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Several years ago an Israeli came to my synagogue, Bais Abraham Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri, and told me there was one thing secular Israelis desperately wanted from the Jewish community: a school to teach their children to read and write the Hebrew language. Realizing this was an opportunity to engage secular Israelis on their own terms, and perhaps eventually to engage them in the Jewish community and religious life, we opened a synagogue based religious school specifically for the children of self-identifying secular Israelis. We staffed the school with experienced Israeli language teachers and used opportunities like Jewish holidays to teach the students about Jewish life, about which, to their parents' chagrin, they know almost nothing.
Updated: Aug. 03, 2016