On Monday, I had the opportunity to visit the Muslim Community Center Academy, a new Islamic elementary school in the Chicago suburb of Skokie, my old home town. The MCC recently opened in the same building that once housed the Solomon Schechter Day School, the Jewish religious school I attended from second through eighth grade–the place where I first felt a personal connection to Zionism, Israel, and the Hebrew language.
Solomon Schechter closed its doors for two reasons. One is that Chicago’s Jews have slowly migrated outwards, leaving the city and inner suburbs for distant, more affluent areas further north. Some children who once would have attended Solomon Schechter in Skokie now commute to what used to be its sister school in Northbrook.
The second reason is that non-Orthodox Jews–i.e. the majority of the American Jewish population–have long since stopped investing in Jewish education. They will donate to other philanthropic causes, but have far less interest in studying Talmud or practicing Jewish rituals. Holly Rosenberg, Schechter’s principal, once noted with some frustration that Jewish donors were eagerly contributing millions of dollars to the Illinois Holocaust Museum nearby, but were doing little to ensure the continuity of the present-day local Jewish community. Read more at Breitbart.com.