Jewish schools in US open doors to Israeli students fleeing conflict newsbhunt

In the midst of deadly attacks and bombings in Israel and Gaza, Jewish day schools in U.S. cities like Philadelphia and Dallas are stepping up to support families affected by the violence, reported USA Today. Following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israeli border communities, about 92% of Jewish day schools in the U.S. and Canada reported receiving inquiries about enrolling Israeli students.
Jay Leberman, who runs the Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, Ohio, answered the calls for help, enrolling five Israeli students. The school has waived tuition due to the urgent need and is preparing for the possibility of extended enrollment.
“We knew we needed to take them, and we’ll worry about paying for it later,” said Leberman.
According to a survey by the Prizmah Center for Jewish Day Schools, all types of Jewish day schools received inquiries, and 80% of surveyed schools have already enrolled new students. In the two weeks after the conflict broke out, 278 new students joined Jewish day schools.
Paul Bernstein, founder and CEO of Prizmah, explained that the schools wanted to embrace a traumatized population. Families sought enrollment for various reasons, including relocation from Israel, being in the U.S. during the conflict, or fostering a deeper connection to Jewish faith and heritage.
To make the Israeli students feel safe and welcome, schools like Mandel Jewish Day School are providing additional support services, hiring Hebrew speakers and ESL instructors. Leberman shared the challenges of addressing language barriers and differences in high school curricula between the U.S. and Israel.
The tragic situation also highlights the broader impact of the conflict, as families grapple with the challenges of being separated. Leberman, whose son is fighting in an elite Israeli military unit, expressed the paradox of wanting children to be safe while their fathers are away.
In Dallas, Akiba Yavneh Academy welcomed 16 new students and initiated a program to provide social, emotional, and academic support. Schools are adjusting their programs as the conflict continues, recognizing the need for an open-ended stay and offering financial support to families.
Despite the heavy circumstances, schools aim to provide structure and routine for the children and offer a positive impact in the face of a seemingly intractable conflict. Teachers appreciate the opportunity to make a positive difference during a challenging time.
As the conflict unfolds, Jewish day schools in the U.S. are extending a supportive hand to those affected, demonstrating the resilience and compassion of their communities.

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