A Messianic Jewish Day School
© January 2004 by Asher Intrater
According to Deuteronomy 6, one of our top priorities in
faith is to train our children. Here are excerpts from a letter that Asher
shared with congregational leaders in Israel recently concerning the need
for a Messianic Jewish day school alternative.
1. A twelve year old prayer:
Chayim Birnbaum is an Israeli Messianic Jew. He is the son of Pastor Shmuel
and Haya Birnbaum. He's 12 years old and in 7th grade. He is a wonderful
young man, and a godly influence on our son, Amiel, who himself is in 6th
This past Hanukah, he and Ami spent time together. And prayed together.
And talked about the challenges they both face - at school. They talked
of drug use, of sexual immorality, of hatred of God, of physical and emotional
violence. (Not to mention, occultism and rebellion). Not "their" problem, but what they were facing among their peers at school.
In SIXTH (!) grade.
2. Congregational growth and children:
We have been blessed at Tiferet Yeshua congregation over the past year to
see a significant number of new Sabras come to faith in Yeshua. Some of
them are young families with young children.
On Shabbat on the first day of Hanukah, we had 50 children in our children's
program. What a blessing! Well, yes. And no.
It gave us a glimpse of the future. We saw how damaged the children are
in our generation. These children are so hurting and so out of control and
so uneducated and so immoral and so undisciplined and so unloved (many have
never known their fathers, and many who do have fathers have had horrible
experiences from them).
3. Looking at the Future:
Let us just suppose that in all the Israeli congregations, the evangelism
really works; - and that we have many new families and many new children.
Do we really think that 45 minutes for a Shabbat school class is going to
combat six days a week in the secular school system? Even the best 4-day "bible" camps are no replacement for daily education.
Can you imagine an ultra orthodox Jewish family sending their children to
a secular school and saying, "We'll give them religious values at home"?
We, like many of the Messianic parents in Israel, have always been in favor
of "mainstreaming" our children into the public school system.
After all, we want them to be fully "Israeli" in their worldview.
And after all, we said, sooner or later they are going to have to deal with
those problems of sin and satan anyway. And of course, we said, the real
responsibility for moral and spiritual upbringing comes from the home.
We have put four children through the Israeli school system. We have tried
every avenue of secular and religious schools. The school system has gone
down hill rapidly over the past fifteen years. Since the circumstances are
different, perhaps we need a paradigm shift to deal with it.
4. What are the Alternatives?
One solution is to send our children to the enormously expensive foreign
run private schools. But that is financially impossible for 99 percent of
Israeli families. And in that case there is a problem of really being socially
Another option is a cooperative home school network. That's possible, but
would require a dependency on foreign material, and a full time demand upon
the mother to handle the program. Except for a few foreign families, that
solution is also highly impractical.
The only other alternative is "Messianic Day Schools." A Messianic
Day School would have to, 1. be Hebrew speaking, 2. have high moral and
spiritual values, 3. have top quality education, 4. prepare the children
for Israeli national achievement examinations and for Army enlistment.
5. What are the Challenges?
As far as I know, there are two fledgling and struggling day schools, one
in Jerusalem (Makor Hatikva) and one in Tiberias (Peniel).
What these schools would need is support: financial support, manpower, facilities,
teachers, pastoral backing, etc. Almost all of the problems that Israeli
Messianic Day schools would face could be dealt with by prayer, financial
support, and backing of the congregations.
The problem is first a change of worldview. The second is the support of
the pastors. And the third is money. Lots of money. It takes money to raise
a family. It takes money to run a day school.
There are particular challenges from seventh to twelfth grade. We can't
stop at sixth grade, for in seventh is when the stronger moral temptations
start. We must offer our children an alternative from kindergarten to graduation.
6. There are Benefits
Imagine if there were strong Messianic Day Schools in all of the major cities
in the country; and then with extensions in all other living centers. They
could be sources of jobs for believers, unity in the body, strength to the
congregations, and could raise up a generation of young champions, ready
to bring blessing and revival to the entire nation of Israel.
It's not a question of whether our children can "survive" in an
Israeli secular school, but rather of choosing the best way to raise our
children in the "holiness and admonition of the Lord."
to Articles 2004