AUGUST 30, 2018, NEWTON – In a move that will allow Hebrew College to reduce its debt and remain at its Newton Centre campus, the 97-year-old school has sold its modern, 7-acre campus for $18 million. The school, which opened in 2002, cost $32 million to build. The buyer is the Newton-based, Winthrop Park School, which owns a 20-acre parcel adjacent to the Hebrew College site.
“In addition to reducing operating costs, this transaction will allow Hebrew College to be debt-free for the first time since the move to this campus more than 17 years ago,” said Andy Offit, chairman of the Hebrew College Board of Trustees. “This will afford us the ability to rededicate precious resources to expanding our educational programs and investing in the people who truly make Hebrew College what it is.”
In addition to being debt-free upon completion of the sale, the agreement will allow Hebrew College to remain in its current location for several years, according to a statement by the school.
“This is an important step in assuring the fiscal stability of Hebrew College as a vibrant partner in supporting the Jewish future of our community,” said Rabbi Marc Baker, president and chief executive officer of Combined Jewish Philanthropies in a statement. “The resources gained through the sale will help support our collective pursuit of a highly engaged and educated Jewish community.”
Added Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, “This transaction lays a strong foundation for future growth, and we are tremendously excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.”
The school was founded in 1921 as the Hebrew Teachers College in Roxbury, and by the 1930s, its degrees included include bachelor’s, master’s and doctorates of Hebrew literature, laws and Jewish education. The school moved to a former mansion in Brookline in the 1950s, and in 2002, under former president David M. Gordis, it spent $32 million on its current campus.
According to its website, it has an annual budget of more than $10 million. Adult learning represents its largest segment of students, with 1,530 enrolled, according to the school’s website. Another 164 are registered in graduate degree/certificate programs, and 225 attend non-degree classes. Over 200 students are enrolled in the school’s Youth Education program.
The school also offers a PhD in Educational Studies, bachelor and master’s degrees in Jewish Studies and Jewish Education, and rabbinic and cantorial programs.