A“guardian angel” has offered grants of up to $5,000 for first-time students attending Shalom Torah Academy of East Windsor.
The Leon and Agi Goldenberg family made the offer in an effort to attract new students to the school, which has 113 students in pre-K through eighth grade.
Leon Goldenberg is chair of the board overseeing both the East Windsor school and its sister school, Shalom Torah Academy of Western Monmouth County in Morganville.
The grants next year will offer families of students entering pre-K and kindergarten in the East Windsor school a $3,000 rebate off the approximately $8,500 tuition and $5,000 for the upper grades at the approximately 35-year old school.
The news comes weeks after the Morganville school announced free tuition for all new students next September. That offer came through another benefactor who asked to remain anonymous, according to Shalom Torah officials.
The two institutions share a governing board, although each also has a separate board to handle “day to day” operations.
Calling the grant given to the East Windsor school “fantastic,” development officer Devorah Blumberg said, “We’re committed to making a day school education available to every Jewish child.”
She called Leon Goldenberg “our guardian angel” for his commitment to the school’s future. “For a man out of Brooklyn to take such care of students in New Jersey is remarkable,” said Blumberg. “He understands the crisis Jewry is in.”
Goldenberg, the son of Holocaust survivors, is president of the Brooklyn-based Goldmont Realty Corp. In a phone interview with NJJN, he said he became interested in Shalom Torah out of concern about the rate of assimilation in the American-Jewish community.
“There are kids being born in secular families who have no knowledge of Judaism,” he said. “Without knowledge about their Jewish heritage we will keep losing Jews to assimilation. We need to stop it and one of the ways is to teach children about their heritage. I don’t care if they become religious, but if they learn about their heritage and holidays and the meaning of what it means to be a Jew, they will likely marry other Jews and stay part of the community. It is our duty to see they remain Jewish and raise Jewish children.”
The East Windsor tuition grant is being offered to an unlimited number of students.
“You know what, let them come and be part of the Jewish people,” Goldenberg said. “I’ll worry about it when the time comes if there are too many. If I have to, I’ll go out and raise more money or just pay it out of my own pocket.”
Blumberg said that if students come to the school with little Jewish background, “we can welcome them with open arms. We will work with these students and encourage them.”
The grants are being administered by the Shalom Heritage Center, an affiliated community education and outreach center in East Windsor.