How Jewish Day Schools Can Recruit Children of Skeptical Parents

In his research into Jewish schooling in North America, Alex Pomson and his collaborators interviewed over 100 families who chose to move their children into Jewish day schools from educational institutions of other kinds during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. Here is what they found:

First, many had previously stayed away because of a series of misconceptions: they assumed that such schools lacked diversity and were educationally inferior to public schools, and that they would be religiously oppressive. Second, we discovered how satisfied families were with what their children now experienced: they relished the sense of community that schools provided during a time of dislocation and the degree to which their child’s educational needs were being met even in trying times. These families were not much interested in their children becoming Jewish cultural virtuosos, which was part of why they had previously stayed away. But they were thrilled with what they were now experiencing.

Pomson’s research also took him abroad, and he recounts what he learned from the last two schools he visited before COVID-19 interfered with his travel plans:

The schools were in Milan and Helsinki, and I speak neither Italian nor Finnish. My lack of comprehension meant that instead of being distracted by what people were saying, I had to pay very close attention to how they looked and acted. What I observed was, first, the diverse appearance of those who attended these particular schools. Their dress indicated socioeconomic and religious diversity: for example, some were in kippot and tsitsit; some just in kippot; some had neither; some were sporting the latest fashions, others not. Second, I saw the warmth and informality of relationships among students of different ages, parents, educators, and across all of these groups. This informality and multigenerational interaction—in classrooms, corridors, at lunchtime, at times of prayer—conveyed a sense of people feeling at home.

Read more at Sapir

More about: American Jewry, Day schools, Italian Jewry, Jewish education


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security