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Lower School Grants Available for Jews of Color

Building the Senesh Mosaic: Lower School Grants Available for Jews of Color

Hannah Senesh Community Day School, located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, is launching a new initiative to increase representation of Jews of Color and multiracial families in our lower school (kindergarten and other grades with open seats in 1st-4th grades). 

Senesh is an open and inclusive Jewish Day School committed to the rich mosaic of Jewish life. As we build this mosaic, we strive to increase the representation of Jews of Color who have been underrepresented in our community and who would find a warm and welcoming Jewish home at Senesh.

Our core Jewish values guide our work in building a school where every Jewish child is included and has a strong sense of belonging, where every voice and every story matters.

With this in mind, a grant has been established to invest in resources to enable more Jews of Color to attend the lower school at Senesh. Jews of Color in this context refers to Jews who identify as Black and/or African, Indigenous, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latin(x), and/or Multiracial.

Grant participants will pay a reduced tuition of $15,000, from $36,400, per year during their time in the lower school at Senesh (kindergarten through fourth grades), regardless of what grade they enter. Additional financial aid is available for those who demonstrate need.

For more information about this grant, please contact Admissions Director Annette Powers at apowers@hannahsenesh.org.

CONTEXT:

Our core Jewish values guide our work in building a school community, creating and implementing programs and policies that value difference, and fostering inclusion and belonging.

Since ancient times, Jews have been a diverse, multiracial, multi-ethnic people. Senesh has always recognized this and aims to provide an unparalleled, modern academic home that is committed to representing this rich mosaic of Jewish life.

For 26 years, we have intentionally built this mosaic with our students, faculty, administration, and families through their diverse identities across ethnicity, race, nationality, Jewish identity and practice, interfaith family composition, sexual orientation, gender identity, life experiences, socio-economic status, perspectives and worldviews.

Our community reflects the great diversity of the modern Jewish people, including families who speak 13 languages, live in 29 zip codes, and represent various groups such as LGBTQ+, Russian, Israeli, and interfaith families, but there is more work to be done.

To date, Jews of Color have been underrepresented in our school community. In order to reflect our values and better represent the mosaic of the Brooklyn Jewish community and provide every Jewish family with the opportunity for a progressive Jewish education, we seek to create an inclusive, welcoming space for more Jews of Color.

For the past few years, we have taken a deep dive into our diversity, equity and inclusion work and this recruitment initiative is an important part of that work. A summary of our work in this area is available on this webpage. Our specific work on inclusion of Jews of Color consists of:

  • An active parent diversity group who plan and produce events for parents such as book clubs, speakers, and trainings

  • Jews of Color representation in Conversations@Senesh speaker series

  • Anti-racist staff training

  • Revision of social studies curriculum 

  • Expansion of Social and Emotional learning as a foundation for building community, exploring identity and bias, and developing empathy

  • Creation of K-8 global Jewish community holiday curriculum and events

  • Partnership with JOC organizations and leaders

Our commitment towards ongoing work in the JOC community includes a continuation of the above and these additional initiatives:

  • JOC student affinity and parent groups

  • JOC advisor for school leadership and community

  • Workshops, events, and programs for parents, alumni, and the public to deepen engagement in areas related to DEI at Senesh and beyond

  • Recruitment of a diverse student body and staff 

  • Connection and partnership with diverse communities outside of Senesh

  • Audit and development of curriculum to determine gaps in our curriculum and which voices/experiences are missing.

LIVING OUR VALUES

  • Our core Jewish values guide our work in building a school community and creating and implementing programs and policies that value diversity and representation of all Jews, and foster inclusion and belonging.

  • We value the dignity and self-worth of each member of the Jewish community and believe that every Jew should have a place where they are included and have a strong sense of belonging, where every voice is heard and every story matters.

  • We are committed to creating space to center customs and traditions that have been marginalized and uncover lost histories.

  • This initiative will provide all students with the opportunity to learn from one another and become the leaders of the Jewish community of today and tomorrow.

  • Diverse classrooms encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity for all students. 

  • Meaningful relationships between individuals with different racial or ethnic backgrounds impacts how people treat racial and ethnic groups.