Where are the Jewish Federations? They are allegedly the central community charity chests in every local community. There is not one Jewish Federation in the United Sates that has stated in its written policy, and backed it up with an enormous financial commitment, that every local constituent community will ensure that every Jewish child can attend a Jewish day school at no charge regardless of their religious affiliation or family financial condition. Why?
Where are the Jewish mega donors? Every individual can choose whether he wants to give charity or not. If he chooses to donate, he obviously may give his money to whomever he wishes. That does not, however, prevent the rest of the Jewish community from asking which charity is the beneficiary of the donor’s beneficence. According to recent surveys, less than seven percent of major Jewish philanthropists’ gifts went to Jewish institutions.
Where are the presidents of the major Jewish organizations? Why is funding Jewish education not the number-one agenda item on any Jewish organizations’ annual meeting? Why is funding Jewish education not even a significant topic at any Jewish organizational annual meeting?
There is a terrible piece of black humor circulating among many young Jewish families – families that are committed to sending their children to Jewish day schools but are struggling to pay the $15,000 tuition per child. The joke is that tuition is the best form of birth control. In fact, many families are limiting the number of children they have because they just can’t fathom paying an additional $15,000 per year per child.
Do we not comprehend the current tragic state of affairs facing the wealthiest Jewish community in the history of the world? Jewish education has become a philanthropic stepchild relegated only to the wealthy and those families willing to assume mammoth financial sacrifices, while more children are not being born because tuition for Torah education is cost-prohibitive.
We should not be surprised if a new book is soon published that closely resembles the Where’s Waldo? series. Instead, the new landscape would be the contemporary Jewish organizational maze. Hidden within that picture, the readers’ task would be to answer, “Where’s the Waldo Jewish Leadership?” that presided over the Generation That Abandoned Jewish Children.
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