Brussels Jewish school to move due to safety concerns
search

Brussels Jewish school to move due to safety concerns

Leadership cites deteriorating neighborhood as cause of recent drop in enrollment

JTA — One of Brussels’ three Jewish schools is reportedly planning to move to a new location because of parental safety concerns about its current location.

Situated at Boulevard Poincaré near the Belgian capital’s Midi train station, the Maïmonide Jewish school has seen a drop in attendance over the past few years, according to a recent article in La Capitale, a Belgian newspaper.

“The neighborhood has noticeably deteriorated,” Jacques Wajc, the president of the school’s board, is quoted as telling the paper. “The institution has had problems because of problems of insecurity and propriety.”

One of Brussels’ poorer areas, the neighborhood is home to many Muslim and non-Muslim immigrants, drug dealers and some sex workers who ply their trade illegally outside of Belgium’s government-regulated prostitution industry.

The perceived deterioration in the neighborhood has meant that “many parents no longer wish to enroll their children in Maïmonide because they fear for their safety,” Wajc said. “The drop in students brings with it a drop in revenues, which makes it difficult for the school to even pay its expenses.”

La Capitale reported that Maimonide owes the Belgian government and the Belgian social security authority roughly eight million dollars.

The prospect of moving Maimonide from its current building, where it has always operated, has been discussed for a number of years by the school’s board, “but has apparently now become inevitable,” the paper reported. The report did not say when the move is planned to take place.

Unlike the centrally located Maimonide, the Brussels region’s other Jewish schools, Ganenou and Beth Aviv, are situated in the relatively affluent suburbs of Uccle and Forest, where the lion’s share of Brussels’ Jewish population of 10,000 reside.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments