SYDNEY (JTA) — The only Jewish day school in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is closing.
The Moriah School will close at the end of 2012, its board announced.
In a letter last week to parents, the board said it had “no option” but to close the school, which has fewer then 20 pupils aged 5 to 13.
“We simply do not have the resources to operate a full Jewish day school,” the letter said.
The board pledged, however, to “enhance and expand” the Hebrew school and said the decision did not affect the kindergarten, which is a separate entity.
Moriah was founded in 1985 and had nearly 60 students at its peak.
Its much-publicized 2008 project to amass 1.5 million buttons — each one representing a child murdered during the Holocaust — took more than two years to complete and attracted the attention of Prime Minister John Key, the son of a Jewish refugee who escaped Austria on the eve of the Holocaust. The collection will be given to the Wellington Holocaust Research and Education Center.
Stephen Goodman, president of the New Zealand Jewish Council, said he regretted the closure because the loss of Jewish education “diminishes us all.”
Wellington is the second largest Jewish community after Auckland, which is home to the majority of the country’s estimated 7,000 Jews as well as its last Jewish school, Kadimah College.