Prague Jewish school celebrates its 25th anniversary

Photo: Ondřej Polák

The Lauder School of Prague, the only Jewish educational institution in Czechia, is marking 25 years since its foundation this year. The school, which opened its first class in 1997, celebrated the anniversary this Thursday, on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

The courtyard of Prague’s Jewish school in the Vinohrady district was packed on Thursday afternoon with dozens of current and former students, teachers and parents who came to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

The Lauder School of Prague, which runs from kindergarten through high school, is part of a network of Jewish schools founded by the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation in the 1990s in Central and Eastern Europe.

The first Czech class opened in 1997 with only seven pupils, and in the first few years of its existence, there were some doubts whether the project would be successful.

Petr Karas, the school’s director, joined as a geography and history teacher already in 1999:

“We were worried, and I think quite rightly so. The number of children grew rapidly, that was not a problem, but it turned out the school didn’t really have a clear concept and it was unable to meet the different demands.

“After about five years, the school found itself in a crisis that looked really bad, but eventually we managed to find a solution and the school survived and continues to develop.”

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Author: Ruth Fraňková