Schools: How We Got To This Point

bus 3 tlsBy Yisroel Lev. I am writing in regard to a recent Jewish magazine article titled, “It’s Almost September, Is Your Child Placed?” I was quite stunned reading this article. Some of the quotes from individuals in Chinuch were so appalling, that it is no wonder the crisis has reached such epic proportions. The article starts with a short story about a 14-year-old girl, Chani, who is not in a school. She watches the other girls wait at the bus stop for school, and she is sobbing, having no school to attend. This scene is repeated annually in the community which I live in. While I myself have not been the subject of the intense humiliation and stress that has become par for the course when it comes to applying for admission, I have seen the effect that the process has wrought on good people, and I cannot remain silent in the face of an article that seems to personify many of the reasons why a full blown crisis has developed.

I will begin by simply quoting verbatim from the article. It states:  “as one principal explains etc, what it ultimately comes down to is, if they’re not going to be an asset to the name of our school, we deny the application in favor of another that will.”

This statement, and everything it stands for, is what has made the situation for what it is. Why did this principal choose chinuch for herself as an occupation? She seems much more well suited for the private sector. At the risk of sounding naïve, I propose that the fundamental problem that exists ,is that a growing percentage of people who are opening and running schools are not in sync with the time-tested criteria for becoming mechanchim ,and they are not just fundamentally different than the mechanchim of years ago, but also of the mechanchim of the not-so-distant past.

 A person who choose to enter chinuch in the past,did so because he or she wanted to make a profound difference, by establishing schools and teaching generations of talmidim and talmidos. One of the fundamental ingredients of those mechanchim was that they wanted to do something for “others”, and for “Hashem Yisbarach”, and they used their talents to that end. This deep desire of theirs manifested itself in two forms. First, they had Ahavas Hashem, and a burning desire to make the world, through their school and classroom, into a place that reflected that ideal. This by definition meant that they looked upon their endeavor of opening a school as an opportunity by which they could spread that passion with others.While this seems to be the given for opening a school that espouses a pure chinuch,we shall soon see that this approach should not be taken for granted.

Second, they had a desire to help their students, because they genuinely cared for them, and shepped nachas from all that they achieved.

It may be true that not all of our past mechanchim possessed these qualities, and that many wonderful educators today espouse similar qualities, that being said however, there are still too many people today that are entering chinuch and opening schools for the wrong reasons.

Over the last 20 years, there has developed a trend whereby the opening of a school is not primarily fueled by the deep desires listed above. It would rather seem that the impetus for opening the school was more similar to a person striving to establish a successful business venture. To be sure, the individuals don’t feel that the above mentioned qualities are not important in the institution they are establishing. Quite the contrary, they readily admit that these are a key ingredient that they will utilize in forming their successful, superior learning facility. The difference between the two approaches is seemingly nuanced at first. Both institutions incorporated a desire to produce quality students, and a deep desire to raise the bar of Jewish Education, thereby having a profound influence on the community. Both approaches are out to create an environment that fosters a lifestyle and learning environment that is most conducive for its mantra. However, in reality the two institutions were at their core created for very different reasons. The schools in the past were created for others, while the schools of today seem more and more to be created for themselves. Yes indeed, the school incorporated all the ideals in its planning for a successful school, but sadly, it is for the sake of creating a “successful school.” So in essence, even though both approaches utilize similar methods, in one institution it is built by its founders into the fabric, and in the other it is a tool to become more successful. This difference, while fundamentally huge intellectually, has also created much of the current crisis. In the schools of the not-so-distant past, a normal child was accepted almost everywhere, barring extreme circumstances, the reason being that the school was there to do a function, namely educate as many students as they could, thereby accomplishing its goal that many times over. The school of today, on the other hand, was seemingly established for creating a successful school as an end goal in itself, and therefore it stands to reason that every potential applicant must be screened, so that the school could skim the cream of the crop, and ascertain if this particular student will be an “asset to its name,” thereby perpetuating a successful franchise.

One obvious fall-out from the above scenario is that potential applicants, and by extension their families, are treated to grueling, and many times humiliating, processes. This is necessary, since it is most important that no student put so much as a blemish on the franchise that so much hard work has gone into establishing. Gone is considering what the applicant could gain by being a student in the school, and how much the educators and the school as a whole want to give of themselves and their talents to elevate as many future members of the frum Jewish communities. Another fallout is the harsh and humiliating methods that are becoming common to the experience. The schools of the past had standards by which they measured potential applicants, and those that were found lacking had a tough time getting admitted. However, since the school was primarily established to help others achieve their goals, therefore, in the process of informing an applicant and family that they were not being accepted, or that they were on a waiting list, the school did it with sensitivity and dignity, and they took an interest in the applicant, sometimes following up with suggestions and helpful tips. The school wanted to help the applicant, but it felt that it wouldn’t do so in this case; however, since the potential student showed up at their establishment, they would try to see what they could do to help them. Schools today are different in that in their need to make sure that their school stays a successful school in everyone’s mind, anything that it takes to make it happen, is allowed. This runs the gamut from excessive information gathering on applicant and family, and then humiliating families, talking disparagingly about them to others as if they are just commodities in some great bartering session.

This change in attitude and decorum came about as schools morphed into institutions that measured their success by how successful they were perceived to be. It was then that schools slowly stopped being concerned with how the applicant  and family were coping during the process. The schools that were established with the new goal (as well as older schools that changed their faces) were much more prone to not being as sensitive to people and less caring if in the process by which the cream floated to the top, there were side effects of hurt feelings, humiliation and much stress placed on entire families. In business, one does not worry about such things. The schools founders felt that the student and family would be more than understanding of the necessity of such a rigorous process in order to ensure the school’s continued success. It was for this very reason that the student, and by extension the student’s family, was applying to this school in the first place. It would stand to reason that if the harsh and rigorous process was credited with creating the environment of privledge that attracted the applicant in the first place, then the applicant would be more than happy to do their part, stress, lack of dignity, and humiliation notwithstanding, in order to ensure that the institution keep its name and standing intact.

I was appalled at the cavalier attitude of one former principal and educational consultant regarding the negative long-term consequences this process had on the applicant.  I quote verbatim from the article:

“And what about the trauma to the child resulting from the humiliation of missing the first days, weeks, or months of school? Mrs. G. [former principal] does not think that it is such a problem. In the long run, kids are resilient. If the child is well-adjusted, and there is nothing going on in other areas of the child’s life, there won’t be any long-term fall-out. It may be traumatic in the short run, but once the child is in school, the adjustment will be smooth.”

Words fail me when I read a quote like this from no less than a former principal and educational consultant. This perception that the child and family are resilient and there won’t be any fall-out is absolutely wrong and will in all probability harm the child in more ways than one. First and foremost, it is wishful thinking that humiliating a student by having them sit at home for days and weeks at a time, wondering what is wrong with them that they could not get into a school when all their friends managed to, will have no long-term consequences on their self-esteem and view of community responsibility. In all likelihood, they will develop a sense that they were, at the end of the day, just a piece of merchandise traded between school traders, not a person, but an item that comes across your computer screen during the course of a regular day of business. It is wishful thinking that this student won’t be deeply affected by this treatment. Worse than the injury to their self-esteem, is the possibility that this student, being exposed to such treatment  and seeing that in the community at large this is an acceptable form of treating another person, may internalize this behavior and one day treat others the same way. It is not just the recipient of this cruel treatment that is at risk of becoming like the ones that mistreated them; all of the children that are growing up in this environment are equally at risk. Our children are watching, and by osmosis they are absorbing this attitude and way of life. All the mussar shmoozin about Bein Adam L’chaveiro won’t help. They will have already internalized that this is not a problematic approach as long as it is done for the greater good.

We must all be aware that the way things are going cannot continue. It is contrary to the core principles of Chinuch, and if we let it go on by saying “what can we do…I don’t run a school..who would listen to me etc.,” we are letting our children absorb and become like this with others, and we won’t be able to stop it or keep it in check. Even people that are not concerned about the effects have a vested interest in speaking out about these unacceptable practices. Because even if one’s own children and family were not subject to intense pain and shame in the process of gaining admission to a school, what’s to say that one day the system, if it is left standing, won’t inflict its heartache on an individual and family that one cares deeply for. It could be a sibling, relative, close friend, or one day one’s own grandchild.

The reason one should speak out and let it be known that they feel that a terrible wrong is being done, is so that we should all not stand by and watch people be shamed and mistreated. If that’s not enough of a reason, then let us speak up so that our children don’t grow up to emulate this sort of behavior. And if this is still not enough of a reason to speak up, let us do so for our own selfish interests. Because even if we pat ourselves on the back and tell ourselves that it only happens to people who are not like me, one day the fact that we kept quiet might come back and bite us when it affects someone we care about. We can stop all this by caring about other people and realizing that this has gone way too far, and the harm that is being caused by far eclipses the small good it supposedly accomplishes. We should hold our schools accountable and let them know that we don’t approve of the way the admission process is conducted. We should be aware of how this came to be through a fundamental shift in the way schools look at their function. We should encourage the individuals that have schools and those considering opening schools  to operate on the previous model of schools, and we should not be afraid that by speaking out we will be considered naïve, troublemakers, or wasters of time. Naïve we are not, since what is being done is clearly wrong, and people are being badly hurt. For the same reason,we won’t be considered troublemakers, as long as our protest is done respectfully, using logic to point out the side effects of our current approach.

