Our History ההיסטוריה שלנו
Maimonides School was established in 1937 by Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, zt”l, who is regarded as the paramount Orthodox thinker and teacher of the 20th Century. From its infancy, Maimonides School has been committed to “developing young people within whom Judaic and general education, devotion to Judaism, and the desire to contribute to society are organically linked.”
Maimonides began with an enrollment of six and a faculty of one in an upstairs room of another Roxbury synagogue. The initial years were difficult, as the prevailing mood in the Jewish community was one of integration with American culture through public education.
Our fledgling school, however, was fortified by a tireless core of volunteer workers. By 1940, men’s and women’s support groups were in operation, and Maimonides, then with six grades, purchased its first building in 1941, located in Boston’s Dorchester section.
By 1945, enrollment at Maimonides was 112 students, and we gained full accreditation as an elementary school from the Boston School Department—a milestone of credibility for our day school.
The first Maimonides seventh-grade class began in the fall of 1946, and our beloved Rabbi M.J. Cohn, z”l, was hired as the school’s first principal during that fiscal year. Four years later, when Maimonides was accredited as a diploma-awarding secondary school, the high school was added. Six students received the first Maimonides diplomas in 1953. The budget was $85,000; enrollment neared 300.
As the student population increased, our school's leadership began searching for a permanent campus. Funds were raised by volunteer committees, and an estate in Brookline was eventually purchased in 1959. The new $1 million facility was dedicated in September 1962 after less than three years of construction, and students in Grades 7-12 began the academic year there. Two years later Maimonides added an elementary school wing, completing the move from Boston to the new permanent site. Enrollment surpassed 400 students.
Maimonides School continued to grow. In 1968, the school purchased two adjoining lots at the corner of Boylston Street and Clark Road. This included a one-story brick building for kindergarten classes which was used for the next 27 years.
After a 31-year career as principal, Rabbi Cohn retired in 1978. He was succeeded by his associate principal, Rabbi David Shapiro, who served until his retirement as principal in 1999. Rabbi Shapiro was later appointed Rosh Yeshiva, a position he held until 2011, when he and his wife made aliyah.
The next major change to the Brookline campus began in 1984, as work began on the Kurr Study Center, including library and classrooms, and the Fox Athletic Center. Both were dedicated in 1986. Construction of a new 35,000-square-foot building began on the Clark Road land ten years later, and this facility opened as the Brener Lower Elementary Building in October 1997.
Enrollment at Maimonides spiked briefly to around 700 in the mid-1990s, as our school opened its doors to dozens of refugees from the former Soviet Union. In 1996, a dual administrative structure was implemented, separating the elementary school from grades 7-12. A few years later, grades 7 and 8 were organized into a middle school, with a dedicated classroom wing. In 2008, the Middle School formally incorporated grade 6 and moved into an expanded space on the lower level of the Saval Campus, while grade 5 moved into the Brener Building to create a single cohesive Elementary School.
Today Maimonides School continues its tradition of educational excellence in a community of mitzvot. We are proud of our student body which hails from a wide range of communities in the Boston area and beyond. Our current faculty of approximately 130 members includes over a dozen ordained rabbis, and our curriculum continues to impress the finest colleges and universities.