Answering Your Summer Shailos in the Mountains


camp-At the end of June every year, as the school year ends, a mass exodus out of the city takes place. At precisely this time of the year, one feels that the grass is much greener somewhere else. In spite of the challenging economy, seemingly, almost everyone evacuates the city to their dream bungalows, villas, and summer homes in the Catskills. Though we all assume a somewhat more relaxed lifestyle during the summer months, we do not really change. Our unique Jewish attribute of living lives of halachic exploration, questioning every aspect of our religious experience, accelerates unimpeded. So, if one is in the Catskills, or if his rabbi is there, where should the routine everyday and the very special sheilos (questions in Jewish Law) be directed?Summer Instructions for Torah Observant

As a genuine annual service to the observant community, the Hisachdus Horabbonim, the Chassidishe rabbinic organization headquartered in Williamsburg, issued its list of contact information of qualified rabbis that stand ready to receive and respond to sheilos during the summer months. Literally, an army of Torah respondents has been redeployed and is at its summer battle stations ready to respond to halachic inquiries as well as to explain the meaning of a critical word on your Daf Yomi. This is in conjunction with a number of general guidelines that have been issued by the Hisachdus relating to the proper conduct and religious observances incumbent upon all of us during the entire year, including the summer months. The Hisachdus issues their list of updated directives every year. The list has been developed through long years of hard experience and continually updated. Amongst the items are the following:

A Summer Erev Shabbos

Many camps, bungalow colonies, and hotels begin Shabbos earlier than the standard 18 minutes before shkiah (sunset). In scheduling Friday departure times to the Catskills, or to anywhere else, know when Shabbos begins at your destination. Under no circumstances should anyone begin to travel to camps, bungalow colonies, or hotels late on Friday afternoon. In addition to a long list of ongoing construction projects, highways and roadways are routinely congested at such times. When heavy traffic opens up and begins to move, one might be tempted to speed and drive dangerously to make up lost time, something that must be absolutely avoided at all times. If your drivers license is not in order, suspended, or revoked, your may very well spend Shabbos in jail. In addition, unavoidable delays may encroach on proper Shabbos times and create great difficulty in proper Shabbos observance. Many rabbis recommend that Friday travelers must take with them candles, challos, and a bottle of wine or grape juice. Those traveling to be with Chassidishe Rebbeim in their summer retreats cannot rely on Divine assistance and must also take all precautions and make all necessary preparations.

Kosher Eruvin

Every camp, hotel, and bungalow colony must ensure that its eruv was properly designed and securely installed. An eminent rabbi renown for expertise in Eruvin should be consulted to guarantee that the eruv meets all halachic criteria. A reliable learned individual should be appointed to assume the responsibility of checking the eruv every Friday to ensure that the eruv remains in full and exacting compliance with the instructions of the overseeing rav. The Hisachdus, without charge, will designate such rav upon request.

Kashrus While on Vacation

While on vacation one must maintain the kashrus standards adhered to all year. When shopping while traveling or while on vacation, every food item purchased must be checked for a familiar kashrus certification. If unsure, use your cell phone to call your rabbi, or any rabbi listed here, or a rabbi known to you to be reliable. Kashrus Magazine’s summer issue is highly recommended as a great source of information.

Lakes and Swimming Pools – Strict Guidelines

Swimming pools must be secured to prevent toddlers and young children unauthorized entry. The gate must be safely locked and inaccessible at all times that a supervising responsible adult is not present. When open, an adult preferably with life-saving training should be present and in charge. Every camp or bungalow colony must have one individual designated as responsible to oversee all pool matters. Those swimming in lakes must be accompanied by at least one other person. Swimming pools must have appropriate partitions.

Life Insurance, Summer and All-Year Round

The issue of life insurance for family breadwinners (usually husbands and family caretakers, usually wives) is non-negotiable and applies all year round. The advertisements and flyers seeking contributions to maintain families that have lost a parent sadly abound. One such tragedy is one too many. As our communities keep growing, Baruch Hashem, the actuarial percentages apply consistently. No one is immune. No one is exempt. The cost of term life insurance of $500,000 for a healthy man aged 30 is approximately $20.00 per month. The obligation and necessity for life insurance must be taught at chassan/ kallah classes. Insurance acquired at an earlier age is considerably cheaper; hence the younger one begins the better. This is not only mandatory for a yeshiva rebbi; it is an absolute necessity for every family breadwinner and caretaker, regardless of profession.

