Mirror Publishes Response to Attack on Yeshiva Zichron Shmayahu


zichron-shmayahuThe following is an article that appeared in The Mirror, making unfounded and anti-Semitic claims about Yeshiva Zichron Shmayahu, the noted yeshiva in Toronto led by its rosh yeshiva, Rav Chaim Mendel┬áBrodsky. The article, which appeared on April 7, is titled, “Expansion of Jewish boys school gets nod: Go-ahead happens despite ‘reprehensible’ behaviour.” Below the article, we have published a response to the attack also published by the Mirror several days later, defending the yeshiva and stating that the initial article contains falsities.

First, the article (to view the source, click here):

Expansion of Jewish boys school gets nod: Go-ahead happens despite ‘reprehensible’ behaviour”

Even though Eglinton-Lawrence Councillor Howard Moscoe agrees neighbours have legitimate concerns about students’ “reprehensible” behaviour at a private Jewish boys school, he and other North York councillors approved a proposal to expand the school.

Having now obtained the necessary approval at City Hall last week, the Yeshiva Gedolah of Toronto school will be able to build almost 6,000 square feet of additional classroom space and a three-storey, 153-bed student dormitory at 567, 575 and 577 Lawrence Ave. and 70, 72 and 74 Fairholme Ave., west of Bathurst Street.

The parking lot would be boosted by 10 spaces, bringing the total to 24.

A spokesperson for the school, which provides Jewish instruction for teenage boys and young men, told councillors at last month’s meeting of North York Community Council the height of the dormitory has been reduced to three storeys from the original plan of six floors and said the development would be an asset to the community.

But several residents said the school has already been a disturbance and they feel the expansion will only make a bad situation worse.

“This density is too great for this neighbourhood,” Brigitte Nowak said. “One hundred and fifty students is one big boarding house.”

Lisa Humeniuk complained about students being able to watch neighbours from the dormitory.

“When we’re in our yards, there will be hundreds of eyes staring at us,” she said. “It is psychologically disturbing…It is just creepy.”

While one man said development is inevitable and he wants to see the neighbourhood brought up to a better level, he complained the proposal doesn’t provide enough parking spaces.

Meanwhile, he said he has had several close calls in which students have darted out into the street from between parked cars.

A senior complained of students playing “chicken” on neighbourhood streets and said students hold parties on the roof after school hours.

“It is not a very pleasant place to live in now. I hate to think what it will be like with 150 boys,” she said.
Moscoe admitted approving the development was a tough call.

“The school is a significant irritant to the community, there is no doubt about that,” he said.

According to a planning report, the property has been the subject of numerous development applications since 1964.

Meanwhile, in 2000, the school pleaded guilty to a zoning bylaw infraction issued by the city in 1998 for operating an improper student residence.

While Moscoe agreed there have been problems at the school, he pointed out the property has long been used as a school, including a former Jewish elementary school, and a synagogue. It would be difficult for the city to say now those are inappropriate uses, he said.

“It would be nice to tell them to move elsewhere but we can’t,” Moscoe said.

Meanwhile, Moscoe said Yeshiva Gedolah has bought a number of the homes in the area to house students, who live there unsupervised.

“Their behaviour has been reprehensible,” he said.

Hopefully, by putting the students in a dormitory and providing them with a gym where they can participate in recreational activities, the development will rein in behaviour now upsetting residents, Moscoe said.
“It is an awful situation politically to be in. I sympathize with the residents but I don’t think turning down this application will improve the situation.”

The following is a response to the above, published on April 13 (here) and titled “Reader presents ‘other side’ to Jewish boy school.”

To the editor:

Re: ‘Expansion of private Jewish boys school gets go-ahead,’ Community, April 8.

I’m a resident of the neighborhood where the school resides. It’s a predominantly Orthodox-Jewish neighborhood. We suffer from a lack of space in our local institutions to a point some of us have to send young, high-school-age boys out of country because local schools cannot meet the needs of our burgeoning community.