Lastly, just as this problem did not start in a day, but rather was a build-up over a number of years, so too the solution will come about over a build-up of  time. But another Derech must be found that does not inflict all kinds of damages. Chazal said, “Lo Alecha Hamelacha L’gmor, “ yet we still cannot do nothing, as they also said “Lo Saamod Al Dam Re’acha,” don’t stand by as your brother’s blood is spilled.

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  1. I didn’t read the whole article because I don’t like reading long articles on a computer, but I get the gist of it. If more schools and principals would be like Rabbi Yaakov Bender of Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway NY, the chinuch world would be a far better place. His attitude is not what kind of asset a child will be for the school, but, what the school can do for the child. As far as I know, he takes in all kinds of children with all kinds of challenges, and B”H his school is a smashing success. I don’t lack of ability to pay full tuition is a hindrance either. More schools should be modeled after Darchei Torah.

  2. Ummmmmm.


    I’ve posted comments so many times on TLS on this subject, but I will try to take anothe two minutes from my job (to support my family) to respond.

    Did you know that this year Bais Faiga is not opening registration to ANYONE?????? That’s right, they are so full from siblings of current students, and children of staff, that they are not accepting any new families. Does that mean that Bais Faiga is terrible? That nebach they are not taking in those poor children who have no schools? NO, it means THEY HAVE NO ROOM.

    Our town is growing so fast, we need twenty new classrooms EVERY YEAR! What we need is more and more people who are willing to go through the effort and frustration of opening new schools every year.

    The more you disparage principals, the less likely they will want to take the step to open schools. When I began reading the articles about the school crisis, I thought about stepping up to the plate and openong another school which would take everyone. But then when I read about how terrible the school principals are, I decided that I won’t be one of those “evil” school principals. There will always be people that won’t be happy with me, so why bother going through it.

    Stop disparaging the schools. Obviously no one is perfect. But overall the school crisis in this town is because of the lack of space. We need MORE SCHOOLS and MORE PRINCIPALS.

    Instead of complaining, step up and open your own school. Open two. Give every one of your eidims and daughter-in-laws jobs for all I care. The more the merrier. As long as we continue to open enough schools every year to meet the needs of our exploding population.

    Thank you.

  3. I remember the Betzalel Hebrew Day School. Open to All with Great Rebbes and Moras. No Egos, just Ahavas Yisroel for a survivor’s child as well as the Rosh Yeshivas children,. Everyone with a Yiddisha Neshama; Equal

  4. A bunch of shtusim. Wild speculation without knowing what really goes on. To take one quote in some “jewish magazine” from an “unnamed principal” in an “unnamed school” and write a langa drosha bashing our mechanchim of the past “20years” is ludicrous and sounds like a person who has no clue about what goes on deciding to fix the world. The real problem is that with the spiritual dangers in the world. The old mehalach of putting everyone in one school is not the right thing anymore according to most gedolim. There are too many parents that don’t follow the guidelines of our gedolim and their children are not brought up with parents that respect the hanhoga that our gedolim have set up our communities to follow. Therefore it is every parents right to demand that the schools only accept students from homes that follow the derech that the school teaches. A student that comes home and sees the exact hanhoga that the school preached not to do, being done in their own home, will undoubtedly have a negative influence on the other students. The parents have a roght to demand that the school not accept anyone that doesn’t lead a life that follows what the school teaches. The schools are just following what the parents rightfully demand. The problem is exaggerated in a place like lakewood that all schools try to follow the mehalach hatorah that the founders of the town have set up. This becomes a problem when a lot of people that don’t lead the same lifestyle move to the town and don’t open any schools that follow their lifestyle. They then attempt to send their children to schools that don’t approve of their mehalach and understandably have a hard time. In other towns this problem isn’t so large because a family will have a choice of different types of schools to send. in lakewood all the schools try to follow the same mahalach.

  5. “There will always be people that won’t be happy with me, so why bother going through it”

    Thats the point the writer is making. It’s not about you, the principal. So what it people won’t be happy with you, you have to “step up to the plate”.
    That being said i am not taking any sides, and prefer to keep my opinion to myself until i know the absolute truth of what and why.

  6. Betzalel was open to everyone, but most people didn’t want to go there. Remember that?

    Everyone wanted to go to the “best” schools in town, and the “best” schools in town have no room. Remember that?


  7. To # 1 – Rabbi B. is opening a boys school in Lakewood this coming year and at a parents meeting he assured everyone that he would be a choosy Lakewood mosad and not take everyone

  8. As a parent who went through the pain of seeing my daughter wonder why she wasn’t in school I can tell you that the effects of rejection never go away. How will we justify humiliation, rejection and tears before Hashem. How do we beg Hashem for Moshiach and at the same time act so callously? I suppose we can rationalize any and all actions, but NOT in the world of truth.

    Oy Hashem, help us overcome ourselves!

  9. i dont agree with the no room garbage! bec at the end of the day everyone gets in to school some how!!! and (moderated) is acting like the newer schools oh what a sham i used to be the community school now even alamni kids cant get in woo to them…….!

  10. @ #4
    It’s not about me. But why should I go through all the effort, and then have myself disparaged on TLS. Why should I put my wife and kids through this?
    The more you make the schools and principals the villains, the less people will want such a job, and the harder it will be to solve the problem.

    The problem is the LACK OF SPACE. We need more classroom space. We need more principals. We need to encourage people to want to take such a job and not be worried that they will become villains if some parents are not happy with their decisions.

    And if you think you can do it better, why don’t you open a school, instead of blaming everyone else?

  11. Too many snow days.
    And Rabbi B, could afford to be there for all types a) it’s 5 towns and not Lakewood b) his school has $$$ coming out of it’s ears, which creates a total different ruach

  12. Just to tell you my experience. I had a daughter applying to primary last year. I spoke to two school principals who both told me that they would not be able to accept my daughter. Both were extremely nice and treated me like a mench. AND both (one from an older more established school and one a newer school) principals called me up in the summer to find out if my daughter had a place for the upcoming year. So much for the principals not caring about thise they are forced not to accept.

  13. I read the article in the magazine and it is awful what is happening with schools. It does not make sense that a family won’t get accepted because the husband is working or because he has a certain career. I respect those husbands that support their families AND learn.
    At my high school graduation, my principal said, “It is not the kind of girls that you accept that create the schools image, but the type of girls that graduate that do.”

  14. when it’s time (after 120) for these picky school administartions to apply to get into gan eden they may be told “you don’t meet our acceptance standards” either. Think about this!

  15. To the writer of this article, you have a lot of good points. But you say nothing new. There is a very large family living in my area and all the kids are not in school yet. They beg my kids to teach them what they are learning in thie classrooms. The mother cries to me all the time. So to the author, go visit this family and help them get in a scfhool. You seem to have a lot of time on your hands, go help them. Talk to all the schools for them, or go and teach them how to read and write. No one cares about this family and it disgusts me to no end.

  16. About two years ago I overheard a very modern man tell his Rav
    ” I can’t be seen at the hangouts, or I won’t be able to get my kids into schools.”

    The system works.

    Enough said.

  17. about 21 years ago I sent my daughter to betzalel hebrew day, my family is not that religious, but they took her with open arms never a problem. I wish things were the same it’s unfortuate that the schools now aren’t the same it would be so nice to see all the children of lakewood be entitled to the same respect that children and their familys had years ago.

  18. The article is correct. The fact that the town is growing very quickly is also correct. In many schools, the decision on who they take, has nothing to do with how the child will effect classmates, but has everything to do with how people will view the school.

    But unless you come up with a solution, these articles are pointless. There are too many Mosdos, with to many different owners/administrators to come up with a comprehensive solution.

  19. Mr. Brisk,
    ” The old mehalach of putting everyone in one school is not the right thing anymore according to most gedolim.”
    Please name a gadol that supports this position. The gedolim that I know of, including Rav Eliyashiv and other Israeli gedolem, dont stop screaming how terrible this crazy school system is.

  20. Brisk,

    Your logic has more holes than a sieve.
    You Claim,”Therefore it is every parents right to demand that the schools only accept students from homes that follow the derech that the school teaches” I assume that this “right” you are reffering to is a “god given right” otherwise Im not sure where you are getting it from(it is definitely not “dina dimalchusa”). Last time I checked there are NO “rights” anywhere in the Torah only obligations.
    Second,”A student that comes home and sees the exact hanhoga that the school preached not to do, being done in their own home, will undoubtedly have a negative influence on the other students” what happens when the school teaches about “bein adom lichavairo” and the child come homes and sees the parents act against what was taught in school?

    Think Before You “Write”

  21. What’s the tzushtel? Abi geredt. You don’t make sense. What’s wrong with a parent damanding that the school they pay tuition to not take in students that will undermine what they teach? Its just plain logic. If the truth hurts and you don’t have what to answer then just don’t answer. But to mock what I’m saying and come with arguments that have no logic to them…..???? My point is a fact. I’m saying what happens. I’m saying that the letter writer is not talking tzumzach. Are you answering that.? Are you saying what I’m saying doesn’t happen? And I don’t think rav elyashiv is reffering to families that are a contradiction to what the schools teach. As one who lived in yerushalayim for a few years I can asure you that the gedolim that scream about accepting students in israel are reffering to a whole different type of issue. Please know the facts before arguing.

  22. I have a child who will need to attend school soon. My husband works (and learns every single day), we don’t have a lot of money and no connections in this town. I will register my daughter to several schools but I will not fight to get her a place. If no one takes her, I am gonna send her to public school. Suddenly, there will be like 5 organizations offering to get my kid into a frum school. If that’s my only option, so be it!

