May 23, 2024
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Compassion, Courtesy And Empathy: More Important Than Tuition

Over the past few years The Jewish Link has been the forum for respectful and courteous dialogue between various segments of our community to discuss issues relating to our lives. To my horror the dialogue on both sides regarding yeshiva tuition over the past few weeks has been completely lacking empathy on both sides. I worry that any additional opining on this topic will, instead of being constructive, will simply act as lighter fluid on an already discourteous dialogue. Unfortunately from their statements, the “opposing “ sides have dug in their heels and the line of communications may have been permanently severed to the detriment of all of us. In these challenging times, the distrust of each other serves no purpose.

Empathy is important and different people perceive statements differently. The phrase “live within your means” may sound to some like a motto to live by, while to others it may sound like “your type is not welcome here.” Publicly accusing segments of our community of being “cheaters” and trying to “game the system” has no place in our communal discourse.

In theory each segment has validity to their point of view. But this conversation is not an abstract theory being debated at a hedge fund annual board meeting or at a shul kiddush; these are real conversations with real world implications that impact real people in many ways.

It is apparent that there are major concerns that need to be addressed. But the enmity must end now. Both sides need to look in the mirror carefully, but the concerns need to be addressed forthwith and respectfully at once. Real compassion to people is important, not just compassion out of pity or to say “we did chesed.”

Ira Treuhaft
Bergenfield
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