Education is the heavy equipment

The horrific slaughter last week of innocents outside Buffalo was the latest publicized violent manifestation of hatred and contempt for others. It enraged and saddened us. But alas, it surprised us little. Indeed, who knows how many “lesser” incidents of inhumane, cowardly victimization without a tally in blood, occur in communities around the world every day?

The murderer last week acted out of a sense of white supremacist righteous rage and justification. Convinced that people who do not look like he does are trying to replace him in America, he decided to kill as many of the “others” as possible.

The Replacement Theory of white supremacists is the warped outcropping of a fecund earth seeded by hatred, prejudice and resentment all of which is fortified, of course, with a sustaining layer of the manure of undiluted antisemitism.

As educators, scholars, historians, parents and grandparents through all time know and have known, the best way for society to respond to prejudice of all kind is to hold its purveyors to account and to ensure the pillars of democratic life are unassailable and strong.

Similarly, as educators, scholars, historians, parents and grandparents through all time know and have known, the best way for Jews to respond to antisemitism is to affirm their Judaism by living Jewishly. How Jews do so is a uniquely personal decision, as long as they maintain and are able to pass forward the connection and connectedness to our people’s past, present and future. 

Two weeks ago, in commemoration of Yom Hashoah V’hagvurah, we wrote that “the best – though not the only – way for us to give our children the intellectual, emotional and collective wherewithal to stand their ground and even to push back against antisemites [ie., the ability to live Jewishly] is through Jewish education.”

Jewish education is the heavy equipment, as it were, the best equipment, we must all bring to bear against the antisemitism of the white supremacists. It is for this reason, among other important ones, that GAJE’s objective is to make Jewish education affordable for every family that seeks it for their children.

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As readers of this update know, GAJE has launched an application out by  try to bring fairness and equity to the Government of Ontario’s education funding. If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

May 20, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

‘The essential connective thread’

With Pesach, the overcast skies and the cool, damp temperatures of early Spring behind us, we are inclined to broad smiles and happy sighs by the blue skies and warmer temperatures of deep, mid-Spring. The looming summer means we are in the home stretch of school year 2021-2022. Even before classes are dismissed for this year, we believe it is not too early for families to think about school for next year.

In that vein, and for that purpose we call attention to an article written last month by Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, head of school at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School of Greater Washington D.C. entitled, Sense of Belonging.

Rabbi Malkus’ aim is to explain why learning Hebrew is so important for a Jewish education. For families whose children already attend Jewish schools, the rabbi’s insights will reinforce their current educational decisions and further confirm the wisdom of those decisions. For families considering intensive Jewish education for the first time, Rabbi Malkus’ observations and conclusions may prove helpful and persuasive.

Rabbi Malkus’ describes Hebrew as “the essential connective thread to Jewish civilization, Jewish peoplehood, Israel and its people and to most Jewish literature.” His concluding statement is forceful and eloquent. “There are very compelling educational reasons for teaching Hebrew that relate to 21st century learning skills and brain research, but at the end of the day, Hebrew alone holds the potential to cement the union between Jews around the world with each other and our heritage, no matter our geography or our religious outlook. Hebrew enables students to be part of our over 4,000 year history as a Jewish people.”

Fostering feelings of peoplehood and a sense of belonging to the Jewish people is one of the key life-sustaining results of Jewish education. GAJE therefore agrees with Rabbi Markus’ opinion. We commend his article to our readers.  It can be found at:

ejewishphilanthropy.com/the-critical-role-hebrew-language-learning-plays-in-identity-development/

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As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE has launched an application to try to bring fairness and equity to the Government of Ontario’s education funding. If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

May 13, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

We have not yet lost our hope

This week we completed the remembrance and commemoration of a quartet of Springtime dates that are vital in fashioning our framework of values as individuals as a people: Pesach, Yom Hashoah v’Hagvurah, Yom Hazicaron and Yom Ha’atzma’ut. Indeed, they comprise a modern anvil, of sorts, of Jewish history on which our sense of peoplehood continues to be forged.

These four compelling Jewish dates form an ironically fitting background to the recent head-shaking, enraging news that the editorial board of the storied student newspaper at Harvard University has embraced boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning (BDS) Israel as a legitimate editorial policy. At the same time, they also proclaimed their opposition to anti-Semitism.

