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Opinion: Editorial
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Toward an end to gun violence

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It is not entirely foreign to Jews to imagine being massacred at prayer.

This is not even a question of historical memory, although our story overflows with such murderous episodes. No, we just have to think back to last November, when assassins burst into a synagogue at Har Nof, in Jerusalem, and butchered four men there as they stood lost in the Amidah, the silent prayer at the heart of the service.

Then the killers slaughtered a Druze policeman who tried to protect the daveners.

Last week, a crazed, racist 21-year-old, a loser with a bowl haircut, dead eyes, and a gun, went into the Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston, like Jerusalem, is an old city (although of course here in the New World we measure age in centuries; in Israel it’s in millennia). It’s been at the heart of the slave trade, and so represented evil, but it is also beautiful, graceful, quirky, and a bustling tourist destination.



Thoughts on identity

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This has been a season to think about identity, Jewish and otherwise.

A few weeks ago, we were introduced to Caitlyn Jenner, who has taken up residence in the body formerly belonging to sports-icon-turned-Kardashian Bruce Jenner.

The overwhelmingly vast majority of us feel at home with our genders. We might chafe against some of the assumptions and expectations that come along with them, but we do not question whether we really are girls or boys, women or men. Transgendered people, like Ms. Jenner, however, feel very strongly that their assigned genders do not fit their souls. A transman or woman’s understanding of him or herself, before transition, is wildly at odds with what the world sees. Those of us who are not transgender cannot understand the urge to hack at our bodies to change who we are, but certainly we can believe that the urge must be incredibly strong. The only possible reason to take such a drastic step is if you know, from the bottom of your soul, that your true identity is belied and denied by the body into which you were born.

Do not assume that Jews are immune from the body dysmorphia that drives transgendered people. Consider, among many other less public transpeople, Joy Ladin. Dr. Ladin, who holds the David and Ruth Guttesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women and is the first open transperson to teach at an Orthodox university, was born Jay. She writes about her transition with great sensitivity in her memoir, “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders.”

Caitlyn Jenner, who has brought the idea of transgender to popular culture, is an odd and perhaps unfortunate representative. She seems to have shed her old identity so thoroughly that not only is her gender new, but her age is as well. She does not look 65, except perhaps in dog years. She also seems to have decidedly odd ideas of what it means to be a woman — apparently she thinks that it means posing in her underwear. But as a Kardashian, even by marriage, her relationship with privacy is unconventional. Boundaries are not their strong point.

Ms. Jenner was able to change her public identity to make it match her inner one because her identity involved only herself. Her change was not hidden, she did not lie about who she had been, she had to go through all sorts of trials to attain it, and it took a long time.

It is not entirely unlike becoming Jewish.

Next, there is Rachel Dolezal. Her transformation from very white to at least part black is not at all like Caitlyn Jenner’s, because it is based on lies. It is fascinating to see her story continue to unfold, its operatic details sprawling into lurid melodrama. But some facts are clear. You can estrange yourself from your parents, but you cannot rid your body of their DNA. Their genes are your genes. You cannot will yourself into another race. You can color your hair and darken your skin; you can say that you grew up in a teepee in South Africa and were disciplined with an baboon whip. You can say that a random black man is your father. It doesn’t work.

You can change your present and your future, but you cannot change your past.

It is interesting to watch all this as Jews. We are a race but we are also a religion and a people. There is no one definition of a Jew — like blackness, it is often traced through bloodlines. Historically, in the United States, a person was black if he or she had one drop of blood that could be traced to someone of sub-Saharan African descent. That means that people who looked white could pass — they could pretend to be white — but often only if they were willing to cut themselves off from their families. That amputation was painful.

For many of us — from approximately the Conservative movement, or perhaps even the very left wing of the Reform, and then on to the right — Jewishness comes through the mother (or of course through conversion). That means that a family tree that has an unbroken line of Jewish mothers — the mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was Jewish, traced back to some point where Jewishness was unassailable — results in a Jew, even if no one else on the tree is Jewish.

For a decade or so now we have been faced with a new problem — the problem that Rachel Dolezal now poses to the African-American community.

What do we do when all of a sudden people want to join us?

We have been a socially undesirable group for much of our history. People have wanted to leave Judaism for the wide outside world, just as they have wanted to pass as white, to flee the social bondage that comes with being black.

