Israel – Funding for TALI Schools (2008)

Israel; Funding for TALI Schools (2008)


TALI is the Hebrew acronym for Tigbor Limudei Yahadut: Enriched Jewish Studies. It is the label for an educational reality for Israel’s non-Orthodox population. Until the formation of the first TALI program in 1976, at that time known as the Masorti School, Israeli parents had only two educational options for their children: a conventional state-religious school which allows little room for pluralistic Judaism or the non-religious state school system which falls short of connecting children to any Jewish tradition.

A group of Conservative/Masorti Jewish families who had made aliyah from the United States succeeded through intense lobbying to incorporate a Jewish studies curriculum into their local school that emphasized a modern, pluralistic approach to Judaism. What began in 1976 with one TALI school in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem has grown into a nationwide network of 185 TALI schools and kindergartens.

The goals of TALI education, which is delivered side-by-side with the state designated curriculum in public education, are: (1) to develop an awareness of the tradition and origins of the Jewish people and to foster a respect for the values and symbols of Judaism, (2) to facilitate greater knowledge in the major areas of Jewish studies, (3) to enrich learning through experience of traditional practice, prayer, and observance of Shabbat and holidays, and (4) to educate about Jewish values by nurturing the interactions between school, family and community as part of the curriculum.

In 1987, the TALI Educational Fund (TEF) was founded at the Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies with a goal of representing TALI schools to the Ministry of Education. By 2003, the TALI curriculum for elementary schools was co-published by TEF and the Ministry of Education. Despite collaboration with the Ministry of Education, national funding has been inequitable compared with funds allocated to Orthodox schools. Resource development and programming infrastructure for TALI and TEF schools still depend upon grants from privately funded foundations and donors from Jewish communities around the world.

TALI programs are in 200 schools and pre-schools serving 35,000 students and parents throughout Israel. It is with a consideration of the need for enriched educational opportunity that Women’s League for Conservative Judaism addresses the issue for adequate funding for TALI schools.

WHEREAS 60% of children in Israel are enrolled in public schools including those with TALI affiliation, only 1% of public funding goes to this system, and

WHEREAS, the disparity of funding between Orthodox Israeli schools and others, including TALI schools, is documented by a 2005 study by PANIM, a Jewish renewal and civil rights organization,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Women’s League for Conservative Judaism:

  1. actively supports the efforts of the TALI Educational Fund to gain from the Ministry of Education better and more equitable funding for TALI education;
  2. offers to sisterhood and region leadership a fuller understanding of what the TALI educational program and TALI Educational Fund contribute to the well-being of the future generations of Israelis, including those affiliated with the Masorti Movement; and
  3. urges affiliated members of Women’s League to know and support TALI curricular programming in Israel.