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Thursday, November 27, 2014

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Cost of Jewish education

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I was floored when I even read the title of the article “School tuition not yet ‘a crisis.’” (CJN, June 20). If I can speak as a representative of the newly married Jewish young professionals in this city, this subject is consistently a central topic of conversation, frustration, and worry. 

I was lucky enough to receive a Jewish education growing up, and I have always wanted to give my future children that same opportunity. In my and my husband’s entire social circle, I do not believe we know even one couple that is not strongly concerned with the cost of Jewish education in this city. 

Why must we, the young married Jewish community of Toronto, feel as if we are being forced to decide between investing in a home for our future families, or being able to give our future children the education that they deserve? If tuition costs continue to rise yearly by three to five per cent, the Jewish school system will be forcing us and our friends to make this devastating choice. 

 

Nava Hoffman

Toronto

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A great aspect of my chosen profession is to speak to families about their choices in educating their children. While I am a big proponent of Jewish education with my own three children attending Associated Hebrew School, the astounding high cost of raising Jewish children comes to mind.

At an average cost of roughly $15,000 per child for primary/middle school and $8,000 for summer camp, a family with three children is spending in the neighbourhood of $70,000 per year to give their children a Jewish education and Jewish summer camp experience alone. With three children at CHAT, that number increases to $100,000 annually.

Add kosher food, synagogue dues, a modest bar mitzvah lunch, family trip to Israel, March of the Living, and the costs become increasingly daunting to the average family. Although I can advocate for the merits of each experience, the aggregate total of living Jewish is seemingly high.

 I am running out of answers for my families. After all, a child needs a new pair of shoes as well.

 

Cantor Eric Moses

Beth Sholom Synagogue

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Dear ‘leadership’: By saying we are not in a ‘tuition crisis’, you give license to continue ignoring the problem. Every average tuition-paying parent will tell you loud and clear that unfortunately, we ARE in a tuition crisis. It’s time to get your collective heads out of the sand, stop procrastinating and quit making lame excuses (“The federation [already] allocates $10 million annually for tuition assistance,” – most laudable, but not nearly enough today and, certainly, not coming close to reaching every strapped day school family).

It’s time for our leadership to reconnect with its grassroots, acknowledge that the community is in crisis, make the executive decision to seriously address that problem and mobilize every available resource to find real and innovative ways to fix it.

Mendel Janowski

Toronto

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Do your homework

As an actual attendee at the Pamela Geller event this past May, I am appalled at the lack of “true” research the Anti-Defamation League and Toronto Board of Rabbis had done. (“Toronto Board of Rabbis condems Geller speaking invite” CJN May 23). Ms. Geller does not vilify Muslims. She states her deep concern for those who seek to shut down real freedom of speech, as defined by our Constitution. Her values are not contrary to ours, nor does she advocate violence in any way, shape or form.

Unfortunately we are in a real war of Good vs. Evil. There are no grey areas here! What increases tension in our communities is the sweeping under the carpet of real concerns for where our country and allies are headed in the midst of this madness. The Board of Rabbis should be anything but commended for their position on her visit to Toronto. Voices of moderation and co-operation must never be drowned out as Ms. Geller would concur, but for some to imply that her voice is one of hostility and extremism is completely untrue! Watch her videos and judge for yourself. Please, do your homework before casting aspersions!

 

Eileen Shapero 

Thornhill, Ont.

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