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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pesach Hotels and Tuition

I got buried in other topics and did not return to my Jewish Observer Review of the "Tuition Dilemma" issue. Not surprisingly, the issue of extreme spending came up in the issue as it relates to Pesach Hotels. For whatever reason, whenever it comes to discussions of gashmuit on parade and/or wasteful spending, all attention turns to Pesach vacation and the vacationers. It ends up focusing the attention away from a culture that we are all immersed in to some extent and laying the blame for materialism at the feet of what I do believe is a sliver of the klal (although the marketing campaigns can make feel like 'everyone' is going away), as if all of our problems with materialism would cease should these families stop making a mass Exodus away to Cancun for Pesach.

In the most recent installment of the Pesach Hotel debate, Jonathan Rosenblum has published a scathing piece in Mishpacha (available here on Cross-Currents) naming Pesach Hotels as the biggest challenge for contemporary Orthodoxy, as per a conversation with an unnamed Los Angeles Rav. Here, the cost of Pesach was suprisingly enough not addressed directly, but instead the article looked at the quest for entertainment, the gorg fest, and some ill behaved guests. Mr. Rosenblum mentioned the Rav grew up with a "particularly biting style of mussar," but I fear that by targeting Pesach vacations, an easy target no doubt, the focus is turned away from our own lives and a spotlight is turned onto other people, i.e. those living it up more than we are, even if we are living far more opulently that we should be living.

I was actually pleased that the comments of Mr. Rosenblum did not focus on a different argument against Pesach vacations which I have heard over and over again and which I believe is a falicy. The Jewish Observer, however, promoted the argument that we could solve communal financial issues if people would stop taking Pesach Vacations. The argument, as extracted from the Jewish Observer is as follows:

"Note the following: The past Pesach [2006], eighty-five hotels in America were filled to capacity by frum Yidden, involving their guests' total expenditures of $175,000,000 (not including Eretz Yisroel or Europe). If some of that money would have gone to our Torah institutions, there would have been enough to subsidize all the families who are unable to pay full tuition."

The falicy of this argument should somewhat obvious. . . . presuming those wealthy enough to spend on exorbinantely priced Pesach vacations are not currently reliant or setting themselves up to be reliant on the community via lack of savings and/or debt financing of luxuries, a big presumption I admit--the discretionary funds used to fund these vacations are coming out of personal funds, not communal funds and forgoing a Pesach vacation isn't going to magically land the money in the community's pot. In other worlds, the finances of a frum family fall into two pockets: 1. The Personal Pocket, roughly between 80-90% of earnings which goes to fund necessary spending, unnecessary spending, and savings, and 2. The Communal Pocket, roughly between 10-20% of earnings which is designated to fund communal institutions such as schools, shuls, mikvaot, bikur holim, scholarships, tomchei, etc.

What is in the Personal Pocket will not automatically jump into the Communal Pocket just because it does not get spent, although, those who live more frugally who save and invest will link their pockets as their savings grow, thereby increasing the Communal Pocket incrementally too (although currently we have experienced a large plummet as of January). The solution to increasing the Communal pocket must include increasing the Personal Pocket. And, as the Personal Pocket grows fatter, you are bound to see luxuries (however you define them) increase because much of the motivation to earn is tied to the motivation to enjoy luxuries.

Yes, the amount spent on Pesach vacation is staggering and astounding. Yes, the level of materialism is far too often beyond the pale (Pesach vacations only being one manifestation of such). Yes, I do believe there is something to engaging in Pesach cleaning and preparing beyond packing a suitcase. But, I do not choose to blame communal financial issues on those that take costly Pesach vacations, nor do I believe that we can label the frum community's largest problem to be Pesach vacations, even if many of the problems manifest themselves rather loudly in the Pesach vacation environment.

Now. . . . .back to scrubbing my floor and cleaning out the refrigerator. At this point, I could be tempted by a Pesach vacation, but I don't like to vacation in a pack, so I will count myself out.


Anonymous said...

I do not think it is a "sliver" of the orthodox community going on pesach vacations - in Bergen County, New Jersey (teaneck, englewood, fair lawn, etc.) it may in fact be the majority

[judging by the amount of people in shul, what my children report to me about their friends plans and by the lack of peole in the community around in the park or even to invite to a yom tov meal, and our own friends]

It almost feels like going away for pesach is a requirement of orthodoxy akin to yeshiva tuition - pricing out those without the entry fees

mother in israel said...

Anon, surely some of these families are travelling to their own families and not going to hotels?

A said...

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around "$175,000,000"...millions? I had no idea the money spent on Pesach vacations came anywhere close to that figure. And still, I would happily fork over the money and save myself the cost and hardship of making my own Pesach.

ProfK said...

Beware facile articles that offer snap solutions and inaccurate statistics. Where did that neatly rounded $175 million dollar figure come from for the 85 hotels? Some hotels are smaller, some larger, but even figuring at 400 guests per hotel, that is 34,000 people away for Pesach, at $5000 and change PER PERSON. The numbers in the article don't mesh with the charges by the hotels. In short, any statistician would tell you that the statistics used are corrupted.

How many families whose children are in yeshiva cannot afford the tuition? We don't have the real statistics for that either, and yet the author pegs that number as $175 million. That would be 17,500 families who cannot afford tuition, at $10,000 per student assuming only one student in the school. Make that 3 students in the school and you have "only" 5,833 families who cannot afford the tuition, nationwide. Double the tuition charged to account for high school and the number of families goes down substantially.

Sorry for highjacking your blog Sephardi Lady, but it's articles like this one that bug me no end. They offer quick solutions based on inaccurate figures and assume we will all buy the whole thing without thinking. As you point out, maaser money is one pocket and personal expenses is another. As a general rule, those with the type of money available to go away as a family for Pesach are not the ones who aren't paying tuition. Those people generally fall into the higher giving area. And forbidding Pesach in hotels is not going to solve the tuition problem.

Yeshivot, many of them, preach a party line that says that young men shall not be bread earners and it shall be the responsibility of the wife alone to support the family. Those families cannot afford to pay the tuition asked. They remain behind economically since the men who do eventually go out to work are always behind in salary at a point where more is needed.

Pesach vacations are not causing the tuition crisis. It's disingenuous to say so at the very best; it's dishonest to say so when you have ulterior motives.

ProfK said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you have ulterior motives, but that the writer of the article did have them.

You are a number lady, so ask yourself this--what is the total number of families, not students, who have children in yeshivot across the country? What percentage of that total cannot pay any tuition?

DAG said...

The number I heard was 1 Billion for Pesach hotels. To those who complain that this money cold be used to support Jewish institutions, the fault does NOT lie on those who take the vacations. It is the responsibility of those Mosdos to show vacationers WHY giving their money to such institutions is a better, more worthwhile investment than vacationing.

I am so tired of the attitude that so many Mosdos have that if people give them money, they could do great things. That’s backward. DO great things, and you won't have to look so hard for money. As I have often said, we have more than enough communal money to support EVERYTHING that needs supporting in the Frum community, from yeshivas Shuls and Mikva’s to social institutions. We choose to spend that money on Kollel (and kiruv secondarily) instead.

I saw that Shick wrote that 25% of our schools, 200 out of 800 built new buildings or remodeled their old ones I the last 10 years. How many of those are paid up? How many are struggling to meet mortgages? How many can’t pay teachers? Those who live in fancy new glass yeshiva buildings shouldn’t throw stones.

Chaim B. said...

How can one blame a ba'al habu's who can afford it for going away when these hotels advertise Rabbanim in attendance, lectures, shiurim, hechsheirim galore complete with cholov yisrael, no gebrokts, etc.? The message being advertised is there is no contradiction between frumkeit and luxury, and that message has the backing of the establishment. Why would I pay attention to a Rabbi or yeshiva principal who gets up and speaks about the desperate financial needs of the local school or shul when I am scrubbing my kitchen and he is packing for Cancun, Arizona, or whereever?

Anonymous said...

