The History of Kerem
Kerem School came into existence due to the vision and tenacity of one man, Stanley Frankfurt z”l
(1917-1997) whose name will forever be linked with the school. He recognised that a Jewish
Education was vital for the future and it was through his persistence and persuasion that, in 1948,
the Hampstead Garden Suburb Jewish Kindergarten, later to become Kerem House and more
recently Kerem EYU was opened in the old Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue Hall.
Dayan Meyer Lew became the first Honorary Principal and it was he who suggested the name
‘Kerem’ explaining that Kerem means a vineyard and that the children should grow and flourish as
grapes grow on the vine.
The nursery school quickly became popular and soon had a long waiting list. New premises were
acquired with the purchase of a purpose-built building in 1950 situated in Kingsley Way. Shortly after
this, the need for a Primary school for the children to continue their Jewish education became
apparent. Space was made available on the synagogue premises for the new Kerem School, which
was officially opened in January 1955. In 1956, the school was extended to offer full Primary
education for children up to the age of 11.
David Carson, father of three boys at Kerem School died tragically. His widow Janis, gave her
support to the creation of the David Carson Memorial Fund which provided the money needed for
the complete refurbishment of the Kerem classrooms. This project concluded in 1997 with the
provision and equipping of a playground at the back of the synagogue building.
By 1998, Kerem School had 160 pupils and Kerem House 120. Kerem has been fortunate to be led by
a few special individuals over the last 70 years that have made the school what it is today. Kerem
House had 3 head teachers prior to its amalgamation with Kerem as one school. Mrs. Cohen, the
inaugural head teacher followed by Anne Kennard and Diana Rose. The first Headteacher of the
Primary School was Mr Sol Taylor, succeeded by Dr Steinberg, Moshe Dover, Rosalind Goulden, Mr
Felsenstein, Alyson Burns and currently Naomi Simon.
Kerem School has been very fortunate in having a dedicated governing body, on which Stanley
Frankfurt continued to play an active role on the Schools Council until he passed away just prior to
Kerem’s 50th anniversary in 1998. The Governing Body has been chaired since by Peter Sheldon,
Julian Taylor, Jonathan Goldstein, David Wolfson and currently Samantha Leek.
We have been lucky to have the support of parents to ensure a full cohort of governors covering all
aspects of school life from academic to pastoral, Jewish to secular.
In June 2008 Kerem’s 60th anniversary was celebrated with a dinner at which the Chief Rabbi, Sir
Jonathan Sacks, spoke about the enormous contribution that Kerem School has made and continues
to make, to HGSS and to the Jewish Community as a whole. June 2018 saw Kerem celebrate 70
remarkable years. As Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said “Kerem School can proudly celebrate its
achievement of the highest standards of teaching and learning. The school has made a most
impressive contribution to the next generation of Jewish life in our community.”
During the past 72 years, the school has educated thousands of pupils, many of whom have achieved
great success both in their professional worlds and also the wider Jewish community. Today the
schools cater for pupils who enjoy a broad, stimulating and intensive secular and Jewish education,
within a caring, structured and purposeful environment. Kerem aims to develop an understanding of
and positive commitment to Orthodox Judaism in each and every one of its pupils, together with a
strong sense of identity with Israel and the Jewish people.
It is now not uncommon for children of pupils and even grandchildren of former pupils to attend the
school – a true testament to its longevity and legacy.