TEANECK, N.J. — It’s a beautiful fall day in this suburban town 10 miles from Manhattan. Benjamin Franklin Middle School is located on a quiet side street, framed by gorgeous trees. Far from the hubbub of contested elections and attack ads, voting this afternoon has the feeling of small town America, what with neighbors greeting neighbors and no lines.
Last fall, Rabbi Lennard Thal gave an uncharacteristic warning to senior rabbinical students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the seminary that trains Reform rabbis: Consider options other than the pulpit for your rabbinic career.
A school district in New Jersey may become the first in the nation to create a Hebrew-language immersion track in a public school — and to supplement it with voluntary after-school religious classes paid for by parents in space rented from the district.