Why Do Jewish Day Schools Cost Three Times As Much As Roman Catholic Day Schools?

You can send your child to a Roman Catholic day school for $6,000 a year. If you want to send your child to YULA or Shalhevet and you have to pay full price, that will cost you about $20,000 a year.

Why this price differential?

* The cost of the teachers. Much of Catholic education is conducted by priests and nuns who earn about as fifth as much as teachers at Jewish schools (be the subjects religious or secular).

* Many Catholic schools are built on land that was given them.

* Many Catholic parishes are rich and they subsidize Catholic schools.

One of the big obstacles to leading an Orthodox Jewish life is the high cost of Jewish day schools. These schools also demand above average intelligence and discipline. “Orthodox slacker” is a contradiction in terms. You have to work hard to be an Orthodox Jew. You have to make more money than the average bloke. You have to be smarter than the average bloke. And your children have to be above-average.

This is off topic, but I remember once going up after Friday night davening and asking to be set up with a Shabbat dinner.

I was placed with this family where every child (in addition to the parents) had some marked retardation.

The food was about as meager and unappetizing as I’ve ever experienced for a Shabbat meal (my being vegetarian didn’t help matters) and on the one hand, I was taken aback by all the ticks and jerks and retarded behaviors of my hosts (I much to prefer to look upon beautiful people, well dressed and behaving in a classy way), but on the other hand, I was moved by their hospitality and their commitment to leading a traditional Jewish life (they were not Modern Orthodox). I had these huge rushes of emotions that ranged from horror to awe. And I feel like a total jerk writing about them because these people were so nice to me. They did everything they could to make me feel at home and here I am blogging about them.

There’s something holy and precious and private about Orthodox Judaism that does not belong on blogs.

I wonder why more Jewish day schools haven’t mounted capital campaigns for endowments. They are rarely run by people with business backgrounds (such as Rabbi Berel Wein)

Most schools have two boards — a board of trustees (for financial stuff) and a board for educational stuff, but Jewish day schools rarely use this structure, so you don’t get decisions made for either rational financial or rational educational reasons.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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