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The Free Jewish Education Movement has Begun

August 9, 2011 – 6:09 pm69 Comments

With the cost of the private Jewish school becoming increasingly unaffordable, Jonathan Schauder presents an example of a plan to provide better Jewish education in a state school.

Glen Eira College – Australia’s First Jewish State School?
The Free Jewish Education Movement has Begun!

Over the past few decades Jewish Education has become synonymous with private schooling. There are so many good reasons for this to have happened: environmental, community, political, cultural, historical, and demographic factors have all played their part. But you know what, the politics has changed, the times have changed and the community has changed!

And so the theory about Jewish Education has already started changing too.

Glen Eira College will be a school where Jews go over the next decade, it is unavoidable: a perfect location for a wide range of the community, under-enrolled, no zoning to speak of, and outstanding, brand-new facilities and programs. Jews will go there.

But surely we, the generation of leaders, parents and grandparents who have the capacity to take control of this destiny understand that now is the time for a more proactive, unified and deliberate approach to creating Melbourne’s first Jewish State school.

Everyone I speak to can see it is a no brainer – from Rabbis to new immigrants, from Chabad to Mizrachi, from those that care, to those that haven’t really thought it through. The call to action is clear. Make Glen Eira College not only a school for Jews, but put in place sufficient structures and systems, values and vision that the community will have a new Jewish State School!

And the strategy is so simple (see suggested timeline below):

1. Get the community excited, give Glen Eira College a Jewish brand.

2. Get Jewish kids going there!

3. Get VCE Judaism and Society introduced as a mainstream subject choice.

4. Create internal and external structures and services to deliver the full gamut Jewish values and Hebrew language options, leading to the introduction of VCE Hebrew. (There are over 20 Jewish studies and Hebrew learning type services around the immediate school location).

5. And have all of that managed and administered from a central Jewish Culture services office to ensure the kids are getting the best services, the right mixes and a well designed progression over the 6 years.

Herzl said, if you will it, it is no dream! Well no one is dreaming here. This strategy is ready to go – here today and the path is clear.

The waters of the sea are parting and the Jewish community can choose to take the path to liberate themselves from the extraordinary, wonderful and yet limiting Jewish Private School centred model that we have so desperately and deliberately created over the past 60 years.

So what is the call to action? Simple.

Tell everyone you know, and anyone who asks (forward them a link to this article!) –

“Did you know that there will be a Jewish State School in Melbourne?”

“Yes, really, Glen Eira College on the corner of Neerim and Kambrook Roads!”

“Will it service all Jews: liberal, orthodox and other?”

“Yes, finally the revolution has come to bring the mainstream community together to bridge the gap in how inexpensive, high quality Jewish identity can be achieved for all children and for all families!”

“How do I get involved?”

“Tell everyone, to send their kids there, to ask more questions, to contact the Principal and Education Minister, to tell your Rabbi to support the concept, tell your community organisations to become part of the movement.” And do it now!

All the factors are in place, all the people are willing, and all the strategic forces are aligned. The waters have parted. Start walking! No, start running!


  • Change  in community perception of school brand
  • Community Groundswell!
  • A community decision is made to target this school as our community school.


  • Syllabus design and changes and establishing a Jewish Central Office
  • VCE Religion and Society (Judaism focus) introduced
  • Get all interested services on board to collaborate to provide the full range of Jewish activities before and after school hours


  • Internal systems and structural changes to enable in-school learning and activities
  • First cohort of VCE Religion and Society students sit the exam.


  • Work with the school community to design an enduring identity progression and context at the school
  • Achieve a School top 20 set of VCE results


  • Consolidate and confirm the school’s place in the centre of Jewish growth, continuity and community lif

Jonny Schauder is one of Melbourne’s leading consultants in the area of Change Management, High Performing Teams and Leadership. He is a Psychologist and has lectured on Negotiation and Influence in the Monash Business School MBA, and is managing director of The Change Agent Network.

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