Rav Shteinman Halts School Plans Because Girls Weren’t Accepted


rav-shteinmanIt was the perfect new girls’ school that would serve the spiritual needs of a group of families that were not satisfied with the local Bais Yaakov in their Jerusalem neighborhood. Much thought and planning went into the new school. They hired the finest principal, and the crème de la crème of teachers. They were highly selective in which students they chose.

Excitement was in the air. This school, without doubt, would outshine any and all Bais Yaakovs. The only thing left was to receive a blessing from the leading sages of the generation – and to start with Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman shlita. A group of Avreichim who launched the school travelled to Bnei Brak and entered into his residence.

Rav Shteinman, upon seeing the list of students, asked why these particular young ladies were not accepted into the local Bais Yaakov. The Avreichim quickly corrected Rav Shteinman and stated that it was not that they were not accepted. Au contraire, these young ladies were from the finer families, a cut above the standard “Bais Yaakov” family. The parents had willingly registered them in this elite school.

Rav Shteinman responded that, if that is the case, the plans for the school should be negated immediately. The group attempted to explain to the Rosh Yeshiva the dire need for the new type of institution, but they were unable to budge Rav Shteinman. They were stuck and had to scramble to register their daughters in the other Bais Yaakov institutions.

Word quickly spread throughout Yerushalayim. There were other elite schools too, that were established for the same purpose. Kollel Yungerleit flocked to Rav Shteinman, only to receive the same response, “There is no inyan whatsoever to be frummer than Bais Yaakov. Anyone who registered their daughter at an elite school should negate the matter and re-register in the Bais Yaakov schools.”

Yerushalayim, this past month, was in a state of shock. A few days after the incident developed Rav Shteinman explained, “The Bais Yaakov schools do an extraordinary job in educating our girls, and there are a number of reasons why developing more “elite” schools is unwarranted. One reason is that it is important that the parents understand that a child raised in a manner that is disconnected from her friends, can and does ruin the child forever. Children learn with their peers and the elitism can be most destructive to them.”

It has been conjectured that the two other possible reasons behind Rav Shteinman’s strong stance are:

1] the fact that the Bais Yaakovs are struggling and should be supported as much as possible.
2] Rav Shteinman, generally speaking, discourages attempts at excessive levels of piety or frumkeit.

Rav Shteinman is ninety nine years old and is the Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevech LeTzeirim. He is also the author of Ayeles HaShachar on six volumes of the Talmud.

{Five Towns Jewish Times/Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. the title does not make any sense!!! Rav shteinman did not “halt plans ” because “girls weren’t accpeted” , he halted plans becuse he did not think it was a good idea to make separate schools “frummer” than beis yaakov!!!


  2. Why rely on conjecture when one could ask him?

    Funny how these types of stories are chock full of all kinds of dramatic tidbits but lacking in substantive content that might help us to actually understand the rationale behind the godol’s thinking.

  3. The title says one thing and the artical says the opposite.

    According to the artical, the reason Rav Shteinman was against the school is because he is against elitism and believes that the Bais Yaakov system works very well.

    Its good to know that we have some Gedolim to stand up for whats right even if it is unpopular.
    May Hashem give HaGaon Rav Aron Leib Shteinman the kochos abd gezunt to lead us for many many years.

  4. Not to say, ch’v, that Rav Ahron Leib needs my haskama, nor the haskama of anyone else who comments on the internet, but I can say that I have attended some of the Q&A sessions that he had with the public on his visits to the US in the last decade. I have never seen or heard anyone able to cut through the extraneous surface bluster, and get right to the heart of the matter, like him. And yes, the 99 year old man in Bnai Brak understands the young american mind as well. It was astounding to listen to him.

  5. the rav understands that this is a cancer of one group trying to “outfrum” the next.
    But rest assured that these jokers will try again next year.

  6. these other schools are not started because of a problem with Bais Yaakov’s Chinuch. They are started because Yungerleit today are – rightfully – concerned about negative influences from children of more “openminded” families. Secondly, there is aletter that I have from Moreinu Harav Elya Svei ZT”L ENCOURAGING the opening of a school in our out-of-town community for this exact reason, despite rthe fact that there was an existing Bais Yaakov School.

  7. Usually the selection process is more about money, connections, and personal ego.
    Some principals seem to think they’re a cut above the rest, often thinking of themselves as more righteous, holier, and smarter than Joe Schmoe

    They forget that their job is to serve the tzibur, and the tzibur includes everybody. They never make mistakes and can do no wrong and if a child has difficulty in school it’s never because THEY or the teachers THEY hired messed up. Hardly do you find a principal who looks at children as neshamas who need nurturing. In their eyes, a kid must be a mushlem in the third grade, and if he/she isn’t, the kid is damaged goods. Shame!

  8. The Rav shattered the Luchos of Elitism in Tammuz ! Mamash gevaldig mussar. Am Yisrael listen and learn this chushavah lesson.

  9. “finer families”
    What does that mean?
    Children of Nimrod or Sichon?
    Not the regular bnei Avrohom, Yitzchok v’Yaakov?

  10. The heading is misleading. Based on the article, Rav Shteinman discourages developing more “elite” schools and as such was against the opening of the school. Nothing to do with girls not being accepted.

  11. When will these “elite & Finer Families”
    learn that they are practically nothing more than any other Yid?
    How many Yidishe kinderlach have to be left without being accepted into schools beacause of different circumstances and driven off the derech by these “elite” people.

  12. “Rav Shteinman, generally speaking, discourages attempts at excessive levels of piety or frumkeit.”