It’s about time our councillors gave the necessary approval to benefit the school’s surrounding community. All the people within a five-block radius are thrilled with the expansion, so I find it ironic those The Mirror interviewed are probably the only three neighbors opposed, with a suspicious lack of supporting views.

Especially suspect is the fact The Mirror highlighted a blurb that is obviously of a subjective and paranoid nature.
The article fails to mention this is a Jewish boys high and post-high school with the highest level of Judaic studies, gearing its student body to a life in the Rabbinate.

These boys are the furthest thing from the rabble rousers the article makes them out to be. They don’t drink, do drugs, shoplift or any other negative behaviors we suffer from other neighborhood teens.

If they congregate on street corners it is because they are so engrossed in their academic discussions they are reluctant to take a break. Compare that to other groups that are seen passing around a joint or blaring their music on city streets.

Especially despicable are the quotes from Councillor Howard Moscoe. This politician once again promises his support to builders and community leaders while simultaneously leading citizens’ committees against them. I would like a public apology for calling the behavior of these budding young rabbis, “reprehensible”.

Thank you for allowing me to present “the other side.”

O. Greenfield

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. I am curently in the yeshiva and im just flabergasted by these hateful comments from Lisa Humeniuk who is a constant thorn in the yeshivas hips. I remember last year my rebbe had to stop shiur because she was by the window with a video camera filming us. She is constantly causing problems for the yeshiva and she has a large dog who barks at all the bochurim who walk by. B”H she just put up her house for sale because she lost the battle with the neighborhood council trying to block the zoning for the new building. The Yeshiva is a Makom Torah with a wonderful reputation around the world

  2. I remember when I was in a yeshiva in lakewood, in the begining of the 1990’s, and our yeshiva was adjacent to industrial buildings, well our neighbors werent that happy with us, and when we would go to the side of the building, to smoke cigarets (which isnt healthy, but we just did it because it was a means of respite, silly teenagers we were) well our neighbors claimed, we were smoking drugs, because why else would teenagers hide their smoking habits, and so goyim generaly think along the lines of their own dalid amis which isnt very safe and proper really, and their judgment works within their own musugim, Now with buchrim from that yeshiva commenting here, well that doesnt boost the name of the yeshiva, thats for sure, but maybe they told their parents what to write, and so lets be dan likaf zchus, instead of jumping the gun!

  3. It is sad, sounds like other cases where Yeshivas have come into conflict with neighbors.

    We should be extra careful to behave well.

    Re the neighbor that complained about students being able to see neighbors in their yards – she actually has an important point. Hezek reiyah is discussed in Chazal and Halocho. Privacy is an important Torah value.

  4. to #9
    I am sure the yeshiva would put up privacy fences if there would be they would be asked to.
    People don’t want to accept yeshivas and (some yeshivas have had problems with frum neighbors too) even with privacy fences blocking off visual access.

  5. You’re NOT a bochur in YGZS Of Toronto, GUARANTEED!!!!!!!
    SAY THE TRUTH, U ARE _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _, fill the blanks in urself.

  6. Dear Commentors,
    Its osor to be mekatreig on bnei torah that have no shaychus to internet AT ALL, this yeshiva is mistomoh from the highest yeshivois around nowaday, I know people like to say MOTZEI SHEM RA’AH on choshuve mekoimei Torah, because they can’t fargin ………, so lets not be marbe shtusim that never happened, like the councillor Howard Moscow ym”s, who is constantly trying to destroy this choshuve mokoim torah. B”H the yeshiva got somewhere legabay these anti-semitin. Shkoiach!

  7. Oh, today’s featured video is of the most choshuve bochur in the deaf yeshiva, I can testify that he learns YOIMOM VOLAYLAH LITTERALLY, (NOT THAT I’M IN THE YESHIVA EVERY DAY, BUT ITS FAMOUS..

  8. Toronto in the news for once. Lets show evrybody what kind of community we are. There is no point in arguing!

  9. I live a few blocks down from the yeshiva and its a great neighbourhood. most people are very pro the yeshiva building up… they probably just interviewed the 2-3 haters