Sisterhood Blog

Childcare problems? The Jewish Organizational World Responds

By Elissa Strauss

  • Print
  • Share Share

In her new story “Motherhood in the ‘Lean In’ Era for Lillith, former Sisterhood editor Gabrielle Birkner takes a look at the childcare crisis and what the Jewish communal world should, and is, doing about it.

Daycare programs and tuition subsidies are arguably as good an investment as trips to Israel. And there are fewer unknowns. Jewish children are already in the picture. Their parents need quality childcare, and help paying for it. Synagogues and community centers need to engage young families—families that look and work a whole lot different than they did a generation ago. That means overhauling existing programming models, like preschools that start at age two, and assumptions, like that one parent is always available for a noon pickup and a $2,200 a month childcare bill poses no hardship.

Birkner discussed these issues with organizations like the JCC Association of America who says that they understand the rising need for daycare and, as a result, have begun to offer full-day care in 2/3s of its 157 early-learning programs in community centers around the country.

She also spoke with the Union for Reform Judaism, who says it is encouraging its 900 synagogues to reevaluate their preschool programs with an eye towards developing full-day care and figuring out how to make it affordable.

Chabad-Lubavitch says they are also looking into expanding into full-day childcare, and have even figured out how to allow children to stay longer on Fridays by transitioning them into youth Shabbat programs.

Organizational powerhouse the UJA-Federation said they understand that this is a big issue for families, both in terms of scheduling and affordability, and they are planning to research scalable solutions. One idea is developing or investing in more “family daycare” programs, which are run in homes and generally more affordable than larger, institutional ones.

As I’ve written about before on the Sisterhood in my “Birthright for Babies” post, it seems as though the Jewish world has put a lot of money and time in creating engagement opportunities for young adults, while young families feel deserted. As Birkner explains in her piece, we don’t just want affordable, Jewish daycare and pre-school, we need it. We need it to so parents, mostly women, don’t have to sacrifice our ambitions the minute we have children, and we need it so our kids can feel connected to a Jewish community. It is wonderful to know that the organizational giants are listening.

Elissa Strauss, a lead blogger for the Sisterhood, also writes about gender and culture for places like the New York Times, Jezebel and Salon. Follow her on Twitter @elissaavery.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sisterhood, lilith, lean in, jewish women

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • What do a Southern staple like okra and an Israeli favorite like tahini have in common? New Orleans chef Alon Shaya brings sabra tastes to the Big Easy.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.