The School ‘Selection’ Process: We Are Days Away From School-opening – What Does My Daughter Tell Her Children?

Reader-Submitted: Again, the annual selection begins in Lakewood of which child is granted an education…I say this as a grandmother who has watched in agony as my daughterstruggles to get her two daughters into school.

Schools should not open until all children are placed. Though I do not know the exact number, there are other children in the same situation. My father-in-law, a [holocaust] survivor, is appalled that Jews would do this to Jewish children.

Every year this process happens. I cannot imagine the countless number of families that question a community built on chesed and chinuch, yet it seems to fail in these important midos. Unless a child presents a danger to others, there is no justfiable reason for not placing them in school. EVERY JEWISH CHILD IS ENTITLED TO A JEWISH EDUCATION!

It is pathetic when a Jewish child has more rights in the public school arena. Even when there may be learning or behavior issues, the community still has a responsibility to each child.

We are days away from school-opening, what does my daughter tell her children?  
They see school supplies in the stores, but they have no reason to buy them and no uniform to get fitted.

Finally, to finish with a story recently told to me that warrants this time.

Years ago, the chofetz chaim z’l noticed a man enter his yeshiva, he immediately had him thrown out. The man, obviously stunned, needed to know why this would happen. The chofetz chaim finally explained: “Years ago, you had a young bucher who lost his father. The boy’s behavior was affected and you threw him out ofv your cheder. This child grew to become Trotsky. Do you know how many Jews suffered at his hands?”

This final statement clearly shows what may happen when our precious neshamos are cast away without thought.

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  1. I think that every menahel and menaheles should be reminded of this story over and over again. If you don’t have money or know someone important forget about it. Credit must be given to a couple of selfless individuals who work tirlessly day and night on trying to find a proper school for each and every boy and girl. Tavoh aleihem beracha.

  2. I strongly agree lakewood have the wrong foot. We need to show the right chinch for our children. We should show the positive ways of growing up we need better teachers who can use wording without don’t. They need to make educational motivating better and not to stop the children from entering. Parents should not allowed the child watch bad movies. There are many Jewish movies for the children to watch. I suggest you take them out and show the nature better. The school need to stop acting like FBI or Swat teams. I think it time to save kal Yisroel and show love and bring back bais hamdeskh again…

  3. If you want to enjoy the perks of belonging to a frum kehila, ie. having good chinuch for your childre etc. You must be a normal upstanding committed member of the kehila, if you are just an trying to uproot the pillars that a kehila stands on you have NO right to demand a place in the mosdos of a kehila that you are trying to destroy.

  4. I personally have a vastly different world view than those that would not mind sending their kids to a free public school with a Jewish curriculum. We should share schools??!

  5. #3 Who is to decide which person is “a normal upstanding committed member of the kehila”? The schools? The community? Honestly, where was the handbook/rule book that was given out to determine the parameters of where normal rests? Personally I would never want to be the one who stands before Hashem on Yom Kippur begging for a good year and begging to be understood of my own shortcomings when I was the one who decided a child doesn’t deserve a proper education because their parents were not normal, upstanding or committed enough.

    Plus who is trying to uproot the kehila? I read this letter over and over, and this was about the anguish of another mother going through another year of another girl rejected. It seems they want to be included into the kehila and just be a part of it not uproot it.

    Lets keep the focus where it belongs. It is not about the parent or the schools. This is about our most precious neshomos, our children, and the responsibility that ALL OF US HAVE to make sure all members of klal yisroel are given the best chinuch to thrive.

  6. This article is somewhat misleading . Although there is a shortage of sc hools ,basically every child has a school available to them . In orer for the numbers to work ,every frum school must be acceptable .Once we allow people to say that “such and such school is not acceptable for my child ” then we in effect are saying that there are not enough slots to go around . There are several schools that will accept those children that claim to have no shool ,but the parents do not want to send there . I am certainly not judging any parents decision and they may very well be correct in saying that those schools are not appropriate for their child . i am just saying that ,if we allow those schools to be considered as not acceptable ,then we do not have enough space .

  7. Not sure about the Trotsky story. I don’t believe it’s an accurate telling as Trotsky never grew up in a frum house or even close to a frum upbringing.

