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Thursday, February 22, 2024
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Jewish Day Schools witness Israeli students seeking refuge, traumatized by war.

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As violence escalates in Israel and Gaza, Jewish day schools in cities like Philadelphia and Dallas find themselves at the forefront of providing refuge for Israeli students affected by the conflict. Families, worried about the safety of their children, approached these schools, leading to an influx of Israeli students seeking shelter and support.

Immediate Response: Enrolling Israeli Students Amidst Crisis

In response to the urgent need, schools such as Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, Ohio, and Akiba Yavneh Academy in Dallas opened their doors to Israeli students. The schools, recognizing the dire circumstances, prioritized enrollment over tuition concerns, demonstrating a commitment to supporting those impacted by the conflict.

Survey Highlights: Overwhelming Demand for Enrollment Assistance: Jewish Day Schools

A survey conducted by Prizmah Center for Jewish Day Schools revealed a significant demand for enrollment assistance. Approximately 92% of Jewish day schools in the U.S. and Canada reported receiving inquiries about enrolling Israeli students since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack. The survey indicated a collective effort among various types of Jewish day schools to accommodate these students.

Diverse Challenges: Meeting Varied Needs of Enrolled Students

As Israeli students join U.S. classrooms, schools face diverse challenges. Language barriers, particularly for those who predominantly speak Hebrew at home, and differences in high school curricula between the U.S. and Israel present educational complexities. Schools are responding by not only providing language instruction but also offering counseling services tailored to the students’ traumatic experiences.

Holistic Support: Beyond Academics, Focusing on Emotional Well-being

Recognizing the need for holistic support, schools are expanding their services. Additional staff has been hired to offer social and emotional support, and ESL instructors are aiding in language acquisition. The goal is not only to address academic challenges but also to create a nurturing environment where students feel safe and embraced.

Financial Assistance: Easing the Burden for Families: Jewish Day Schools

Understanding the financial strain on families affected by the conflict, schools are offering financial assistance. Some have forgone tuition altogether, while others have partnered with local Jewish organizations to cover costs. The community is rallying together to support these families, with volunteers contributing their expertise in education.

Ongoing Adapttiaons: Schools Flexibility in Responding to Evolving Needs

As the conflict continues, schools remain adaptable, reassessing their programs every two weeks to accommodate evolving needs. The focus is on providing structure and routine for students amid the uncertainty. Educators are emphasizing the importance of maintaining a positive and light atmosphere while acknowledging the heavy impact of the ongoing conflict on both students and faculty.

Positive Feedback: Rewards for Providing Support Amidst Crisis

Despite the challenges, schools are receiving positive feedback from faculty and families. Faculty members appreciate the opportunity to make a positive impact during a challenging time, offering support and stability to students facing the weight of a complex and distant conflict. The commitment to creating a supportive educational environment remains a beacon of hope amidst the ongoing crisis.

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