Brooklyn, NY – The Lamplighters Yeshiva, a Jewish Montessori school based in Crown Heights, was featured today as part of a continuing series by DNAinfo.com (http://bit.ly/14dmpLn) on Jewish parochial education in Brooklyn. The school is being praised by many for its emphasis on both secular and religious studies.
Founded in 2010 by Yocheved Sidof, the 44-person student body – consisting of a co-ed preschool class and first and second-grade boys – receives instruction in math, science and English, as well as a religious curriculum that adheres to “Hasidic ideals.”
Sidof said she named the yeshiva after the well-known Chassidic concept that every Chassid is “a lamplighter for the rest of the world.” “We want to create a model,” Sidof said. “This community needs this, really, really needs this, on many levels. I think the world in general is looking for educational reform, not just the schools in our community.”
The path to reform has not been an easy one for Sidof who has had to convince wary parents that their children will still receive the same quality religious education at Lamplighters as they would at any other traditional yeshiva. “Our Judaic curriculum is the same. We offer secular curriculum from a young age which other local schools don’t necessarily,” Sidof said. “The idea is that we give them the education from a young age that can really light them on fire.”
Sidof’s efforts have started paying off, as the Crown Heights community has begun warming to the unconventional yeshiva. “We’re starting to be recognized by the community – they’re coming here to visit,” said Rivkah Schack, co-director of Lamplighters.
The yeshiva currently has an intensive teacher training program and hopes to add a first and second-grade class for girls next year.