  8. In a perfect world what number 8 said would be true….. how ever number 8 is making an assumption that the parents have specific schools in mind. This is not the case. I wish I could share more but right now they would like any school to open their doors…..

  9. This is so sad. Don’t blame the menahalim/los of existing schools, tho. Most schools simply do NOT have room. Blame the rest of us who have the talent but no desire to open a new school, simply because we don’t wanna be running around 4 night a week collecting $$ to cover payroll. DB

  10. Tell the Rabbis that when something bad happens it is not skirt lengths that give people cancer.

    It is this.

    May Hashem have mercy or your Kehilla for its Midas S’dom.

  11. The Trotsky story is true, but the details are a little different. The Chofetz Chaim would give a Shiur at Sudat Shelishi in his home every Shabbos. There was a melamed from a nearby town that was in Radin for Shabbos. He came to the Chofetz Chaim’s home to hear the Shiur. Upon entering there was a big crowd and he pushed his way to the front to give Shalom to the Chofetz Chaim, but the Chofetz Chaim did not acknowledge him. He thought to himself that the Chofetz Chaim did not notice him so he waited until after the Shiur to introduce himself to the Chofetz Chaim again. The Chofetz Chaim once again ignored him. He then realized that the Gadol Hador would not even look at him. He waited until after everyone left and approached the Chofetz Chaim tearfully asking why the Chofetz Chaim would not even look at him. The Chofetz Chaim responded by asking him if he remembered a Talmid by the name Leib? The Melamid thought back a remembered that many years earlier he indeed had a talmid Leib. The Chofetz Chaim asked him what happened to that boy. The Melamid responded the boy was an orphan and his mother could not pay the tuition “And I still kept him in class for a year without getting paid”. After a year I couldn’t afford to keep him so I sent him out. The Chofetz Chaim responded I will tell you what happened after you sent him out. “Leib Became Leon (Trotsky) and YOU are the cause of millions of Yidden going off the derech. The Chofetz Chaim then told the man to leave his home without once looking him in the face.

  12. there are from what i have heard about 2700 children entering the school system this year. and every year the number is growing by about 8% , the school are busting at there seems and classes are overfull. if even 2% didn’t have a placement it would make a full class of boys and girls.
    why don’t they just take responsibility for themselves and open up a school together when it is obvious that a new school is needed?
    who is it others responsibility to provide them a school when they shun their responsibility?
    i think anyone who goes to a place that has no Jewish school knows it is their only responsibility to get together with others like themselves and open a school. well then if you had half a mind you would realize that when you get married and move to a community with an 8% growth rate , and a policy in which school give preference to siblings, that by the time you will send your child to school the school in town now will have no room for you, plan and simple. So you must be involved with opening one for yourself instead of pointing fingers at others,

  13. There has to be a Takona put in place NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND
    Schools don’t open unless ever one of our precious kinderlech are placed
    Every time there is a tragedy the rosh haisevas scream we need cizok in tznies
    Yes we do but we also have to stop the tears of the mothers and fathers and the little children who our schools turn away
    Asidin Litten Din

  14. My heart goes out to your children.Thirty five years ago this problem did not exist here.All my children had a great education with the few Mosdos that were here. Then people starting coming from other cities because its cheap to live here. They brought their own ideas of how to act and how to live. Because of that,we have mothers crying why isnt my child in a school.
    I have a question and not meaning to hurt this mother at all. But maybe another community might be better suited for the education of your children?
    The Lakewood of today is not the same as it was. Maybe we should take a step backwards and really see what is here.

  15. Number 8 is basically correct . In MOSt cases there is a school willing to take the child . There may be minor exceptions but for this year ,almost any girl could have a school both elementary and high school ,if they wanted to go where they were accepted .

  16. # 11 is incorrect .you have to run around 6 nights a week to collect for payroll ‘not 4 nights . If everybody would pay their minimum tuition on time then people would have more incentive to open more schools . We have a major criss brewing that tuitions are not getting paid properly and schools cannot function financially

  17. Did you ever step back and think about it for one moment, im talking about really think about what is going on here! In a normal society if yyou want our preciouss children to come to your yeshivah you should be bugging us. WE THE parents SHOULD BE INTERVIEWING THE SCHOOLS, we SHOULD BE ASKING THE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SCHOOL. It has come to my attention that many menahlim are going to peoples wives and saying they dont like how they are dressed after an interview or in a school hallway. Did you ever think for one moment that our kids should be interviewed???!!! Why on earth are the parents being interviewed?! Your telling me if your mother or father was working or dint dress 100 percent according to your rules that you should have not been allowed to go to yeshivah of your choice?! Does BMG interview the parents?! NO!!!!! The individual to see if they are fit for the yeshivah. Some thing must be done and it must be done quick. And i will go further Yeshivas ARE TAKING BRIBES FROM PARENTS OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS JUST TO TAKE THERE KID INTO YESHIVAH!? IN A SOCIETY LIKE THIS MY KID MAY JUST BE BETTER OF IN A “REGULAR YESHIVAH’

  18. The following is a list of people, if alive today, would not be able to get their children into a Lakewood school… tell me there is no problem?!?

    Avraham Avinu – His father worshiped idols, his grandson was off the derech

    Yitzchak Avinu – He had a son that went off

    Yaakov – His brother went off

    Moshe – He grew up in a non frum home

    Yehoshua – married ba’alas teshuvah

    Anyone want to add to this list?

  19. The menahalim and menahalos dont usually make the decisions, its the SCHOOL OWNERS who make the decisions so blame them, as far as boys schools goes, the few owners I know personally were in BMG together with us and good luck with them!

  20. All tuition should for all schools should be paid to a central collection office and all payroll should be disbursed from that same office. Any other expenses a school has or wants should be fund raised. This would ensure all rebbeim and teachers are paid and would cover the shortfall from parents who are given scholarships because they can’t (not won’t) pay full tuition.

  21. This issue comes up every year, but the real question is, as #8 points out – was this parent given the option to send her child(ren) to a school and she rejected it because “it’s not for me?” I’d love to know. I have a feeling that most of the “not in school” issues, particularly for elementary schools, are because parents reject certain schools outright. All of the girls elementary schools in Lakewood are wonderful schools.

  22. why hasn’t my blog been posted yet? its the truth & everyone deserves to know the truth & ALSO save themselves from becoming corrupt C”V before its too late & then they forget Hashem C”V

  23. #3: what makes someone “normal”? only if theyre like you? what’s your definition of “normal”? what if nebach they are a bt who nebach didn’t discover yiddishkeit till they were older? this makes them not normal? fyi- there happen to be a growing number of bt’s in Lakewood and they would like theyre children to have opportunities they didn’t have as children. and what is your definition of upstanding? what if someone nebach, rachmana litzlan has no one to support them and needs to support his family himself (gasp). so now he’s not an upstanding individual? I hope your not near any of these not normal, not upstanding individuals in olam haba because you may not be able to demand they leave or not be let in at all.

  24. From Wikipedia:
    Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein (Russian: Лев Давидович Бронштейн) on 7 November 1879, in Yanovka (Russian: Яновка) or Yanivka (Ukrainian: Янівка), in the Kherson guberniya of the Russian Empire (today’s Bereslavka (Ukrainian: Береславка;

    47°53′34″N 32°17′25″E) in the Bobrynets Raion, Kirovohrad Oblast, Ukraine), a small village 15 miles (24 km) from the nearest post office. He was the fifth child of eight of well-to-do Jewish farmers, David Leontyevich Bronshtein (1847–1922) and his wife Anna Bronshtein (1850–1910). The family was Jewish but reportedly not religious. The language spoken at home was a mixture of Russian and Ukrainian.[5] Trotsky’s younger sister, Olga, married Lev Kamenev, a leading Bolshevik.

    When Trotsky was nine, his father sent him to Odessa to be educated. He was enrolled in an historically German school, which became Russified during his years in Odessa, consequent to the Imperial government’s policy of Russification.[citation needed] As Isaac Deutscher points out in his biography of Trotsky, Odessa was then a bustling cosmopolitan port city, very unlike the typical Russian city of the time. This environment contributed to the development of the young man’s international outlook.

