by Reb Akiva
My previous post (now deleted), “You Work?”, was intended to show the situation where some portion of the Jewish community in the US was voluntarily choosing to use government benefits and doing just as well as those who work, and work hard, to support their families. The graphic included demonstrated this, showing that for a family of 4 if you make less than $60,000 per year, it’s BETTER to take the government programs and make $15,000 a year – with the family ending up with more in it’s pocket.
If we extend that to the Jewish community with larger families, the benefit level is even greater - plus those making so little also qualify for tuition discounts and charitable support from the community.
But that was the past. As a commentor pointed out, today far too many in the Jewish religious community are struggling, working 2, 3 or even 4 jobs just to barely keep food on the table. Charitable assistance is less available with more people in need and less able to give, and with less able to pay yeshivas are less able to give discounts to those even in great need (and a number of yeshivas have closed due to outstanding debts and unpaid salaries – even large mainstream yeshivas).
My article was insensitive and out of touch, and I apologize for it. Today people are doing everything they can just to get by, and even with government assistance it’s often not enough. People should be commended for trying so hard and supported when needed. And we bear a collective responsibility to help each other.