Of course the newspaper’s two policy statements cannot co-exist side by side in a context that stands upon truth and honesty and respects morality. It is utter rubbish and nonsense to argue that it is not anti-Semitic to single out the only Jewish state on earth in so disproportionate a manner for the country’s real or imagined “sins”. Moreover, the founder of the BDS campaign, Omar Barghouti has time and again stated, reiterated and emphasized that Israel must not exist as an sovereign Jewish state.

Yet, such anti-Israel and anti-Jewish policies alas, are now the norm on campuses across North America. In the years to come, what will be the attitude of our children toward Israel? Will their attitudes to Israel be poisoned by pervasive, unabating anti-Israel prejudice, hatred and ignorance on campuses? Will negative attitudes toward Israel affect our children’s embrace of Judaism and of their place within our remarkable, infuriating, ancient, modern People? Will they have the ability – information, knowledge, resolve and sense of purpose – to be able to resist the malevolent aims of the calculating, devious haters of Israel who are succeeding in manipulating public attitudes against the Jewish state?

It falls to us – parents, grandparents and the wider community – to do our utmost to give our children the intellectual, emotional and collective wherewithal to stand their ground and even to push back against the individuals striving to bring about the demise of the Jewish state. Not to mention of course, that same wherewithal is the very pathway to belonging.

The best – though not the only – way for us to do our utmost is through Jewish education.

It is for this existentially key purpose that we pursue our objective of making Jewish education affordable for every family that seeks it for their children. When the day arrives that Jewish education is affordable in perpetuity, we will then see feelings of Jewish peoplehood and belonging will also be assured in perpetuity.

That day is not yet at hand. And the task is difficult. But, to borrow from Israel’s national anthem, we have not yet lost our hope. Nor will we.

•••

As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE has launched an application to try to bring fairness and equity to the Government of Ontario’s education funding. If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

May 6, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Seeking more choice in schooling

Alberta provides funding to its independent schools. It recognizes the importance to its residents and the benefit to its society in doing so. Nevertheless the discussion is still engaged there about how to refine and whether to expand such funding. (See the weekly GAJE update of April 8.)

Two weeks ago, on April 16, an op-ed appeared in the Edmonton Journal written by Jacqueline P. Leighton, a professor of educational psychology and a registered psychologist at the University of Alberta, entitled “Children should have the right to choose the school that suits their needs”.  Leighton responded to an essay by Mr. Ray Martin that appeared in the newspaper on April 13 in which he expressed his strong opposition to any expansion of the province’s inclusion of independent schools within the public purse. 

Martin portrayed the request to expand educational choice for parents as “ultra-right bias.” According to Leighton, he described the independent schools as “often [catering] to higher-income parents” and a “burden [to] our public school system.”

Leighton responded succinctly and forcefully to these statements by Martin.

“Mr. Martin provides no data to support his claims. These claims are falsehoods or to use a more recent term — misinformation unless of course he can show us the data that undergird these statements. Interestingly, a study cited by the Fraser Institute indicates that families who choose to send their children to charter schools are very similar to those who choose not to.

Because government funding in Alberta largely follows the student, families of all income levels have the gift of choice in their child’s education. And, as far as access goes, enrolment decisions for charter schools must be consistent with the Alberta Human Rights Act as explicitly written in the 2021 Charter Schools Handbook published by Alberta Education.”

Leighton puts paid to the false notion that the families whose children attend independent schools are elitist. Moreover, as Cardus research has established, these very same families tend to be at least as involved, if not more, in volunteer, civic and communal life than families of children in the “public” school system.

But then, Leighton concludes her rebuttal of Martin’s impressionistic, evidence-less opinion with an eloquent observation touching the very heart of the debate concerning the importance of governments’ offering  – within the very real limits upon governmental ability to do so – the very best education that is possible to our children.

“Why would we not want to give children the most generous and appropriate choices and stepping stones in meeting their potential and their goals? After two years of unpredictable disruptions to children’s schooling, we need to accept that some children may need different support now more than ever, and families may wish different experiences for their children.

