In last week’s front-page article, “Teaneck Parents Eyeing Public (School) Option,” the author discusses an increasing level of interest among Orthodox parents in exploring the once-unimaginable possibility of enrolling their children in public schools. This is primarily; though not exclusively, due to the prohibitive, and seemingly ever-increasing cost of yeshiva tuition.
As an avid reader of numerous Jewish publications, I am always amazed at the dichotomy that exists within numerous papers, including The Jewish Week. On one hand, we are inundated with articles related to the ever-increasing financial hardships that exist within our communities in relation to job security, housing costs, tuition, etc.
Yet within the very same newspaper much of the paid advertisements are devoted to featuring an amazingly diverse plethora of luxury packages for families to spend their eight-day Pesach vacation, in virtually any setting, anywhere across the globe. Listed amenities range from acres of plush grass, Olympic-sized swimming pools, whirlpool spas, expansive golf courses, tennis courts, and of course, private concerts and circus performances. It is worth noting that these lavish extravaganzas also typically feature leading Jewish personalities and rabbinic figures, who by their mere presence, are at the very least, subtly lending credence to such over-the-top and exorbitant affairs.
Perhaps it is not so much a “tuition crises” that plagues our communities, in as much as a “values crises” that has perpetuated itself within our midst. Clearly we should consider deflecting some attention from the “price tag” to which yeshivas are charging for their services, and instead focus some attention on the apparent lack of values that are being imparted to our most precious youth.