Jewish schools shine brightly during darker Covid days

The Tishrei holy days have created a choppy, interrupted schedule of learning for the students at day school. But thankfully, the return to school two weeks ago has been uneventful. And may it continue so until June.

Earlier in the month, a group of educators and scholars in the US published an article summarizing the situation facing the various Jewish “institutions” of education as we head into the New Year. Paul Bernstein, the CEO of the New York-based Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools wrote about Jewish day schools. His positive observations include the performance of the day schools in the GTA. Indeed, our GTA schools might actually be the vanguard of the day school phalanx of excellence. His comments – excerpted below – are worthy of reading. Day schools shine brightly during darker Covid days.

“Jewish day schools, their faculty, and their leadership enter this new school year more prepared and with more experience of the flexibility needed to handle uncertainty and constantly changing norms than last year.

Prizmah recently released a report, “A Year in Review: Data and Reflections on Jewish Day Schools and Yeshivas.” The data show increased enrollment in day schools as well as positive development trends across North America for the school year ending in 2021. North American Jewish day schools saw an increase in enrollment of 1.8% on average, and a majority (62%) of schools increased admission numbers during the pandemic. It is clear that the particular challenges presented to schools during Covid only helped to demonstrate the value of Jewish day schools during even (and especially) the most difficult times. Similar upward trends in donor investment in Jewish day schools, on both individual school and communal levels, reflect the fact that it’s not only families that see our schools’ value, but that the Jewish community as a whole is invested in the success of our schools as a foundation for a strong Jewish future. We expect these trends to continue in the year ahead.

Though this year will undoubtedly require much pivoting and dynamic, changing safety protocols, school leaders have worked incredibly hard to prepare and to plan in the best way possible for the known-but-unknown. Schools have already laid the foundations for many kinds of learning models and safety protocols; they can lean on this preparation…to serve their school community in the most effective ways. This enables schools and the field to focus strategically on other key areas of investment, such as continuing to strengthen educational excellence, student and faculty wellness, and improved curriculum and learning around important topics, such as race and school culture and Israel education.”

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GAJE thanks everyone who has contributed to help fund the lawsuit – we hope to soon announce   – to try to end the inequity and the discrimination in Ontario’s educational system. We are deeply appreciative of your joining our cause. We are approximately half way to the amount needed.

This is our generation’s opportunity to do the right thing for our children’s and grandchildren’s Jewish education. If we do not try, who will?  Please help us make this happen! And please tell your friends to join in our effort.

To donate to this important cause, please click here.

(For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com)

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

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Be safe. Be well.

Shabbat shalom. And…mo’adim l’simchah.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)  

September 24, 2021

Posted in Uncategorized
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