The Zionist Conspiracy
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Housing, Tuition and North American Aliyah
On Hirhurim yesterday, Gil Student posted about the still evolving proposals emanating from Lawrence and Woodmere, for observant Jewish students to spend at least part of the day in area public schools.
A number of those commenting suggested that those struggling to pay yeshiva or day school tuition move to Israel, where religious schooling is mostly paid for by the government (though in the last few years, budget cuts have resulted in parents' obligations substantially increasing).
None who commented appeared to realize that 500 North American Jews arrived as new immigrants in Israel yesterday, with another 2500 slated to join them by the end of next month.
I am certain that a substantial reason for the increase in North American aliyah is that many young families cannot afford the massive costs of both housing and tuition. Even on a much lower salary, for many, it is easier to get by in Israel than in the U.S. The notion that families of five can incur $30,000 a year in after-tax tuition payments along with a massive mortgage is unrealistic, and the current economic structure in unsustainable in all sectors of Orthodoxy.
Furthermore, due to technological advances, some who move to Israel can actually keep their current jobs. My brother-in-law, for example, works for a Brooklyn real estate office. While he has not made aliyah, several months ago he moved to Israel for an indefinite period. He has the same job - albeit with somewhat unconventional hours due to the seven-hour time difference - and simply logs on to the office's computer network. With Jerusalem rents far below New York rents, his standard of living is much more comfortable in Israel than it was here.