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December 11, 2016 / 11 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘education’

Goldstein on Gelt: Are You Satisfied With Your Financial Education?

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Since schools don’t make financial education a required subject, many people grow up not knowing how to manage their financial affairs. Andrew Fiebert, host of the Listen Money Matters podcast, explains the best ways you can learn about personal finance and how to manage your money. Find out how to avoid the most common financial mistakes and better your personal financial education.
When should you sell your investments?

 

How do you know when to sell a stock? If you sell it when it is profitable, you may miss out on potential further gains if it continues to increase in value. But if you sell it when it decreases in price, you have lost money. Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, gives tips on how to make the right decision about when to buy or sell.
Don’t forget to sign up for the upcoming free webinar about the possible effects of the U.S. election on your retirement savings – www.Profile-Financial.com/webinar

 

The Goldstein On Gelt Show is a financial podcast. Click on the player below to listen. For show notes and contact details of the guest, go to www.GoldsteinOnGelt.com

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Rising Tuition Costs Force Parents to Reconsider Education Options

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Still a cause for deep concern in the Jewish community is the yearly rising cost of private education. Although extremely costly, Jewish families send their kids to private school in order to ensure they receive a solid Jewish education. The average cost per year for each child is $15-20k dollars, which means that families are spending the bulk of their salary on education.

With the financial burden of private school tuition it’s becoming nearly impossible for families to afford a Jewish education and also send their kids to college. With some school tuition’s reaching up to $40k dollars per year, people have been scrambling for alternative education models, including charter schools and other unique solutions.

Another new trend is for teens to study abroad for high school. New programs opening up every year that offer low-cost or even free options for parents and their teens, are making this a viable and appealing option for many families.

Naale Elite Academy is a popular option for Jewish families. Run in conjunction with the Jewish agency, Naale is a free high school program that operates in 25 different schools in Israel, including special tracks for religious programs and high-level art and science programs.

It may sound a bit daunting to send teens to study abroad, as high school can be a challenge even in their hometown, but this challenge is a powerful opportunity for personal development and prompts incredible self-growth and transformation.

Yossi Kalman, a Naale student from Riverdale, NY, is studying at Shalavim, Naale’s religious boys program. Kalman saw his experience at Naale as a unique opportunity. “I wanted to perfect my Hebrew and have a high level of Torah learning,” Kalman explained. “The chevra here is amazing. There are people here from all over the world. My best friends here are Brazilian and Italian. That wouldn’t happen in New York.”

The consensus from most educators, parents and alumni of studying abroad programs, is that going overseas as a teen is a game-changer. Among other benefits, studying abroad helps high schoolers develop their self-esteem and broadens their knowledge of the world. Simmy and Yaakova Pollock, parents of two teens who studied abroad at Naale Elite Academy in Israel, saw incredible changes in their teens. “They have grown in their self-confidence and have realized previously unknown abilities to travel alone and successfully navigate the Israeli transit system, become bilingual and succeed in being mainstreamed into Israeli classrooms,” Pollock said.

Studying abroad also helps students develop an impressive number of crucial life skills, including cultural awareness, communication skills, independence and social skills. The Pollacks certainly saw this in their teens. “We noticed an increased sense of independence in our kids; from learning to self-advocate, budgeting, and tolerance for others,” Pollack said.

IES, a non-profit organization encouraging American students to study abroad, recently conducted a large survey of study abroad alumni that shows that their experience deeply influenced the decision to pursue higher degrees. More than 52% of respondents had a post-graduate degree.

Well-respected American educator, Dr. Jessie Voights, weighed in on the benefits of high school students studying abroad. He found that, “[studying abroad] results in a huge return on investment, from intellectual and emotional development to ultimate career prospects.”

At Naale, students include teens from all over the world. It’s a unique opportunity for teens to learn about cultural diversity. Naale’s program also includes learning Hebrew language, music, sports and special trips to learn more about the history of Israel , explore the country.

Finding the right place for teens to expand into their best self is the greatest gift for them and for the entire family. The Pollacks found that when teens are in a good place, the whole family benefits. “Our kids talk and communicate with us more now than they ever did when they were here – and we were always a close family,” Pollack describes. “It is certainly a life changing experience – a change for the better.”

Raizel Druxman

Ethiopian-Israelis Blast Education Ministry, Funding Cuts

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

by Ilana Messika/TPS

Head of the the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) slammed the education ministry for concealing statistics regarding violence and discrimination against Ethiopian-Israelis in school, saying that “ridicule and bullying are worse than physical violence” because they retard childrens’ emotional development.

Speaking at a committee hearing about a report issued by the National Statistics Authority showing that Ethiopian-Israelis are twice as likely as non-Ethiopians to be subjected to physical violence in schools, and three times more likely to be the victims of discrimination, Negosa said that young people carry the scars of discrimination for many years, and added that the education ministry has a responsibility to tackle  this issue head-on.

