History, Mission, & The Academy Today

Our History
Founded in 1943 by spiritual and lay leaders, some of whom escaped the ashes of the Holocaust, the Hebrew Academy was transformed from a dream to reality. Its founders were visionaries who knocked on doors to introduce and promote a revolutionary concept – a Jewish day school.
Rabbi N.W. Dessler, of blessed memory, late Dean of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, provided education and inspiration for three generations of Greater Cleveland’s Jewish community. Born in Kelm, Lithuania, Rabbi Dessler was the scion of generations of illustrious Rabbinic scholars. He was the son of the late Rabbi Eliyohu E. Dessler, author of Michtav M’Eliyahu (5 volumes), one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century. In 1943, Rabbi Dessler introduced the then foreign concept of a Jewish day school to Cleveland’s Jewish community. Under his leadership, the Academy emerged as a leading innovator in the field of Jewish education and continuity. With courageous vision and sagacious guidance, Rabbi Dessler was a pioneer and chief architect in Jewish education, earning a reputation as the educator’s educator. Rabbi Dessler was recognized as a national role model for his enormous contributions to the world of Jewish education.
Rabbi N.W. Dessler worked tirelessly with lay leaders and communal organizations, such as the Bureau of Jewish Education and the Jewish Community Federation, to establish and grow the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland.
Many of the school's achievements and milestones are due to his partnership with the legendary Mr. Irving I. Stone, also known as "Mr. Hebrew Academy," the Hebrew Academy's fourth president. This strong relationship between layleaders and leadership still remains a hallmark of the Hebrew Academy's modus operandi today. 

Our Mission


For eight decades, the Academy’s mission has been to imbue students with a love of G-d, Torah and Eretz Yisrael and to prepare them to achieve excellence in Torah and general knowledge based on successful cooperation among family, Judaic and General Studies faculty and community.


The Academy’s comprehensive curriculum is designed to meet the various needs of the student body and has set national standards. The focus of our award-winning faculty goes beyond teaching the curriculum to teaching the whole child. Character development, community service, inter-generational and enrichment programs are indispensable components of the Academy experience. They reinforce the school’s mission and serve to ignite the minds and inspire the hearts of our youth.


The Academy Today





Today, Beis Chinuch Horav Dessler, the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland, is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in Torah chinuch and as one of the nation’s premier Jewish communal day schools.  Chartered by the State of Ohio, the Academy provides an intensive Judaic and General Studies curriculum from early childhood through high school to over 1,450 students. To date, the Academy has educated and inspired over 7,000 students. Its graduates have assumed leadership positions – in virtually all walks of life – in communities across the globe.

National Recognition





The Academy is a nationally acclaimed educational institution and was recognized by Torah Umesorah/ National Society for Hebrew Day Schools in 1987 and by the Jewish Community Federation with the Charles Eiseman Award in 1992. The Academy is the recipient of the following awards or recognition:




Midwest Robotics Competition
  • “One of the nation’s most noteworthy practices in Jewish day school education” Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE)
  • State of Ohio’s Stellar Award
  • State of Ohio’s Asset Builder Award
  • Guardian of Torah Award, Jewish Learning Connection
  • Star Award, State of Ohio’s Step Up to Quality Program (ongoing)
  • Day School Excellence Awards, Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE)