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Luxury vs. necessity
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Luxury vs. necessity

Recently, Conservative Rabbi Jack Moline in Alexandria, Va., said his family earns more than $250,000 a year and he still supports ending the tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.

“That is very much against my self-interest and the self-interest of many of those in our community,” he told The Jewish Week. “It makes a lot of sense for people who are not going to pay this tax to advocate for others to pay it. But it gives this position more credibility if people who would be affected say, ‘I’m stepping up and you should too.’ Is it the best solution? I don’t know, but the worst response would be to do nothing.”

Rabbi Moline added that he “admire[s] Warren Buffett because he consistently said he was not paying enough of his fair share of taxes, and that is something we in the Jewish community should be emulating.”

In fact, nearly 240 “progressive, left-wing” rabbis have signed a letter in support of the president’s proposal to allow tax cuts to expire at the end of the year for those making above $250,000 annually. The letter was  written by Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a Jewish social justice organization.

Making $250,000 in the New York-New Jersey area does not make one wealthy.

I notice this was signed by Reform and Conservative rabbis. How many of them live in the tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut? How many of them pay exorbitant tuitions to day schools and yeshivas beginning at age four for their children? Most people do not spend this type of money until college. In many cases, college is cheaper. I hope none of these rabbis will tell me that sending my children and grandchildren to day schools or yeshivas is a luxury of choice.

As an observant Jew, I have no choice nor do the majority of young observant-Jewish families who, even though they may make a combined salary of $250,000, are struggling. Try buying kosher food for the same price as non-kosher food. The choice to live in a religious community is based upon the need to educate our families in the ways of Torah observance.

It is a sacrifice we all make. Who are these rabbis to tell us that we have so much money that we can afford the luxury of higher taxes?

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
Edison

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