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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuition Crisis Suggestion

Dag links this great letter from this week's Jewish Press, which is in response to a previous letter regarding the Yeshiva tuition crisis. An excerpt:
I read the responses to the young lady who went through such a terrible time in high school. My heart goes out to her because the damage is irreparable. The problem of tuition is not a new one. I am in my 50’s and we went through similar trials with tuition. The only difference is that at that time, the principals did not humiliate the children – it was our parents who took a strong beating.

My mother was a survivor of the Holocaust and her children’s chinuch meant everything to her, so she came up with a plan that was acceptable to the school and also to her children.

Every summer, as soon as we were old enough to be junior counselors, we would work for free to help give something back to the school that gave so much to us. During the year, we would also volunteer for anything that needed to be done for our school. One of the things that stands out in my mind was being there to pack up countless books when our school moved and helped resettle in a new building.

It was so cold outside and our fingers were frozen, but our hearts were warm knowing that we were doing something so special. I feel that this was a strong lesson for us in hakaras ha’tov, and I know that the school really appreciated everything our family did. We were often singled out for chesed awards from the principal.

This letter is not so much for this young woman, who already went through so much, but it is my hope that the schools will work out something like this for people in similar situations and allow our children to preserve their dignity.
This letter presents a suggestion that my husband and I have actually discussed many times. I have long thought that the idea of some sort of community service system for those receiving tuition aid to be a very good one. The system could have a list of rotating jobs that need to be filled, with a certain amount of required hours for each family on scholarship to fill. The jobs could be varied, and might include such positions as:
  • helping on the lunch line
  • being on the school's substitute teacher list
  • helping out in the nurses office
  • doing data entry
  • tutoring struggling children or helping them with homework
  • assisting with dismissal and bus duty
  • working in the school library
  • assisting with filing
  • making fundraising phone calls
  • assisting with mass mailings
  • assisting teachers in the classroom
  • supervising recess
The list of positions that can be filled by this roving group of volunteers is likely quite long - and the Yeshivas in question would likely be thrilled to have the extra pairs of hands. There are jobs there that would work only for parents who are available for some of the daytime hours, but many, such as filing, helping with mailings, homework help, and tutoring, could also be managed by a parent who works full-time. In addition, there are many parents who are paying full tuition that already give so much in the way of volunteerism to their children's schools that in my opinion, this would not be demeaning for the parents who would be doing it to fulfill their tuition obligation.

There is no reason that being unable to fulfill the full obligation of tuition should absolve parents from giving back to their children's schools. In addition, this might give parents who are on tuition break the feeling that they are shouldering their part of their tuition responsibility, even when they may face tough financial times.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Ideas?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had close friends whose mothers worked in the lunchroom, fathers became school custodians or gave a "shop" or "drama" classes for these reasons. Many schools request assistance with fundraising campaigns from families who are receiving tuition discounts.

In my children's schools, many parents needing reduced tuition do work full time and more to cover the tuition and living expenses they CAN afford.

One serious caveat to "public volunteering" is that given the state of middos in today's world, if it will be quite clear which families are "discount volunteers," children may not exhibit pride but be ashamed, and may be embarrassed by their peers...

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my mother used to shlep on two buses to every wednesday (after working) to do bingo for my brother's yeshiva.....

now, i work full time, have three kids (to afraid to have that fourth--will this be then to tip us into bankruptcy)--when exactly would i volunteer? im not sure this could be done in the spirit of what you are suggesting. it would be another obligation to the yeshiva. and as far as the other "volunteers"--i find that in my school, its a certain group of women who have not responded when i did offer to help out. and your idea still doesnt take away the fact that yeshiva is just to expensive, and while ill pay my LIPA bill late so that i can get the tuition in, what's going to happen in the future???

9:12 PM  
Blogger AidelMaidel said...

I am all for giving time to your child's school. The problem is that for those who *truly* can't afford tuition, those extra hours of "volunteerism" can come at a grave expense.

As you know, I'm a single mommy to two girls. I work full-time in manhattan and come home to be a full-time mommy, full-time tatty, and full-time housekeeper. I can't afford a cleaning lady, so I'm the cleaning lady. I use my spare hours at night to do odd jobs over the computer to make ends meet. Every month, I get further in the hole. I'm not taking vacations, my kids wear hand me downs and hand outs, and BH, we get help from the community for food. If the school required me to "volunteer" towards my tuition, it would cost me not only to pay for the babysitter, but also the lost hours I could be working at night, plus the time it takes away from doing everything else I need to take care of - leaving me more tired and exhausted and less capable of doing what I need to do. So the cleanliness of the house slips and I get worried that what if someone thinks I am neglecting my children like I neglect my house?

Volunteering is just that - volunteer. Forcing it is akin to a work-study job.

If I had the money, I would pay tuition in a heartbeat. But since there is no transparency when it comes to tuition and who pays what, it's likely that the number I agreed to is far more than the guy driving the brand new luxury SUV because he's related to somebody. If there was a community wide scale and each school got the same amount of tuition per child, and if you have X kids and make X gross dollars per year and your full tuition bill is X dollars, then you pay Y in adjusted tuition per child, I would feel that was fair. But it would never happen because a) the schools would never agree to a standard fee and b) somebody will always try to beat the system...

9:25 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

aidel, your points are all well taken. But I think the average non-tuition paying parent isn't quite as harried as someone with your responsibilities. I think that most parents could probably swing a set number of hours spread out over a year. Yes, there might be exceptions, but in a school with hundreds of parents, this could still work out to be a tremendous boon to the yeshiva. And I hear what you are saying about a sliding scale, but why is this system any different than bartering for something you can;t afford to pay cash for?

9:41 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

I know a horror story at a Yeshiva in Israel where students on tuition assitance HAD to work in the kitchen EVERY in shabbas of the year. The boy told me he did not get to spend even 1 shabbas meal with the other boys

9:55 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

But I think the average non-tuition paying parent isn't quite as harried as someone with your responsibilities.

While Aidel obviously has a larger than average set of responsibilities, the average non-tuition paying parent is generally far more harried than the ones who pay, and cannot afford the time - any extra time would likely be put towards trying to make a little more or be their only 'break' of the day.

The idea is nice, but not overly practical, at least in the tri-state area [two incomes common, time scarce]. But to back up the idea, I know that mothers (and even a few fathers) used to help out with different things all the time in my elementary school - and I don't know if they got any tuition breaks or not [I'd guess not], but it helped keep little extra costs down. Whether it was lice-checking, going on field trips, or whatever was needed, a few people would be there to help.

The first step to schools fixing their finances needs to be opening up the books and analyzing where the money is going. [Perhaps opening up everything but individual teacher salaries in the short-term until how that would be disclosed is worked out.] Once we know what the numbers are, it would be much easier to start coming up with solutions. Right now everything is a shot in the dark to some extent.

10:07 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

the average non-tuition paying parent is generally far more harried than the ones who pay, and cannot afford the time - any extra time would likely be put towards trying to make a little more or be their only 'break' of the day.

says who? Ezzie, that generalization is not exactly on target. There are plenty of dual income homes where both parents work like dogs and then put a huge percentage of their income towards tuition, but are just over the income levels of those who do qualify for a tuition break. Those are the people who are most hurt by paying full tuition. And I wouldn't say for a minute that the demographic that gets sandwiched between those with high incomes and those with low incomes are in any way "less harried".

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I did motzei shabbos BINGO for years to help our children's yeshiva, and we would receive a free glatt kosher hot dog in additional, so for us it was a night out, a DATE.
Different world, different time...

12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most people that can't pay tuition are really and truly harried. Even homework is an absolute killer. Most families with tuition problems have at least one or two kids with learning issues too. If there is any hope that the kid will stay above water - you are talking two hours a night sitting with them with homework. No one nowadays has that extra time.

6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are plenty of dual income homes where both parents work like dogs and then put a huge percentage of their income towards tuition, but are just over the income levels of those who do qualify for a tuition break.

So it's agreed that scholarship or no scholarship, most yeshiva parents are pretty strapped for time. Hence, though your idea is nice, it's hard to see how it would practically work, unless there are families who get tuition breaks where the mom is a SAHM (in which case, why isn't she working?)

