Affording Jewish Day School

What a difference free Jewish day school education would make.

Comments (41)

(41) Nehama, March 7, 2012 9:29 AM

Made Aliyah for this reason

I made Aliyah 6 months ago with 4 kids and Jewish education was top reason. It is free in Israel and my kids love it here. It is not easy but I can't homeschool.

(40) Anonymous, March 6, 2011 12:14 AM

The solution is YES (Yelid Education Saving) - VOTE NOW!

(39) SusanE, December 1, 2010 5:18 AM

How Expensive is Jewish Schooling?

Perhaps I don't know how expensive Jewish Schools are. Surely it's not just the rich kids who can go to Jewish School. My husband and I were middle class earning about $38,000. a year. In the fifth grade we sent our daughter to private Catholic school. We paid a higher amount because we were non-Catholic. Uniforms and books were a bit pricey. We paid about double our house payment and I volunteered at school fund raisers every month at the church. She attended 4 years. My daughter was in classes with very wealthy children and with very poor children. Catholic families with several children were given discounts. I'm afraid I assumed that the costs would be similar. Would Jewish School be more expensive than a Catholic school? I am sorry if I offended.

(38) Anonymous, November 7, 2010 4:36 AM

They are our future...the Australian experience proves it,,,,

Very interesting Lori's comments. Here in Melbourne Australia ~50% almost of all Jewish kids go to Jewish Day Schools. In Sydney it's about ~40%. In Perth it's about ~50%. (In the smaller communities like Adelaide they struggle with their day schools.) The reality is until Moshiach comes may he come ASAP NOW the Jews of Australia aren't going to make aliyah ( albeit 10% of Australia's Jews are already in Aretz....) so if you Heaven forbid want to alienate Jewish people of the next generation don't offer Chas VaChaliila subsidies like in Australia. Federal and State Government is offerred to these Jewish schools but it covers about ~30%. It sounds quite strange to just say aliyah when at present for the majority aren't considering it....and evry Jewish kids needs some sort of Chinuch The Australian experience has shown that lower intermarriage rates happen when Jewish education is taken seriously and Jewish kids in the Gola learn Jewish subjects Torah etc. As a parent it is very challenging financially we have 5 kids in Jewish schools but as my friends tell me think of it as an investment! A blue chip investment albeit sometimes a long term one that does pay great returns often in later years.

(37) Fran, November 7, 2010 3:06 AM

Stop Funding Jewish Museums!

Philanthropists spend millions to fund Holocaust museums and now the new one in Phildelphia, a museum about the American Jewish community. If we don't fund Jewish Education, all that will be left of us in the country will be the museums!

(36) Molly, November 5, 2010 11:48 PM

I forgot

I forgot to add to the above post about homeschooling: We have five children. It simply is not possible for larger families to afford private school in many cases. The whole point of choosing a Jewish day school would be to promote the creation of Jewish families in the next generation - but affording one means that most can only afford one or two children and both parents have to work!

(35) Molly, November 5, 2010 11:42 PM

One Word..

One word... Homeschooling! Yes, it's a huge commitment of time and energy, but you can provide a Jewish education to your children at a fraction of the cost of day school. Groups of parents can also work together to teach the children co-op style. It may not fit into every family's busy lifestyle, but it works for us.

