Over the past few years, the national Jewish press has been focused on the issue of Jewish day school sustainability and the importance of Jewish day schools to the future of American Jewry. A recent national survey of Orthodox Jewish day schools are showing a growth rate of less than a 2% growth while Conservative day Schools have been continuously declining over the last few years.
As a professional in this field, I can relate to you multiple studies and provide you with a plethora of data as to why Jewish Day School education is important. Instead, I would like to describe to you a moving scene which illustrates the importance of Jewish day school sustainability.
My wife and I recently attended the wedding of a child of our close friends . At the Chuppah the Chatan’s great grandmother was escorted down the aisle by another great-grandson. This women, a Holocaust survivor, was beaming with joy, as she reflected on the path her life life took to be present at this wonderful Simcha. We were honored to be guests during Shabbat Sheva Berachot, and on Friday night, 15-20 of this woman’s great-grandchildren lined up in age order to receive brachot from her son-in-law , their grandfather. All of these children are currently in Jewish day schools and Yeshivot. This is a clear demonstration of how Jewish education provides that chain that links one generation to the next.
Pesach magnifies this concept better than any other holiday. Jews from all over the world, from every generation, with varied backgrounds and skills will sit down together at a Pesach Seder and perform the same traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. How has this tradition been sustained throughout time? What lessons can Pesach teach us about sustaining the fabric of our Jewish society?
Not only do we bring generations and families together, but the question/answer structure of the seder allows us to celebrate individual talents that together create a community of learners. This is a perfect example of a differentiated learning.. No matter if you are the wise son, the wicked son, or even the simple son, all are welcomed to the seder and encouraged to contribute and participate.
Differentiated learning does not only occur at the Pesach Seder. Here at Ohr Chadash we are committed to incorporate a differentiated and blended learning approach to education. We are looking to create more opportunities for gifted learning and differentiation together with our current Learning Center staff. The staff at Ohr Chadash are striving to create an environment and culture that focuses on the individual needs and talents of all of our students, which together will define our school community. I strongly believe that this approach will provide OCA with long term sustainability and success.
Wishing you and your family a Chag Kasher V’Sameach