The Broward County (Fla.) School Board has approved the curriculum for a Hebrew-language charter school, ending months of debate over whether teaching Hebrew amounts to promoting a religion. Critics contend that the Ben Gamla Charter School in Hollywood, Fla.,— with its kosher meals, rabbinical director and lessons on Jewish culture — is a religious school funded by the public. The school temporarily stopped teaching Hebrew last month while district officials looked at whether the school's Hebrew focus violated the separation between religion and government.
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EARLIER: A new public school in Hollywood, Fla., stands out despite its plain gray facade. Called the Ben Gamla Charter School, it is run by an Orthodox rabbi, serves kosher lunches and concentrates on teaching Hebrew. About 400 students started classes at Ben Gamla this week amid debate over whether a public school can teach Hebrew without touching Judaism and the unconstitutional side of the church-state divide. The conflict intensified when the Broward County School Board ordered Ben Gamla to suspend Hebrew lessons because its curriculum—the third proposed by the school—referred to a Web site that mentioned religion. (New York Times)