Should Israel Bail Out America’s Rabbinical Schools?

from The Jerusalem Post

US Jewry’s unlikely savior

Only the future will tell to what extent American Jewry’s current financial woes are merely part of one very tough moment, or part of a historic decline, perhaps one that has been well under way for quite some time. Yet even the minimalists will have to concede that with all due respect to high-profile scandals like the Madoff scam, the financial blows sustained now by American Jewry are far more potent than any single individual’s crime, that their origins predate the current crisis and that their effect will outlast it.

American Jewish philanthropy’s major mistake in recent decades was its retreat from Jewish causes. What began with increased donations for the local museum, theater and concert hall later proceeded to assorted causes throughout the Third World, all of which are of course dear, but whose share in Jewish charity became so disproportionate that it came at the expense of American Jewry’s own needs.

And nowhere else is American Jewry’s future cultivated more effectively than in its rabbinical colleges. It follows that they, before all other American Jewish outfits that are currently hurting, must now be helped on their feet. And this help had best be provided by the Jewish state.