our strong connections to Israel and our pride in our Jewish culture and identity. We have remained a place where the individual excels, yet balanced this with a strong collective culture of belonging and sense of community.”

Plans drawn up in 1893, show the current administration building as the grand residence of Mr John Watkins. Known as Aston Lodge, Andrew Watt’s office was the dining room and the reception area was the drawing-room. The building, which is heritage listed, still remains a focal point of our campus.

Janice Narunsky who was the School’s 1st Head Madricha and now has 2 children at Emanuel, spoke to the students about life at Emanuel in the 1980s. There were 17 students in her Year 12 class, including Katie Narunsky who now teaches Mathematics at Emanuel. There were no computers, iPads, digital watches or mobile phones, yet somehow the students survived and thrived! “There was no email, no internet, no google. When we had an assignment, we had to go to the library and look up reference books and encyclopedias which made this made it a bit difficult if we’d left our work to the last minute and the library was closed!” 

The large 35th celebratory cake was cut by Andrew Watt and Deputy President of the School Board, Rebecca Lacey-Ehrlich with Primary and High School Head Madrichim and Kornmehl’s young Sam Nathan looking on. At recess, each student received a celebratory cupcake. The Joint Junior and Senior Choirs sang Lo Alecha while the Advanced Jazz Ensemble and Senior Stage Band played the processional and recessional music.

Rabbi Brian Fox commented: “The 35th anniversary celebrations showed Emanuel School to be a product of several lifetimes of serious thought, from the school song to the national anthems, to the cross-school relationship and learning opportunities. The School revels in what it likes to do most – being itself, Emanuel.”

The next major event at Emanuel School will be the opening of the new Innovation Centre in late July – an event that we will record for posterity. One day, at our 50th anniversary, the stories will have a similar thread as for the 35th but who knows what fantastical learning tools the students will have.

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