Find A Mikveh

In selecting a mikveh during your vacation, ascertain that a qualified rabbi has approved the mikveh. No one should ever use a mikveh without another person present. A lake or a swimming pool does not constitute a kosher mikveh. In the Catskills and summer resorts, the following mikvaos are functioning and are under rabbinical supervision: Bethlehem, New Hampshire 603-869-3336; Ellenville 845-647-4472 and 845-647-6846; Fleischmans 845-254-6349; Liberty 845-292-6677; Monsey 845-371-0211; Monticello 845-794-6757 and 845-794-8470; South Fallsburg 845-436-3333; Swan Lake 845-845-292-5122/3 and 845-292-8031; White Lake 845-583-9702; and Woodridge 845-436-4987 and 845-436-7960.

Behavior at Public Picnic Areas

When using public picnic areas, whether in a park or comfort station on a highway, one is required to always act properly, maintain cleanliness, and not use any public grill. Foods purchased at picnic concessions must also have an acceptable kashrus certification.

Torah Lectures and Shiurim

In order to continually refresh the soul as well as the body, every bungalow colony and hotel must endeavor to arrange and organize Torah lectures,shiurim, and study sessions for men, women, and children. These shiurim should be arranged for Fridays, Shabbos, Sundays, and every weekday.

Sheilos? Stumped? Call the Rabbi!

As many questions arise during the summer months when one is away from home or one’s congregational rabbi may be serving elsewhere in a summer capacity, qualified rabbis are standing by at the ready to welcome and to respond to your inquiries. Do not hesitate to call. The following is the updated list of rabbis by location on call in alphabetical order:

Boro Park: Rabbi Avrohom Yehoshua Heshel Bick, Mezebusher Rav, 718-854-2617, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Rabbi Yechiel Yaakov Miller, Eizenstadter Rav, 718-438-7526 and 718-438-6218, 9:00 to 10:15 a.m., 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. and on; Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Spitzer, Rav of Beis Medrash Ohr Chaim, 718-633-7420, 8:00 to 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., 6:30 to7: 45 p.m., and 9:30 to 11:15 p.m.; Rabbi Nachman Yechiel Mechel Steinmetz, Boro Park Skverer Dayan, 718-853-3744, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m., 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., and from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.; and Rabbi Sholom Noach Weiss, , 718-236-2622, 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Kerhonkson: Rabbi Yitzchok Stein, Foltechaner Dayan, 845-626-3632, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., and 10:00 to 11:30 p.m.

Kiamesha Lake: Rabbi Shraga Gedalye Kaufman, Kruleh Dayan, 845-794-5150 and cell # 347-538-2783.

Liberty: Rabbi Zvi Ausch, Volkaner Rav, 817-237-2112, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., and 10:00 to 11:00 p.m.; and Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Shneibalg, Williamsburg Belzer Rav, 845-295-3301, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., 5:30 to7:00 p.m., and 10:00 to 11:30 p.m.

Loch Sheldrake: Rabbi Avrohom Meir Halberstam, 18th Avenue Satmar Dayan, 646-773-0147; Rabbi Dovid Hirsch, Satmar Dayan, 845-434-8236; Rabbi Ben Zion Laub, Satmar Dayan, 347-645-1314; and Rabbi Menachem Zev Stern, Satmar Dayan, 845-434-8380.

Monroe: Rabbi Chanoch Henach Ashkenazi, Dayan Yetev Lev, 845-782-0751, 8:15 to 9:30 a.m., and 6:20 to 7:30 p.m., and at 845-782-0751, 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.; Rabbi Elyakim Getzel Berkowitz, Senior Kiryas Yoel Dayan, 845-783-8715; Rabbi Pisachye Fried, Rav of Chevra Bnei Israel, 845-782-8049, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.; Rabbi Shimon Zev Meisels, Rav Beis Medrash Yismach Moshe, 845-782-2533; and Rabbi Yoel Morgenstern, Sharmasher Rav, 845-781-4172, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 to 6:00 pm.

Monsey: Rabbi Binyamin Gruber, Hisachdus Dayan, 845-425-7516; Rabbi Avrohom Katz, Rav Khal Mishkanos L’avir Yaakov, 845-371-8292, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.; Rabbi Shimon Katz, Dayan Khal Vayoel Moshe, 845-426-2348, 1:00 to 8:15 p.m. and 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.; Rabbi Yitzchok Avrohom Jungreis, Monsey Tosher Dayan, 845-356-5141; Rabbi Shraga Feivel Shneibalg, Rav Khal Avreichim, 845-425-8977, 2:00 to 7:30 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.; and Rabbi Menachem Mayer Weissmandl, Rav Khal Toras Chemed, 845-352-1807, 845-425-1364, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Monticello: Rabbi Yeshaye Gedalye Kaufman, Hisachdus Dayan, 845-794-5150; Rabbi Yeshaye Labin, Zidichover Rebbe, 845-794-9476; Rabbi Yeshaye Lieberman, Dushinsky Rosh Kollel, 845-796-1069; and Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Saks, Dayan Khal Beis Moshe Aaron, 845-794-3337.

