The HAstory 50Years of Memories & Counting... It was September 1966. Class of ‘71’s Chaim Goldberg, Sheldon Kaufman and Ronnie Schondorf remember that first day of Grade 7 very clearly: students were assembled in the schoolyard at 1495 Ducharme (now the Belz girls school) waiting for the first day of school to begin. “We were all just milling around the schoolyard, kids from Adath and kids from Young Israel,” said Ronnie. It was then that they were welcomed to Hebrew Academy, a brand new school, the first and only Modern Orthodox school in Montreal resulting from the merger between the Young Israel and Adath Israel Schools. Ronnie remembers that, “Young Israel was known to be the frumy school and the Adath kids were thought to be better educated. They knew stuff.” It was a great amalgamation. The Adath kids felt a little more comfortable than the Young Israel kids because HA was in their building. “We had an excellent schoolyard. We were able to play handball or Stand-o against the side of the building, even baseball and soccer,” said Ronnie. Integration of the two schools went rather quickly and in no time at all Hebrew Academy became an icon in the Montreal Jewish Community. Alumni from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s recall, “The best memories took place on Ducharme where Grades 1-5 were in the big building where the Adath Israel Synagogue was housed, and the Nursery, Kindergarten and Grades 6-11 were in 1495 Ducharme.” The merger turned the Elementary School into a two-stream school. According to Chaim Goldberg, “The first attempt to separate the boys and girls classes was in Grade 7 of 1967. There was one class of 20 boys but the other had only six boys so they had to be with the 14 girls. Rabbi Shpira, who was a real Talmid Chacham, had a special way of disciplining the boys involving a ruler.” (He would also add the words, ‘‫חיל‬ ‫כמו‬ ‫זה‬ ‫את‬ ‫’קח‬ recalls Ronnie.) “However,” added Chaim, “Rabbi Shpira just couldn’t discipline the boys in the mixed class - it upset the girls too much. The lucky boys in the mixed class were spared. That was the end of trying to separate the boys and girls for quite a few years.” 7