7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i disagree that this is impractical. who cant find 20 or so hours spread out over a year? people find time for just about verything in their lives. the people who cant scrape together the time for this are few and far between.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a few problems with the concept. First, I think it likely that such a program will publicize who gets tuition assistance and who doesn't. I have no idea who gets such help in my kids' school, nor do I want to know. Second, I would hope that most people who are able to volunteer extra time, do so, whether receiving tuition assistance or not. To the extent someone doesn't want to help but is forced to "volunteer" (a bit oxymoronic), then our children will be surrounded by disgruntled volunteers, who needs that? Also, the poor children of such parents are just going to hear grumbling about the school. Presumably such families already have enough to deal with (monetary issues). As to Aidelmaidel's comment, I am a bit confused concerning what she said about sliding scale yeshiva tuitions. All yeshivas I know of have a single tuition rate. It is only when parents need assitance that the rate changes, and then, in theory, based upon need. (As to the rest of her comment, as a single father of two kids who works all day and then is the first to leave work so I can get home to do homework with the kids, then gets back on the computer after they go to sleep so I can finish up work and not be seen as a slacker for leaving early, I sympathize and understand [almost] exactly how she feels and the strain she is under).

9:57 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...


This is a good idea in theory but unworkable, l'meisa, for all the reasons Aidel and others have cited. As an aside, you simply can't have people on scholarship making fundraising calls. Fundraising 101 says you have to have people who themseleves are givers (the bigger the better) make such calls.

Who would coordinate these volunteers? Who would determine whether people were competent for their appointed duties? How owuld the schools benefit economically in a substantial enough way to make it worth their while?

In the real world, most of the volunteer work done in schools is done by a relative handful of people. Most of them (but not all) tend not to be burdened by major financial concerns.

The answer to the tuition crisis, as I have been saying for years, is not on the expense side, it's on the revenue side. There is plenty of money in the Jewish community; it's just not going to the right places.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm concerned that peoples' knee-jerk reaction is to say no. I get that if a specific person is asked to do a spesific job at a specific time, that it may not be possible. But I think it's a fabulous idea to try to find other-than-monetary ways to contribute to our schools. I'm just as busy as anyone else who's blogging over here, but if I thought about long enough and creatively enough, I'm sure I could find SOMETHING I could do that would be helpful. I think the above posts show a startling lack of Hakoras Hatov and communal responsibility that is a huge problem in our society.

11:13 AM  
Blogger MoChassid said...

Anonymous 11:13

The truth is that anyone who wants to volunteer has plenty of opportunities to do so, and, generally does. Those that don't volunteer don't because they are not interested or do not have the time or luxury of volunteering (for all the reasons expressed by Aisel and others).

Requiring "volunteering" is not a solution to anything. It will not have much of an economic impact on the school and will not do anything but cause more stress on those who need less stress, not more. This has nothing to do with a lack of hakoras hatov; it has everything to do with practical reality.

11:45 AM  
Blogger miriamp said...

unless there are families who get tuition breaks where the mom is a SAHM (in which case, why isn't she working?)

Because for many the combined cost of childcare for the too-young-for-school kids with other working-in-an-office expenses would make it come out at best even and at worse, negative?

(Don't get me started on this, I know it's a hot topic for many, and I too get very heated when SAHMoms are accused of "not doing their share" by attempting to actually watch their own children during the day and/or not allowing financial considerations to limit the number of those children! Regardless of whether they receive assistance, don't assume that by going to work they would automatically have more money... it doesn't always work that way!)

We all have our paths in life, and mine does not currently lead to the office. (Yes, I'm a SAHM, how did you guess? I also run my own small business, but that's another story.)

But anyway, as for volunteering, I'd love to put myself on the "available to substitute list," but then what would I do with my littles? I do volunteer with after-school stuff sometimes (like the high school play) and my littles get shlepped along to rehearsals and meetings, but that doesn't work as well during the school day.

Oh, and don't forget the parents with children in more than one school who would then have to find hours in the day to give to both (all?) of them!

