It’s about more than excellence and academics: it’s about life.

The CJN reported this week that “enrolment at Toronto’s non-Orthodox Jewish day schools has increased for a second consecutive year, reversing a 17-year decline.” Some 3,861 students are enrolled in kindergarten to Grade 8, in non-Orthodox day schools, an increase from 3,805 last year; 1,231 students are enrolled in TanenbaumCHAT, an increase from 1,096 last year.

Daniel Held, Chief Program Officer of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto noted that the increase in enrolment is not only due to the schools’ quick and substantive response to Covid. The sense of community fostered in the various schools and their respective academic excellence, he pointed out, are also sources of strong attraction for parents and their families. The new UJA Federation grant program, Generations Trust, is also enabling more young families to enroll their children in day school.

The CJN article can be found at: https://thecjn.ca/news/the-cjn-briefing-october-20/

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The article in The CJN echoes similar observations about the phenomenon of the Covid-inspired discovery of day school education by a number of “new” families across North America. The findings were published by Prizmah, the Center for Jewish Day Schools, in a recent report entitled, Seizing the Moment: Transferring to Jewish Day School During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The key findings of the report are:

• After a year being enrolled in Jewish day school – parents have largely been thrilled by their experience.

• Parents expressed appreciation for the quality of the educational and social dimensions of the experience at Jewish day schools.

• Jewish day schools are “nurturing environments,” “caring,” “warm,” “having a strong emphasis on community,” “welcoming,” “loving,” and “friendly.” When parents decided to transfer their children to a Jewish day school, these qualities were front of mind.

• Strong relationships contributed significantly to the positive experience of parents, with 85% identifying the strength, frequency, and variety of positive relationships at the school: among the students, among families, and between teachers and families. 

• Overall, three-quarters of parents plan for their children to stay at their new school. 

In commenting on the findings of the report, Prizmah’s CEO Paul Bernstein observed that “sending your kid to school is about much more than academics.” He is correct. It is about the kind of life we hope they will lead.

The article and the report can be found at:

https://prizmah.org/knowledge/resource/seizing-moment-transferring-jewish-day-school-during-covid-19-pandemic

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As followers of GAJE know, our effort to enable as many families to experience a Jewish education requires that such education be affordable to the largest swath possible of young families. And we are convinced that true, permanent affordability requires the Government of Ontario to end its discriminatory educational funding. Behind-the-scenes lobbying, up-front public discussion and all manner of moral suasion have failed to convince successive Governments of Ontario to undo the discrimination. Thus, in the coming weeks, GAJE will announce the launch of the lawsuit to try to end the discrimination.

We are deeply appreciative of the many individuals who have joined our cause, who have contributed to helping underwrite the lawsuit. To date, we have raised half of the amount needed.  Please encourage your friends to join in our effort.

If we will not try to end the injustice of Ontario’s educational funding discrimination, who will?

To donate to the 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.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)  

October 22, 2021

Posted in Uncategorized
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