Editorials are posted and archived on JN Online:
ith the single largest gift ever made to a
part of the Detroit Jewish community,
our newest day high school has a gold-
en opportunity to take a bite out of
spiraling tuition costs.
A $20 million gift to the Jewish Academy of
Metropolitan Detroit from an anonymous donor no
doubt will make board meetings at the 2-year-old,
multi-stream school less worrisome when it comes
to funding. But the cost of tuition — the key cost
— remains high on the board agenda, as it should.
The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
secured the endowment, the largest ever for a Jewish
day school, on behalf of the JAMD. In announcing
the landmark gift last week, Federation
President Lawrence Jackier thoughtfully
supported tapping into it for student
scholarships. Higher-quality staff, pro-
gramming and facilities have the potential to elevate
an already good school, but let there be no mistake:
without affordable tuition, the all-important student
base for strong dual programs in secular and Jewish
studies will lag.
-JAMD leaders quickly, and wisely, acknowledged
that, even as they proudly basked in the afterglow of
Jackier's announcement. Rabbi Lee Buckman, the
head of school, put the challenge before the JAMD
in perspective. He said the endowment "has helped
solidify the financial position of the Academy," but
noted the school must assure it "is spent wisely."
The JAMD has a lot going for it. Since being found-
ing in September 2000, the school has grown incre-
mentally from 50 to 90 students. The next school year
holds the promise of more than 100 students in grades
10 through 12 — and the highly anticipated first grad-
uating class in 2003.
Tuition has risen from $10,000
in 2000 2001 to $12,500 in
PILLARS OF A
2002-2003, paralleling the
school's addition of a new grade
each of the last two years. The
subsidy available for the first two
years has been eliminated. In
contrast, tuition at the Boston-
based New Jewish High School,
entering its sixth year of opera-
tion, will be $16,000.
This past school year, 22 per-
cent of the JAMD students
sought and got tuition
assistance. The percent-
age is likely to jump,
given the estimated
$20,000 annual cost to educate
each student and the goal of hav-
operating and capital funding for day schools. But
ing tuition cover as much as 80
Federation can't always be counted on — some-
percent of operating costs. Remember, parents M ust
still pay public school taxes and battle the rising
thing the JAIvID leaders realize.
The stunning amount of the JAMD endowment
costs of living Jewishly.
points up the attractiveness of this and other day
The coeducational, independent school has done
school programs for philanthropists seeking worthy
a nice job of embracing students from varied
causes. At the same time, it doesn't diminish the
Jewish backgrounds. It's on course to become a
value of the afternoon school programs run by syn-
Federation constituent agency, assuring continued
agogues or communal agencies for parents who
financial help from Detroit Jewry's administrative
choose those options for their children.
Nor should it let our day schools slow the search
Notably, Federation has ticketed $1.1 million for
for creative ways to balance their budgets through
the school so far, and will add another $150,000
fund-raising and through delving more deeply into
this school year via Federation's Annual Campaign.
the world of giving — from grants, trusts and
This level of support has drawn nationwide atten-
tion from Jewish educators scrambling for start-up,
foundations to mid-level donors. CI
Sustaining The Momentum
ast week's "Vigil for Israel-Commemorating
Victims of Terror" was a welcome effort in
humanizing the devastating impact of terror
and highlighting the moral depravity of the
Jewish homeland's enemies.
The event — co-sponsored by the Jewish News —
included the taking of a community photo (please
see pages 22-23) and three public displays
of more than 400 photos of Israeli civil-
ians killed by terrorists since the latest
Palestinian intifada (uprising) began in
September 2000. Several "visibility actions" also
took place in public locations around metro
Detroit, locations similar to those attacked by sui-
cide bombers in Israel.
This community effort bears repetition. While we
rightly agonize over the Mideast crisis and debate
what Israel can and should do, it is wise to focus on
a core issue — terrorism — that resonates intensely
with Americans. Today, Israel's fight against terror-
ism is a no-brainer for most Americans, but only if
we work to make the case. Efforts to link American
support for Israel for the Sept. 11 attacks failed mis-
erably. So did the immoral verbal gymnastics used
to define killing Israeli civilians as "freedom fight-
ing"- rather than terrorism.
The more our opponents make these arguments,
the more it undermines their cause. Still, it is up to
us to connect the dots to make the picture clearer
for the generally uninvolved observer.
No one looking at the faces of the Israeli
victims can ignore the terrible cost Israel
has paid. Vigil organizers were careful to
focus on Israelis killed while engaged in
civilian activities — shopping, riding a bus, having
lunch — rather than on Israeli soldiers who died
while fighting to end terrorism.
Organizers took pains to differentiate the Jewish
community from those of the Muslim and Arab
communities, which include suicide bombers and
those killed as collaborators — now numbering
almost 300 — in their totals of Palestinians killed.
This is not to ignore or belittle Palestinian suffering.
Yet it is important that others understand the
important moral and political distinction between
targeting civilians for murder, ar(d killing civilians in
the course of action against military targets.
The Vigil also brought together a new coalition of
organizations and individuals. Jeremy Salinger of
the Labor Zionist Alliance and community activist
Don Cohen worked to involve organizations and
institutions, but the core of the effort was clearly its
grassroots support. To its credit, the Jewish
Community Council, the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit's public affairs voice, was an
What we need now is a sustained push — cre-
ative, flexible and as inclusive as possible — to
champion the Israeli cause before the general com-
munity. We are encouraged that the Michigan
Board of Rabbis, under new president Rabbi Paul
Yedwab of Temple Israel, is working to organize syn-
agogues on Israel's behalf. But too many others are
still sitting on the sidelines.
Our community is strong and influential; individ-
uals and institutions have accomplished much for
the general welfare. We should not shy away from
using our accessibility and credibility to let the gen-
eral community know the depth of our commit-
ment to Israel and that we are willing to go beyond
business as usual to express it. It is not a question of
our ability, but our willingness to do so. El