Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
In response, some have proposed campaigns to fund across-the-board lowering of tuitions, a measure bound to increase enrollment. But even in those areas where communal leaders appear to have recognized that day schools must be our priority, such campaigns have yet to materialize because there is no indication that the large amount of money needed for such a project is available.
Ironically, funds have apparently been available for other Jewish causes, such as the $100 million raised for the building of an expanded National Museum of American Jewish History that will soon rise in Philadelphia’s Independence Mall.
While the appeal of Jewish museums, which have sprouted up in North America like “opera houses” in the 19th-century American West, speaks volumes about the desire of American Jews to create monuments to our own colossal communal vanity, it can at least be said that the host of new Jewish history and Holocaust museums on these shores are contributions to education.
But talk of funding education via museums is as much of a dodge as the notion that a Hebrew charter school can accomplish what a full-time comprehensive Jewish day school can.
If we’d rather fund monuments to our past than the schools that are a platform for our future, perhaps we might as well just slip inside a high-tech diorama and smile for the curious visitors who will one day have to visit museums to see what a Jewish community looked like.
Like Hebrew charters and any other attempt to change the subject, the failure to create a Jewish education safety net will be our golden ticket to oblivion.
About the Author: Jonathan S. Tobin is senior online editor of Commentary magazine and chief political blogger at www.commentarymagazine.com. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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