As the Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Israel in Northampton, Mass., I was certainly proud of the Lander Grinspoon Academy, our local K-6 day school, cited in a recent article as an exception to the trend of other Schechter-affiliated schools shrinking or closing (“What Does Schechter Decline Mean?” January 27). However, I also believe it is time to look at the bigger picture and curb our tendency to bemoan a supposedly compromised Conservative movement.
There are many reasons for the success of LGA, including visionary lay and professional leadership, excellence in teaching, a pluralistic religious philosophy and local demographics. But no less a factor in the success of LGA is its strong connection to the Conservative synagogue next door, whose members have supplied a majority of the school’s enrollment over the past 13 years. We should certainly investigate the factors behind shrinking participation in Jewish organizations nationally, but I believe that it is just as important to highlight our sources of vitality.
Congregation B’nai Israel