New York, NY – Pre-Yom Kippur Hamodia Editorial Addresses Plight of Yeshiva-less Children

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    New York, NY – A hard hitting editorial in today’s Hamodia highlights the plight of the many children who are currently without a yeshiva placement because they were either not accepted to any institution or they were asked not to return to their previous school.

    The editorial titled ‘Did You Faint’, calls on the entire community to accept its obligation to educate not just their own offspring but all Jewish children so that every Jewish child, no matter what their situation, can receive the Torah education that they are entitled to.

    Read full editorial below

    Yom Kippur is almost here. The holy,unique day of kapparas avonos selichah and mechilah awaits us.

    We notice that virtually all theprayers of this exalted day are in theplural — “we.”

    It is as a nation that we plead with Hashem for forgiveness; it is as a nation that we beseech Him for mercy; each of us accepts responsibility for the greater community.

    If that is the case, Yom Kippur is among other things, a day to ponder the plight of the children who sit at home because no yeshivah or school has yet taken them in.

    In this week’s Inyan Magazine we address the painful problem of children without a school to go to. We explore all sides of the sad story. No blaming, no finger-pointing, just the hope that together we can find a way to solve a complex, painful problem.

    Fact: Our schools and yeshivos are generally over-crowded and under fund-ed. Often when they claim that there isn’t room for another child they are telling the plain truth. But the fact that they’re not at fault doesn’t help the four-year-old child who sits at home with no school to go to. It will not pro-tect the young boy left to fend for him-self on the streets. It will not come to the aid of a learning-disabled teenage girl who cannot find a high school able to accommodate her. It won’t educate the third-grader who spends his days at his father’s workplace so that he will at least remain under the watchful eye of an adult.

    And then, what about the distraught mother who received a letter in July stating that her daughters were not welcome to return to the school in which they had been registered? Or the parents of the boy asked not to come back in September? Whose “fault” — whose responsibility — is that?

    As long as these vulnerable children are at home and not in school, we are all responsible. As long as we remain silent, we can’t declare “our hands didnot shed this blood.”

    “What can I do about this?” you maybe wondering.

    Hagaon Harav Elazar Menachem Shach, zt”l, told of the time that the Chofetz Chaim spoke to a Rav about the need to repair his city’s mikveh.

    “Most of the residents are poor, and the rich aren’t interested,” the Rav responded sadly. “I myself have not received my salary for months, and the necessary repairs are very expensive. What can I do?”

    “You can faint!” the Chofetz Chaim responded.

    “If the Rav would have fainted,” RavShach concluded, “the people of his town would have found a way to repairthe mikveh.

    “When it means enough to us we know how to unite, rally to a cause, and make a difference.

    Each case has to be evaluated on its merits, and the right questions have to be asked.

    Why is the child being rejected? Are the schools that are saying no truly unsuitable for the child? Does the school have a valid concern about the child or the family, or is it a case of unwarranted bias? Is there any way, for example, to explain or defend turning away a child solely because his parents are divorced? Or is there more to the story?

    We realize that forcing a school to accept a child it is not equipped to educate will be counterproductive. Similarly, compelling a yeshivah to take in a child whose hashkafos are at odds with those of the student body will ultimately backfire.

    However, every Jewish child has the right to learn Torah, and it is the community’s obligation to guarantee that he will. The cities with larger Jewish communities are blessed with a wide selection of schools. Each of us is obligated to ensure that no child is excluded.

    This Kol Nidrei night we will implore Hashem, “Act for the sake of tinokosshel beis rabban — the children of the school room.”

    Let us do everything possible to ensure that every Jewish child has a beis rabban — and in this merit may Hashem act with mercy towards all of us, His children.

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    41 COMMENTS

      • Yes. We will and we should.
        Hoping we will get real comments, not a no-comment comment such as yours.

        This is a very painful situation. So many parents and children are wetting their pillows each and every night. Unfortunately too many of those responsible for this situation don’t believe in אית דין ואית דיין. Why do they think they will get away with it is beyond my understanding.

      • Unless there is some yiddeshe Bill Gates or Warren Buffet who is willing to endow the building of new yeshivos, there is no simple answer. Money is becoming more scarce for all yiddeshe mosdos and when having to choose between feeding the poor, building a mikvah or funding more classrooms/teachers for yeshivot I’m not smart enough to know where the dollars should go.

