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.”