Thursday, December 11, 2008

Should the yeshivot get a bailout?

Is Eytan Kobre* a GOP Jew or an entitlement-crazed liberal? Hard to tell from his latest CrossCurents piece:

As a parent of yeshivah students who, along with virtually every other middle-class yeshivah parent I know, strains under the almost unbearable burden of tuition, even as our children’s teachers go unpaid their meager salaries for months at a time because the schools are themselves heavily in the red, I wholeheartedly agree with [Nathan] Lewin [who, in a cite supplied by Kobre, said "...many yeshivas and other Jewish religious institutions.... cannot survive in today’s world without the support that government should provide..."]

The damage caused by the denial of government assistance to Jewish families and Jewish education has been real and lasting.
Catch that everyone? Yeshivot are failing, and Jewish families are suffering, not because of choices we've made, but because the government won't send us money! What happened to the magical market? What happened to the idea that we must live and die by our decisions? Why is a decrepit slum "their own damn fault" but a struggling yeshiva the government's responsibility?

We've chosen to live insular, separate lives -which is our right- but the other 99 percent of Americans taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill. We're the ones who are opting out. That makes the resulting struggles and burdens our responsibility alone. The idea that government "caused" the damage is an idea anyone but the craziest most left of left liberal would reject (and yes, I reject it, too.)

[Incidentally, as Kobre slanders the government for "causing" harm to Jewish families he appears to have forgotten about the legions of Hasidic families who survive thanks only to government largess. Where is Kobre's hakoret hatov for Section 8 Housing, WIC and other forms of welfare, Medicare and Medicaid. Entire Jewish neighborhoods are built on these programs!]

Anyway, as I've argued previously there's no practical way for the government to help us with tuition. If we ever get vouchers the yeshivot will certainly respond by raising tution. You were able to pay us $5000 before vouchers, the menahel will say. Why can't you pay $10,000 now?

*You may remember Eytan Kobre from:
:: his bizarre obsession with underwear ads; or
:: his very late awakening to the idea that the president of the United States should be experienced; or
:: from his assertion that the Times correction column as opposed, say, to the one published daily in the WSJ, is insincere because its apologies fall short of standard set 1500 years ago by Rabba.

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