I have an investment opportunity for you with a guaranteed return. It will yield dividends for years to come and has absolutely no risk. Are you interested?
Someone once asked Baron Edmond de Rothschild about his net worth. He turned to his personal assistant to come up with a calculation. The assistant returned with a number based on his real estate holdings, investments, cash, etc. Rothschild turned to her and said, “That isn’t my worth. The markets could crash, the assets could be seized, and I could lose it all in an instant.” He then opened his desk drawer, removed his charity ledger and said, “This is my real worth. What I have given to charity nobody could ever take away from me.”
Just imagine if all the money that was lost in Ponzi schemes, crashing markets, upside down real estate holdings and poor investments over the last decade went into charitable causes instead. The owners would have been out the money either way, but if it went to charity, it would now and forever remain part of their true net worth.
Unlike playing the stock market or participating in risky investments, giving tzedaka to a worthy and credible cause carries no risk and guarantees a return to the generous investor. Indeed, the dividends accumulated from funding appropriate causes are felt not only in this world in the form of satisfaction, meaning, and purpose, but they continue to pay generously in the world to come.
We are all well familiar with the tuition crisis and it has been discussed ad nauseam at board meetings, conferences, and Shabbos tables. Important efforts to advocate for school choice are continuing and I encourage you to get involved in any way that you can.
However, until big picture projects are fully developed and achieved, there remains a very real and present need. Since returning to Boca, I have been contacted at least once a day by a family seeking to keep their children in Jewish schools but facing the very real possibility of having to enroll them in public schools. You see, our local Boca Raton Jewish day schools are certainly doing their part. They collectively give out over 6 million dollars of tuition assistance each year.
The schools and those that support them are doing their part. Yet nevertheless, there are families that still cannot meet the generously discounted tuition contract they have been offered and without the assistance of our BRS Scholarship Fund to bridge the remaining gap, their children will simply not be able to attend Jewish school and receive a formal Jewish education. There are legitimate reasons to have to leave a Jewish day school, but money should not be one of them. A Jewish education is a necessity, not a luxury, and every Jewish child deserves a chance at one.
Our BRS Jewish Education Scholarship Fund does not support the operating budget of schools or make donations to their fundraisers. The fund provides money on behalf of specific children in specific circumstances to make sure that they can remain in a Jewish school. Helping the youth of our community is not the job of schools alone or of other parents who happen to have their children in the same school. It is the job, responsibility, and halachic obligation of each and every one of us alike, whether we have young children at home or are empty nesters.
The fund has zero administration or overhead costs. Every single penny that is donated goes directly towards enabling our community’s children to remain in their school. We all receive countless envelopes in the mail, solicitation calls to our homes and knocks on our door asking us to give to causes, organizations, yeshivas and projects around the world. Many of them are worthwhile and deserving of our assistance. However, tzedaka begins at home. Halachily, we are mandated to take care of our local needs before we begin allocating elsewhere.
This fund is not helping anonymous, unfamiliar children in far away places. It is enabling your neighbor’s children, the children who sit next to you in shul or riding their bicycles down your street, to remain in Jewish schools.
Put simply, supporting the fund is an investment opportunity that is guaranteed to pay a return. The dividends are informed, inspired, passionate Jewish children who are committed to Torah, the Jewish people, and the State of Israel. With all of the challenges we are having inspiring our youth, the research and statistics don’t lie. One cannot compare the Jewish identity of a child that attended a Jewish day school with one who didn’t.
While analysts may be suggesting that the economy is coming back, the amount of scholarship our schools are giving out and the amount of desperate people who have been contacting me daily would suggest otherwise. I need your help more than ever.
In a few weeks, we will stand in Shul and emotionally proclaim – “U’Teshuva, u’tefilla u’tzedaka ma’avirin es ro’ah ha’gezeirah, repentance, prayer and charity remove the evil decree.” The Machzor is not suggesting that we bribe God with money in this High Holiday season. It is suggesting that we show that we understand the true definition of net worth with a commitment to generously invest in God’s children.
Don’t be a foolish investor. Please contribute whatever you can to our BRS Jewish Education Scholarship Fund and make an investment sure to give you an excellent and risk-free return.