NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Number Of Jewish Schools Increasing

October 12, 1997

There has been a striking resurgence in Jewish private schools in the United States over the past few years -- ranging from traditional Orthodox yeshivas where students focus intensely on Judaic studies to more modern Orthodox schools or nondenominational ones with a greater focus on college preparatory courses.

A national Jewish newspaper, The Forward, calls it "one of the most significant trends in American Jewish life in decades."

  • In the last six years, nearly 40 Jewish schools opened in New York, Atlanta, Ga., Baltimore, Md., Boston, Mass., New Haven, Conn., Minneapolis, Minn. and Cleveland, Ohio.
  • A coalition of major Jewish organizations and philanthropists is expected to announce a $36 million effort to found 20 more Jewish day schools.
  • The vast majority of the more than 200,000 students enrolled are in Orthodox Jewish schools, but non-Orthodox schools are the fastest-growing segment.

Judaism encompasses a number of sects or denominations which disagree regarding religious practices -- the principal ones being Orthodox, Conservative and Reform.

Observers attribute the growing trend to a variety of motives, including educational, cultural and religious issues. One stated purpose behind the founding of some of the schools is preserving Jewish identity by encouraging marriage within the Jewish faith or among ethnic Jews.

Source: Peter Applebome (New York Times News Service), "Jewish Schools Are Experiencing a Resurgence Across America," Dallas Morning News, Sunday, October 12, 1997.


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