‘Shalom’ and ‘Salaam’: Day Schools Embrace Arabic

Published: 
May 13, 2009

Source: The Forward

 

A small but growing number of Jewish day schools across the United States — including Modern Orthodox, Conservative and community schools —have started to teach Arabic. The schools are offering Arabic as a curricular class or an extracurricular club in answer to a growing demand by students. Jewish students’ motivations for learning Arabic range from connecting to family roots, acquiring economic or political communications skills, or trying to understand the Arabs in order to contribute in some small way, to the peace process.

 

Among the Jewish schools that offer Arabic as a class or an extracurricular club are Ramaz in NYC, Shalhevet High School for Girls in Cedarhurst, N.Y.; American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, N.C.; and SAR High School in Riverdale, N.Y.

 

Arabic is a hot language on high school and college campuses across the United States these days. After the September 11 attacks, interest in learning Arabic soared, according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and the federal government recently increased funding for public high school instruction in foreign languages deemed important to national security.

Updated: Jun. 25, 2009
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