The Funding Committee is sponsoring a meeting next week in which new ideas and new possibilities towards funding will be the only subject. A full report will follow outlining the most viable possibilities.
There will actually be new options for individuals and families to consider in the effort to make Jewish education affordable.
An article appeared this week in The CJN about the results of a survey by UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Julia & Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education on the nature and perhaps too the extent, of the Jewish engagement of the Jewish community in York Region. One of its key findings, reproduced below, is germane to our work.
The survey was based upon 4,600 responses. According to the article, the population of Vaughan more than doubled in the last 20 or so years, from 21,290 in 1991 to 47,135 in 2011. As of 2011, 30 per cent of Jewish Torontonians under the age of five live in Vaughan.
Daniel Held, executive director of the Koschitzky Centre, said one striking finding was that in Vaughan overall, even among the most Jewishly engaged, parents of school-age children responded “maybe” far more than “definitely” to questions of whether they would send their kids to Jewish day school, supplementary school, day camp, overnight camp and early childhood education programs.
Although, as Held stated, deeper study of the responses needs to be conducted, the survey did show, that across Jewish institutions, finances were the greatest barrier to entry for respondents in the “maybe” category (our emphasis).
“In a presentation he prepared for UJA Federation’s board of directors that he supplied to The CJN, Held said it was surprising to learn that finances proved such a significant barrier to families not only for sending kids to day school, but also to supplementary Jewish schools and residential camps.
“It’s clear that the cost of engaging with the Jewish community, in any form, is a barrier we need to lower… especially for middle income families,” he said.
GAJE is committed to helping lower the financial barrier currently barring the way for many families to Jewish education. And as we wrote last week, It is our belief that the obligation to make Jewish education meaningfully accessible to as many families who seek it for their children falls upon the entire community. This belief is in keeping with Jewish history and with the actions of our forebears in every generation who understood that securing a Jewish future meant securing the Jewish education of each and every subsequent generation of Jews.
Pesach looms. What an opportunity to revel in and reflect upon one of the uniquely Jewish experiences in our lives!