May 20, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 20, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

OY VEY!

Last week, this newspaper published a letter-to-the-editor from Rabbi Simcha A. Green titled “Let’s Reduce Day School Tuition.” The letter’s opening referred to this Oy Vey! column:

“A recent column in The Jewish Link (“Priceless Purchase,” by Jon Kranz, January 27, 2022) made reference to the tuition costs in our day schools and noted that this is the cost of living an Orthodox life. No, no, no, I say. That defeatist attitude must stop. For the past 40 years I have been writing and speaking about free day school education. Not only is it necessary but it is also quite possible. Alas, while I have received applause for my concern, I have not had anyone join with me in this campaign.”

Shall we break this statement down? Yes, we shall.

First, we need some fact-checking. Did this column, in the article titled “Priceless Purchase,” refer to yeshiva tuition costs? The answer is: yes. Did the same article also note that yeshiva tuition “is the cost of living an Orthodox life”? The answer, unequivocally, is: no. The words “living” and “Orthodox” do not even appear in the article, the alleged sentiment is not expressed or implied and nowhere was the idea of free tuition dismissed as impossible. Arguably, the closest statement made in that article was as follows: “But, we have to put a price on yeshiva education because someone has to pay for it. Other things in life, however, are free-of-charge like prayer, dreams and self-hatred.” This is a true statement; someone has to pay the price for a yeshiva education, whether via tuition, taxes, philanthropy or otherwise. That said, we now know that many other things in life also are free-of-charge including letters-to-the-editor, mischaracterizations and misunderstandings.

Second, if you are reading this Oy Vey! column for realism, then you will be sadly disappointed. Over the last five years, this column has provided, on a weekly (or, as some might say, weakly) basis, incredibly inane and insane gibberish that would make a silly Purim shpiel sound like a State of the Union address.

Third, reasonable minds can agree that having a “defeatist attitude” is not productive. Similarly, having a defeatist “altitude” would prevent a person from summiting Mt. Everest, having a defeatist “latitude” would prevent a person from circumnavigating the globe and having a defeatist “gratitude” would prevent a person from saying “thank you.”

Fourth, it is highly commendable for someone to spend “40 years” exploring the serious and important topic of “free day school education.” Such four decade dedication is remarkable and certainly far more productive than spending time trying to figure out why there is no Shlock Rock Hall of Fame (the first inductee would be the legendary Lenny Solomon) or Shlock Rock song titled “You Give Linen a Bad Name” by Bon Jewvi (the chorus would go like this: “Shatnez is hard and wool’s to blame. You give linen a bad name. You mix them up and play your game. You give linen… a bad name).

Fifth, if you work on game-changing issues like “free day school education,” you absolutely should receive “applause” for such a noble cause. Other pursuits also might be deserving of applause (and possibly a standing ovation) like free sleepaway camps, free shul memberships and free Pesach vacation programs.

Sixth, it is unfortunate, and hopefully not at all telling, that after 40 years of working on “free day school tuition,” Rabbi Green has “not had anyone join [him] in this campaign.” Of course, there are many brilliant ideas that are not fully appreciated by others unless and until they actually come to fruition. For example, most people did not believe that the Impossible Burger was possible until they ate it. Such plant-based meat is so realistic that some kosher-keepers still wait a few hours before eating milchig. That would be like receiving free day school tuition but then still applying to the school for financial aid.

Seventh, according to Rabbi Green, “[n]ot only is it necessary [to create free day school tuition] but it is also quite possible.” In contrast, some things in life are possible but not necessary, like gefilte fish-flavored gum, fleishig bakeries or TKTS booths for high holiday tickets.

Eighth, despite the naysayers, it certainly is possible to have an incredibly valuable and impactful product that is provided to the community free of charge. If you doubt it, simply check out the Jewish Link’s cover price.

Final thought: Tuition, by definition, is not free but intuition is always on the house.


Send comments or criticism to [email protected].

By Jon Kranz

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles