A Reader Writes: Is Everything About Money?


school-desksDear Editor,

A prominent girls school in Brooklyn is instituting some major changes this coming school year. The primary reason for this change is to save money. They intend to have all teachers, both the Hebrew teachers and English teachers, work from open to close. The only way this can happenis if half the classes have Hebrew in the morning and half the classes have English during the morning. The result will be that the primacy of Yiddish studies will be diluted.Now, I understand that we are living during difficult financial times, but are we to throw away all that we value for money?

Gershon Gold

Boro Park, Brooklyn


  1. “Primacy of Yiddish studies will be diluted” – What primacy of Yiddish studies are there with girls? With boys you are 1000% correct, and Reb Moshe wrote a tshuva stated such decades ago.

    But, there is no concept of Yiddish studies for girls earlier than 80 years ago. They have no mitzvah of Talmud Torah. Is it so bad to have English first?

    Maybe it is even a good thing. Let the girls realize that they can learn Yiddish later, because it is not their chiyuv, as opposed to their brothers.

    I presume that these are Yiddishe English Teachers, as most Bais Yaakovs have.

  2. R’ Gershon-
    Do you not acknowledge the fact that this is a prime opportunity to teach our heilige Yiddishe meidelach that by tzaddikim “mammonam chaviv aleihem yoser migufam”? Do you really think that the girls in this “prominent” school are so stupid as to interpret having limudei kodesh in the afternoon as a bizayon when it’s clearly being done (and discussed ad nauseam in the community) as a financial matter? If you’re so concerned, why don’t you think about ways to communicate the message of the importance of limudei kodesh in other ways while being fiscally responsible? Some people actually are more attentive/learn better in the afternoon!
    Perhaps if all of our mosdos would think critically about needless expenses, we wouldn’t be in the degree of trouble we’re in now.
    Wake up and smell the coffee!

  3. I grew up in an out-of-town community (although a relatively established one) and it was very common for teaches to work full day thereby necessitating some limudei kodesh classes to be in the afternoon. This was the case in my elementary school (and they did ask a sheilah). I assume the reason in that case was to ensure the highest level of teachers (as the pool of potential teaches is obviously smaller out of town) and to allow the teachers to make a better parnassah if they so choose. The years that I had kodesh in the afternoon were never any less productive, nor viewed with any less chashivus. It is all in the attitutde/tone that the school sets. (This was only in the elementary school – it may be different for high schools.)

  4. Money may not be the primary thing, but without it, it’s pretty hard to do anything else.

    I know people in chinuch, and I know how difficult it is to manage a school financially even in good times.

    It may be that the school has the choice between changing the scheduling and closing. These are bitter times and bitter choices must be made.

  5. If you teach English studies in the morning you are teaching the kids that it’s more important then the Hebrew studies, the damage is not reversible.

  6. You have to take into account that most of the teachers are mothers too and many have the koach to teach properly since it’s only half day and they need to be home for their children the second half. You will lose half your teachers if you make them stay a full day.
    About money for teachers- most of their salaries go for babysitters so they MUST go home with enough takehome pay to make it work.
    Where I teach (at a Bais Yaakov), many teachers pay as much for babysitters as they do for their salary and only work for benefits. So working a whole day won’t help since once they have their benefits, why tax their energy by working a full day when after the benefits, the salary doesn’t measure up to the cost of leaving the house?