The CIJA Task Force on Ensuring Affordable Access to Jewish Education met last week. GAJE has a seat on the task force. Our representative reported the following discussion at the meeting.
- Despite the benefit to Jewish community institutions by the operation of the federal Security Infrastructure Program (SIP), the program needs to be updated. CIJA will be launching an advocacy campaign in the near future to establish more rational approval criteria and to secure additional funding to help further defray the schools’ mounting security costs.
- The Task Force was examining implications for tuition of pending amendments to the Income Tax Act and discussed possible opportunities specifically for Ontario.
- The Task Force was considering how to bring the provincial government to act to rectify disparities among disabled students in Ontario to equal and uniform access to health support services in their respective schools.
- CIJA reminded members of the task force that its present focus is to try to infuse some money within a relatively short time frame into the day school system to lighten the burden for families, at least somewhat, and in the process to help boost individual and communal morale that there are indeed solutions to the crisis of day school affordability.
We are also pleased to remind GAJE followers that we will be making a presentation at the upcoming Limmud Toronto Conference on Sunday March 6. Limmud has now become an annual fixture in the educational calendar of many communities around the world. It is one of the dynamic learning experiences in our own community. We hope that you will attend the conference and especially the session about GAJE. We hope as well that you will tell friends and family about the conference and urge them to attend too.
For information about the conference go to www.Limmud.ca
Some of our members may be aware of The Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI). It is an independent professional policy planning think tank based in Jerusalem. Its mission is to ensure the thriving of the Jewish People and the Jewish civilization by engaging in professional strategic thinking and planning on issues of primary concern to world Jewry. The institute’s board of directors is comprised of individuals with significant policy experience from around the world. Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat is chair of the board.
Each year the institute publishes major studies and policy papers. The centerpiece of its publishing corpus is its Annual Assessment “of the situation and the dynamics of the Jewish people.”
The most recent Annual Assessment for 2014-2015, like all of its predecessors, is a treasure trove of information and informed opinion. One of its key chapters deals with “Jewish Identity and Identification in America.” Even though the research data relate specifically to the situation in the United States, the material is relevant to Canada as well.
One of the conclusions regarding the fostering and maintaining of Jewish identity among Jewish youth is the following:
“The clear policy implication of these newly mined data on Jewish education, consistent with a long research literature, is that Jewish schooling matters. The creation, expansion, and effective marketing of excellent, attractive, and affordable Jewish educational non-Orthodox day school programs and supplementary school programs for teenagers, is an area where communal intervention can make a measurable difference in the quality of American Jewish identity and the transmission of Jewish identity to the next generation of American Jews.”
As the JPPI study emphatically notes, Jewish education matters!
But if it is not affordable, and fewer families, as a result, decline to begin the process or opt out of formally educating their children Jewishly, we will inevitably break the line that transmits Jewish identity to the next generation.