Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

Making the Case
Inspiring our Prospective Donors
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Not Rated Yet   |   Viewed 8741 times since 9/11/06   |   0 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend

Seven years ago I attended an educational conference in Yerushalayim. A presenter at the conference related that as a young man in his twenties, he was a low-level employee in the Education Ministry. One evening at a social function, he was taken aback when Prime Minister Golda Meir suddenly approached him and asked him an intriguing question. "What would you do to further the cause of Jewish Education if I were to put $25 million dollars at your disposal tomorrow?" she asked him. Without a moment's hesitation, he immediately articulated some of the projects that he would initiate, should funding become available.
Mrs. Meir was impressed at his almost instantaneous response. She informed him that she had been posing this scenario all evening to every person she had spoken to - including the most senior and high-level officials in the Ministry of Education - and that his was by far the most thoughtful response. She asked him how he responded so quickly. He instantaneously answered in all sincerity, "Because I think about it all the time."

Some Tough Questions

As professional and lay leaders of our yeshivos explore the reasons for our lack of success in attracting funding for our schools, I think that we need to ask ourselves some challenging questions:

  • How would we spend 25 million dollars - or 25 thousand dollars - if we were given the opportunity?
  • Are we educating the public about the importance of investing in our schools?
  • Have we created the impression in the minds of our prospective donors and community members that our schools will dramatically improve with an infusion of funding?
  • Are we making the types of presentations to prospective donors that will inspire them to contribute to Jewish Education?
  • And finally (for now); sorry to be so blunt; but are we listening well enough? Are we truly open to the suggestions of our donors or are we pushing our critical agenda of 'covering payroll'?

If I am offending any of my colleagues by posing these questions, please accept my apologies. I only present them in this public arena because I strongly feel that this discussion must take place. Today.

Trust me, I fully understand how very difficult it is for you to 'cover payroll' and keep a yeshiva afloat. I, too, carry the incredibly challenging yoke of covering the bills of my growing school. I can honestly say that two consecutive waking hours never go by (and many nighttime ones as well) without these concerns occupying my thoughts. So I certainly do not wish to add to the plates of my beleaguered colleagues. At the same time, however, I feel that things will not improve unless all of us - community members and school leadership - address these matters in a non-judgmental but brutally honest manner.

Crunch Time

Let's face it; we are in the midst of a real crisis. Our yeshivos - and the children we serve - are in an existential struggle for survival. Our schools are under funded and our faculty members underpaid. We are having difficulty retaining the best and brightest educators. At the same time, we are burning out those who have devoted their lives to chinuch careers too quickly at they take two, three or more side jobs to pay their bills. Our faculty members - especially our Judaic Studies rebbeim and moros - do not have sufficient lesson-prep time. Nor do they have the luxury of remaining in school after their teaching hours to meet with a student who desperately needs some more individual attention. How can they when they are running off to their 'other' jobs?

To sum up; in our affluent society, with so many of our community members achieving unparalleled financial success, we are shortchanging our children terribly.

What is most frightening is that there are no simple solutions to this matter. We cannot continue to subject our overburdened school parents to spiraling tuition increases. We certainly cannot afford to cut back on the services that we offer our children. Every time we 'cut' a resource faculty member, we are 'cutting off' several children from the path to success and exponentially increasing the odds that he or she will join the swelling rolls of our at-risk teen population. (Ironically, it will cost many multiples of the 'cuts' to undo the effects of the inadequate services once a kid hits the streets.)

Passion and Vision

It is clear that we will need to inspire a new generation of donors to invest in our children if we are to have any hope of improving our schools - and our 'bottom line.' And perhaps as mechanchim and educators, we will need to view one of our primary roles as one of educating the Jewish community about the importance of investing in Jewish education.

But to do so we will need to inspire them with passion, not overwhelm them with guilt. We need to run our schools and meet our financial obligations. We need to fix our leaky roofs and pay the electric bills in our schools. But we also need to dream and think about initiatives that will enrich the lives of our children and improve our schools.

I do not accept the argument that there is insufficient funding in our community to allow for affordable and excellent education for our precious sons and daughters.

But to reach that noble goal, we in school leadership will need to answer the question, "What would we do if we were given 25 million dollars?" For if we cannot answer that question, how can we 'sell' our cause?

By now, you must be wondering what I would do if I were given that amount of money. Good question! Read these columns over the coming weeks if you want to examine my responses to that question. I do have some answers. Many, in fact.

You see, I think about it all the time.

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Related Articles:
Charity Begins at Home
Reflection – The Helpful ‘Blame Game’
Spending the Money
Target Audience

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:       Not Rated Yet
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593