Mid-Winter: Some Schools take the ‘No Florida’ Policy up a Notch

Many schools – particularly in Lakewood – don’t allow students to vacation in Florida for mid-winter break.

But there are always those kids who come back after the extended weekend with a tan – and it didn’t come from sitting outside in the 25 degree Lakewood weather.

TLS has learned that in an effort to crack down further, some local schools are making strict policies to ensure children adhere to school policy, using various methods.

Some parents tell TLS their children’s schools made children sign papers they acknowledge they’ll be suspended if they’re caught going to Florida, while other schools are making both students and parents detail and sign where they spent their mid-winter break.

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88 COMMENTS

  1. There have and always will be those that break the rules. The schools need to make rules but to have the parents and students sign for it is like you said taking a bit further. Possibly a bit too far.

  2. So dont give off so many days, or provide entertainment options, or take a chill pill and let people live.

    Also, with all the restrictions the schools put in place, can they explain why they have a huge gap inbetween school and camp and camp and school. What on earth do they expect children/parents/working parents to do??

  3. So why against the whole FL ? Bec it’s warm? So is LA and Cancun. One is able to go to FL and have a very nice kosher time. One can go to Lakewood and have a not such a kosher time. It’s not about FL. Stop discriminating against the poor state which rebbes and rabonim have gone to for years. It’s about what you do , how you do it. Not necessarily about where you go.

  4. The price to vacation in Florida is more reasonable so this rule basically affects the middle class. The wealthy won’t be affected. They’ll fly all over the world.

  5. It’s none of the schools business where parents decide to take there kids. The schools need to mind their own business. Some of the Hanalya have no issues going to Florida of they can get a nice donation. Lakewood has bigger problems to deal with. Some places in Florida might be more modest then lakewood. ????

  6. It’s a big country with loads of schools. If you don’t want to send your kids to a school that has these restrictions go elsewhere, never understand why people are complaining about how “crazy” and “unreasonable” all the regulations are, nobody is forcing you to send your kids there.

    • It’s a big country with loads of big donors. No one is forcing the yeshivas to take money from the ones who go to Florida, California (cancun is absolutely treif-agreed) If going to these destinations is so bad, then taking money from such people is Mitzvah through an aveira. there are plenty of avreichim who can fill the gap.

      why does it always seem that these edicts are put out against the weakest among us who have no choice but to comply.

      This town is all about appearances…that’s it! it scares me, but there are many people who put on a good show but are rotting inside from all this insanity. don’t think the ones who look the part aren’t slowly being disenfranchised with how Lakewood functions.

      No one is forcing us to be here…no one is forcing Lakewood to live off the backs of treif floridians

      • ‘this town is all about appearances’
        What a foul-mouthed disgusting thing to say!
        I don’t know where you hang around, but I don’t see such people. Maybe you are seeing yourself in others. Most people that I know live quiet lives, trying to serve Hashem as much as possible

  7. Let the kids breath!

    Why is there so much pressure in the boys ( and girls ) in lakewood?

    Schools should be taking kids on trips instead of forcing them to learn on very high levels. That isn’t chinuch

    Kids need to be normal healthy children not pressurized to fit the heads of the school!

  8. It’s a little too late for this. Many parents have already planned weeks in advance and no one is canceling their family trip now! and besides, this midwinter break it’s gonna be in the 60s at most!! No one is coming back tanned and I don’t believe the beach or hotel pool will have the pritzus that is usually found there. so what’s so Terrible?! some ritas, maybe some park, pizza eateries, whale shows perhaps! not sure why this is bad!!!!!!

  9. As a parent who pays full tuition Plus nice donations by dinners I’m not sure why the schools are not allowing my family and I to enjoy some time at my Florida home.
    I don’t begin to understand the issue. Can someone please explain. Why can’t a children enjoy family time and have a little break

      • I love how you start off “as a parent who pays full tuition plus a nice donation by the dinner” – I cant stop laughing!!!! Is this the reason why the school should let you go. But if you were a person who doesn’t pay full tuition and doesn’t give a dinner donation than the school has a right not to let you go!! HA HA HA HA – KEEP YOUR MONEY!!!!

  10. We stay home! Visit a local pizza shop or ice cream store! What’s the NEED to fly somewhere. It really is out if hand. This goes without saying that those that go away on vacation make sure their tuition is paid up!!!!

  11. Staff from my son’s Yeshiva went to Florida to spy on which families went. When I asked a staff member how they could go after banning it they replied,”For me, going is a Mitzvah.”

  12. Agreed the need to fly is out of control. It’s not about giving the kids a break, it’s the fact that this mass Exodus has become a STAnDARD practice. I’m finding it unbelievable how everyone is so ok with this.

  13. I never went to Florida and we never did anything special on winter vacation. But, if schools don’t want kids to go to Florida, maybe they shouldn’t have mid winter vacation, orlet parents know their school policy before they enroll their kids in their school, not just inform them when they already made plans

  14. @bd most people use points. And you can’t do that with tuition.

    And hey! Wasn’t there a weekend for very important school administrators in FL a few weeks ago? And that’s fine but we can’t go to get some warmer air ?

    And FYI Orlando can be a very kosher trip in the winter. It’s not so hot. Hardly any Prizus. If you want it you can find it in your pocket. Don’t need FL for that. They set up shuls and Minyen everywhere. It’s a nice kosher get away for a family. No difference then going to the poconos in the summer which schools don’t care about.

    Get a life.

    It’s not about FL. It’s miss guided.

  15. Wow, free educational advice from the commentators above. I wonder why nobody is seeking their counsel. Yeshivas and school are from the most inspirational places around here. Let’s not be stupid. These rules right and sensible.

  16. I pay full tuition. I give substantial donations to my children schools. I own two homes in Florida. I would love to go down there for the weekend with my kids but will not because my children’s school forbid it.

    That out of the way, let me say this: I am 100 percent fine with the rule. What have we come to that we need this? We all act (me included) that one of the major requirements in life is to do all these luxuries. A local trip can be a break as well. And cant we at least consider that we live in a town that still has some people that sacrifice for Torah and we are not sensitive at all when we live and travel and vacation all luxuriously. I’m not a tzadik (I’m taking my kids skiing on a day trip) but if the school makes a rule (presumably because of jealousy) we cant listen?!? The lifestyle here is nuts. And I’m not saying it because I cant keep up (I can) it’s just that to me, the tafkid of the average jew in Lakewood is to make as much money as he can. No wonder Reb Shmuel has been quoted as saying luxury lifestyle in Lakewood is a bigger problem than smartphones.

    • Gosh! Don’t preach. You sound ridiculous. It doesn’t make you less of a hypocrite if you admit your not better. Just stop your making people nauseated.

  17. I think it should be also that parents should not go away without their kids. I work in a classroom the amount of anxiety that goes on when the parents are away is not fair to the kids and their teachers. Until your kids are old enough to be more relaxed x vacation unless they go along. Thank you!

  18. After reading some of the comments here I now understand why schools are so selective in their acceptance process. Please downsave your pearls of wisdom and bring it with you to the Rav/Aslken/social worker or whoever you go to cry to next time you get rejection from a Mossad. I’m sure they’d love to see true you.

  19. No one posted yet which schools are cracking down. I didn’t hear anything from my kids’ 4 schools (elementary boys & girls. High school boys & girls). Are they waiting for the last minute?

  20. It is so nuts that I know somone who has her parents (the grandparents of her kids) living in Florida and the school will not make an exception for them to visit her parents. In addition, why is it specifically about this that they make a tumult when there is so much other out of control gashmiyis in Lakewood. I go down there, and there are ways around the pritzus.

    • @ Chaim – I’m not branding all the people who go down to Florida, but grandparents or not, schools have to stick to their rules, and I’m glad you respect that. The same way schools asked people who traveled to Florida during Covid to quarantine on their way home no matter why they went…
      Enjoy your mid-winter and much Nachas from your Tzadikim.

  21. Yea yea. The only kids who will get punished are the regular kids. Kids of big donors will get away with it. Kids who’s parents are influential will get away with it, etc… things haven’t changed…

  22. And then we wonder why there are dumpster fires in westgate every other night. Boredom is the worst thing for kids. Why are schools giving off midwinter if they dont want the kids to do anything fun? What is asur about florida? La is ok? Cancun is ok? Please. The schools dont want other kids jealous? Thats part of life. There is always going to be ppl that have more then you, live in a bigger house then you drive a fancier car then you. Etc etc…… do the schools tell us what car to lease? How many sq ft our house has to be? If we can wear designer clothing shoes etc? this is ridiculous. Please stop. Just stop. We need mashiach.

  23. This is not the Lakewood I grew up in. When I went to school and we had summer afternoon trips in the Chedder, we went one day to an antique car museum. the bus was late and one of the kids quipped” Hey why do we need to go to a museum, we can see antique cars right here in the Yeshiva parking lot!”( in those days the chedder was in the legion building).
    You dont have to drive a klunker, but the lifestyle must be toned down, even though you can afford it. This is not how Hashem wants to see the generation that Mashiach is arriving to. Face it, he’s coming real soon, get ready, dont be in Florida ( or the Bahamas) when he arrives to take us to EY.

  24. It’s 1 thing if parents choose to vacation with their children in Florida or whereve fullyknowing if they’re behind on their tuition payments. It’s quite another thing if they’re not in arrears and being told traveling to Florida is assur. Suppose they families in Florida. Too much overreach from the yeshiva’s.
    2)To Frumyid. You sound holier than thou and are lacking in tzniut. Who cares how many homes you have in Florida or your sizable donations?
    3)Anyway. Make the most of mid-winter break.

  25. @frum yid. Thank you for your post.. easier to accept from someone who can, but doesn’t because your priorities are not skewed. May you have much brocha and nachas.

  26. what is next. should we start rejecting a shidduch because the granparents are from florida. all this paronoia is where our schools are heading. oh maybe they dont like the fact that florida is not on the covid control band wagon. shy dont we work on getting rid of the extremists in our school system who assured this to begin with

  27. One can find Ruchniyos or Tumah everywhere, But the Levels are not the same. In Florida besides from people being very nervous, no one says hello, no one will smile back etc (maybe from the heat & humidity or high cost of living) Whenever I go I feel epis a very big Tumah there.
    My Ruv said after he came back from California from a Simcha that he felt epis a very big Tumah in CA, he couldn’t wait to leave, and the ruv said that in Europe the Divrei Chaim of Sanz went to Auschpetzeen (which later became Auschwitz) he had to leave as he said his feet were burning him.
    Over 30 years ago I used go with the kids to Miami Beach ,Downtown (South Beach) was mostly vacant full of drugs and crime; shortly after It was rebuilt with Billions of dollars of which the worst from all over the world go there, it has the worst bars, clubs and hotels.
    And Orlando/Disney I find to be very expensive and stupid, I don’t enjoy it at all.

  28. I have never read such silliness as here. I have kids in four diff schools. None are doing this. Wasn’t even a discussion in three. My girls hs doesn’t let Florida or any flying without family. It’s not Florida per se. it’s what midwinter has come to signify.

  29. Mutty, You sound like you know all these places very well, and at the same time you can sense the tumah like the heiliger Divrei Chaim. I guess you must be the Yisro type.

  30. The real Florida craze is because everyone just wants to run away from Lakewood !! Whats so special about Florida!! Theme parks ? is 2/3 waiting in lines 1/3 actually having fun!
    The planes ? A nightmare with a jewish family ( one of the kids is sure to take off their masks) Staying home is way more relaxing!! (Aside from all the Haskafic issues)

  31. Another Gashmius badge of honor. Be a Jew for God’s sake. Like you have nothing else to be concerned about? May Hashem open your eyes, hearts and minds.

  32. I think that while it would be in keeping with a Torahdik lifestyle to tone down much of the gashmius prevalent in our community, after reading the 35 comments above I think it would serve the students better if the schools focused more on education! Teaching students how to write an English sentence will serve them better than restricting their vacations. I am appalled at the illiteracy evident here and shudder to think how the next generation will function in the outside world. Not everyone has (or will have) the means to invest in real estate or start their own business, where perhaps one can avoid knowing proper English! I know we’re in galus, but until Moshiach comes all would do well to learn the language ????

    • You couldn’t have said it better.
      We can also be focusing on core issues that are deeply imbedded in our community. Our education should reflect the importance of middos, humility, and living life of purpose.

  33. I know someone who uses only points for his airfare and hotel. If he takes his family, the kids are all supervised so what can be wrong? It’s cheaper for him than doing something here locally and it’s good family time. I don’t see what’s wrong. They’re not going mixed swimming chas vesholom.

  34. This is so ludicrous. How dare anyone tell a parent that they can not take their child out of school. The school, the teachers and the Rabbis should not have a say in when or if a child should be able to take a day off from school. That is the choose of the parent. I did it when my children were in school and each one now is a professional, with college degrees. If fact, it probably did them a world of good, being able to see how others lived their lives outside of Lakewood.

    • The institution has the right to say “if u do such and such you won’t be accepted into/back into our institution.” similar to drugs in professional sports. they’re legal outside the league, but u cannot stay in the league if u use them. A company/school can make up whatever rules they want. you dont like em, dont use their services. IT IS THE CHOICE OF THE PARENT-to send to the school. AND THE SCHOOL can choose to do whatever they want to.
      pls respond whether you agree or not.

      • I disagree. The only institution we all willfully belong to is ‘Yiddishkeit”. The rest we are basically forced into. Schoolmasters have institutionalized new rules that we didn’t want to buy into. There aren’t many choices of schools where these undesired rules are not implemented. With the sports, the person is willfully buying into exactly that institution. So it’s very different.

        • That’s as far as the analogy goes. But that being said, I’m not sure of my position on the actual issue. I don’t run a school. I don’t know what they observed which made them come to this. There very well may be a good reason.

  35. I’m not sure what the rule is in the schools that this is referring to, but in the high school i teach in (which is not in Lakewood) the rule is that the girls are not allowed to travel to “miami-like” destinations without their parents- which, in my opinion is perfectly reasonable. Maybe there is some information missing here

  36. I think its the best thing for a family to go on vacation as the kids are with their parents. Do you honestly think there are no local attractions that kids will end up going to (without their parents) that are more kosher?

    • That’s exactly what the schools want to know! Why are you sending us your kids if you are obviously looking for something else?! Hello? Seichel, anyone?

  37. I was just in Florida visiting my parents and I will tell you that 100% our children should not be going there for midwinter. There is preitsus everywhere- and I spent most of my time in a retirement community!!!

  38. Are meragleem stationed in Florida to report back to Lakewood yeshiva’s that forbade traveling to Florida for mid-winter recess?

  39. You couldn’t have said it better.
    We can also be focusing on core issues that are deeply imbedded in our community. Our education should reflect the importance of middos, humility, and living life of purpose.

  40. See! You explained the problem.
    Your children aren’t Bnei Torah, they aren’t learning. They are ‘professionals with college degrees’.
    Our schools want to teach our children not to become ‘professionals with college degrees’, as was the dream of Reb Aaron

  41. Of course children shouldn’t be going to Florida!
    They have a Republican governor, who is a bad hashpa’ah on our children. We should stay in NJ, where our governor is a Democrat, and isn’t one of those nutty Republicans.

  42. serious question. who are these people to decide what families do out of school. have people lost their minds?? ya’ll wondering the issues with Judaism, its not tznius problems or lack of learning, its this. this right here.

  43. LETS NOT FORGET WHAT WE HAVE IN LAKEWOOD. There are many people who come from all around the world, just to see Lkwd. YES THIS IS THEIR MIDWINTER RETREAT. Their not coming for the food and their not coming for the Blueclaws stadium, some dont even have family here. So why do they come??? The answer is they want to see what a Torah based community looks like. They want to see how so many frum people spend their day toiling over Abayei and Rava. There are rich yidden from Panama who spend midwinter in Lakewood. There are post seminary girls that sit in their cars to watch how Bnei Torah flock the streets before seder starts. The list can go on & on. We in lakewood have so much more to appreciate that xe dont realize about. No need for Florida, lets just acknoledge how much we got here in LAKEWOOD.

  44. another thing lakewood school can control
    how about what type of tissue i need to blow my nose with
    its all to make us the same cookie cutter – uggh
    so nobody will b jealous that he friend has more
    thats the way we grew up some had more than others and we were taught to b happy those days are gone so now no-one is happy
    lets start being and living real were parents can choose what they want for the children and dont tell me its not the RUACH of the school

  45. The contraction of “they are” is spelled “they’re.” The possessive pronoun meaning “belonging to them” is spelled “their.”
    Thank you.

  46. Obviously this rule is not in my childrens regular mainstream girls elementary… Daughter just came home and told me 1/3 of her class was either out today or left early for Florida or Arizona… so not only are they going on midwinter they are actually missing class time as well.

  47. I don’t believe in all or nothing. I believe families should spend quality time together in a changed location from time to time. yet this running away winter vacation has gotten way outta control.
    I think schools should be a accommodating yet not to the full degree. give a short midwinter break with a rule that every child has two opportunities throughout elementary school to have an extended vacation. whether its midwinter break, Pesach/succos in ey… and there should be consenquences for those who abuse their rights. (preferably on the parent, not the children who get shlepped into this -some of them unwillingly). but to give a complete no (so late in the year!!)is just making everyone feel untrusted, and not respected for their choices.

  48. I’m involved in the Lakewood mosdos scene for 12 years, I’ve BH been instrumental in pushing many children into solid schools. However these comments are very telling that the hanhala of these mosdos are so right! Why do you cry and turn over the world when you rejected, if you have no plan on working with the schools atmosphere and rules. Why isn’t this clear to us? And I see why they tell me that ppl could promise to comply till tomorrow and then spit the school in the face, like some are doing here! If you don’t like they’re rules then why did you terrorise the school to squeeze you in! Go somewhere else!

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