It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes an entire community to educate a child.
Sky-high tuition prices at day schools have been a central focus within our community – and The Jewish Standard – for many months now. We have seen a number of alternatives proposed – from after-school programs to Hebrew charter schools to bare-bones yeshivas. At the beginning of the year, a group of day-school educators and parents, spurred by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin of Englewood, began weighing solutions. Last month, this committee formed the nonprofit organization NNJKIDS and began raising money through area synagogues, which will be distributed quarterly to the elementary day schools – including the two Solomon Schechter schools in our area.
NNJKIDS’ mission enjoys the full support of the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County, and the participation of Conservative rabbis is increasing across the area.
The gap between the Conservative movement and Orthodoxy has grown in recent years, so we are pleased to see members of the two movements coming together on the local level for the sake of Jewish education. While there are schools that adhere to separate Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform philosophies, Jewish education as a whole transcends these separate streams of Judaism. Without solid Jewish education, there is no Jewish future. These rabbis recognize that. One of NNJKIDS’ goals is to get the rest of the community to recognize that, too.
Children who receive strong Jewish educations are more likely to become active Jewish adults. To preserve the Jewish future, the entire community must band together to foster Jewish education, whether through the Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform movements. It falls on all of us, even those who do not have children or who have already put our children through school, to strengthen the Jewish education system.
Next month will mark the second anniversary of the closing of Metropolitan Schechter High School in Teaneck. Many factors contributed to its closing, but the simple fact remains that an infusion of community dollars could have kept it going at least another year.
The Jewish people have continued through the years because of our focus on family and community and the belief that every Jew is responsible for one another. We must not fail our children.