Peter Beinart Gets A for Frankness, F in Understanding the Constitution
[Editor’s note: The Dismal Political Economist is Jewish, has always been Jewish and expects to remain an American Jew regardless of efforts by non-Jewish groups to make him otherwise.]
There are many great aspects, elements of genius in fact, in the creation of the
. Possibly the greatest of these was the separation of religious doctrine and state supported religions from government. The Founding Fathers knew of the centuries of religious wars and atrocities in Europe and worked to avoid that outcome in the new country in United States . America
Writing in the Wall Street Journal Peter Beinart, who is
editor of the Daily Beast blog "Open
Zion," is a professor at the City University of and author of "The Crisis of Zionism" (Times Books, 2012). New York
a man who is very concerned about the future of Judaism in
. His solution, increase the number of children of Jewish parents who attend Jewish schools. America
The evidence is clear that Jewish commitment stems from Jewish education, and by far the most effective purveyors of Jewish education are full-time Jewish schools. Even controlling for home environment, according to sociologist Steven Cohen of
, Jewish school attendance increases a Jewish child's likelihood of marrying another Jew by 14 percentage points. Hebrew Union College
That is fine, no problem here or anywhere. But there is a problem, for some reason Jewish schools are very expensive and families have difficulties affording them.
Part of the reason American Jews don't attend Jewish schools is ideological: a belief in public education. But pragmatic concerns also play a role. Tuition at American Jewish schools averages $14,000 a year and, especially outside the Orthodox community, schools are often fledgling. New York City's only non-Orthodox Jewish high school, for instance, is less than a decade old.
Ok, so what is the solution Mr. Beinart proposes? It is to have taxpayers pay a large portion of the cost for students to attend schools that endorse, promote and educate people in the Jewish religion.
So how do
Melbourne, London and maintain economically affordable, academically excellent Jewish schools? Simple: The government picks up part of the tab, often by covering the cost of the school's secular subjects. If American Jews want our Jewish schools to flourish, we must push our government to do the same. Montreal
Those who support diverting money for public schools to support schools that teach and promote religion often argue that this is not to promote religion but to give disadvantaged children an opportunity to attend good schools that just happen to be sectarian. But here we have the truth. Supporters of vouchers for religious schools want the government to pay to support their religion. What they really want is for taxpayers to financially support religious schools regardless of the fact that the taxpayers do not even support that religion.
Mr. Beinart admonishes American Jews for their strong position in favor of keeping government out of religion.
The organized American Jewish community's excessive concern about the separation of church and state perpetuates Jewish ignorance and thus threatens the Jewish future. Let's hope they reconsider while there is still time.
But the Jewish population in the
is very cognizant of what have been the historical threats to Judaism. For centuries Jews have been persecuted, tortured and murdered by governments controlled by anti-Jewish religious fanatics. That is the real threat, not the lack of government payments to Jewish schools. United States
So thanks Mr. Beinart for saying in clear terms what everyone knew; that those who support government endorsement of religion are not telling the truth when they deny that is their policy. And if those Conservatives really believe that Government cannot compel people to buy health insurance, how can they believe Government can compel people to support a religion that they do not belong to. Oh wait, they are Conservatives, they don’t adhere to consistency or Constitutionality when that negatively affects their agenda.