“If there is racial discrimination against Ethiopian-Israelis in the educational system, [the statistics] must be publicized, not hidden, in order to fight [the phenomenon],” he said.

The report is the latest in a string of clashes between the Ethiopian community in Israel and the government. Last year, riots and large protests broke out after an off-duty IDF soldier of Ethiopian heritage was beaten by police. More recently, last week the Prime Minister’s Office announced it would close a network of youth centers in favor of integrating the programs into community center programs.

Members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, including Neguise, were critical of that decision, but officials in the Prime Minister’s Office  said the new policy, called Derech Hahadasha (The New Way), had the support of the Ethiopian National Project (ENP),  an national organization that supports the integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society. Supporters of the new arrangement say the youth centers are obsolete, and they add that running absorption programs out of local community centers would streamline “full integration.”

Other community spokespeople aren’t buying the argument.

“Activists, teenagers and city heads turned to me in worry about the expected disbanding of the youth centers,” Neguise said. “They consider the programs to be critical for the full integration of Ethiopian immigrants into Israeli society.”

The Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for budgeting youth-at-risk programs, said funds to the organizations operating youth centers will be slashed. For some groups, such as the Fidel Association for Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, which operates nine youth centers throughout Israel, the cut will mean a loss 75 to 80 percent of their budget by February 2017.

Yaakov Frohlich, Director of Resource Development to FIDEL, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that the youth centers constitute a major positive force in the integration of the Ethiopian immigrants and their children into Israeli society:

“To optimize integration within the Israeli society as a whole, our youth centers work to to imbue Ethiopian-Israeli youth with skills and knowledge, together with a sense of pride for their heritage. Our academic, social, sports and educational programs  are critical to build up their leadership qualities and confidence.

“The youth centers also help strengthen intergenerational understanding by offering programs to help parents understand the Israeli school system or the IDF so that they can be properly informed,” Frohlich said.

According to Frohlich, the decision to run youth programs aimed at Ethiopian-Israelis through local community centers will endanger the integration of the community by oversimplifying the situation and the challenges that Ethiopian-Israelis face. He argues that expecting full integration from community centers is unrealis

tic, because the centers are not necessarily geographically accessible to people hoping to participate, and also because general community centers are not equipped to address sensitive issues unique to the community.

“It is far from certain that the youth will feel comfortable coming to the centers,” he explained.

According to the 2015 numbers of the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are approximately 140,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent. The community is predominantly a young one, with 36 percent being under the age of 18. But in 2014, only one third of the holders of a matriculation certification of Ethiopian descent had met the university entrance requirements.

“FIDEL works in the hopes that one day we will not need youth centers anymore, but to expect it from the Ethiopian-Israeli community and from the Israeli society at present remains unrealistic,” Frohlich concluded.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Holocaust Documentation and Education Center Moves to Dania Beach

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center has moved to a new location at 303 N. Federal Highway, in Dania Beach. A grand opening welcomed more than 500 friends and supporters to the new site. It was an excellent opportunity to share vision and plans for the future.

In the coming months the center will be incorporating more to the new site. Two anchor artifacts: the railcar and Sherman Tank are available for group and individual tours by appointment. The 2016-2017 Educational Outreach Calendar is in full swing. It includes a speaker’s bureau, annual contests and student awareness days for Miami-Dade College and Broward County schools. Palm Beach County school programs will follow.

The center has always strived to teach people from all walks of life the universal lessons of the Holocaust. This is accomplished through thought-provoking exhibitions and insightful programming, illuminating the catastrophic ramifications of prejudice, racism, and bullying. The programming enlightens students and teachers alike to the lessons to be heeded from the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center’s new home.

The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center’s new home.

The documentation department has always been the center’s priority, presenting enduring, historically accurate records of the Holocaust through eyewitness accounts by survivors, liberators, rescuers and other who survived and triumphed to live meaningful and productive lives. Interviews continue and children of survivors are now coming forward to document their experiences.

Volunteers are important and continue to facilitate, transcribe, audit/edit, and proofread the accounts of the survivors. Thanks to the generosity of JM Family Enterprises, there are 18 new computers set up in the beautiful new transcription stations donated by JC White.

The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center’s capital campaign to raise $6,000,000 needed for this undertaking has begun. Contributions are needed to complete the new facility and continue its important work. Many naming opportunities are still available.

For more information, contact Rositta Koenigsberg at rositta@hdec.org or call her at 954-929-5690.

Shelley Benveniste

Europeans Turn to Israel to Spur Lagging Economies

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – About 60 ministers of education from a range of OECD countries gathered Sunday in Jerusalem for a three-day program to explore Israel’s culture of entrepreneurship.

