A young, Jewish girl sits in a Toronto classroom. She struggles to focus while preoccupied with the swastikas etched into the top of her desk. A Jewish boy in another school walks down the hallway as bullies throw coins at his feet and call him a "cheap Jew." In a Canadian university, Jewish students hide their identity as they walk through corridors that are wallpapered with Anti-Israel and BDS propaganda. A grandchild of a Holocaust survivor sits in a University lecture in which the professor shares poetry from Palestinians and facilitates a dialogue comparing the Holocaust to the "genocide of Palestinians at the hands of the Jews." This is the reality of 2019. This is the world that we are raising our children in. So, one needs to think about the price tag on education.
Our children need to feel connected to their Jewish roots and proud of their Jewish heritage. They need to know their history so that others cannot shame them with the lies that are embedded in the propaganda that surrounds us. If we want to be able to share Jewish holidays and customs with grandchildren one day; we need to invest that education in our children. They need to feel a sense of belonging to the greater Jewish community.
Our world is changing and with the winds of change comes uncertainty and fear. Historically, uncertainty and fear along with financial difficulty led to blame and we know that blame results in hate and antisemitism. Knowing this, we need to be proactive; not reactive. We need to give our children the tools to navigate a secular community with a strong Jewish identity. We can only do this by giving them a Jewish education. We spend money and time on other extra-curricular activities to keep our children busy. It is time to commit that time and money to ensuring that our children will have the knowledge to be Jewish leaders who understand our commitment to Israel and believe in their Jewish identity. Every Jewish child deserves the opportunity to know what being a Jew means. Every Jewish child deserves to learn about his/her history.
As the leaders in a Jewish community, it is our duty to ensure that we use all our resources available to us to nourish the Jewish minds and souls of our young. The question is not, "What is the price tag of a Jewish education?' The question we need to be asking ourselves is, "What is the cost of not giving a child a Jewish education?"