Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Little About Me

First, a disclaimer: In the interest of being as open and honest as possible, I am posting anonymously.  I don't want to curtail what I want to say about myself or about the yeshiva tuition situation and feel that this is best accomplished through anonymity.  I am well aware that real change requires one to drop pseudonyms, but at this point I am not trying to change the world.  I am merely trying to provide a forum and hope that something positive can come from the discussions of like-minded individuals.

I am a Modern Orthodox, Jewish male in his late 20's.  I have been married for a few years to my beautiful wife.  We come from similar backgrounds.  Both of us went to Modern Orthodox yeshivas K-12.  Neither one of us went to yeshiva in Israel.  When each of us started yeshiva, our families were not frum.  We didn't keep strictly kosher and we didn't keep Shabbat.  We were sent to yeshiva because our parents wanted us to have a strong Jewish identity.  In no small part, yeshiva education is chiefly responsible for our families (and us) being frum today.

However, because people have different perceptions and ideas of "frumkeit" I feel the need to clarify.  My wife and I have found a level of frumkeit that works for us.  Although I hate to focus on external expressions of frumkeit, we are both fully shomer Shabbat and kashrut.  We keep mikvah.  My wife wears pants and only covers her hair in shul (and then only with a hat with her hair sticking out).  I only attend minyan on Shabbat and generally don't daven daily.  Normally I wouldn't think this is too important (and I don't like to characterize people in this way), but it gives some background that is likely to be relevant to understanding my thoughts and feelings about yeshiva.

My wife and I are now trying to start a family.  We waited a couple of years in order to advance our careers, increase our salaries, and save money.  Additionally, we wanted to buy a house before having kids, which we thankfully were able to do recently.  Thank God, we both make very good salaries - each above 6 figures.  However, this requires both of us to be working 12+ hour days.  If you factor in commuting, we are each out of the house around 15 or so hours a day.  Mind you I am not complaining about our schedules.  We both knew exactly what we were getting into and chose these careers and wouldn't change a thing.  Nonetheless, we know that, at least for my wife, such hours are simply unsustainable once we have kids.  Furthermore, I don't want to be the kind of father who only gets to see his kids on the weekend.  We haven't made any decisions on this front yet, but I expect the issue to become more and more urgent once we know we're going to have a baby.

Both of us are very frugal and I, at least, am anal retentive about planning and budgeting.  By frugal, I mean that we spend far below our means and save as much as possible.  In the years we've been married we've only been on one real vacation, our honeymoon.  We don't buy each other gifts.  We drive a car that is over 10 years old.  We wait for sales.  In other words, while we don't live like paupers, we don't live like we're wealthy either.  Our only real indulgence, if you can call it that, is that we bought a nice house, though still one that is below our purchasing power (part of this decision was based on future yeshiva tuition costs and not wanting to over-extend ourselves).

Ideally, I think we would like to send our future children to yeshiva.  However, we both worry that we will not be able to given the current prices of yeshivas and the dramatic increases in tuition prices that occur every year.  Given our income, we definitely would not qualify for a scholarship (nor would I want to open my books and subject myself to others' scrutiny to try to get one).  It is very important to both of us to not have to struggle financially.  This is primarily due to the fact that my parents struggled terribly to put me and my siblings through yeshiva (and are still paying it off many years after my youngest sibling has been out of yeshiva) and because my wife's family is in dire financial straits.  Thus, we both have direct experience with what financial woes can do to a family and shalom bayit and don't want to go through that ourselves.

More to come in future posts.


Anonymous said...

My in-laws recently paid off loans they started taking out for Yeshiva a few years back. They aren't young. They very easily could be great-grandparents.

David K said...

Great idea to start this blog. I am an avid reader of Orthonomics and Honestly Frum so I am looking forward to a blog that appears to be solely dedicated to discussing Yeshiva Tuition. When I have more time, I will post more about myself and my current situation, but suffice it to say, Yeshiva tuition is all my wife and I talk about these days.

Tuition Talk said...

Welcome to the blog. Look forward to hearing more about your situation.

David said...

Great blog topic.

LeahGG said...

come to Israel.