With back-to-school prep in full swing and another semester around the corner, we wanted to ask: what is the Jewish community really getting out of Jewish day schools? What’s their long term effectiveness in terms of building Jewish identity? And, knowing the extreme costs, how do these effects stack up against other, potentially cheaper, forms of Jewish education, including after-school programs, summer camps and Birthright trips? As Canadian Jewish parents are collectively paying out tens of millions of dollars for a product, we're asking: is it working?
With those questions in mind, we're revisiting a conversation Bonjour Chai host Avi Finegold had with Dr. Yehudah Kurtzer last year. Back then, Rabbi Kurtzer was the president of the North American wing of the Shalom Hartman Institute; this summer, after Rabbi Donniel Hartman of Montreal announced he was retiring as the president of entire international organization, Rabbi Kurtzer filled his seat.