    1. This is a balanced and objective view of the situation but seems to imply that the only option is for these boys/girls to either sit at home or “wander the streets” with no alternatives. That implication is absurd. Why not enroll these children in the local public school until an opening can be found at a local yeshiva or beis yaakov. That would assure that they are at least getting some secular education and the parents can arrange for some kollel youngermen to teach them aleph beis or yiddeshe subjects (for the older ones) at home in the interim. This would certainly be a preferable option than having these kids “wander the streets” unsupervised during the day when they should be in school. Again, this is not a long-term solution but simply an interim option. In the long term we MUST find ways of providing a yeshiva education for all our yinglach.

      • Are you serious????? to put a precious Yiddishe child in the Public schools of today? it would be ALOT more detrimental to them then the alternative. I have a relative that is finding it impossible to get into a high school, she is a good girl with no “prior issues” but she left a school and is now left w/o a Yeshivah. There needs to be a major organization formed to deal with this specific issue.

        • Right…let your precious yiddshe child out on the street with no supervision rather than have him/her in a public school until a yeshiva space opens up. Literally millions of jewish kids have gone through public schools at some point without being “damaged” and have gone on to become among the nation’s top doctors, lawyers and yes, even rabbonim. Over 15 percent of YU grads have gone to public schools at one time or another in their lives. If your precious yinglach are too fragile to handle it, that speaks more about your deficiencies as a parent than our public school system.

          • It is my understanding that there’s a big difference, the children you’re speaking about live a totally different lifestyle then the ones written about in the article, you’re speaking about children who are much more open to begin with, most have TV at home, men and woman mix much more whereas if I understand correctly the article speaks about children who don’t have all this if they’re exposed to that’s going on in public school it’ll be disastrous for them.

          • Well said. I am a product of a public school education. To say “top-notch” would be an understatement. Public school programs on Long Island are among the best in the nation. Going to public school didn’t damage my religious beliefs — it just gave me the chance to obtain a solid secular education as well. My religious education came from the home, from my orthodox shul, and from an after-school and Sunday synagogue Hebrew school.

    2. Wow. This was a powerful article. Made me a little emotional, to tell you the truth! I understand the plight of parents who cannot afford a nice, Jewish education for their children.

      As Noahides, we obey Torah to the fullest extent that we are obligated to, and then some! But let’s face it: we aren’t Jewish, and therefore, our children will *never* attend a place where they could receive a proper, Torah-based education. It’s a shame, because even if the Conservative Shul where we attend occasionally, (*gasp*- I know, that’s probably a “forbidden” thing for me to say, but it’s not like we could attend an Orthodox one!), had a Yeshiva available… we still wouldn’t be able to afford it anyway!

      There isn’t an Orthodox Shul for 3+ hrs of driving where we live! Our local Conservative Shul is kind to Noahides & are welcoming at least. It’s better than a Christian church… or even worse: nothing at all.

      But as a family, we receive most of our *orthodox& Jewish learning online. We have to! There just aren’t any other options for us otherwise. Neither within driving distance… or religiously acceptable, since we aren’t converts, but just basic Noahides. It’s a tough situation!

    3. let backtrack and discuss what our schools are teaching and what they stress. Is the “at risk child” a new phenomenon? did such children not exist 40 or 50 years ago? and why is a school rejecting a child? At what age do we or should we “test” for at risk children or children that can’t learn.

      while there certainly were problem children years ago there were certainly less of them. one of the reasons for this – the demands that were placed on a child from early on was to be an ehrliche yid. while learning was important – equally important was midos and derech eretz. a mechutzaf, was looked down upon by the staff and to a great extent students were encouraged to distance themselves from the individual exhibiting such behavior. This can be demanded of everyone, learning disabled or not – emotionally disturbed can be over time be taught what behaviors will be or not be tolerated. The emphasis on materialism was also absent back then. so if a child came from a lower economic family it was not as emotionally burdensome as it is today. So even the non learner can excel in school – he will be distinguished for other traits.

      still more….