That aside, Orthomom, it's an interesting idea... but not as an obligation. I can only see it working if the list is offered to all parents, regardless of tuition assistance. Unofficially, it could be suggested that it is a way to give back to the school for all they do for our children... which doesn't just mean tuition breaks, or at least I hope it doesn't, and therefore would affect all parents.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with mochassid, especially on the economics of tuition and the plain fact of practical reality.

I don't even work full time and I have trouble doing the little i've committed to for my daughter's gan. I can't imagine having anytime if I was working full time.

Unfortunately, for working parents, volunteering is a luxury.

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This system is already in use in Cleveland's Hebrew Academy. They call it "Give & Get". Be careful not to call it "Give A Get"!

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


No need to sound so bitter. I'm a WAHM but I have childcare arrangements for my children because I can't work and watch them at the same time. And, Hashem actually blessed me with a job where it's worth if for me to pay for quality childcare.

Yes, I fully understand about the economics of women working and childcare philosophies, etc.

But, unfortunately, if you're living in America and trying to raise a frum family, I really can't understand how that's possible on one income, particularly in the metropolitan area (unless your husband's a plastic surgeon, hedge fund manager or ceo of a big company)

My brother actually just joined me in Israel because of this issue.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to propose a somewhat obvious solution - leave New York!

There are many lovely places to live with lower tuition and living costs all over the United States and Canada.

If you are willing to forgo some of the conveniences of living in New York (many restaurants, many minyanim, many frum neighbors, etc), you may find that the answer lies in the wonderful small Jewish communities all across America.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a better -- and much less costly -- solution: SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

We can rest assured that they get enough of that old-time religion banged into their heads at home and in shul.

Public schools not good enough? Then work just as hard as you do in our yeshivas to make sure our public schools make the grade, and more.

But wait. "They're aren't any Jews in the public schools!"

There would be, if we didn't behave like such "goyishe kups," pulling our kids out, only to pay thousands and thousands of dollars (on top of what we pay in property taxes) for an education that, really, is not all that we bargained for.

Don't want our your children fraternizing with non-Orthodox kids?

Move to Israel, or set up a compound in the foothills of Utah, where you don't have to give a crap about either neighbors or the community at large.

I went to public schools until high school, when my parents put me in a yeshiva.

Following in the footsteps of such "conventional" wisdom, I sent my first son to a yeshiva.

I'm learning, however, that some "traditions," rituals of orthodoxy, if you will, are best left in the shtetl.

Thousands of dollars, abusive rabbis, and an agenda that sacrifices tolerance in the name strict adherence to ritual, have taught this Orthodox Jew a valuable lesson: My other children will all go to public school!

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with women who make the choice to stay at home and then apply for tuition assistance. My husband works till midnight six days a week. I run a business from my home so I can have my little ones home with me and still contribute to the family income. If we did not work as hard, we would earn less and probably qualify for assistance. But we choose not to. The education of our children is of the utmost importance and we feel that we must do our share.
I disagree with the SAHM who says that going out to work would cost her the earnings she would make. She, and other SAHM should look for income opportumities they could do from home - and all those earnings should go to tuition. Some ideas include-
basement store
data entry/medical billing

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:22

Thank you for spelling out more clearly what I was trying to say to Miriam.

Those are all excellent WAHM ideas that you brought up.

The truth is, I don't think I could sleep at night if all the pressure was on my husband to support the family, even though in theory he could, especially because we live in Israel and we don't have the tuition costs New Yorkers do.

There are always ways for mothers to find a way to make an economic contribution to the family. It takes a little creativity and ingenuity.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Anon 12:39 -

I'm not going to comment on all of the specific objectionable details of your post, but I was waiting for someone to bring up the "send them to public school" plan.

I recently heard an interesting thing from a Rav from Rav Moshe (it should be in Igros somewhere, but I don't have a cite). A person wrote to Rav Moshe Feinstein asking if he could use Ma'aser money towards his daughter's yeshiva tuition (boy's tuition certainly could not be from Ma'aser (tithes) because of the commandment of Ve'Shinantam Lebanecha - and you shall teach your sons Torah). The questioner's reasoning was that since there is no specific affirmative commandment to teach your daughter Torah, his daughter's tuition should be able to come from Ma'aser (You cannot use Ma'aser funds towards things you are anyhow obligated to do, like buying an esrog, etc.).

