The New Jersey Jewish Week reports on a stew at a NJ Charter School.
Neither Floretta Caldwell nor her husband is Jewish, but this year at their daughter Dionna’s request they celebrated Chanukah.
And a few weeks ago on the way to her piano lesson, the little girl started chatting away in Hebrew. “I said, ‘Dionna, I have no idea what you just said,’” her mother laughed.
Dionna, who is African American and will also celebrate Christmas and Kwanza this month, is a first grader at Hatikvah International Academy Charter School in East Brunswick, N.J. The school, which opened this fall and has 96 students in kindergarten through second grade, is one of two Hebrew charter schools in the New York area and six in the entire country. They are part of a nascent but ambitious movement of publicly funded (and privately supplemented), tuition-free schools that, while forbidden from promoting religious practice, teach Hebrew language and Jewish/Israeli culture…