Regarding the comment "If some of that money would have gone to our Torah institutions, there would have been enough to subsidize all the families who are unable to pay full tuition"

To me this is possibly an indication that our leadership (or at least the person who said this) is out of touch with the scale of the tuition problem. Assuming there are no hard numbers behind this comment - ie no accurate knowledge regarding the number of families who can't pay their tuition and by how much - this type of comment reflects thinking along of the lines of "Well, $175,000,000 is such a huge amount of money SURELY it's enough to solve the tuition problem."

The bottom line is noone really knows just how "underfunded" the Jewish Eductioan Enterprise is.

I wonder what the actual numbers are? How much money nationwide is allocated toward tuition help vs. how much extra money would a family need to make ends meet vs. how much the schools feel they need to operate in the black and fully fund their curricula?

I'm assuming, perhaps erroneously but whatever, that this number would reflect the amount by which the schools are underfunded.

Probably the cost of such research would prompt further comments like "What good is such a study that cost $5,000,000? If that money were applied toward the tuition crisis so many more children would be able to attend school." etc etc

Chag kasher v'sameach everyone. I really enjoy this blog, sephardilady.

Anonymous said...

OH come on!! you are nitpicking that the idea that the author was trying to convey was not finished off with the add-on of "and by the way that money should then go to yeshivas and not spent fast cars and faster sefarim". Of course that was the implied "mussar" that the author wanted. A better critique would be of the numbers that the author uses as well as a very bad assumption that the entire 5000 would be able to be donated to yeshivas. Most improbable, as by being at home for pesach would neccesite having to shop for pesach--and those of us that stay home know how expensive that would be. Assume 1000 for every family.Brad

anonymous mom said...

Right on, Dag!
Chaim B., I have always had a problem with the Rabanim going off on these all expenses paid jaunts. I feel it is rubber stamping an awful trend that is--as SL so articulately states--just a part of a bigger problem among our people. I look at the faces on every ad for those luxury hotels and I am disappointed in every one of those faces. Sorry. You are a Rav, you have no business being a part of that whole scene. The waste is so far above what is acceptable spending for any family--no matter what bracket they operate in.

WannaBeChossid said...

Hello, These articles finally made me sits down and do some digging, and here is what I found out: As far as for $175M “gone to our Torah institutions, there would have been enough to subsidize all the families who are unable to pay full tuition”,

There are 138k Students in Orthodox schools ( )

” According to a survey of all Jewish educational institutions performed by Dr. Marvin Schick, there are 138,000 students in the U.S. enrolled in Orthodox Jewish day schools.” On a side note, I encourage everyone to read that article as it has some fascinating facts such as: “Thus the total of the Core Jewish Population that claims to be halachically Jewish is 4,041,000.”

I also found an updated list here: which has a table that has a table with the following heading: “Enrollment in Jewish Day Schools, 2003–04” and which put total @ 205,035(!!!!) starting @ with 4 years old and up. I took out what I consider non orthodox schools: Reform, Scheter (Conservative) and Community and arrived @ 165K students. You must read this article since there are a lot of other interesting facts in there, such as:

Not included in this census are children below the age of four, although a number of day schools have programs for them and count them in their enrollment statistics. Nor does this census include four year olds and even five-year olds who attend preschool and educational programs in Jewish institutional settings other than day schools, such as synagogues, community centers and private kindergartens.”

So if we use a number of 10K (*** Per ProfK – “at $10,000 per student”) which is not actually a true number since everyone gets a discount as kids are added to a school roster. In my personal case, it will be 5% off on a 9.5k tuition; but for a sake of argument and simplicity lets use 10K; So, that means that it costs: $1,654,550,000 (that is billion ladies and gentleman) per year to educate Orthodox Students. 175M make 11% of that number.

Our Friends @ Jewish Observer is making an assumption that only 11% of people don’t pay for their tuition, I would guess that the true number is much higher. My personal guess would be @ 50%;

There are between 550-650 thousand orthodox Jews in the USA today ( ) which means that it costs between $254.55 and $300.83 per USA Orthodox Jew Per Year to Education ALL Jewish Orthodox Children; So, for a cost 3-4 kishush sponsorships per year we can all pay for our kidsJ I am starting a revolution, who is with me?!

And why does the writer think that all Torah Institutions Deserve Community Money? In Chicago we have a school for every Orthodox Flavor ( ) you can imagine.

You want to speak Yiddish?! No Problem! (Veitzener Cheder) You are Lubavitch?! No problem, Litvak?! How can we forget about your needs! Modern Orthodox? We got something for you as well!!! Can someone PLEASE explain to me why does any community need a school for every sect of Judaism? Where is Ahavas Israel in that?! As I was told, that the difference between Veitzener Cheder and Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi is that in Veitzener they speak Yiddish…. And that Veitzener Cheder opened to fill in a nitch for people who wanted their kids to learn how to speak Yiddish… Excuse me, but WHAT THE HECK?! So this means, 2 buildings, double the teachers, double the administrators, double EVERYTHING. The only 2 schools on that list that are not in red are: Arie Crown Hebrew Day School and Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School, both schools that serve people who work. I am not sure about Joan Dachs Bais Yaakov but since it is a school that serves same people as Tiferes Tzvi I doubt it is also in black.

And I don’t think the story is any different in other cities;

Another interesting article: "A Choice for the Chosen"

SefardiLady: Which issue of Observer did you get this quote from?

Lion of Zion said...

"I do not think it is a "sliver" of the orthodox community going on pesach vacations - in Bergen County, New Jersey (teaneck, englewood, fair lawn, etc.) it may in fact be the majority"

don't exaggerate. none of my friends, including four who live in teaneck, go on pesah vacations.

ProfK said...

“Thus the total of the Core Jewish Population that claims to be halachically Jewish is 4,041,000.”

Dr. Schick's study was of those enrolled in "Orthodox schools" and his figures are off if he extrapolated from the 138,000 kids to a total of over 4 million "frum" Jews in the US. Subtract a zero and you are in the ballpark--around 400,000. With around 6 million plus people self selecting as Jewish in the US, and accounting for a rise in population because the frum have larger families, we are still less than 10% or close to 10% of the total Jewish population. Now add in the number of people who go away to a hotel for Pesach to those 85 hotels here in the states, even add in those who go out of the states and head for Israel and the number is still not so alarming. They are still less than 10% of the total frum population or just at 10%. Look at it this way: 9 out of 10 people do not go to a hotel for Pesach.

One of the problems is that no one actually has a "real" count of frum people here in the states. What we do have as an actual number is how much tuition schools charge as a baseline. We also don't know precisely how many are getting a discount for multiple children in the school, or if they are getting any discount. We don't know how many people receive what amount of tuition assistance.

The Ramaz school in Manhattan charges $32,000 per child tuition per year, no discounts and no tuition assistance. Flatbush Yeshiva charges $24,000 for its high school, per year. They are not "generous" with tuition assistance. The further to the right we go as to school affiliation, the more the tuition drops down. So the higher priced schools are balanced out by the lower priced schools. Assuming an average of $10,000 per student gotten this way, 138,000 students are charged $1,380,000,000 in tuition. What the schools don't do is open up their books. How much of that money do they actually collect? What is the actual shortfall in tuition? Now tell me how they actually spend the money they get in--this they are not open about.

Tying in going away for Pesach with school tuition problems is adding up apples and oranges. The only way they connect is if any of those who are paying for hotels are also getting large chunks of tuition reductions for their kids in schools. That should not be allowed. My son's elementary school asked that question, and those who went away were not going to get a tuition break.

WannaBeChossid said...

To ProfK,

I think you misunderstood, he is talking about halachik jews, not frum jews;

Please see my other links that says that there are currently 550-650k orthodox jews in USA.

There are orthodox jewish schools that charge 32k a YEAR!??! that is more expensive then North Western University or University of Chicago?! That is .... wow! then i stand by number of 1.6B dollars.

Can someone tell me which issue of jewish observer this was taken out of?

ProfK said...


The article was somewhere pre-Pesach 2007, because the figures were for 2006.