But now people want to be Jewish. People want to be black. That’s amazing.

Identity comes from within. It comes with birth. It can be rigid. It also can be flexible. Its barriers change — the way to become a Jew now is not what it was during the talmudic period, and nothing like it was during biblical times. As Shulem Deen’s story shows (see page 18), sometimes even changing your identity within the Jewish world is a struggle.

So as we continue to define and redefine ourselves as Jews (modern Orthodox, cultural, yeshivish, traditional egalitarian, chasidic, Reconstructionist, right-wing Reform, bagel-and-lox, just for starters), let’s figure out how to keep our boundaries flexible enough to let in people who truly yearn to join us, but rigid enough to keep us who we really are.—JP

keeping the faith

‘Zionism’ is not a dirty word

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Attention world. You have it all wrong.

The so-called Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, the Palestinian propaganda machine, and even some prominent media entities have sold you a bill of goods. The goal is to spread the notion that Israel — and by extension the Jewish people — is racist. “Apartheid” is their preferred word, but it is merely a euphemism for “racism.” Not wanting to say that Jews are racist, they choose the word Zionist instead.

Sadly, too many Jews (especially young Jews) have bought into this calumny, as well, world, so you are not alone. Not too long ago, an advocate for one of the slates in the just-ended World Zionist Congress elections stood before a roomful of synagogue members to make a pitch for that slate. This person began by asking everyone in the room who was Jewish to raise a hand. All hands went up. Second, he asked for all who supported the State of Israel to raise their hands. All hands went up.

Then he asked for all who were Zionists to raise their hands — and too many hands did not go up. There were Jews in the room who were wholehearted in their support for Israel, but who thought Zionism is a dirty word.

To all who think this way, try this: Using your best imaginative ability, draw a picture of a Jew in your mind. Is he or she white? Is he or she European?

Yes, some Jews are white and European, but others are not. There are Chinese Jews and Japanese Jews, Chilean Jews and Brazilian Jews, Ethiopian Jews and Yemenite Jews. Some Jews pray to Elohim, while others pray to El Dios; some pray to Gott, while others pray to God, and still others pray to Allah. The deity is the same — it’s just the language that is different. Jews live on all continents and speak many tongues.

In fact, Jews come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and have customs so divergent as to be unrecognizable to other Jews. Still, they are Jews, and as Jews, they are welcome in every Jewish community in the world, including that Jewish community known as the State of Israel. Their children may “intermarry” and their progeny can grow up to be prime minister or president of the Jewish state, and no one will go into mourning over any of it.

They can do that because there is a Jewish state, the product of a belief held over the millennia by all of their ancestors that one day the Jewish people would return to their ancient homeland. In the late 19th century, that belief got a name: Zionism.

Zionism requires Israel’s acceptance of all Jews, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what the color of their skin is. Sure, Ashkenazi Jews have an air of superiority toward Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews, but that is more political than anything else. Such artificial divisions disappear when circumstances demand. If Jews are in danger in Russia, the Jewish state, the Zionist state, is obligated to come to their rescue — as it did. If Jews are in danger in Ethiopia, the Jewish state, the Zionist state, is obligated to come to their rescue — as it did. Jews worldwide contributed millions to do so in all such instances.

Racism means discrimination or bigotry based on a belief that certain races are inferior. Which race do Jews consider inferior? The question is absurd, because there probably is not a single race on the planet that does not have its Jews, and representatives of each race live in the State of Israel.

For Jews to consider any race as inferior is for them to consider part of their family inferior. This does not mean that no Jew is a racist. There are a few of them out there, even in Israel. Some of these Jews are even anti-Semitic, meaning they hate other Jews. Hatred crosses all boundaries. For most Jews, however, racism is the one type of hatred that makes no sense whatsoever. Family is family.

Zionism, Bayard Rustin, the great black leader of a past generation, once noted, is not racism, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish people’s self-determination. As a people, we self-determined a definition for ourselves. A Jew is someone who is born of a Jewish mother, or who converted to Judaism according to prescribed rules.

