The financial meltdown of 2008 and the recession that followed was challenging for many parents who had been considering moving their children from public schools to Jewish day schools. The financial uncertainty made families afraid to take on an added tuition burden.
Bob and Shelley Greenberg* were among those forced to confront those issues for their three children, who had been happily attending Jewish schools before the financial crisis. Unfortunately, Bob’s employer closed as a result of the recession, and the family had to relocate to a small city in the Midwest, where Bob found a new job.
“There was a real issue with the quality of the schools,” says Bob. “We ended up sending our kids to public school.”
The younger two were okay with public school, according to their father, although they didn’t love it. But when Racheli, the oldest was ready for high school, the Greenbergs had to make some hard choices.
“That was the line in the sand for us,” Bob recalls. “We really couldn’t send her to a public school for high school.” Bob and Shelly sent Racheli back East to live with family members, but it didn’t solve their problem. “We just felt that a girl needs to be with her parents, so it was not a long term option, but Jewish education was that important to us.”
The couple engaged in extensive belt-tightening and prayed devoutly to find a solution for their family. And, as Racheli entered her sophomore year at a Jewish high school, they returned to the east coast, rejoined their oldest daughter and enrolled the two younger children in Jewish day schools.
“My kids are thrilled,” says Bob. “They are going to schools with both great Jewish programs and great secular programs. They have grown so much in their connection to Judaism.”
A key factor in finding this happy solution was the financial assistance provided by Oorah.
“Oorah was our spiritual lifeline,” says Bob. “Without the scholarships Oorah provided, this would be a moot discussion. My kids would have had to attend public schools.”
Oorah provides Jewish day school scholarships and Jewish high school scholarships for families that want to move their children from public schools to Jewish day schools. Bob acknowledges that some people feel uncomfortable applying for financial assistance, but he says Oorah handled the application process with great sensitivity.
Racheli has graduated high school and has moved on to the next level — a woman’s seminary in Israel. “We are thrilled every day with the way she is growing in Yiddishkeit,” says her proud father.
Bob advises other Jewish parents in his position – wanting to move their kids out of public schools and into Jewish day schools and Jewish high schools but worry about the financial cost — to contact Oorah and apply for tuition assistance.
“Oorah enabled my kids to go to summer camp in a proper environment. It enabled them to go to yeshiva. I can’t imagine a better way for people in challenging situations than to turn to Oorah. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude,” Bob concludes.
*The names of the family members and certain details have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.