(34) Anonymous, November 5, 2010 9:44 PM

California Charter School teaches Hebrew

My child goes to a few months old new charter school, that teaches Hebrew each day. It's 7-9th grade now. They will add a grade each year up to 12th. Currently they are working on getting their charter for K-6th grade too. It does not teach religion any more than a public school would, so basically not at all. But it does teach a lot about Israel via the Hebrew. The teachers are amazing. It's free and such a blessing. It is a college preparatory school, so a bit harder than public school. My child loves it. There are people of all religions there, but more Jews than in public school. As to Sunday school, well, focusing on swinging a bird over your head to cast away sins is not a top priority for what I want my child to know of values. Practicing and teaching religion by the family is what sticks most anyway, (not that we don't go to Shul too, but you know what I mean). And by the way, our relatives children raised in Israel were sadly taught in school about "Hebrews" as if we're from dumb pre-historic cave men, of which no one now, if they had a brain, would believe in G... . That Hebrews were not evolved beyond cave man belief. So, I'm even more worried about the public school in Israel than here. Our school is the first Charter school in the USA to offer Hebrew at a Middle/High school level. There are 4 elementary charter schools that offer Hebrew in the USA already. Also at our school, other languages available are Spanish, Mandarin, and they plan on offering Arabic, Latin, and Greek as there becomes enough interest. I highly recommend them.

(33) , November 5, 2010 2:09 PM

I wish I could but can't afford it

The cost of sending 2 children to jewish school in Montreal is in the neighborhood of 16k. Unless I were to move my whole family into a tent in my parents backyard. there is no way I can afford very sad

(32) David, November 5, 2010 5:47 AM

Milwaukee has vouchers...

Not everyone can move here...but Milwaukee has vouchers for private schools...they didn't go about it via religious was because the public school district was in serious trouble... perhaps one approach - short of moving to this wonderful to focus on vouchers not so much for the "Jewish community" but to focus on the bigger picture...getting vouchers for the general public, which would trickle down to Jewish schools as well... Also - there's a man George Hanus in Chicago, very involved and has come up with m any good ideas - 5% fund (people putting it in their wills)... the ideas are out there... it needs the push and in the right way, with wisdom...

(31) Marjorie, November 5, 2010 12:54 AM

Funding Religious Day Schools in Canada

Lori commented that in Canada Catholic schools are funded, Jewish not. On the surface, this certainly looks inequitable and discriminatory, but, as Lori noted, there is a long-standing historical reason for this. It has to do with the terms under which the province of Ontario entered Confederation in 1867; there was a compromise at that time that there would be two public school systems -- Catholic and Protestant --representing the two founding religions. This constitutional condition cannot be changed. A few years ago in Ontario, the Conservative party leader ran for office on a promise to fund other religious schools beside Catholic and Protestant. This was a colossal mistake which derailed his campaign; the public outcry was huge and he lost resoundingly. I was among a not inconsiderable group of Jewish parents who were AGAINST public funding of religious schools (this despite the fact that I sent both my children to a Jewish high school which we could not afford; we got assistance from my mum and from the UJA, which does offer some subsidies). I have two reasons for objecting to public funding for private day schools: The first is that when people choose to send their kids to religious schools, they make a deliberate decision not to buy into the collective ethos of the dominant culture. If they make that decision, they should not expect the taxpayers of that culture to pay for their voluntary self-exclusion. The second reason is that Ontario has a large Islamic community. They also have private schools where, I assume, Israel is maligned. I do not want taxpayers' money to encourage and maintain public schools where anti-Israeli propaganda is spread. I think it is most unfortunate that people with large Jewish families must shoulder the burden of expensive religious education, but I that is better than the alternative -- public funding. And yes, I happily pay my taxes for schools that I did not use -- that's what citizenship is all about.

(30) Shua Cohen, November 4, 2010 8:39 PM

Tinokos vs. Kollel Yungerleit

The Gemara in Shabbos 119b says: “The world is only sustained by the breath of the Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban” (elementary school children learning Torah). Does anyone know of a similar Gemara which attributes the continued existence of the world to the learning of kollel yungerleit? And yet, millions of dollars are donated by Orthodox Jewish philanthropists -- whose family names appear on luxurious new buildings to accommodate yeshiva kollels -- while the Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban of the community have the doors of their mosdos of Torah learning slammed in their faces. I have in mind a particularly famous American Orthodox Jewish community which saw three elementary schools fail last year, displacing hundreds of children and their teachers, while the members of that very community danced at a number of new, "state-of-the-art," multimillion dollar kollel edifices. Is it possible that the community’s priorities are sadly misplaced? Just wondering (although many consider this an impertinent and embarrassing question that they don’t want publicly asked). P.S. That so much money is still being invested in golus institutions is also a tragedy. Now imagine the consequences if those same millions were invested in moving entire neighborhoods to Eretz Yisrael! Gosh! It might be enough to bring Eliyahu HaNavi to us, to initiate the penultimate stage of the final geula.

