Ra'anana wins struggle to open TALI school

"We are Israelis and Jews, not just Israelis," says a head of an NGO which promoted the initiative.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Ra'anana has received permission from the Education Ministry to open a TALI school after two years of petitioning. Rachel Oren, head of the Ra'anana NGO which led the campaign for the school, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that "We've been working for two years to achieve this. Without [their] permission, we wouldn't have been able to establish a TALI school." TALI is a program for enriched Jewish studies. In some state schools, it is an enrichment track alongside the regular studies. In Ra'anana, the Meged state school has offered such a program for the past 11 years. However, having been granted permission, Oren and the other parents can now open a new school, where the educational philosophy is entirely shaped by TALI. "There are 300 families in the organization and 430 children from kindergarten to middle school in TALI programs," Oren said. Oren explained that obtaining permission from the Education Ministry was critical because it would enable them to open a public school. "We didn't want to found a private school. We wanted a public school. All children should receive a TALI education, not just those whose parents can pay [for it]," she said. TALI is nominally affiliated with the Conservative Schechter Institute, but Oren said each school's parents association decides upon its own affiliation. "We decided not to affiliate with any movement. Eighty-five percent of the parents do not affiliate at all. But they believe it's important to give their children a Jewish education. "We are Israelis and Jews, not just Israelis," she emphasized. Asked why they didn't send their children to state religious schools for a Jewish education, Oren replied, "State religious is Orthodox. In TALI, we teach Judaism as culture and pluralistic Judaism. We don't just teach them what is permitted and forbidden. "We are not oriented towards the religious community. We are looking to attract secular people who want to give their children a Jewish education. That doesn't mean we don't have religious and Shabbat-observant parents, because we do," she added. There are more than 70 TALI schools around the country. Oren thanked the ministry and Ra'anana's mayor in a statement. "We thank Ra'anana Mayor Mr. Nahum Hofree and to the Education Ministry Central District for their continued support of TALI Ra'anana, and for their cooperation in various processes necessary to get permission. Now we can continue [working with] the municipality and the ministry... to establish a TALI school in the city, put together a faculty, and find or build a suitable building to house the school and meet its particular needs," she said. The TALI Foundation also congratulated the organization and promised its support. In the 2008-2009 school year, two more first-grade TALI classes will open in the Meged school, joining the nine other existing classes.