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Rodeph Sholom Plans America’s First All-day School Under Reform Auspices

Congregation Rodeph Sholom of New York one of the nation’s largest Reform synagogues, has announced plans to establish the first all-day school in the United States under Reform auspices. Support for day schools in the Reform movement, which initially was one of the most vigorous foes of such schools, has been widening in recent years but Rodeph Sholom’s proposed day school will be the first in the movement.

Rabbi Louis Newman said that the day school will be an extension of the 127-year-old congregation’s present nursery school and kindergarten, which were started in 1957. He added that the congregation owns a large plot behind and adjacent to its present Temple and Temple House on which the congregation hopes to build a cultural and recreation center in which the day school would be housed.

Rabbi Newman reported that the Temple board votes last week to organize a group of pilot classes in September, 1970, in the Temple House, pending collection of funds to build the proposed center. He added that the interest of parents who want a Jewish-sponsored grammar school in the mid-Manhattan area was an “active stimulus” to creation of the pilot classes.

He said the curriculum of the planned grammar school classes, and of a projected high school, would be in keeping with state educational requirements and that registration would be open to all applicants, regardless of affiliation. He emphasized that the Rodeph Sholom day school would be a “parochial school” and that such subjects as Jewish history, Hebrew and similar subjects would be optional and not mandatory for pupils. He said also that pledges by individuals for the building fund were now being made for the project but that the organized effort for the “large sum” needed had not yet been started.

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