Monday, July 09, 2012

Parallels between the tuition crisis in America and drafting Charedim in Israel

R' Yitzchak Adlerstein wrote a very important article about what is going in America with tuition,
 A New, Ugly Wrinkle in the Tuition Crisis. I don't live in America, however, I would like to draw a parallel to the situation in Israel. The feeling of middle class parents that R' Adlerstein describes in America is very similar to the feelings that the middle class in Israel have to the Charedim. The middle class in Israel works very hard and doesn't get much for it. A very large part of their salary goes to the government in taxes. They then see the Charedim, not serve the country in any meaningful way (in their eyes), not work, and live off government stipends and jobs (see this post where I detailed many of the statistics, only 39% of Charedi men are in the workforce and half of those are working work for the government in some capacity). It is no wonder that they feel resentful just like the middle class religious parents feel resentful. These people work hard very hard long hours and have little to show for it at the end of the month.

Last year I posted a story (it is worth the read) about someone who felt entitled to tzedaka. I believe that a big part of the resentment (both in America and in Israel) is this feeling of entitlement and lack of hakaras hatov by the recipients. The Charedi world in Israel shows no hakaras hatov whatsoever to the soldiers in the army and to the government that gives them millions of shekels. The same applies in America, the middle class parents paying full tuition get no recognition and no hakaras hatov from those who benefit from their work. Does the middle class parent ever get honored by the school? The answer is no, the honorees are generally rich people or Rabbis/Rabbeim. At some point the middle class person reaches a point where they say enough is enough. I believe that the middle class in Israel has reached that point with the Charedim and it sounds like they have reached that point in America as well.


Pragmatician said...

Interesting extrapolation, and it is true that people who do what they can and more but now always measured in a USD amount may end up feeling bitter when large donations (comparatively according to means perhaps smaller) always walk away with honours and applause.

Very frustrating indeed.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

The question is: what happens next?
In North America it's not like there's a network of schools paid for by the government where Jewish studies are part of the curriculum. We have no choice: either pay exorbitant tuition fees or send to public school.
And really, with some cooperation in the community we might get away with that and an after-school Talmud Torture program but who will want to marry our children that didn't go to "yeshivah"?

Harry Maryles said...

It's almost like you can't win: Frying pan... or fire!