Mitchel Malkus, the head of a pluralistic Jewish Day School in the D.C. area recently wrote about "The Case for the Jewish Day School." In it, he references the research from the Cohen Center at Brandeis University that found that "day-school alumni demonstrate the highest level of academic confidence and success, yet also exhibit significant advantages over their peers who are public and independent school graduates... This is the case because not only is the general studies curriculum equal to, or better than, other schools, but because the dual curriculum in day schools emphasizes critical thinking skills, questioning, and second language instruction."
The Cohen Center also showed that graduates of day schools tend to have a greater desire to have a positive impact on the world through active engagement in volunteerism and occupations that advance society. Malkus further references the Avi Chai study which found that Jewish Day Schools disproportionately produce Jewish leaders who make up the ranks of volunteer and professional leadership of our Jewish communities.
I would add to these findings that what we produce, especially at SHAS, are engaged and responsible members of community whose lives and actions are guided by the principles of Torah and the values of our rich tradition. We are not just producing academically astute graduates but Jewish menches who have a strong sense of self and who understand their responsibility to community and to Hashem's world which has been gifted to us. We are unleashing the Jewish sparks in our children's souls that will continue to grow and flourish into adulthood.
At SHAS, we are planting these seeds and laying this foundation. This is the product of the Jewish Day School that, as the MasterCard ads used to say, is truly priceless.
I invite you to visit Striar Hebrew Academy to see first-hand the learning and community-building that takes place here.
Rabbi Yehudah Potok,
Head of School