The Ohr Moshe school in Beit Shemesh welcomes children from different sectors. .
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Although news coming out of Beit Shemesh can often be less than positive, a success story involving cooperation and coexistence to the benefit of a mixed school in the city is certainly something to be welcomed.
The Ohr Moshe school for seventh- to twelfth-graders is designed for children with specific educational requirements and caters to pupils from both the national-religious and haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sectors, mostly from families with an Anglo background.
The school opened the doors to its new campus in old Beit Shemesh on Monday, at the site of the old Elyakim school that served the needs of the early residents of the city.
Ohr Moshe’s refurbished premises are complete with a sports hall, computer lab, a gym, library, student’s lounge, and a snack shop, as well as the freshly renovated classrooms.
The school, run by principal Avi Lipman, is now in its sixth year and is intended for pupils who have not flourished in mainstream educational frameworks as well as those with mild learning difficulties, such as dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.
Lipman, who has worked in the field of education for over 20 years and is originally from the US, said that there are many pupils who slip through the cracks in mainstream religious schools, and that Ohr Moshe is intended to provide them with the support and assistance that will enable them to excel academically and not give up on their educational potential.
There are approximately just eight to 10 pupils per class from grades seven to 12, which Lipman said is critical to the school’s success in enabling the pupils to develop more successfully, as the teachers are able to give more time to each individual during lessons.
“High school is about keeping options and doors open,” Lipman told The Jerusalem Post
“These children can be anything they want to, they are tremendous individuals who are able to achieve academically and take the high-school diploma, and do not need to be in the state special education system because they have the capability of succeeding in this kind of educational environment,” he said.
“We make them believe in themselves and we find the right methodology to retrain the way they think, so that they realize that it is their efforts, and what they put in to their work, that is what determines what they can achieve.”
Lipman said that parents from both the Anglo national-religious and haredi communities have turned to Ohr Moshe and that he was loathe to turn anyone away, a stance that meant that pupils from both sectors now study together.
He also noted that the Beit Shemesh municipal council and representatives from the haredi and non-haredi political factions at the highest levels have helped the school flourish and assisted with the renovation of the new cam - pus.
“We don’t want to turn any child away, especially not on the grounds that they are from a different sector. Everyone needs to respect each other, find the common ground, live and learn together,” said Lipman