Rav Moshe responded that since in the USA education is compulsory, and since frum kids should not be in public schools, it is obligatory for a parent to send their daughter to a yeshiva/bais yaakov and therefore Maaser cannot be used.

So we see that R' Moshe held that it is an obligation for a parent to pay for Yeshiva tuition as opposed to sending their child to a public school. Ostensibly the public schools nowadays are even further from being a fit place for frum children than they were 30+ or so years ago when the Tshuva was written. So I don't see your "solution" as being workable.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is the Orthodox community going to become mature enough to form a Gemeinde and tax everybody progressively to finance Jewish schools?

2:58 PM  
Blogger Orthonomics said...

A few things in no particular order:

1. Many communities have "Give or Get" programs where you either have to pay the school $X000 or work off that obligation though "volunteering." I'm surprised this isn't commonplace in NY. But, like MOChassid, I doubt that such a program would be practical on a mass basis. The idea of asking parents to volunteer, however, is excellent and can and should be implemented where practical for all parties.

2. Miriam is right on the money (pun intended) about two income families. I've written about it in detail here: http://orthonomics.blogspot.com/2006/03/working-women-what-are-you-actually.html

in what has proven to be one of my most controversial posts. I didn't include every number (go ahead and amend the post to include child tax credits for two children to be between $1200 and $2100 depending on your income level---most likely not more than $1200). Nor did I include Flexible Spending Accounts for child care of $5000 pre-tax dollars. But, quite frankly for those whose husbands earn higher than average salaries that put them into the 25% tax bracket for federal alone, these dollars don't change the conclusion in my post. Oh, and these credits and benefits only work for legal daycare.

Some families are better off financially (not to mention emotionally) when the mother stays at home (or father, I'm equal opportunity)!!

And I know very few SAHM's, formerly known as homemakers, who don't do some work on the side. And for those mothers that work hard on budgeting and saving, remember that a dollar saved is tax free.

3. Schools that have "Give or Get" programs should ensure that they are using them to the financial benefit of the school. Last year there was an announcment on our local listserv that the school was offering Give or Get dollars for the parent who coordinated carpools (or chessed hours). Sound nice? Sure, for the parent who stepped up. But this was NOT a responsibility of the school and as far as I am concerned Give or Get dollars should not have been offered. (Chessed hours, certainly).

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I send my child to a school that obligates the parents to give 30 volunteer hours a year, or forfeit and pay $300.

I agree with Ezzie. The escalating costs of yeshiva tuition, combined with the fact that they all seem to be in the red, and STILL cannot manage to ever pay their teachers on time, leads me to wonder if they are using the money inappropriately. On average, my son's yeshiva has about 7 fundraisers a year. Three of those require some massive obligatory donation, usually about $1000.

I just don't get it. Let's open up the books, and see what's going on. It certainly can't be the teachers' salaries. I know, because I was offered a job at these schools.

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Volunteering is a "nice" idea, but it doesn't help the schools as much as you might think. For example, 20 hours a year for someone to do a job that might [generously] pay $15/hr, only saves the school $300 in the entire year. The reason tuitions are so high is because the schools expenses are so high, and please realize that at almost all schools, tuition doesn't cover all the expenses, much of the annual expense is covered by donations.

Frankly, I think the problem with the yeshivas is that their expenses are too high. Our local day school (PK - 8) where my children attend has a head of school (about $200,000 + benefits), a head of secular studies ($120k+), a head of Judaic studies ($120k+), a head of the early childhood ($100k+), 2 people working full time in the financial office, a psychologist, a nurse, a full time security guard, a full time maintenance guy, and assistants for each of the administrators, an office manager, and a woman that works the front desk (late passes, etc). I won't even mention the fancy new audiovisual computer setups that they've been installing at a few thousand apiece, and all the other technology items in the school. Oh, and I forgot the full time librarian, and the part time IT guy.

