Finding top Jewish day schools is much easier now than in years past. Rather than sending students to a supplementary program after school, many Jewish parents are looking for secondary schools that are more like traditional American independent schools, with a strong focus on academics and college prep that also weave traditional Jewish studies into the curriculum.
When it comes to locating top Jewish day schools nowadays, there is a lot of competition. However, there are a few key programs to look for when comparing schools.
An Interdisciplinary Program
Top Jewish day schools will stand apart from other schools because of interdisciplinary programs. Rather than having students focus on Judaic studies during specific classes or periods, separate from their other classes, an excellent program will ensure students examine historical, scientific, and political issues through the lens of Judaism. Learn about Milken Community Schools’ Nofim program.
A Trip to Israel That’s MORE than Sightseeing
While a pilgrimage is common for most Jewish day schools, top schools will take the program to another level by ensuring a trip to Israel involves scholarship and learning in addition to sightseeing. The best programs offer a study abroad-style trip, where students can spend an entire semester learning and studying with students from Israel, in Israel. Studying and learning together creates a connection to the country that elevates the trip.
A Cultural and Idea Exchange Program
Creating things together forms a lasting connection that spans for geography and culture. The best Jewish day high schools create exchange programs that allow Jewish students from around the world to compete and share ideas, whether through a global conference or through a school-sponsored communication program. Ask the administrators of the Jewish schools you’re looking at how they foster connections to other Jewish students around the world. Are there conferences or fairs that students attend? Pen pal programs? The best schools will have an official program to foster the exchange of ideas.
A Focus on the Future
At Milken, we ask our students to become active participants in the future of Judaism. Rather than passively consuming Jewish studies, we coach students to become active creators in the future of Judaism. As part of our sacred trust, we must work to build a robust faith that both remembers traditions and creates innovations. When investigating Jewish schools in order to make a decision, ask about how Judaism is woven throughout the school’s programs and culture, and what the hope is for the Jewish scholars of tomorrow.
While there are many Jewish schools out there, it’s important to find the one school that’s right for you and your family. Explore program offerings and ensure each school has a philosophy that speaks to your home and faith. Examine how the Jewish faith is taught each day, across disciplines, and how the faith is interwoven with everyday activities.