Pardes ‘Houses’


Every child in the school is placed in a ‘house’. The house system aims to provide a sense of competition and fun through a range of school activities, including the weekly competition, with scores read out in the Friday assembly, winning house prizes, Sports Day and the end-of-term House quizzes.

There are 4 houses in our school, all named after some of the greatest Rabbonim (spiritual leaders ) in Jewish history. These are Rashi, Rabbi Akiva, Hillel and Chofetz Chaim.


Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105) and known by the acronym Rashi, was a medieval French rabbi and author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and commentary on the Tanakh. Acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of the text in a concise and lucid fashion, Rashi appeals to both learned scholars and beginning students. His works are the centerpiece of any  textual Jewish study. His commentary on the Talmud, which covers nearly all of the Babylonian Talmud has been included in every edition of the Talmud since its first printing in the 1520s. His commentary on Tanach — especially on the Chumash (“Five Books of Moses”) — is an indispensable aid to students of all levels.


Akiva (Akiba) ben Joseph was a poor, semi-literate shepherd, who became one of Judaism’s greatest scholars. He developed the exegetical method of the Mishnah, linking each traditional practice to a basis in the biblical text, and systematized the material that later became the Mishnah. He is referred to in the Talmud as “Rosh la-Chachamim” (Head of all the Sages). Rabbi Akiva was active in the Bar Kokhba rebellion against Rome, 132-135 C.E.. He believed that Bar Kokhba was the Moshiach (messiah), though some other rabbis openly ridiculed him for that belief. When the Bar Kokhba rebellion failed, Rabbi Akiva was taken by the Roman authorities and tortured to death. Rabbi Akiva is one of the most beloved figures in Jewish history, a person whose influence and stature is a source of inspiration throughout all of the ages.


Hillel (c. 110 BCE, died 10 CE in Jerusalem) was a famous Jewish religious leader, one of the most important figures in Jewish history. He is associated with the development of the Mishnah and the Talmud. Renowned within Judaism as a sage and scholar, he was the founder of the House of Hillel school for Tannaïm (Sages of the Mishnah) and the founder of a dynasty of Sages who stood at the head of the Jews living in the land of Israel until roughly the fifth century of the Common Era.

He is known as the author of these famous sayings:  (1) “If I am not for myself who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?” and (2) “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.


Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen Kagan is commonly known as the “Chafetz Chaim,” the name of his famous work on guarding one’s tongue. He was born in Zhetel, Poland on February 6, 1838. As his reputation grew, students from all over Europe flocked to him and by 1869 his house became known as the Radin Yeshiva. The Chafetz Chaim published twenty one books. His first work, Sefer Chafetz Chaim (1873), is the first attempt to organize and clarify the laws regarding Lashon Hara. Other notable works include the Sefer Shmirat HaLashon, an ethical work on the importance of guarding one’s tongue and the Mishnah Berurah (1894-1907) which is a commentary on the Orach Chayim; the first section of the Shulchan Aruch and has been accepted universally among Ashkenazi Jews as an authoritative source of Halacha.