Two weeks ago, The CJN published a commentary by David Weitzner, an assistant professor of strategy at the Schulich School of Business at York University, in which he urged community leaders to “talk tachlis” about the future of our troubled day school system.
“If the stated challenge is to actually run our schools more like businesses, the appropriate response is not exclusively crunching more numbers. Instead we need to gather all of the relevant stakeholders and start having some difficult strategic conversations about which missions are legitimate in the current climate, which are not and how we as a community are going to work to support the missions we believe in. This undertaking must begin right away” (my emphasis).
Rabbi Jay Kelman echoed the urgency of Prof. Weitzner’s plea one week later in The CJN of June 2. Rabbi Kelman, a founding member of GAJE, called upon the community to “act before it is too late” to save the Jewish Day School system in the GTA.
“I shudder to think that we may be, God forbid, witnessing the beginning of the end of the day school movement as we have come to know it,” Rabbi Kelman writes. “We, therefore, cannot abdicate our responsibility to our future by failing to make vigorous attempts to fix the problems that ail our schools… When all is said and done, it is inexcusable that a community of our wealth does not provide affordable (and sustainable) Jewish education to all those who seek it.
But Rabbi Kelman went further than sounding an alarm about the shaky future of the day school system, as we know it. He actually prescribed some concrete steps to help save it.
“I urge all who have a net worth over $10 million to donate one per cent of their net worth towards Jewish education. Can anyone honestly say that is asking too much?
Furthermore, I beseech all those with charitable foundations to donate five per cent of their assets toward Jewish education. The impact will be so much greater than donating the income earned on those monies. By making a huge difference now, you will be helping to create committed Jews who will then donate to Jewish causes, effectively leveraging your donation for so much more.
The strategic conversation with all the stakeholders about saving the day school system must begin right away. Please act now, before it is too late.”
We join in Prof. Weitzner and Rabbi Kelman’s timely, urgent pleas.
The strategic conversation with all the stakeholders about saving the day school system must begin right away. We must act now, before it is too late.”