Making Jewish education affordable

JBridge will allow parents to pay less money up-front to send their children to Jewish schools.

A HECS-style system for Jewish primary schools has been launched to make Jewish education more affordable.

JBridge, which is a JCA initiative, is a multi-million dollar project that will allow parents to pay less money up-front to send their children to Jewish schools.

Parents can receive a discount of up to 50 per cent, with the remainder of the money to be paid in interest-free, means-tested payments.

In some circumstances, parents will have until four years after children graduate from school to repay the money.

In the first year, 2018, only new students starting at Emanuel School, Masada College, Moriah College and Mount Sinai College will be eligible. If the plan rolls out smoothly, it will be extended to current students in the coming years.

JBridge was founded because statistics reveal that the proportion of Jewish kids going to Jewish primary schools has reduced dramatically in the last two decades. Fifty-nine per cent of students eligible for Jewish primary schools attended those schools in 2000, but by 2014 that number had dropped to 41 per cent.

JCA president Stephen Chipkin said JBridge is a classic example of the organisation’s planning role.

“This is the recognition of a community challenge (affordability of Jewish education); assembling a small group to find a solution; developing the product; ensuring participation of our schools; and arranging for donors to underwrite the initiative,” Chipkin said.

“JCA’s mandate is to help strengthen and sustain our community. JBridge is a step in that direction.”

JCA demographer David Graham said, “A lot of parents are sending their children to Bellevue Hill and Rose Bay primary schools to save money for high school, when they may move their students to Jewish schools.”

To apply, go to www.jbridge.org.au before November 24.

JOSHUA LEVI