Readers’ Matzav: Save the Whales, Save the Yeshivos


school-closedDear Matzav Editor,

I have been reading your reports about mosdos hachinuch closing down. I am disturbed by the news, to say the least.

To avoid losing more schools and more kids, we need to come up with a plan that will work.

I believe that until the current crisis is sorted out, everyone living in a city where mosdos are shut and children are stranded should be asked to put a freeze on all donations to anywhere but their town mosdos, and that a one percent tax on every purchase in the local heimishe stores be given to the yeshivos that have closed to due financial reasons.

Is this the answer? I don’t know. But we cannot just sit back and do nothing as mosad after mosad closes its doors. If we do sit back, it will be a big kitrug on us on the Yom Hadin.

Zalman Mandel


  1. Every school is in financial difficulties. The reason most schools close is because of issues with management. No boss or too many bosses.

  2. Consider parents at other mosdos int e city that are not closing down, why should they have to support a massad that is closing down.
    Consider parents of children in yehivas outside the city, why can’t they support their child’s school.
    What about alumni of mosdos in other cities, why should they have to support a school with which they have no connection.
    It may not be “frum” to ask, but is it not possible that a yeshiva’s having opened is not a sufficient reason to keep it opened?

  3. I remember in Baltimore about 15-20 years ago when one mosad had some major financial problem – the vaad harabonim told every family to donate a set amount wether or not your child attended that school.

  4. Stop all these crazy ‘VACATIONS’ during rosh hashawnaw , pesach , succoss etc……use this money for the schools. condem this vice.

  5. Good point in this article. The couple of gevirim that are still left should be guided to donate to their own city mosdos first. Even the non gevirim should give their nickel and dimes to the mosdos of their own city. Not that people shouldn’t give a penny to other towns also, but that the bulk should be for their own city first.

  6. A msjor reason yeshivas have financial problems is that parents often cannot pay tuition. So now, you are asking the same parents who cannot pay tuition directly, to pay more money for essentials for Shabbos and Yom Tov? And what about those of us who are really extending ourselves to pay tuition; you are hitting us with an additional “tax” when we buy shoes for our kids? Did you consider that this may steer people away from our heimishe stores, which already cannot keep up with the prices in WalMart and Target?

  7. A few simple ideas That may work:

    1) Consolidate schools. That is, have Rabbeim teach limudei Kodesh in the morning for boys and the same Rabeim teach the girls in the afternoon at a seperate venue. You will cut spending by 30% while paying Rabeim a Livable wage.

    2) Encourage our men to go to work to provide for their own families in the way of tuition and not be dependant on government handouts or scholarships.

    3)Prioritize. We should focus on providing education to our children. That should be the priority of our tzedakah funds.

    4) Gevirim may be able to help every now and then, but Gevirim alone cannot sustain a school. More to the point, the culture of dependance has created greater strain on those who pay full tuition.

    5) People can do with their own money what they wish so long as they fulfill their financial obligations..

  8. Comment to comment from mosdos. I’m from Toronto. Our mosdos are also in trouple and a still a fortune of donations leave the city if we listen to u and outer towns listen to you Lakewood would g-d forbid lose plenty of schools W hat about. Philly,Scranton ,denver etc and any of the many out of town yeshivas this defiantly is not the solution

  9. What if when I was a child my parents didn’t pay full tuition (a common scenario)? To who do I owe larger allegiance the Mosod that had ME for a reduced rate or a local mosad I would never send my child to?

  10. there are many issues here, and none of them can be solved easily. There are many working parents who still cannot pay “full” tuition because their income cannot cover all their expenses. HKB”H has smiled on some families and granted them many children but not adequate funds to pay for food, clothing, shelter and “full tuition”. When families are charged a tuition based on their income and actually pay that amount some of the financial problems of the mosdos will be lessened. Many parents are charged an amount they cannot afford and therefore are in arrears.

  11. I think that a one percent tax is not such major deal I heard that where the mashgiach comes from, gateshead theres a tax on meat and other things, so its not the end of the world, and even a suggested tax to a customer is a viable option, this Matzav is serious, as far as gvirim being told where to steer their donations, I am not sure if that will ever work because when you have your own money you decide what to do with it, but rabunim do have some power in this respect, but its limited, but as far as a one percent tax or even a suggested donation at the cashier will be a great idea.