I'll even give you the 1.6B dollars that schools ask for tuition, but the real question still remains what are they actually collecting out of the amount they say they charge. We know that Ramaz, the most expensive on the elementary/high school level, collects every penny owed because they offer no tuition assistance. Ditto Flatbush. But what about the schools all the way to the right in the NY area? They have yet to give out any real numbers as to their shortfall. We are taking someone's word for the "tuition crisis" without having seen any figures. And since the study included all out of town yeshivot as well, how much is their shortfall, and is there one?

I'd be willing to bet that the NYC area accounts for the majority of any "missing" funds. But until schools open their books and list all their expenditures and expenses, I'm not buying into any tuition crisis. I'd like to see a yeshiva ketana actually get up and give the number of students it is educating and the exact number that are not paying the tuition. And then we might want to ask why they aren't able to pay, and that opens a whole new kettle of fish.

WannaBeChossid said...

Hi ProfK,

I would doubt that we will ever see schools open their books. it is the same issue with Shuls opening their books. We are supposed to just "trust" people in charge. Personally, I am now donating to specific purposes when i give charity. I give money for electricity ( i pay directly to electrical company ), or if i am donating for a car, i pay directly to a leasing company; I don't like this idea of a blank check. I am not implying that people misuse the funds for personal gain, but i do think that most rabbeim have zero financial training and don't really know how to correctly spend money, i.e budgeting and so on.

Side Q: As a non profit, ( as most of these organizations are ) are not they required by law to open their books?

ProfK: what about my other point, that we have too many schools? what is your opinion on that?

ProfK said...

I don't know if the law on non-profits requires opening the books to everyone or only to state auditors. Our shule sends out each year to all members an itemized listing of all income and all outlay, in detail. I have never received such an accounting from any yeshiva my kids have been in.

Do we have too many schools? Yes and no. Yes, there is a tremendous amount of money spent on duplicated services. Does every yeshiva have to build its own multi-million dollar building to prove that it can? No. But the problem is that Klal is dividing into ever smaller segments, and none of those segments wants to cooperate with any of the other segments. Every one of the segments sees itself as "different" and as "better" and doesn't want to mix with any of the others. Why should there be multiple Bais Yaakov high schools in one geographic area of Brooklyn? Combine Bail Kayla and Bais Rivka? You want to see WWIII erupt? Try suggesting that.

It used to be a NYC area phenomenon but it's spreading to the larger cities around the country. Only the smaller cities, frum population-wise, still have a single school for the whole community. But even that is changing. Seattle used to have the Seattle Academy and that was it. But there is a Bais Yaakov there now as well. And a few other schools are also popping up.

Unless we solve the problem of the various groups striving to be dominant we are stuck with the multiple schools.

WannaBeChossid said...


well then, until Rabbeim of different sects of orthodox judaism get together and resolve their differences, i don't think they have the right to complain about tuition crisis. imho think next time someone brings up "tuition crisis" we need to just give them a list of duplicate schools and insist that it gets resolved first .... Maybe we need to take a ahavas Israel to the next level, actually doing something about it.

Commenter Abbi said...

Um, profk, you keep hammering about how Ramaz does not offer tuition assistance. If so, why do they include "submit Finanacial Aid materials" on their upper school application checklist? Is this so when poor parents meet with the administration, the latter can laugh at these these parents to their faces about how ridiculous they look trying to apply to Ramaz?

Hmm, and this is very curious from the application itself: "Tuition assistance is awarded on the basis of need". Again, since I'm sure you know much better, this must be some kind of trick.

And look, from the site itself: "Scholarship Fund
The Ramaz Scholarship Fund helps defray educational costs for many of our students. All students are eligible. We strongly believe that any student who can benefit from a Ramaz education belongs in our school. If financial assistance is required, it is our obligation to provide that assistance."

So can you please explain where you got this information that Ramaz gives absolutely no tuition assistance?

