Islamic school plans to move into St. Louis synagogue campus

JTA

An Islamic day school is poised to move onto the campus of a St. Louis-area synagogue.  

The Al Manara Academy hopes to be operating by August on the grounds of B’nai El Congregation in Frontenac, Mo., according to the St. Louis Jewish Light. The space was most recently occupied by the Saul Mirowitz Day School-Reform Jewish Academy.

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A conditional permit of use was approved on Tuesday by the Frontenac City Council, limiting the number of students to 100, the newspaper reported.

B’nai El president Amye Carrigan told the Jewish Light that a “firm, signed lease agreement” is not yet signed with the Reform congregation. “If and when it happens, I hope it’s going to be a very positive thing for the community,” she said. “This arrangement can be a wonderful opportunity for understanding and promoting positive outcomes.”

Earlier this year the Reform Jewish Academy merged with the area’s Solomon Schechter Day School of St. Louis to form the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School. It will operate on the campus of Congregation B’nai Amoona, which previously housed the Schechter school. 

Phillip Paeltz, a board member of Al Manara Academy, told the Jewish Light that the operation is “an Islamic school which seeks to train students in the Islamic faith, but also prepares them for a multi-cultural world.” 

He added, “As Muslims, we refer to all Jews as people of the book. In so many places in the world there are conflicts between Muslims and Jews. Hopefully, this is a time when we seize the opportunity to work together.”