A Bais Hatorah Parent Writes

yeshivah bais hatorah_wmThe last 2 weeks have been an extremely difficult time not only for me, but for all 200+ of the parents of Yeshiva Bais HaTorah. Getting Musar  in this tumultuous time is quite difficult to do at times, however there is much that I learnt, and feel we could all learn from all that is going on with our yeshiva’s in Lakewood, and perhaps in other communities as well.
 
As a parent who pays close to full tuition for a couple of children, (and struggle to do so), I can sympathize with anyone who really cannot afford to pay full tuition. However, I feel it is our responsibility to do all we can in order to get to full tuition. Meaning, if full tuition is let’s say $4,500, and I sincerely need a scholarship for $1,000-  it is really the responsibility of the parent to try and make up that $1,000 to the yeshiva.

Now, obviously, if you’re asking for a scholarship, you don’t have $1,000 lying around. However, I think we need to get our priorities straight. If a person is giving Tzedaka over the course of a year, it should perhaps be his first priority to his children’s yeshiva to make sure he is paid up, and even more so, making sure they stay afloat to whatever ability he can.
 
I myself at times in the past, although receiving a scholarship found myself writing checks to wonderful organizations in and  outside the community for $26, $52, $100- it all adds up.

This past 2 weeks has made me realize that no longer can I do that, or will I do that. It is my responsibility to make sure the ebe’s pay is not held up on my account. If I need to cut out organizations outside Lakewood, so be it, if I need to cut out organizations IN Lakewood- so be it- my children’s chinuch is of utmost importance. If a rebe is not being paid, it will not be because I did not try my sincere utmost to pay all that was asked of me to pay.
 
To conclude, I think we should all, if we have the capabilities, evaluate how much money was given out last year that we consider Tzedaka, and re-focus our priorities. Our priorities should be to help our children’s mosdos, at least to the extent of getting to full tuition. Other ideas that people present are nice, but in reality, will never happen or take quite a long time to materialize- it’s time to re-focus now, before Rosh Hashana- where is our Tzedaka going ?
 
A Gut Gebencht Yar

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44 COMMENTS

  1. You could of not said it any better! People need to wake up or you will not get anywhere!
    This situation is just getting worse by the day

  2. tough times call for tough decissions, I commend this parent for their honesty , family should always come first. everyone is facing tough decisions right now ,the sad part is its going to get worse before it gets better.

  3. wow this hits the nail on the head. Its def. not a solution but Im sure if all parents had this attitidue the problem would be mitigated to certain extent

  4. I think the writer is correct but is only scratching the surface. Sure, outside Tzedaka is an issue that we need to address but only touches on a small portion of our expenses (at most 10%). Let us take it a step further where it really hurts “us” (not the Meshulach). Since he is writing anonymously I’m sure he would not mind if I ask a few questions and help flush out our “real” priorities, hopefully get some honest dialogue and some real change. As someone who sat on the board of a local Yeshiva for a number of years, my questions to all who have asked for a scholarship (euphemism for people who “really” pay full tuition to pick up your shortfall… but I digress) are as follows:

    1. How much did you spend on vacations this summer? Did you rent a summer home/bungalow in the maintains?
    2. Did you send your child(ren) to sleep away camp (assuming they were old enough)?
    3. When is the last time your wife bought a new Sheitel?
    4. When is the last time you bought a new suit?
    5. How old is the car you/your wife drives?
    6. Are you buying the most economical clothing for yourselves and your kids or are you shopping in the “frum” (expensive) stores?
    7. How often do you eat out?
    8. How much do you plan on spending on your Esrog? Who says you are allowed to when Schar HaLimud is suffering?

    I ask these questions in order to help people to really see things in the broader context. It is easy to limit outside Tzedaka, and I think we should, it is much harder to limit where it really counts. I am amazed how the writer in all his sincerity thinks that a $1,000 reduction of a $4,500 tuition is “almost paying full”… it is more that a 30% discount… how is that almost full? I challenge everyone who receives a “scholarship” to anonymously and honestly answer these questions, I would love to be proven wrong and hope it will propel us to really set our priorities straight.

