Unfortunately, your article on Yeshiva University does a disservice to it and to American Jewish community, especially to parents of high school students considering where to send their children for university (“Stuck In The Middle With YU,” March 30).
As principal of Ida Crown Jewish Academy in Chicago, a strong college-prep yeshiva high school, I proudly send many of our graduates to YU. Not only because YU is the premier Modern Orthodox higher academic institution — offering our students and thousands of others a full program of general and Jewish education — but also because YU has chosen to accept the mission of serving the Jewish community beyond the normal boundaries of the beit midrash and the university lecture hall.
At YU, Ida Crown graduates participate in a full range of programming and Jewish life that is unparalleled in any other setting. They perform chesed throughout the world, find opportunities for leadership on campus and beyond and interact and connect with world-class scholars and talmidei chachamim [Torah scholars] on a regular basis.
True, there exists other opportunities for Jewish life on campus, and if a secular university, whether a state or a private school, is a better fit for the academic needs of a student, we at Ida Crown will encourage our students to attend that school. However, it is only at a Jewish university that we can be confident that the investment that parents and teachers have made in creating the Jewish “neshama” of our children will be fully supported.
Of course, the cost of YU is a challenge. But just as we value day school education despite the costs and have a commitment to providing scholarship assistance to families in need, YU has gone out of its way to help students attend YU, providing grants and loans, and even helping to educate all of our parents, whether they send their children to YU or not, on how to make the college experience affordable.
To those who seek alternatives to YU, whether to the right or to the left, my advice would be to consider the reason you are looking for something else. If it’s financial, first contact YU’s financial aid office before ruling out YU. If the reason is academic, visit YU and see the extraordinary changes that President Richard Joel has brought to the university. If the choice is hashkafic [religious ideology], enter the beit midrash, where the learning is on the highest of levels and Modern Orthodoxy is experiencing a renaissance.
Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy Chicago, Ill.