Temple Israel receives donation for early childhood, Jewish education

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published May 21, 2014

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Establishing an endowment for yearly scholarships, a West Bloomfield couple recently donated $10 million to Temple Israel’s Susan and Rabbi Harold Loss Early Childhood Center.

The endowment, which was received from longtime congregation members Audrey and William Farber, will be distributed to families seeking a Jewish education for preschool to kindergarten-age children who have financial need. The cost to attend the Early Childhood Center varies, depending on the type of program selected and whether the child requires care before or after school, according to David Tisdale, executive director of Temple Israel.

“Young families in metro Detroit with children entering preschool are finding it increasingly challenging to find Jewish educational opportunities that are affordable,” William Farber said in a press release.  “It was a priority for Audrey and I to create this endowment to help children and their families have this experience, and to also make our community the ideal place for young Jewish families to live and work.”

The Early Childhood Center combines Jewish education with preschool and kindergarten education, and is the only Jewish school in Michigan that has a four-star rating with Great Start/Early Childhood Investment Corp., which is a state program that rates early education schools, Tisdale said.

“We spend a huge amount of time with the children. … We understand that, developmentally, this is an important time in a child’s educational life, and so we dedicate a huge amount of time to their development,” Tisdale said.

In addition to the scholarships, the funds will be allocated toward maintaining state-of-the-art learning environments for the programs, including increasing the use of technology in the classroom and teacher professional development. The school currently incorporates the use of Smart Boards and tablets.

“The Farbers’ gift will be transformational (for) many, many families who have wanted this, but the finances have been barriers. Any Jewish person that wants that kind of education for a child is going to be able to afford it now,” Tisdale said.

“I just want to let (the Farbers) know how appreciative we are and how appreciative our families are of this major gift.”

About 250 children attend the Early Childhood Center, and the average class has a 12-2 student-teacher ratio. The school offers a variety of educational opportunities, including science, sports, and state-of-the-art programs in writing and phonics. Children also learn about the Jewish holidays and are introduced to Hebrew learning in the classroom, according to  Tisdale.

For more information on the Early Childhood Center at Temple Israel and the Farber Endowment, visit www.temple-israel.org or call (248) 661-5700.