It surprises me that some would not wish parents to have full choice in deciding what is in the best interest of their children. I do not see schooling choice as an example of ultra-right bias. In fact, I see framing schooling choice as ultra-right bias, as ill-informed about what is in the best interest of children. Choice in schooling is a basic recognition that children have rights, and may have different needs. Far from an ultra-right political bias, offering diverse experiences and support are assets to human development and wellness.”

In addition to the substantive arguments that Leighton has raised, GAJE also maintains that allowing the families of one religion only to have choice regarding the education of their children is unfair and unjust to the families of other religions. In addition, and no less important, GAJE also maintains that the perpetuation of such discrimination diminishes Ontario. How can we truthfully say that Ontario is a haven where the protective canopy of respect for human rights is applied equally to all minorities. Alas, we cannot.  

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Leighton’s article is available at: https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-children-should-have-the-right-to-choose-the-school-that-suits-their-needs

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As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE has launched an application to try to bring fairness and equity to the Government of Ontario’s education funding. If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in education funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 29, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

An anniversary of note

It is an anniversary worth noting.  At least we believe so. Some seven years ago, Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE) was formed.

On April 24, 2015, GAJE published its Mission Statement, the core statement of which is “to make Jewish education in our community affordable for every family that wishes to send its children to a Jewish day school.”

That founding document was a plea to the community. We pointed out that “tuition for Jewish day school education in our community was unconscionably high.” At the time,  elementary school tuition ranged around $15,000-plus per student per year. High school tuition approached $30,000 per student per year. When added to the onerous costs of home ownership and maintaining a Jewish household and Jewish way of life in a Jewish neighbourhood, the additional burden of paying educational fees was breaking the economic backs of many of our young families. 

The combined financial burden upon our young families had resulted in a steady decline in enrollment in our schools.

Since those days in 2015, however, there has been a sea change in our community’s approach to responding to the affordability crisis – far reaching, creative, novel, generous and precedent-setting – that has helped achieve a steady increase over the past four years in enrollment in our community’s Jewish schools.

GAJE’s philosophy seven years ago to “conscripting” wide participation in the cause of helping make Jewish education more affordable was straightforward. It remains unchanged today. “We will extend a hand to everyone who might want to be part of the solution. We will not point fingers at anyone. By widening the group of the solution-seekers, we increase the possibilities of finding new ideas and new thinking about funding and especially new people to become involved with their energy, commitment and resources.

“By striving to make Jewish education more affordable, we fulfill a moral obligation to our community and a historic obligation to the wider Jewish people.”

“The status quo is an affront to conscience. Inaction is not an option. Nor is failure.”

•••

To its great credit, our community rejected the status quo. The impact of a series of community decisions and initiatives does indeed bring us closer to wide day school affordability. But we are not there yet. Nor have we given up the fight. GAJE may be marking its seventh year, but we have not rested. It is our fervent hope and prayer that at the next seven year anniversary, if not well before, the cost of Jewish education in our community will be truly affordable for all parents who seek it for their children.

•••

As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE has launched an application to try to bring fairness and equity to the Government of Ontario’s education funding. Both respondents, Ontario and Canada, have brought motions to strike our application. If they are successful, our case will be stopped in its tracks before the courts have had an opportunity to consider the application in full, unless of course, we appeal the ruling on the motion and succeed in our appeal. If we are successful, then the next step will be to proceed to the hearing of the application. The motions are expected to be heard later this summer. 

If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in education funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

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Chag samayach. Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 21, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Remembering. Retelling. Rejoicing.

The holiday of Pesach begins tonight.

Six years ago we wrote in this space that Pesach is the only holy day on our religious calendar whose core commandment is the coming together of family and friends and invited guests for a festive meal and for the retelling of the exodus of our forebears from their slavery in Egypt. We celebrate and rejoice with the people we see around the table and we tenderly recall those whom we cannot see, or will ever see again, except in our hearts.

The holiday stands out as the brightest of the shining stars in the whirling constellation of Jewish life and the eternal mystery of Jewish history. The exodus from Egypt is the defining moment of our history. It is the foundation stone of our peoplehood. We recount the miraculous departure from ancient Egypt each day, every day, in our prayers and in all our ritual practices. For us, it was the beginning of the process that forged our purpose as a people.

