Hollywood, FL – A Broward charter school that promises to teach Hebrew as a second language has drawn praise from parents who want their kids to learn the language for free, and criticism from those who say it’s no more than a taxpayer-funded religious school.
Broward School Board members already have approved the K-8 school, one of the nation’s first, but concerns remain.
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The school, Ben Gamla, is named after a First Century high priest who promoted public education. It is scheduled to open Aug. 20 in Hollywood, as was reported here on Vos Iz Neias.
”I want to make sure that they don’t cross the line between separation of church and state,” said board member Eleanor Sobel.
Board members are expected to vote on a curriculum on July 24.
Critics of Ben Gamla include rabbis and parents whose children attend Jewish day schools that could lose students to the charter. The Jewish Federation of Broward County also is raising concerns.
”We’re opening up a Pandora’s box here,” said Rabbi Allan Tuffs of Hollywood’s Temple Beth El. “Are we heading down a path in America where publicly funded schools are going to segregate according to ethnic and religious identifications?”
But former Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch, who founded the school, said the criticism of the school “has nothing to do with education, has nothing to do with anything but a monopoly that’s being threatened. [miamiherald]