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Jewish Journal

A Hi-Tech Jewish High

by Tom Tugend

October 14, 1999 | 8:00 pm

The Milken Community High School celebrated the completion of its campus construction Sunday, putting the final touches on the nation's largest non-Orthodox Jewish high school -- and its most high-tech -- bar none.

Families of the school's 700 students marveled at the classrooms, each wired for the Internet and with video cameras to allow video-conferencing with virtually every place in the world.

Each seat in the six science labs has a fiber-optic hookup, so that students can plug in laptop computers. The curriculum includes both traditional Jewish studies and texts, as well as robotics and biotechnology.

Sunday's ceremony marked the dedication of the last of four buildings on the $40 million campus, stretching over 10 acres.

Campus facilities include a broadcast studio, art studio, libraries, a 600-seat gymnasium, separate study and socializing terraces for students and faculty, and a cafeteria serving kosher food.

"We are now poised to set the standard of excellence for Jewish schools in America," said Dr. Bruce Powell, school president, at the dedication.

Such standards come at a price, with the annual tuition fee set at $15,000 per student, although scholarships are available.

The largest financial supporter of the school is the Milken Family Foundation, headed by former junk-bond king, Michael Milken.

The completed campus realizes the dream of its founder, Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin, of Stephen S. Wise Temple, who started the school nine years ago.

Although the temple is Reform, students of all denominations are enrolled.

The hilltop campus flanks the Sepulveda Pass, linking major Jewish population concentrations in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, which is rapidly developing into a Jewish cultural and academic enclave.

Adjoining the Milken School is the Skirball Cultural Center and museum, and across the freeway are the University of Judaism and Stephen S. Wise Temple.

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