A Ministerial Endorsement


Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett visited the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan last week during a brief visit to New York.

On the Dec. 1 visit, Bennett, who heads the pro-settler Jewish Home party, praised the Upper West Side School for promoting tolerance and fostering a strong connection to Judaism and the Jewish state among its students.

While the school is aligned with the Conservative movement, students come from diverse religious affiliations ranging from secular to observant. Benjamin Mann, the head of school, said he believed the education minister came away from the visit with a stronger appreciation for the value of recognizing the validity of a wide range of Jewish practices.

“What we do at Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan is we live a vibrant Jewish life in our school and combine that with a deep respect for the diversity of Jewish expression among the families who join our school,” Mann said.

Bennett capped off the visit by joining the entire student body for a lively round of Hebrew singing, including such standards as “Eretz Yisrael Sheli,” (“My Land of Israel”), “Al Kol Eleh,” (“For All These Things”) and ending with a spirited rendition of “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem.

Apparently, Bennett was impressed, tweeting a video clip of the singing and wrote in Hebrew, “Meeting with students at the wonderful Conservative school ‘Solomon Schechter’ in New York. So much love of Israel, so much love of Judaism.”

And, according to Mann, Bennett left a lasting impression on the children, telling them that “wherever they are in their lives, they should know that they have a Jewish state that cares about them, and that they have a stake in.”