Reader-submitted: Our Rabbeim aren’t being taken care of

Dear readers, It may see odd to bring up an issue without presenting a solution along with it, but perhaps someone reading this can do something about it.

To put it simply, our children’s Rabbeim are not being taken care of.

Why is it that someone in Chinuch for over 20 years, dedicating his days and nights infusing our children with Yiddishkeit, should need to have class parents collect for him to cover the basic necessities? And when it comes to marrying off a child, the burden is magnified that much more.

I remember hearing about a Chasunah fund a while back, but obviously this isn’t cutting it. These Klei Kodesh are work very difficult jobs around the clock, and yet they are living in poverty. I just don’t feel they are given the proper Kavod.

I myself work two jobs to cover the bills, so I’m not in the position to just write out a check, but something needs to be done – we can’t expect them to be there for us 24-hours a day, and not make sure they have what they need in a Kavodig manner. I’m not saying we need to make sure they drive the fanciest cars and live in a mansion, but it’s incumbent upon us to ensure they can live with dignity and not have to worry about their basic needs.

Thank you.

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  1. This is a vicious cycle. Many people expect the schools to give large tuition breaks, even those that seem to live a comfortable life. People cry poor to the school, yet check out their children’s wardrobes or grocery carts! Of course we have to be Dan lkaf zchus, maybe grandparents buy clothes etc but the first thing people cut is tuition! (If you are not one of those, don’t write back how untrue this is ;)).

  2. If we are going to give rabaim/teschers special treatment then where does it stop. Roshey yeshiva, roshey kollel,tutors,lecturers, avreichim seforim editors,
    Granted being a rebee is very noble but its still a job. most rebbeim/teachers in such a situation surly get benefits to a large degree and also get parsonage.which actually makes them ahead of many who have regular jobs who dont qualify for benefits.
    We all have expenses and have to make yomtov, shabbos, insurance,bar mitzvas Kids to marry off etc. Everyone is in the same boat.

  3. the letter writer says something has to be done, but he himself does not have the funds to do it. That’s where he hits it on the nail – neither do many others (myself included). There are so many needs nowadays, collectors and calls and letters and ads about people who need funds, and not enough funds to cover them. I wish I had more to give, but I’m not making ends meet myself. It’s easy to write a letter saying something needs to be done; but much harder to actually find the funding to do it.

  4. If only my son had a rebbe….. he wasn’t accepted to any mesivta here in town. I’m living here 25 yrs!!! Perhaps address the fact that there so many mesivtahs here in Lakewood but are all looking for the top bochur!! Any child who is a weak student doesn’t deserve to learn Torah in a Yeshiva? Why do I feel like I’m living in Siberia???

  5. Maybe all those asking for tuition breaks should be required to give all their tzedaka/maaser to their kids school- filling the gap between what they are paying and what they are supposed to pay, before giving anyone else tzedaka.

    • There are people who give all their maaser for tuition and still can’t cover it. But, people should know that if you can’t pay your own children tuition you should not be paying somebody else

  6. I respect all Rabbeim a lot!

    Any person going into Klei Kodesh or becoming a Rebbi, should have the understanding that it comes with lots of financial Mesiras Nefesh to help our kid. They will not be able to live and look etc like “everyone else”.

    Why is it that many Rabbeim and people in Klei Kodesh do and look just like a “working person”? They drive newer cars, entire family (from top to bottom) dress beautifully with all kids matching, have decent housing, buy tons of food and much more…

    My wife and I work full time and are barely making it… We are not eligible for any assistance. My wife runs out to every clothing/shoe sale around town, because we cant afford to pay “full price”.

    Of course, Rabbeim families that are really living be’dachkus should be helped out by others (for picking a job that doesn’t pay much to help our kids).

    I hope you get the point I’m trying to bring out!

  7. I think incumbent upon all those people making these real fancy chasunas and have loads of money to pitch in big time to help rabeim and other aneeim. I was at several chasunas here in Lakewood and those simchos were ostentatious . I have no problem with them doing this if only they would give their share of maaser. I know from several mosdos and organizations that many of these kind of people do not give their share. I don’t mean everyone, of course there are some that do but many don’t. They think if they give some money already they are yotzai, but in reality they should be doing more.. Let each one of them give an extra ten thousand dollars the night of the chasuna if they are spending over $ 30,000.- on the chasuna.

    • @BOBBYC How can you possibly know, and how could ANYONE know, that “many of these kind of people do not give their share”? What yucky lashon hara.
      Literally every wealthy family I know are major baalei tzedakah. What a crazy thing to say when you have no idea what goes on behind closed doors and how much people give privately. I myself have RECEIVED privately so I know with certainty it happens.

      To the letter writer- of course something needs to be down. But like others pointed out, its a vicious cycle with nobody being able to afford tuition. We are not a wealthy community. I do think people need to prioritize tuition and if they cannot pay full tuition they should cut down on any frivolous expenses. Yes, poor people deserve to feel normal too, but not at the expense of the rebbeim . We are paying full tuition for my kids and haven’t been on an overnight trip in five years, live in a basement apartment, etc.

  8. As a wife of a rebbi, yes, I can attest to the struggle. Especially in the summer when there is no paycheck. However, my sbilings, who’s husbands have office jobs are also struggling tremendously. We don’t expect it to be the community’s achrayus. We didn’t go in to this “business” for the money. It was to give over the Torah to our yiddishe kinderlach.
    Having money or not, does NOT exempt anyone from showing hakaras hatov though. It doesn’t have to wait until the designated times of “thanking” like Chanukah and Purim. It can be on the first night of school, erev shabbos or yom tov, or any other rainy day that you want to lift the spirits and give chizuk. It can be a beautifully written note, a short phone call, a thank you to the wife, a compliment to the shver. These goes a long way and gives tremendous chizuk to the rebbi and ultimately, it will be your child reaping the benefits.

  9. Yes, the Rebbes are livingg b’dachkus, but not any worse than the average working guy. In fact, The geshikteh Rebbes are doing better than avg. They teach English in the afternoon amd tutor at night. Theyre also off Yom Tov, and Isru Chag, Purim, Shushan Purim, half-day every Taanis and 11 weeks in the summer. Not too shabby. If I wouldnt have ADHD, I would be a Rebbe myself.

  10. Being a rebbe takes the energy of a few jobs combined. It is extremely draining.

    I understand if someone says they don’t have enough money to pay their rebbe a larger salary but to start comparing to other jobs? You would never want a surgeon operating on you if you knew he Was say a car service driver to cover his bills and he’s tired in the operating room! You want the best and you’ll pay the most. Rebbeim are more than surgeons!

    The new car myth. Today driving a car in Lakewood is a necessity for many. Escoecially a rebbe. I used to drive a beat up car and the amount of money and time I spent at the shop made it not worthwhile. Yesterday’s luxuries are today’s necessities.

  11. You answered your own question. You stated you are working 2 jobs to cover your bills, and that is the case for probably 80% of Balei Batim just making ends meet or not making ends meet. I don’t see any difference in lifestyle of Klei Kodesh and most Balei Batim. In some ways they receive more than the struggling working person.

  12. This problem exists by girls school teachers also. If all the tzedokoh that is being given in Lakewood would stay in town to he used for local chinuch ,it would be avoid start. Unfortunately ,the majority of our tzedokoh money is going to,put of town causes. Those causes are surely worthy, but we are not being machshiv our local mechanchim and Mechanchos.

  13. I agree with chaim above. Also there is a concept called supply and demand and that will also decide how much people get paid as long as there are Rebbeim willing to work and begging to work for these amounts that is all they will pay. Go look at some out-of-town places I’m pretty sure you’ll notice rebbeim are still not making a lot but they’re making more it’s just less people trying to get the same few rebbi jobs

  14. “They drive Fancy cars” – that’s is a myth. You can lease a 2017 camry for $200 a month (which is what most of lkwd does) and its much cheaper than having a beat up car and dumping in $500 in repairs every month.

    Leasing used to be for rich people. Today it’s for poor people.

  15. Did it ever occur to the residents of this town that instead of adopting a Kolel in Israel, we should be adopting Yeshivas here in our own town for the specific purpose of paying the Rabeim on time. An oversight committee of non-parents would monitor the finances of a yeshiva and arrange for Rebeim and Morohs to be paid on time, thus giving the school some percentage of the ‘adoption’ funds raised as a reward. As long as A rebee or Morah in our town is paid late it is not correct to be funding schools elsewhere.


  16. I am so happy more people realize that the “new fancy car” idea is bogus! leasing IS the cheaper and more efficient way of transport. Having a beat up car which ends up in the shop once every 2-3 months amounts to much more lost wages.
    Furthermore, we have to understand that our financial classes (low, middle, high…) is defined by fiscal social standards. The rest of the country does not count tuition as a necessary expense. Therefore, a family of 4 can live extremely well on $150k while the same family of 4 in the frum world is paying to stay just broke and not fall in to poverty. Tuition is the first to be cut because, whether we like it or not, it is the extra expense as we are forced to define it. Forget about automatically higher real estate values, yom tov… and quite honestly, how are those learning full time with 4-5 kids to support paying tuition? maybe that’s what needs to be addressed for our rebeim to be taken care of? At the end of the day, I am proud of our system privileged to be struggling to sustain it. But the answer is NOT to hound those with “new fancy cars” and a “full shopping cart.”

  17. If we would all give our maaser to yeshivos this problem would resolve itself. Unfortunately it’s not cool to give money to schools so many give priority to other funds. There is enough maaser funds in the community to support the local mosdos.
    We wil know we have gotten somewhere when our yeshiva campaigns are as successful as those for hatzolah etc.
    Any volunteers to implement this?

  18. I don’t see anyone suggesting that the school owners cough up more money to the Rebbeim. Are they really paying as much of their revenue as they can to the Rebbeim or do they keep it for themselves or for other unnecessary purchases(like a fund for a newly upgraded building)..?

  19. Wow, so many different good points in the comments.

    The one that stuck out was from the Rebbi’s Wife. The fact is that people who go into chinuch know, or should know what their pay will be. Many do not consider going into chinuch because of this.

    This Rebbi and wife have the correct attitude of someone in chinuch. I also believe that if you don’t have that attitude, you shouldn’t be in chinuch.

    There were other comments that also touched on the strain that working people have in paying tuition. Those comments were also correct. A friend of mine, who has his own business and works extremely hard, recently told me he pays $60k per year in tuition. This person lives very tight, no extras, and if you would meet him, you would think he is not successful financially,due to his lifestyle, yet he pays $60k per year (after tax) on tuitions. For most people, tuitions are by far, their largest expense, far exceeding their mortgage.

    I always give my children’s rabbieim and teachers a generous gift on Channukah and Purim More often than not, I feel uncomfortable pulling up to the home, which is much newer and larger then mine, and dropping off the money. I always convince myself that the home was from one time help, and the rabbeim and teachers are in greater need then myself, and that is how I justify it, but I still question myself each year, perhaps that is my own shortcoming.

    I do take issue with the person who claimed that working as a Rebbi is harder than other work. I personally work on average more than 14 hours a day. I have not taken a day off other then Yom Tov (not including chil hamoed) for 3 years. This year, I took a 1 week vacation in the summer, and it is unbelievable how much of a difference time off can make, so to suggest that working for 6 hours a day, while getting many days off, is harder, is extremely disengenuous. I am not alone, I work in an industrial park, and there are very few people who only work 8 hours a day.

    Yes, being a Rebbi is stressful, so is having a business, and trying to keep your customers happy, marketing and hoping orders will come in, and purchasing, bookkeeping, taxes etc.

    Working for someone else isn’t a picnic either, been there, done that.

    The other aspect of this is how the schools provide tuition breaks. In out of town schools, where they are run by a board of directors, the vetting and decisions are extremely thorough. It takes into account your home, construction, cars, vacation, camp etc.

    I have always paid full tuition B”H I am able to do that. But for me, personally, it can be a little discouraging when you see others, who you know are not paying full tuition, living a much higher lifestyle than myself.I am sure there are others who feel the same.

    Another result of schools being privately owned, is that their is no over site on how the budget is spent. Many owners of these schools view the building as a real estate investment, and dump all available budget into it, financing building upgrades with large mortgages that will need large tuition inflows in order to cover it.

    Yes schools need buildings, but there are many upgrades that are unnecessary that are financed and require monthly payments to service the debt.
    Don’t let the name on the buildings full you, it is rare that a building is fully paid for from donations alone.

    I don’t blame the owners of the schools, it is their schools and yeshivos, they can run it however they want. I certainly have no interest in opening a school. However, it can cause a donor to think twice before writing out a check.

    • It is irrelevant who works more hours than who. Or who lives in a bigger house than who. (I think you are mistaken when you say most rabbeim are living it up, but that is personal opinion that makes no difference). The one BIG difference between someone working in a business and a rebbi is that the rebbi is taking care of YOUR child. You are entrusting your son and expecting his rebbi to teach him how to daven, learn, shteig, act with derech eretz, do mitzvos, overcome challenges and treating him as if your son is his own child.
      That has no price tag. It definitely deserves tremendous hakaras hatov.

      Please have your children’s rebbei in your tefillos – that he and his family should be healthy, happy and content so that YOUR child can have a most fulfilling year.

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