web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Can ‘Yoni Ploni’ Afford To Be Frum?

Kupfer-042613

Share Button

Shortly before Pesach, I received a rather agitated call from a long time reader of The Jewish Press who pleaded with me to write a column regarding what she insisted was the unwarranted high cost of Pesach food – in particular shmurah matzah – and how hard it was for young families to pay what she felt were over-inflated prices in order to keep strictly kosher.

She told me in a voice quivering with anger that her grandson, a young father of several kids, was paying over $20 a pound for shmura matzah – and he had ordered over $200 worth.  She had suggested that he perhaps save those matzahs for the sedarim and Yom Tov meals, and eat regular matzah on Chol Ha’Moed.  Much to her dismay, he emphatically told her that he could not compromise his values, and that he intended to eat shmura matzah the entire Yom Tov and that if it was necessary, he would max out his credit cards so that his family and many guests enjoyed a proper Pesach.

“I have no doubt that he spent over $1000 that week on meat and fish and groceries – and that’s not counting the fancy wines he served with the meals,” she sighed.

Although he makes a “decent” living, his concerned bubby knew that he had very little disposable income and it bothered her to no end that he was being “ripped off.”   She understood that extra care and vigilance was required in preparing strictly mehadrin shmurah matzah, but “seriously,” she said, “$20 dollars a pound?”

I assured her that there was some legitimacy in her assertion that there was price gouging for Pesach products because a few years ago, a kol koreh was issued – endorsed by top rabbanim and rebbes in New York, exhorting grocers and food store owners not to inflate prices for Pesach products because many people could not afford to make a kosher Pesach.

There must have been across the board, widespread over-charging for the rabbonim to have collectively gone to the trouble of making this proclamation.

I told her that I would write about this unfortunate fact of life, but due to Yom Tov deadlines, I had already sent in several columns early, so I could not highlight this issue in time for Pesach.

But I can for Shavuot – although that Yom Tov is probably the most pocket-friendly one of all – next to Yom Kippur.

However, the woman touched on only one aspect of how expensive it is to be an Orthodox Jew these days, and hers is just one of the many voices I have heard lamenting the cost of being a frum Jew – to the degree that there is a rather sobering “joke” floating around that the best form of birth control is yeshiva tuition.

Indeed, many parents are considering limiting the number of children they have, as they cannot afford to send more than two or three children for a dozen years to day school/yeshiva. For many, it’s quality over quantity – either the few you have going to a private Jewish school or the many being put into public school. There is just not enough money to go around and as it is, many are making big sacrifices to give the kids they do have a Jewish education.

Even those households with a six-figure income are barely making ends meet – let alone younger balabatim who, if they are lucky, are gainfully employed – and not under-employed or jobless as many are in today’s sputtering economy.

As an example, I created a fictitious but plausible frum white collar-family that that I am sure many people will relate to. The father, in his mid-40’s, is a university graduate who works full time and earns a respectable living.  His wife is busy running the household and being available to help her elderly parents/in-laws, often taking them to appointments and shopping. She also volunteers for several chesed organizations. The couple married off a daughter recently, and all the festivities, including the vort, wedding, clothing, shadchanus, etc. cost over $20,000.  (Last year they got off relatively easy with a sit-down kiddish for their son’s bar mitzvah).

Since his son-in-law is learning, the father committed to supporting the young couple for several years, at a yearly cost of $30,000 (although I heard the going rate is up to $40,000).

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Can ‘Yoni Ploni’ Afford To Be Frum?”

  1. Moses613 says:

    $20 is cheap, sorry. Well, if not cheap, well within the regular range, and the truth is: it’s not price-gouging. I agree that many Pesach products are ridiculously overpriced, especially baked goods, but I just don’t think shmura matza is one of them. It is a *very* labor-intensive process, high-pressure, and all those workers have to be paid. Each chumra added on costs more money to the factory. For example, I heard of a chabura where there were two “production lines”: one where 5-second ‘shehiyos’ (the amount of time dough can sit idle without being worked) were allowed, and one where only 2-second shehiyos were allowed. The 2-second line required harder work and diligence on the part of the kneaders, as well as throwing any dough that was left idle for more than 2 seconds in the garbage. That adds cost! They charged $11 more per pound.

    End of the day, my opinion is that you pay for the chumros you want, and if you want more, you just have to pay more. I bought matzos from a kollel that rents out a factory for a few hours and they make matzos up to their strict standards. They are completely non-profit (of course the factory owner is making money by renting out the factory), and the price: $24/lb.

    Yours,
    Moses

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-032814

A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.

Kupfer-031414

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I have to do what is right for me – as long as it’s “ halachically kosher” and doesn’t negatively impact on others – and not worry too much about what others think.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.

Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.

One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.

For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.

Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.

The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/can-yoni-ploni-afford-to-be-frum-2/2013/04/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: