In a development that has Jewish educators looking inward, more than half of all fourth-graders in New York City area Jewish schools failed to meet state standards for reading and writing, according to statistics on private schools released last week.The passing rate of 48.6 percent for Jewish schools was slightly higher than the 41 percent for Catholic schools.
With Jewish day schools reeling from a statewide test revealing that more than half of their fourth-graders failed to meet state reading standards, Jewish schools are now being confronted by a new test ó but only for principals and with only one question:Will the strategy be to improve academically, or to simply exclude those students who might drag down the scores?That question was posed by Rabbi Martin Schloss, director of school services for the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York.ìMy great fear is that some of schools that didnít do well will become overly
Abe Katz, a parent from Queens and a graduate of Bostonís Maimonides school as well as Yeshiva University, writes: ìI am the father of 17-year-old triplets (two boys and a girl)who have always attended a day school so that I feel a little bit like an expertî on Jewish education.
For four years Lisa Amzallag's son, Daniel, 11, attended a Hebrew school in Manhattan that met two days a week from 4 to 6 p.m. Two years ago she enrolled him in the Jewish Youth Connection, which meets Sundays for 22 hours.
The JYC experience has been much more rewarding for her son, Amzallag says.
"To me, there is no comparison between his learning in one year compared to his experience in the afternoon program," she said. "Not only that, his attitude is terrific."
In what observers see as a challenge to Yeshiva University's hegemony over the Modern Orthodox rabbinate, Rabbis Avi Weiss and Saul Berman are launching a new Modern Orthodox rabbinical school in Manhattan.
The founders are pledging ìrespectful interactionî with all Jewish movements while ìexpanding the role of women in religious life and leadership.
Tuvia Teldon, the Chabad rabbi who is opening the first new day school in Suffolk County in more than a dozen years, had hoped that changing the name of his school would have placated critics who believe it will be a divisive force in the community.
Now, on the eve of the first day of classes next Wednesday, the barbs are still flying but Rabbi Teldon — who removed the word “Community” from the school’s name after stinging criticism that his school, in fact, is Lubavitch — believes they’re unjustified.
Faced with a steadily declining enrollment and the inability to attract new students, the Solomon Schechter School of Suffolk County has decided to close its doors in June after 26 years of operation. The action leaves the Jewish Academy in East Northport, a school for children age 2 through the second grade, as the only Jewish day school in Suffolk.
Recognizing the shortage of qualified teachers as one of the most serious problems in Jewish education, a group of major funders has launched a $3 million national fellowship program, starting in Boston and Los Angeles, to attract, train, inspire and retain top-quality educators in day schools.
When Efrem Epstein was in the 11th grade at Ramaz, a Jewish day school in Manhattan, he told his father that he had not read the entire Bible.
"How can I graduate without having read it all?" Rabbi Jerome Epstein recalled his son saying. "I said that I had read a lot of it, but that I, too, had not read it all.
"So he said that from that day on he would a chapter a day. I thought it was a fad, but 21/2 years later he finished it and then started reading it again. He has now been through it three times; I started doing it myself in early 1997."
Observing that more and more grandparents are quietly paying their grandchildren's Jewish day school tuition, UJA-Federation has announced a program under which grandparents can underwrite not only their grandchild's Jewish education but those of other youngsters: at no additional cost.
"We really want to make what is happening more formal and to make it financially beneficial for grandparents," said Alisa Rubin Kurshan, executive director of Jewish Educational Planning and Continuity.