Hebrew charter school attracts non-Jews

The Hebrew Language Academy, a dual-language charter school located in a Brooklyn yeshiva, is drawing non-Jewish students, reports the New York Times. About a third of the 150 students are black (including some Muslims) and several are Hispanic.

But despite its diversity, the school still faces scrutiny over how it will handle religion and the complicated politics of the Middle East.

. . . Some civil libertarians have criticized the school, saying that it is too difficult to navigate the church-state divide, particularly around Israel, a country with explicit ties to a religion.

The school is explicitly pro-Israel, but “teachers say they check with the school’s lawyers before veering into any lesson with ties to Judaism.”

Students receive an hour of Hebrew instruction daily.  Some non-Jewish parents say they wanted their children to learn a second language. A black father who worships at a Nation of Islam mosque, gives another reason: “By going to school with Jewish children, they are going to be getting a good education,” said (Willie) Moody. “In that community there’s no foolishness when it comes to education.”

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  1. In that community there’s no foolishness when it comes to education.

    I wonder; is he referring to the public schools, or to madrasa-like institutions?

  2. Alex Bensky says:

    Are there Muslim charter schools in New York?If so, does anyone know if they are also subject to such careful scrutiny?

  3. There is an Arabic-language school, not a charter, called Khalil Gibran, that received an awful lot of scrutiny resulting in the principal’s removal. She won some lawsuits about it, and she opted not to pursue getting her job back, if I recall correctly.

    I don’t believe there are any charters or small public schools that label themselves after any particular religion.

  4. Khalil Gibran International Academy is a district-run Arab-language bilingual middle school now on its third principal. It seems to be attracting many black students and few Arab-Americans.

  5. A lot of the small schools in the city are conceived with one theme or another in mind, but quickly lose the leaders or other personnel who specialize in said themes. I think Sam Freedman wrote a column about it in the Times a few years back. Can’t say whether that’s the case in the Arabic school, but it happens.


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