Article Discussion: How to Afford a Jewish Education

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This topic has 3 voices, contains 4 replies, and was last updated by  homeshuling 1523 days ago.

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June 4, 2010 at 4:00 am #4685

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Click here to read the article: How to Afford a Jewish Education

June 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm #4687

Alicia Zimbalist

Vicki, we at the Foundation for Jewish Camp are so happy that you are choosing to send your child to Jewish camp over the variety of other options available. We thank you for sharing a very candid assessment of affording a Jewish education–an issue the Jewish community struggles with daily. At FJC, we are acutely aware of this issue, given the current economic struggles of many families. In the face of this, camps doing all they can to ensure that parents are able to afford camp, whether through payment plans, discounts for siblings sent to camp together, and “early bird specials.” Many camps and camping movements prioritized fundraising efforts related to scholarships in the past year as well.  Federations, congregations, and local organizations also offer scholarships, and the Foundation has a searchable scholarship directory on our website at http://www.jewishcamp.org/scholarships.

Early reports are showing that more than 8,900 children will attend Jewish camp this summer for the first time with a cash grant received through the Foundation’s incentive programs. These programs provide grants of up to $2500 over several years to families who send their children to nonprofit Jewish summer camps for the first, and in some communities, second time. The grants are need-blind, as they are intended to expose children–regardless of their affiliation or religious engagement–to the experience that Jewish camps offer. The Campership Incentive Program is a national program that works in conjunction with 55 partner organizations across North America including synagogues, federations, camps and other Jewish organizations, and JWest, funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, specifically targets families in the 13 Western states. We also recently launched a national partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation enabling all those enrolled in the PJ Library Program to receive a first-time camp grant. Families are encouraged to learn more all of our incentive programs and apply at http://www.onehappycamper.org.

By the end of summer 2010, FJC estimates that approximately 20,000 children will have attended camp with one of these grants since the inception of these programs.

While the issue of affordability looms, we hope that these efforts are the beginnings of an answer for many Jewish families wishing to give their children the invaluable, transformative experience of Jewish overnight camp.

-Alicia Zimbalist, Public Relations Manager
Foundation for Jewish Camp

June 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm #4700

Karen B

Boy, do I hear ya loud and clear, Vicki. I belong to a congregation that serves mostly a very wealthy nearby community. But I am nowhere near that league. I have managed to scrape by the dues and religious school fees for my son. But my daughter is old enough to start next year, and I will need her fee to be significantly lowered. And camp?! Hah! Thousands of dollars. I just can’t do it. Even with a $1000 scholarship program, that still leaves me with a couple grand to come up with. The local day camp is $180 for two weeks. That’s less than a thousand dollars for a whole summer of fun in the sun, swimming, games, crafts, you name it. But that’s still a financial hit. I so want my kids to have the experience of a Jewish summer camp. But I can’t begin to think of how we (as an upper lower class income family) could afford it. Maybe when my daughter starts full day school and I have no daycare bills… Sigh.

June 9, 2010 at 3:57 am #4705

Queens Parent

I fully agree that it is almost impossible for a lower middle class family (or single parent family) to afford a bar/bat and/or Jewish summer camp. My child was lucky enough to qualify for a scholarship to Surprise Lake Camp (Cold Spring, NY), where he also had a free bar. We could not have done it otherwise. We are forever grateful, and my son worked at the camp for the past two summers, giving back. He has made lifelong friends at the camp, and sees them often. I cannot agree more that attending Jewish camps builds a lifelong sense of Jewishness. I hope donors for camps come out and support them even more — your help is needed!

June 22, 2010 at 3:44 am #4745

homeshuling

I agree that it’s terribly difficult for those of us who are not wealthy to afford camps, shuls and schools. That being said, as a recipient of financial aid for our daughters’ day school tuition, I had no problem being asked for my tax forms. That seems like a completely reasonable request.

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