Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Non-Jews at Jewish Schools

It's old news but someone forwarded this interesting article from The Independent (UK) to me. And just a few weeks someone asked me why non-Jews cannot attend Jewish day schools in the US. It's a good question, actually.


esque said...

Someone should take a gander at the percentage of kids in synagogue preschools who are Jewish. At the local synagogue here -- which isn't as small as one might suspect given its location in the Bible Belt -- it's about half. My suspicion is that the synagogue has unconsciously tapped into the antipathy to the power of Christianity in American culture that exists amongst a good portion of faculty at the nearby university.

But perhaps looking at such signs of amity would drive the _Forward_ out of business.

Adam said...

At the local JCC preschool here, I would guesstimate that 25-35% of the kids aren't Jewish. I'm not sure it has much to do with antipathy to Christianity in our semi-college town (a neighborhood of Pittsburgh next to Pitt and CMU). I think it has more to do with a) a daycare rather than a nanny culture here (lingering influence of Spock, Erikson, and Mr. Rogers at the Arsenal Center?); b) that the JCC has a good reputation for teacher longevity and has nice facilities; c) not that many other NAEYC-accreditated full-time centers; d) the near-impossibility of getting in to the Pitt and CMU centers which are generally considered the top of the line here, with the JCC and 1 or 2 others just below.

Actually, part of my questioning of why day schools aren't open to non-Jews comes from thinking about how successfully the JCC here teaches Jewish culture, Israel, and even some Hebrew at the preschool level to both Jews and non-Jews.