Jewish charter schools? There are only a few, but their number is growing. They prefer to be known as Hebrew language charter schools, which helps them skirt the issue of separation of church and state.
But whatever they call themselves, they are all founded and run by Jews and some are based in Jewish religious facilities and led by clergy.
They are funded, however, by public tax dollars.
They can be found in Florida, Néw York, and other states. Some feature Hebrew immersion (Hebrew is the official language of Israel, which is a Jewish state.)
Read here about the two different types of Hebrew charter schools.
And read here about the Hebrew charter school that was approved to open in San Antonio, Texas, this fall. It will open in a Jewish community center that previously maintained a Jewish day school.
What’s wrong with Hebrew charter schools?
It violates the long-established principle of separation of church and state to spend public funds on an institution that promotes religion. Hebrew is not a neutral language. It is the historic language of the Jewish people. Judaism is a religion.
It asks taxpayers to bear responsibility for schools that are essentially religious. In effect, taxpayers are subsidizing families that have the freedom to choose a nonpublic religious school. If they want it, they should pay for it. Public responsibility is for public, secular schools.
It is an attack on the very principle of public education, which belongs to the entire community and should be open to all.
Where there is a demand for instruction in Hebrew, it can be taught in regular schools, which offer Spanish, French, Latin, German, and other world languages.
But no one is fooled by the pretense that a Hebrew school has no connection to the Jewish religion.
I write this as a Jew whose grandchildren (two of them) went to a Jewish day school. Let them thrive and flourish. But don’t call them public schools. If the Jewish community is unwilling to support Jewish education, don’t ask for public money to do it. It is a private communal responsibility. No subterfuge can hide that.