(29) Yaakov, November 4, 2010 3:42 PM

Jewish education IS free...

in Israel - yet another reason to COME HOME to the land of our forefathers. Now THAT' is something that would 'save a whole generation of the Jewish people'.

(28) Anonymous, November 4, 2010 2:17 AM

Perhaps the Jewish Day Schools can do a no frills version just offering secular subjects and jewish teaching, skipping the extracurricular stuff like sports, arts etc. The parent can provide that after school on their own. Would probably cut down the costs substantially.

(27) Anonymous, November 3, 2010 5:56 PM

Do you really think inability to budget why we can't afford day school?

Susan E, I am totally amazed by your comment, and can't help but wonder what (high income) planet you are on. I am one of the people who could never afford day school tuition to keep 2 children in day school through all of their schooling. And I imagine I could teach you many, many lessons about how to live frugally. Maybe you come from a tradition where the parents buy their newly married kids a house (or pay a truly substantial chunk). Maybe your family has parents and grandparents who give generously toward the children's education. This doesn't happen in my world. Seems to me that someone who thinks I need a little bit of "budgeting help' has never experienced life as I know it.

(26) Suzanne, November 3, 2010 5:44 PM

Each generation has their own hardships ....

Lori, You are so correct in that this is a terrible problem. No religion should be for the wealthy only. Personally, this is our family's last year in the Jewish educational system as my third and last child is now a senior in high school. However, IT HAS KILLED US FINANCIALLY! Reality, the best situation IS the aliyah one, I truly believe that. However, for those who simply cannot make aliyah right now, the situation IS dire and has been for many years. In my home town, there has been alot of finger pointing at the Jewish Federation (forJewish charities). There is feeling that the "big deals" who are the decision makers have really dropped the ball on this one - that their priorities have been totally flawed and that the Jewish community will pay dearly for it in the future. I've also heard that only a very small percentage of Jewish charitable giving in the US actually goes to Jewish related causes - again, lousy priorities. What to do? Alot of ideas here are good ones and may help, but, ultimately, unless we make aliyah, my own children will be dealing with this situation (with THEIR children) before long and the whole circus will begin again!

(25) Anonymous, November 3, 2010 4:59 PM

Thank you for speaking up on this issue.

I hope people will listen. I do have something I'd like to add. It will have to be more than philanthropists making sacrifices. I see people--comfortable, not ultra-rich--walking around with designer clothes; buying new SUVs with leather, heated seats; going on "Kosher" vacations costing thousands of dollars; buying costly sheitels, having serviceable kitchens redone for the third time; host luxurious weddings and sheva brachos for crowds; etc. Their next-door neighbors can barely afford day school, and some can barely put food on the table or clothe their children. There is something deeply wrong with this picture. Everyone needs to make sacrifices. Maybe then we can guilt-trip the philanthropists into following suit. My own eldest child has special needs. Because the day schools can't afford to handle his needs and we can't afford to pay for his shadow, etc. ourselves, he attends a public school. Our local public school got an astonishing number of new shomer shabbos students this year due to the economy. I took my son home early on the day of the Halloween, but many parents didn't pick up their kids beforehand, or even dressed their kids up so they'd "fit in". For some, this was their first Halloween. What a scandal! How can the community tolerate this? I also think that we need to find a way in the U.S. to get secular studies (limudei chol) covered with public funding. Maybe create charter schools with the number teaching hours yearly required by law. However, have fewer hours each day but more days...then there will be time for Jewish studies after at local day schools/talmud torahs.

