Chicago federation issues challenge on day-school funds

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CHICAGO — The effort at placing a new emphasis on Jewish day school education initiated by the National Jewish Day School Scholarship Committee took a step forward Monday as the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago became the first federation in the country to formally endorse the committee's resolution and objectives.

George Hanus, chairman of the newly established Chicago-based group that has focused communal attention on the rising cost of day-school education, hailed the move as a "much-needed step in the right direction."

The resolution reaffirms the community's commitment to make "a quality day-school education available to all Jewish children whose families desire it, including those whose families do not have the necessary financial resources."

The federation's lay and professional leadership will make long-range solutions to the crisis in funding day-school education a high priority, he said.

Hanus hopes to have the resolution passed by the Council of Jewish Federations at its annual meeting next month, as well as by individual federations across the country.

It is, he said, part of a deliberate and methodical process to ensure that "one of most crucial issues facing us today" is addressed.

"We are trying to create an absolutely clear record of where contemporary Jewish leaders stand on the issue. Is Jewish day school education an entitlement, a privilege, a luxury or a right?"

He called the Chicago federation move an "open challenge to the rest of the philanthropic community on where they stand. It's either yes or no. It's not an essay question."