Investing in Jewish education

Jonas family honors their late mother with $1 million Solomon Schechter Day School endowment

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The late Etta Jonas with her grandchildren (from left) Josephine Harkavy, Joey Schneiderman, Harrison Harkavy, Julia Schneiderman, Ella Schneiderman, and Josh Harkavy. (Photo courtesy of Etta Jonas’ family.)

For decades, the late Etta Jonas worked in some of the most underserved Chicago communities, first as a social worker and then as an educator. Now her family has invested in Jewish education for the second time in two years, doubling the funds available for scholarships to Solomon Schechter Day School in Etta's memory.

"Mom believed Jewish education was one of the most important ways to preserve the Jewish community and instill Jewish values in children," said daughter Ann Schneiderman, noting that she and her sister are not only Schechter alumni; they are Schechter parents as well. Their brother is a member of the Schechter board-and his children will attend Schechter when they are older.

The $1 million endowment, a gift recognized through the Jewish Federation Centennial Campaign, will provide tuition support to help more families experience this education and the community connections that come with it. The gift brings the total donated for Schechter scholarships in Etta Jonas' memory to $2 million.

"Our mom loved watching us form strong connections to Judaism and create everlasting friendships with people who share our values and affinity for Israel," said daughter Orete Harkavy. "She especially enjoyed seeing another generation-her grandchildren-participate in school events and ceremonies."

Along with family values, Etta credited their multi-faceted Jewish education for her children's community involvement. 

"We understand that achieving a high-quality education requires significant resources to innovate and evolve," said son Jonathan Jonas. "We want Schechter to thrive and continue to offer a phenomenal Jewish education to all families that desire it."


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