    4. as for the schools rejecting a child….if there is little or no parental involvement, or the parents think their child is a malach and cannot do any wrong, it is very difficult to educate the parents as to how to properly rear children….so frequently it is the parents they want out…not so much as rejecting the child

      still more…but i can’t so much in one day

    5. Again, as a former Ny’er whose been through the system and lives out of town, I see this parsha from 2 angles.
      This is a very general article and each situations has many variables. But one thing I can promise you. If you REALLY cared, you would walk into the menahels office and say: There is a child that dos’nt have a school and if you take him/her in I will guarentee you full tuition. That’s right. Go fundraising and collect. People have done it and so can you!
      Out of town, unless the child has a diagnosed problem, they are accepted! The classes and the parent body are not homogenous and half of the unspoken problems are non exsistant. When a school has to keep an image, a deciding factor for the child’s acceptance is what will the child/family add to my school.
      Moshiach zul shoin kumen.

    6. Why is it that all of todays issues are dealt with by editors of various newspapers and magazines. Where are the rabonim, the roshei yeshiva. Why have they become so timid? why dont they lead? why dont they write the editorials? why dont they faint. .

    7. I started writing about this subject but before i pressed the send button but i decided NOT to before Yom Kipper…I have too many comments about this subject..
      Meanwhile a Gmar Chasimeh Tova for Klal Yisroel and we should all be mispalel on yom kipper for those kids and parents who have to experience their kids being rejected….

    8. There is no excuse for any child to be left without a school. The thought of sending one of our children to public school, even temporarily, send shivers down my spine. This is the 21st century, not the turn of the 20th century! To me, the problem is a lack of leadership or the refusal of our leaders to do what the community needs them to do. It is only the Rebbes and Rabbonim who can fix this calamity. Interestingly enough, they found the wherewithall to come together a couple of weeks ago to discuss what they perceive as the danger of technology. So, we see that they can come together. Now, imagine if they would come together to insure that every Jewish child has a place in a Jewish institution! Imagine, if they would even begin to try and allocate public funds. Should organizations like Bonei Olam or A Time be draining millions of dollars out of our community when there isn’t adequate funding for our schools? The list goes on…. I am certain there is enough money to fund our schools and even to open new ones, however, communal money needs to be allocated more responsibly. When will our Rebbes and Rabbonim assume the mantle of leadership?!

      • You keep say “our rabbonim” are responsible to fix the problem. Where is this magical “pot of money” they should draw from to build classrooms and teachers? Unless you find a way to tax frum yidden or dictate how they spend their money (e.g. no one with an expensive esrog will be allowed in shul, no expensive cars in the parking lot, no expensive streimlach and sheitels in shul, etc.) its NOT the rabbonim who can solve the problem.

        • If the rabbonim wanted they could find the pot of money. I heard the ceapest box at the siyum hashas is going for 18,000 dollars let the rabbonim say enough the community needs to raise money to get kids in yeshivos let each shuld make their own small siyum.

        • The magical “pot of money” would be the the same place where they find the magical pot of money when they build their mansions and palace style gigantic shuls.

      • How can you plant daubt for those potential donors of A Time and Bonei Olam by asking “Should organizations like Bonei Olam or A Time be draining millions of dollars out of our community when there isn’t adequate funding for our schools?”

        Do you have children? Would you want to give up on the dream of ever having a child? Do only rich people “deserve” to pro-create? What if you used to have a serious income but lost your livelihood due to the dismal economy? Do you then “return your children” at the Walmart counter?

        • We all feel for those who wish to have the gift of children. However, if there aren’t schools for our children then what is the point of having them? What I am really saying is that every community has a limited amount of funds. Who is providing the oversight as to where these funds are allocated? It is not OK to throw millions of dollars at whatever tugs at our heart. Our schools must be a priority, right up there with organizations such as Bonei Olam and A Time, which do seem to be draining many millions out of our community and I, for one, am not so sure it is warranted at this time.

          • I would advise you to stop defending your silly comments, as they are becoming more and more insensitive and nonsensical. No, YOU do NOT feel for those who wish to have the gift of children (but others do). You may now publicly apologize…

            • I don’t see any reason to aplogize because I have an opinion that is different than yours. However, this is where true rabbinic leadership needs to come in and allocate the limited funds available within our community. There is a crisis as it pertains to our schools. Thousands of children are being born each year and, quite frankly, there isn’t classroom space for them. We can no longer afford to ignore this reality.

