Continuing the conversation – ‘The first step’

Continuing the conversation – ‘The first step’

In response to comments we have heard, we thank The Jewish Standard for the opportunity to set the record straight.

The Kehilla fund’s primary goal is to achieve broad-based, universal support for Jewish day-school education. This will ultimately lower the burden on struggling families as the cost of Jewish education is shared more broadly by the community at large.

We believe that everyone, even those individuals who are facing financial challenges at this time, should set aside a few dollars a month for this purpose. While we certainly hope for large donations from those who are able, even a $1 contribution from a family is welcome and significant as we champion the cause of Jewish education.

Representatives of all local elementary day schools, including the Schechter schools, sit on the Jewish Education for Generations governing committee, are involved in deliberations, and sign off on its decisions. Programs being planned will benefit schools of all denominations. (Jewish Education for Generations is an official non-profit organization established by the group formerly known as the Tuition Crisis Committee.)

The Kehilla fund is the first step in what we hope will grow into a comprehensive plan for the local day schools. In this first step, Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Synagogues will solicit support for the schools patronized by their respective constituencies. The purpose of this phase is to re-educate the community towards its overall obligation to Jewish education. It was felt that, at this stage, emphasis should be placed upon the synagogue-school relationship within each denomination. This model has operated successfully in the Chicago Jewish community during recent years.

Our plan is the result of months of planning on the part of a committee representing all the local day schools. This is the first time that the schools have been meeting on a regular basis, in a united and continuing fashion, to address communal issues of shared concern. In addition, the plan immediately garnered the participation of the rabbinic leadership of the nearly 25 local Orthodox synagogues, and few other communal programs in recent memory have received such enthusiastic and overwhelming support.

We have every expectation that the synagogues of other denominations will shortly respond in similar fashion.

In addition to NNJKIDS, Jewish Education for Generations is pursuing numerous other initiatives. These include: the solicitation of large donations from communal donors to create a mega-fund to benefit all local day schools, cost-cutting measures on the part of the local schools, governmental legislation to benefit day schools, and more. We urge your readers to join us in achieving our goals for the benefit of our community’s children.