Menu JTA Search

Yeshiva Leaders Appeal to Federation Officials to Provide Adequate Funds

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

Standing beside a stained-glass panel reading “Blessed Is He Who Giveth,” two spokesmen for the city’s financially troubled yeshivas pleaded for funds last night at a meeting of the beard of trustees of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Rabbi Abraham Kelman, principal of Prospect Park High School and Day School, Spoke fervently of the “terrible burdens” faced by yeshivas. They suffer from ” most inadequate facilities,” the pupils are “terribly dismayed,” the parents are “harassed and burdened,” and an education is being dispensed “on the backs of Jewish teachers” who receive $3,500-$4,000 a year, he declared. The city erects “magnificent buildings in the slums for those who destroy them,” Rebbi Kelman complained, but Jewish children are “packed in like sardines.” The administrator concluded: “If something is not done, the yeshivas will collapse… We think that the future of Jewish life depends on Jewish education.. It is a vital matter of our life and our future…And we say to you: You must provide the funds… This is your problem as much as ours.”

The other yeshiva spokesman was Rabbi Moshe Malinowitz, president of the National Association of Hebrew Day School Administrators of America, an affiliate of Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools. In tones as impassioned as those of Rabbi Kelman, Rabbi Malinowitz said his was “not a voice that is raised in anger, but in anguish.” The yeshivas, he declared, face “a heart-rending problem.” In addition to financial difficulties-yeshiva children in New York, representing 41 percent of the population, receive $1 per child a year from Federation here, while those in Los Angeles, representing 4 percent of the population, get $125 a year-the facilities for them here are so insufficient that some of them are “rat traps.” The New York Federation, Rabbi Malinowitz insisted, must “wake up” to a situation in which some parents give up vacations and cars to afford Jewish education for their children and others have their children barred because there are no funds at the yeshivas to teach them.

Forty-three yeshiva leaders attended the meeting of 200 Federation officials, at which Lawrence B.Buttenweiser, a lawyer, was named Federation president, succeeding George H. Heyman, Jr., now a vice chairman of the board. The organization had granted their request to attend and to present their case. Rabbis Kelman and Malinowitz each spoke for 10 minutes. Asked to comment on the rabbis’ demands, Federation executive vice president Sanford Solender told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reporter that the matter was one of “very great concern” to the organization and would be given “every consideration.” He declined to give a more specific response. In a statement issued prior to the board meeting. Torah Umesorah criticized the Federation for having “turned down its own Functional Committee Report on Education which would have appropriated $1.3 million additional funds for Jewish education.” Instead, the day school society charged, the Federation board “piously proclaims its historic involvement in Jewish education but fails to give any direct subventions to assist the (local yeshivas) with critically needed funds.” The Federation resolved two weeks ago “that all avenues be searched to find additional funds required.” A spokesman for the Federation explained to the JTA:” We never approve dollars for anything. We only approve concepts.”

NEXT STORY