Drawn to Chabad Preschools, Stuffed Torahs and All

Parents Want a Jewish Environment — With No Wait List

chabad gan yeladim/chabad.org

By Deborah Kolben

Published February 05, 2013, issue of February 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

“They were not pushy, but they were clear about their outreach,” Sandler said about the teachers and director at the school. Over the years, she has been invited to weddings in Crown Heights and to a number of Sabbath meals. Sandler still isn’t a member of a synagogue, but she attends services at a Chabad House on holidays.

Mostly she just found the school to be warm and inviting (a feeling echoed by a number of parents I interviewed). She eventually sent all three of her children to Chabad preschools. Her youngest son attends a school in Maplewood, N.J., where the family now lives.

Even five years later, her children still recall the Jewish education they received.

“When my kids see somebody doing something nice even today, they say ‘Now the mashiach [Messiah] is taking one step closer,’ which I think is cute. I never correct them, because I think more good in the world is good.”

Some parents, on the other hand, might be freaked out if their child suddenly referred to the Messiah’s imminent arrival. The schools, it should be said, for all their egalitarian warmth, are religious schools. The children do learn prayers, study the holidays and pass around a stuffed Torah. One parent said he was surprised to hear his 3-year-old walking around talking about “Hashem.”

Sherry Shameer Cohen pulled her son out of the local Chabad preschool in her Connecticut town because she wasn’t happy with the non-Jewish education. She said the teachers seemed very young and inexperienced.

Because Chabad preschools are religious-based institutions, in some states they do not have to meet the same licensing mandates as other preschools, including education requirements for teachers. In fact, some states don’t require faith-based day care to be licensed at all.

“The warmth, beauty and vitality of Judaism is celebrated and interwoven into every aspect of the children’s daily activities,” Batya Lisker, project administrator of The Machne Israel David and Lara Slager Early Childhood Initiative said about the preschools in an email to the Forward.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.