(Courtesy of Prizmah) A new report released by Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, representing 110 schools across North America, shows increased inquiries from public and private school students interested in mid-year transfers into Jewish day schools and yeshivas. The primary reasons are parents wanting their children to be in a Jewish environment, fear of antisemitism, and disappointment with how their current schools are handling the Israel-Hamas war. The report shows how Jewish day schools welcomed over 1,000 temporary Israeli students fleeing from war, attending to their academic and mental health and wellness needs. It also suggests potential for enrollment increases in the next school year starting summer of 2024.
“The war in Israel is impacting enrollment in Jewish day schools and families,” said Paul Bernstein, CEO of Prizmah. “Parents of public and private school students are turning toward Jewish day schools out of a desire for their children to benefit from all that makes Jewish day schools great— an excellent education, a warm, nurturing Jewish environment, and protection from antisemitism they might experience elsewhere. The best defense against antisemitism and hostility to Israel is to nurture strong, confident, knowledgeable Jewish youth, and Jewish day schools answer that need.”
Covering the period from the start of the war in October 2023 to Dec. 8, 2023, the report presents a snapshot of the responses from 110 schools in the United States and Canada. Three important trends are apparent in the study:
Thirty-nine percent of schools reported inquiries and/or enrollment from public school students interested in transferring mid-year. Top reasons schools reported that public school transfer families provided for transferring are:
Wanting their child(ren) to be in a Jewish environment (73%)
Fear of antisemitism in school or community (68%)
Response from their current school around the war in Israel (32%)
Twenty percent of schools reported receiving inquiries and/or enrollment from independent school students interested in transferring midyear. Top reasons schools reported that independent school transfer families provided for transferring are:
Wanting their child(ren) to be in a Jewish environment (80%)
Response from their current school around the war in Israel (50%)
Fear of antisemitism in school or community (40%)
Ninety-five percent of schools reported receiving inquiries and/or enrollment from temporary Israeli students interested in attending a Jewish day school on a short-term basis, and over 1,000 temporary Israeli students were hosted in the schools that responded to the survey. Most schools reported that their temporary Israeli students needed English Language Learning (ELL) or English as a Second Language (ESL) support as well mental health support as is often needed for students fleeing their country due to war.
As the report highlighted, “The findings emphasize the resilience and adaptability of these educational institutions in responding to the increased interest of transfer students and their families. It also underscores the schools’ commitment to providing a supportive environment, despite the anticipated return of temporary Israeli students to Israel.”