Not every Jew today accepts that definition, just as not every stream of Judaism (or even segments of each stream) have the same set of prescribed rules, but the State of Israel does. That does not make it racist; it makes it selective. The U.S. Supreme Court in a variety of cases (including one of the most recent, Nguyen v. INS, 533 U.S. 53 in 2001) accepted selective standards as constitutionally valid for defining who is a natural-born citizen of the United States.

Indeed, selectivity is common to all states. The United States, for example, will send its immigration agents into the barrios of California and Texas to search out “illegal” Mexicans. Does that make the United States racist?

Israel will let anyone become a citizen; it merely gives Jews a fast track to citizenship. There are Muslims and Christians who are Israeli. They can vote; they can be elected; they can serve.

In Saudi Arabia, anyone who is not a Muslim cannot be a citizen, much less vote, be elected, and serve. Does that make Saudi Arabia racist?

Jordan some years ago passed its own brand of “The Law of Return,” in which it fast-tracks Palestinians to citizenship — unless they also happen to be Jewish. Does that make Jordan racist?

If you bought into the calumny, world, forget the hype and look at the facts.

If you are Jewish and have come to believe Zionism is an evil racist doctrine, visit Israel, walk down any street, and think long and hard about what you saw.


Israel running like a river through it

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A mother’s thoughts on her daughter’s imminent return from the gap year

My daughter says she’s all packed.

Her duffle bags are a couple of kilos overweight, and she’s fretting about what she may have to leave behind. Tomorrow night, she departs for Ben Gurion, and from there she gets on an El Al flight bound for Newark. I haven’t seen her since last August. I’m counting down the hours.

Time flies. Despite all my fears, despite fountains of words and gushers of anxiety over sending her to Israel during the war in Gaza last summer, she had an incredible year, and now she is making her way back.

She spent the last ten months living in Jerusalem. O, Jerusalem, center of the world, Holy of Holies. In Jerusalem, everything you do matters, from the mundane to the insane. Every time you kick a pebble in Jerusalem, it rolls up against a site of historical importance; turn down any street, and you will find better kosher food than we have anywhere in America; day and night, and all year long, there are unique and mind-expanding activities right outside your door.

The clothes you wear take on significance. Skirt or pants? Cover your hair or not? Fascinating people, of all colors and races, from a kaleidoscope of distant countries—and these people are Jewish! —strike up conversations with you, on the street, in the market, on the bus. Spend a few minutes chatting with the baker, the man who fixes your shoes, the police officer, your barber, your waiter, and it’s likely you’ll find that you are no more than six degrees away from being related to them. Even mental illness is different in Jerusalem; only within her ancient borders can you come down with Jerusalem Syndrome, where tourists suddenly believe they are biblical prophets, or former kings of Israel.

I tick through the list of things I have to do before she gets home. Spread sheets and blankets and pillowcases on her bare bed. Find a place to park the computer and printer that we moved into her room while she was away. Transfer the piles of books and manuscripts back to my desk. Dust the furniture. Wash the curtains. Vacuum her carpet. At Pathmark, I browse through the gluten-free aisle, considering what to make for her welcome-home dinner. I imagine us going for mani-pedis, or having our eyebrows done. And movies! My other children are boys. I haven’t seen a chic flick all year.

And because I was once a teenage girl who came home from Israel, I try to imagine what it will be like for her. She’s been independent for ten months now, operating with her own bank card, responsible for doing her own laundry, cooking for herself, keeping her kitchen clean, budgeting her money, shopping for groceries, negotiating with roommates, being on time for classes and events.

Friends who have been through this scenario before tell me that the dynamic changes when a child who has been away comes home. What will that mean, other than the inevitable fight over who gets the car? What if she’s wearing skirts down to her ankles and shirtsleeves that reach past her elbows? What do we do then? Will she roll her eyes at our rules? At our guidance? Will she be happy to return to us here in the diaspora, to be our baby again? Or will she count the days until she can leave?

I can clearly remember how it felt, coming back to Chicago after my year in Israel, where even collecting eggs for the kibbutz felt significant. In my absence so many things had changed. Disco took over the radio. “Three’s Company” and “The Love Boat” were the biggest hits on television. People cared about designer names on the labels sewed into their clothes. Friends who had started college instead of going to Israel had moved on with their lives. Some weren’t religious anymore. Some were getting married. Some were completely absorbed in boyfriends, or new acquaintances. My parents couldn’t understand why I was so moody. I spent a lot of time in my room playing guitar and singing sad songs. I felt deeply, utterly lost.

