Jewish boarding schools

Find the top Jewish and Hebrew boarding schools in Canada and the US

Jewish schools are faith-based schools, affiliated with the religion of Judaism. Sometimes they’re called “Hebrew schools.” Most private Jewish schools are day schools (known as “Jewish day schools”).

There are also great Jewish boarding schools, though. These schools are slowly popping up across Canada and the United States (US).

For instance, American Hebrew Academy, in Greensboro, North Carolina, was founded in 1996 and began accepting students in 2001. Right now, it's unique: it's the only international Jewish college prep boarding school in the world.

There are also Jewish boarding schools which are on the more religious side. These schools, often called "yesihvas," are traditional schools devoted to the study of Jewish texts, such as the Talmud, as well as rabbinic literature. There are also yeshiva schools which offer day programs.

Jewish and Hebrew boarding schools tend to be very strong in core academics, such as math, science, and the language arts. They also offer intensive Jewish studies programs, focused on torah study, Jewish history, and Hebrew. And, they aim to instill traditional Jewish values and a strong Jewish identity in their students.

Facts about Jewish boarding schools

  • Age range: Most Jewish boarding schools are for older students, from middle school and up. In fact, some only start at the high school level.
  • Costs: Annual tuition for a private Jewish boarding school normally includes education, lodgings, and food. This can range from $20, 000 to $50, 000. There may be extra costs not included in tuition, though, such as school uniforms, textbooks, and athletic fees (note: some schools include these as part of tuition).
  • Day programs: Many boarding schools offer day programs as well. This means they’ll often have a mix of international and residential students. Day programs tend to be much cheaper than boarding programs.
  • Admissions: Each school has its own admission process. Common application requirements include interviews, entrance tests, transcripts, and academic assessments. Schools also have specific deadlines for receipt of application materials.

Benefits of Jewish boarding schools

  • Academics: Private Jewish boarding schools, in Canada, the US, and elsewhere, offer a world-class education. They offer a dual-track curriculum: focused on (i) core academics and (ii) Jewish and Hebrew studies. This is challenging, stimulating, and can be great preparation for university or college.
  • Community: One of the main reasons to go to a boarding school is to be part of a close-knit community. Your child will get to live, learn and grow up with their classmates. This is a special perk of Jewish boarding schools, where your child will share a unique cultural identity with their peers.
  • Independence: Boarding school students are expected to take charge of their own lives. They’ll need to develop daily routines, follow day and evening schedules, and make important decisions. This self-reliance is sure to serve them down the line, both in and outside of school.
  • Academic support and development: Boarding schools, Jewish or otherwise, challenge kids academically, and help to instill discipline in them. They also often have special programs to support your child’s learning and social needs (such as special needs programs). And your child will be encouraged to pursue their passions outside of class as well.
  • Social and personal development: The boarding environment presents great opportunities for personal growth and social development. Your child will be required to deal with all aspects of life, from academics to learning their daily routine to managing relationships. This can spark growth and accelerate maturity.
  • Value education: In faith-based schools, such as a Jewish school, your child will learn important values. They’ll learn the principles of the Jewish faith, and how to apply them to their lives. They’ll come to grasp the importance of community, respect, responsibility, family, and charity (or what’s called “tzedakah”). Depending on the school, they may also learn about “zionism,” which emphasizes the value and importance of Israel as the Jewish state.
  • Extracurriculars: Most boarding schools, including Jewish and Hebrew ones, have extensive extracurriculars. This can include outdoor education, sports, and arts programs.
  • Small classes: Many boarding schools have small class sizes and low student-to-teacher ratios. This can lead to a more intimate and interactive learning environment. It can also promote more engaged learning.
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