    9. I know it’s before Yom Kupir, but I need to raise my disappointment’s with the community.

      For everything we make Asiafs, Droshas, Kol Korahs, Campaigns, we have not seen a SINGLE event for the cause of Kids at Risk.. which is growing by leaps and bounds.

      Banning the Net, banning cell phones, will not solve any problems, ‘Punkt Farkert’, it distance us to be more frustrated, and angry at our leaders, this is the fact, like it or not.

      We need to be more positive, do more Kiruv, more Simchas Hachim, don’t preach hate, and misery. We have been doing this for many years, where did it take us?? NO where, we have dropouts in the 1000’s.. we need to change course.

    10. We need to faint! Many of our community problems would go away if we would solve this problem! There should be no more asifas until this problem is solved! The ou and the agudah should cancel their conventions and say how can a jewish organization sponsor these enjoyable weekends to talk about issues when there is an urgent crisis! The agudah should suspend the siyum hashas till we solve the problem. And guess what like the chofetz chaim said if we fainted and did these extreme measures we would find a solution.

    11. The Kollel Age will ultimately come to an end and people will have to start working for a living, as they have had to since the days of Adam and Eve. It’s unfortunate but its the sad reality. The Kollel Age was fun, but all good things must come to an end.

    12. I don’t know how many people would do what we did. We took out a second mortgage, then sold the house at a loss because we couldn’t afford tuition and a house. Our children had their education; we are seniors now who rent a modest apt., have no savings, but our children are metschen and we have shalom bayis. Now that is the result of “education.”

    13. This “crisis” as well as all the others have their root in only one thing – GREED. I’ve been around a long time and saw the transition. It was ALWAYS about money. Sad shame. May Heaven help us root out this and all other sickness.

      • Whose greed/?? I’ve not many many yidden who’ve gotten rich by overcharging furm parents for their children attending his gold-plated yeshiva or kollel (except for one or two conservative jewish day schools outside NYC which I suspect your kids would not be attending anyway).

    14. The school administrators who throw away Jewish children are doing nothing less than throwing away Jewish souls. Their prayers are for naught for they pray to empty gods that cannot save. The Aibishter will punish them in oylam hazeh and oylam haba. They are liars, hypocrites and sonei yisrael in the guise of mechanchim.

    15. There is another fact that I find troubling with our schools. Schools that are run as a private business! No school that feeds off the backs of the community should be allowed to be anyone’s private business. Schools must belong to communities as non profits and be run by communities for all its children. This is another issue that can only be fixed by our Rebbes and Rabbonim. There are wonderful people in our community who are available to teach our children and run our schools. However, they probably are not good business people. The future of Klal Yisrael is in our school system. I cannot think of anything more important than our schools. Our Rebbes and Rabbonim need to assume the mantle of leadership.

    16. Will this article fall on deaf ears? In my experience as a child neurologist, I’ve found, as have others, that about 15% of children have learning and / or attention deficit problems. The frustration, loss of self-esteem, and learned helplessness of many of these children — especially those who are never correctly diagnosed or, even worse, punished and mistreated by ignorant teachers and administrators — results in a downward, vicious cycle.

      Our communities help support a myriad of charitable causes, many of which are outside our communities. But, charity begins at home. Will we enable the proper evaluations of children and remediation? Will we admit that our teachers and administrators sometimes themselves need to be educated about ADHD and learning disabilities, as well as emotional disorders?

    17. If you wont point fingers and say who they are this will never stop, You should point fingers and write out all their names of all individuals they should embarresed to walk in to shull people should scream on them make them feel uncomfortable why should you hide it we all know this is wrong why do you think alll yeshivas have such hard financial problems its only because they have an oppurtunity to grow to take in more children “Lhagdil torah ilhadira” and they dont accept they should be ashamed on themselves i think everyone should write out all their names.

    18. It’s time to stop sighing and demand change. Let the parents whose children are Yeshiva-less submit their child(ren)’s Hebrew name (Naomi Bas Malya, for example) and the institution that they have have been expelled from. This entire list should be published in the frum publications and blogged about, until there is accountability by the menahalim of these institutions. Exposure tends to lead to change. Every principal can bank on the anonymity of their actions, as there never was a “communal list” publicizing their actions. Board members on the school should be epected to devote some of their time to the “replacement” of the neshamos who can’t fit in within their Mosad.
      While I say this, there are also extreme circumstances, that I would not want “remedied” or “obsorbed” into the Yeshiva system. I know of a frum school in Monsey that has enabled a repeated teen sex offender who has been preying on many victims within her school. (Her parents must be paying full tuition!!) The other parents were not even informed so that they can protect their children or move them to another yeshiva. Yes people, sex offenders can start out young and they also come in the female variety.

    19. I am a teacher in the yeshiva system for many years. An important factor of any student succeeding in a school is the student’s desire to be there. When the student is unhappy, it leads to small issues which snowball until it is obvious that there is no solution other than to ask that student to leave. If a parent is stuck on a particular yeshiva, and unwilling to seek alternatives, the suffering multiplies. A very helpful tool in assisting students and their parents would be a comprehensive questionnaire prepared by veteran educators and principals and distributed to Jewish communities. In communities where there are many schools, the results would help narrow down the choices. Yeshivot employ many different educational approaches and some are unsuitable for a particular family’s lifestyle. For example, there are some schools whose goals are very high academic standards with hours of after school demands from its students. Parents think that this may be a great choice until reality proves otherwise. Many parents are unaware of the different shittot in learning Torah and barely know what the curriculum covers. The questionnaire idea is step one, in my humble opinion.

    20. I am a teacher and I have been educated about ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, etc.I am also privy to the results of student testing and IEP’s and am careful to follow the suggestions for every student. The evaluations very clearly show that careful attention has been paid to the student’s capabilities. But have the parents checked that the school is capable of delivering the education the student deserves? Do parents or clinicians use proper due diligence in evaluating the curriculum or the staff and are they honest about their child’s abilities to cope? If a student has learning disabilities and the school hires a nineteen year old teacher out of seminary without guidance and there are 35 kids in the class…(this happens!) what will follow? Parents pay thousands for tuition. Ideally, they research their child’s education as thoroughly as they do when making other major purchases. Sadly, most people choose the school according to the “name” which may or may not be an accurate representation of the school’s abilities to educate THEIR child. Eventually, the child will leave school or be asked to leave, as you can clearly see happening. The problem begins here.

    21. The whole differents is from 30 years ago. Then the rabunim was like our father’s came from war and had only one thing in mind to build up a new kosher dor. Today it’s only to built themselves they became our son. Shame on all of them on betraying their

    22. I teach in a Bais Yaakov school where they are very crowded but they accepted a student whose mother is divorced and others have taken it upon themselves to raise the funds for the student’s tuition. In other schools, similar actions are being taken to help students achieve a yeshiva education. I think that the article applies to students who have been asked to leave a school and are left yeshiva-less. In most cases, when a student has been asked to leave it is done with great thought and upon the advice of a rav. The problem is where do these kids go? Not all of them have learning disabilities. Some are normal but rebellious and a bad influence on others. Some have caused real damage to others-both physical or spiritual harm. Sometimes the parents have caused great damage and spoken so badly about a school that the administration has asked them to take their kids elsewhere-and no one else will take them. Schools for these kids have been opening and shutting down for years. An innovative idea must be sought to help the families who suffer because their child has no school. Perhaps an online yeshiva system through Torah Umesora where a child can learn via mentoring….

      • It is refreshing to hear about people who take it upon themselves to raise tuition funding for another student. How great will be their reward! However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are many four year olds who are not accepted into any school for no good reason at all. I believe this is because there are many available children to fill a limited number of slots and schools feel they can be overly picky. Schools today will not necessarily accept siblings. Unfortunately, this is because those who run the shools are not sufficiently educated. They simply do not understand the child they have before them and how to integrate most children within our community. It is not acceptable to judge an applicant by his siblings for all children in a family are different from each other. For instance, my four year old son was turned down by three schools. Eventually, the school that his siblings attend accepted him. To date, all his teachers have loved having him and when I tell them how I could not get him into a school they look at me dumbfounded. Recently, while visiting the school, his rebbe approached me to tell me how wonderful he is! Our schools do need to change!

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