February 9, 2011
Harlem Hebrew charter school submits application
A Hebrew charter school serving the Upper West Side of Manhattan has submitted its application to open.
The application for Harlem Hebrew was submitted to Manhattan’s Community School District 3, which runs from West 59th Street to 122nd Street, The New York Jewish Week reported. The area includes one of the country’s most densely populated Jewish enclaves, as well as a slice of lower Harlem.
The lead applicant is Sara Berman, daughter of Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt and a leading proponent of Hebrew charter schools. There are six Hebrew charter schools in the country, with several others pending. Last week, the state of New Jersey approved a second Hebrew immersion charter school.
Berman dismissed the anticipated concerns over the school’s impact on the multitude of Jewish day schools in the area at a time when tuition costs are spurring anxiety.
“Harlem Hebrew is a public school and as such provides a very different education and experience from a Jewish Day School,” Berman wrote in an e-mail. “It really appeals to a very different population.”
Hebrew charter schools receive public funding and are open to students of all backgrounds. They include lessons in Hebrew language and culture but are barred by law from promoting religion.