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Is It Worth It?

12 Apr

There is no question that today’s generation is facing a difficult economic reality. Jobs are harder to come by, funding for public programming such as Pell grants and Medicare have been cut and the housing market is a faint whisp of what it used to be. Though on the outside it may seem like the Jewish community is gliding by without an issue, this is far from true. The lecture halls of Yeshiva University may be full, the waiting list may be long at Camp Dora Golding and the neighbors next door may be adding an extension, but so many, so many people are hurting.

An article in today’s NY Times reminded me of the hard times we are facing. As a college student myself, I understand that taking out loans is supposedly “just part of the process.” True, it has been a part of the process for a generation or so, but times have changed. There is no knowing what one’s salary will be once graduating school. There is no knowing if one will have a job. Yes, one must have bitachon that Hashem, the True Provider, will help those with debt come through it. However, I find it quite similar to “depending on a miracle”, an act G-d explicitly tells us not to do.

My greatest issue lies within private Yeshiva schools- be it elementary, high school or college. They are horrendously unaffordable. Some students score high enough on achievement tests to receive generous scholarships while others have parents or grandparents who are able to pay hefty tuition. Yet most are being carried along through the tedious and tiresome hard work of their parents, who have six-figure salaries but still can’t cover all the expenses. Read this article, look around your community, at your peers and cohorts and tell me, is this worth it? Though our homes are humongous and our schools are laden with intriguing extracurricular activities, are they really worth the debt shackled ’round our wrists? Are we, the next generation, really going to be able to sustain them?

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