Mission, History, and Values

Our Mission

To provide the highest quality Judaic and General studies education and to establish a strong foundation for lifelong learning in a dynamic, supportive, and enriching Jewish environment.


History Sixty-five years ago, the community realized a need to provide a high-quality curriculum of general and Judaic studies for Jewish children. And so it was that a group joined together for a common cause: Joe Jaffe*, Rabbi Joe Schecter, Rabbi Israel Bornstein*, Soloman Yavner*, Molly* and IP Gordon*, Jack Stein*, William Mazel*, Harold Goodman*, Harold Burstein, Willie Einhorn* and Carl Katz* (* of blessed memory). Thanks to their commitment and unwavering dedication, the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater opened its doors in 1955 on Norfolk’s, Virginia’s Shirley Avenue. It may have been a modest beginning with a mere eight students, but it was definitely a historic moment for Tidewater.

As the Hebrew Academy evolved with the times, moving to the Sandler Family Campus and establishing a strong preschool, the Strelitz International Academy. The Strelitz International Academy serves children from age six weeks through 5th grade. The sophisticated and academically challenging IB program we are presenting this year includes our 3 year olds students through 5th grade. Situated on Virginia Beach’s Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community, Strelitz International Academy proudly boasts a beautiful 126,000 square foot facility with spacious classrooms, state-of-the-art science, and computer labs, an extraordinary two-story library, regulation-size gymnasium, and intramurals programs.

History Today, the institution has some of the best general studies programs offered by any local private or public school. What’s more, the school builds upon the character and spirit of our children through the teachings of our Jewish heritage without sacrificing the integrity of their general studies. Under the direction of Mrs. Heather Moore, head of school, Strelitz International Academy is a recipient agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation and the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula. SIA holds full membership in and accreditation by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and National Association of Independent Schools. We are also a member of PRIZMAH, a Jewish Community Day School network.

The Strelitz International Academy is named for local businessmen Joseph (“Buddy”) and Leonard Strelitz, who until their deaths in 1984 and 1999 respectively, were among the most philanthropic and caring members of our region.