Participants in the Global Education Industry Summit, hosted by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, said that Europe’s business culture has largely stagnated in recent years. They added that for economies looking to develop tools for a rapidly changing technology marketplace of, Israel provides a model.

“We’ll we have to find ways to bolster innovation in Europe,” said Bartek Lessaer, policy analyst for the European Commission Directorate General for Education and Culture told Tazpit Press Service (TPS).  “We’ve been stagnating for several years. We know the Israeli economy has been very innovative – we’re here to learn how things are done here. We’d like to learn more about the linkage between business and public investment, and more efficient ways of engaging public money to stimulate new solutions to old problems.

Speakers at the opening plenum session at the Israel Arts and Science Academy campus in Jerusalem included Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Nobel Laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann and concluded with a panel discussion featuring school principal Itai Benovitch and two honor role students.

Asked about the nature of Israel’s start-up culture – several delegates noted that many countries pride themselves on advanced science education programs, but have not developed the same reputation for technology advancement – Bennett and Aumann pointed to elements of the Israeli experience to explain the discrepancy.

“Israel is the number two superpower in the technology world, after California,” said Prof. Aumann. “Compare our story to China: They have an outstanding engineering curriculum, but there is a lack in basic science education. But basic, fundamental science is the driving factor here – it creates curiosity and wonder. Those things bubble up and inspire questions, which inspire people to apply [their knowledge].”

Education Minister Bennett then apologized to the professor for an “open display of Israeli ‘chutzpah’, saying the country’s entrepreneurial culture is a byproduct of a  culture norm in Israel that are largely absent overseas.

“First of all, we are trained to question authority here. We foster a culture of debate, and young people are expected to have confidence that their ideas have value.

“Second, When I served in an elite commando unit in the IDF, we were trained to deal with hostage situations. If the door was locked, we were expected to go in through the window. If the window wouldn’t open, we had to drill a hole in the roof. If that didn’t work – well, we had to do something else. The expectation was clear: Get It Done was the expectation. Period.

“That is the secret of the start-nation,” said Bennett.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Cost/Benefit – An Analysis of a Jewish Education

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Originally posted to the author’s Emes Ve-Emunah website}

It’s that time of year. School has started and for the vast majority of Orthodox Jews with school age children  ‘belt tightening is the order of the day. What I mean of course is that the cost of educating our children Jewishly is beyond the means of virtually all Orthodox Jewish families.  Even those that have decent incomes – north of $100,000 per year. 5 children or more per family is not uncommon. And in the more Charedi  families 10 children of more is not uncommon.

If one looks at the range of tuition one would have to pay per child, one might get sticker shock. Looking at just Chicago (and suburbs) as an example the range for Orthodox Jewish elementary day schools is anywhere from $10,500 to $17,500. It doesn’t take a genius in math to multiply those figures by  5 children. Full tuition at the least expensive school will cost those parents $52,000! And that doesn’t even factor in high school tuition which in Chicago – in most cases ranges well in to the $20 thousands! And then there is summer camp; the gap year in Israel… How many parents opt out of those experiences for their children? I don’t know what the typical cost of summer camp is… but it isn’t cheap. I also do not know what the gap year in Israel costs. But it is probably a lot more than high school tuition!

So if you’re making about $100,000 per year, which most people would say is a decent income, paying full tuition with after tax dollars will eat up most of it. And most Orthodox Jews do not make over $100,000 per year. (Although many do.)

Which is where scholarships come in. The vast majority of the parent body of religious schools are on at least a partial scholarship. But since these schools are forever running deficits, scholarship parents are carefully vetted before the tuition reduction is determined for them. They are still asked to pay as much as they can. Which many parents feel is more than they can afford. Which leads to the belt tightening.

There is pressure on both sides. Pressure on parents to pay as much of their income as possible and pressure on the school to make up the difference with fundraisers. Some schools do better than others. But few can coast. None of them are on easy street and are forever trying to come up with new ideas as sources of revenue. The bottom line is that a good education costs money. If you want good teachers – you are going to have to pay for them.

Issues about school waste are beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that there will not be much savings to parents even if schools eliminated all of it. And as is often the case, waste is in the eyes of the beholder. What may seem like waste to a parent, may in fact be vital to the smooth operation of  a school.

I bring all of this up in light of an article in the Forward that reports about the publication of spreadsheets that list tuition costs of thousands of religious schools in the US, Canada, and Israel. While the accuracy of these numbers is unclear this list gives a parent some idea about the cost of the options available in the various communities in which they live.

But is cost the best way to judge what kind of school you should send your child to? If for example there are 2 schools that have equivalent educations – and one is cheaper, should you send your child to the cheaper one? The truth is that it will not necessarily save you any money because it does not factor in scholarships. Which can be greater in the more expensive school. And thus ultimately cheaper.

Furthermore, what seems like an equivalent education to an outsider may not actually be the case to an insider. It is important to send your children to a school that will give them the best education based on your Hashkafos. Money should at best be a secondary consideration.

