Oorah Scholarships Provide Lifeline to Help Students Move from Public Schools to Jewish Schools

Girls Camp for Blog Post

 

The financial meltdown of 2008 and the recession that followed was challenging for many parents who had been considering moving their children from public schools to Jewish day schools.  The financial uncertainty made families afraid to take on an added tuition burden.

Bob and Shelley Greenberg* were among those forced to confront those issues for their three children, who had been happily attending Jewish schools before the financial crisis. Unfortunately, Bob’s employer closed as a result of the recession, and the family had to relocate to a small city in the Midwest, where Bob found a new job.

“There was a real issue with the quality of the schools,” says Bob.  “We ended up sending our kids to public school.

The younger two were okay with public school, according to their father, although they didn’t love it.  But when Racheli, the oldest was ready for high school, the Greenbergs had to make some hard choices.

That was the line in the sand for us,” Bob recalls.  “We really couldn’t send her to a public school for high school.”  Bob and Shelly sent Racheli back East to live with family members, but it didn’t solve their problem.  “We just felt that a girl needs to be with her parents, so it was not a long term option, but Jewish education was that important to us.”

The couple engaged in extensive belt-tightening and prayed devoutly to find a solution for their family. And, as Racheli entered her sophomore year at a Jewish high school, they returned to the east coast, rejoined their oldest daughter and enrolled the two younger children in Jewish day schools.

“My kids are thrilled,” says Bob.  “They are going to schools with both great Jewish programs and great secular programs.  They have grown so much in their connection to Judaism.”

A key factor in finding this happy solution was the financial assistance provided by Oorah.

Oorah was our spiritual lifeline,” says Bob. “Without the scholarships Oorah provided, this would be a moot discussion. My kids would have had to attend public schools.”

Oorah provides Jewish day school scholarships and Jewish high school scholarships for families that want to move their children from public schools to Jewish day schools. Bob acknowledges that some people feel uncomfortable applying for financial assistance, but he says Oorah handled the application process with great sensitivity.

Racheli has graduated high school and has moved on to the next level —  a woman’s seminary in Israel.  “We are thrilled every day with the way she is growing in Yiddishkeit,” says her proud father.

Bob advises other Jewish parents in his position – wanting to move their kids out of public schools and into Jewish day schools and Jewish high schools but worry about the financial cost —  to contact Oorah and apply for tuition assistance.

“Oorah enabled my kids to go to summer camp in a proper environment. It enabled them to go to yeshiva.  I can’t imagine a better way for people in challenging situations than to turn to Oorah. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude,” Bob concludes.

*The names of the family members and certain details have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

TorahMates Partners Learn From One Another

Two women

There is an old saying: if you want something done, ask a busy person.

That would describe Chumi, a mother of six children ranging in age from one to 13 who also has a fulltime job as a nurse. And, by the way, she’s enrolled in a master’s program.

But even with so much on her plate, Chumi had a deep desire to give more. So she signed up for Oorah’s TorahMates program. She and a woman she had never met, Anneil, began having weekly phone conversations, discussing the concept of emunah (faith) and studying texts on the subject.

Chumi wasn’t even expecting to benefit from the mentoring experience herself. She just wanted to give to someone who needed her. But, to her surprise, she has ended up learning as much from Anneil as Anneil is learning from her.

“I never thought in a million years it would turn out this way,” says Chumi. “The fact that we study emunah really it brought it to life. I thought I was stronger in emunah before, but I have learned so much.”

Chumi says that Anneil has recommended online lecturers that Chum listens to regularly and describes as “life changing.”

Fast forward two years, the two women have developed a deep relationship over and beyond their learning experience. Although they have never met in person, Chumi says they text and email almost every day.

“It was definitely a personality match.  We’ve become very close. It is more than just the learning,” she adds.

We often hear that mentors receive as much as they give. But until we spoke with Chumi, we didn’t know how true that is.

“I didn’t think I would get anything out of it,” admits Chumi. “I was very altruistic. I wanted to be a giver. But I have learned so much from her.”

 

Learning Hebrew: Another Bonus for Jewish Day School Students

If your child had the opportunity to go to Jewish Day School, would you send him or her?

Think about it.

There are so many reasons to send Jewish children to a Jewish school. It increases their Jewish identity. It surrounds them with Jewish friends who share your family’s values. Your child will never have to make up work missed because she took off to celebrate a Jewish holiday.

One advantage you may not have thought of:  as a student at a Jewish day school or high school, your child will learn Hebrew as a living language. Unlike a public school, where French or Spanish is taught a couple hours a week, many day schools are integrating spoken Hebrew into the curriculum, even in pre-K classes. So your child will have the opportunity to become bi-lingual with all the benefits that it entails.