I grew up in Boro Park and went to school at Etz Chaim and I clearly recall that we had ONE principal, ONE woman who worked in the office (and man was she tough :-), and a nurse that came a few times a month, and a maintenance guy that was there a few times a month. That's it. My father paid fully half of his gross salary in tuitions for me and my 3 siblings (the boys at Etz Chaim and the girls at Shulamit) during those years, and sometime later after we graduated and when he earned a little more money, he paid the remaining balance, both to our elementary schools and our high schools.

So, perhaps it is time for our yeshivas to cut back a little bit so they can moderate the tuition and fundraising?

My wife and I have 5 children, 3 of which are in school now, and for now we pay full tuition for them. It is very difficult, but we seem to be managing somehow. But when our two youngest enter school in a few years, we will have to make some changes as we cannot afford $65,000/year for tuition.

As far as public school, my parents both went to public school and turned out very well, and I might consider sending my kids to public school if others in our community did the same AND if there were a real way to have true limudei kodesh after public school ends - I mean a real school with real rabbeim, and real facilities (best at the shul which is unused at the time), and, yes, real tuition. But it isn't going to happen.

6:52 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

I've seen too many charities loose money on fundrasiers that were not well designed..being a rabbi doesnt mean you can run a school. We need full board oversight

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who moved to Nassau County from Brooklyn and Queens did not take their new property taxes into consideration during the move. It is easier for me to send my four girls to TAG living in Bayswater than when I lived in Lawrence. It is a compromise of sorts but they are receiving the education they want and what is best for our family.

However, I did come a family where the children all went to public school and to hebrew school twice a week plus Sundays. We survived and thrived.

After 10 years of living in the Five Towns and paying village taxes, school taxes, property taxes, etc., my taxes in Bayswater are only 10% of what I was previously paying. Since my children were not going to public school, it made no sense to pay such high taxes, which is mostly school taxes.

The transparency of school funds does bother me. When rabbis who have a vested interest in interest in general/religious education (i.e.: employment) come out and threaten that secular education in an Orthodox family is dangerous, I take exception to that. These rabbis should not hold frum families hostage.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If so many yeshiva parents are under such incredible pressure to make full or even partial tuition in our neighborhood schools, why does carpool day always feature plenty of brand new Acura/Lexus/Infinitys. I'm sure that many of these fancy-pants people are begging for and getting tuition breaks. Where are our priorities?

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon 8:50 about the relative taxes in NYC (FR/Bayswater) vs Lawrence/Cedarhurst etc

In my case I am coming out way ahead by living in Lawrence rather than literally around the corner in FR.

When you live outside NYC you do not pay NYC income taxes. As far as I know that is 4% of income. So if you make $100,000 it is $4000 and if you make $200,000 it is $8000.
NYC property taxes are now in the $3000-$4000 range.
NYC does not provide bussing for students past 6th grade or if they go to school outside NYC (not to mention the children that got kicked off the bus midyear). This would disqualify all 4 of my children. At over $2000 per child to pay for the school bus I am coming out way way ahead living in Nassau. I think there are still places esp in Cedarhurst where the taxes are under $8000 (which just covers the bussing for my kids, let alone the income tax savings and the not recycling, dragging out trash cans, decent libraries, etc)

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my neighbors just installed a beautiful new kitchen. Yup, her kids are on scholarship in the local day school. She defended herself by saying "you can't live in this community with a dated kichen". She doesn't work ("I would never leave my kids with strangers!") but seems to have "beaten the system".

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen fellow Jews--time to stand up for yourselves. One of my kids is in public school. Guess what-he's getting a better education and the price is much, much lower than the overrated day school my other kids attend. If more parents made a move to public school, all those arrogant day school administrators (and you know who you are) would have to start doing strange things like treating the parents with respect, opening up the "books", etc. In other words, they'd have to "compete" for your child. You might actually see some derech eretz and humility on their part.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no tuition crisis.
The Agudah rag The Jewish Observer came in today's mail.The cover story is THE TUITION DILEMMA.
It is not a crisis just a dilemma.