Mount Kisco: Rabbi Hillel Weinberger, Nitra Dayan, 914-244-1425, after 1:00 p.m.

Parksville: Rabbi Aaron Yeshaye Rosner, Sombotheily Dayan, 845-292-6406 and 718-594-5806.

Seagate: Rabbi Pinchas Mordechai Meisels, Seagate Dayan, 718-372-0831; and Rabbi Yekusiel Yehuda Meisels, Rav Khal Yereim, 718-373-1444.

South Fallsburg: Rabbi Boruch Avrohom Friedman, Satmar Dayan, 845-436-0263; Rabbi Yirmiyah Friedman, Hisachdus Dayan, Shoproner Camp, 845-434-1136, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; Rabbi Shlomo Kohn, Ada Rav, Shoproner Camp, Bungalow North 12; Rabbi Yitzchok Halberstam, Tartakover Dayan, 347-668-9453; Rabbi Moshe Aryeh Lieberman, Hisachdus Dayan, 845-434-4548, after 7:00 p.m.; Rabbi Simcha Aaron Stroli, Viener Dayan, 845-434-5705, 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. and 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.; and Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, Nirbator Rav, 845-434-9272.

Swan Lake: Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Abraham, Hisachdus Dayan, 845-292-9719, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.; Rabbi Yitzchok Aaron Goldberger, Pupa RoshYeshiva, 845-292-9733, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.; Rabbi Aaron Greenwald, Pupa Dayan, 845-292-9878, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., and 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Rabbi Asher Mann, Hisachdus Dayan, 845-292-2664; Rabbi Asher Gedalye Pollack, Brashover Rav, 845-292-2204; and Rabbi Moshe Menachem Weiss, Boro Park Pupa Dayan, 845-889-4662, 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Thompsonville: Rabbi Avrohom Halberstam, Tartakover Rosh Kollel, 845-434-7283.

White Lake: Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Harfenes, Rav Beis Medrash Yisroel Vehazemanim, 347-546-6825/6866; and Rabbi Akiva Ludmir, Pressburger Rav, 845-583-8360.

Williamsburg: Rabbi Moshe Meir Brief, Ibramer Rav, 718-388-3951, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.: and Rabbi Yisroel Avrohom Alter Krausz, 718-963-0833; 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.: Rabbi Ezriel Meir Chaim Kohn, Sengeorge Rav, 718-963-2614; 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.: Rabbi Shmuel Shmelka Friedman, Hisachdus Dayan, 718-963-3568; 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.: Rabbi Shlomo Leib Weinberger, Satmar Dayan, 718-387-6698; 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.: Rabbi Shlomo Wieder, Hisachdus Dayan, 718-388-4639; 10:30 to 11:30 and 9:15 to 10:15 p.m.: Rabbi Klonimus Zev Gross, Weitzener Rav, 718-384-6344. In addition: Rabbi Menachem Gross, Kaliver Rav, 718-388-6873; Rabbi Leibish Friedman, Satmar Dayan, in the Rodney Street Beis Medrash (718-486-3570) from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m.; at 718-388-5703 from 6:00 to 9:15 pm; and at the beis medrash from 9:15 to 10:15 p.m.; Rabbi Yehuda Meshulem Dov Polatchek, Hisachdus Dayan, 718-387-1678; Rabbi Yosef Polatchek, Rav Khal Shem MiShimon, 718-624-6718; Rabbi Moshe Rosenfeld, Hisachdus Dayan, 718-237-2835; Rabbi Yechezkel Teitelbaum, Clymer Street Satmar Rav, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. in shul, and at 718-963-1564.

Woodbourne: Rabbi Avrohom Zvi Friedman, Galánta Dayan, 347-684-3025; Rabbi Yosef Chaim Moskowitz, Shotzer Rav, 845-436-8604; Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Shneibalg, Chernowitzer Rav, 845-434-2568; and Rabbi Yosef Dovid Shneibalg, Chernowitzer Dayan, 718-855-7701.

Woodridge: Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Krausz, Udvarer Dayan, Gitty Gardens, Glenwild Road, Bungalow 5/6, 7:00 to 10:30 p.m.; and Rabbi Yechezkel Schwartz, Dayan Beis Talmud Le’Hora’ah, 845-434-5212 and 917-318-8991.

{Rabbi G. Tannenbaum-Machberes}


  1. Wow. What a valuable article of information. If only every shul, organization, and Jewish website would continue to provide this time of helpful information on a continuous basis. Thank you Matzav !!

  2. Thanks so much for posting this. Can Matzav also please post a more comprehensive list which also includes Litvishe rabbonim?

  3. Very imformative. 1) your opinion you gave about Life insurance is not so pashut. There are many Rabbonim who disagree. 2) For those of us that stay in Flatbush for the summer, are there any Litvisha Rabbonim who are physically here that we can ask & show Shailos to?