Hebrew Academy bids a fond farewell to Zena Herod, head of school

by | Aug 16, 2012 | Other News

Zena Herod with Burle Stromberg, HAT president.

Zena Herod with Burle Stromberg, HAT president.

June 7 marked not only the graduation ceremony for Hebrew Academy’s Class of 2012, but also a farewell reception for Zena Herod, outgoing head of school. Held on the Sandler Family Campus, the cardo was filled with nearly 200 well-wishers including HAT trustees, faculty, administration, community members, other Jewish agency representatives, and numerous past colleagues of Herod’s. Herod’s sister, Eilene Rosenblum, who served as HAT’s interim head of school twice during her career, also joined in the celebration.

During her farewell speech, Herod was visibly touched by those who came to say good-bye and recognize her more than 30 successful years in the field of education, including the last six at Hebrew Academy Konikoff Center of Learning where she returned to her roots.

“Coming to the Hebrew Academy,” said Herod, “was like the feeling I assume most American Jews or Jews around the world have when they visit Israel for the first time. You fly in, you hear the singing of Hatikvah, and you hear people speaking Hebrew – it’s like coming home. I was very lucky in my two careers—at Norfolk Collegiate and here at HAT—that I had board presidents whom I really adored and teachers whom I felt were truly colleagues…it was always important to me to feel that we were working together as a team. It was especially important here at Hebrew Academy where we have such a unique and special mission in serving the Jewish community.”

In his speech at the reception, Burle Stromberg, board president, said, “In a selfish way, I must first thank Miles Leon and the board of trustees during Miles’ term as president for hiring our wonderful headmaster, thus making my life a lot easier…when I became president last year of our terrific school. Without Zena’s vast knowledge, experience, organizational skills, preparedness, level headed management, patience and compassion, I would have never made it through my first year as president.” Stromberg also paid homage to his predecessors Jodi Klebanoff and Deb Segaloff who, along with Leon, steered the helm of the school during the course of Herod’s leadership. Together they planned this very fitting reception for Herod where Stromberg announced the establishment of an endowment fund for Hebrew Academy in Herod’s name. The endowment currently measures at $22,700 and growing.

“I was truly overwhelmed,” says Herod, “by the number of people who honored me by supporting this very worthwhile cause. I can’t think of a better investment, one which will continue to support the needs of our school…our children…our Jewish future.”

After almost two hours of great food, great friendships, and fond farewells, Herod exited the cardo and entered the multipurpose room one last time to bid one more farewell—this time to Hebrew Academy’s Class of 2012 who excitedly took the stage for their awards and diplomas. It was a beautiful and bittersweet night for all.

The faculty, students, parents, alumni, board of trustees and dear friends near and far, wish Zena Herod the warmest of good-byes and much happiness as she begins her next chapter in life— spending more time with family. And as she has said every year to the graduates, “We hope you, too, will always consider Hebrew Academy your home away from home and visit us often. Be proud of a job well done.”

Note: To contribute to the Zena Herod Endowment Fund, contact Deb Segaloff, director of development, at 424-4327 or dsegaloff@hebrewacademy.net.

Hebrew Academy is a constituent agency of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

by Dee Dee Becker