Growing Jewish Education in Challenging Times (Guest Post: Dan Brown):
For the past year or so, the cost of Jewish education in the United States has been at the forefront of communal discussion. Op-Eds on the matter have appeared in virtually every Jewish publication, the Jewish Federations of North America hosted a session on the subject during last fall’s G.A. and a number of conference dialogues have ensued.
The discussion and study of the topic continues, but solutions still seem to be elusive. And while the panic that many felt at the beginning of the recession has been replaced by a level of calm in the philanthropic world, the attractiveness, accessibility and affordability of Jewish education continue to be a major topic of concern.
With the aim of propelling the discussion forward, eJewishPhilanthropy and JESNA’s Lippman Kanfer Institute have invited a cross-section of communal educators and thought leaders to address the subject.
We asked them: What can we do — and what do we need to do — to make Jewish education more attractive, accessible and affordable, even as both Jewish education providers and consumers feel increasing economic pressure? How are the challenges of expanding educational opportunities different for day schools, complementary education, camps and Israel education? How are they different for specific critical populations — families with young children, teens and young adults? What new approaches are being tried and where are there signs of success? What has yet to be tried that ought to be?
Among other contributors, the Avi Chai Foundation’s Yossi Prager writes on day school sustainability, Hadar’s Rabbi Elie Kaunfer writes on adult Jewish literacy, the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Maggie Bar-Tura writes about making Jewish summer camp accessible to all segments of the community and UpStart Bay Area’s Maya Bernstein asks why more of our creative social entrepreneurs are not focusing on our schools.
Dan Brown is the founder of eJewishPhilanthropy.com.