Perhaps that is why the Haggadah ordains that, irrespective of the level of one’s learning and wisdom, everyone at the table is expected to recount or imagine taking part in the great exodus narrative. It is simply that important to ongoing Jewish life.

As we also wrote some six years ago, by enabling an affordable Jewish education for our children and for all our children throughout the generations, we will ensure that the Exodus story is retold and our sense of peoplehood is preserved for all eternity.

Be joyful at the seder. Rejoice. Enjoy its significance. Remember everyone.

Chag Pesach samayach.

•••

If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in education funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 15, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Public school choice is best

Opponents of the idea that Queen’s Park underwrite part or all of the cost of independent schools maintain that such a policy would undermine the public school system. They make this charge despite ongoing, documented evidence to the contrary from other jurisdictions, for example, here in Canada. Six provinces – excluding Ontario and the Atlantic provinces – contribute funding to the cost of running independent schools. By doing so, those provinces enhance public school choice for parents even as they raise the quality of educational outcomes.

Last month, Michael Van Pelt, president and CEO of think-tank Cardus, wrote an op-ed on this very subject that appeared in the Calgary Herald. The article is entitled Public school choice in Alberta is better for our students and our society. Whereas GAJE continues to point to the patent unfairness and injustice of Ontario’s education funding, Van Pelt confronts the factually unfounded arguments of funding opponents as a matter of policy enhancement substantively and pragmatically. He writes from the specific context of Alberta, but his observations and conclusions apply to Ontario as well. In Alberta (and in five other provinces as well) the terms “public schools and public education” encompass much more than government-run schools. That should also be the case in Ontario.

We provide excerpts from Van Pelt’s op-ed.

(The full article is available at: https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-public-school-choice-in-alberta-is-better-for-our-students-and-our-society)

•••

“By funding them (other than government-run schools) in different ways and to different degrees, Albertans recognize that allowing parents to find the best fit for their child(ren) is in the public interest. These options are all part of public education. Funding them or allowing them to expand will improve public education, not undermine it.”

“Different students thrive in different learning environments. Parents and teachers know this intuitively and from experience. We also see it confirmed in research that finds students do better in math and reading when there is a “good fit” between student and school. Often, this happens in a charter or independent school.”

“Alberta parents choose independent schools for various reasons including the supportive learning environment, safety, and the kind of curriculum offered. Let’s also remember that most independent schools in Alberta are operated by non-profit organizations, charities or religious organizations. In fact, to receive taxpayer funding, they must be not for profit.”

“Meanwhile, all of us benefit from the independent school sector. Research shows that graduates of independent and home-schools demonstrate greater civic engagement and volunteerism. And expanding the independent school sector would also put Alberta in line with most European nations. OECD data demonstrate that having more publicly funded, non-governmental schools actually reduces economic inequality. Some of the primary examples of this are the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden. This means most European nations have found a way to reduce social divisions by making more school options affordable for more families, even those with low incomes.

“More pluralism, not less should be the order of the day — for our students and ultimately for our society. It’s better for everybody.”

GAJE agrees.

•••

If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in education funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 8, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

Syd Eisen, the “Father of CHAT”

(Dedicated to the memory of Syd Eisen, of blessed memory)

It is very sad and very humbling that for the second week in a row, we dedicate this update to the memory of an individua, whose chief concern, as we heard in the eulogy this week, “was that of Jewish education.” Dr. Syd Eisen, was the first director of the pioneering Centre for Jewish Studies, Vanier College, York University, from 1989 to 1995. (The Centre was subsequently renamed the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies.)

He passed away this week at the age of 92.

But, of course, Syd’s professional career began much before 1989 and continued beyond 1995. He held his first teaching positions in the mid-50s. In the mid-70’s he was the dean of faculty of arts at York University. He remained at York U for two more decades as a professor and continued his further academic endeavours through writing and community-minded consultation.

Syd’s fields of academic expertise were varied  –  Education, History, Humanities, Intellectual History, Theology and Religion. He integrated this wide expertise with the broad wisdom, experience and patience that are the hallmarks of excellent teachers.  