The week I moved back to the United States was the week before Tisha B’Av, when we mourn for the loss of the Beit Hamikdash, signaling the beginning of the Jewish diaspora. Exile was a perfect metaphor for the way I felt. The culture I had submerged myself in Israel, of being part of something larger and more important than my own needs and desires, had vanished. Everywhere I looked, the Western culture I traveled through seemed false, trivial, and materialistic.

But then college started. All those cool courses to choose from! All the new skills to learn, paths to navigate, books to read, papers to write, knowledge to be gained! What should I do? Who should I be? All those intense late-night conversations that started with questions like, “If you commit an altruistic deed that benefits somebody else, but the deed benefits you as well, is it still considered altruistic?”

My despair lifted as I began to understand: What I had cherished most about my year in Israel — living a life of service and meaning, a feeling of being rooted in my religion, a strong sense of my place in Jewish history — hadn’t disappeared. Now I carried it inside of me. It was my duty to share it. And it would be up to me keep the little flame stoked and burning.

Because while it is difficult to leave Jerusalem behind, it is also far too easy to slip back into old habits, to lose the intent to lead a meaningful life in a summer’s worth of binge-watching “Vikings” and “The Bachelorette.”

So as I look for a new home for the printer and dust off her stuffed animals and throw her curtains into the washing machine, I’m also hoping this: that she finds happiness in her new life, and that what she takes from Israel runs like a river through it.


One people, one heart

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Conservative, Reform rabbis join others to ask for smart Iran deal

This week marks the one-year anniversary — the first yahrzeit — of the kidnapping and gruesome murders of three young boys in Israel.

Rabbi Kirshner: I attended the funeral for the boys, who were buried side by side on a small hill in the town of Modi’in, the geographic center between their three homes.

In the sweltering heat, 12,000 people gathered to pay respects to boys whom most never had met. Perhaps a handful of the 12,000 assembled mourners had known the boys’ name’ 18 days earlier. We were religious and secular, Jews and Gentiles, politicians and taxi drivers, men and women, gathered in a rare moment of unity and grief.

The head of the school two of the boys had attended eulogized his students. His remarks still inspire me: “Two Jews. Three opinions. One heart.”

When the going gets tough, indeed we are one heart. One people.

Rabbi Cohen: A few weeks later, along with 19 other rabbis from across the various religious movements within American life, I headed to Israel as part of a mission sponsored by AIPAC’s education arm, AIEF. We landed the first day of the war, and encountered many Red Alerts. Our third day saw us meeting in a government building in Jerusalem, only to have Iron Dome intercept a missile directly over us. We were not Reform or Conservative or Orthodox rabbis then. Instead, we were friends and colleagues, bound and united by our Zionism. All that normally divides us disappeared as we experienced life under fire together.

We were American rabbis… and Jews… getting a small taste of what our brothers and sisters in Israel live with, day in and day out.

Both rabbis add:

Sadly these kinds of Jewish unity are all too rare — or so the media would have us believe. They are, however, more common than you might think. An even more recent and pressing example drives this point home.

This week Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox rabbis came together in their shared determination to halt Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Close to 100 Jewish clergy leaders from New Jersey signed a letter, based on talking points from AIPAC, encouraging our local representatives to seek five critical ingredients to a deal with Iran. The letter, which we co-wrote and cosponsored — and remember, one of us a Conservative rabbi and the other one Reform — makes clear that the alternative to a deal is not war but more negotiations.

Some politicians already have picked up the letter’s talking points; Jersey City’s Mayor Steve Fulop has been making similar suggestions, including in this space last week.

The letter makes clear that a good deal, as promised by the administration since the beginning of these negotiations, must include the following:

1. Inspections and verification

Inspectors must be permitted unimpeded access to suspect sites. “Anytime, anywhere” inspections — including of all military facilities — are necessary in order to verify Iranian compliance. Iran’s decades-long history of cheating on international obligations suggests it will attempt to continue its nuclear weapons program in secrecy. Iran cannot be permitted any safe havens where it could pursue this ambition.

2. Possible military dimensions

Iran must explain all its earlier weaponization efforts, and do so in details. A good deal must require Iran to come clean on all its nuclear work, such as developing triggers for a nuclear weapon. That already is required by six United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The entire scope of Iran’s nuclear activities must be known, in order to establish a baseline against which to measure future actions. Iran also must be made to comply with earlier commitments.

3. Sanctions

Sanctions relief must begin only after Iran complies with its commitments, and should specify clear and immediate consequences for Iranian violations. The international community must retain significant leverage while Iran demonstrates compliance; it must not provide immediate sanctions relief or unfreeze a significant portion of Tehran’s assets. Iran must not be able to take the money and run.

4. Duration

Iran’s nuclear weapons quest must be blocked for decades.

A good deal must prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state. The announced framework would lift nuclear restrictions in 10 to 15 years and grant Iran virtually instant breakout time after 12 or 13 years. A deal must restrict Iran’s nuclear capabilities until it demonstrates conclusively that it no longer seeks a nuclear weapons capability.

5. Dismantlement

Iran must dismantle its nuclear infrastructure. It must have no path to a nuclear weapon.

A good deal must require Iran to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure and relinquish its uranium stockpile. It must have neither a uranium nor a plutonium pathway to nuclear weapons.

These five key ingredients would not only hold Iran’s feet to the fire, but are key to achieving the diplomatic solution that most can support. These five ingredients will prevent war, and do much to keep the United States, Israel, and our European allies safe.

After all, Iran is the leading exporter of non-state radical activity. The terror it supports is contagious. It must be stopped.

Giving even an inch on any of these stipulations is like telling a pyromaniac he can only have half a book of matches.

We are taught that the Second Temple was destroyed because of the sin of sinat chinam — groundless hatred. During that period, Jews who disagreed about ritual observance and the interpretation of religious text vilified one another. It has been said that a house divided cannot stand, and in the year 70 it did not.

In 2015/5775 we are often divided as a community. But sometimes we are not divided. And when it comes to securing the safety of the world, when it comes to blocking Iranian nuclear aspirations, and when it comes to standing strong for a safe and secure America and Israel, we rabbis are able to speak with one voice.

This week we did just that, and we will continue to do so.

We are a people with many opinions and passions. However, when it comes to stopping the evil of Iran, regardless of background and denomination we are many people with one heart. Republican or Democrat, Labor or Likud, we are all united and in lockstep in our indefatigable labors to stop a bad deal from happening and do our part to encourage our elected officials to be a part of a good deal.

David-Seth Kirshner is the senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El of Closter and president of the New York Board of Rabbis. He is Conservative.



More about the Jewish future

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Last week, Shammai Engelmayer’s column (“Jeopardizing the Jewish future”) focused on the financial woes of Jewish day school education. My family experienced the problem firsthand, from the closing of a local Schechter high school eight years ago. The loss still stings.

He prescribes a meeting of two local rabbinic boards. (Our area probably is the only place with not one but two separate groups of rabbis.) A meeting of diverse minds and persuasions, in partnership with local educators, is said to be the key to solving a financial problem. Maybe.

In the adjacent column (“Common sense”), Dena Croog describes a Jewish response to mental illness. She highlights a local support group that meets twice a month. Ms. Croog is doing great work, and her group may grow to meet the needs of the greater population. But is not Jewish Family Service already tasked with serving our families and their needs?

The answer to both of these problems is not blowing in the wind. It is right in our backyards. Support your local synagogue. Attend its daily “support group” minyan. Show up for Shabbat. And in that place, build and support talmud Torah. The synagogue should be the central place of learning. By that, I do not mean a two-day-a-week religious school for children under the age of 13. It is the rest of us, adults and parents, who need continuing re-education.

From that foundation, the Jewish home can again become the primary classroom. Once that reality is established, day schools can simply serve as a supplement. Our children will learn day and night. Eventually we will have more educators, and school costs will decline.

In the meantime, as Rabbi Engelmayer suggests, the Jewish community must rally around its day schools and find ways to fund them. Otherwise, in another generation, our people will not know the difference between Zechariah and Zorro.



