Cornerstone Laid for a Chabad High School for Girls in Haifa


by B. Olidort - KIRYAT SHMUEL, HAIFA

July 13, 2004

By the time this suburb of Haifa will have completed construction on its education complex, more than 2,000 students will be commuting daily from cities in northern Israel to study at any one of its five schools.

Chabad of Haifa began plans to develop Kiryat Hamelech, the four-and-a-half acre spread it received from Haifa’s municipality back in 1997, “as the ultimate educational model in Israel,” says director of Chabad activities in Haifa, Rabbi Leibel Schildkraut.

Construction is just about complete on the Tzivot Menachem boys school, which is due to open next month for the start of the academic year in Israel. At a cost of $2.5 million—most of it subsidized by Israel’s Ministry of Education, the building is state-of-the-art, including 16 classrooms, a computer lab, science lab, library, audio-video room, and a Beit Midrash. For the yeshiva’s 350 students who have until now been learning in cramped, hot shelters, the new building’s airy, sunlit, centrally air-conditioned classrooms awaiting them promises a marked change in their yeshiva experience.

At a time when Israel’s government has been severely reducing funding for education, Kiryat Hamelech nevertheless broke ground last week on a new Girls High School. “Because most of the funds are coming from Israel’s Ministry of Education which is experiencing steep budget cuts, it is miraculous that we could do this,” says Rabbi Schildkraut. The high school, 2,500 square meters in size, will join the existing buildings of the Beit Chaya elementary school for girls and the Tzivot Menachem Talmud Torah for boys. Scheduled for completion in September 2005, the high school’s 300 students will be studying in caravans until their new facility is ready, as they have completely run out of space the elementary school building is sharing with them.

Rabbi Schildkraut points out that although most of the students attending the schools at Kiryat Hamelech are from Israel’s economic lower class, the academic level is high. “Last year the girls’ school was awarded the education prize by Israel’s ministry of education,” he says.

In addition to the girls’ high school, plans for Kiryat Hamelech include the construction of four pre-schools, a sports center, soccer fields, and a Jewish center that will host various educational and recreational activities for the region’s public school children.

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