Friday, December 18, 2009

Public School

My brother Fred* and his wife Wilma* have decided to do 'the unthinkable' and send their daughter Pebbles* to public school starting next school year. They live in Silver Spring, MD and simply cannot afford Yeshiva tuition in their double income household. According to my brother, there are others in his community who are considering doing the same.

And I have to say, Kol haKavod to them for taking the responsible road. For having the courage to fly in the face of today's Orthodox convention and chose financial responsibility over 'Jewish education above all else'.

When I posted my support of their choice on my Facebook status, several people asked why they didn't make Aliyah. My own decision to make Aliyah over 12 years ago was mostly financially motivated and I'm sure I'm not alone.

The problem is Aliyah isn't for everyone. It also doesn't solve the Tuition Crisis in the United States.

In addition, what's really so terrible about getting a public education (provided the PS has a good curriculum) with supplemental religious studies?

I don't know about you, but in my family, my siblings, cousins and I are first generation 'Yeshiva goers'. My parents, aunts** and my grandparents all received a public school education with Hebrew school on the side and guess what? They all married Orthodox people and passed on a strong grounding in Orthodoxy to all their children. And all of us married grandkids married Orthodox.

Did going to Yeshiva have something to do with this? Of course. But so did the foundation we had from our publicly educated parents and grandparents.

* Not their real names. No, really!
** I think my mother's youngest sister went to Prospect Park a million years ago, either for her entire education or for some part of it.

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