The scheduled opening this coming January, of a new Jewish Day school is a development that bodes well for the city's Jews. Despite years of fears and speculation to the contrary, Jewish life in Cape Town is enjoying positive growth.
(lubavitch.com) Come January 2010, Cape Town's West Coast Jewish community will have its own junior-primary Jewish day school.
The decision to open the Sinai Academy, as the new school is named, comes after months of research, surveys and discussion with parents, educators and lay leaders of Cape Town's Jewish educational institutions and Jewish communal leadership.
"The Sinai Academy will establish a viable opportunity for young Jewish families looking for the higher, yet affordable, quality of life, and will, please G-d, secure the future of the West Coast Jewish Community – our children," says Rabbi Asher Deren, director of Chabad of the West Coast.
The school, which will open for grades 1-3, is a welcome development for the local community, building as it does upon the success of Gan Chamesh Jewish Montessori Preschool for children ages 18 months-6 years. The Sinai Academy will be on the same site as the Jewish Montessori Preschool, and will utilize nearby sports fields for its sports program.
“Secular/Judaic studies will include a Montessori integrated child-centered education system and will comply with requirements made by Western Cape Dept of Education standards," explained the school’s director Mrs. Zeesy Deren.
The new school offers local families another benefit: An alternative to the infamous R27 traffic, making the hour-plus commute to the nearest Jewish day school, an ever growing dilemma for families committed to Jewish Education.
Dr. Antoni Rod, a specialist physician whose children go to the preschool, is enrolling his eldest daughter at The Sinai Academy Primary School.
"It's a great relief to know that the Jewish needs of our children are taken care of – they'll be instilled with a love of yiddishkeit as they go forward and cement their knowledge of who they are as Jewish people in a challenging environment."
Gan Chamesh Jewish Montessori Preschool opened its doors in January 2006 with six children in a renovated one room classroom. Today, three years later, enrollment has grown to 45.
The Sinai Academy expects to open with about 20 children, and anticipates a similar growth pattern.