(24) Aaron, November 3, 2010 12:09 PM

I agree with Dina and Zemaria

Unless both parents make a 6 figure salaries, I dont know how people can afford it. Also, I think more non-orthodox Jews would consider Jewish day school if it was more affordable. In Eretz Yisrael, while the salaries may not be great, it balances out with the free tution

(23) Dina (Jerusalem), November 3, 2010 10:08 AM


Lori, stop advocating that Jewish parents "band together", stop asking questions re why one religious school is funded and another one isn't - stop pretending that all the solutions to this problem are to be found in the Galut! You want your kids to have a choice of real Jewish day schools to attend? There are plenty in Eretz Israel! Aliya is the only real and permanent solution for you, your kids and your friends' kids.

(22) Deena, November 3, 2010 8:16 AM


Yet another reason to move to Israel.

(21) Elana, November 3, 2010 3:57 AM


Makes my blood boil; you'd think that people did not purposely ask for help. Sometimes you can't do anything about can tuition for school be more expensive then the mortgage??? What are you supposed to do if you have 3 kids? How can you pay if you are a single parent? Who will you ask for help? Unfortunately, it seems that everyone needs help with tuition. I think that everyone should band together and put pressure on the politicians to support private schooling. TMay, all the private schools would have to be what they are teaching, etc; maybe by surprise visits several times a year; funding can be taken away if there is no proper education. Makes me so upset that I have to pay so much in taxes and get almost no benefit for it. They say I have a choice...but I don't have a choice really. My kids would be outracised in this neighborhood if I sent them to public school. And I cannot home school them. So I am in miserable debt because of this. I, and so many others, feel like we are drowning with no help in sight. What about vouchers? Something has to be done.

(20) Zamirah, November 3, 2010 1:20 AM

There are free jewish dayschools

If you really want a jewish dayschool that is free, America is NOT the place to be. In Israel jewish public schools are free, it is a matter of finding the right neighbourhood that matches your personal criteria of religious level in the public school . Or even if you choose not to go to Israel, in belgium for example where I grew up the jewish schools are fully funded by the goverment. the only thing you pay are the additional hours of jewish/hebrew studies that the school offers beyond what is paid by the goverment for every religion represented in the country. And so are most European socialist countries, like Holland , France, England ... Unless you choose private, but you have the option!

(19) Anonymous, November 3, 2010 12:51 AM

It's absolutely horifying, that here in Montreal the public schools in my neighbourhood are filled to capacity 80-90% Jewish children attending. This is mainly because they are being turned away by the Jewish school when asking for assistance, or don't want to be put in the position to answer such questions as do you have any life savings, do you own your car, have you gone on any vacations...As much as a Jewish ed is a priority, who will take care of us when we retire?? Should we be placed in the position of spending all our rrsp's. Why can't it be affordable so we could provide our children with a Jewish ed. without sacrificing our nesteggs? Many parents have admiited that their children are in Jewish school thanks to the grandparents(who are paying) Have we succumbed to the bribery of grandparents to ensure a Jewish future for our children, why can't we take pride in sending our children there on our own free will and according to our own budget! Jewish ed. should be available and accessible to all without the shame and interrogation that families are being put under to make sure they are candidates and able to fully pay the total amount (which keeps increasing with the decrease of enrollment) If tuition decreases, then enrollment will increase and and so will jewish continuity. Our communities need to do whatever it takes to ensure a Jewish future for our children and more money needs to be allocated as a priority to the Jewish day schools before we lose any more to the public system.

