Letters, the Week of Jan. 26, 2017

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Day School Education Saves Lives

I would like to congratulate Raymond and Ruth Perelman Jewish Day School and Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy for their collaboration in an effort to reduce the financial burden of day school tuition (Barrack Family Gift Establishes Fund for Day School Continuity,” Jan. 19). I have spent my 36 years as director of Abrams Hebrew Academy worrying about the affordability of sending Jewish children to day school, and I sincerely believe that day school tuitions in our area are too high.

Even though Abrams’ tuition of $10,000-$13,000 is relatively low, I know that amount still precludes many families from enrolling their children at the school. If a family has three children, they are facing tuition costs of close to $40,000. That amount is unaffordable for too many people and leads to children attending public school, which may be a reason for higher rates of assimilation among our young adults. As the Pew study of several years ago indicated, the future of U.S. Jews identifying with their religion and marrying other Jews is rather bleak.

Oskar Schindler, who saved 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust, often said that he should have saved more Jews, and keeping that in mind, Abrams has initiated the Abrams-Schindler Society to offer tuition relief to as many Jewish families as possible.

Abrams began this year with a generous grant that provides tuition assistance for 20 students, and that grant, combined with EITC, Oorah and Children’s Scholarship Fund, makes tuition minimal for interested parents to enroll their children in a Jewish learning environment. The 20 grants were distributed in just one week, proving to me that the reason more people do not send their children to day school is not because of lack of interest, but because of cost. Many of the recipients are Israeli and Russian, and they came to Abrams from public schools. In the spirit of Oskar Schindler, Abrams is saving Jewish children and ensuring our future.

This week another generous donor has agreed to sponsor an additional 15 students in the cohort, and I am completely confident that these scholarships will soon all be distributed to new students. Of all of my accomplishments at Abrams, this campaign to bring as many children as possible to the school and provide them a Jewish education is the most important thing I have ever done.

Rabbi Ira Budow | Director, Abrams Hebrew Academy

 

Daylin Leach’s Bill Is Necessary

As someone who has an extremely rare form of cancer, I have been carefully following the death-with-dignity discussion in the Exponent (“Opposing ‘Death With Dignity’ on Jewish Grounds Is Misguided,” Jan. 19). My cancer is slow-progressing and treatable; however, it is not curable, and it will ultimately lead to my slow, painful death some years from now. Therefore, I wholeheartedly endorse Sen. Leach’s proposed death-with-dignity bill.

While rabbis have a responsibility to encourage their congregants to follow Jewish law and guidelines, it is inappropriate for them to attempt to force all citizens to adhere to these precepts. When my horrible demise is imminent, I want the right to die with dignity. I want all who suffer and face imminent death to also have this right to avoid inhumane torment. If Pennsylvania does not grant me this right, I will still end my life on my terms.

Michael J. Rosen | Philadelphia

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