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New Zealand's Only Jewish Day School Forced to Close

The only Jewish day school in New Zealand’s capital of Wellington has been forced to close its doors at the end of the year.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 8/30/2012, 12:12 AM

Children in school (illustrative)
Children in school (illustrative)
Flash 90

The only Jewish day school in New Zealand’s capital of Wellington has been forced to close its doors at the end of the year.

Citing lack of resources as the main reason for the school’s closure, president of the Wellington Jewish Community Centre Claire Massey told J-Wire that the news “wasn’t a complete surprise,” as there are currently only sixteen students at the school between the ages of 5 and 13.

The Moriah School was founded in 1985 and at its peak had almost 60 students.

As part of its Holocaust education program, the school became involved in a project to amass 1.5 million buttons, representing the children murdered by the Nazis.

“The closure of Moriah College is viewed with regret by both the New Zealand Jewish Community and the rest of the country,” Stephen Goodman, president of the New Zealand Jewish Council, told J-Wire.

“While relatively small Moriah has added to the spread and understanding of Jewish values in Wellington and across the rest of New Zealand. Activities such as their button project, raising Holocaust awareness, could only be carried by a Jewish school. In addition their involvement with many community and cultural events will be sorely missed,” he said.

Goodman said that, “any loss” to Jewish education “diminishes us all.”

Wellington is the second largest Jewish community after Auckland, which is home to the majority of the country’s estimated 7,000 Jews.