(18) Jen, November 2, 2010 9:58 PM

What do we want from Jewish Day Schools?

a comment on the commenters first: 1. TMay - if you advocate that Jewish Day Schools should be funded by taxpayers then YES Muslim Day Schools (and Baha'ai and Hindu and Catholic and even Aetheist day schools!) should be funded by taxpayers too. You can't ask for one without allowing all the other varieties. Living in Melbourne, Australia, there is a wealth of Jewish Day Schools to choose from here to which to send our children. The Yeshiva/Beth Rivka one (I believe) will not ask what your income is, and will only charge what you can afford, BUT in my personal experience they are not interested in educating your child to fit into the "real" world, and will not make much of an effort to help children who already do not fit into either their own (ie religious/chabad) world or any other. My son has Aspergers Syndrome (High Functioning Autism) and despite promising to send his teachers on "in-service" courses to learn how to deal with his problems, all he got was expelled, AFTER which we discovered that he had been spending all day playing in the sand pit instead of learning anything. And this is the school which insisted that our son MUST attend there as a matter of (his religious) life and death. Despite the wealth of choices here for Jewish education, my son is finishing high school next week at a government funded public school; we tried THREE Jewish Day Schools for him before giving up on that system. My daughter, on the other hand, attends one of Melbourne's biggest Jewish Day Schools, happily fitting in, and coming home and telling me that she doesn't believe in G-d.

(17) , November 2, 2010 7:37 PM


I personally got my single sister to donater from her maaser money towards my yeshivas tuition, maybe they have a relative that can help them out this way as well? There should be an organization/ chesed group to help, There are so many Tzedakas to help get jewish kids out of public schools, where is the one to help keep the jewish kids in jewish schools???

(16) Natalie, November 2, 2010 6:06 PM

not justJewiish in name

I agree with TMay. The jewish school should be jewish in more than just the name Jewish day school but the outlook and attitude should be one of proper Jewish ways

(15) Mati, November 2, 2010 5:39 PM

Save your money for a move

Move to Eretz. Why do you think you need to stay in a xtian land?

(14) Dani, November 2, 2010 5:22 PM


Hi Lori very sweet but the real solution is not to imagine but get free education for your kids now! How? Make Aliyah yes its a real place not just a jewish theme park for vacation Wake up and come and get a part in eternety thats if you love your kids of course

(13) Anonymous, November 2, 2010 5:09 PM

need Jewish/Hebrew charter school

I was a teacher who visited other public schools for meetings. I saw Swahili being taught by a teacher wearing African type clothes. I saw African culture and history taught. This is repeated in schools where Spanish, Creole and Greek are being taught. All this is paid for by the local taxing authority. The Catholic church is converting their public schools to charter schools.We need to get behind the Hebrew/Jewish charter school movement.

(12) bonnie farkas, November 2, 2010 5:04 PM


I live in Montreal where the Jewish day schools are partially funded by the government. Tuition is much less than in other places, but still a good chunk. I find it deplorable that any day school would deny children a Jewish education based on ability to pay. I think and would hope that most provide some subsidies to needy parents.

(11) Harriet Wolpoff, November 2, 2010 4:42 PM


Now is not the time to be asking the government to subsidize private schools. Some public schools do not have enough chairs, and no budget to buy them!

(10) Anonymous, November 2, 2010 3:42 PM

Jewish Day School tuition

the US government should at least give a tax break to those who go to private school! after all we pay taxes and are entitled to an education and have the freedom to choose which school. Government grants maybe? Definitely, their should be more financial aid for those who can't afford it. every effort should be made not to turn a student away and save a JEW! shavoua tov

(9) Shaina, November 2, 2010 3:31 PM


I have been saying for years that Jewish schools teach the children about the beauty and sanctity of the Jewish home while, at the same time, they take the Jewish mother OUT of the home to earn the money to pay for the tuition. These children are being raised by all sorts of non-Jewish people and by television. I don't have a solution but it is eroding the Jewish home. Please continue to champion this issue; our survival may depend on it.

(8) Golda, November 2, 2010 3:05 PM

It's not about budgeting

SusanE, It's not about learning to budget better. Tuition is exorbitant and in our case, my husband was in a volitile industry (read Enron) and could not find steady employment. Every penny we made went to food and keeping a roof over our heads. No amount of budgeting was going to help pay for day school. We, out of necessity, decided to home school our three children. I would have liked more of a Jewish education for them, but I literally could not afford it at that point.

