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More on financial woes at day schools and synagogues

The Jerusalem Post has a bit more on the fate of day schools.

While several schools have closed, others are looking for creative ways to survive.

NEW YORK – As schools across America opened their doors for the new academic year this month, in a corner of Orange County, California, the Morasha Jewish Day School stayed dark.

A scene from the last day of school at the Morasha Day School in Orange County, California, which shut down in June due to financial problems.
Photo: morasha.org

Last spring, it failed in its last-ditch effort to raise much-needed cash through the sale of land. In April, the school’s fate was sealed and the board sent a letter to parents outlining the grim financial situation.

"It is with much sadness, therefore, that we share that Morasha Jewish Day School is a casualty of the economic downturn," the letter read.

When it shuttered its doors for good in June, Morasha was not alone. Since the economic collapse last fall, day schools with fragile finances and dwindling enrollment have been forced to close. Others have seen dips in enrollment and significant increases in financial assistance.

Read the rest here.

The JPost also has an AP piece about the struggles of synagogues in the days leading up to the High Holidays.

The Jewish High Holy Days will begin Sept. 18 with people leaning heavily on synagogues for help. Rabbis are telling the worst-off members they can stop paying dues until their finances improve, even though the synagogues themselves are hurting. Congregations have stepped in to offer aid that ranges from counseling to money for medicine. Fundraising appeals during the holidays will focus on keeping the service programs and the synagogues afloat.

The Merrick congregation created a fund that covers members’ bills, and drafted volunteers who advise the jobless on resumes and interviewing. A social worker provides free counseling.

Temple Israel in West Bloomfield, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, formed a job network and a support group for teens stressed by their parents’ financial plight. Many in the congregation of about 3,300 families worked for automakers or had jobs linked to the industry.

At Beth El Congregation in Baltimore, some members, often retirees on fixed incomes, have brought baggies for leftovers to the community reception held after Sabbath services.

"I know the food they’re taking home is probably going to be their main meal for that afternoon and the next day," said Gil Kleiner, Beth El’s executive director. "That’s OK. If they come to services and they eat, that’s fine. That’s part of what Judaism is all about."

 

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