Commenter Abbi said...

sorry, just found this pdf as well about the new Ramaz Scholars program:
"The Scholars Program provides merit scholarships of $10,000 in each of the four years
of a student’s high school career to selected incoming freshmen who demonstrate distinction in any
one of a number of talent areas."

the regular financial aid is not merit based.

Lion of Zion said...


do you know how many students actually get financial aid and how much? i can't speak for ramaz, but in flatbush it is very, very hard. you are expected to mortgage your house (not that i think there is anything wrong with this) or take out a loan before even applying for assistance. and getting assistance is even harder if you actually have a job where you get paid on the books.

ProfK said...

My source is a parent in the school, active on the board. As he put it "tuition assistance? You have to be kidding. We have worked with the occasional parent already in the school for temporary float on tuition. And sometimes a student of incredible merit has had a tuition reduction, what is being handled now in the Scholars program." The Scholars program money is for cherry picking the best and brightest with talent. Because those students boost the admission rates to the Ivy League Schools and the Cream of the Crop Universities around the country. And they garner multiple named national scholarships. And they get Ramaz's name in the newspapers. And when they do Manhattanites flock to pay the full tuition. And then those Scholars are "only" paying $22,000 a year in tuition. Not to mention that Ramaz pays its talented teaching staff a living wage.

Who knows, there may be federal, state or city reasons for the tuition assistance forms. After all, Torah Vodaas et al, who get government money, have a disclaimer that they admit without prejudice as to race and national origin. Seen any Chinese nationals in attendance at the Ocean Parkway yeshivot? Or any Rwandans? A big difference between what is said and what is done.

Lion of Zion said...

"Seen any Chinese nationals in attendance at the Ocean Parkway yeshivot?"

or for that matter any kippot serugot. or any children of mothers who don't cover their hair. etc.

i always laugh when i see those advs of non-discrimination in the newspapers.

Anonymous said...

I think he used "going away for Pesach" just as an example of gashmiyut. The amount of money spent by the frum Jewish community on far-out-and-away gashmiyut is immense and incredible. From the fancy cars, the fancy vacations, the shabbat homes (walking distance to shul, while during the week living somewhere much much fancier), the fancy homes upstate, and everything else in between.

So, luxuries with almost no end are able to be easily financed, while some important institutions are going without. Some schools are turning children away. And other smaller lacks exist in our communities.


WannaBeChossid said...


So i went digging further. I took a look @ Lakewood New Jersey ( does not get any more litvak then that :) ) here

take a look @ break down of labor force here

Here is the the data that we are all intersted in:

Median household income (in 2006 inflation-adjusted dollars) - 37,944
Mean household income (dollars) - 50,485

Here are 2 more that interesting

Percent high school graduate or higher -87.0%
Percent bachelor's degree or higher - 25.4%

There are 71,332 people currently leaving in Lakewood ( give or take 7k :) ) out of which there are 29045 Children. According to this "In a town where Orthodox Jews represent about half the population" which would mean about 15k of those kids are jewish and cost 10k per child. Which means that to educate those children comes to : 150,000,000 ( 15M )

Now, if avg income per household is 50k, no wonder we are having a "tution crisis"

I also encourage everyone to look @ this data:

I was not sure what other neighborhoods i could compare this to; I tried SkoKie IL, but i am not sure what % of jews live there. So any suggestions are welcome.

Anonymous said...

as a former ramaz parent, and being close to the administration
i can definitively say that ramaz does give tuition assistance above and beyond the scholars program
in fact they can be very generous if needed. since a large number of thier parents live in manhattan and are movers and shakers in the financial world and were in pretty good financial shape (at least up to two months ago), they were big donors.
the scholars program was probalby started to encourage parents from the outer boroughs west chester, long island and new jersey to send their smart kids ( who would have previosly gone to ramaz) to go to ramaz instead of SAR or frisch.
when SAR opened and frisch got the new building, ramaz lost alot of its 'good' kids who came from outside the Ramaz elementary school

Tamiri said...