The disparity in the type of education and tuition costs offered between these schools can be profound.

A Chasidic school in Williamsburg might have a tuition cost per child of $5000. But they will offer no secular studies. Which of course saves them the cost of hiring secular studies teachers.

A Yeshivishe school that does offer secular studies may offer them minimally as a necessary concession to parents that want it, but devote the vast majority of their time and resources to religious studies.

Some schools on the other side of the religious spectrum spend the vast majority of time on secular studies – preparing their students for entry into top universities. And treat religious studies as a formality. Some schools offer a lot of enrichment programs. Some have sports teams that compete with other schools spots teams. In short there are a lot of variables. Tuition costs are but one of them, and in my view, the least important one.

The one thing I believe all religious schools have in common is that they provide a religious environment for the child. In my view, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. If you child is not set to a religious school, he will be influenced by the values of the school to which you send them. Outside the home – they will be subject to a culture practically devoid of any Jewish context. Spending 6 or more hours per day in such an environment can take its toll on religious observance. Even if the home environment is 100% observant.

One need not look any further than our own history in America prior to the advent of Jewish education as we know it today. When there were few religious schools, many observant Jews had little choice but to send their children to a public school. Although many stayed religious, many did not – absorbing the values of that school and seeing their own home environment as irrelevant to their eventual lives.

If on the other hand if you are in an environment where everyone is more or less on the same page religiously – the chances of that happening are substantially reduced. I therefore cannot stress enough the importance of a religious day school and high school education. If you want to assure that your children will be observant, that is the best way to assure it. (There are no guarantees of course. Many young people that have attended these schools have gone OTD for reasons that are beyond the scope of this post. But a religious school is still the best way to assure the continued observance by your children),

This finally brings me to a disappointing article by Forward columnist, Bethany Mandel. She and her husband have been dissuaded from sending their children to a religious school because of those oppressive tuition costs. Which she saw in that newly published spreadsheet. Here is how she put it:

When I became Orthodox I had every intention of doing so. But upon having children, we did the math and realized that for the number of children we want to have (I refuse to have fewer Jewish children for the sake of tuition payments) multiplied by the amount we would be on the hook to pay, even after financial aid, our bill would almost certainly exceed my likely take-home pay.

This has led her to a decision to home school her children. While it is true that they may not have the influences of the public school – her children will not have the influences of a peer group and educators of a religious school. Besides, I’m not convinced that the typical parent is capable of doing the job of highly trained professional educators – to teach their children the knowledge required to excel in both religious and secular studies.

Her children will also not get the positive reinforcement that interacting on a daily basis with a religious peer group and the variety of teachers they would have. I believe Ms. Mandel will be unwittingly shortchanging them by not allowing them to have the full measure of Jewish education that only a school flied with trained professionals can provide. Even with all of the possible flaws she might find in the one she chooses.

 

I would, therefore, urge Ms. Mandel and like minded parents that have been scared off by those high tuition figures – to reconsider. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a peer group environment to a child’s religious future. Although that alone is not enough. I feel it is of vital importance as a added edge to an observant end. What about the cost? I am absolutely convinced that her financial concerns will be addressed by the scholarship assistance she will  surely receive. No one is ever asked to pay more than they make.

Harry Maryles

Rabbi Abramchik Retires After 45 Years In Jewish Education

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Rabbi Elchonon Abramchik, the founding principal of Sha’arei Bina Torah Academy for Girls in North Miami Beach, decided to retire at the end of the past school year after 45 years in Jewish education.

Rabbi Abramchik is a man who believes in planning. His wife Harriet, a”h, was the same way. Together they had decided she would retire at age 62 and the rabbi would retire shortly thereafter. Harriet retired on schedule but the rabbi was not ready to leave the world of chinuch.

Rabbi Elchonon Abramchik

Rabbi Elchonon Abramchik

Unfortunately, his wife soon passed away. Working as a principal, with talented administrators and a dedicated faculty, helped fill the void and ease the loneliness of being a widower.

“I continued to work for three years after my wife’s passing” said Rabbi Abramchik. “I wanted to retire almost immediately but was advised not to make major life decisions in a state of emotional stress. Actually, I’m glad I took that advice. I don’t know if the healing process would have taken place were I to have retired as planned.”

“Retirement means a plan to do something else,” he added. “For me it never meant to just do nothing. It means shifting gears. One should learn Jewish texts every day. I am planning to learn in the morning at the Miami Beach Community Kollel and offer my service as an educational consultant to schools locally and around the country.”

The Greater Miami community wishes Rabbi Abramchik hatzlacha rabbah in his future endeavors. He can be contacted at 786-247-3961.

Shelley Benveniste

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/south-florida/rabbi-abramchik-retires-after-45-years-in-jewish-education/2016/09/12/

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