Letters to the Editor, week of June 6, 2012

Make St. Louis a leader in financing Jewish day school education

Aryeh Klapper (May 23 commentary, “Sustaining day school education, financially and morally”) is correct in criticizing the current financing mechanism for Jewish day schools. However, he is wrong about why the current financing mechanism is unsustainable, for a number of reasons.

1. Giving financial information to receive financial aid (a grant) for a child to attend a day school is no more morally repugnant or humiliating that giving financial information to receive a home loan or car loan. 

2. His very complicated “solution” to the problem would, by his admission, have no effect on school budgets and would still require every parent to submit financial information to be workable.

Fortunately, his last sentence clearly defines the issue. He suggests we “…redirect the community’s conversation and efforts toward a model of day school financing that is financially and morally sustainable.” Making Jewish Day School education available to every Jewish child should be the number one priority in every Jewish community; financed by funds collected from the community — in our case, through the Federation, or another existing agency. 

As a consultant with over 50 Jewish day school clients from Florida to California, I often hear that the high quality of St.Louis Jewish day schools is drawing young families from around the country.  A community-wide commitment to making Jewish day schools available to every Jewish child in St. Louis would be an enormously profitable investment in the future of the St. Louis Jewish community.

We must begin today working on “affordable day schools” for our St. Louis Jewish future!

Richard Senturia, University City

Use personal stories to ‘change hearts and minds’

It is great to see the Jewish Light’s Publisher/CEO Larry Levin take such a strong stance in support of same sex marriage rights (May 30 commentary, “For an elevated and civil discussion of same-sex marriage”). The Jewish Light could play an important role in shaping public opinion, or at least providing dialogue on this issue. What needs to happen now is the telling of personal stories — the couples for whom marriage makes a significant difference in their life and whose lives help us understand why these couples need to have their relationships legally recognized and communally respected.

Every family has an uncle, aunt, cousin, sibling or child whose life is impacted by this issue. My cousin and his husband have been together at least 45 years but finally married in California in 2008. Their marriage is not about raising children together, but it is about taking care of each other and supporting each other and being a member of a larger family. Their lives have great meaning and dignity.

I also recently heard the news from a good friend that her daughter and daughter-in-law have just had a baby boy together.

It’s a new generation with a new kind of family. But they are a family and deserve our respect and joy in the blessings from their marriage. Let the Light tell these stories if it wants to truly change hearts and minds.

Dean Rosen, St. Louis