Vibrant Englewood Community
Wed, 05/01/2013

Regarding “Increased Competition Shakes Up N.J. Schools” (April 12), it is no secret that a severe tuition crisis exists in the Bergen County Jewish day school world today.

Those who volunteer their time to the thankless jobs of lay leadership within these institutions appreciate that the challenge to meet ever-increasing budgets engulfs virtually all local day schools — no matter whether the school’s enrollment is growing or shrinking and without regard to whether a school falls left, right or center on the religious spectrum.

If there is any chance of solving the tuition crisis, it will likely require a collective communal response. After all, as Jews, we have always believed that our “whole” is greater than the sum of our parts and that our greatest achievements are possible only when we function “k’ish echad b’lev echad”—“like one individual … with one heart.” Therefore, it is unfortunate that The Jewish Week chose to frame the pains of the Moriah School in a way that pitted one school against another and set two thriving and vibrant Jewish communities in opposite corners.

On this eve of Yom Ha’Atzmaut, we were privileged to attend a communal event at Congregation Ahavath Torah that was co-sponsored by all of the Orthodox synagogues in Englewood. The numbers of attendees at the event had swelled since last year’s event — mirroring the general population growth within all of the local Englewood synagogues. There were activities for children as young as pre-K and, at 8:30 p.m. on a school night, it felt like there were as many kids celebrating the birth of the State of Israel as there were adults. The crowd was anything but monolithic, with kids and parents in attendance from all of the schools mentioned in your article and many more.

Of note, this was actually the third such communal event held in the same space in just the last month, following a communal Yom HaShoah event last week and a public interdenominational discussion sponsored by Unite4Unity, a grass-roots effort co-founded by another Englewood resident focused on increasing communication and connections among Jews of all denominations.

If this is the picture of an Orthodox community that is “not increasing,” it can only be because it is seen through the glasses of “observers” who seek to find otherness, notwithstanding obvious kinship.

Kehilat Kesher - Community Synagogue of Tenafly and Englewood

Rabbi Akiva Block

Mordy Rosenberg, President

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