With the school year not far off, the Torah Academy needs a new home.
The Jewish preschool and elementary school had been located at the Congregation Beth Am temple building, which was sold to the Buffalo Grove Park District in November.
Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth said the academy would like to rent space from the Jacob Duman JCC at the Woodland Commons shopping center at 370 Half Day Road. The space adjoining the JCC was previously occupied by "Club J," for older children, but is now vacant.
Last week the Buffalo Grove Village Board referred to the Plan Commission the request for a special use to allow the elementary school in the shopping center. A zoning ordinance text amendment to add an elementary school as a special use would be needed for the school to move to that location.
Bob Pfeil, Buffalo Grove's village planner, said a public hearing involving the Plan Commission would likely be scheduled for Aug. 7. Pfeil said a workshop usually is held before the hearing, but in this case, Zehnwirth is hoping to relocate as soon as possible.
The Torah Academy was in the Congregation Beth Am temple building for all four years of its existence.
About 25 students attend the Torah Academy, and Zehnwirth said they are hoping to increase enrollment. He said that, besides learning standard subjects, students are encouraged to be secure and confident in their Jewish identity. One goal is for kids to grow up feeling connected to their Jewish heritage, he said.
"My own children went to the JCC when we were in Rogers Park," said Zehnwirth. "We had a good relationship with them."
Zehnwirth said the congregation thought renting the vacant space next to the JCC would be a good example of sharing resources in the Jewish community. He said it would be great if the Torah Academy and the JCC could work together on projects in the future, although nothing has been discussed yet.
Zehnwirth said the school's families want the school to remain in Buffalo Grove.
Jerry Wolff, chief financial officer of the JCC, said his group viewed locating the Torah Academy next to the JCC "as something that would be good for the community."
Pfeil said that in the past the JCC had subleased the space to retail companies, including a book store and a clothing store.
"As far as I know, there isn't any other elementary school of Jewish education (in Buffalo Grove)," he said.
Pfeil said no one from the board of trustees or the public expressed concerns about the relocation.