My wife and I have been Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County parents for nine years, and are often asked the question: “How can your kids possibly succeed in high school, college and beyond when they have to squeeze General Studies into half a day?” To us, the answer is obvious, but perhaps, it deserves to be articulated more clearly.
At our local Schechter, our children study and excel at Singapore Math, but also take a course in logic and abstract reasoning. It is called Talmud. They read avidly and write beautifully in English, but also take a second language, starting in Pre-K, and become fluent in it. That is Ivrit, or Hebrew. Our children study American History through treasured documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but also decode ancient Middle Eastern texts. Those are called Tanakh, or Bible. They perform experiments using research-grade microscopes, but they also reflect on humankind’s place in this world as they explore theology through Tefillah, or prayer.
When I see what takes place in my children’s classrooms on a daily basis, I begin to ask myself a very different question: How do other children succeed when so much is omitted from their curriculum?
Each year, we hear of our alumni graduating high schools—yeshiva, day school, public and private—and securing spots in top universities. Our school, and others like it, have produced doctors and doctorates, writers and rabbis, campaign managers and hedge-fund managers, those who defend the law and those who defend the State of Israel.
I believe our children succeed, because of our dual curriculum, not in spite of it.
I think about the children—the ones who walk the halls of Jewish day schools now, the ones who graduated before them and the ones who will arrive at our doors in the years to come. They are among the Jewish leaders of tomorrow and each school works to provide each and every one of them with an exceptional well-rounded dual-curriculum education.
All parents want the best for their own individual children. It is, however, the collective commitment and support of an entire community that fosters the success of hundreds of children, and ensures a more vibrant and dedicated Jewish community. Our school family is far greater than the sum of its individual parts, and through it, we work to fulfill our obligation to the next generation and to Jewish continuity.
So, if you ask me why I send my children to a school that packs so many subjects into each and every day, I would simply respond: “I have found a place that provides my children with an exciting, challenging and comprehensive education in a loving and nurturing environment.”
Adi Rabinowitz, a graduate of Jewish day schools, is the father of three students at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County. Adi, along with his wife Heather and his parents, Rabbi Mayer and Renah Rabinowitz, were recently honored by SSDS at their annual gala.
By Adi Rabinowitz