The whole doctor being poor post got me thinking a bit about costs.

Specifically, what it costs to be what is called a “Modern Orthodox Jew” in the New York Tri-State area. Now, I do not have a family yet, so I don’t have these costs. I also do not know exactly how much each item costs, but I took educated guesses in my numbers.

The biggest item is tuition. I would guess if you had four or five kids in private school, they would give you a break on tuition. Imagine $60,000 a year for four kids, $75,000 for five kids. I assume you get a discount as you keep adding kids. Keep in mind, all your kids are not the same age, so then you have High School and college.

Another thing about being an orthodox Jew and living in New York is that you have to really live in a “Jewish neighborhood.” Homes are simply not cheap in NY, especially in areas where there is demand set by having to be in walking distance to a local synagogue. A typically home in Teaneck, NJ would go for a $800,000 to $1.2M on average. Out by me, maybe $600,000 to $850,000 on average. Brooklyn, Manhattan, forget about it. Figure your mortgage will cost you at least $40,000 per year with taxes, if you bought now.

These numbers may be off, but I think the approximates are not bad. I can be wrong, if so, feel free to correct me.

Honestly, these numbers seem too high. Something doesn’t seem right…

Website Comments

  1. JEW

    What are u trying to do – MAKE US ALL CRY

    U forgot wigs and all also COST ALOT OF MONEY AND MAINTANCE ON THEM

    and SHOPPING for jews they spend more money and all becuase of yom tov and food and all

    WOW its crazy
    thanks for making my day so much more happier

  2. A.J. Schreiber

    A couple of comments:

    1. Yeshivas don’t automatically give breaks for having a certain numbr of kids in the school.

    2. Your mortgage calculations are a bit low. Using Teaneck as an example, on an $800K house, your mortgage alone will probably cost you $5,000 per month. Tack on taxes and insurance and you’re probably looking at a number closer to $6500 a month.

    3. In conversations with others in Teaneck faced with this issue, we estimated that someone with THREE children would need to earn approximately $300K per year just to get by. That means your take home is probably around $200K. The derived monthly expenditure would be be around $16,500.

    Let’s not even talk about putting any money away in savings!

  3. Barry G.


    Your overall point is on target but I believe that several of your estimates are on the low side.

    Cost of living in the Tri-state area is very, very high.

    Was in Baltimore recently to visit our Niece and a 4-Bedroom detached house on a 60 X 150 lot was being listed for $199,000. This is considered expensive in Baltimore!

  4. Greg

    $199K is not expensive in Baltimore, that’s very much on the cheaper side. The typical range for the average house is now around $400K.

  5. Chareidi Fanatic

    We sat down and made this calculation in 1993.
    Our estimate was $100,000 take home pay to make it in the tri-state as an observant Jew, modern or otherwise.

    My response was to do that which I assume every thinking responsible individual would do in the face of such a frightening proposition.

    Run away to yeshiva in eretz yisroel.

    Now, almost 15 years later, on less than the tuition costs for four of your elementary school kids, we’re providing for a family of 7 (bli eyin hara) with full health care, no tuition breaks, a manage-able mortgage, food (just got a weber bbq for our last siyum on brochos), clothes, and a brand new car (Mazda 5 – unloaded).
    (sorry, no pets)
    Anyone else think that it’s so hard to make aliyah?
    I guess the main drawback to living here in Israel is that it never rains during the summer (read: 6 months from Pesach to Sukkos).
    Oh how I miss that muggy August Baltimore goodness.

    Gotta go back to the beis medrash.

  6. Jewboy

    Barry G-As Greg said, $199 K is rather inexpensive for Baltimore nowadays. If you want to live in the nicer parts of Orthodox Baltimore nowadays, you need at least $400 to $450K, and sometimes more.

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