    Although Trotsky stated in his autobiography My Life that he was never perfectly fluent in any language but Russian and Ukrainian, Raymond Molinier wrote that Trotsky spoke fluent French.[6]

  25. throwing out some possibilities:

    1. sometimes parents act or dress inappropriately.
    2. is there some way of helping new schools or struggling schools. when we give tzadakah, maybe schools should be a higher priority than other “less” important tzadakah organizations. yiddisha nishamos are at risk!!!!

  26. Excuse me, #3: who are you? I am personally offended by your intolerant comment. Shame on you. I would like your name and address. Bang your chest as hard as you want this Y”K. I do not forgive you. The temple was detroyed because of G-d’s anger at dirt like YOU.

  27. If everybody gave all their Tzedokoh money to a fund to help our mosdos then we would not have these problems . Please remember ,you are not helping the Mosasd . You are helping your neighbors who can not afford to pay their fair share of tuition . If everybody paid even the low tuitions ,the Mosdos could survive .

  28. I don’t know how to say this any better. This is not a situation where the parents want only one particular school….right now there is no school willing to accept. I can not go into details but this is a situation where despite all the right moves being made it wasn’t good enough. Many rabbanom have been consulted and involved in supporting the family and that hasn’t helped.

  29. This letter is heartbreaking.

    This issue is one of many that must be addressed in a very serious manner. How could something like this be allowed? Our own flesh, and blood. Resentment can start at a very young age. There are some things that can’t be mended, but it can be slowed with swift, and proper action. This among other issues in town, is the reason I, and many like me, almost gave up Judaism altogether. Luckily there are other people, and communities out there that truly love one another, and it shows.

    We can’t know what happens when we leave this world, but who do you think Hashem will be more in favor of ?

    – Those, like the people who deny young children a Jewish education for absolutely no reason other than politics, and lack of ahavas yisroel. Ultimately driving people away from Hashem.

    – Or those who accept people regardless of their current lifestyle, and background. Those who believe every Jewish child deserves an education to further their relationship with Hashem.

    Anyone who believes the former to be holier, should take a good look at their life, and ask themselves when the last time these actions actually bettered a community, or individual.

    I wish all the best for the writer, their family, and others who are suffering through this awful ordeal.

  30. To number 15
    First of all not every one is capable to open or to run a school
    It would make more sense and cheaper to add parallel class since the infrastructure is already in place
    Following your train of thought people should chas vsolem not have more kids as there will be no place for them when it’s time to go toschool

    On a different note I have a daughter in Lakewood and when she went to one of the schools to register her daughter she was turned down
    After investigating it was discovered that some one told the principle that the grand mother ( my wife ) wore a leather skirt this happened 25 years ago and the skirt was way below the knees with no slit
    This same women sent her only son to Israel and gave up all her luxuries to help support him in kollel for twelve years
    And also helped support her son In law to learn in lakewood for 7 years
    In my opinion that principal should be working at McDonald

  31. We had this experience getting our daughters and sons into school. Every year it is the same heartbreaking story. When are we going to finally get serious about keeping schools closed until everyone has a place?

  32. we gave 20 thousand dollars n got into the school of our choice…..nothing to do with being normal! on the contrary, we were NOT normal for doing what we HAD to do to get our kid in

  33. My heart goes out to this mother. She clearly loves he family, provides for them, and cherishes her role as wife and mother. She insists on a religious education for her children, as she had as a child. What can be wrong with her wanting and needing a good Jewish education for her children? NOTHING is wrong with that!

    The answer is clearly MONEY, lots of it.

    The model is not working, wherein Orthodox families come to Lakewood to live a religious life and raise their children with the same benefits that they had as children. But in today’s economy, it is difficult to provide food, shelter, and clothing for a family.

    As the religious population rises, the need for schools and educators also rise. All this takes money. A school and educators do not come as a gift.

    Now is the time to assess the situation, as to how the population growth can be matched with the appropriate educational facilities, and how that funding may take place. The answer to this situation may be determined by those who now provide the facilities, or the answer may have to come from another source.

  34. It kills me that as many private schools there is in lkwd for the jewish community that your children are always fighting to be accepted in a school

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