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Jewish Education in Istanbul, Turkey
The Turkish Jewish community is struggling.  A small enclave of 20,000 in a country of 80 million Muslems, communty’s continuity is threatened by an overwhelming rate of intermarriage and assimilation, currently reaching 30%.   ULUS, the Jewish school in Istanbul, now serving approximately 600 (half the student population), has helped preserve Jewish identity and provide a safe, high-quality Jewish and secular education for the last 17 years.  In fact, it was recently named the highest-rated school academically in Turkey, with many of its graduates pursuing successful careers following graduation.  However, due to a deepening economic crisis within the Jewish community of Turkey specifically, many families are no longer able to afford the school's tuition.   

Challenges to the Turkish Jewish Community
Though the Turkish economy as a whole has recovered from crisis in recent years, the members of the Jewish community in Itanbul, were particularly affected by the downt turn.  Many Jewish businesses have been forced to close, both due to the export of the textile industry (which had been dominated by Turkish Jews) to the Far East, and to the influx of large retail chains replacing locally-owned businesses. In addition, many Jews lost their savings due to shifts in inflation and interest rates.  As a result, previously well-to-do Jews have lost both their jobs and their savings, and are relying on the community for their survival. Throughout their 500-year history in Turkey, Jews have prided themselves on their ability to care for their own. In a strong economy, community-support provided the bulk of income needed to maintain communal frameworks and support those in need. However, today, with many in the community unemployed and others with diminished incomes, resources are severely strained.

Impact on the Children
This situation has impacted directly on the children.  ULUS receives no government funding.  Since more than one-third of the parents are unable to afford tuition costs, there are now few subsidies available from within the community and many needy children are left with little choice but to attend the predominately Muslem-oriented public schools. These schools, for the most part, lack the same academic standards and quality education available at ULUS. In addition, Jewish children attending public schools often lack access to a network of Jewish programming and education.  Community leaders have explained that deprives them the children of a basis on which to build and reinforce their Jewish identity, and further exposes them to increased levels of assimilation and intermarriage.

Educating Underpriveleged Jewish Children in Istablul
Yaldeinu provides critical scholarship assistance to Jewish children in Istablul, enabling them to continue to study in an enriching and high-quality educational environment.   A scholarship gift covers full tuition costs and is delivered to our partner school for the sole use of a child’s tuition.  Each scholarship is $5,000.

 

 

 

 

 

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