Mill Basin Hebrew-language school sparks criticism

MILL BASIN - A new Hebrew-language charter school set to open in Mill Basin is drawing concern from some local residents who question whether it will cater to everyone in the neighborhood.

The new K-5 school is being funded through a mix of taxpayer dollars and philanthropic donations. The city's Department of Education says the school's proposal is explicit about Hebrew culture being taught without being influenced by religion.

Some in the neighborhood, which is 75 percent Asian, black and Hispanic, say they are skeptical the school will reach out to all residents.

"I'm not sure if ? people who are not Jewish would find it helpful," says Susan Jennings, a parent who opposes the school. Some also question whether public funds should go toward supporting the school in light of the city's dire economic condition.

Not everyone thinks the school, which is expected to open this fall, is a bad idea. Shermaine Taylor, whose two children go to school in Mill Basin, says she favors the charter school.

"Culture is something that's always welcome," she says. "Different cultures, different people - it will be a great blend."

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