The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) this week featured an article entitled “The unequal cost of Jewish education in Canada.” It is a source of important information. The reporter, Alex Rose, deftly covered the three most compelling aspects of Jewish education, namely, (1) its importance, (2) enrolment is directly tied to tuition, and (3) one may presume, as a matter of fairness and the pursuit of educational excellence, the largest provinces in the country – apart from Ontario – do provide some assistance to the independent (Jewish and non-Jewish) schools.
Daniel Held, the executive director of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, told The CJN that Grade 9 enrolment at TanenbaumCHAT, the community high school, will likely exceed 300 students. This compares with a figure of 175 students two years ago before a generous and innovative philanthropic intervention reduced tuition by about one third for a trial period of four years.
“It clearly points to the fact that there’s pent-up demand,” Held said. “With the right initiatives and the right philanthropy, we can enable that [enrolment in Jewish school] to happen. It’s about serving those families who really want to have a Jewish education for their kids, and making that possible for them.”
Held also astutely explained why it is important to get as many children as possible into the schools. “It looks toward the future and says, ‘How can we have the strongest, most vibrant, most vital Jewish community?’ And decades, if not centuries, of research and experience shows that by educating our kids today, we strengthen the community of the future, we create both a knowledgeable and passionate community and we also create empowered leaders,” he said. “That’s why investing in education is so important for UJA and for our community in general.”
GAJE unreservedly supports and encourages every philanthropic effort that brings more children into our schools. Another such worthy effort is to bring about a change in Ontario’s education funding policies. As Jeffrey Stutz, one of GAJE’s founding members told The CJN reporter, “If Ontario funded even half the cost of general studies in the day schools, the impact would be huge. It’s not a radical idea – five other provinces in Canada do this,” he said.”
Our community has the ability and the strength to make Jewish education forever. Let us all mobilize to make it happen.
The full CJN article can be found at:
September 6, 2019