Jewish Day School

Jewish School Enrollment Up 12 Percent, Fueled By Haredi Orthodox Growth

11/03/2014
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Jewish day school enrollment in the United States is up 12 percent from five years ago, primarily due to growth in haredi Orthodox schools.

One Year Later: It's All About Lucy

Just over a year ago I wrote on this blog about my daughter, Lucy, who was leaving our local Jewish community day school after first grade. I have been planning this “one year later” blog post for quite some time – and yet, when I go to put pen to paper, I don’t know where to begin.

So I’ll start with this: Lucy is doing great. She adjusted quickly and easily to public school. She is happy and confident and more than a few adults who know her have commented that “she is a different kid”. 

Meredith Polsky

Lucy, Grade 2: 'I'm Okay,' And 'I Need Help'

For the first time in 115 years, Rosh HaShanah occurs just after Labor Day and coincides with the beginning of school for children and teachers in many states across the country. While Rosh Hashanah is always a time for reflection, this Jewish New Year provides us with a unique opportunity.

Meredith Englander Polsky

Must-Read Response: At Jewish Schools, Inclusion Should Trump Local Rankings

Editor's Note: Yesterday, we highlighted a response to regular blogger Meredith Englander Polsky's piece about how she pulled her daughter out of Jewish day school. Click here for the original post and here for the comment; below is Meredith's response to the comment.

Thank you - I appreciate your response. I agree that this school (and probably Jewish Day Schools in general) face a real challenge as pressure grows to be as academically challenging as a Sidwell Friends or a Georgetown Prep. I would argue, though, that a day school's mission, then, needs to be clear. If that's the goal - to attract and retain families who would otherwise choose a Georgetown Prep - then make that explicit. Then parents know what they are choosing, and the school rejects students who will not rise to those academic challenges - probably (statistically speaking) 20 percent of currently enrolled students. (Clearly, this is not something I'm advocating.)

Meredith Englander Polsky

Must-Read Comment: Do We Ask Jewish Schools To Do The Impossible?

Editor's Note: An anonymous commentor wrote this in response to Meredith Englander Polsky's piece, about how even she, the founder of an organization that fights for the right to a Jewish education for every child, had to pull her own daughter out of Jewish day school. Tomorrow, we'll post her answer to this comment.

As a parent with children in the Jewish day school Meredith is referring to, CESJDS, we have had a very positive experience, even though our kids are also not round pegs going into round holes either. Each parent knows their own child best and I have no doubt about that the frustrations many have expressed here are real.

A complicated question: Do Jewish communal values come into conflict at day schools? Fotolia

Jewish Week Editorial: Day Schools For All Children

About 15 years ago, Meredith Polsky co-founded Matan, a nonprofit that advocates for the right of Jewish students with disabilities to receive a Jewish education.

Fotolia

For Activist Who Founded Matan, A School's Many Failings Hit Close To Home

In 19 days, my daughter will complete her last year of Jewish day school. I had many visions in my mind for this moment: Seeing her in a cap and gown with friends she’s known since kindergarten; finding the picture of her eating ice cream with a little boy in first grade and placing it next to their prom picture; feeling pride that although we made sacrifices, my husband and I provided a solid Jewish education to our child. 

And some of those visions may have become reality, if not for the fact that Lucy will turn seven just before her last day at Jewish day school. She is completing first grade, not 12th.

Meredith Englander Polsky

Raised Reform, A Mom Finds Her Kids' Disabilities Give The Lie To Labels

I always assumed I would raise my children as Reform Jews, just as I had been raised. Actually, when I was growing up, I considered our  family "observant Reform."  We went to temple every Shabbat and holiday. My father was president of our congregation; my mother chaired innumerable committees and my sister and I served as youth group presidents. We were proud Jews, but liberal ones. Few people in our synagogue (ourselves included) kept kosher or wore kippot. In college, I was one of the few Hillel regulars who needed to learn the Birkat Hamazon. Some years after college, when my husband and I married, we joined a Reform congregation, fully expecting our own new family to follow a similar path.

Joanna Dreifus

Overall Day School Enrollment Stable

01/09/2013
Associate Editor

Editor's Note: This is an updated version of an article posted Jan. 4, which contained some errors.

Overall day school enrollment outside the fervently Orthodox yeshiva world was relatively stable this year, despite concerns that the economy would spur sharp declines.

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