A unique Jewish educational program is opening its doors this coming school year. The Nagel Jewish Academy will provide Jewish education free of charge to any Jewish child not enrolled in a Jewish school. The sponsor of the program believes that no child should be denied a Jewish education because of the cost of tuition at a Jewish school. Unfortunately, there are many families in Los Angeles who would have liked to enroll their children in Jewish schools but who are deterred by the cost. Nagel Jewish Academy will address this problem by providing free after school classes for children attending public school. All Jewish children between the ages of 5 and 10 are invited to register, regardless of their religious affiliation and prior background.
Nagel Jewish Academy will be hosted by the Friendship Circle, at 1952 S Robertson Blvd, in Los Angeles. The classes will be held four days a week, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 2:45-4:45 pm and Tuesdays 1:45-4:00 p.m. Children who attend the nearest public school, Canfield Elementary, can be picked up from school by the Nagel teachers who will walk them to Nagel Jewish Academy, providing a seamless integration of the Jewish program with the public school curriculum.
The new program is designed to divide the children into two levels, according to their skills and regardless of age, so that each child will get the most out of the program. The curriculum is intended to keep the children up to par with the Jewish education provided by Jewish schools. The lower level will work on Hebrew reading and Chumash skills. The higher level will learn Chumash with Rashi. The children will learn the weekly parsha and bring home parsha questions to share with their families. They will learn about Jewish holidays and other topics in Yahadus, as well as stories from the Tanach. The curriculum will also include conversational Hebrew.
The principal of Nagel Jewish Academy is Chana Leah Margolis and she is thrilled to be running the program. After ten years of teaching at Hebrew school she is excited to bring a full Jewish curriculum to neighborhood children. “With classes four days a week, the program is pretty intense,” she says. “It requires a commitment but we want the children to come because they want to be there. This is going to be exciting for them.” Mrs. Margolis is designing the curriculum with extra activities which the students can look forward to, such as a brachos fair and a menorah contest.
Mrs. Margolis said the community response has been incredible. Twenty children registered within the first four days of advertising in the Jewish Home. (The Nagel Jewish Academy can accommodate sixty children total in the coming school year.)
The majority of children registered attend public school but some children are homeschooled, some come from shomer Shabbos families while others are unaffiliated. There are children from the Pico and La Brea areas as well as a bus coming in from the valley.
At the time of printing 50+ children have registered and philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz called in (unsolicited) insisting on participating with an initial $5,000 donation toward this revolutionary endeavor.