Providing perhaps the most compelling evidence to date of the Jewish community's growing embrace of the day school movement, a national census reveals that non-Orthodox parents are enrolling their children in unprecedented numbers, though eight in 10 students are still Orthodox.
Displaying a new independence after losing its Israeli affiliate, World ORT has suddenly tripled the amount of money it is giving to Israeli students — bypassing ORT Israel’s highly respected network of private schools that broke away last fall.
World ORT announced this week that it plans to send nearly $9 million to Israeli public schools in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Education. It is to be used to improve science and technology education in Israel, which the organization said it considers the basic foundation of the Israeli school system.
One year after more than half of yeshiva fourth-graders failed to pass the state standardized English tests, Jewish day schools rebounded strongly in 2000.Though the official scores have not yet been released by the state Department of Education, 65 percent of students are reported to have passed, up from 48.6 percent in 1999, according to the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York.
Gov. George Pataki proposed Tuesday a $500 per student tax credit to be used for instructional purposes by families who live in school districts identified as "failing" by the federal government, a proposal hailed by both the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations and Agudath Israel of America.
"This is an historic first step for New York State," said an Agudah statement.
It was an incident that made headlines around the world: a cinderblock was thrown through the bedroom window of 5-year-old Isaac Schnitzer in Billings, Mont., in December, 1993, to protest the family's window display of a menorah and other Jewish symbols.
When Rabbi Jonathan Snowbell was taking undergraduate and graduate classes at Yeshiva University, he never dreamed the State of Israel would find his YU degrees unacceptable.
The problem: the Ministry of Finance changed the criteria in 2003 of what it requires to pay Israeli teachers a higher salary for their college and graduate degrees.
"I was told my degrees are legitimate except for salary evaluation purposes," said Rabbi Snowbell, 30, a high school teacher in Jerusalem who has lived in Israel since 1998.
For the second year in a row, two seniors at the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls in Hewlett Bay Park, L.I., were national finalists in the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology. But this time, it was not necessary to explain their need to make their presentation before the Sabbath and for glatt kosher food.
Even as the some of the major donors of community-based Jewish day schools gathered for the first time this week to discuss ways to increase funding, several admitted in interviews that the amounts they could raise would be a pittance compared to what school vouchers could provide.
"Vouchers can make a bigger difference than if UJA-Federation doubled its allocation" to day schools, said Alec Ellison of Rye, a supporter of the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester.