Letter: Step Up To The Plate

The following letter was submitted in response to the high school issue in Lakewood (discussed here and here).

Rejection and despondency may be a reality of life yet nobody believes a fourteen year old has the capacity to cope with the severity of the current situation.

The current crisis isn’t new; it’s one which has been building up for many years. Stuffing desks into already overfilled classrooms was never an ideal solution, it was simply a far better alternative then a girl sitting at home with no place to go.

Finding a qualified Mechaneches and Principal is difficult, but feasible. Funding is a challenge but achievable. These are obstacles but not ones that are insurmountable.

What we need are parents. Parents who understand that new Mosdos are needed. Parents that understand that being girl #47 in a classroom is not very ideal. Parents who can group together as a cohesive group and say, we are ready to partner with a builder who can build a Mosad HaChinuch that will in turn build our daughters and families.

It doesn’t take trendsetters; it just takes serious and confident people. The ones that always do the right thing even when nobody’s watching and do the same when others are. It doesn’t take people with the right “last names” but rather people who just simply have a basic shem tov. We may be a polarized society and the wrong mix is perhaps not palatable. Yet the right blend of people is the core for a successful institution.

It will take a group of parents to step up to build the strong and viable Mosdos of our future.

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  1. Nobody wants to go to the new schools…and I can’t say I blame them the high school years are make or break years for most children and parents are afraid
    The only way to open a new school if parents that got into schools, parents that are “brand names” be it due to money, Yichus or anything else send to the new school then other people will send as well…

    • Isn’t it much easier to have an existing school make parallel classes. It might not solve all of the problems, but it takes care of the ppl not wanting to go to a new school

      • No it’s not.
        Existing schools are limited by their infrastructure, staff, and parent body.

        The barrier to entry for a new school is significantly lower for all three.

  2. the only way to do it is to have a meeting where all the parents can meet and be comfortable with all the other parents

    also if the school is run by a board and not one person

  3. Maybe Hashem wants you to go to the shvacha school
    Maybe you don’t belong in Lakewood
    Maybe you should change your lifestyle
    Maybe you should make more money
    Maybe you should get into a different social crowd
    Maybe you should open your own school
    Maybe call the Vaad
    Maybe get rid of your phone/internet
    Maybe change your clothing
    Maybe daven to Hashem

    • exactly this ^

      maybe the ketores is possul without a bissel chelbono.
      maybe we’re in golus because of sinas chinom
      maybe we’ll have geula if the schools act with ahavas chinom!!!

  4. There are so many mesivtas and so few girls high schools fir the following reasons .

    1. It is much more expensive to run a girls high school fir several reasons . There are hundreds of extremely talented yungeleit who are in direct need of shtelles. So they are willing to work for a low salary, in sone cases for almost nothing. You can make a mesivta and pay relatively little. There are limited amounts of real good high school teachers and they won’t work unless you pay them a decent salary . They can always go into the office workpkace and make more. The talmudei cuachomim do not have the option or will to go into anything other than harbitzas hatora and will take a rebbe job fir any salary. In addition There are huge extracurricular expenses in girls high that you don’t have by mesivtas . UT probably costs more than double per student fir girls than boys and yet everybody thinks that mesivtas cost more .In addition ,the Rosh mesivta has an incentive to be a marbitz torah and will do that fir free if he has to . A rosh mosad of a girls high school , is not a very prestigious thing. In some schools they are totally in the background ,not even coming into the building when the girls are there and there is absolutely no kovod or sipuk for them. The only thing they get is to be called all kinds of nasty names . Also mesivtas can fund raise easier as people give much more for boys yorah learning ,than fir girls schools. If these facts were not true ,we would have a glut of high schools as there are hundreds of talented people who would open one

  5. Elementary girl schools have traditionally been money makers. You hired 2 teachers per class & walked away with a reasonable profit after tuitions & dedications. Highschools require many more teachers per class at a higher cost per hour & the founder ends up with a net loss. Let’s remember that as idealistic & devoted the founder’s are, they still need & expect a respectable parnassah for devoting their lives to this.
    We need seed money coming from the community at large to incentivise people to start new schools. There is no public face to our large town that’s taking responsibilty for the general running of the town.

    • I will add, that the tens of millions in tzedakkah leaving Lakewood each year would more than cover the cost of building new high schools. Why are the basic needs of this town not being met when we have the resources to cover them? How do other established towns meet their communal needs? Why can’t a board of Rabbonim be put together to address & promote these public needs? The physical structure of Lakewood is crumbling by the lack of good planning by the Lakewood Township, & now the spiritual structure of our educational institutions are crumbling as well.

  6. Bnos Beis Yaakov HS is the best kept secret in town.

    Ask all the principals, teachers and students that enjoyed and appreciated the well orchestrated and informative “Hivdalti” which was preformed by the BBY students for all the local schools this past Chanukah.

    The Minchanchos and head staff all loved and appreciated by all.

    I urge you all to see it (and experience it) for yourselves.

  7. i think benny brings up many vaid points but it still doesn’t give us a solution
    parents (of means= $$$$$) need to step up to the plate and get involved to open more schools
    their are 2 classes of babies born EVERY WEEK do the math their are more kids then their are desks and space in the schools i guess as in the shidduch crisis…

  8. I’ve been waiting for several days but haven’t seen anyone write the true crisis here. The crisis is that girls are going to these going to these high schools and becoming dumber and dumber and more and more disenfranchised from Yiddeshkeit. Girls who have no absolute belief in Hashem but rather a two year old’s approach to it all and a bunch of memorized propaganda that they never internalized or subscribed to. They often suffer from low self esteem and confusion as to the purpose of life or any sort of identity but they can regurgitate a bunch of Malbims in Melachim Beis, at least for a days after their test. Just abunch of rote memorization and desperately needing to fit it and belong to something while internally being empty and a black hole. So now we finally have a solution, no more high schools and let’s figure out a way to give these girls a reason for being and actually educate them about Yiddishkeit and give them a purpose for being alive and set them on track for life instead of cramming 40 of them into teenage daycare rife with strife and jealousies and cliques and passive aggressive bullying, etc.. This is spoken from the knowledge of the new seminaries that have opened up and the girls going into seminaries, assuming they survive this system at all.

    • Don’t rely on your daughter’s school to provide a meaningful & balanced understanding of Yiddishkeit. You need to do this on your own at your Shabbos seudah & throughout the year to your best ability. My daughter’s four years in HS were simply a horrible experience overall. The endless boring subjects, the non-stop tests, the cliques, the perpetual “risks of technology” education, what a disaster! And B”H she got top marks, but she says she has no interest in becoming a teacher & doing the same damage to her students she got as a student.

    • I am searching for a high school for good, from, ehrelich girls, who are not cut out for the book, but love Hashkafa discussions, chesed, to be able to thrive instead of survive with all these things they memorize etc and are not OTD!!!!

    • 100% true. I’ve written about it on other sites as well. Just teach the girls to be bnos yisroel. Teach them they can’t walk between 2 men. Teach them they can’t congregate where men need to walk as they can’t walk between 2 ladies. Make sure they have basic knowledge of hilchos shabbos and kashrus.

      • Absolutely 1000000% to what shmendrik said. I cannot believe the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are spent on so many of these girl tuitions (preschool-12th) and then in just two years out of high school they are shocked and surprised that any other girls actually keep any mitzvos in private. They believe in nothing and are “frum” so as not to disappoint their parents or be an embarrassment to them or be ostracized from their friends or community. They are religious only on the outside, best case scenario. I have tons of these girls in my shadchanus catalog. To think that these are the future mothers of our nation is pretty frightening. This has been going on for at least 7 years that I am personally aware of, I don’t know how long before that.

    • I beg to differ. I’m a graduate of a Lakewood high school which has a name of being “text based”. I was definitely from the less yeshivishe girls of my class and not as motivated and smart as them. (Yes, I got in with pull)
      I went to a seminary in EY which is known to be “hashkafah based” and not such a high academic place. I’m out of school for only 5 years and I maybe remember 10% of what i learned in both seminary and high school. But there is one thing that I do have – a real connection with my High School principal and 12th grade mechaneches. Yes the ones who I had when there were 40 girls in my class and over 150 in my grade. No not with my seminary teachers who had an open door for the 90 girls in their school. I’m not going to say that everything about the high schools here are perfect, but this is definitely not something to pick on.

  9. I dont agree that parents dont want to send to new schools. Meiras and the new bais faige are bursting. The problem is simply space, and some schools that opened a bunch of years ago are having a hard time changing their name. With each new school that opens it helps ease the congestion. However, it needs to be opened properly, with good backing and not a day before school.

    • wake up – there is a mass exodus from Brooklyn, Baltimore, Cleveland, Toronto the likes of which hasn’t been seen in times of peace since Yetzias Mitzrayim. A thousand families move here every year and it’s not going to stop. The worse the world gets, the more people will seek refuge here. A full class of babies is born EVERY WEEK, and we have to adapt – start building satellite schools in Manchester, Jackson and Toms River to take the pressure off Lakewood and send the kids to the locations closest to their homes. This will encourage families not to be afraid of losing reputation by moving out of congested Lakewood, and they might actually get a detached home in the process and live like human beings.

    • There has been no daas torah involved and followed in the discussion. Reb Matisyahu said years ago, no school is allowed to open until every single girl is in school. Well that still hasn’t happened. Because in Lakewood, every guy believes he is his own daas torah. Most guys under 50 in lakewood don’t have a rebbi muvhak in town whom they talk to on a regular basis. Not for halacha nor hashkafa.

  10. The main problem is that the existing schools do not want to help out new schools that want to open. As much as they are doing for the tzibbur and we really appreciate that, they have lost the focus, of helping all of our girls.
    Every time a new school wants to open, the other schools give them so many rules of who they can take and who they can’t take, and yet, they still have to wait to give answers like all the other schools. what ends up happening is, that the last ones come from all different types, and the next year, parents look at the parent body and are not excited and it takes many years till a school builds it’s own identity.
    The solution would be to let the new schools (for the first 2 years) to give answers before the older schools and get some commitments from people who are ready to go to a new school, with other people they know, and we can have many beautiful girls high schools in this town.

  11. To insider

    You are not correct

    Nobody had any problems that the new school told oeople unofficially that they woukd be accepted. If those oeople wanted to go there as theur 1st choice ttgat is fine. The problem was that they told people that if you dint give us an answer with 24 hours ,you automatically lost your slot and some people wanted to get interviews in other schools befire they decided.

    • Chaim,
      My point is, with the proper focus, we all know, there’s a lot that the existing schools can do, to help a new school be successful, and yet they make it as hard as possible.
      There will be plenty more people ready to step up to the plate, if they felt they’ll have the backing from the existing Mosdos and askanim, knowing they’ll do whatever they can, to help them succeed.
      There are enough great girls in this town for all the mosdos. This year there’s a surplus of approx. 160 girls, that will not have a school unless at least 2 new schools open.

  12. The school acceptance process, and the whole school attitude to and the parents is definitely our biggest גלות.

    We have several schools in town that have profiles on every family and every kid.
    My friend worked as and Administrator in a well prestigious school in town.
    The Principal and the administration used to talk openly in the office with hate and great intolerance towards parents and kids.
    I can’t take her! was a often used language in the office.
    These people are collecting hard earned money from parents and talk behind their backs.

    And then comes the new craziness,
    The Summer camps, they all have בעל לשון הרע spies in schools helping them out with their choosing process, and the poor innocent kids who need camp the most can’t even get accepted in camps because the camp business owner does not want to bother with a kid that a needs a little more attention.

    The issue of all the issues is elitism,
    It’s to much rooted in this town,
    Each fraction is thinking that they are the perfect ones.
    We are the real Ehrliche!
    We are the real Haluche yidden!
    We are the perfect balance of Torah and Gedulah!
    We are the high end!
    We are the cool ones!

    If we would just bring in simple feelings and connection to what and who we are,
    And what school is all about.
    We would be able to close all these selfish and egoistic schools.

  13. Not sure if anyone has mentioned bnos basya yet. They are currently in their second year and very matzliach with the girls. It’s a small school where each girl is given opportunity for individualism. Run by rabbi bender from far rockaway, check it out

  14. What I find interesting is that many people have terrible things to say about the schools and the people that run them. So why can’t at least one of these complainers open up the real school that won’t have any of those terrible things that they complain about. Then everybody will surely flock to this wonderful ideal school that has none of the terrible issues found in the other horrible schools. This school will have such demand from parents ,that it won’t even require fundraising .

  15. It is not true that you do not need a brand name to open a school. There is some sort of bully system that knocks out the new schools and they can’t thrive.
    There are people that have tried to start high schools. And had to close down. The issue is not simple. And more than skin deep.
    It is very sad.

    • This is nonsense. In the last 20 years, every high school that started was swamped with applicants . None closed down . I think maybe about 25 years ago one closed down for lack of money.

      Yes it’s true if you open up in LAKEWOOD and say you will accept everybody from more modern to very sheltered yeshivush type of families ,then many people will not send to you because they want their girls or boys with similar types of families. But that is not a bully system perpetuated by the schools. That is the Lakewood mentality. People don’t want their children exposed to kids who are more exposed to outside influences like movies ,internet goyish music , fancy vacations , etc. You can disagree and say that there is nothing wrong with exposure to the world and that is your right to take such a position ,but the sheltered parents have a right to take a different position if they so choose .

      • R; Chaim you are wrong. I was involved in opening a high school which didnt even get off the ground because the only applicants were girls who failed through school. While we would have been happy to take those, we needed some stronger kids to balance out the class, and unfortunately, we had to shelve our dream.

        • exactly! you can’t have ketores without 11 spices, and the current system concentrates the kinnamon into their schools and neglects the other 10. Just as possul as pure chelbono!

      • This is very true. I had to pull my son out of his school when I found out a boy in his classes father occasionally wears blue shirts on Sunday. Because his family was part of the “Elite” the school wouldn’t say anything. It’s very sad as my son loved the school & his Rebbe.

        • Dumb on your part not to have researched more thoroughly! I know him, he is straight white shirt. Wears blue shirt pajamas when he takes his weekly Sunday afternoon nap

        • are you being sarcastic? this being Lakewood, I can’t tell if you are serious. If you are serious, I would say that you’re responsible for the churban, CV”S.

  16. As someone who actually started a school and was pushed out of it a few years later because I wasn’t being selective enough and keeping it true to its roots and that in essence I wasn’t frum enough, all I can tell you is that is a cutthroat business with little to zero appreciation and can often lead to being stabbed in the back if you are a decent and kind person. In order to survive you need to run a school like a fascist and cold hearted militant in order to stamp out parental rebellions, teacher insurrection, while at the same time flatter the donors and rabbonim. You need to run in like the mafia- get the protection from the big wigs and crush the detractors all while presenting yourself like an altruistic expert mechanech who is dedicated to community service 100 percent lishma. That is the long term recipe for success for any new school that wants to open up and remain open and fully staffed without changing school names and principals every 2 years

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