Monday, September 7, 2015

The Money Game

When you hear the phrase, "Education in Israel is Free," don't drink the Kool Aid.

Yes, it is most definitely true that compared to equivalent Jewish educational options in the United States, the system here is practically free.  But there is always the fee to cover the extra activities that the city budget does not supply, plus the extra payment for the glorified baby sitting [Tzaharon] to keep your child in school until four pm, and the fees for extra-curricular classes that take place on the school premises or elsewhere during the year.  And school books and uniforms and extra-special class get the idea.

Since Raphaela has started First Grade, I have had more homework than she;  they send home a new form daily for the parents to fill out, because it would have made no sense to give us all this paperwork at once, in a single package.  In addition, they have included the requisite requests for donations, toward the recent refurbishing of the playground area, or for the scholarship fund for needy families within the school population.

If I had several million dollars at my disposal, I would be happy and eager to sponsor an entire wing of the school.  I can remember from my own elementary and high school experience that the parents who had "real money" and not only built new classrooms but also served on the board, their children got special treatment.  It was obvious to me then that money talks, even when the intention comes solely from a place of good,  and giving purely for the sake of giving.

However, I am a single parent with no trust fund (that I know of), and most months of the year I can stay on budget.  Some months of the year, for example the upcoming period of Jewish holidays at the beginning of the Hebrew calendar, I barely work, and I put much effort into not going into a tailspin of panic.  Myself, and in fact most parents in Israel, married single or otherwise.

I will give when I can, because I actually do want to invest in my child's future, and I am truly impressed with the investment this staff and this school has already made into my daughter.  I hope that it is not held against me that I do not at the moment have as deep pockets as I would like.

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