Shabbat of Sanctity Dirshu’s 20th Anniversary International Convention

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By: Kelly Jemal Massry

The community at large has been facing a tuition crisis for years. UCEF President Jack A. Kassin stresses: “Yeshiva education for our children and grandchildren is something we can never compromise. We must come together as a community to tackle this challenge.”A promising proposal introduced by a group of community laymen offers a practical solution to ease the burden of yeshiva tuition.   

United Children’s Education Foundation (“UCEF” for short) is an initiative in which community businesses and a select group of vendors join forces to lower the cost of tuition. “Our community is so large and we have so much buying power,”says UCEF Executive Director Sammy Esses. “So, we thought why not leverage that power and make deals withvendors our companies could benefit from.”

UCEF’s board members find vendors in each industry who offer competitive prices as well as stellar service. After a rigorous vetting process, these vendors have the potential to become UCEF royalty partners. Before being recommended to the public, UCEF thoroughly checks potential vendors’references, and UCEF board members use the vendors’ services. Once vendors pass the pilot stage, UCEF connects these vendors with community companies.

In a vital piece of the puzzle, UCEF secures royalty payments from each vendor. Those payments are held in a special fund that will ultimately be dispersed to qualifying families, enabling them to secure a deduction on their tuition bill. Community businesses are eager to utilize the services of these vendors, as our collective buying power has resulted in proven savings for each company.

Henry Guindi, whose company uses UCEF vendors, reports: “We saw it as a win-win situation for our business and our community. Using these vendors helped us save money and, on top of it all, money was being given to UCEF! I think everyone should get on board.”

UCEF Secretary Albert Choueka shares, “What’s so unique about UCEF is that so far all of the money has been raised without soliciting donations.”As of now, UCEF has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars, with more revenue being generated daily.

UCEF is proud to announce that its first distribution of funds is fast approaching! The application period to apply for UCEF grants will be March 1st to April 24th, 2017.

Simply visit and read the eligibility requirements to determine whether your family may qualify for a tuition deduction. Ultimately, the total UCEF grant money available during each school year will be split evenly amongst all eligible children attending participating schools.

Board member Bert Hidary says: “UCEF can solve the community’s tuition crisis in a very simple and cost-free way. All we need is for people to take it seriously and get involved.”

UCEF accepts tax-deductible donations, which can be made at The next time you have ma’aser, consider making UCEF your preferred cause, as the more money they receive the more money they can give out.

If your business is interested in partnering with UCEF, please email connect@ucef.comfor more information. All business information and transactions are kept confidential; UCEF is not privy to any of these details.

Hopefully, through a united effort, we can end the yeshiva tuition crisis and ensure that education continues to flourish in our community.