By: Esther Perez, Opinions Editor
Upon having conversations with many students at YU, individuality and uniqueness among the student body has become very obvious to me. We all have different dreams, different areas where our skills are prominent, and different routes we want to take in order to shape the world into a better place. Although our professional goals and life milestones are all different, inherent questions and fears are the same across the board. There are very few people in college that I know who don’t, in some way, feel a sense of pressure and stress when it comes to grappling with a future career and a future family. For some of us, graduate school is a necessity, and for most of us, it takes years to work our way up our particular industry to produce the paycheck needed to support the many expensive facets of Jewish family life. Because of this struggle, many people feel they have to choose between taking their career and education to the furthest level and possibly pushing off starting a family, or having their ideal family life and forgoing the extent of professional success they had previously envisioned.
To me, this seemed like a fact of life: There’s a gap here, and it seems unfair, but life is full of those. However, necessity is the mother of all invention, and this one brought about the formation of a non-profit organization that combats this challenge head on. Kochvei HaShamayim was born this year and was established by young Jewish professionals who know firsthand how difficult it is to reconcile the two worlds of the professional and the personal. The organization aims to empower young Jewish couples by helping establish connections with the larger Jewish community and/or providing financial support. There are many challenges along the way, but with their varying initiatives, Kochvei HaShamayim is committed to trying to help various young couples with diverse educational paths and personal goals. “We know it’s possible because there are many examples of individual couples who have done it,” Daniel Lazarev, YC ‘16 and founder of Kochvei, explains. “Kochvei is about creating an organized support structure that would enable any willing couple to do this.”
If being in YU has taught me anything, it’s that we should think twice about compromising. Upon YU’s inception, the founders of the school didn’t compromise on a Yeshiva environment and Torah values, as well as a top notch education that was on par with every other university. So, too, in this situation that many young couples are facing, why should we settle for an either/or? With every challenge the greater community faces, it is our responsibility to rise up and problem solve. Despite the struggle, we try to excel in living up to all our values. Kochvei HaShamayim understood the need, and working with them has reinforced my understanding of the Jewish approach to resolving the conflicts in our lives, and how to move forward when there is a supposed impasse.