Announcing our Welcome Center and Cafe Renovation Plans

December 3, 2021

Dear Berman Community,

The spaces we create at Berman Hebrew Academy are designed to facilitate our students’ personal growth, as well as offer a sense of autonomy, flexibility for their learning, and create spaces that foster community. With this in mind, we are thrilled to share that we are embarking on a project to renovate the lobby and Cheryl Stern Lounge. We are tremendously grateful to the following donors:

Cori Lee and Jeffrey Ely Berman for their gift to transform the lobby into the Dennis L. Berman Welcome Center in honor of the 70th birthday of Jeffrey’s father, Dennis Lee Berman. Denny has been a tireless advocate for the school for decades, playing a critical role in the relocation and construction of the school. Although his children graduated a number of years ago, the school – and Jewish education – remain among Denny’s top philanthropic priorities. And so, in honor of his 70th birthday, Jeffrey and his wife, Cori, thought it fitting to make a gift to dedicate an area of the building in Denny’s name. Given that Denny is a leader whose massive impact to Jewry across the world is only eclipsed by his tremendous middot as a person, and that he is renowned for being a kind, warm and welcoming human being, it is completely fitting for the welcoming point of the school to be dedicated in his name. The Dennis L. Berman Welcome Center will serve as the first impression of our school. The welcoming and bright atmosphere will showcase current events, the history and current programming in our school, as well as a beautiful donor wall honoring our supporters.

Brett and Alana Fine for their gift to create the Brett and Alana Fine Cafe. The Fine Family is contributing to the overall lobby renovation, and donating the cafe to serve as an important part of the newly remodeled space. Brett and Alana are passionate about the critical role that Berman Hebrew Academy plays in the Greater Washington Jewish community. They are excited to add a useful communal asset that will enhance a gathering place for students, teachers, parents, and other members of the Berman community. It will also serve as an educational opportunity for students to learn business fundamentals through the day-to-day operation of the cafe. The cafe will be open during school hours and for special events and will offer nutritious food and beverages for purchase.

The Brett and Alana Fine Cafe will be located inside the current Cheryl Stern Lounge. The Cheryl Stern Lounge was renovated in 2014 as a gathering space for students, faculty, and the broader Berman community. Cheryl Stern was very active in the school as a volunteer and lay leader. Cheryl was a constant and nurturing presence for so many of the school’s children as well as an avid sports fan, so after her passing at a young age, her family created a space outside the gym that was beautiful but also comfortable and inviting. We are very grateful to Larry and Alicia Stern for their additional gift to renovate the Cheryl Stern Lounge.

The design-build firm, Guerilla Construction, will begin the construction over the next few weeks and the spaces will be ready for the 2022-23 school year. We look forward to sharing more details soon.