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November 11, 1994 - Image 57

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-11-11

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Chabad School
In Moscow

Moscow (JTA) — Inside a spot-
less classroom in the Chamah
Jewish school in northern
Moscow, 12 young boys wearing
yarmulkes hunker down earnest-
ly over their math problems.
Comrade Vladimir Ilyich
Lenin, founder of the Soviet state,
stares up at them from an open
page in their textbooks, while
Rabbi Menachem Schneerson,
the late Lubavitcher rebbe, gazes
down from a framed photograph
on the wall.
Welcome to Moscow's newest
Jewish school, where religious
Judaism and Soviet teaching
methods are shaping young Russ-
ian hearts and minds.
The school, which opened last
month, is run by the Chamah In
Society of Jewish Cul-
ture and Tradition, a Chabad
organization, with support from
Moscow's Department of Educa-
tion as well as philanthropists in
the United States.
These diverse influences are
apparent throughout the school:
The names of American funders
are written on the walls in Eng-
, lish and Chabad educational
posters describe religious obser-
vation in Hebrew.
Meanwhile, the immaculate
miniature chairs and tables, the
fastidiously tidy arrangement of

Corner of Pontiac Trail & S. Commerce Rds.

WALLED LAKE • 669-2010

Lenin, Schneerson
and some non-Jews.

toys and the daisy-shaped, over-
sized bathtubs — the school's
"swimming pools" — seem
straight out of the pages of So-
viet Life magazine.
Inside the low-slung, rectan-
gular two-story brick building, 25
teachers, nurses and teachers'
aides are educating and inform-
ing their young charges — 72
kindergarten children and 30 el-
ementary school students be-
tween the ages of 6 and 10.
Classes include math, music,
art and physical education, as
well as Hebrew, Jewish tradition
and Torah. The kitchen is kosher,
and while the kindergartners
have classes together, the ele-
mentary school is divided into
separate sections for boys and
girls. Those who come from poor
families can stay overnight.
A decade ago, religious educa-
tion of this type was unthinkable
and, indeed, illegal in the Soviet
Union. Yet in today's Russia,
Moscow is home to seven Jewish
day schools, most of them reli-
Instead of operating under-
ground or fighting against the
city authorities, the Chamah
school accepts government fund-
ing — and non-Jewish students,



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