There is no more cautionary concept in Judaism than that of mitzvah haba b’avera – the act of tainting a good deed by committing a bad deed in the process.
I’m sure most halachic decisors would concur that we are not to be judged simply on a system of how many mitzvot we rack up in our lives (like points in a game) but by the manner in which we conduct ourselves and the consideration and thoughtfulness we put into our actions.
The Jewish Week’s Carolyn Slutsky reports this week on efforts by the Orthodox Union to address the crisis facing yeshivot during the worsening recession. Ideas include starting a national health insurance fund for teachers that, with an estimated 3,000 members, would have a lower premium than most yeshiva plans and wrangling funds for Jewish education via vendors and shul donations.
It’s all too easy to complain about the cost of tuition, but it’s important to look at both sides of the issue. JTA’s Jacob Berkman has an excellent piece on the angst of yeshivas and day schools as they cope with skyrocketing costs and increasing demand for scholarships.
The crisis moved the Orthodox Union to hold a recent seminar to search for solutions.
After all the years my wife and I have carried the burden of yeshiva tuition, we never thought we’d see the day we pull one of our children out because of an issue not related to money. But sure enough, because of learning issues that were impeding the progress of one of my kids, we decided an unusual mid-year shift was in order.
New York Governor David Paterson’s proposed budget will slash what many consider to be an already paltry level of taxpayer support for private schools by 41 percent, which has an alliance of private, Jewish and Catholic school advocates up in arms.
Invoking the famous Daily News headline about Gerald Ford, Teach-NYS paraphrases Paterson as telling religious and independent schools to “Drop Dead.”
The crisis now unfolding in philanthropy can be seen as nothing less than a volcano eruption that will cause both immediate and long-term destruction to the cause of promoting Jewish identity and continuity.
The other day, on a lark, I created a Facebook group called “I Refuse To Join Pointless Facebook Groups,” and invited several hundred of my online friends to join. As of this writing, about three dozen have joined this pointless group, some perhaps aware of the irony, some not.
Despite the pressures of a weekly deadline, it’s generally a fairly jovial mood here in The Jewish Week’s editorial bullpen on Tuesdays as we scramble to bang out our copy as thoroughly and accurately as humanly possible, whip it into shape and get it off to the printer on time.