Family & Education

Chief Rabbi launches Jewish schools review with backing of Israeli government

Initiative could lead to ‘paradigm shift’ in delivery of Jewish education in UK, says school network head


Sir Ephraim Mirvis with pupils from Hertsmere Jewish Primary School (Photo: Joy Sable)

Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis has launched a comprehensive review into Jewish schools under his authority to guide planning for the future.

The wide-ranging initiative, which is backed by the Israeli government, will draw up recommendations for improvements in the school system and be followed by a plan to implement them.

Sir Ephraim is the religious authority for 32 Jewish schools across the country

Following launch events in London and Manchester this week, he said, “There is hardly a more important mission than to instil within our children a proper understanding and deep love of their Judaism.

“My hope is that with this review, which could be the most significant Jewish educational initiative in a generation, we can create the very best possible environment for inspiring a generation of proud young Jews, equipped to thrive in an increasingly challenged world.”

The first phase of the project will be led by one of the world’s top Jewish educational consultants, British-born Dr Alex Pomson, of Rosov Consulting in Israel, who will conduct an in-depth study of the education landscape in the UK.

It is being supported by the United Synagogue, UnitEd - a project of Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism - and the Jewish school’s network in the UK, PaJeS.

The review’s project manager, Tamar Berman, director of schools strategy at the US, said at one of the launch events, “Following the pandemic, between the United Synagogue and the Office of the Chief Rabbi we held individual conversations with each school. There was appetite within the schools to take a holistic look at the Jewish education system and to consider how we can be smarter and more effective in delivering Jewish life.”

She added, “We are creating a framework, that will enable those who live and breath Jewish education to reflect and to share… what works and what doesn’t work and how we can improve the system both structurally and substantively.”

Yom Tov Raanan, deputy director of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, said it viewed as Jewish education as “a long-term commitment, aimed at establishing a strong foundation for our children, their children, and all future generations. It is this foundation that enables us to navigate and overcome challenges, and at the end of the day – it is this foundation of a strong Jewish identity that is the ultimate answer to antisemitism.”

Hana Dorsman, chief executive of UnitEd, said the project’s purpose was “to enable schools to face the challenges of Jewish education for the younger generation in England, and to deepen the value and relevance that these schools provide to Jewish children.”

PaJeS chief executive Rabbi David Meyer said the project partners shared a “vision to achieve what could be a paradigm shift in the delivery of Jewish education across the UK”.

PaJeS itself emerged out of the last major review into Jewish schooling, which was instigated by the Jewish Leadership Council more than 15 years ago.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive