web analytics
April 26, 2015 / 7 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Can ‘Yoni Ploni’ Afford To Be Frum?

Kupfer-042613

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).

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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.

Current Top Story
Children are asleep at last as adults in the Chabad House continue to deal with the crisis in Nepal.
Chabad Co-Emissary in Nepal Hopes for ‘Only Good News’ in Video
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”

South-Florida-logo

We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.

South-Florida-logo

The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.

“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.

Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

Every moment was a gift. I held each one, savoring.

We arrived in Auschwitz on Thursday, January 30, 2014. My seminary was taking us to see where the prisoners were kept. When we got there, I stepped off the bus in complete and total silence. I was in the back, and when we got to the gate I hesitated and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t […]

From the moment Israel was declared a Jewish state, it has been the subject of controversy and struggle.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

During the Second World War, a million and a half Jewish soldiers fought in the Allied armies, the Partisan units in Eastern Europe, and the anti-fascist underground movements in Western Europe and North Africa. These Jewish fighters won over 200,000 medals and citations. The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in Latrun, […]

The 2-day real estate event will take place in Brooklyn on April 26 and 27.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Kupfer-092614-Books

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

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: