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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

Giving Back

A parent whom Oorah has assisted in the past with tuition while they were struggling financially contacted Oorah and said that now BH business picked up and they don’t feel right taking the scholarship money they would like us to give it to other children who need it. She wanted to know exactly how much we were paying so she can send it to the school. They are really grateful!
Besides Oorah helping them financially Oorah also gave them the realization that Yeshiva is important and that it is worth the money!