The (High) Cost of Jewish Living

Professor Chaim Waxman writes in today’s Jerusalem Post:

It’s the economy, ‘tipesh’

THE COST of Jewish living has become increasingly intolerable. At least 12 years of Jewish day school education is today the norm in the Orthodox community, a cost borne by parents. Tuitions and other required fees in Modern Orthodox high schools in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area average about $20,000 of non-tax-deductible dollars per child. At Manhattan’s Ramaz High School tuition is now more than $30,000 annually. When we add the cost of synagogue membership and summer camp fees to the many other costs involved in living Jewishly, the economic realities of the Jewish-committed are far less rosy that the broader data suggest.

Nor is this an issue solely for the Orthodox. Tuition at Manhattan’s Abraham Joshua Heschel School, a pluralistic Jewish day school, is very close to that of Ramaz. Especially amid the current economic situation, many parents are finding it increasingly difficult to make their financial ends meet, and those who are not fully-committed to living Jewishly are discouraged from sending their children to day schools because of the high cost. Indeed, a number of Conservative Solomon Schechter day schools have closed in recent years, and it is estimated that another six or so will likely close in the foreseeable future.