A New Kind of School Seeks to Combine Jewish and Secular Subjects

Operating Jewish schools in seven cities in the U.S. and Canada, and planning to open five more at the start of the upcoming academic year, Tamim Academy presents itself as a new model of Jewish elementary school. Affiliated with the Chabad movement, these schools are usually run by local Lubavitch emissaries, and cater to a mixed student body coming from Orthodox and non-Orthodox families. Ray Domanico explains what makes these schools unusual, and where they fit into the broader American educational landscape:

The Tamim model combines progressive education principles such as the whole-child and child-centered emphases with elements associated with modern school-reform policies, such as the use of a learning-management platform to track student progress and the work that the students do on their school-supplied iPads. . . . A unique aspect of Tamim’s program is the infusion of Judaic studies into all aspects of the curriculum, rather than the traditional allotment of having some hours of the school day assigned to religious training.

In [a Tamim] promotional video, parents noted that “what public schools didn’t teach was really character” and that the public system failed them in the past and “took away our innocence.” “Kids are losing their childhood these days,” one mother remarks. . . . This is the power of school choice—parents being free to choose a school that not only provides academic rigor but also respects their child’s individuality in ways that enforce the family’s culture and values.

Tamim’s model explicitly merges Jewish studies with secular studies. Embedded in the Tamim model is a belief that, for some families, the religious and secular aspects of education cannot be relegated to separate boxes; they are intertwined. In the recently decided Carson v. Makin, the Supreme Court ruled that Maine’s policy of excluding schools that “do religion” from participating in a school-choice program, while including other private schools, violates the free exercise clause. As a result of this ruling, schools like Tamim should be free to participate in state school-choice programs in states where such programs exist and at their discretion.

Read more at Manhattan Institute

More about: Chabad, Day schools, Jewish education

Why the White House’s Plan to Prevent an Israel-Hizballah War Won’t Work

On Monday, Hizballah downed an Israeli drone, leading the IDF to retaliate with airstrikes that killed one of the terrorist group’s commanders in southern Lebanon, and two more of its members in the northeast. The latter strike marks an escalation by the IDF, which normally confines its activities to the southern part of the country. Hizballah responded by firing two barrages of rockets into northern Israel on Tuesday, while Hamas operatives in Lebanon fired another barrage yesterday.

According to the Iran-backed militia, 219 of its fighters have been killed since October; six Israeli civilians and ten soldiers have lost their lives in the north. The Biden administration has meanwhile been involved in ongoing negotiations to prevent these skirmishes from turning into an all-out war. The administration’s plan, however, requires carrots for Hizballah in exchange for unenforceable guarantees, as Richard Goldberg explains:

Israel and Hizballah last went to war in 2006. That summer, Hizballah crossed the border, killed three Israeli soldiers, and kidnapped two others. Israel responded with furious airstrikes, a naval blockade, and eventually a ground operation that met stiff resistance and mixed results. A UN-endorsed ceasefire went into effect after 34 days of war, accompanied by a Security Council Resolution that ordered the UN Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to assist the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in disarming Hizballah in southern Lebanon—from the Israeli border up to the Litani River, some 30 kilometers away.

Despite billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer support over the last seventeen years, the LAF made no requests to UNIFIL, which then never disarmed Hizballah. Instead, Iran accelerated delivering weapons to the terrorist group—building up its forces to a threat level that dwarfs the one Israel faced in 2006. The politics of Lebanon shifted over time as well, with Hizballah taking effective control of the Lebanese government and exerting its influence (and sometimes even control) over the LAF and its U.S.-funded systems.

Now the U.S. is offering Lebanon an economic bailout in exchange for a promise to keep Hizballah forces from coming within a mere ten kilometers of the border, essentially abrogating the Security Council resolution. Goldberg continues:

Who would be responsible for keeping the peace? The LAF and UNIFIL—the same pair that has spent seventeen years helping Hizballah become the threat it is today. That would guarantee that Hizballah’s commitments will never be verified or enforced.

It’s a win-win for [Hizballah’s chief Hassan] Nasrallah. Many of his fighters live and keep their missiles hidden within ten kilometers of Israel’s border. They will blend into the civilian population without any mechanism to force their departure. And even if the U.S. or France could verify a movement of weapons to the north, Nasrallah’s arsenal is more than capable of terrorizing Israeli cities from ten kilometers away. Meanwhile, a bailout of Lebanon will increase Hizballah’s popularity—demonstrating its tactics against Israel work.

Read more at The Dispatch

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden