May 16, 2024
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Jewish Day Schools Are Key to Our Legacy

I truly believe Mr. Steven Mayer has a lot to say about how we as a Jewish community can be a more valuable inspiration to our children and our community (“How Do We Make Ourselves Better” April 20, 2023).

As Jews, we are now facing a new holocaust. Too large a percentage of our generation of children are intermarrying. I have heard these couples tell me that their children are getting the best of both worlds. The truth is, first of all, that a person can only live in one world with one set of goals, morals, and ideals. Children from intermarriages will usually leave Judaism altogether or only touch on it lightly but not enough to embrace a love of Torah, Israel, Jewish history and lJewish customs and holidays. Secondly they will for the most part intermarry themselves.

One of the reasons for this dilemma is that too many Jewish children are not going to Jewish private schools where they are taught about their origins, and they are therefore not instilled with a sense of pride to embrace their heritage. When I started teaching, I encouraged families (during parent-teacher conferences) to keep their children in a Jewish school. Forty years later it was harder for me to push this because tuition in a private school has become out of reach for too many of our families. I know that Mr. Mayer is a strong advocate of keeping our children in private Jewish schools and he puts his mouth, so to speak, where his values lie. He has helped many children stay in a yeshiva or day school.

But what Mr. Mayer does is not enough; we need to help him. Instead of building a 10,000 sq. ft. house, maybe build a 5000 sq. ft. house and adopt a family that was turned away from a private school because of the high tuition. Maybe a Massarati is a cool car, but putting a Jewish child through a Jewish a education is a lot cooler. If our children don’t know where they came from, how will they know where they should go in life? I appeal also to grandparents and great- grandparents to adopt a child or family of children and help put them through the yeshiva or private Jewish school system.

When we no longer are in this world, people won’t talk about what kind of car we drove or how big our house was. They will talk about the legacy we left here. If we do this, you will teach your children and grandchildren that Torah learning is important to Jewish people. You will teach them that giving other children a chance at a Jewish education is important to you. You will teach them to carry the banner of Jewish history, customs, holidays, mitzvot, love of Israel, and pride in being Jewish to themselves and other generations of Jewish children. Remember, we are models for our children.

Mr. Mayer is right about looking deep into ourselves and finding it in our heart to pass on a Jewish legacy to those who are unable to do it for themselves.

P.S. Love your paper; read it every week.

Miriam Fiber
Teaneck
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