  23. Imagine a Hispanic said the following:

    I move to Lakewood because it is very beautiful town, nice Jewish people who live here and I like that every Jewish child very well behaved. Jewish people not criminals. I like it much better for my beautiful children because public schools very bad alot of violence, nobody learn anything, so I want my children in the Jewish orthodox schools together with the Jewish children. So I go to Rabbi and he say, “NO you cannot come because you are not like the Jewish children and the Jewish children dress much more modest and I am afraid that they learn from your immodest dress and foul language.” I am very insulted now because now I feel that the Jewish people in Lakewood are anti hispanic because they dont take my children into school. I have to beg the Rabbi and he still say “no”. I really don’t understand, there should be one big community school for all the children Jew and non-Jew and everyone will be so nice and no violence like the public school which is very very very bad. Just because I dont dress modestly and I speak foul language doesnt mean that my children cant be together with the Jewish children”

    Okay, you get my point. You would all laugh at this person and say, “well you see, you dont really understand…. bla bla bla.”

    The town of Lakewood has certain high standards for their children, and just as everyone understands that no school should have to take in immodest families who are nonJews, no school should have to take in immodest families who are Jews. We are not racists. We apply the same standards to all.

    You follow our standards, you get into school. You dont follow our standards, you dont get into school. Go open your own school and let in whoever you want.

  24. Brisk,
    Wondering how you have become the arbiter of what is fact. The facts are abundant and complicated, probably beyond the scope of any individual (with the exception of Das Torah). Undoubtly there is truth to be found in your comments and just as certainly the author of this article has made a compelling argument.

  25. to #20 Did you also hear about the person who didn’t go to work and waited till his first kid got into to school before doing so. I heard this multiple times.

    I guess that is another example that shows the system “works”

  26. To # 4.(Brisk)
    You write very well. I wanted to point out to you and anyone else , that when one is confronted with any question in life,they should not seek a solution which makes them feel good about themselves, as that has nothing to do with the truth. Rather, they should think about what is the will of Hashem – in that particular scenario.

    One of the more popular and successful tricks of the Yetzer Hora is to disguise himself in a person’s thoughts and actions – as well meaning, and looking out for the Kavod of Torah,Hashem, etc. When a person is truly looking out for what Hashem wants,he must assess ALL angles. He must simultaneously examine the possible effect of an individual from a different background on the rest of the students, as well as what will be the outcome of a rejection of the student.
    One that cannot examine all issues before rendering a decision is not capable of having a Toradig opinion.Thats what has always defined what it means to be a great person.

  27. To #31 I know the writer of this essay, and I also know that he gave the document to a tremendous gadol to read over before printing it! The gadol, who is revered by all of us, agreed wholeheartedly with the gist of the piece. So daas torah was contacted prior to publication!

  28. As a child born and raised in Lakewood, I think that I am one of the first “test tube ” babies, to be raised in this chinuch environment. When I was applying to Mesivtahs in Lakewood, there were a total of 3 yeshivas in Lakewood at the time. I, like most of my friends applied to the “better one”. Unlike most of my friends however, I was never accepted to the better mesivtah, and I had to go to what I considered to be, the second rate place. The method that was used to deny me entry into the “good yeshivah”, was cruel and unusual. (today it is normal) They never told me i wasn’t accepted, instead they never answered my parents phone calls, and never gave us any indication of where my status was holding. Every day for nearly a year, i would run to the mail box hoping to find my tuition papers, that my friends told me they got, that indicated acceptance to the elite class. I was a very unsavvy, innocent 13 year old. Today I’m a cynical with-it yeshivisha guy , that wouldn’t even give the slightest thought, that a “mokem toireh”, or “chinuch instituion”, is a worthy or chashuvah enterprise.

    I have a split personality in my yiddishkeit. On the one hand I think that the private things between a person and hashem, are the most important things in the world. But I would never for a second, think that the public face of anything yiddish might possibly have any positive significance. I find the “older generation” is still impressed with yiddishe political organizations. Things like agudah are only, by and large interests, for my parents generation. Big yeshivahs? who cares, if you closed down tomorrow would it make a difference to hashem ? Some other yeshivah will take over. I read the Hamodeah and Yated, only to read between the lines”, to discover a who’s who , of who is chashuv right now and who isn’t. If a person is considers a “Godel” by the masses, that means nothing to me. I think their are genuine gedoilem, but I would never trust the “crowd”, to figure out correctly who they are.

    Strangely though I have to say, my self-esteem is pretty much unaffected.

  29. It is time that someone in this town open a day school type school that will take any child. Through the child the parents can be drawn to the correct derech. Just like they are in the kiruv schools. There must be a place for each child no matter what his parents are like. Lakewood is no longer a yeshiva town exclusively.

