Prague Lauder School marks 10 years

The Czech Republic’s only Jewish school marked its 10th anniversary.

About 200 people gathered for Monday’s celebration of The Lauder School, a symbol of the effort to revive Jewish life in Prague following its near extinction by the Nazis and Communists.

The school went through turbulent times in 2003 when a senior teacher was accused of being responsible for pornography found on the school’s Internet server. A court found the accusation baseless, but community infighting afterward took its toll during the following year – one-third of the school’s students left and 17 teachers resigned.

Community leaders say the school has recovered. Today, what began as an elementary school with nine students now has a high school and grade school with 120 students, 75 percent of whom have Jewish roots.

“There are two priorities in the life of the Jewish community of Prague: the best possible care of Shoah survivors and excellent education for the young Jewish generation,” said Frantisek Banyai, the community’s chairman. “The new leadership of the Jewish community of Prague elected two years ago after months of disputes proved to be successful in both directions.”

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