Feeling optimistic for day schools

Toward the end of last year, Paul Bernstein, the CEO of Prizmah, the New York-based centre and network for Jewish day schools of North America, wrote a small essay in which he conveyed his sense of optimism about the future of Jewish day schools.

Bernstein began his reflection with the fact that Jewish day schools emerged from the early and ongoing Covid pressures in relatively better condition than many other independent schools and certainly better than local public schools.

“Jewish day schools are well positioned for further success,” Bernstein wrote. “Enrollment across the field is up—and the vast majority of families that joined because of Covid have stayed; our schools excelled during Covid—strengths that neither were created by the pandemic nor will disappear as it passes; the perceived value of day schools is increasing; and we are seeing more new, significant investments in our schools by philanthropists than we saw in recent times. Being an optimist and witnessing the new trajectory for our schools gives me, and Prizmah, the opportunity to set a course for ongoing and increasing impact, partnering with schools, communities and philanthropists.”

Bernstein enunciates the elements that “have contributed to current enrollment growth.” Those elements are: strong community relationships, positive perceptions about our schools, and professionalized recruitment and retention operations. He also emphasizes the need for schools to maintain the educational excellence that “makes or breaks a school.”

The final, if not the overriding, factor Bernstein acknowledges as determinative of the future of our day schools, is their affordability for the wide swath of young middle class families.

GAJE agrees with Bernstein in all respects. But affordability is still the key. Who knows how current uncertain economic conditions will adversely affect young families’ abilities to enrol their children in day school? Trying to ensure that our schools are truly affordable is and remains the wind in GAJE’s sails, propelling us determinedly forward until they are.


The Bernstein article is available at:



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

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Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

March 10, 2023

Posted in Uncategorized
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