Recognizing the importance of the Hebrew language and its potential as a vital force in the American public sphere, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life has been a pioneer in the Hebrew language charter school movement.
Schools across the United States offer dual-language programs in a wide range of languages, including Chinese, Spanish, Greek, and Arabic. These programs are a proven method of making students more engaged in their studies, building literacy, raising academic achievement, and preparing children to live and thrive in a multicultural global environment. An intensive focus on foreign language acquisition in a school’s curriculum supports positive evidence-based learning and developmental outcomes among students.
In addition to the numerous benefits intrinsic to studying a second language, the study of Hebrew offers several particular advantages. Hebrew has gone through a profound revitalization over the past century and a half as it has been reborn from a classical into a living language. The modernization and secularization of the language and its transformation to a spoken, cultural medium has been central to the development of a secular Hebrew-speaking society and culture in modern-day Israel. This unique historical occurrence—the renaissance of a language and its role in the creation of culture and society—is deeply instructive, offering meaningful opportunities for students to explore the evolution and purposes of language and its function in building and sustaining communities worldwide.
Hebrew also powerfully exemplifies the capacity of language to unite people across time and space. Even prior to its revitalization, Hebrew served as a connector of communities around the world. The study of the Hebrew language, therefore, is a valuable vehicle for encouraging students’ development as global citizens and fostering students’ commitments to dialogue and understanding.
Through its support of Hebrew language charter schools, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life works to promote Hebrew understanding and literacy in the general population.
Hebrew Public was founded by the Areivim Philanthropic Group with the in-kind and philanthropic support of The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life in 2009 to help advance the Hebrew language charter school movement. Hebrew Public’s mission is to lead a national movement of exceptional, diverse public charter schools that teach Modern Hebrew to children of all backgrounds and prepare them to be successful global citizens. Beginning with Hebrew Language Academy Charter School, launched in 2009, Hebrew Public’s network of five managed and six affiliate schools has grown across the country.
Hebrew Public works with planning teams across the country to help develop new Hebrew charter schools. Once a new school opens its doors to students and families, Hebrew Public provides a full range of ongoing support to individual schools including curricular resources, coaching and mentoring for school leaders, operating loans and grants, and more.
The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life has given both financial and in-kind support to Hebrew Public.