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US day schools welcome displaced Israeli students

More than 1,000 children and their families have chosen to continue their education in the United States while the war with Hamas continues.

View of an empty classroom at a school in Tel Aviv on Sept. 12, 2023. Photo by Flash90.
View of an empty classroom at a school in Tel Aviv on Sept. 12, 2023. Photo by Flash90.

According to UJA-Federation of New York, 168 students from Israel have started in 22 Jewish day schools in New York City, and the environs of Westchester and Long Island. The Enrollment Trend Report by Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools revealed that more than 1,000 Israeli students have temporarily relocated to the United States following the Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7.

Debbie Rochlin, principal of Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School, described her institution’s policy for students displaced from their homes in Israel by the war with Hamas in Gaza to the south and rocket fire from Hezbollah to the north: “Our doors were open, and we were ready to provide a warm, nurturing environment for these students, ensuring that they can continue their academic journey without interruption.”

Rochlin noted that “it’s difficult in general for children to enter any school mid-year—let alone a foreign one—but our teachers and students embraced them.”

Day schools have also seen greater interest from Jewish parents already living in America.

According to the Prizmah report, public- and private-school students have exhibited increased interest in mid-year transfers to Jewish day schools and yeshivahs. The reasons for the move to these academic institutions include the reassurance of a Jewish environment; fear of growing antisemitism; and disappointment with how their current schools are handling issues pertaining to the Israel-Hamas war.

The response by public schools to the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in Israel, coupled with a rise in antisemitism, was cited by 32% of parents who started their children in a private Jewish education setting.

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