Everyone here is assuming that the majority of Pesach-goers pay for it themselves.
I always thought that a large percentage have their vacation paid for by the older generation: parents and grandparents, who are out of the tuition loop, having paid their dues to society years before.
Should anyone cast an evil eye on their desire to spend the chag with their extended family, even if those being invited can't pay even a fraction of their total tuition bill? Does the older generation have to pay their grandchildren's tuition and support the institutions?

Lion of Zion said...


"ramaz does give tuition assistance above and beyond the scholars program
in fact they can be very generous if needed."

please be more specific. how much assistance? to how many families? what are the threshholds?

Commenter Abbi said...

"Who knows, there may be federal, state or city reasons for the tuition assistance forms. "

It's a private school. Why would there be any federal, state or city reasons for such forms? It's not college. There are perfectly fine public schools that kids could choose to go to that are free- why would any government demand that the school give financial aid?

I was a student there and there kids from families from many different tax brackets in my class, and a number of them did receive some kind of assistance. And I just find it very strange that they would have so much info on tuition assistance on their site , when in fact they give none.

ProfK said...

Private schools are also regulated by the government. They are required to meet certain standards and to provide certain services. Even though they are private they also avail themselves of governmental services, such as the NYSTL program and many, many others. Most of them apply for the federally subsidized food programs available for schools. For some of these food programs you have to show that you have students below a certain level of income or who are receiving tuition aid because of income level. I can't think of a single yeshiva that is not in bed with the government one way or another. Thus any public statements are going to meet governmental requirements one way or another.

Let's just put it this way: Ramaz is not a hotbed of scholarship students due to need. They are not known for their generosity in tuition reduction. Neither is Flatbush. Then again, if Ramaz right now feels that its pool of students to draw from is being threatened by another school along the same lines as it, they may be being a tad more generous.

Anonymous said...

Ramaz is fairly generous with scholarship aid. I send my kids there and I know of other parents who in most schools would not have been given any aid (in one case the father is a medical doctor)because of special circumstances (many kids in the school, etc.) get aid. They certainly charge a lot, but a lot goes back out as financial aid.

I know of other schools that relative to their market charge less but give little or no aid- YCQ in Queens as an example

Lion of Zion said...


"Ramaz is fairly generous with scholarship aid . . ."

more generalities.

"I know of other schools that relative to their market charge less but give little or no aid- YCQ in Queens as an example"

i don't think this is a fair comparison. i've heard that ycq is under 10k. even with tuition assistance, can ramaz even approach this number?

DAG said...

Just much do Orthodox men spend on Friday flowers for their wives annually?

WannaBeChossid said...


backon the subject:

ProfK said...

Calling them flowers for the wife for Shabbos is something of a misnomer. The flowers sit on the Shabbos table, enhancing the Shabbos table for everyone who sits at it, not only the wife.

Assuming buying the flowers near a subway station or at a market, flowers are in the $10-12 range for a nice bundle. They can be less or more but that is a workable average. That is $520 for 52 weeks. Seems like a lot doesn't it? But there is this.

If you consider the flowers as a gift for your wife rather than an enhancement for Shabbos, have you priced gold lately? Or diamonds? Or silver? You are buying your wife 52 gifts for less then one piece of jewelry or silver would cost you. You're getting a bargain there. And it's not even a personal gift, since everyone shares in it.

DAG said...

HMMM ike the gift of not making your wife slave for pesach?

In any event, flowers to enhance Shabbas...$520 extra in tuition. Where do we draw the line at what is acceptable in terms of enhancing Shabbas?

ProfK said...

Yes, you are right in one sense; if the budget only allows one $520 expenditure and the choice is paying tuition or flowers for Shabbos, for me the tuition wins--it's a higher priority. On the other much does a marriage councilor cost? In the early few years those flowers go a long way towards keeping shalom bayis and towards establishing it. Those flowers say, "It wasn't only you as my kallah that was special, but you as my wife are also special." They say, "I thought of you and made the effort to buy flowers to enhance the Shabbos table, because you enhance my Shabbos table through all your efforts." They say, "I appreciate everything you do to make our house a home, to make our lives beautiful."

