YES - Yelid Education Savings
Submitted by: Gil Category: Ensuring the Jewish Future
The Big Idea
Maximizing Jewish Education has been shown to be the most effective method for our community to fight assimilation. My idea is to provide funding for all Jewish parents that wish to send their children to a Jewish Day School (JDS). The costs have become exorbitant. The solution is for the community to provide an answer. We need a centralized unified organization that utilizes a multi-pronged approach to procure funding from philanthropic institutions and charitable individuals. This organization needs to be run as a social network -- available, accountable and transparent to all those who wish to contribute and benefit. The network will encompass every JDS and reach out to all Jews.
There will be numerous methods that contributions can be made. These will range from direct contributions (passive) to sponsorship to microfinance. Of course, mega-contributions from community philanthropists will always be necessary; however, we live in an age where prodigious campaigns are possible through social networking. The development of collective social groups needs to be performed. These can be directed to sites that have both blanket contributions as well as individual schools projects. One program would be to adopt a yid and contribute to his/her education -- following their development throughout their education, taking pride in every accomplishment both big and small. For those members of our community who uphold Ma'aser Kesafim, we can have a site where they can tithe their funds for educational charity.
Other possibilities include microfinance opportunities (similar to microplace.com) creating low-interest loans for individuals. A recent innovation is called crowdfunding where people pool their money online to support a specific project or cause (like microgiving.com). An innovative method might entail a barter program -- allowing participating parents to exchange their skills in school programs to help subsidize their children's education (fashioned after bizx.com). This would really form an incredibly cohesive community. The possibilities are indeed endless!
We must ensure the Continuity of the Jewish People. We must stop the current trend leading to the demise of the Jewish people in four generations. As Rabbi Jonathan Sachs so eloquently stated: Grandfather prays in Hebrew, Father prays in English, Son no longer prays and Grandson is no longer Jewish. We are at a crux in our culture. We need a solution to stop this downward spiral. The answer is obvious. The People of the Book must support Jewish education to ensure our future for generations to come. All Jews are responsible for one another (Shevous 39a).
We all wish for our children to have things better than we did. We want them to have every opportunity conceivable. Yet frequently we do not have the means to bring this yearning desire to fruition. We need help from our fellow Jewish community. Let us not fail in our destiny: To be a light unto the nations. Without kindling the neshama, the light will not shine but will be extinguished, perhaps not today but tomorrow. Let us never let this come to pass. There is too much at stake. The unique feature of a social network is that it allows for individualization but on a community level. No one is left out. Everyone has a friend. Pairing can be made at any level (organization, school, synagogue, family, student). Inherent to the program will be development of multiple levels of networking, allowing for the grouping of those with special interests.
This Is A Great Idea Because
There are many organizations and projects that provide for JDS funding in various forms in different cities; however, it is inconceivable that there is not one directed for Los Angeles Jewish Days Schools. Most, however, have restrictions ranging from geographic location to grade levels. Some exceptional programs include: Chicago Kehillah Jewish Educational Fund Arizona based Excel Jewish Scholarship Fund Legacy Heritage Emergency Fund for Jewish Education for small communities New York UJA-Federation 's Rose Biller Day School Scholarship Fund Philadelphia Kohelet Foundation Recently there have been developments of prototype do-it-for-you online giving social network websites (e.g. crowdrise.com) that marry technology and philanthropy. There is no program that caters to the Los Angeles Jewish Day Schools. This project would utilize Los Angeles as a test market and subsequently allow for globalization serving all communities worldwide.