January 28, 2020

Is Judaism Too Expensive?

“It’s no secret that many Jews are struggling to keep up. More and more, middle and even upper-middle class Jews are finding religion to be an increasingly expensive component of their lives.

My husband has a good job and I have a burgeoning career as a freelance writer. We have two children, a dog, one car, and a too-cramped house in need of renovations. We’ve made some poor life choices and we’re carrying our share of debt. I’d say we’re planted firmly in the upper-middle class. And yet, when it comes to affording a Jewish lifestyle, we’re struggling.

As Jews in the diaspora, we are repeatedly told we need to come into the fold and step up our commitment to the community. We’re told that we must instill a Jewish identity in our children. But that’s getting harder and harder to do.

The hallmark of a solid Jewish upbringing has become attendance at a Jewish day school followed by summers away at camp. Throw in a fancy bar mitzvah and an Israel trip, and you’ve got the current model. The problem is, none of this comes cheap. Day school costs upwards of $10K a child. Trips to Israel and summer camp are similarly expensive.”

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