Our History

  

In the summer of 1988, Rabbi Michel Twerski called a meeting of a several dozen members of the community to tell them his version of the Tale of Two Cities, as he put it that night: either we made ourselves into a full-service Jewish community that would attract people and grow or we could just sit and watch the community wind down .. .people move on and move out ... and watch Jewish life grow somewhere else. We either became a vibrant community – or a dying community.

The group came together to back the first vision: to make ourselves into a full-service Jewish community. In a leap of faith, with the dedication of a committed few, Yeshiva Elementary School, a day school with a yeshiva preparatory curriculum, opened in the fall of 1989.

The results are obvious, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Over the years YES grows and improves. The beautiful facility the school uses now is an excellent place for us to educate our children. 

We started with so few students that multiple grades were grouped together in a small space. Our approach at first was barebones. Over the years, we have matured into a school with 

  • A talented and experienced staff
  • Accreditation from the most respected agency dealing with schools in Wisconsin
  • An educational program that is based on careful thought and expertise in both religious and secular subjects

Put it all together and it is the tale of one city – one where YES has been a catalyst to growth, commitment and fulfillment of the highest-quality dreams for our children.

 

The YES Timeline

  • Spring 1988 – Rabbi and Rebbetzin Twerski lead small, private discussions among some parents in the community over how they should deal with the educational needs of their children.

  • Summer 1988 – Rabbi Michel Twerski calls a community meeting and outlines the vision for the school.

  • Spring 1989 – YES hires Rabbi Shabse Werther as the first principal.

  • June 1989 – YES purchases Congregation Anshe Sfard, 3447 N. 51st Blvd., and converts the shul into a school.

  • Labor Day 1989 – Parents and children kick off a celebration rally at the opening of YES. There are 64 students from 27 families.

  • September 1991 – YES reaches the 100-student mark.

  • Fall 1993 – Kramer’s Kosher Corner grocery store closes next door to the school. YES buys the building and converts it into a state of the art early childhood education center. It includes spacious nursery school and kindergarten classrooms.

  • 1995 – YES hires Rabbi Naftali Kalter as principal.

  • 1996 – YES is accredited by the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement.

  • 1997 – Concerned community members form a branch of KESHET, a special education program, first as an independent group.  Later KESHET is incorporated in Jewish Family Services. This allows YES to educate special needs students within the school.

  • 1998 – The Wisconsin Supreme Court upholds publicly funded vouchers to pay for students to attend private, religious schools. YES joins the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

  • 1999-2001 – The school is out of classroom space. YES successfully runs a $2.7 million capital campaign for building expansion and renovation. YES purchases a house to the west of the school and begins construction of a large new wing for the school, while retrofitting the existing facilities.
    The construction includes an atrium with a play facility for young students. The new campus earns a national architectural award for its winning design elements.

  • Fall 2001 – YES begins using the new facility.

  • 2002 – YES hires Rabbi Eliezer Speiser as principal.

  • Fall 2005 – YES exceeds the 200 student mark for the first time.

  • January 2007 – YES celebrates their 18th anniversary and honors Rabbi and Rebbetzin Twerski with an "Evening of Tribute".

  • Fall 2007 – YES hires Rabbi Aryeh Cohen as principal.

  • Fall 2009 – YES begins its third decade, more than tripling the number of students from its inception…a testimony to the perseverance and dedication of the community and school staff.
  • Fall 2012 – YES hires Rabbi Dovid Kossowsky as principal.

  • 2013-2014 – YES celebrates its 25th year of successful education.

  • Spring 2014 – Generous grants provided by Vera and Joseph Zilber and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation enable YES to purchase necessary hardware and software to reopen our computer lab and expand our network into classrooms.

  • Fall 2014 – YES launches KESSER, a new and expanded comprehensive educational program designed to assist children with special needs as well as those with special aptitudes.