Most men--not all--stop buying the flowers for every Shabbos after a few years because they have established other ways of showing their appreciation to their wives, of making them feel special. Most wives, after a few years, don't expect the flowers every week. They are far more secure in their husband's regard for them. It's a personal decision for every husband, and yes, for every wife.

As to the not making your wife slave for Pesach,some "slavery" is inevitable and we all kvetch about it and we all do it anyway because it has to be done and we know it. But extra cleaning help is also a gift you can give your wife, as is lending a hand and helping. Nothing gender specific about vacuum cleaners, or potato peelers, and Windex and Spic and Span don't care which sex presses the trigger on the bottle.

My husband peels 50 pounds of potatoes for me, reaches the higher up spots I cannot reach even on a ladder, picks up and turns the mattresses and lots of other things, and that "smells" like the finest roses to me--he gives me a different type of "flower."

DAG said...

that's the point in my book. Neccesity is not only non-universal, it evolves as well.

ProfK said...

Agreed that necessity is not necessarily universal, although there are some needs that are--a roof over your head, food to eat, clothing to cover the body. Also agreed that what is considered a necessity can evolve over time. But the key here is to distinguish between needs and wants.

Some "wants" have evolved over time into needs--in the US a telephone, which started out as a real luxury, has become a necessity. Home computers are fast moving in the direction of necessities. Perhaps one of the problems in frum Klal is the inability to distinguish between wants and needs, and the inability to prioritize needs. Also the inability to see that a need at one particular time in life may not be a need at another time.

Lion of Zion said...


"Just much do Orthodox men spend on Friday flowers for their wives annually?"

i bought a very nice fake arrangement. it last much longer and requires no care (assuming my son doesn't get to it.)


"The flowers sit on the Shabbos table, enhancing the Shabbos table for everyone who sits at it, not only the wife."

oh come on, the average guy couldn't care less about flowers. it's 100% for the wife. not for shabbat.

"$520 for 52 weeks. Seems like a lot doesn't it?"

yes it does. i could get 260 subway rides for that. or a larger monitor for my computer. or a new ipod video.

"have you priced gold lately? Or diamonds?"

yes, and they don't quite depreciate the way flowers do.

(come on guys, give me some support here!)

mother in israel said...

I'll give you support. I don't know what people have against jewelry as gifts for women. Sure, you shouldn't go into debt because of it, and there shouldn't be lists of "required" items for brides, but quality jewelry remains a good investment.True it's not practical -- unless you need to sell it. It can be readily converted to cash, which made it quite useful for many Jews in hard times. Women take pleasure in it, they wear it, and it shows that the man cares because he was willing to lay out that chunk of money. (For the record, I hardly wear jewelry but I appreciate what I have more than weekly flowers, which we don't buy.)

SephardiLady said...

I'm with MII and LOZ. The amount spent on flowers, expecially when the husbands are not yet working and the when the wives are often still not established in their own profession. I agree that $500 is a lot of money. In fact, I would recommend thinking of the purchase in terms of a yearly expense rather than "just" $10 a week. Ten a week seems little. $520 a year is a major expense.

And, I have to agree that the flowers are for the wife (perhaps to be enjoyed by other female guests). Unless my husband is an atypical male, he wouldn't notice if the tablecloth changed color or if there were flowers on the table (except perhaps to complain they are blocking his view!).

SephardiLady said...

LOZ-I know good jewlery can be sold. But, phrasing it in terms of investment just doesn't seem soild, especially when you are looking at your average chatan or kallah.

If a family is concerned about having available cash. . . . . I'd say cash is a good thing to have on hand. :)

Please don't bring me flowers anymore said...

If you and your wife decide that you want flowers for Shabbat, budget for flowers and buy them. Otherwise, don't buy flowers. It is a joint Shabbat expense, not something that the husband buys FOR his wife. Is she buying the wine or the bakery challah FOR him as some gift? It seems ridiculous to pick on flowers as some insane expense when there are all sorts of other Shabbat expenses. Shabbat is a joint venture. Every couple has to decide how much they are going to spend and what they are going to spend it on be it a bakery cake, red meat, bakery challah, flowers, or none of the above.