My professional life has been devoted to working in various non-profit organizations, almost all of which are in the realm of Jewish education. I have done this because I have always believed in their missions – even the ones with whom I no longer have any ties.
Lately, however, I have been losing my faith — not in the holy work that these organizations are doing, but in their capacity to do it – because our current model of funding such programs is flawed.
It is no secret that many Jewish educational programs are very expensive. Day school tuition in the United States often surpasses $20,000, summer camps can top $8,000 and trips to Israel can be over $1,000 a week, not including airfare. And while these programs are expensive, most of the ones I have encountered operate at cost price or even over budget.
The services provided by many Jewish non-profit organizations are essential and life changing. But the fact that they are not cheap means many organizations must rely on outside funding – particularly by very generous donors – in order to operate and reach as many people as possible. Herein lies the biggest flaw of this world.
Too often, those who do not prioritize Judaism expect others will pay for their benefit.