Animal-free circuses, please

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I do not think it is proper for a Jewish organization (such as the YJCC in Washington Township) to support or endorse a circus that features exotic animal demonstrations. The treatment, training, and handling of wild animals in circuses forcing them to perform actions against their instinctive nature for mere human amusement is a violation of the Torah commandment of ts’ar be’alla chyim (forbidding animal cruelty). In my opinion, the Y’s raising funds in this manner is a shonda (disgrace).

Circuses employ cruel methods. This is well documented.

It is by far a better option to enjoy circuses such as the Cirque Du Solei whose thrilling performances involve only humans, who have free choice over their actions.



It’s time for solutions

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I read with great interest Rabbi Engelmayer’s column, “Jeopardizing the Jewish future” (June 6). I wholeheartedly agree with the thrust of the piece. Paying for Jewish education certainly is a communal responsibility, and many parents are just not able to afford it on their own.

Had Rabbi Engelmayer penned this column 5 to 10 years ago, I would have been the first to applaud. But the rabbi either is ignoring or is unaware of three major initiatives started in Bergen County over the past few years that are big steps in the right direction towards solving the “tuition crisis” — one on the revenue side, one on the cost side, and one in the political arena.

Let’s start with the revenue side. In 2008, under the leadership of Sam Moed, a group of lay leaders representing the seven (now eight) Bergen County day schools formed an organization — Jewish Education for Generations (JEFG) — whose goal was to address the long-term problem of Jewish day school affordability. A hallmark of JEFG was the inclusion of Jewish day schools across denominations and a commitment to a broad coalition.

In the spring of 2009, we launched NNJKIDS (, whose goal was to do precisely what Rabbi Engelmayer is advocating — creating a fund that would be supported by the entire Jewish community, regardless of whether a family had children in day school or not, much like the American system of property taxes.

A key driver of NNJKIDS was (and still is) rabbinic support. The unfortunate reality is that while the Orthodox rabbinate enthusiastically supported the program, support from non-Orthodox rabbis was virtually nonexistent. And this showed in the results. At its peak, over 30 percent of Orthodox Jewish families were regular contributors to NNJKIDS, while the number of non-Orthodox donors was negligible.

If Rabbi Engelmayer really is interested in doing something toward the stated goal in his column, instead of organizing “a summit meeting” between our two rabbinic organizations, I’d suggest that he start with the New Jersey Board of Rabbis and convince them that this is a cause they should support. I am fairly certain that once again 100 percent of the members of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County will support communal funding of Jewish day schools.

Now on to the cost side. Rabbi Engelmayer ignores the establishment of Yeshivat HeAtid (, now finishing its third year at a tuition 40 percent below that of the average Jewish day school in Bergen County. His statement that “depending on grade and school, elementary school tuition plus fees ranged from $13,000 to $25,000” is factually incorrect, as Yeshivat HeAtid charges a total of $9,170 all in, with no additional fees.

Yeshivat HeAtid is using cutting-edge methodologies and technologies to substantially lower the costs of delivering a Jewish education. And the results have been impressive. From standardized test scores to parental satisfaction, Yeshivat HeAtid has proven that a high quality dual curriculum can be delivered at a substantially lower cost than traditional alternatives.

While the price point still may be too high for some families, this is a huge step in the right direction, as is evidenced by Yeshivat HeAtid requiring only about 1 percent of its budget for financial aid, versus 10 to 20 percent for the typical day school in Bergen County. We could use talented people like Rabbi Englemayer to further the availability and the excellence of these promising new cost-effective educational models.

Finally, a major new initiative called TEACH NJS was launched last week, as reported in this very newspaper (“Put this at the top of our agenda”) to access greater state funding for day schools and other parochial schools. The effort is supported by virtually all of the day schools in our state, is cross-denominational, and is supported by multiple federations along with the Orthodox Union. Once again, this is an amazing opportunity for the full range of rabbinic leadership and their communities to aggressively champion this cause.

Rabbi Engelmayer, I invite you to join all efforts to make Jewish education affordable for all. Support the idea that every Jewish family should contribute towards Jewish education, get involved in supporting educational models that lower the cost of providing that education, and get support and get involved with TEACH NJS. If for whatever reason you don’t find these initiatives to your liking, feel free to create, organize, and execute your own ideas. But the time for complaining is over. There are many community leaders hard at work at solving the problem. I’d respectfully ask that you relinquish the company of those who just write about the problem and join those of us actively working to solve it.


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