A recent study by the AVI CHAI Foundation, an organization that supports innovative Jewish education in the U.S. and Israel, cited many examples of creative ways that Hebrew is being integrated into the Jewish day school curriculum both as a modern language and through the study of Jewish texts.

While Hebrew has a special meaning in Jewish schools,  learning a second language has other benefits. Research shows learning a second language creates patterns in the developing brain that help students succeed in other areas of study, including improved reading skills, social studies, and math.

A report published by the National Education Association attributed the benefits of learning a second language to improved self-image, self-esteem, and satisfaction. Students able to speak a second language have better listening skills, sharper memories, are more creative, are better at solving complex problems, and exhibit greater cognitive flexibility, according to the report.

Results from the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) show that students who had studied another language for four or more years did better on both the verbal and math portions of the test.

Wouldn’t this be a wonderful opportunity for your child?  They can attend a school immersed in Jewish values and receive an exceptional education. Parents often say the high cost of tuition keeps them from sending their children to Jewish day schools or high school. But what if the cost factor was eliminated?

Did you know that financial aid is available from Oorah?

Oorah sponsors camps and afterschool programs to strengthen children’s and teens’ Jewish identity.  Oorah welcomes the opportunity to help these students take the next step — moving to a Jewish day school or Jewish high school — by providing scholarships.

To apply for a Jewish day school scholarship or a Jewish high school scholarship,  simply fill out the preliminary scholarship application. Someone from Oorah will be in touch with you to help you take the next step.

Tuition Scholarship Preliminary Application

 

 

 

Oorahthon’s Inspiring Moments

Oorah’s auction is always one of the most anticipated Oorah events of the year, with thousands of people taking part from all over the world. The Oorahthon, which takes place the night of the auction, is the highlight of the entire auction, as not only are the winners announced, but there is fun, entertaining and exciting programming, all lasting until the early hours of the morning. This programming gives a special peek into Oorah, as viewers are able to meet the dedicated staff, volunteers, and hear inspiring stories of those a part of the Oorah family. What viewers would not hear, are the fascinating stories of the some of the auction winners, which we only learn about after the auction is over. Here, we have detailed a few of the stories, so you can become just as inspired as we were!

  • The winner of the $4000 discover card had actually bought the ticket for someone else. While anyone who wins such a prize would be ecstatic, this winner was over the moon, and not because she would be using the money herself, but because she would be giving it away to her friend! Her friend, who has four children and is expecting her fifth, is having a very difficult time caring for her family. Unfortunately, her husband has been wrongly accused of a crime and is sitting in jail, unable to be there and provide for his family. The winner of the prize entered the auction, having in mind that if she won, she would give the life changing prize to her friend. And now, thanks to Hashem’s intervention, she is able to!
  • The “Go for The Gold” winner, has won an ounce of gold per family member. With 14 children, this lucky family has won 16 ounces of gold! Not only that, but the winner informed us that the family has recently took upon themselves to bench with sincere kavanah. She is convinced that they won this amazing prize in that zechus!
  • The “Mega Bucks” winner has won 100 times his donation. With every ticket being $5, this means that just by buying one ticket, he could have won $500! Wanting to donate generously regardless if he won or not, he gave $1000, knowing he was giving money to a great cause. Unbelievable, this lucky man won the prize, and now is the proud winner of $50,000!! You never know where your tzedakah will lead you!
  • During the Oorahthon, our lines momentarily went down due an electrical current zapping our equipment. With thousands of viewers and callers depending on us, we knew we had to get the equipment up and running right away. Needing a specific piece of phone equipment to bring our studio guests back on air, everyone was frantically in search of the part needed. Unbelievably, one person who “happened” to be at Oorah, watching the Oorahthon, had the replacement part in the car! He told us that he had the part available only because a friend had requested to borrow it a few days later. Because he didn’t want to forget to give it to his friend, he had placed it in his car days early. Thanks to his quick thinking and Hashem’s plans, we were able to get the Oorahton hotline up and running in no time!

Shaimos Alert: Shem Hashem in Oorah Purim Book

Please be aware that shaimos was mistakenly included in the Oorah Auction Purim book. You may have received the book already or will be receiving it shortly.
The sefer torah picture on page 6 included pesukim and the shem Hashem. PLEASE DO NOT THROW IT OUT!

You can tear out the page or just the picture in the corner and put it in your sheimos box. You can also drop mail it to:
Oorah

1805 Swarthmore Ave
Lakewood NJ, 08701

We’d appreciate your publicizing this information to others it may be relevant to. We apologize for the mistake and for any inconvenience.

Rabbi Chaim Reichman
Director of TorahMates