New Jewish school opens in Burlington

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 6:20 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A first-of-its-kind school has recently opened up in Burlington. Our Ike Bendavid visited Vermont’s first-ever Jewish primary school.

“Our goal is to create a Jewish elementary school in Vermont, which there has never been before,” said Draizy Junik, executive director of Tamim Academy. She says the school is open to anyone, combining Jewish values and culture into their education. "A holistic Jewish day school that really integrates secular studies, with the Hebrew emersion and Judaic studies, and giving the kids a well-rounded education.

The private school currently has only one class which of 14 students mixed with kindergarten and 1st grade. They plan to grow each year with the class. “Just this year a couple of families moved here specifically to be here for this school,” Junik said.

She says the smaller class sizes also help with in-person schooling during the pandemic. “We are very very mindful about these practices and ensuring it’s a safe place for kids to be,” Junik said.

As numbers in religious observance drop statewide, Junik says their unique model of learning with small class sizes will bring parents in. “I think we are at a time in this country and in Vermont where parents are really, really valuing and looking for that small individual learning,” she said.

“We were looking for something different then what was being offered,” said Robin Maza, a parent at the school. She says she moved from New York to Vermont so her child can have this unique model of education. “If we didn’t have this option we would have done a small pod situation with maybe a few other families that we felt comfortable with.”

School officials say they plan to use each of the floors of their existing building as the school grows. Meanwhile, Out in the back, construction continues on a new synagogue and community center.

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