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Monday, August 27, 2007

Holy Matzah Balls, Batman!
A School Teaching Hebrew?

Why, what kind of sick, twisted, xenophobic double standard do we have here, let alone a conflict between State and Religion?

From AJN News:

    Less than 48 hours after classes began at the nation's only Jewish-oriented charter school, officials in Broward County, Florida, issued a command of their own: Thou shalt not teach Hebrew, at least for the time being.

    The Ben Gamla Charter School ignored the ruling for one day, then decided to cooperate with the Broward County School Board even though Ben Gamla's founder, former Democratic congressman Peter Deutsch, said his school was operating strictly by the book.

    "I had to literally run around school yesterday telling the Hebrew teachers not to teach Hebrew," said Deutsch.

    He insisted that there's a great deal of confusion over what is being allowed and what's not.

    "The school board says we don't have a contract at this point in time. We say we not only have a contract that allows us to teach Hebrew, but a contract that obligates us to teach Hebrew."

    Nevertheless, Deutsch said that he and the superintendent of schools, James Notter, want exactly the same thing: a Hebrew-English curriculum with no religious content.

    "It can't be religious that would be unconstitutional," said Deutsch.

    By definition, charter schools are publicly financed elementary or secondary schools that are managed privately, with minimal input from local school boards, and whose innovative teaching methods are expected to produce higher academic results.

    Ben Gamla's supporters were told months ago that the school would be forbidden from teaching Torah or prayer its original proposal was soundly rejected by school board members on the grounds that overt Jewish symbolism would be involved.

    But the teaching of Hebrew as a foreign language was far less controversial and never emerged as a bone of contention until now.

    Keith Bromery, spokesman for the school board, said it's possible Hebrew-language instruction may resume on September 11, following the board's next meeting.

    "We're not saying they can never teach Hebrew again. It's just a temporary suspension," he said.

    "We want to bend over backwards to make sure there isn't any proselytising going on, other than casual references to religion. We are ultimately responsible for insuring there's separation of church and state."

Oh God Allah no! We can't have proselytising going on. Unless, of course, it was for a better understanding of Islam and Muslims. Then it would be okay.

From Jewish Journal:

    Margaret Schorr, a marketing and public relations consultant, wanted her 5-year-old daughter, Hannah, to learn Hebrew, but she wasn't willing to pay the $8,000 to $13,000 annual tuition that Jewish day schools in south Florida typically charge for kindergarten.

    For attorney David Barnett, price wasn't the issue -- he wanted his daughter in a more diverse environment.

    Both families are set to take advantage of a groundbreaking option: the nation's first Jewish-oriented charter school.

    When the school year starts Aug. 20, Schorr's daughter and Barnett's daughter will be among the 430 or so students attending the new Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood, Fla. The taxpayer-funded institution says it will offer two hours of instruction a day in Jewish-related topics but not religion.

    Not a single class has been taught, but the school is generating controversy among the estimated 240,000 Jews living in Broward County, which also has one of the nation's largest concentrations of Israelis.


    Some critics, on the other hand, worry that the school's main contribution will be to serve as a road map for religious communities seeking to lower the wall separating church and state.

    "In other countries, we Jews were forced to support religious institutions of the dominant religions," said Rabbi Allan Tuffs of Temple Beth El, a Reform congregation in Hollywood. "The Jewish community has succeeded in America, largely thanks to the principle of separation of church and state."

    "But with charter schools like Ben Gamla, we are opening the door for public money to be used to support all sorts of religious ideologies across America," Tuffs warned. "What will we say to the imam down the street who says he wants to teach Arabic within an Islamic cultural setting? Or the fundamentalist Christian group that wants to start a school to teach Christian culture?"

    By definition, charter schools are publicly financed elementary or secondary schools that are managed privately, with minimal input from local school boards, and whose innovative teaching methods are expected to produce higher academic results.

Hebrew is a language as is Latin is a language as is Arabic is a language as is Spanish is a language. Can a language be taught without religious overtones mixed in? Of course it can.

While it's perfectly fine for the Left to construct prayer rooms and foot baths for Muslims - I don't know any Jews or Christians who need foot baths - hot damn, the Left cannot and will not allow "them Jews" to teach the Hebrew language. This is because those who are all riled up over this know they don't have to worry about their heads being chopped off by those who disagree with them.


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