The student newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School

The Rampage

Rabbi Grossman Departs Ramaz

Natalie Kahn

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In mid July, the Ramaz Charter Trustees sent out an email announcing the departure of
Rabbi Eric Grossman, Head of School. The email didn’t detail the reasoning, stating
only, “The Charter Trustees and Rabbi Grossman had reached a crossroads—with
different visions about how to best move forward.”
While it is unclear what exactly these “different visions” were, Rabbi Grossman spoke
frequently of a “Ramaz Renaissance.” Most of what Rabbi Grossman discussed was
emphasizing the best and most enjoyable parts of the school while preserving its rigor
and excellence. Ramaz students themselves were often unsure of exactly what steps
would lead to the Renaissance, as well as what its goal actually was. To many students,
Ramaz was just Ramaz, aside from the addition of a few community activities, including
Community and the Ramaz retreat. The question is whether the Charter Trustees took
issue with the idea of the Renaissance itself or whether they felt that Rabbi Grossman
was not successful in bringing it about.
Some students, such as Yonatan Weitzner ’19, did notice small changes under Rabbi
Grossman’s leadership. “The environment felt a little more friendly and a little less
stressful than the year before,” he says. “I don’t know if that was due to Rabbi
Grossman’s changes or if it was just that starting high school as a freshman made the
stress worse. I suspect it was due to Rabbi Grossman, though.”
The Ramaz community was as a whole taken aback by this announcement, especially
because Rabbi Grossman has only been at Ramaz for two years, taking over for Paul
Shaviv in the 2015-2016 school year.
“I was totally shocked and caught off guard,” says a Ramaz parent. “I didn’t see it
coming at all. He seemed very happy, and the parent body seemed very happy with him.”
With Mr. Miller and Dr. Koplon having left the school in 2016, Rabbi Grossman
partnered with Rabbi Stochel last year in running the upper school. Rabbi Stochel was
recently promoted from Associate Dean to Head of the Upper School, and this year, Ms.
Krupka and Rabbi Slomnicki will assume more senior administrative positions as the
Dean of Faculty and the Dean of Student Life, respectively. This may ease the transition
and current uncertainty during the search for a new Head of School, which may very well
take the entire school year or longer.
In the meantime, the Charter Trustees, lead by Phil Wilner ’75, have organized several
Transition Talks. The first “Transition Talk” was on Wednesday, September 6, where
parents had the chance to hear about the plan for this school year and future years to keep
the Ramaz parent body better informed of decisions and developments during this time of
change. Maybe these talks will be a good way for the board to explain exactly what its
vision is.

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The student newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School