Dedicated in Loving Memory of
Reb Shneur Zalman Hirsch, OBM

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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

Phase 1 – 2020/21: COMPLETED

In the first year of the program, Our Heritage set out to award at least 10 schools a $25,000 matching grant challenge, contingent on enrolling at least 10 new students per school. The organic interest in Jewish education exceeded expectations as families switched from public school to private Jewish schools in record numbers. In Phase 1, Our Heritage partnered with 13 Chabad day schools across the United States to enroll a total of 183 Jewish students who had formerly attended public school. An end of year survey found that families were delighted with the positive and personalized experience that their first-time Jewish Day School students received, and schools are noting a 74% retention rate heading into the next academic year.

Phase 2 – 2021/22: NOW OPEN

In the second year of the program, Our Heritage aims to double the number of partnering schools. In the 2021-2022 academic year, 20 schools will each receive a $25,000 matching grant, contingent on enrolling at least 10 new students per school.

The grants can be utilized by each school to support the increased enrollment in whatever way they deem necessary: subsidizing tuition for newly enrolled students, hiring a school liaison to accommodate the needs of new families, additional hiring, etc.

Nechamas Yisrael* has also partnered with Our Heritage to provide additional tuition subsidies to newly enrolled families on a case-by-case basis.

21 Sivan 5781 – June 1, 2021 – Applications Open. Only 20 schools will be accepted for this year’s matching grant.

September 1 – New Student Information Due.

December 10 – Full Criteria Verification Due.

The $25,000 matching grant will be distributed to each participating school in 3 installments throughout the 2021-2022 academic year: September 2021, January 2022, and May 2022.

 

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 for the 2021-2022 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 now open for Phase 2 of the Our Heritage program.

Schools can apply here:

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
  • Mrs. Chanah Rose Ms. Ed.
  • Rabbi Zalman Shneur
  • Mr. Dan Smith
  • Rabbi Shais Taub

Sponsors

  • Alan & Lori Zekelman
  • Anonymous Foundation in Milwaukee
  • Modway INC ~ Tuvya Greisman
  • Shneur OBM &YLT Devorah L. Hirsch
  • Bram Family
  • Yosef I & Batsheva Popack
  • George &Pamela Rohr
  • Mrs. Gloria Kaylie
  • Mr. Efraim Ahdut
  • Mr. Josh & Robyn Goldhirsh
  • Jonas Foundation
  • Swieca Children’s Foundation
  • Dovid & Malkie Smetana
  • Gadi & Mrs. Blizinsky
  • Blavatnik Foundation
  • Rabbi Noach Weinstein & Rabbi Leibi Marosov, in loving memory of Shneur Zalman ben Gimpel Avrohom Hirsch

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

“The Our Heritage grant not only helped offset tuition costs, but also provided funding that helped ourschool integrate the new students into the school and focus on retention.” – Rabbi Avremel Okonov, Mazel Day School, 20 new children enrolled in Our Heritage 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 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

 

“The Our Heritage grant not only helped offset tuition costs, but also provided funding that helped ourschool integrate the new students into the school and focus on retention.” – Rabbi Avremel Okonov, Mazel Day School, 20 new children enrolled in Our Heritage 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

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