The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies posts videos of various discussions on their website, and I just listened to a panel discussion about intermarriage that was very interesting. One of the discussants is a statistician, and he talked about the frightening statistics for Jewish intermarriage in America outside of the Orthodox community and what that means for the future of American Jewry.
He stated that one of the major contributing factors to the increase in intermarriage among Jews is that Jews are very spread out among the general population. Most American Jews are no longer living in the small, primarily Jewish neighborhoods of their parents and grandparents where the children would go to school with other Jewish children, make Jewish friends, and meet Jewish mates. That is one of the main purposes of a day school education- it is an opportunity to place Jewish children in a Jewish environment where they will make Jewish friends and form connections that will encourage them to continue their Jewish education, seek out Jewish mates, and hopefully remain Jewish throughout their lives.
This year we have actively pursued a recruitment campaign to increase our enrollment, publicizing the many avenues available to obtain financial aid for qualified families- Abrams students with financial need receive funding from private donors who sponsor cohorts of students, Children’s Scholarship Fund, Oorah, EITC, and other sources.
This week we held a recruitment meeting at Espresso Café, thanks to the generosity of Sharon Abergel, its owner. The meeting was very well-attended, and 12 of the families who attended have expressed their desire to enroll their children at Abrams, and we spoke to another 12 families prior to the meeting on Tuesday night about enrollment.
The common thread among all of these prospective families was the concern about affordability and financial aid. In my opinion, the reason more Jews do not send their children to day school isn’t that they don’t care about Judaism or retaining their Jewish identity, but that they cannot afford the tuition. It was particularly surprising for me to realize that many of the Israeli families we met have children in public school, since obviously they know about Judaism, so that reinforces my belief that funding is the major hurdle that young Jewish parents face in sending children to day school.
This is why EITC is so important to the school. While watching the confirmation hearings this week on the woman who has been nominated as Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, a strong proponent of school vouchers, I was amused to see an Orthodox Rabbi sitting behind her as an advocate for vouchers. PA already has its form of a voucher system, and that is EITC. If you, as an individual or through your business, participate in EITC you help Jewish children to maintain their Jewish identity.
What is more important for a wealthy person to do- place his/her name on a building, or help to save the Jewish people? In 1993 the movie Schindler’s List was released, and one of the most moving scenes was when he was begging for people to send him more Jews to save. The most important thing to him was to save even one more Jewish life.
We also have the opportunity to keep Judaism alive, and that is through EITC. The program provides scholarships to educate children with financial need. This money is used only for tuition relief, and what is more worthwhile than educating our children who are truly our future?
Rabbi Ira Budow
Abrams Residence Visit
The 8th grade gave out our new logo tee shirts at this month’s visit to the Abrams Residence, and the seniors and students were quick to model their new clothes. The shirts combine the logos of Abrams, Greenwood House, and the Better Together program, funded by the Legacy Heritage Fund.
As always, there were crafts, food, and conversations galore. No one wants these visits to end- L’dor V’dor!
Dr. Donna Parent Meeting
Thanks to all who attended the January meeting.
We will be holding our next group on Tuesday February 7, 8:30 a.m.
February’s topic is “Grit,“ based on the current work of Dr. Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania.
The focus will be how to parent children to be persistent while achieving their goals.
All are welcome
See you then!
Prayers for Yuval
Please say a prayer for our long-time teacher and friend, Yuval Eliyahu Ben Susan, who is critically ill.
Thanks to everyone who came forward to participate in the EITC program for individuals so quickly! We have over $70,000 committed to the program for this year’s bonus funding and are grateful to our AHA community for its support, particularly on such short notice.
Now that we have completed the process for individuals to participate in 2016 our next task is to identify businesses that pay PA taxes and would be willing to participate in EITC on Abrams’ behalf.
The date for new business applications to the EITC program is July 1, 2017.
As you know, the business receives a tax credit in PA and a tax deduction on federal income taxes.
If you or someone you know has a business that can take advantage of this opportunity and help Abrams to offer financial assistance to our qualifying families, please contact Rabbi Ira Budow at 215-584-7919.
**We are starting now so that everyone is ready for he July 1, 2017 application date. The applications are ALL submitted on the same day, on a first-come, first-served basis, so timing is very critical.
Thank you for your consideration.
Food from Espresso Cafe:
Penne with vegetables & Feta
American cheese baguette
Fettuccine with marinara sauce
Egg salad & tuna salad sandwiches
Available Every Day:
Bagels, butter & cream cheese
Lunch cost: $5 per day
Safety and Security Reminders
Just a reminder of AHA security procedures:
All parents should use the front door to enter the school with key cards and not the back doors. Parent swipe cards only work at front door.
Please do not ask students to open any doors- parents must report to the front office and check-in before entering the school.
No student or other person should use the lunchroom doors other than for dismissal or emergency purposes.
These rules are for our children’s safety.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Car Pool Rules
All Parents who Car Pool:
Please note that the car pool line is for grades N and K only. All other students are to be dropped off in the front of the building.
Parents who use the back for drop off should follow the directions of the teachers in the parking lot. They are there to assist students and maintain a safe environment.
Under no circumstances are parents to park their cars in the middle of the line and leave them unattended to walk students into the building.
** We ask that parents refrain from cellphone use in the parking areas while dropping off and picking up their children.
Birthday Celebrations at School
When sending birthday treats into school to celebrate that special day for your child, please consider sending in a healthy treat, such as frozen fruit bars, rice cakes, fruit salad or cups, sugar free pudding snacks, yogurt cake or pie, cheese sticks, light popcorn or air popped popcorn (when age appropriate), pretzels, carrots/celery (when age appropriate).Please avoid nuts because of allergies.
In order to maintain a consistent kashrut policy and to avoid confusion, ALL orders for birthday cakes/cupcakes MUST be ordered from Cramer’s Bakery, 16 E. Afton Avenue, Yardley. Cramer’s will deliver the order to the school at a discounted price.
Please call Kim Pierce at 215-321-5707 to place your cake/ cupcake order.
Celebrate Your Simcha at Abrams
Abrams Hebrew Academy is a perfect choice to host your family or social affair, business meeting or athletic event. Whether you’re looking for an inviting space to celebrate a special occasion; a meeting area with state-of-the art technology; a fun, safe environment for a child’s birthday; or a gym or athletic field for a sporting event, Abrams can accommodate your needs and your budget. For more information on room rentals at Abrams Hebrew Academy, call (215) 493-1800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check Your Child’s Assignments with Homework Now
Parents- all homework will be posted on-line by all teachers grades K-8 by Sunday evening each week.
Instructions for use of homeworknow.com:
Click on homeworknow.com
Click on Parent and Student
Click on find school
Click on Pennsylvania
Click on Abrams Hebrew Academy
Click on your child’s teacher
View homework assignments
Share Abrams News With Others
Is there a family member (such as a grandparent) or friend who would be interested in hearing about everything going on at Abrams? Sign them up for our e-mail list today! Please contact the Main Office.
Information about the Extra
Please submit any information to be considered for inclusion in the Extra to Dale Sattin, Director of Development & Communications: email@example.com. (215) 493-1800 ext. 22 by
Wednesday of the target week.
Abrams Hebrew Academy, 31 West College Avenue, Yardley, PA 19067