Have your say

We welcome ideas, evidence and opinions to enrich the community conversation about our Jewish schools. All comments will be moderated, and disrespectful posts will not be published. The Working Group also reserves the right not to publish comments that identify particular schools or individuals.

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  1. Ben says:
    Thank you so much Alan Schwartz and team for establishing this project. In my opinion it is definitely THE most important issue facing our community.

    I agree with what appears to be your objective driving the project: “To ensure that no Jewish child is denied a superb, affordable Jewish education.” I would phrase this objective slightly different: “To ensure that every Jewish child has an opportunity to access Jewish education.” For me, I consider “Jewish education” to be “Jewish day-school education”. (I deeply respect and am thankful for all that UJEB does, but as discussed below, I believe our community will be best placed with a higher proportion of Jewish students attending Jewish dayschools.)

    In my view, our Jewish community is most likely to remain (and continue to evolve as) a strong Jewish community if most Jewish child attend Jewish dayschools. I worry that Jewish children who do not attend Jewish dayschools are less likely to affiliate and be strong contributors to the fabric of our community. I observe that of my generation, those who Jewish dayschool for most of their schooldays are more likely to remain active and affilliated members of our community (as always, I acknowledge there are exceptions).

    After reading several facebook posts (and sitting on a dayschool parents’ council), I observe that there appears to be a disconnect between parents saying it is very difficult to obtain bursaries/fee-assistance and schools consistently saying that they have capacity to give more assistance if only they were contacted by more frequently. I think we need to get to the bottom of this to determine the facts here.

    I also observe your comments about reduced student intake at the 4 Jewish co-education K-12 schools. At the same time, I understand that some schools made active decisions to reduce intake and year level capacities from when I finished school in 1999 with 180+ student my year-level to current maximum year levels of 120. Again, I think that this should be investigated. Why are our biggest schools aiming for much smaller cohorts? Are they actively (or passively, via competing objectives) preventing more Jewish students from accessing Jewish education?

    I note your observation that many families only seek to access Jewish dayschools for secondary school. I am concerned that foundation skills/knowledge in hebrew and Jewish studies are established in primary school (junior primary school). I observe that if a child does not excel in something, they are less likely to be interested in that thing. I ask – how can a student excel in hebrew and Jewish studies in Year 7 and onwards, if they don’t have the foundations. If they are not interested in hebrew and Jewish Studies, they will not value it. If our students don’t value hebrew and Jewish Studies (no matter how much informal education is available at Secondary school – sorry youth movements, etc), what will happen to our Jewish community in the future. To this end, please do not overlook the importance of primary school.

    I am deeply interested in your project, and would like to actively assist in any way.
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    Thank you so much Alan Schwartz and team for establishing this project. In my opinion it is definitely THE most important issue facing our community. I agree with what appears to be your objective driving the project: “To ensure that no Jewish child is denied a superb, affordable Jewish education.” I would phrase this objective slightly different: “To ensure that every Jewish child has an opportunity to access Jewish education.” For me, I consider “Jewish education” to be “Jewish day-school...
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    1. Site Manager says:

      Thanks so much Ben these are all very valid points. We would like to encourage you to please fill out the survey and be involved in further discussion.

      1. Ben says:

        Filled in the survey. Would love to get more involved, including in the extended working group mentioned on the 10/8 Zoom discussion. Please contact me offline

  2. Avi Cohen says:
    Much as I was gratified to read the report and am pleased that the issue of affordability is being addressed I was frustrated that there was no mention of actual Jewish education.

    The raison d’ĂȘtre of the founders of the Jewish Schools in Melbourne was overwhelmingly the need to create Jewish Schools and not simply schools for Jews. Today not only do we face the challenge of affordability but also the no less significant issue of quality of staff and curriculum within the Day Schools.

    We cannot ignore this if we want to ensure the long term continuity of our community.
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    Much as I was gratified to read the report and am pleased that the issue of affordability is being addressed I was frustrated that there was no mention of actual Jewish education. The raison d’ĂȘtre of the founders of the Jewish Schools in Melbourne was overwhelmingly the need to create Jewish Schools and not simply schools for Jews. Today not only do we face the challenge of affordability but also the no less significant issue of quality of staff and...
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    1. Site Manager says:

      Thanks Avi for your comments. We will take this onboard.

  3. Leonie Ben-Simon says:

    What exactly is the model that Yavneh College is using?

    1. Site Manager says:

      Thanks for your questions however you will need to ask Yavneh College directly for that answer.

  4. Chachum says:

    E pluribus unum should be an aim for the project

  5. SarahCG says:

    I am so glad this conversation is happening as I am still weighing up the benefits of private Jewish education for my son, as the costs are hugely influentials, and enrolling one child would mean enrolling all – can I commit to that? I would personally love to see Jewish education in more areas across Melbourne (such as Frankston), as not all of us live in Caulfield.

    1. Site Manager says:

      Thanks so much for your comment and you bring up a good point in regards to location.

  6. John Rosenberg says:

    I strongly support this initiative. For many years I have advocated for a single Jewish senior school. However, this will only happen if each school has an open mind and is willing compromise for the good of the community. I also firmly believe that if there is no change to the system, Jewish schools in Melbourne are ultimately doomed.

    1. Site Manager says:

      Thanks John for your support and reiterating our concerns.