Overview of Hirsch Lyons Schools
In a world of decaying moral values and instant communication, making every decadent matter and foreign ideology available at the touch of the screen, the importance of giving our children the wisdom and Torah values to face the future takes on even greater significance.
Our Torah heritage and the great moral values that have been handed down to us by our forefathers for over 3000 years coupled with an excellent secular education will empower our youth with the skills and knowledge to contribute to our wonderful Jewish community in South Africa and worldwide as well as uplifting the values of our society in general.
In addition, the creation of knowledgeable Jews will make a powerful impact on the future of our people for generations to come.
Hirsch Lyons is a Torah Day School founded on teaching Torah and Academics.
Today, Hirsch Lyons School comprises four schools over three campuses: A Nursery School and Primary School in Orange Grove; a Girls’ High School in Observatory; a Boys’ High School in Cyrildene as well as a Remedial Department in the Primary School for grades one, two and three.
The History of Hirsch Lyons Schools
The true beginnings of Hirsch Lyons are not in 1985 when the Nursery school began, but rather in Lithuania, the source of the majority of the South African Jewish community.
The legendary Torah learning of the Lithuanian Jewish community laid the foundations for the Jews who came to South Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. However by 1970, although Jewish education was developing in South Africa there was no post-matric Yeshivah in the country and anyone wanting to learn in a Yeshiva had to leave the country. Also, almost all Rabbinic positions were filled by foreigners.
The establishment of the Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg in 1978 by late Rabbi zt”l and tb”l Mrs Goldfein solved both these problems and provided the South African Jewish community with its own centre of higher Torah learning, producing many Rabonim and educators who have served and serve today throughout South Africa and worldwide.
The Yeshivah in Observatory, grew and flourished and by 1985 the Goldfeins took the monumental step to start a school system beginning with a Nursery School on the grounds of the 9th Street Shul in Orange Grove. They took over the home of the Shul’s defunct nursery school, Hirsch Lyons Nursery School and opened their doors in January 1985.
In 1988 the Hirsch Lyons Primary School was started and the first Grade one students were welcomed.
Every year saw the addition of another grade and increased enrolment.
The Primary School bought properties bordering the Nursery School campus and the classes grew.
In 1994 the Hirsch Lyons Boys’ High School was started in an additional property adjacent to its premises across the road from the Nursery School. In 1999 the first Matric Class (Grade 12) graduated from Hirsch Lyons Boys High School.
All the while the Primary School had been growing and a number of building projects had been initiated to accommodate all the growth.
By early 2000’s the Boys’ High School had outgrown their premises and moved to a vacant building in Killarney on the property of Oxford Shul. The vacated Boys’ High premises became the home for the Girls’ High School. With all parts of the school experiencing growth in numbers, Hirsch Lyons needed more space. Eventually in 2006 the Boys’ High School relocated to Cyrildene, a short drive away from the Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg. There is a strong connection between the Boys’ High School and the Yeshivah Gedolah, with a group of High School boys attending the Yeshivah daily for their Torah learning.
In 2012 the Girls’ High School moved into their new campus in Observatory, which was renovated into a beautiful, modern Campus.
The Nursery and Primary Schools are still in Orange Grove and their buildings and grounds continue to be renovated and improved.
From the youngest class in the Nursery School through to the Matric classes at both the Boys’ and the Girls’ High Schools emphasis is placed on excellence in Torah, good middos and derech eretz, as well as excellence in Academic studies, assuming communal responsibility, a love for the Jewish nation, Eretz Israel and the South African Jewish Community.
May we continue to build the future together.