  12. why when it comes to Hatzolah bikur cholem chaverim, missakin there are thousands of volunteers, but when it comes to chinuch you cant find many, the finanial burden should centeralized for the strugling mosdes and only operated by volunteers.. u will find all your money you need. the word is VOLUNTEERS FOR HASHAEM

  13. I don’t think the solution is to take money from others – the parents of the schools involved – should either figure out a way to pay full tuition – or at least be responsible of collecting their portion of tuition… I dont think schools would have problems financially if everyone payed full tuition – if they did its time for a new administrator.

  14. Once upon a time there were community askanim who joined to found community schools. All were welcome to attend and no one thought that their involvement in the school gave them the right to decide chinuch or admission policy.

    Today, individuals -many of them on an ego trip or with an agenda other than the best interests of our children- are opening schools and running them as they like. The have nots are terrorized and people are turned away for reasons that have more to do with the status of the school than the future of our nation.

    So do not be suprised when schools begin to fail in hard economic times. The people are not about to bend over backwards to help Mr. Powerful save the school he used as his private plaything.

    There is plenty of money in our communities. Indeed, the revelations of how much was lost with this or that Ponzi scheme reveals that there is more money than we ever dreamed possible. Yes! There are frum yidden with hundreds of millions of dollars. They are busy building empires and are missing the opportunity to be the saviors of Klal Yisroel.

    Don’t take out your frustration on the needy of Israel, the wonderful chesed and kiruv organizations or our beautiful Kollelim. Money is not the issue! Its all about community and feeling part of something.

    Think about it.


    PS This in no way was intended to reflect on any specific mosad.

  15. Institutions supported by community funds need financial accountability and transparency, so that the donors get the most bag for their buck and the students get the most educational benefit. Community leaders need to scrutinize the books in order to make the best possible allocations.

  16. should we fly to Uman for rosh hashana, and pray for a resolution for the financial crisis, or use the money to help the schools??…

  17. FYI Toronto did not close any Mosdos yet. The boys school opened two days late. But they were behind in their payments. Many schools are behind in their payments and the only to solve this problem is to become much more efficient in the money they bring in. How is the question.

  18. Creating more (costly) red tape for small business in your own community, especially businesses that might lack the accounting and technical support, is simply a bad idea.

    If you want more funds for schools, don’t create barriers to wealth creation by creating a book keeping headache, driving away price-sensitive business, or threatening the privacy of entreprenuers within your community.

  19. This was posted at the wrong blog entry. It is more appropriate here.There is a serious problem. Our young men are not permitted to learn a trade or a profession. They then start families that have to be educated. How can they pay tuition? If no one is paying tuition, how will the Rebbeim be paid their pittance of a salary?
    Therefore why not emulate the Amoroim; they all had trades or professions.
    Are we better and smarter than the Amoroim and therefore do not need a trade or profession?

  20. In Yeshiva Spring Valley in Monsey , if you demand a tuition break, you have to show the tuition board your Tax Returns.

  21. There is a simple solution. The entire Jewish community, not just the Orthodox, must realize we have a collective responsibility to our important Jewish institutions. Schools like these are more important than any other institutions. They prepare the next generation of Torah scholars. Those who fail to support such schools may find themselves lacking before the heavenly tribunal this new year.

  22. First off I’d like to say that it has always been my belief that teaching is one of the highest and most important professions out there. I hold educators in great esteem. IMHO, employees in the education field deserve to be paid as much (if not more) than other professionals like doctors, lawyers, and accountants. With that said, I’d like to point out that with all these school closings because of financial difficulties, shouldn’t there be a cap on salaries for all rebbeim and staff of schools? Perhaps Gedolim can make the same cap throughout an entire town. Although they *should* get paid a decent amount, the institutions just can’t pay that much – FACT. If it was a company other than a school, the CFO would declare pay cuts across the board and whoever doesn’t like it can find jobs elsewhere. AFAIK, there are hundreds of capable yugerleit in lakewood that would take a Rebbe job for less than they are paying the current ones.

  23. Alte Bucher: Seems to me that if you say you can’t pay tuition, it is appropriate for the yeshiva to ask you to document it.

    MR: You must be joking! How do you expect the rebbeim to feed their families? Even a rebbe young enough and desperate enough to start out on the “capped” salary is IY’H going to get older, and have children. Unless you are planning on capping it at the salary of a heart surgeon (who not only spent years in medical school, but has medical school tuition now to pay back, unlike the rebbeim), in which case your idea is meaningless, since no rebbe makes anywhere near that much.