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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Paying for Jewish Education

You may have heard me kvetch about the amount of money I spend on my kids' tuition. I am not alone. The cost of Jewish education is skyrocketing, and just at the time when assimilation and intermarriage are reaching all-time highs, more and more young parents are considering not giving their kids a Day School education. This is very dangerous. I have said over and over that the only way to ensure Jewish Continuity is to teach our children about Judaism.

I have also found myself flat-out enraged by solicitors for the local Jewish philanthropies going on and on about the new exercise center or the new Olympic-sized pool they are planning to build out in the suburbs, when the average Jewish family cannot afford their kids' tuition, and the schools are cutting services and teachers' salaries as a result.

So what is the answer? As a dues-paying member of the Orthodox Union (the organization that amongst other things ensures the Kosher status of many foods and put the little "OU" symbol on them), I get a free subscription to Jewish Action magazine. This issue has an amazing series of articles on the subject. Not just bemoaning the current state of things, but also providing new, outside-the-box ideas for remedying the situation. It's worth a read (pdf only).

14 comments:

Anne said...

As the Jewish parents of young kids, the hubby and I struggle with this all the time. There's a terrific Day School, Reform-affiliated, near us with a Hebrew immersion program. But it's about $10,000 a year. I'd have to sell a kidney to afford it, but then what do I do the next year? A cornea, I suppose. Eventually, when the hubby and I run out of body parts, my kids will want to go to Yeshiva.

At that point, we'll have sold the house and will be living in a refrigerator box in the school parking lot. At least it'll save commuting time.

SephardiLady said...

I am THRILLED by the appearance (and hopefully reality) that Jewish Organizations are finally taking this issue seriously.

I am so tired to people telling me, so cut this expense or that expense. Cutting here and there is a great idea and can easily help one achieve other financial goals, but it still will not pay for day school or yeshiva tuition year after year after year.

With tuitions in my community starting at over $9000 for kindergarten and exceeding $15,000 for high school in all the Orthodox schools, it is near impossible for me to imagine paying for a Yeshiva Education for more than one child. We need solutions.

Jack's Shack said...

This is a problem that really needs to be confronted and not just talked about. I hope that it is finally happening.

ber_12@yahoo.com said...

I live in Israel and pay only $2000 a year to send my child to Yeshiva, but $100 to fill my gas tank. Count your blessings.

ber_12@yahoo.com said...

I live in Israel and pay only $2000 a year to send my child to Yeshiva, but $100 to fill my gas tank. Count your blessings.

PsychoToddler said...

It is a problem that is growing in magnitude. I encourage you all to download the .pdf files and print them up and read them. Bring 'em to shul and read them while the cantor is droning on. You can tell them they are those Torah sheets (just kidding). Seriously, there are some interesting ideas addressed that can be brought to your own communities.

ber 12: welcome to the blog. One of the interesting side effects noted in some of the articles is an increased impetus to make aliyah based on the tuition squeeze. You obviously have to factor in the expense of the move, difference in cost of living, and possible decrease in income, but when people are facing tuition bills of $50000 a year (hello!) or more (hello again!), the numbers start to make sense.

MoChassid said...

for whatever reason, the files are not opening when I click the OU links. anyone else having this problem?

PsychoToddler said...

It's working for me, but I had to click a few times. Maybe if someone has some pull with the OU they could get them to turn these into regular HTML documents.

SephardiLady said...

Just call the OU and join up if you can't get the PDF files (I haven't ried since I have the magazine sitting next to my bed). Since they are actually addressing the problem, it might be good to be supportive and pay up. Or, you could order the Yated, and get an email decrying the rich, spoiled people of the 5 Towns who have the gull to not spend their millions on Yeshivot. What bull!

PsychoToddler said...

Jewish Action is mainly casting a spotlight on all of these individual ideas, which come from communities all over the country, including the novel approach in Milwaukee, as documented by my friend Rabbi Shlomo Levin (unfortunately, this is the one that seems not to be available online).

Whether you belong to the OU or not, it is a good read. I would guess that if you email them, the OU will send you a copy of the magazine.

Eli said...

google to the rescue
to view the article in HTML search google for "Paying the Price of Jewish Education" then click on view as html.

MC Aryeh said...

The tuition is only half the problem. The poor quality of education you get for exhorbitant amounts of money is the other...

nkd said...

We live in Philly now but are thinking of moving to Rockford, Illinois for a job. There ARE NO OPTIONS for a Jewish education there, so I guess you might consider yourself lucky...?

PsychoToddler said...

If giving your kids a Jewish education is important to you, nkd, Don't go back to Rockford. There are plenty of places where you can both work and provide for your kids' education. You have to decide what's important to you.

OTOH, Chicago's not that far.