As out-of-towners, we know of other communities founded with high hopes of building Torah, but no longer exist today. In most of them the day school folded first and, within a short time, nothing Jewish remained.
It is a great struggle to enroll and keep Jewish students – especially those not affiliated with the Orthodox community. (Sadly, there are even shomer Shabbos children who may not graduate from day school!) Trying to recruit for day schools across the country is getting trickier and trickier. The economy has effected enrollment, but so has the lack of reverence for Judaism, which exists in a new generation of young parents who are barely traditional. Very few communities are immune to these trends.
Recently, there has been fear that the school’s lay leadership may attempt to change the tone of our day school. Some of the officers have even urged the Judaic Studies staff to not emphasize Torah when speaking to perspective parents.
As teachers, we watched from the sidelines while this development played out. We had to consider if this city, the one in which we raised our family, was still suitable for us. It has been a tough time here, over the rainbow. At present, it seems the school will continue in its current direction. Our fear of needing to move has receded, and now we will wait to see how things play out. We hope the New Year brings us stability, and continued success in teaching Torah to the remnants of our people. We hope that here we will not just be building on sand.
About the Author: Penina Scheiner is a kindergarten teacher, writer, and busy wife and mom who lives over the rainbow with her husband and kids.
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