The Tikvah Podcast

Jewish education is an important source of Jewish continuity in America. This is has been true in all times and places throughout the Jewish diaspora, but it is all the more so in the United States, a nation dedicated to the proposition that all are created equal. In America, with its individual freedoms, the most potent threat to the Jewish community is not anti-Semitic persecution of old, but assimilation. The threat of assimilation in modern America makes an education in Jewish particularism and Jewish peoplehood especially important, and yet the cost of Jewish education is a growing burden on Jewish families—entailing not only a financial burden, but a moral burden as well.

In this podcast, Eric Cohen speaks with Cato Institute policy analyst Jason Bedrick to delve into this issue and the larger question of what possible role the government might play in alleviating the financial burden to families of parochial school. Their conversation centers around Milton Friedman’s 1955 essay “The Role of Government in Education,” which argues that school vouchers promise both efficiency and freedom for families in the education arena. Bedrick and Cohen discuss the history of parochial schools in America, school choice options like vouchers and tax credits, and what these options mean for the Jewish community. What has the establishment of ostensibly “public” schools meant for the religious freedom of families and communities of faith, and what role might government assume in ensuring the blessings of liberty for all its citizens?