Dedicated in Loving Memory of
Reb Shneur Zalman Hirsch, OBM

Applications are open for Chabad day schools to join Our Heritage for the 5783 (2022-23) school year.
Apply Now

Our Heritage שנת הקהל

Launching internationally to unite families around the world with their Jewish Heritage, by enabling their children to attend a Chabad day school.

Over the past two years, Our Heritage has funded the enrollment of 385 Jewish public school students across 19 Chabad day schools in North America.

In honor of the 5783 Hakhel year, Our Heritage is now partnering with Chabad day schools around the world to provide a full-time Torah education to Jewish public school students. The goal is to expand to 22 participating Jewish day schools, to enroll approximately 250 new students through the program, while maintaining a 79% student retention rate. To continue the success of Our Heritage across the United States, and carry it onto an international level as well, the program is raising $500,000 to enroll the new students.

Sponsor a Jewish child’s Torah education to take part in transforming the world, one Jewish student, school and family at a time.

Support Our Heritage

About

Our Heritage is a program designed to increase enrollment in Chabad Jewish day schools. Founded in the Fall 2020 in direct response to the COVID-19 school shutdown, the program saw a tremendous opportunity to open the doors of Jewish education to new families. The goal of the program is to create a paradigm shift in Jewish day schools’ orientation towards new enrollments and ultimately generate interest and success that can lead to a national movement of day school enrollment.

Rationale

The COVID-19 school shutdown and subsequent public-school fallout created an opportunity for Jewish day schools to increase enrollment.

  • The COVID-19 crisis has inspired introspection and self-reflection. Families are exploring values that really matter in life and are seeking an education that reflects a deeper sense of community and tradition.
  • Throughout the crisis, Jewish day schools have been showcased at their best. Many parents have lost faith in a public-school system that is mired in red tape with teacher unions who are resistant to adapting to new needs. Jewish schools responded with resourcefulness and agility in a successful transition to online schooling and a return to classrooms.
  • The Our Heritage program is designed to motivate Chabad day schools to utilize this opportunity to expand enrollment to new families who would normally send their child to public school.

Rationale

The COVID-19 school shutdown and subsequent public-school fallout created an opportunity for Jewish day schools to increase enrollment.

  • The COVID-19 crisis has inspired introspection and self-reflection. Families are exploring values that really matter in life and are seeking an education that reflects a deeper sense of community and tradition. 
  • Throughout the crisis, Jewish day schools have been showcased at their best. Many parents have lost faith in a public-school system that is mired in red tape with teacher unions who are resistant to adapting to new needs. Jewish schools responded with resourcefulness and agility in a successful transition to online schooling and a return to classrooms.

The Our Heritage program is designed to motivate Chabad day schools to utilize this opportunity to expand enrollment to new families who would normally send their child to public school.

 

Methodology

Review of Years 1 and 2

In Year 1, the 5781 (2020-21) academic year, the program partnered with 13 Chabad day schools across the United States, to provide them with funds to give tuition scholarships, increase staffing, and take care of other needs, which enabled a total of 183 former public-school students to enroll. The Menachem Education Foundation raised $600,000 in the 2020 fiscal year to establish and fund the grant program.

In Year 2, the 5782 (2021-22) academic year, the program raised over $700,000 in matching grants, which helped 202 new Jewish public school students to enroll across 19 Chabad day schools.

In under two years, the program raised over $1,200,000 from national and local funders, and enrolled 385 new Jewish students who were previously in public schools. Participating schools saw an average of upwards of a 200% increase in student transfers from public schools.

Winning Strategy for Year 3

Although the Covid-19 school shutdown is over, many families who participated in the Our Heritage program have realized that Jewish day school education offers a deep sense of connection to their Jewish roots, knowledge and meaning to their children’s lives.

The positive feedback from the newly enrolled students, and the belief of participating Chabad day school leaders that the momentum will carry further, prompted the Our Heritage program to team up with Mr. Gary Wexler, creative consultant and former professor of communications at USC – Annenberg. Wexler will develop the marketing strategy and work with Chabad day school leaders to encourage more Jewish families to enroll their children in Jewish day schools. We look forward to sharing the winning strategy that will expand the program in a post-Covid world.

Criteria for Eligibility

To be eligible for the $25,000 Our Heritage grant, each Chabad Day School must:

•Enroll 10 new public-school students in their school in grades 1-12 for the 2022-2023 school year and provide proof of enrollment.

•Raise $25,000 locally for this project to support the additional enrollment and provide proof of the raised funds.

•Ensure that they have the resources to fully care for the incoming families and provide a positive and personalized experience for the first-time Jewish Day School students.

•Be willing to collaborate with other Chabad Day Schools to share recruitment ideas and best new enrollment practices.

Terms for eligibility may change without notice.

Application

Applications are open for Chabad day schools to join Our Heritage for the 5783 (2022-23) school year.

