Strike intensifies at capital’s Schechter Institute

Institute’s Academic Committee says it will not allow the management to bestow pass grades without its approval.

study group 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
study group 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A five-week strike by faculty members at the Jerusalem-based Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies intensified this week after President David Golinkin announced on Thursday that striking employees would not receive their salaries though August 1 and that students would instead receive “pass” grades.
In response, the institute’s Academic Committee, which holds the sole responsibility and authority for academic matters, said it would not allow the management to bestow pass grades without its approval.
But even if such an approval were forthcoming, what about the content that drew the students to the Masorti (Conservative) Movement’s Schechter Institute in the first place?
“We’re hanging in the air, and worse – losing material” Sara-Tal Hof, a graduate student in Jewish studies, said on Tuesday. “We won’t get the lessons we’ve lost back. I’ll never know about the relationship between Nathan Alterman and Tirzah Atar,” she said of the father and daughter poets, the subject of one of her favorite courses taught by novelist Haim Be’er.
“If they just pass us, that could be problematic for people considering a PhD, but beyond everything it won’t help us with the content we’re missing,” said the 32-year-old, who works as a kindergarten teacher in the capital. “There are very interesting classes at Schechter, the situation is very saddening.”
“We’re not angry at the staff,” Hof said. “We’re disappointed by the management and confused by their contradictory messages. We think the staff’s demands are reasonable, and want them to get what they deserve.”
Administrative staff and faculty at Schechter, which is funded primarily by donations from the Conservative Jewish community in the US, started striking after promises to reinstate cuts in from their salaries during the economic crisis were not met.
There is now growing concern that the some of the approximately 600 students will demand the return of their tuition fees for the spring semester and that the Council for Higher Education will revoke the college’s accreditation.
The Schechter Institute did not respond to a Jerusalem Post query.