The Hebrew Charter School in Harlem is a public school accepting both Jewish and non-Jewish students from the neighborhood and its environs.
The school was founded by the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, and students are taught only in Hebrew.
Students of all ages learn to speak, think, and sing in Hebrew, regardless of where they come from. The school's goal is to provide the children with an additional language. The various classes are named for Israeli cities, providing an opportunity for the students to familiarize themselves not only with the Hebrew language but also with the land of Israel.
Arutz Sheva met Steinhardt Foundation President and CEO Rabbi David Gedzelman while touring the school with the Gesher Organization and Diaspora Ministry's "Community 7."
"This is a public school which runs independently," Gedzelman explained. "We founded the school five years ago, and we see great value in bringing the Hebrew language not only to Jews in the US but to everyone else as well. We know that we need to bring Hebrew to every American in order to ensure that American Jews see the language's value."
Do you also explain to non-Jews what Judaism is and what Israel is? Or is that not your purpose?
"At the end of the day, if an American non-Jew learns modern Hebrew from Jews and falls in love with Israel's culture, he will become a friend to the State of Israel. That in itself is a great thing," he said.