(7) Anonymous, November 1, 2010 11:02 PM

Check into the Twerski family community in Milwaukee. They have a school without tuition as well as medical benefits provided by the state. It is verrrry interesting the situation in their community. May you be successful in getting your needs met...

(6) shoshana, November 1, 2010 8:44 PM

I worked in a school that was entirely funded by a philnathropist. What a wonderful chesed to do for Jewish children. however, parents did not take school seriously, kids went off to vacation in the middle of school, parents did not come to any events and the kids did not care. When you are paying tuition you are going to put every effort in school actvities and education. On the other hand, the tuition is outragiously high, at a time when the economy is so bad, and parents are losing jobs.parents are under so much stress b/c the have to pay for yeshivah. The yeshivas are suffereng b/c of the bad economy, but keep raising tuition isn't going to help. Something nees to be doen to help the community as a whole and not just support one school.

(5) anonymous, November 1, 2010 12:22 PM

What about...?

I agree with you. This is of utmost importance for the Jewish people. What about going to a Jewish celebrity? One that is known for truly appreciating their connection to the Jewish people? Not to take advantage of people, but... someone who needs help needs to ask... not only asking Hashem but sometimes that means actually asking a person. The funds are needed and they are essential to our future. I would like to know what can be done about this. What can we really do?

(4) TMay, October 31, 2010 10:32 PM


I wanted to add that Jews should make sure they are teaching Judaism and not Leftism in the classes.

(3) SusanE, October 31, 2010 10:23 PM

How do the Other Less Affluent Families Manage?

Can the families who can afford to send their children teach the other parents who can't afford it, to manage by household budget cuts? Can parents band together and form a Jewish 'home school'? Can the synagogue help with a percentage of the bill? Is it parents who would rather spend money elsewhere, or is it actual income level that prevents the women who called you from sending their children? If I understand correctly, Jewish kids who can afford Jewish school marry others, who can also afford Jewish school. Around here you don't find many of the poorer public school kids on the football team, or in the ski club. Sad but true. This Tuesday I'm voting to bring back the solid, functioning middle class in America

(2) TMay, October 31, 2010 10:15 PM


Yes the Jewish community has a problem with people falling away from the religion whether it be to secularism, atheism, agnosticism, or other religions. I grew up in Canada too, from Quebec, and there they unified the Catholic and Protestant publicly funded schools after I left so that it more closely resembles the US. However nowadays they do allow taxes that one pays to be diverted to private religious schools where one's children are attending, based on a computation of the number of hours secular subjects are taught. However, whatever one does to encourage Judaism and the allegiance of children to Judaism will also apply to Muslims. Do you really want Muslim children being sent to Muslim only schools where their allegiance to whatever they are taught will be stronger than if they don't go to such schools? We can encourage philanthropy, and also remember that the Muslims don't have a problem with philanthropy because they have places like Saudi Arabia who use our petrodollars to encourage Wahhabism, like they have done at the university level by creating Middle East departments in universities across the US and other countries, and the way they have purchased middle school textbooks giving their version of history and of their religion and made the books available to schools in the US, I believe, and like they have created schools and mosques across the country. Chabad children who are spread across the globe study on line. Chabad is cutting edge on internet education, as are evangelist Christians. Perhaps a decent children's program can be created online and made accessible for a minimum fee? I do not recommend something free because then people do not value it. One would want believing people to teach the courses because children can tell the difference. The most important truth one can get across is that God exists, and that can only be taught by a believer.

(1) Anonymous, October 31, 2010 3:49 PM

most people don't care

they don't care--not about jewish education, not about jews who would be worse off if they can't get the education, and not about problems throughout ALL KINDS Jewish schools that leave too many of the children who have the opportunity to go there just hating and leaving Judaism. One would think at least the orthodox, who purportedly are big opponents of education and observance, would have a plan set out in which schools and teachers can't say or do the things we all know only end up causing children to leave their religion. But they're content that "most" are just fine. When people start to care, and when people start to teach others why they, too, should care, perhaps something will get done.


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