Enrollment has grown in Milwaukee-area Jewish preschools, day schools, and religious schools, signaling an apparent end to a pandemic-era dip, according to a census of education by the Coalition for Jewish Learning of Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
The pandemic took its toll, dropping Jewish educational enrollment from 1,617 in 2019-2020, to 1,377 in 2020-2021. That stark drop has now rebounded to 1,613 for the 2022-2023 school year.
“Milwaukee can be proud of our education and engagement programs,” said Tzipi Altman-Shafer, who leads the Coalition for Jewish Learning as Jewish community planner. “There are a variety of ways to learn Jewishly in Milwaukee and I encourage everyone to consider how they can connect their families with these wonderful opportunities. I hope we can continue our upward trend.”
This was the 30th annual census conducted on Milwaukee-area Jewish education. “There are more students in day school now than in 2019,” reads the 2022-2023 census report. “Numbers for preschools and religious schools have almost returned to 2019 numbers.”
For example, preschool enrollment was well above 400 before the pandemic, then dipped below 400, and has now popped back up to 439. Likewise, religious schools, the kinds of part-time schools often available at synagogues, had overall enrollment well above 400. That dipped below 400 during the pandemic, and has now popped back up, to 450.
The Coalition for Jewish Learning has added two new Chabad schools to its network, Judaism Through the Arts in Waukesha and Hebrew School Glendale/River Hills. Meanwhile, Milwaukee Jewish Federation is set to do a new community study, which will include a deeper look at Jewish educational needs in Milwaukee, Altman-Shafer said.