Background In 1985 the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolved to endorse Reform Jewish day schools, to encourage the establishment of day schools, and to authorize the Department of Education to provide materials, curricula, and teacher training for these schools. At the same time, the UAHC reaffirmed its continued strong support of the public school systems of North America.
There are now 19 Reform day schools in North America, two of which are ce lebrating their 25th anniversaries. Additional schools are in the process of formation. Many will require the nurturing that can and should be provided by the UAHC and its member congregations. In some communities, local federations provide funding assistance to Reform day schools.
The Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools (PARDeS) became an affiliate of the UAHC in 1991, which assured the day schools a prominent position in the Reform movement. PARDeS is funded through school and individual memberships and receives the educational and administrative support of the UAHC Department of Education and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).
The Reform movement continues to strive for the highest Jewish educational goals in its supplementary religious schools. In recognition of the need to ensure Jewish continuity, however, it is crucial that we also strengthen our efforts to provide opportunities for intensive full-time Jewish educational experiences. Reform Jewish day schools have a unique role to play in contributing to the growth and vitality of the American Jewish co mmunity. We believe that full-time Jewish education will help develop a group of informed and committed Jews who will influence the Reform movement and the entire Jewish community.
THEREFORE, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations resolves to:
1. Honor Beth Am Day School in Miami, Florida, and Rodeph Sholom Day School in New York, New York, for their pioneering efforts in founding Reform Jewish day schools in North America, celebrate their 25th Anniversaries, and congratulate and thank them for providing 25 years of quality full-time Reform Jewish education for thousands of children and for their significant role in the organization and development of PARDeS;
2. Applaud the HUC-JIR for expanding its curriculum and facilities for the training of educators and urge the HUC-JIR to provide more educational opportunities specific to the requirements of day school education and administration;
3. Call for rabbis, UAHC regions, congregations and their members to support Reform day schools in their local communities through advocacy, publicity, and membership in PARDeS;
4. Ask members of Reform congregations to urge all Jewish federations to apply equal and fair standards in providing funding for all Jewish day schools;
5. Congratulate the Jewish communities that have established Reform day schools and offer encouragement to those communities that are in the process of developing day schools; and
6. Urge congregations in other communities to engage in feasibility studies and to explore the creation of day schools in their areas.