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my neighbors just installed a beautiful new kitchen. Yup, her kids are on scholarship in the local day school. She defended herself by saying "you can't live in this community with a dated kichen". She doesn't work ("I would never leave my kids with strangers!") but seems to have "beaten the system".

This doesn't really sound like the frugal scrimp-and-savers you lauded in your post.

This actually sounds like the typical NY Metropolitan Jewish SAHM attitude I know and love.

Stay home, having cleaning help 4- days a week (or even a full time housekeeper!), weekly manicure, babysitters and then cry poverty.

A close relative of mine suffered 3 heart attacks trying to support 5+ children and a wife "in the manner to which she was accustomed". Even when the kids finished HIGH SCHOOL she still refused to get a job while he worked at least three jobs.

I'm sure there are many frugal Jewish homemakers still around, but I don't think most of them are living in the NY area.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a frugal Jewish homemaker. My car is 15 years old, my kitchen (which I kasher for Pesach, as I don't "go away") is 50 years old, my kids wear hand-me-downs etc. My husband works 2 jobs, and I work part time, and B"H we have always made our tuition payments. And we've given up on the dream of that fourth child, as we'll never be able to afford it. And, yeah, I get pissed off when people living in nicer houses, driving better cars, going on better vacations, and wearing better sheitels than me, are asking for and receiving assistance. (And don't give me the whole spiel about how maybe their parents are taking them away for Pesach, or buying their sheitels. If you're taking my money to subsidise your kids' education, you can tell your parents "I can't accept that, it wouldn't be right")

10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few comments:

1. To leave New York wouldn't be a solution to many of us. Outside of New York, there are NO JOBS in both fields where my husband and I (and most likely the majority of us) are employed.

2. To the anonymous poster, who suggested a public school -- I wish there would be more people among us to discuss this issue openly! It may be an "obligation" to educate your child in a yeshiva, but what can a parent do if there is no money to pay for such education? Where do we come up with such arrogance to impose a "religious" obligation on those of us who cannot afford to pay for it? The more I think about this issue (and the more I debate with myself and my husband whether we should have a third child before it's too late) the more I realize that the "agenda that sacrifices tolerance in the name of the strict adherence to the ritual" (anon. 12:39, bravo to you) is not the agenda that I want to subscribe to.
3. The yeshiva education to which we subject our children is second-rate, at best! Only the brightest kids can stay afloat. The rest of them will end up either struggling to pay the ever-rising cost of having a frum family, or will abandon the Orthodoxy under the financial pressure. My family is a proof to it -- the never-ending late-night discussions of "public school versus yeshiva" and our realization that we cannot afford the latter is chiseling away at the shalom bayit at my house.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Orthonomics said...

This doesn't really sound like the frugal scrimp-and-savers you lauded in your post.

To anon-a-mouse: Sure as heck doesn't sound like it. And, yes, I don't live in NY. :) But, I didn't have a genuine NY'ie neighbor who worked very few hours a week and did the cleaning lady, manicure thing every week. I figured her parents must get quite a bill each month.

As for me. . . the last pedicure I had was given to me by my 2 year old in my bathroom. I've had one manicure in my life. And cleaning help (well, that's me)!

I'm not familiar with "SAHM's" who are living high off the hog on the community's buck. But, I wouldn't certainly agree it isn't acceptable.

2:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon 1:30: I really feel bad about your situation. Instead of impoverishing yourselves and ruining your shalom bayis, try your local public schools like we did. Yes, some mothers look askance at me and some have made rude comments (of course, its the converts and ba'al tshuvahs, who feel insecure) but who cares about them. As far as Rav Moshe's dictum that you have the responsibility to give your kids a Jewish education--plenty of kids in my community have been booted out of day schools (because they were just a little too much work for thhe teachers) and ended up in public schools. If the day school Rabbis are ignoring Rav Moshe, you're in good company.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my neighbors just installed a beautiful new kitchen. Yup, her kids are on scholarship in the local day school. She defended herself by saying "you can't live in this community with a dated kichen". She doesn't work ("I would never leave my kids with strangers!") but seems to have "beaten the system".

How could you possibly know that her kids are "on scholarship"??? That is private information and should never be shared with the community!

12:00 AM  

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