Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Letter to the "Yated" editor

(Yiddishe Kinder in Slonim)


Dear Editor,
I read with great interest your story of hatzolas nefashos by the organization Nechomas Yisroel. I have a question that has bothered me for a while. The organization states, "At a cost of $75 a month, you can save a Jewish child." Why is there not some similar program to "save" already frum children, or, rather, not "save", but simply "occupy" them? I find the price of day camp during the summer to be an unbelievable,oppressive, and budget-crushing phenomenon. It is unaffordable. Forget about sleep-away camp, which is not even to be considered. Every year, I give the day camp my credit card number and then proceed to daven that:

1. The money will somehow come at the right time to cover the day camp, or

2. I will somehow borrow money for this super large expenditure and be able to slowly pay it back, Be'ezras Hashem, over time.

It costs about $1100 to send one child to day camp. Multiply that by five. What can I say? It sounds crazy, but the children's school tuition is not as much or as impossible to pay. I know plenty of people who have no choice but to keep their children home all summer. Why is there no organization/fundraiser for people in this matzav -who are already frum? It does not seem fair to me. Why can't a "no-frills" camp be created? The children don't need to go on a big trip every week. Just have the children occupied with a structured program of inexpensive games and fun, which would make day camp an option for everyone without requiring them to take a (second? third) mortgage on their house.


Broke in Brooklyn"

Who says the Tzig doesn't like the Yated or it's readers?!


Anonymous said...

Kiruv, if done 'correctly', more than pays for itself, and even provides funds for the kiruv professional's own kids to go to day camp.

I think that the writer was just affronted that he is being asked for tzedokoh (a perfectly understandable emotion).

Camp Runamok said...

"Who says the Tzig doesn't like the Yated or it's readers?!"

I think it unwise to conflate the Yated with its readers; many of whom likely disagree with their editorial policy but still want to be informed of goings-on. Ditto the Jewish Press (pfaah!), NY Times (now I'm going to brech)...

Anonymous said...

Friendly anonymus this writer has no problem with Kiruv. Is there not a din the poor from your town should be given to first. Why are we being asked to subsidize a camp for non-frum children when we have frum kids not attending daaycamp because their families can't afford to send them.

Anonymous said...

Ein hakometz masbi'a es hoari v'ein habor mismalei mechulyosoi...lechu pishtu y'deichem bigdud

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest supporters of my local school hosted a fundraiser for Lev L'achim, where $30,000 was raised. He explained that this wasn't taking money away from the local school, as people had already decided how much they would give to the local school, and this was 'extra' tzedokoh, which, if not given to Lev L'achim, would go on other personal expenses.

Camp Runamok said...


"this was 'extra' tzedokoh, which, if not given to Lev L'achim, would go on other personal expenses."

Then the pool of donors must have been small.

Face it, for most of us living the Frum life is a major major struggle. If you have a big family and want to live in an appropriately sized house in a shtatty neighborhood (with the highest state and local tax rates in North America), send your kids to the best yeshivos, eat Glatt, Cholov Yisroel, Pas Yisroel, Hand Shmurah, Yanever Esrogim, 2 sets of Tefillin Gassos, a few Shaitelech, etc. you are likely looking at a negative number BEFORE you get to any discretionary spending. And very few of these above items are subject to much conservation.

This ad can only be relevant to those among us earning well into 6-digits. For the rest of us it is sheer Ona'as Devarim.

Anonymous said...

Why are you silly Americans having camp for 2 months? Give the kids 3 weesk vacation in the summer, and have camp for 10 days.

Anonymous said...

The point is really the end of the letter there:
Why does even day camp need to cost between $800-$1200 for 8 weeks, when most families with more than two children cannot afford this?
The escalating prices and escalating action of each camp has made it impossible for a large number of people to afford (and the same can be said for many of the rediculous overly-expensive basics for frum yidden). Why arent there cheaper alternatives?

Camp Runamok said...

"Why does even day camp need to cost between $800-$1200 for 8 weeks,"

Because that what it costs to run it. If no other sources of funding are available the parents who use the service have to pay for it. Simple economics.

BTW, our Freie betheren and, lehavdil, non-jews pay similar sums for their camps.

"Why arent there cheaper alternatives? "

There are; keep your kids at home and occupy them yourself or with the cooperation of your neighbors. You cannot easily hold down a job during this time, however, so it may very well be a net loss for you to do so.

baalbatish said...

Camp Runamok said...
"Why does even day camp need to cost between $800-$1200 for 8 weeks,"

Because that what it costs to run it. If no other sources of funding are available the parents who use the service have to pay for it. Simple economics.


Camps have become a huge business.
In some places there is no day camp after 12/13 years. What are we supposed to do with the kids. They can't hang around all summer doing nothing.
Why do we have 10 weeks of vacation?
Only for the convenience of the
(1) Schools , who save two months of expenses.
(2) Rebbeim/Teachers who have 10 weeks off and if they are lucky can get nice jobs in the country.
(3) Camps - who are raking it in. When asked for a break, they answer that camp is a luxury not a necessity. Are you kidding?

I can't get away from my work this summer because of tuition/camps. No country, no vacation - zilch.

By the way. I don't live in "shtatty" neighbourhood. My mortgage is doable. We buy off brand stuff, for the kids my wife hunts for bargains. I make a decent living. and I just get by. No money for country, vacations,second car. I don't know how every one else manages. For those who send to out of town yeshiva/seminary, then the fancy chasunah, 5 to 10 years kollel, how do you do it?
The system is killing us.

Anonymous said...

What I fail to understand is why it should cost money to be mekarev people? Are we saying we need to pay money for people to become frum ? Should people not become interested in Judaism perhaps because of the philosophy it posits. Or perhaps because of the goodness of the people who abide by Judaism or by emotions that Judaism causes one to feel.Does anyone really believe that slick ads , cute rock music, rabbis in well tailored suits, weekends in fancy motels bring many to Judaism. Perhaps programs bringing people to Orthodox homes for sabbath on a local level would work better ? perhaps local orthodox rabbis becoming acsessable rather than being covered by their secys or answering machines would also help.
The only money needed is to pay someone to do some programming. Which should be a part time position.Read the letters of the Rayaatz where he talks about the tafkidim of the rav, shochet, gabbe, asken . The Rayaatz no where suggests that the rav be paid extra money for being involved in harbotzas hatore.Toady there are talmide chachochim of all groups who wish to charge outsiders $50 per hour to learn with them.Is this what the Luabvitcher rebbe had in mind ???
Why the need for so many full time and highly specialized out reach 'workers". let every Jew and especially every kali kodesh be an outreach worker. lets get the kOllel people involved and even yeshiva bachurim involved in some of the prep work.
Most of the big expenditure in Kiruv goes to pay the salaries of the CEO of the group, the CFO or asst (usually his wife) and so on.
Lets cut these expenses and do kiruv in a more sane way.
If we all served as role models in Kiruv and smiled at people and each donated an hour a month for kiruv , the lady in question could send her son to summer camp.
Alas there would be many unemployed Kollel couple who are making an easy living running Kiruv programs whose activities are stealth and could easily be done by the local rabbis and klai kodesh.
I am not a lubavitcher but a great deal of the non Lubavitch out reach work is just a way of supplying chashuve jobs for Bnai Tora who refue to become teachers, rabbis, shochetim etc. So they created a new position called Out reach workers.Its a job that in the geder of zaken ulichvodo... You print stationary , get a few eldery roshim in israel to sign off and you are in business and as they say in Yiddish keiner revedirt nit ey mit di gelt or mit die peuloth.

Anonymous said...

Make your own camp. Hire some local boys or girls.