The Jewish State of education.

I feel a parental rite of passage has been reached tonight: next year’s daycare decisions. And so I begin the rant that I know others have had and yet here I am, new parent, new experiences, joining the fray.

Someone explain this to me:

This is a family-friendly country. Walk anywhere and easily spot a pregnant woman or a mother with a litter, big or small. Even take Charedim and Arabs out of the equation, and you’ll find tons of trendy maternity shops and baby stores in shopping centers across the country. Within the government’s basic health basket, couples are entitled to receive unlimited fertility treatments until they birth two children together – that’s to birth, not just to try.

Unfortunately, it is also a country where most parents have to work; the option of one stay-at-home parent is just so preciously rare.

Then why is the daycare situation so… dire? Why is it so troubling to get your toddler into a structured situation? Why are there three weeks in August when all baby daycares go on vacation at the same time? Why are there no long-term subsidized summer activities? Why does school let out at 1?

Money, money, money. Yes, I know. But it’s a deeper argument than just that. This is a place where so much creativity is utilized in making successful the medical, agricultural, technological, and military fields… Why not the very core of everything, our children’s education? I’m not just looking at you, Israeli government. I don’t think change must only stem from the corruption upstairs.

And my final question: As the Jewish state, founded on somewhat traditional (ok, touchy) Jewish principles, why would this country not work harder for a strong, successful education system for its children? For our children’s futures? Isn’t that something all strains of Judaism actually agree on, the value of education (never mind the details)?

We, the so-called People of the Book, can’t get our educational act together?

I don’t know yet which is worse: Paying through the ass for a Jewish education in the Diaspora or paying nothing for a sub-par education in Israel.