  30. Are you saying that if a father works and supports his family, his children will not be accepted in some schools? Isn’t this one of the mitvahs? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

  31. 29, how sad, comparing hispanics wanting a Jewish education to fellow Jews who want a Jewish education for their children. Oh and by the way I’m willing to bet that I’ve lived here longer than you have. So start living up to my standards. Which are pretty simple – all I ask is to have some ahavas yisrael.

  32. I’m not saying I am a great person. I’m not saying every child from a home that doesn’t follow the derech hachayim that our gedolim shtelled avek should be rejected. However this issue that I am bringing up is the main root of the problem. Yes it is complex and yes each case is different. However I’m pointing out that instead. Of bashing the principles and writing long essays based on shtussim. Let’s focus on the real issue, yes people need guidance when it comes to making decisions about children from homes that don’t follow the derech that our schools teach. The sad fact is twofold one is that unfortunately there are too many of us that feel we can lead lives that. Show complete disregard, and are a total contradiction to what the schools are trying to teach and there are way more children than available slots in schools. This leaves the principals with a rather easy choice! I can accept the students from homes that follow respect and promote what they teach or reject some of those families to accept students that have parents that act and dress in a fashion that contradicts everything the schools are trying to instill in their students? I ask of you my friends…..if I were a principal and I chas chose not to reject the students that have homes that follow and respect what we teach for the sake of others that have parents that think we are too frum and too fanatical and dress and act and take their families on vacation to places we were taught by our mechanchim (from over 20 years ago(when even the letter writer agrees the machanchim were not yet reshaim)are not proper. Does that make me evil? Do I deserve a “article” in a”jewish” magazine bashing me? Do i need to have long essays by people with fake names “analyzing” (and quite frankly missing the boat by a few miles on the facts). Our hailige mosdos that without whom there would be no yidishkeit left in this world lo alainu????? Why do people think bashing mosdos hachinuch is a fun activity? I await you response.

  33. There’s a Man in this town a very special man who gave everything he had to keep the day school open he killed himself day after day to keep the school alive the boys division got closed down ,boys who where receiving the best education one can ever ask for in an elm entry school but this community with there ideas of elite schools for every body wouldn’t send there boys there. The girls division stayed alive a little longer but this man wasn’t able to keep it alive anymore single handedly and the school had to close. I’m not getting into the politics of what happened but the hebrew day aka bais Yaacov Elementary was a school that knew one size doesn’t fit all and accepted everybody we had are chance for are kids to have an amazing education but we blew why ? Why?

  34. Every now and then someone shoots off one of these long threads about getting accepted etc. I am wondering some things.

    Some people mention how working people have a hard time getting kids into school. I dont know where you are from, but what I have seen – thousands of people in this town actually work. They seem for the most part to be happy with their choice of schools. This whole working thing is so overblown. Please tell me a guy you know that works and therefore has a problem getting accepted?

    Furthermore, why would a guy who is working have a desire to send his kid to some school that is 90% kolel people?

    The real issue for the most part is that there are like a billion dudes who want to send their kids to only one or two schools. So everyone pushes and shoves and the few people left hanging write long letters.

    (It may be more complicated, and I dont mean to make fun)

    By the way, I send mine to Lakewood high. Its very accepting.

  35. To those heiliga menchen that dont like to mingle with pple that are not their type, do you really think this is what Hashem wants from you?? Y do you think we still dont have bais hamikdosh??

  36. Did anyone ever go to school? These days, it seems that we are a generation that does not know how to spell. It is so embarassing, people talking about sending their kids to the best schools, when clearly, they have never mastered spelling!!!

  37. Just some food for thought.

    When Bais Yaakov Elementary and Betzalel were open, all those kids that supposedly couldn’t get in to schools would not send their kids to Betzalel and Bais Yaakov. WHY?????

    There was a school in Lakewood that was begging these supposed “outcast”: “Come to us, we will educate your children. We don’t care how immodest you dress, we will take you in. We dont care if the father is not in kollel, we will take you in”.

    Yet, no one wanted to go to that school. They were elitist. They looked down at such a school. Instead they tried to get into the other schools. And when they were rejected by the other schools, these elitists actually went and called everyone else “elitists”.

    Which proves that the problem is much deeper than just having a day school that accepts everyone. We had a dayschool and no one wanted to go there.

    The problem is that EVERYONE, even those that look down on the ultra ultra, want to go to an ultra ultra school. And when they won’t be accepted because they don’t live an ultra ultra lifestyle, they get upset.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it as well.

  38. #17: KOL A KAVOD TO YOU!!!!


  39. let’s not compare them to hispanics. let’s compare them to a reform or conservative jew. I would venture to say that many people would not have a problem sending to a school that accepted a reform jew. people would actually grab this oppurtunity and make this kid their personal “baal teshuva case”
    however in the case of an officially orthodox family who doesn’t conform to their style of orthodoxy,people cannot live down that association with those people because it effects their own self image and identity. solution is build ur own confidence in your identity and you will be able to except other people that are not exactly like you and your kids will understand that not everyone is the same even in their own school. I’m not advocating exposing your child to terrible influences. the difference between these different families are minimal and most of the accepting you and not accepting the other is just a way of creating a feing good identity for thoase that are accepted.

  40. this town is so contradictory….they dont want to accept families where the father works, yet they also want families that can afford to pay full tuition…i never understood this

  41. YOU WROTE: “It is time that someone in this town open a day school type school that will take any child.”





  42. I’m am not condoning the way in which schools accept applicants. I would just like to make one point on the topic to those who are hung upp on the way things used to be, when everyone was accepted.

    The people of yesteryear who sent to hebrew day school and were ” more modern”,….. were a completely different bread than the so called modern of our community. They sent their children to day school for the genuine reason of wanting to grow and or give there children the jewish education that they didn’t have. They were doctors lawyers and teachers who ran extremely respectable lifestyles in every way besides full the religious level that they maintained, and this was totally because of the way they grew up not rebellious in any way . This does not apply to all, however more than many of the people who are rejected in lakewood today are people who grew up in more religious homes than they are running for their children and its not that they don’t follow the lifestyle that the school preaches, they actually mock it. This is a completely new breed of frum jew and it is very difficult to determine who is moving up and who is moving down. When I was growing up there was no such issue because there was no such problem. How to deal with this issue is a whole other question.

  43. You wrote: “Please tell me a guy you know that works and therefore has a problem getting accepted?”

    I am a working father trying to get my daughter into primary for next year.
    The response I got when I had my “Pull” approach one of the “Choshuve” principals was “I don’t take people not in Yeshiva.”

    There’s your answer. You found the guy. And I have many friends in the same boat as me.

  44. I am the author of this article. I signed my name as Yisroel Lev,since it means a Jewish heart.I really wanted to sign it ,” Yisroel Blood”,being that I think it’s more appropriate based on what is occuring due to the school tragedy of our town.

    I chanced upon the article I refrenced ,a couple of months ago.It was protrayed as an understanding of why there is such a problem getting everyone a place in school.The author interviewed many principals and school founders,and wrote their answers,not revealing their identities.There were numerous outrageous and shocking comments made in the piece.Naively, I assumed that the author would follow up the interviews with commentary about the shocking answers the author received,and analyzation of what can be done to rectify the situation.Imagine to my utter disbelief upon concluding the article and finding no such commentary. My shock turned to horor upon realizing that what I thought were super outrageous comments unfit for anyone who cares about Chinuch, have now been accepted as the logical explanation of what has become the new “normal”. To compound this insult,upon checking following issues, I found no letters expressing dismay and disgust for such a callous and cavalier approach, by a number of principals and school founders.

    I meant to write a few lines to the editor ,but as I wrote ,a torrent started to pour from me, untill I had a number pages, and I didn’t know what to do with it. I showed it to a number of people I respect in the Chinuch world, and they encouraged me to have it printed.

    I tried very hard not to let this piece turn into an emotional mud slinger, because then it would just be written off as ….fill in the blank. I wanted it to be a dry ,unemtional analyzation of the facts, in the style of an old time piece in the Jewish Observer.

    To those who ask what new twist I am briging to this subject that has not already been brought to light? I answer as follows.

    #1. The direction of the dialogue must change if we hope to have any chance of solving this terrible problem. We must come to terms with the fact that many of those that we are angry at for perpetuating the existing crisis, don’t look at their role the same way as we do. As I explain ,a growing number of them did not come to their calling for the same reason the original schools were opened for. If this is premise is accepted, then it would be a waste of time to try to rectify the problem by convincing them that this is not the way a Mechanech goes about building a school. It might not be the way of the older model, but it is the way of the accepted newer model. From their perspective, if what they are doing is so bad, why is there a line waiting to get into their school? So pleading and being emotional to this group won’t help anything, they simply don’t see their function as we do, nor did they sign up to live up to a standard that we thought was the norm for those running a Mossad.
    Therefore, we must concentrate our time and resources elsewhere , if we expect to make a dent in the tragedy threatening to slowly engulf us all.
    What should we do?We should start making our thoughts known to those that are egregiously perpetrating this tragedy.What good will that do?Why should they change because we told them to?

    1. Don’t expect the people to change because you told them to.However,that being said,nobody likes to be told that their actions are not well perceived,and considered an unfortunate choice to run a school.This should not be said spitefuly ,with anger and emotion,rather calmly ,firmly and from a sense of concern for the treatment of other yiden.
    People don’t realize how much of their specific actions are known to others.This will serve as a deterrent,if you can’t defend it,don’t do it.Because there is a good chance you will be called on to defend your actions.

