Intensive Jewish experiences for children and teens – day school, summer overnight camping, and trips to Israel — have a strong correlation with positive Jewish identity in adult life. Providing large numbers of Jewish children and teens with high-quality Jewish experiences is a powerful way to ensure a highly engaged future Jewish Pittsburgh.
In 2002 (the last date for which we have estimates), there were about 8,000 Jewish children (under 18) in Pittsburgh, of whom about 6,000 were of school-age.
|FY2017||FY2016||FY2015||FY2014||FY2013||Net Change||Percent Change|
|Number of children enrolled in a Jewish day school (kindergarten-12th grade)||792||796||802||765||789||(6)||(0.5%)|
|Number of children in a Jewish early-childhood program||1,084||1,079||1,022||997||–||57||0.5%|
|Approximate number of Jewish children in a Jewish early-childhood program||640||–||–||–||–||–||–|
|Number of children enrolled in a part-time Jewish Hebrew or synagogue school||998||1,097||1,165||1,200||1,371||(68)||(9.0%)|
|Number of children (under 18) who went on an organized trip to Israel||TBD||107||106||94||–||1||.01%|
|Number of PJ Library subscribers||TBD||774||740||661||–||34||4.6%|
Three Jewish day schools serve Pittsburgh. One of the schools provides education through eighth grade, one provides education through high school, and the other provides education until the end of 11th grade for boys and 12th grade for girls. Since 2007, enrollment has been essentially stable, but the community reached 800 students in 2014-15 for the first time since 2007. There was a low of 752 students enrolled in a day school in 2011.
For the 2015-2016 school year, the largest single primary school grade in all three schools is 1st grade with 95 students. In 2014-2015, the largest grade was kindergarten with 102 students. The smallest primary school grade is 6th, with 54 students. High school enrollment is highest in 9th and 11th grades with 38 students each.
When looking at average enrollment per grade since 2007, there is a drop-off from 8th grade to 9th grade, likely due to the absence of a high school in one of the schools. Because one of the high schools only provides education to boys until 11th grade, there is a relatively major drop-off from 11th grade to 12th grade as well.
Lower grades have a steady rate of attrition. Once students entered middle school, however, there was a high rate of retention, until ninth grade.
K 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th Average enrollment per grade since 2007 85 79 78 72 69 67 61 61 62 41 39 38 25 Average change from previous grade (6) (1) (6) (3) (2) (6) 0 1 (21) (2) (1) (13)
In 2002, of respondents with children, only 7% reported that cost impeded their ability to send their children to a Jewish day school. This percentage represents some 300 families. Tuition in Pittsburgh to a Jewish day school is lower than local private day schools as well as the average of Jewish day schools around the country.
In Pittsburgh in 2015, 1,079 children were enrolled in a Jewish early-childhood center (which include nursery schools, pre-schools, and day-care centers with Jewish education).
In Pittsburgh, there are four Reform centers, three Conservative centers, two Orthodox centers, and two pluralist/transdenominational centers.
Age Average Tuition (full time) Number of schools reporting data Newborns/infants $10,952 5 1-year-olds $7,362 8 2-year-olds $6,293 9 3-year-olds $6,384 9 4-year-olds $7,287 10 5-year-olds $5,221 4
Organizations that participated in this study include: Adat Shalom Preschool, Community Day School, Hillel Academy Early Childhood Education Program, JCC of Greater Pittsburgh – South Hills, JCC of Greater Pittsburgh – Squirrel Hill, Jewish East Suburban Preschool, L. Harold and Mary W. Kirkell Preschool of Congregation Beth Shalom, Rodef Shalom Congregation Family Center, Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Development Center, and Yeshiva Schools
Collectively, 15 Jewish part-time schools in Pittsburgh are educating 1,097 students in 2015-2016, down from 1,165 during the previous school year.
The breakdown of denomination is
- Five Reform schools
- Four Conservative schools
- Three pluralist/transdenominational schools
- One Orthodox school
- One traditional schools
- One Reconstructionist
Enrollment in part-time schools peaks at 152 in 8th grade for the 2015-16 school year. Adhering to national trends, it decreases substantially after students’ bar/bat mitzvahs.
Organizations that participated in this study include: Adat Shalom Religious School, Beth Samuel Jewish Center Religious School, Blanche and Joseph Weiger Religious School at Temple David, Chabad Fox Chapel Community Hebrew School, Chabad Hebrew School of the South Hills, Congregation B’nai Abraham Religious School, Congregation Emanu-El Israel Religious/Hebrew School, Dor Hadash Religious School, J-SITE, Spiegel Religious School at Beth El Congregation, Joint Jewish Education Program of Pittsburgh, Temple Emanuel Torah Center Religious School, Temple Ohav Shalom Religious School, Temple Sinai Religious School, Torah Lishmah Community at Tree of Life – Or L’Simcha Congregation
Nineteen Jewish overnight camps in both the United States and Canada reported enrollment of campers from Pittsburgh in 2014. In total, those overnight camps served 622Pittsburghers. Most of these campers (87%) were enrolled in a non-denominational camp.
Organizations that participated in this study include: Adamah Adventures, Camp Agudah Midwest, Camp Chaverim, Camp Airy Louise, Camp Augudea NY, Camp Dina, Camp Dora Golding, Camp Harlam (URJ),Camp Moshava (Wild Rose), Camp Pardes Chana, Camp Ramah – Montreal, Camp Stone, Eden Village Camp, Emma Kaufmann Camp, Gan Israel – Detroit, Machane Mosche, Mitzvah Experience, URJ Six Points Academy, Young Judaea, Young Judaea (TX), Young Judaea MW, URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI), URJ Olin-Sang-Ruby Union, URJ Kutz Camp, NFTY In Israel, and NFTY – EIE High School in Israel
Organizations that participated in this study include: Alexander Muss High School in Israel, BBYO Passport, Camp YTT (The Swerdlow Israel Program), Community Day School, Diller Teen Fellows, Emma Kaufmann Camp CITs, Habonim Dror MBI, Israel: Cultural and Political Intersections, Maccabi USA, NCSY GIVE, NCSY The Jerusalem Journey, NCSY Kollel, NFTY Adventure, NFTY L’Dor V’Dor, and Ramah Programs in Israel.