It was a dream come true for Temple Solel's then Director of Education, the visionary Bonnie Morris, now Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, when The Solel School opened its doors in 1993. With the help of Rabbi Maynard Bell, Rabbi Sharfman created the first Reform Jewish day school in Arizona with two objectives in mind: to provide students with an outstanding academic education and to produce a community of caring, literate, committed Jews.
While the first kindergarten class had just twelve students, The Solel School grew by one grade per year. As the school flourished, Temple Chai in Phoenix, Temple Emanuel in Tempe, Temple Kol Ami in Scottsdale, and Temple Beth Israel in Scottsdale joined Temple Solel in a partnership dedicated to providing leadership and support for the school. Our school was renamed Pardes Jewish Day School, which means orchard in Hebrew and is also an acronym for Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools.
In 2002, we opened our Middle School on the campus of Temple Kol Ami under the direction of Tobee Waxenberg. In 2003, Jill Kessler became Head of School and in 2004, our Lower and Middle schools were united on the campus of Congregation Beth Israel. In the summer of 2006, after 13 years of growth on three different campuses, we purchased our own campus on Paradise Lane in Phoenix.
After selling the Paradise Lane campus and a nearly $3 million dollar capital campaign, we relocated to the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in Scottsdale during the summer of 2014. During our inaugural year in our new home, our Pardes community witnessed the creation of a beautifully renovated and expanded campus.
Pardes Jewish Day School has continued to evolve into a thriving, nationally renowned and accredited kindergarten through 8th-grade Jewish day school. Families from diverse Jewish backgrounds have chosen Pardes for its academic excellence and its commitment to Jewish values. Students of all abilities have developed strong roots in the warm, nurturing Pardes environment and have a deep love for this very special community.