    I do applaud you for taking the first step.

  5. As i have heard from hock around town his goal is to have the people decide on what to do with our tax $ instead of one person just doing what they want with out tax $, WE THE PEOPLE Need AKERMAN

  6. i wish the dayanim shlita would create a kol korea with the list of priorities in giving tzedaka in town or the next out of town appeal.

    should u 1st help your struggeling sibling or a local mosad?
    should you buy your kids the expensive clothes, bike, camp etc… they want & your rav once sid in a drasha- not to deprive them of the items thier friends have…. or get realistic & say- i’m sorry but we cant afford it now- we have to 1st pay tiution. we need hadracha

  7. To need Hadracha: If your Rav told you in a Drasha that you should get your kids whatever they want because their friends have it… I’m afraid it is your Rav that needs Hadracha. I must assume you took what he said way out of context!

  8. When it comes to making decissions where to budget your money All families are faced with the same circumstances. I for one made sure bills were paid , food on the table , medical needs addressed., and then if there was some discrectionary income left you could think about spending money on the things that are not essential
    When you see how reckless some people handle their finances its no wonder they are in trouble. Just look at our own government they sure do not set a great example.

  9. it is brought down very clearly as to what we should do with our tzedakah money and where it should go. it is also brought down that family members come first, then ppl in your town, then outside ur town. but i am happy you have finally learned this important lesson.

  10. why is it that everyone is saying to cut on other tzedokos which dont add up to too much
    we have to start cutting on other ends
    such as nights out in the resturant, simpler cars etc
    in one word “simpler life style”
    then we will have plenty for tution and other tzedokos
    mr. simple
    p.s. I did not send any of my children to day camp this summer even though I can afford it.

  11. What is a person to do, who works in a low paying job as that is all he was able to get right now, his wife works, does not go on vacations, does not have a fancy car, does not eat out, does not send his kids to camp, yet has a large family and is paying 6-8 tuitions and can not afford it?

  12. I’ve said it before & I’ll repeat it. Toronto had a rule for a while (maybe they still do) no giving $$ to out-of-town mosdos. In Lakrewood, every meshulech from every moisad in the world, inc ppl collecting for themselves come here & get nice donations. I’m sure, as a town, accumalatively, we give out a few million $$ a year. Sure, all those moisdos & bais HaTavshils are very important, but they don’t come b4 ur childs yeshiva. Maybe Tomchei Tzedakah shouyld stop giving out ishurs & just tell the meshulachim to come back another time.

  13. To: SIMPLE
    Sure let your wife schvitz! You were probably out of the house most of the day, so you were happy to save money by having your wife worked like a horse. The only place that Chaza”l say that we should overspend, is for your wife’s honor.

  14. I agree without you somewhat- but that’s isn’t the main issue. The problem is these new budding Yeshiva have no financial plan in place. They live on hoping every parent pays full tuition and have no back up $ in case some don’t.
    They also live on the hope some wealthy parent (or grandparent) comes along for something.

    Clearly, the ones who run the schools have underestimated the costs and fallouts.

    This is not the right way. They need a plan (sort of a business plan) and capital to back it up.

  15. Family comes first. If there are family members who are in need of financial help, they take precedence over all other causes.

    Supporting Torah scholars is second. Obviously, if one has a relative who is a budding or accomplished Torah scholar and is in need of financial help, he would take precedence over all other Torah scholars as he encompasses both of the two highest priorities.

    The list of Tzedakah priorities continues, For further information, one can study the Halachos in Shulchan Aruch with its commentaries, or read Rabbi Feuer’s wonderful English Sefer on Tzedakah.

