School renamed for Jewish philanthropist Rochelle Zell

  • At the dedication ceremony for the institution's new name, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School alumni and great-grandchildren of the school's namesake Aaron and Rina Zell discuss how attending the school has prepared them for their college experiences.

    At the dedication ceremony for the institution's new name, Rochelle Zell Jewish High School alumni and great-grandchildren of the school's namesake Aaron and Rina Zell discuss how attending the school has prepared them for their college experiences. Courtesy of Rochelle Zell Jewish High School

 
Rochelle Zell Jewish High School submission
Updated 6/6/2016 9:04 AM

Rochelle Zell Jewish High School began a new chapter in the school's 15-year history May 29 at a dedication ceremony for the institution's new name. Formerly known as Chicagoland Jewish High School in Deerfield, the school's new moniker is a tribute to Jewish philanthropist Rochelle Zell.

Rochelle Zell (1910-2000) was a World War II refugee from Poland. She and her husband and daughter traveled for 21 months across two continents to safety in the United States. She left a deep imprint on her adopted community of Chicago through her charitable involvement, most specifically focused on education and ensuring that the Jewish culture remain rich throughout future generations.

 

Zell was a true American patriot who never lost sight of her gratitude for this country. Her influence is also seen in the success of her son, American entrepreneur Sam Zell, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Matthew Zell, Rochelle's grandson, has been particularly involved with the school, and he is the father of two former students at the institution.

"The Zell Family Foundation is proud to strengthen this vital and essential institution in our community," Matthew Zell said. "The high quality of education at Rochelle Zell provides students with exceptional college preparation, and promotes the sustainability of Jewish values for new generations. My grandmother's doctrine and the mission of this school are one and the same."

"This donation represents a transformative gift that will allow Rochelle Zell Jewish High School to continue to set the standard for educational excellence in a Jewish context," school Board President Lynn Schrayer of Highland Park said. "Thanks to the Zell Family Foundation, the graduates of Rochelle Zell will be poised to make a positive impact in their communities, and the school's position will be secured as a permanent asset in the Chicago Jewish community. This is truly a joyous occasion."

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"The extraordinary generosity of the Zell Family Foundation will enable the school to continue to create a culture of academic excellence that prepares students to live as responsible and involved Jewish citizens in the modern world," Head of School Tony Frank said. "This is a turning point in our history and we are honored by the family's generous support and dedication to this school."

Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago has supported the school's efforts from its beginnings in 2001 with 26 students in rented space at Northwest Suburban Jewish Congregation in Morton Grove, through its move to the Deerfield location nine years ago, and has been a valuable partner.

"Our commitment to help the school through our donors and the JUF/Federation goes along with our commitment to ensure a strong Jewish future for the entire community," JUF/Federation President Steven B. Nasatir, PhD., said.

"This investment pays huge dividends toward our future generations," JUF Board President Billy Silverstein said. "Education is the foundation of our future."

For more information, call Tony Frank, at (847) 234-3702.