15727 NE 4th Street • Bellevue, WA 98008 • (425) 603-9677

A Message from Donna Blankinship, TBT President

Many years ago, when I was a religious school mom, I paid a couple hundred dollars a year to enroll my daughter in TBT’s excellent education program. Our school was heavily subsidized by the community through membership pledges, as I believe it should be. After all, the whole Jewish community benefits when our children are well educated and involved in the Jewish world through camp and youth groups.

 Even though I served on the board for many years before accepting a leadership role, I had no idea the religious school subsidy had nearly disappeared. Then last year, when I was speaking to a family about joining the temple, they reluctantly educated me about why they couldn’t afford to both pay their dues and enroll their children in our school. Although we like to say we never let your ability to pay get in the way of someone joining our community, we have been doing just that through our religious school tuition.

 For at least the past five years, some parents have been asked to pay nearly $5,000 a year to enroll their children in our school. Our small scholarship fund was seldom tapped. Most people who couldn’t afford our school just walked away. I knew this needed to change, and I am happy to say that we have reformed our tuition plan with the new budget for fiscal 2021, which began July 1. Families will now be asked to pay a relatively small fee of $500 for the first child and $250 for each additional child when they enroll their children in our school.

 I hope you will share this information with your friends who are looking for a congregation to join and a school for their children’s Jewish education. Frankly, the new “family friendly” prices are the least of our new attractions. We’ve already been doing a great job of keeping our school going despite COVID-19 and our new associate rabbi and religious school director, Molly Weisel, is developing new ways to make our school even more awesome, including a fun, innovative, interactive virtual curriculum, which we expect will most likely be the format this fall. We’ll continue with more Torah Play (who doesn’t love Rabbi Sydney’s way of sharing Torah stories?). And when we are able to hold classes in person, we’ll continue to provide an online weekday Hebrew option so that families can spend less time schlepping and more time learning. And of course we’ll keep building our warm, welcoming, friendly community.

 If you have any questions about our religious school, please email contact@templebnaitorah.org.

 We’d love to hear from you.

 Donna Blankinship

TBT President