Vigorous Debate Over Day Schools

Image: COURTESY OF LIPPMAN SCHOOL

A piece by our columnist, Jordana Horn, elicited a lot of response from readers last week. She argued that Jewish day school was not essential to instilling a sense of Jewish identity in children. Instead, what we need is a kind of Jewish homeschooling, Jordana said, creating a real and vibrant Jewish family life for children to emulate.

The biggest response came from people who felt that Jordana downplayed the importance of day school, that its value could not be replaced, even by the most committed and engaged Jewish parents. Take this comment from Sheppsela:

Another commenter, Robert Smith, had a similar point:

By far the biggest complaint — inspired by Jordana’s piece, as opposed to being in response to it — was the issue of cost. Though this wasn’t Jordana’s central point, it was taken up with gusto by our commenters, who compared the astronomical costs at various schools. One reader from Britain boasted that British Jews pay only $500 a term to send their children to the equivalent of day school. Then there was this, from dmo65:

The larger take away was maybe best captured by Heidi Estrin, the president of the Association of Jewish Libraries, who called for a more balanced approach, taking Jordana’s points about the need for more “homeschooling” without discounting the importance of day school:

Written by

Gal Beckerman

Gal Beckerman

Gal Beckerman is the Forward’s Opinion Editor. He was previously an assistant editor at the Columbia Journalism Review where he wrote essays and media criticism. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Bookforum. His first book, “ When They Come for Us, We’ll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry, ” won the 2010 National Jewish Book Award and the 2012 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature, as well as being named a best book of the year by The New Yorker and The Washington Post. Contact Gal Beckerman at beckerman@forward.com or follow him on Twitter at @galbeckerman

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Vigorous Debate Over Day Schools

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