Enrollment Trend Report: The Impact of the Israel-Hamas War on Jewish Day School Enrollment in North America

In the wake of the Israel-Hamas war, the landscape of Jewish day schools and yeshivas in North America has experienced significant shifts. This second Enrollment Trend Report delves into the influx of temporary Israeli students and an emerging trend of interest from public and independent school students for mid-year transfer to Jewish day schools during this time.

Covering the period from the start of the war in October, 2023 to December 8th, 2023, this report presents a snapshot of the responses from enrollment professionals and heads of school from 110 schools in the United States and Canada. Data collection was open for two weeks from November 27th, 2023 through December 8th, 2023. While the sample is not fully representative of the field of Jewish day schools and yeshivas, it clearly depicts that the trends reported herein are happening amongst one-third of the Prizmah network of schools.

The report highlights a significant increase in inquiries and temporary enrollments1 from Israeli students and transfer students from public and independent schools into Jewish day schools and yeshivas in North America following the Israel-Hamas war.

The surge in inquiries from Israeli students has prompted Jewish day schools and yeshivas to swiftly address the evolving needs of these students and their families. The collective resilience of the schools, combined with the collaborative efforts of local Jewish organizations, illustrates a community-driven approach in delivering comprehensive support for the incoming students.

Enrollment Trend Report: The Impact of the Israel-Hamas War on Jewish Day School Enrollment in North America,” Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, January 2024

Has Remote Learning Set Back Jewish Day School Students?

In July 2020, 16 Jewish day high schools fielded a survey to their students about their experience of remote learning since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was developed with support from the Government of Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs as part of work for Unit.Ed—a day school initiative in Europe and Latin America. It was originally fielded in Jewish communities such as Milan, Paris, and Buenos Aires. Subsequently, it was slightly modified for students in North America. North American data were collected and analyzed by Rosov Consulting with the support of the Foundation and in partnership with Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools. After data analysis was complete, interviews were conducted with school leaders at the schools whose students had responded most positively in order to learn about their educational practices during this period.

This bulletin focuses on student responses to the question: “Do you feel that remote learning has set your education back in some way?” Possible responses, on a four-point scale, were: “Not at all,” “A little,” “Somewhat,” and “Very much.” Students were asked to explain their responses to this question in their own words; 1,112 did so.

In total, 1,383 students responded to the North American survey. All of these respondents were enrolled in 9th through 12th grade during the 2019–2020 academic year. Ten of the participating schools are Modern Orthodox; six are Community or Conservative high schools.

Has Remote Learning Set Back Jewish Day School Students?Rosov Consulting, August 2020

Evaluation of the B’Yadenu Demonstration Project: Executive Summary of Final Report of Phase 1

The B’Yadenu (“In our Hands”) Demonstration Project was created because, historically, students with special learning needs (SLNs) have had difficulty succeeding in Jewish day schools (JDSs). Under-enrollment has been due to a variety of school conditions such as lack of skills, strategies, and resources to serve these students, resistance to change, insufficient professional development (PD), and limited experience addressing SLNs. The five-year model demonstration project (Phase 1), funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation and the Ruderman Family Foundation, was designed and implemented by a team from Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), Gateways Access to Jewish Education, and Yeshiva University. Five Boston area JDSs participated in two cohorts: two schools in Cohort 1 (a third dropped out) and three schools in Cohort 2.

The two primary goals articulated in the B’Yadenu Logic Model were to: 1) Create and deliver an effective, sustainable, and adaptable model for JDS education to serve an increased number and range of students with SLNs in the Boston area and 2) Document and disseminate the model for adaptation in other communities. To address those goals, the primary “intervention” of B’Yadenu was professional development (PD) at each school, tailored to each school’s plans and overseen by the school leadership team.

From 2012 through 2016, Goodman Research Group, Inc. (GRG) conducted an external evaluation of the project, funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation.

Evaluation of the B’Yadenu Demonstration Project: Executive Summary of Final Report of Phase 1, November 2016