Is Jewish day school education worth the cost?

On Wednesday, JTA published an essay by Sam Ser, a religiously observant Jewish father in West Bloomfield, Mich., explaining why he decided not to send his kids to Jewish day school.

Ser did not identify any day schools in his piece, but the head of the Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, Steve Freedman, took the piece to be about Hillel. On Thursday, he responded, noting that Hillel has a $36,000-per-family tuition grant available and that 58 percent of the students receive financial aid.

Freedman writes:

This family feels they can provide the necessary Jewish education at home for their children. That is outstanding. Jewish education and living begins in the home. However, their background and knowledge are unique. Most parents today cannot provide that level of opportunity.  In addition, I would humbly suggest that it is certainly easier for them while their children are young. I am not sure it will be as easy as they get older. They are also possibly depriving their children of a Jewish social life with like- minded friends/families who are committed to similar values.

Yes, it is a commitment to send your children to a Jewish day school. Yes it is costly. Yes, for most it does require giving up on some or even many extras. But since when did anything of great value and worth come easily?

Read the full piece here.

Uriel Heilman is JTA’s managing editor, responsible for coordinating JTA’s editorial team. He re-joined JTA in 2007 after a stint doing independent reporting in Israel and the Arab world. Before that, he served as New York bureau chief of the Jerusalem Post. An award-winning journalist, he has worked as a reporter for a variety of publications in the United States and in Israel.