Israel claimed the hearts and minds of the Jewish population of New York.
The first Ramaz School graduate boarded an El Al flight to spend a year
of study in Israel in 1970. By 1971, the school had designed a five month
program of study for girls in cooperation with the Religious Kibbutz Department
of B'nei Akiva.
1973, Ramaz students were rapidly becoming involved in various causes
affecting the Jewish world. The State of Israel's struggle for security,
as well as the plight of Soviet Jewry, brought a dramatic increase
in the school's participation in political demonstrations. Yemei Iyyun
seminars and retreats were programmed to educate students in world affairs.
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, together with his wife
Audrey, traveled to the Soviet Union to meet with Jewish refusnik, Anatoly
Sharansky, two years before his impending imprisonment.
Just prior to the Yom Kippur War four seniors of the Ramaz School departed
New York for a seven month program on Kibbutz Ein Zurim. In a bold response
to the war, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein endorsed a kibbutz program for senior
high school volunteers to go to and to assist during Israel's "time of
Historically, Ramaz students have participated in numerous
scholarship and award programs. In academic circles, The National Bible Contest was gaining greater attention. The first Ramaz School winner of Chidon Ha-Tanakh Ha-Artzi
on to Israel to compete in The World Bible Contest, Chidon Ha-Tanakh
Ramaz students have excelled in the Intel Science Talent Search
(formerly the Westinghouse), as well as in the competitions sponsored
by the Mathematical Association of America, by the International
Physics Olympiad, by the National Council of Teachers of English and
by the National Councils of French and Spanish Languages.
The National Merit Scholarship Award program recognized the academic excellence
of our many winners, as well as a proud number of Finalists. Each year
brings new awards recognizing the academic excellence of the Ramaz education.
Through the late seventies, the Jewish world continued to change. Reflecting these changes, the scheduled day was modified to include morning
a tide of spiritual intensity began to raise the level
of commitment and observance throughout the school culture.
In 1977, the students of the Ramaz High School
were honored by a visit from Rav Shlomo Goren, Chief Rabbi of Israel.
Enrollment had grown to 817. By 1979,
the high school had begun to attract students from other communities.
Responding to the pressures of a large applicant pool, the Board of Trustees,
gained the support of the community to raise the ten and one half million
dollars for the project. The new facility was named The Morris and Ida
Newman Educational Center and was built to accommodate the needs of an
Upper School program that spanned from grade seven to twelve.
The current Upper School, at 60 East 78th Street, The Rabbi Joseph H.
Lookstein Upper School in the Morris and Ida Newman Educational Center,
was built as a testament to the success of Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein's
Student activism flourished in the ensuing years. In 1982, Ramaz students
organized a daily morning minyan
at the Soviet Mission to support
Anatoly Sharansky, "prisoner of conscience."
Students held rallies and picketed the Russian
Embassy while declaring a hunger strike to support refusniks.
The principal of the Ramaz School, Rabbi Haskel Lookstein arrived at
these rallies, joining with and supporting the students: "An hour or
two spent at a rally to help Jews is worth ten to twenty hours of study
in the classroom," he would say.
Natan Sharansky was released in 1986; Ramaz students and administration
welcomed him to the United States at JFK International Airport.
In the following year, the first Ramaz School
Student/Teacher Delegation arrived in the Soviet Union to meet with refusniks.