Hisgarus Ba’umos? No Thanksgiving For School Bus Drivers In Lakewood


school-busThe Asbury Park Press reports: Lakewood, NJ – Some school district bus drivers will be asked to work Thanksgiving to provide busing for private school students, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Thanksgiving is a normal school day for 18,000 Orthodox Jewish students who attend private schools in the township.

About 400 school buses are used for transporting students to and from the private school each day, said Michael Inzelbuch, the attorney for the township Board of Education.

School bus companies must provide service Monday through Friday from September to June for private school students, according to state law and a contract signed by the bus companies and the Board of Education.

In the past, private schools waived their right to district busing on Thanksgiving, a federal holiday, as a courtesy.

This year, no such waiver was offered, township school officials said. Yet, officials for the Board of Education continue to poll private schools to determine whether they would be flexible about the required transportation, Inzelbuch said.

In the past, the private schools found other ways to transport the children on Thanksgiving. However, the Orthodox community has grown to such an extent that so many parents carpooling students has become a safety issue, particularly on Route 9, according to Rabbi Moshe Weisberg, a member of the Lakewood VAAD, a council of Jewish leaders.

“The town has grown, schools have grown, children have grown,” he said. “If you can’t work it out, you have to go back to the letter of the law.”

The Lakewood Cheder School at Ninth Street and Route 9 has 3,500 students and there is another large Jewish school behind the Cheder School, Weisberg said. Both schools have the same dismissal time and a carpool system, making it unsafe for children and drivers, the rabbi said.

Inzelbuch said township police told district officials that it is a major traffic problem to have the students go to school without busing.

Dan Jauch, regional manager of Durham bus service, a provider of transportation to the district, said the company assumed the private schools would again provide their own transportation on Thanksgiving.Jauch said Durham provides about 150 drivers to the district. The hours will make it difficult for drivers to work and prepare a family dinner on Thanksgiving, he said.

“Most of my drivers are women with families who work part-time and do a quality job. They are angry about having to work (on Thanksgiving),” Jauch said. “In the past, they got two holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving, and they work every other holiday. I don’t think the drivers are asking for too much here.”

Weisberg said members of the Orthodox community appreciate the meaning of Thanksgiving, but it is not a tradition to celebrate by taking off a day.

“In the Jewish school system, every day is precious for education,” Weisberg said. Thanksgiving is a “wonderful holiday and should be celebrated but there are still (18,000) kids that need to get home.”

The next time a contract is signed with the bus companies, Weisberg said a financial compensation could be put in place to make working on Thanksgiving easier to digest for bus drivers.

Inzelbuch said he would personally provide a pumpkin pie or dessert, at his own expense, to the bus drivers who work on Thanksgiving.

“While this gesture will not cure the issue, it is a gesture that I feel is important in our town,” he said.

{Asbury Park Press/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. So let me get this straight. Agudah over the years fought for us frum yidden to not work on shabbos, leave early shabbos, yom tovim etc…

    And now we the same frum yidden will not give a little courtesy to the bus drivers on their main Holiday!? It boggles my mind. I get it that the law says they have to do it. But what about the “spirit” of the law. Have we lost all seichel on this one?

    I think Agudah should fight for the bus drivers on this one. They have expert lawyers to handle such a case.

    Also NJ state law should be changed and bus drivers should be off on Thanksgiving and x-mas.

  2. To have angry drivers on thanksgiving is safe?
    Come on give these people a break respect their holidays too
    Spend your time actually helping families by lowering property taxes

  3. This story is a huge chillul hashem. Why should the bus drivers need to work on their holiday? Let us be sensitive to our neighbors. This was never an issue until now and parents were always able to arrange car pool on Thanksgiving. Give these driver’s a beak and let them spend some time with their families celebrating the greatness of this country. We are given religious freedom, should we not show the same courtesy to the bus drivers?

  4. If there has been an understanding that private schools would waive bussing in the past, when did the school district decide to change the system? When WERE the bus drivers notified they would have to work on Thanksgiving?

  5. This is plain wrong. Give them off on their holiday. Don’t we want off on our holidays??!!! Have we lost all our sense of decency?!

  6. we can all do our part, and give our kids’ bus drivers something nice when they come pick up the kids that morning, even home baked cookies, or some chocolate. A small gesture to show that we appreciate their ‘sacrifice’ for us.

  7. Would any of us be happy about working on Purim? To them those 2 holidays are precious family time. Regarding the safety issue somehow in Brooklyn we manage when there are no buses and traffic is always bad in New York plus there are a lot more days when we don’t get buses and we manage.

  8. I wonder if someone were to offer Inzelbuch free cholent and kugel to work on his holiday, if he would agree. Why cant the school just take the day off? They have 2 months off in the summer, all yomim tovim, and Jewish holidays, chanukkah and mid winter, what harm would come if they get off Thanksgiving?

  9. If this article is true, and the schools are making workers come in involuntarily on their holidays then this would be a huge Chilul Hashem and source of antisemitism. I assume that this article is false because I can not believe that people who are benai torah would forget they are in Galus and act this way.