At Syd’s funeral, his son, Robert, said of his father that “he did not want glory. He simply wanted to be the best teacher and the best person he could.” Professor Eisen, we know, was adored by his legion of students. He received wide respect because he gave wide respect. Renowned for his uniquely principled and tender manner of discussion, for the way he knew what to say and especially how to say it, he gave actual day-to-day substance to the invocation in proverbs that “a word fittingly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”

Syd’s teaching career intersected at innumerable points with his many community involvements. The result was a beautiful geometry Jewish educational structures. Indeed the board of TannenbaumCHAT paid  tribute to Syd by reminding us that he was “sometimes described as the “Father of CHAT”. He was the chair of the committee whose advocacy led to the high school’s creation in the 1970’s.

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke very often and always eloquently about the indispensable role of teachers in Jewish history and in the overall development of moral societies. He could have had Syd Eisen in mind when he wrote:

“If there is one insight above all others to be gained from Jewish history it is that freedom depends on education. To defend a country you need an army but to defend a civilisation you need schools….

“Teachers open our eyes to the world. They give us curiosity and confidence. They teach us to ask questions. They connect us to our past and future. They’re the guardians of our social heritage. We have lots of heroes today – sportsmen, supermodels, media personalities. They come, they have their fifteen minutes of fame, and they go. But the influence of good teachers stays with us. They are the people who really shape our life.”

It can truly be said of Syd that he helped shape Jewish educational life in our community. He tilled an untreated soil, planted seeds and then harvested tall trees of teachers and educators for the Jewish and wider community here and abroad.

Syd Eisen’s memory will always be for blessing.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

April 1, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

(Dedicated to the memory of Julia Koschitzky, of blessed memory) The debt that can only be repaid by emulation

It is likely that every Jewish community on earth, directly or indirectly, was the beneficiary of the vast goodness of the late Julia Koschitzky’s heart, of her irrepressible will and of her unequaled ability to help others. Such was her extensive involvement throughout her adult life in numerous local, national and international networks of charities, NGOs, and similar benevolent organizations, all of whose key purpose is to make life better for others.

As most people know, Julia passed away this week. The rippling, positive impact of her life will one day be chronicled. As of this writing, tributes continue to appear in a wide array of publications. The CJN published an excellent obituary, in which the breathtaking array of her communal and organizational commitments is discussed. (https://thecjn.ca/news/obituary-julia-koschitzky-was-a-generous-philanthropist-and-dedicated-leader-for-jewish-communal-causes/)

At Julia’s funeral, her daughter Sarena, told the world that hakarat hatov, (acknowledging the good that someone else does for you), was one of her mother’s high cherished values. And thus, GAJE dedicates this update to Julia in keeping with the importance of observing hakarat hatov, to acknowledge the truly immeasurable good that Julia Koschitzky did for us all.

GAJE’s debt to Julia is especially large. The unwavering focus of our activities is for the future of Jewish education. And of course, as Julia herself made plain on many occasions, it was a key focus for her as well. In many respects we are following the trail she blazed.

The CJN reported that throughout her storied career in public Jewish life, “her main passion was Jewish education.” She and her husband Henry, “in 2013, established UJA Federation’s Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, which provides tuition assistance and a variety of programs for children and young adults.”

As further noted in The CJN, “at York University, where Julia was a trustee, she and her husband established the Koschitzky Family Chair in Jewish Teacher Education. With Henry’s brother, Saul and sister-in-law, Mira, the couple established the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies, Canada’s first interdisciplinary research centre in the subject.”

The heads of the UJA-affiliated day schools and Dan Held, Chief Programs Officer, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto published a joint statement of condolences to Julia’s family in which they also movingly expressed their thanks to her for her “remarkable work to strengthen Jewish education and the indelible impact this has had on our community.”

The following is the centerpiece of the statement.