    Get ready for a cold stare if broaching this subject,or even a mouthfull.Be aware that if this occurs you had an effect,otherwise you would not have garnered such a strong response.With enough people taking this step we can stop the problem from getting worse,and slowly put them on the defensive,always wondering if I do this questionable action to this individual,who will confront me about this.
    I am not advocating a form of vigilantism,commissioning everyone as a deputy.Rather try to think of people that you know or hear about, that were either abused or shamed by someone in charge of a mossad,as someone you care about.Pretend they are your sibling or best friend,and speak up for them as you would for your sibling or friend.Don’t just wipe your brow exhale slowly in relief ,and say,”there but for the grace of g-d go I “.

    We (note the word “we”,it will need many of us to step up)will not get far by shouting and name calling,only by firmly pointing out the terrible consequences continuing down this path.

    2. I am also arguing that there is another consequence to this tragedy,something I have heard very little mention of.Our children are being exposed to a new style of chinuch,and are being indoctrinated to a new value system.One that espouses, it’s ok to shame others,feel superior,or do anything it takes,if the result is a mossad that is considered succcessful. By stressing this seemingly minor outcome(minor,in the sense that in comparison to the shattered lives that are left unhealed,it doesn’t seem as pressing),I am enlightening another large group,those that seemingly dodged the bullet,that it is in this group’s interest to get involved in ending the “new normal’.
    This point might sound esoteric to some,but to me it is huge.This is something that troubles and frightens mechanchim of the old school.

    3. Finally,and this is an answer to those that claim I should not bash “mechanchim”.
    It used to be that in the past, those that opened a Mossad were “mechanchim,” someone you could easily imagine switching places with a Rebbi or a Morah, because Chinuch was their passion, and who they were. However, those opening schools today, are not easily seen in a teaching position, as a Rebbi or Morah.
    The raw power over lives would not be there. Also,the prestige associated with being a “pseudo Mechanich success” wouldn’t be there.

    As a good Rebbi or cherrished Morah ,will you be asked for your weltenshang on chinuch at a roundtable discussion?Will older Rabonim and Roshei Yeshiva call you to try to get a child of a cherrished talmid,benefactor or own grandchild accepted?Will it help your own children get into their choice high school or seminary?Will it secure shidduchim for your children as the son or daughter of so and so ,founder of so and so successfull school?

    If the answer to all of the above questions were no,then all that would be “gained”by being a mechanech would be the joy and dedication of being a mechanech. Even though it means accepting (unfairly)the pittance it pays. Knowing that many don’t look at what you do as prestigious,and when you do a great “job” ,and also love the talmidim and talmidos( for themselves,as true mechanchim always have),and give of yourselves to so many,and recieve so little back.You know deep in your heart that although you would like more pay, acknoledgement,gratitude, respect,you wouldn’t trade your “life calling” for a “job”.

    I ask of you all, the founders of the schools that are opening today, espousing the new normal, do they sound like they fit into the above decription? I don’t think so. Yet, I personally know a number of people in the trenches of chinuch that fit the description well. They are Mechanchim,and should ,with our help ,be opening schools.Not someone that would not be caught dead doing what our cherrished mechanchim do.

    Lets help the “Mechanchim” open schools, by encouraging them, that we will back them financially, emotionaly and in any way we can.If we don’t do this,we risk ceding our Mosdos to those that are “succefull at opening schools”, but are not “Mechanchim”,and we know where that got us.

  45. #43 If you think that whether a father is learning or working doesn’t factor into many schools decisions of who is accepted then, you are highly uninformed, and should do a little more research before posting comments.

    I know for a fact that there are schools that have quotas and only leave a small amount, if any, slots open for working people.

    It makes no difference whether the father never learned in BMG, or whether he learned in BMG for 10 years and then went to work. If a person went to work before his first child applied to the school, he is considered “working” and the available slots are greatly diminished.

  46. There is a obligation according to halacha that in every town there be sufficient schools for boys for all members of the community. If there is anyone who has a son who is not accepted in a school and conforms to the community standards (not tv or access to internet for children, etc)then we have an obligation to fund a new school.

  47. To the author. Your additional comments prove once again that you are thoughtful and insightful and seem to have a firm grasp on the essence of the issue. May you be zoche to endless brocha for speaking up so eloquently and may your detractor’s protests evaporate. I believe that the silent majority of the Tzibbur wholeheartedly agrees with you and is simply waiting for the right people to rise up and do something. To act with foresight and of course with Das Torah and respect, but nevertheless to act. “Sholom alai nafshi” simply won’t cut it. Chazak Vamatz!

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