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Because it’s supplemental, Mr. Wernick said, “It’s part time, [and] all sorts of issues of competition for people’s time — sports, drama, double-working families, the ‘schlepping factor’ — exist in a context with expectations that perhaps, at one point in time, worked.”

He added, “Supplemental Hebrew school was meant to supplement the experience of the family. Now, when you’re dealing with third- and fourth- and fifth-generation families, the supplemental school is the only place” where Jewish learning takes place.

Overcoming that challenge, he said, is key to revitalizing the movement.

Mark A. Kellner can be reached at