“The Greater Toronto Jewish community is one of the strongest and most exceptional in the Jewish Diaspora, thanks in no small measure to our dynamic, diverse, and accessible day school system. Through her tireless leadership, Julia has played an unparalleled role in strengthening this fundamental building block of our community. Her extraordinary work, including through UJA’s Julia and Henry Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Education, has empowered countless families to benefit from a Jewish education and enabled our cherished Jewish day schools to thrive. This has created positive ripple effects throughout our entire community, forging the next generation of Jewish leaders making a difference for the Jewish people in myriad ways. The future of our community depends to a great extent on the Jewish knowledge and pride we foster among our youth today. In this regard, few have shaped our shared future like Julia Koschitzky – and the school communities we represent owe so much of our success to her unmatched leadership. We would not be who we are, were it not for Julia. We will greatly miss her and take comfort in knowing that her impact will endure for generations – both within our schools and well beyond.”

Not surprisingly, Julia’s career in public Jewish life began in Jewish education as President of the Parents’ Association of the Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto. That role was the springboard for her subsequent, varied, remarkably self-sacrificing activities and philanthropy on behalf of Jewish education, and on behalf of every manner of urgent, pressing causes in the wide Jewish world and beyond.

From ancient times until today, kohanim have chanted and continue to chant a very precisely-worded invocation before they extend their arms when blessing the community. The wording acknowledges that the kohanim are commanded “…to bless His people Israel, from a place of  love.” (Our translation) The words are as prescriptive as they are descriptive.

Julia Koschtizky was not a kohen or kohanit. But she did indeed bless God’s people Israel, (and the world) from a place of love. However, in all she did in her 78 years, for others – for the wellbeing of her people and for the wider community – she grasped deeply one of life’s most important treasures: loving means doing.

The debt we all owe Julia Koschitzky, we can only repay by emulating her.

As a final act of Julia’s commitment toward Jewish education, her family has asked that memorial donations in her memory be made to the Generations Trust at the Jewish Federation of Toronto. Please contact Jordan Glass at 416-635-5685 or 416-635-2883 Ext.5685 , or Sarah Raizel Avalis 416-635-2883 Ext.5184, tributecards@ujafed.org or savalis@ujafed.org.

•••

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),

March 25, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized

The cause of affordability is foundational in other places too

The creative, generously philanthropic initiative some four years ago that drastically reduced annual tuition at CHAT proved empirically that enrollment is directly related to tuition. That program became the vanguard for other affordability initiatives by UJA Federation and participating day schools. The programs and results have been noticed in other North American communities. Following the communal will and the programmatic success of local GTA initiatives, other communities have embarked onto their own affordability paths.

For example, the media reported last month upon a series of affordability initiatives among day schools in the Boston area,

• MetroWest Jewish Day School serving Brookline and Worcester, Mass.

The first 15 students from new families who applied to MetroWest Jewish Day School (MWJDS) by March 15 and enroll for the 2022-23 school year will lock in a $15,000 per year tuition rate for two years, with only modest increases thereafter to account for inflation.

Epstein Hillel School (EHS)

EHS announced three new grant programs for families of differing financial means and whose children are at various stages in their Jewish education. The programs are aimed at trying to cap tuition at a family-specific affordable rate to make tuition “within reach for all families

• Schechter Boston

Schechter is trying to attract qualifying families who are new to Jewish day school with a  $10,000 reduction off tuition in kindergarten through grade 2.

• The Rashi School

The schoolannounced two new grant initiatives to reduce tuition to qualifying families.

Of course, the details of each of the programs in each of the schools differ even as each of the schools differ in their various approaches to Jewish education. The key reason in pointing out these initiatives is not for their respective details but rather for the very fact that they are happening at all. GTA community leaders understand that Jewish education is the keystone foundation for permanently meaningful Jewish life. And to enable as many families as possible to have access to Jewish education, it must be affordable. That understanding, that eternal wisdom of Jewish life is increasingly making its way to other communities as well. The cause of educational affordability has become foundational in other places too,

•••

In relation to the application filed in court for fairness in educational funding, GAJE’s lawyers will be meeting soon with the government’s counsel to discuss next steps in the lawsuit. If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit to achieve fairness and justice in educational funding in Ontario, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom.  Chag Purim Samayach.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

March 18, 2022

Posted in Uncategorized
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We would like to share personal stories about how the affordability issue has affected families in our community. We will post these stories anonymously on our Facebook page and on our website.

We will not include any personal information such as names, schools, other institutions, or any other identifying information. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

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