Apply Now

Our Heritage is Named in Honor of Reb Shneur Hirsch   

Shneur Hirsch, ע”ה, a longtime friend of MEF, believed deeply in the power of Chinuch. Shneur was an early believer in the potential of the Our Heritage project and it was his direct encouragement and generous support that brought the successful program to fruition.

This is a chance to change the course of a Jewish child’s life,” Shneur shared with MEF in the summer of 2020, when Our Heritage was in its earliest stages. “Instead of going to a public school they can attend a Yeshiva and receive an authentic Jewish education. These children will grow up and lead Jewish homes based on Torah and Mitzvos. There is no greater investment in our future.”

Unfortunately, Shneur did not get to see the full growth and success of the program, with nearly 200 public school students enrolled, as he passed away on כ”ז תשרי after a nearly two-year battle with an illness. In 2021, the Our Heritage Program was renamed in his memory, recognizing the key role Shenur played in the success of the program. With his guiding light as inspiration, Our Heritage will continue to seek out more children to enroll in Jewish education and ensure that Jewish children across the country can access their birthright of Torah. 

May the Torah learning of these Jewish children be a Zchus for שניאור זלמן בן יבלחט”א גימפל אברהם.

Our Heritage Program Committee

  • Mr. Bob Aronson, Chairperson
  • Mr. John Goodman
  • Mr. Shneur Hirsch OBM
  • Mrs. Devora Leah Hirsch
  • Rabbi Chaim Kaminker
  • Mrs. Chanah Rose, Ms. Ed.
  • Rabbi Menachem Schmidt
  • Rabbi Zalman Shneur
  • Mr. Dan Smith
  • Mr. Alex Swieca
  • Rabbi Shais Taub
  • Rabbi Noach Weinstein
  • Mr. Alan Zekelman

Sponsors

Platinum

 

  • Alan & Lori Zekelman

 

Gold
  • Anonymous Foundation in Milwaukee
  • Gloria Kaylie
  • Mendel and Reut Pinson
  • Modway INC ~ Tuvya Greisman
  • Shneur OBM & Devorah L. Hirsch

Silver

  • Bram Family
  • Dovid & Malkie Smetana
  • Efraim Ahdut
  • Noach Weinstein
  • Swieca Children’s Foundation

Bronze

  • Aronow Foundation
  • Avrohom Hayman
  • Blavatnik Foundation
  • Bobrow Foundation
  • Gadi Blizinsky
  • George & Pamela Rohr
  • Howard Jonas
  • Josh & Robyn Goldhirsh
  • Leibi and Chanie Marsow
  • Sami Dournburush
  • Yosef I & Batsheva Popack

TESTIMONIALS

“My eldest daughter, who is nine, has been in public school for 3 years already. She came into the school year with not one piece of knowledge about the Alef Bet. Not more than 9 months later, she is reading Hebrew and learning Chumash. My children have made new friends who understand them. Being at Desert Torah Academy this year has contributed to their self-identity as a Jewish child.”

“For me, as I’ve felt like my world has been falling apart, being able to provide this opportunity for my children through the financial help we’ve received has really allowed me to have something to feel proud about.” – Single mom of three children benefiting from the Our Heritage Grant, Las Vegas Nevada

“The Our Heritage grant has given us the ability to help parents who would not have otherwise been able to take on the financial responsibility of a day school tuition.” – Rabbi Yossi Mintz, Academy of the Arts, Manhattan Beach California, where the student body grew from 33 students to over 80 in the 2020-2021 school year

“Our Heritage provided the necessary funds to widely market our high school to draw in new out-of-town students and increase enrollment at a time when our school board would have otherwise been focused on cutting costs during COVID.” – Rabbi Mendel Shmotkin, Bader Hillel Academy, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“My whole life has changed. I keep Shabbat, I go to synagogue. I am so happy to feel a part of my people.” Gabriela, Brooklyn, NY, Student at Mazel Day School through Our Heritage.

“Coming to Silverstein Hebrew Academy was the best decision of my life, and now Judaism means so much to me”Leenor Davidov, 7th grade, Great Neck, NY, Student at Silverstein Hebrew Academy through Our Heritage

OUR HERITAGE NUMBERS

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New Students Enrolled
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Jewish Day Schools

Media Coverage

When public schools shut down, Jewish day schools saw a tremendous opportunity to open the doors of Jewish education to new families.

That was the goal that launched the Our Heritage project, a new grant-matching initiative by the Menachem Education Foundation that seeks to bring Jewish public-school students into quality Jewish day schools. Developed in direct response to the COVID crisis, the Our Heritage project is designed to embrace this unique moment in time towards the long-term goal of increasing enrollment in Jewish Day Schools.

Read more at COLLive

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new matching grant initiative, the Our Heritage Program, aims to recruit Jewish public school students to in-person Chabad day schools for the fall semester.

Rabbi Zalman Shneur, the executive director of the Brooklyn-based Menachem Education Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving Jewish and Chabad education, and the creator of the initiative, believes that COVID-19 and resulting remote learning in many public schools presents a unique occasion for Jewish schools around the country to appeal to new students from the secular community.

Read more at The Jewish News