  16. Basic sechel never needed a Rov . It is basic sechel to pay your tuition before any other items such as camp ,nice clothes etc . We have become morons that we cant use our brains for basic sechel without asking a Rov .

  17. what about housing control in lakewood..is it normal that an average house in lakewood is going between 400,000-500,000 how are people affording this..there has to be some control of housing just like in manchester..

  18. I wrote this letter with the intention of not trying to solve the problem, but rather as a way for us to perhaps alleviate the issue somewhat. I wanted to dispel any notions that people might have that once they pay tuition they are off the hook, that is not so.
    If anyone is giving myser, it must go to their childrens Yeshiva, thats’ really what I was getting at, lets not get lost here on all other good and valid , yet off topic points

  19. I was told that Rabbi Teits in Elizabeth did not allow parlor meetings or collectors from out of Elizabeth – to assure that local needs were funded.
    I don’t think we need to go that far. I think we need a special tzedoko called tsorchei eereinu with a vaad that decides what local tsedokos get & how much – this then can supplement those tsedokos that need extra.

  20. R’ Moshe was known to say numerous times, everyone asks him all types of Shaylos, except in Chinuch and Hilchos Tzedaka, which everyone thinks they know!

  21. To number 15 first of all I’m from Toronto and we never ever had such a rule and second of all what you suggest isn’t new I’m sure you heard of sedom they also had such a rule and third of all a lot more money comes into Lakewood then out

    Our mosdes are also in trouble in fact our largest school opened late if we were to keep only the money that goes to lakewood from here all our schools could wipe out their deficits what about the outher.
    Toronto says

    To num15 first of all Toronto never had such rule. The city you are thinking of was sedom they had such a rule second of all our schools also are having major financial difficulties in fact our oldest and largest school is 3 month behind and opened late and yet millions of dollars that right millions some estimates are as high as over 10millon dollars bh leave our city every year if we were only to withhold the monies that go to Lakewood we could wipe out our schools deficit what about all the outer out of town mossdes that come here annually. Philly ,chaim Berlin Passaic and countless others that come here and are welcomed. If every town not in the tri stat took your advice lakewood. Would have a bigger proplem with more schools closing down but then again you wouldn’t need so many schools because every one would leave lakewood

    out of town yeshivas that come here phily, chaim Berlin. Passaick etc etc there isn’t one mossed that doest come here very year and we

  22. Good thought however, the problem is not the people that get a reduction in their tuition and pay what they agree to pay. The real problem is the parents that don’t pay what they agree to pay. Most schools have a few HUNDRED THOUSAND in outstanding tuition bills each year. People “find” money for camp and leased cars but can’t “find” it to pay even the reduced tuition that they agreed to pay. Its min boggling but unfortunately its a sad fact of life. Yes people struggle but isn’t this the most important thing in our lives? We take it for granted that”somehow” they will manage and “schools don’t close” so its not a big deal. Yes they can’t throw out your kids for not paying…!ut they also can’t pay a rebbi and a mortgage or rent and electric bills or janitors. So every parent should ask themselves before being moire heter to not pay tuition or to ask for a reduction. “Do I want to be tge one crying in the mashgiachs driveway next year to find my child a new school?” Or not.

  23. I think you truly dont have to go so far. If people would do most of their shopping and buying from intown stores perhaps us Bais hatorah working parents would have more money in the first place. The next time you go to walmart, costco and so on think of how much money they give lakewood yeshivas !! Dont worry so much about your maaser and 25 checks to anyiam when you blow your money at stores in brooklyn and so on. Also How many stores from out of town are coming here that dont even have kids in the yeshivas here. when you cut out your own stores to save a few dollars it will ending costing you a lot more.

  24. Does anybody know when Bais Hatorah may actually open or if it is in fact opening or if we should attempt to place our sons in the other yeshivas (which are full)

    Also who do we give checks to if anyone is donating money?

    thanks

  25. As a frequent reader of The Scoop I am getting insight to the challenges of raising a frum family and the necessity of community support. So I have to ask wouldn’t the community have been better served if the 2 prominent business men put their financial support to the financially troubled schools instead of towards bail for the arrested developer?

