The affordability of Jewish education may actually be the pre-eminent subject on the agenda of most Jewish communities in North America. It certainly is one of the most talked about around community “water coolers”.
One of the most recent contributions to the discussion is by Lindsey Bodner in New York. In an essay for eJewish Philanthropy entitled, Thinking Big and Funding Small: Models for Making Jewish Education Affordable, she presents her own innovative approach for enabling more children to benefit from Jewish education. To be sure, her suggestions are specific to her situation in New York and may not be widely adaptable in our jurisdiction. But Bodner does propagate a strong principle that is relevant for all Jewish jurisdictions.
“Families are already leaving our Jewish day schools. We know this because people have been vocal about leaving and because so many day schools are struggling. Leaders in the Jewish space must confront this issue head on. Each day we put it off, we miss the opportunity to strengthen our community, and we fail kids who want a Jewish education but are attending public schools, and we fail parents with kids at Jewish schools who are struggling to make ends meet.”
Bodner’s intention in writing the essay was “to spark additional conversation about affordable Jewish education within the funding space.” She succeeded.
The specifics of her suggestions are secondary to the fact that she is offering suggestions. As she writes “If the priority is giving our kids great education, we can absolutely do that in a way that is accessible to all our kids.”
To this belief statement let us all say: “Amen”.
Bodner’s full article is available here:
Chag Samayach and Shabbat Shalom,