Meitarim is Making News

Since 2000, Meitarim has been providing an educational framework, organizational support, and political legitimacy to communities who want to start new schools that serve as an alternative to the current two- track state school system. Meitarim takes it upon itself to identify, train, and if necessary, supplement the income of qualified administrators and teachers.

In July 2008, the Knesset formally passed legislation for pluralistic Jewish public schools, pushed forward by Rabbi Melchior, based on the Meitarim model. However, the law was not immediately implemented. Since 2009, Meitarim has answered the societal need for pluralistic education by subsidizing the additional school hours for Jewish studies built into the network’s pedagogical model. Also over the past three years, Meitarim, along with similar institutions, participated in a task force, which has strategized with the Israeli government in order to find the best way to implement the law.

As of September 2011, the 2009 law regarding state-funded pluralistic schools remained unimplemented. Still, the Meitarim Network began the school year with over over 5,000 children learning in more than 50 frameworks throughout Israel, including primary and secondary schools, kindergartens, and post-high school/pre-military Jewish leadership institute (mechina), and post-military beit midrash (Jewish learning center) for university students and young professionals. Hundreds of faculty members have graduated from Meitarim&rsquo~s Jewish academic enrichment programs. Meitarim continues to grow annually, and is committed to opening at least three new schools in Israel&rsquo~s periphery every year.

On February 6, 2012, the Knesset Committee for Education, Culture and Sport unanimously agreed upon the final steps and practical amendments for the implementation of a comprehensive State Pluralistic Education System, based on the Meitarim model. As a result, Meitarim has more responsibilities than ever before. Existing secular and religious state schools now have the option to transition to the new pluralistic model at the state&rsquo~s expense. While Meitarim schools face competition for government funding from other pluralistic schools, the government will prioritize funding religious and secular schools&rsquo~ transitions to the new pluralistic system.

At the same time, this new public school system will be based on the Meitarim framework. As the flagship model for this new educational system, Meitarim will play an essential role in the curriculum development and staff training for the ninety secular and religious schools that will transition to the new pluralistic system by 2014. The future of this new national educational system, which has the potential to grow into the largest of the three Jewish school systems in the country, depends on the continued expansion and development of Meitarim.

Over the next four to five years, the privately initiated philanthropically funded Meitarim Network will be transformed into a comprehensive national third option of official Jewish education, funded by the Ministry of Education and the State of Israel.

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