Monday, September 25, 2006

Not A Sexy Post

Religious Judaism is a lifestyle choice. An expensive lifestyle choice. According Heeb's money issue, a religious, single man can expect to pay about $5,000 a year for observance.

There has been a lot of talk, lately on the web* about the cost of Orthodoxy, but where does all the money go?

Heres the breakdown:

1)Specialty clothing, and hats, or wigs (not cheap) for married women. Menswear includes a couple suits, maybe a hat, and several pairs of tzitzit.

2)Private Schools: Yeshiva education and a year in Israel for each of your (many) children. Scholarships are available, but there is a large demand and a small supply.

3)Kosher Food: This week at D'Agostino markets, brisket is $4.99/lb, the kosher equivalent? Fischer Bros is selling for $14.98/lb. Even if you account for the fact that the latter is pre-cooked, still ridiculous. And don't even get me STARTED on cheeses.

4)Synagogue dues: for someone in my position, to join my shul is $475 a year. A family can expect to pay closer to $1800. That doesn't count religious school, bar mitzvah tutors, or sponsoring kiddush.

5)Housing: You need to live somewhere within walking distance of a synagogue. On the UWS rents are about $1100-$1300/month per person for a room in a cheap(er) apartment. Buying a house in Teaneck or one of the other big Jewish communities is a huge expense given what you get. The small supply and large demand drive up the prices.

6)Single Sex Gyms: Ok, so this isn't totally necessary, not everyone needs to work out, but if you, like the Moderator of, think that women can only work out while modestly dressed and away from men, then it is a neccessity. Otherwise, you get no physical activity, and that is clearly problematic.

7)Learning: It is expensive to learn in Kollel in the US. For a man to spend all day learning, either his wife must support him, or they must live on funds from their families. Either way, it is a pretty big financial burden. This category also includes any adult education classes, at JCCs or even Drisha. It all costs something.

This is why I plan on living on my own farm. I'll make my own cheese, and live simply. Who's with me?

*August 16, 2006 Evanston Jew
August 20,2006 Michelle
August 23,2006 Orthomom
September 19,2006 Ask Shifra
September 19,2006 Orthomom

September 26,2006 Sephardilady
September 26,2006 SerandEz


Benjamin J. Cooper said...

I have to ask, though, how much more expensive is Ortho living than just being a well-off professional in NYC?

I mean, you're going to have to buy a couple $500 suits and send your kids to private school anyway. I guess you can cut back on rent some if you don't have to be right next to a shul, but honestly, once you get to have a family, you're not living in a two-room efficiency in Long Island City.

The City is just freaking expensive and un-fun for people who don't live the lives of young secular recent college grads.

AnnieGetYour said...

Benjamin- NYC is for rich people. But if you're a religious Jew, and you want to get married, there are only a few places to live where you can find a community of people with a pool big enough to pick from. And when you're as hot as I am, you need to have a very big pool.

Benjamin J. Cooper said...

I support your marrying a well-built Ortho diamond merchant. I guess to fit all those criteria, he'd have to be Persian, but hey! Rice on Passover!