Hollywood, FL – A New Charter School Under Fire for Teaching Hebrew as a Second Language

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    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]


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    8 Comments
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    biGwheeel
    biGwheeel
    16 years ago

    It’s the same groups all over again. The (Temple) Rabbi is afraid
    that the US will become a Jewish country.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    ALL Public schools are religious schools in that they teach Christianity (ie Halloween -Even of All Hallowed Saints, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years-Jesus’s brisday, St Valentines Day, St Patrick’s Day and Easter. But it is okay to promote Christianity in the public schools because this is a Christian country.

    But try to teach a foreign language that is associated with a religion other than Christianity and people will protest it. Of course it is mostly Jews who are protesting it, which I personally find sick.

    I hope that I will be able to get some of my kids into the school next year.

    I cannot even BEGIN to afford yeshiva tuition (even with the scholarship they gave me) and have had no choice but public school or homeschool for my kids.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    This may be veering off the topic a bit, but it might be an idea to try it for frum girls, since they don’t need Rebbeim anyway.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    You must be one of the guys from the five towns and you have a good point.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    Hebrew is a foreign language. It should be allowed. At any rate with yeshiva tuitions so high, it isn’t a bad idea to explore other options as charter schools. With frum after school learning programs it could be a BIG cost effective alternative.

    And yes, it is sad that we have to find other options as tuitions are skyrocketing

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    It’s okay to teach Spanish or French or Latin, why not Hebrew? In fact New York State gives a Hebrew Regents, so it must be considered a valid foreign language to teach in Public School.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    10:12 they should have had a problem with that school also. In NY we have more political clout.

    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    16 years ago

    When there was a Supreme Court case about a NY district offering a yiddish english school they had no problem with that aspect of it.