By Daniel Lowe, Lubavitch UK
Cambridge Hebrew School celebrated the completion of its first academic year this week with a graduation ceremony for close to 30 students and their parents.
The school opened its doors in September 2008 and is jointly run by Chabad of Cambridge and Cambridge Traditional Jewish Community.
“This year has been a real success,” says Rochel Leigh, co-director of Chabad of Cambridge and school principal.
“We have 27 students between the ages of 2 and 12 in 4 classes taught by highly capable teachers from the university’s student body and the local Jewish community.”
The school provides fun activities and crafts, as well as rigorous Hebrew language education using Aleph Champ, a brand new innovative reading system for teaching Hebrew.
As well as offering a stimulating learning environment for its students, the school has also inspired its teachers.
“Rochel has taught us to really believe in the cause of Jewish education,” says Shelly Levenson, a recent graduate from Clare College and one of the school’s teachers.
“The experience showed us that when you are determined, anything is possible.”
The school reflects the unique nature of the 800 year old university town and its Jewish community, and parents are pleased with its success over the past year.
“The parents of the school come from very diverse backgrounds,” said Avi Machlis, father of two students, addressing the graduation ceremony.
“You have managed to create a school and curriculum that has included us all.”
“The school compliments our role within the University,” says Rabbi Reuven Leigh, co-director of Chabad of Cambridge.
“The university attracts large numbers of graduate students, researchers and teaching staff from all over the world. Among them are a significant number of married couples with young children.”
“In the past, we noticed that young families would leave due to the lack of Jewish education. We hope that this scheme will continue to expand so we can cater for the needs of children in the local community as well as young families within the university.”