  10. #3 Thanksgiving is a family day, where extended members of a family get together, schmooze and eat a meal. Since it is a federal holiday, most schools and work places are off or have reduced hours.
    Why should these bus drivers miss a family reunion? (having chanukah/purim as a vacation does not solve the problem) If they are requested to work their salaries should be reimbursed adequately.

  11. thank you to everyone voicing the way i feel

    this is a disgrace

    give them the day off and let people drive their kids to school gee wiz

  12. The Gemara states that when the shepherd is angry at his flock, he blinds the lead sheep to have all the others follow into disaster.
    Ve’hamevin Yavin.
    If you are in doubt, read the comments on the app.
    I shudder at the thought.

  13. Yes #14 opines thus: “we can all do our part, and give our kids’ bus drivers something nice when they come pick up the kids that morning, even home baked cookies, or some chocolate. A small gesture to show that we appreciate their ’sacrifice’ for us”.

    Somehow I think an even better token of Lakewood parents’ appreciation would be to pay the drivers for working on what is, after all, an accepted national holiday i the United States.

    I would not like Yes #14, or any other “well-meaning” parent to be told – doubtless in no uncertain terms – what to do with their ” something nice when they come pick up the kids that morning, even home baked cookies, or some chocolate”.

  14. My daughter’s school is a 9 minute drive from my house. It took me over an hour to get from her school to home last time the bus drivers had off. Even so, I would gladly do it again in order to allow these drivers their well deserved day off.

  15. think the schools should perhaps change what time they finish on thanksgiving to make pickup safe like the schools should work out letting kids out 30 min earlier and others a drop later to aleviate congestion

  16. i agree with most people here,if we dont respect their holidays it will just breed anti semitism which is an unfortunate outcome of when jews take over school and town boards.

  17. if you live in lakewood and have kids in school please call hem and tell them you dont want bussing. its up to the schools to decide if they want bussing.HELP STOP THIS CHILLUL HASHEM!

  18. Soa wrap up of great ideas so far… Parents request tht the school work something out but get to gether and request letting the bus drivers out; paying bus drivers who end up working for overtime; each and every parent sending a thank you gift or tip to the bus driver, mrning and afternoon with a warm thank you letter on that day; asking the schools to stagger dismissal to make carpooling safe; how bout volunteer frum drivers?

  19. What an embarrassment. Equating carpooling with a potential safety issue is a lie and an outrage. If we rely on the funding of the gov’t to provide the buses, we should understand they are on a holiday schedule. I understand some schools are open the whole day. That would mean these drivers don’t go home until late in the evening. Unfair!

  20. Thanksgiving in the past was celebrated even in Jewish schools. As a young girl in B.Y. of BOro Park, we had half a day of school on Thanksgiving. Now, I understand why things have changed, but non Jews can’t understand at all why we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving as it’s not a religious holiday. Let’s not make it even worse and force them to work on an imortant national holiday!

  21. if we dont feel we live in gilus and we live in mansions with and all the gashmius and tanugai olom hazzah at your finger tips
    then we dont remember that we are in golus.

  22. Perhaps we should acknowledge that we live in the US – a malchus shel chesed and a refuge for Jews for over a century – and stop looking down on the people of the country which has given us a place to rest on the long road of exile.

  23. Where does it say one should not work on Thanksgiving? They already have off X-MAS and New Years Day! It does not conflict with the sacred turkey dinner!!

  24. Sunday the girls’ schools are not in session, and others are not on the roads to work, so it’s much easier to get around. You really can’t compare to Thanksgiving!!

  25. I wasn’t going to comment but I think I will.
    I live out of town. Somehow, we got busing for our kids, knowing that we would still have to do weekends, minyan shifts, and other off days or off schedule times.
    OTOH, knowing the traffic realities of Lakewood, I can see how overwhelming this is for parents. Still, if you manage to do it some days, then you should be able to manage today.
    Please realize that just because there is no issur melacha in others’ holidays doesn’t mean that one can easily or want to work.

    I truly, truly hope that the leaders start working on asifos, with the same energy as technology asifos, on educating the population as far as proper conduct and appropriate citizenship in living under these unique conditions of being a majority among goyim. I’m kind of scared.

  26. I live out of town where this doesn’t affect me, so I won’t comment on whether or not it’s correct. However,I do think I may have a possible solution to keep more people happy. I work on an ambulance which is obviously a 24/7 type of operation. A few weeks before the holidays, our scheduling person put up a sign up sheet where people can say if they prefer to work on the holiday or not. Some people choose not to, but those who do work get double pay. If there are enough people that want to work, the ambulances are staffed with them. For me that works out great, but for those that do celebrate the holiday they figure something out like celebrating later. The extra pay is definitely an incentive. And in the event that enough people don’t volunteer, they will have to put on some people who’d rather not, but they still get double pay to compensate. Maybe a system similar to this would work in the future…

  27. Frum EMT, good idea. The difference is, one must have absolute coverage re EMTs go. There is a valid mindset that says re Thanksgiving, simply cancel school, or have the parents figure this out. There could definitely be resentment at having to be forced to drive, even with the incentive.