    While it is nice and fine to listen to our gedolim re: a specific psak (such as this one), do we also HEAR what they are trying to tell us…the more global mussar that is innate to their philosophies and psak

    We should take heed…

  13. Yup! You have to be able to tell the shadchan that you wen’t to elitist schools. It automaticaly makes you a good wife & mother!

  14. if one applauds this psak as is correct.But when the rosh hayeshiva opins something not so popular and u reject it .then u are your own posek

  15. A true Gadol! He has underlined the need for achdus, the dangers of ga’avah and separatism, during that time of the year when we should be most conscious of it. “Elitism” leads to “I’m better than you” and then straight to conflict and sinas chinam.

    #10 – we’re not talking about smaller communities in the US. The Rav is ruling about mainline bnos institutions in Yerushalayim and Bnei Brak. It’s hard to see how a Bais Yaakov in Bnei Brak could be accused of “low standards” – unless the accuser has an exalted view of his own frumkeit. Maybe he prefers his wife wear a burqa?

  16. Is anyone in listening? Dare we hope that at least some will take R’ Aharon Lieb’s words to heart? Perhaps we will celebrate Tisha B’av this year.

  17. Just some notes to think about. I believe it was in the sefer “Ma’aseh Ish” that I read that at one time Ponevez wanted to open an upper level yeshiva called “Yeshiva L’metzuyanim”. The Chazon Ish z”l vetoed it and the buiding became what is now a dormitory for Ponevez. Similarly, from a different source I read that some talmidim of Rav Hutner z”l wanted to open a yeshiva in Brooklyn with the name “Yeshivas Hametzuaynim” (or something similar). Rav Hutner would not allow the name. I once heard a taped shmuess from Rav Pam who made a big point that everyone was allowed into the Ribono Shel Olam’s yeshiva at Har Sinai — no exceptions.

  18. The headline is not misleading. Elitism implies that only girls who meet certain criteria are accepted. Automatically that means that the others who don’t meet those criteria are not accepted.

  19. This is not to say that there aren’t different types of students. Just because we need to be b’achdus and mainstream, doesn’t mean everyone is the same. Perhaps another thing to learn from this psak is that the bais yaakovs need to start addressing every type of student- not just the mainstream, and not just the elite, and not just the bottom of the barrel. Bais yaakovs should be all inclusive by including all.

  20. that all idea of elitist school is pure schmutzike gahave that ashem hates haine hani ve hu dorim be kfife hachas , maran harav shtieneman shlita is a adam godol mehod

  21. Does everyone remember the clip from a year and a half ago on this very topic?
    “???? ?? ??? ????? ?????, ?? ?????, ??? ??? ??, ??? ???? ?? ?????, ????? ?????, ?? ????? ?? ??????. ?? ????? ???? ??? ????, ?? ?????. ??? ????!!!” ??? ??? ?????? ?????”? ?????? ????”? ???????? ????? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???? ????? ?? ???? ????? ?? ?? ?’?????’ ?? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ????? ??????.

    “????? ???? ???? ????, ??????’? ??????????” ???? ????? – ??? ???? ??? ???????? – ???? ????? ‘???? ????’ ????? ???, ?????? ???? ??????.

    “?????? – ??????? ??? ?????!!!…” ???? ?? ?????”? ????? ????…

    Video is here:

  22. I think it is also a credit to the people who listed to the Gadol’s psak after they invested so much in the school’s creation. There is mussar for us in that as well.

  23. We have a problem here! Beis yaakov has become more universal than originaly when it was founded. Girls could be from chasidish to modern orthodox depending the community.
    I have seen fantastic erlecheh girls coming out of beis yaakov but also have seen some with very serious hashkofah problems.
    I think that responsable parents that see this problem fear that their children recieve bad influence form other girls. (I have seen this)
    We have to find a solution to this problem and I suggest that we should make a community based schools and not directly independent.
    That they be supported by a community fund and NOT by parents directly. in that move the teachers will put atention to all students and not the wealthier ones. we have to understand that CHINUCH in NOT A BUISNESS. To put children in chadorim and schools today can be a debilitating experience. The cost, the care, etc has to be much more supervised. We need to prevent rather than deal with the problem later.
    When we see a girl that is behind in learning we head for the hills…..and get all kind of medical diagnoses to prevent helping directly and instead ask for more money from the parents…..It has to change.

  24. The indication of Rav Shteinman is that there is no inyan to be better than beis Yakov because he holds they are doing an sufficient job. What makes these people “elitists” and part of a problem is not the fact that they are trying to create what they think is best for their children, but precisely the fact that they are trying to be better than that which our gedolim have decided is a fine standard for our children. This could not possibly be misunderstood or confused with the idea of opening a school that provides a more refined population and a better quality of education if there isn’t one that is considered fine readily available in front of you. Rav Shteinman is not coming out against the idea of trying to give our children the best… he is coming out against creating a false value and a false standard which in its wake causes being motzi laz on an acceptable establishment.

  25. Elitism has caused many people to focus on the fact that they are not as good as the elite, instead of being positive about what they are.

  26. Don’t know why they had to add his age, but at the very least please add “Ad Meah V’Esrim” or longer!

  27. Shvigger, #11 – I suggest that you look at out of town schools. While they might not be able to compete in hair splitting displays of frumkeit, they generally have menahalim who really care about children and are baalei achrayus.

  28. Wow- Rav Shteinman Shlita is a true Gadol to see us all equal in the eyes of Hashem. We were all there at Har Sinai- no elite seating/standing, and no one left out.