Nov 28, 2016
A resolution recently passed by more than 1000 members of the Rabbinical Council of America urges support of a paradigm shift in the funding of yeshiva day school education in the United States.
Due to the “cost disease
” facing educational institutions, as well as other factors, educational costs rise more quickly than other expenses. As a result, the responsibility of providing for quality teachers, schools and the materials they need to succeed, can no longer be sustainably and equitably funded exclusively from the checkbooks of current students’ parents.
Instead, the resolution calls upon all individuals and institutions throughout the entire Jewish community to invest directly in Jewish education. Joining other voices advocating this view within the Jewish community, it urges rabbis and lay leaders to educate their communities about these realities, and to advocate powerfully for a communal, shared approach to addressing them.
Immersive religious education for today's Jewish youth is a foundational cornerstone of every thriving Jewish community, as it’s been for centuries. Working hand-in-hand with Jewish families, yeshivot and day schools assure the continuity and vibrancy of our people and its sacred traditions for generations to come.
Well-funded endowments and scholarship funds for Jewish schools are therefore the responsibility of all. The rabbis urge that "communal organizations and local Jewish Boards of Education prioritize the establishment of endowment funds whose proceeds can fund Jewish schools."
And at the individual level, every Jew – including non-married men and women, as well as all individuals without children presently in school – must direct a portion of their annual ma'aser
(charity) budget to fund Jewish educational institutions. Regardless of wealth, such institutions should be included in one's will, as well.
Investing in Jewish education provides the most valuable returns: informed, inspired, and passionate Jewish children who are committed to Torah, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel.