For me the key words [in Chancellor Arnold Eisen’s Opinion essay] are “affordable intensive Judaism.”
Chancellor Eisen mentions day care, early childhood programs, day school education and Ramah camps. They are becoming less and less affordable (“Let’s Drink A L’Chaim To Conservative Judaism,” Nov. 29).
In Manhattan, parents who would send their children to Solomon Schechter Day School (SSDS) for first grade now send their kids to Chabad and Manhattan Day School. Why? Because they are the least expensive of the very expensive options — not that $11,000 per nursery school is exactly inexpensive.
When we were parents and sent our kids to SSDS. We had no money left to send them to Ramah. Our children cannot afford the $30,000 per child (or more) for SSDS in Manhattan.
Indeed the very Jews we want to nurture and desperately want and need to be in the Conservative movement are having two children or less so they can afford intensive Jewish education. This at a time when we want to raise the birth rate of Jews.
I wish I knew the answer of how to solve this. But if we don’t figure something out — indeed all will be lost.