Rabbi Calls on Federation to Establish 10,000 Scholarships to Save Day Schools

Rabbi Joseph Karasick, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, called today on the New York Federation of Jewish Philanthropies to “establish a minimum of 10,000 scholarships to the New York Hebrew Day Schools.” These schools, he told more than 1,000 delegates and guests attending the organization’s annual national dinner, are “almost without exception in danger of financial bankruptcy.” Calling for massive support, Rabbi Karasick, warned that unless such support is forthcoming, the Orthodox Jewish community may be forced to consider the establishment of “a separate national Torah Fund for which many leaders have been pressing for some time. Reluctantly, we might have to go along if present Federation tendencies and attitudes do not change fundamentally and result in meaningful Day School support.” Rabbi Karasick ascribed the situation of financial hardship of the Day Schools to the rising costs of education which, he affirmed, have driven tuition fees up, with $1,000 or more now being charged for each child.

He asked the Jewish Federation and Welfare Funds to assume the responsibility for the continued existence of the Day Schools and “to do so not grudgingly but out of a collective sense of appreciation for the historic achievements of the Day School movement.” Rabbi Karasick asserted: “The Federation, therefore, must set the precedent of vigorous action and re-order its priorities to give substantial and meaningful support to Jewish education. The continued failure of Jewish Federation and Welfare Funds to put Jewish education first, is one of the most distressing ills of contemporary American Jewish life.” Rabbi Bernard L. Berzon, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, urged the congregational lay leaders “to change their image of the American rabbi.” He decried the fact that the American rabbi is often overburdened by executive and fund raising duties, with little time left for scholarship and study. Samuel Lawrence Brennglass, prominent New York lawyer and communal leader, received the organization’s highest award, the Kether Shem Tov (Crown of the Good Name) Award.

NEXT STORY