  26. if the parents of the school would have not used the ac this summer there would have been more than enough $ to make up the shortage people have survived for thousands of years without ac

  27. Is there any real plan to reopen or are we just being strung along? My son is still learning with his rebbi but what about English? Any morah available to “home school” these boys?

  28. There are many valid points, but there really is no answer.

    Every answer has a rebuttle, and every solution has its own set of problems.

    Problem after problem will only make things worse, until we realize that we have nowhere to turn other than to Avinu Shebashamayim.

    What does HaShem want from us?

    Stop judging others.
    Care about your fellow.
    Turn only to HaShem.

    We need a kinus of all of Lakewood.

    We need to say Tehilim.

    We need to admit that we have trusted in ourselves and in man made solutions.

    We need to throw ourselves only upon HaShem’s mercy.

    We need to be humble.

    We need to unite.

    No one has escaped the problems of our times.

    We are all faulted.

    We are in Tumas Mitzrayim.

    There is no escape.

    Don’t kid yourself.

    HaShem will wipe off all the tumah.

    Just accept that your friend is good enough.

    If not, only more tumah and more faulted behavior will get us to realize that.

  29. How can it be that tzedoko is the first on the list that we should give up? how can it be that such a suggestion is even printed? are you really not going to open the door when someone is knocking, and instead put a dollar bill in an envelope to give to your school?
    perhaps you should take an envelope to the coop, and put the equivalent of what you are not buying in the envelope.
    How far have we come, that crazy suggestions are printed, and people don’t realize how sad these suggestions are…

  30. its shocking to me that full tuition in Lakewood is only $ 4500, in many cities that is the number a family is given after significant reductions. Numbers between 7k and 10k are fairly normal starting points. Please can someone explain how a Mossad can survive with these starting figures?

  31. ‘If I need to cut out organizations IN Lakewood- so be it’ – while I agree with most of what you said, I have to respectfully disagree with your quote. Equally as important is to support organizations here in Lakewood that are available to those that need it, whether its toimchei shabbos, Hatzolah, bikur cholim,chai life line and tiferes devorah l’kallah among others. Point is these organizatios do for our community so muich and theuy rely on us for support, therefore no matter what these organizations have to be supported .

  32. Lakewood schools survive on the low tuitions for 2 reasons . First that the teachers get paid somewhat less than out of town and second that the administrative costs are much less . We have some schools here where the administrators/owners are pure volunteers and others where there is a paid administrator but the general administrative costs are slashed to the bone

  33. #27 The problem is the amount of tuition the parents agreed to pay? You mean by extortion tactics? Like tough. This is our minimum? You make it sound as if the agreed upon amount was sitting in the bank just in the wrong account! The reason there is a problem is because the administrators, yes you, placed the onus of chinuch on each individual parent rather than as a community responsibility. At one time the philantropist recognized the need to help school education as part of his doing his part as everyone else was also doing theirs by doing the best they can in the community. Now the would be donor thinks that he is paying the “cleaners” for his own kids and so should everyone else

  34. you have half the equation right . The problem is thay we , a Community of almost 50,000 people bli ayin hora do not care enough to create a communal responsibility for our childrens chinuch . The part you got wrong is by blaming that on the schools . The schools are just filling in the vacuum and helping you educate your child . It is your responsibility to educate yoir child and the community should shoulder that responsibility . The community means you .me and everybody else . It does not mean the school administrator .

  35. To call asking for an average of about 3,500 to 4000 ,extortion is disgusting . The public schools charge us 15000 for only secular studies so to charge about a quarter of that for both secular and kodesh is far from extortion .

  36. to # 37, you missed the boat, the issue is not which tzedaka is more important, but rather that you cannot give any tzedaka before you pay up your own tuition bills which are for services you receive!

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