Day school’s defenders and critics


Sam Ser’s essay about why he is not sending his children to Jewish day school, which we published last week, struck a nerve.

A few days after the essay ran, the head of Ser’s local community day school, in suburban Detroit, published a response. Now Amram Altzman, a List College student, is defending day schools for New Voices, a Jewish student publication. His take: even though he didn’t appreciate it at the time, he now sees the value in his 13 years of intensive Jewish education and the community of peers with whom he shared it.

“I needed a community of fellow students who were as willing to strike down the text, to throw out equally outrageous examples while still using Talmudic logic,” he writes. “That community of people who wanted to engage with the texts was something that drove me to apply to the Jewish Theological Seminary for college, wherein I would be able to continue engaging with those texts in a serious way, and seek to apply them to my life, thousands of years after some of them were redacted.”

Kveller, MyJewishLearning’s parenting site, has published numerous essays on why or why not parents have opted for or against day school.  It can be a heated argument, in which people on either side often feel somewhat self-righteous: “we’re better Jews” versus “we support public school and want our children exposed to diversity” or “we don’t want to go into debt” versus “we make Jewish education a priority.”

Anyone else want to jump in?


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