Matzav Inbox: School Scheduling Debacle: A Disastrous Failure of Leadership

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Dear Editor,

I write this letter with a sense of deep frustration, disappointment, and even anger over the recent school scheduling debacle that has plagued our mosdos. While I cannot speak to the situation in the NY school system, as I don’t live there, I can certainly attest to the absolute chaos that unfolded here in New Jersey due to a nearly four-week gap between the start dates of boys’ and girls’ schools, along with the inexplicable “soft openings” – another disgrace – for boys. Such a course of action is nothing short of abhorrent and utterly unacceptable.

The repercussions of this misguided scheduling decision have reverberated throughout our community, wreaking havoc on family schedules and forcing working parents into impossible dilemmas.

It’s astounding that a system that prides itself on nurturing the growth and development of our youth could be so oblivious to the tremendous strain placed on kollel yungeleit, working bnei Torah, and others who rely on stable schedules.

The financial burden of yearly tuition, summer camp tuitions, and additional pre- and post-camp programs is already daunting enough. To then add the chaos of disjointed school scheduling is an egregious slap in the face.

The excuses presented for this fiasco are not only mundane, but insulting. Blaming busing logistics and the need for teachers to relax is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to sidestep accountability.

We send our kids to private schools, with schedules that should be dictated by our own needs, not by the rigidity of public school openings.

It is shocking that our supposed leadership – communal or school-wise – has failed us so spectacularly, overlooking the very essence of our kehillos and the needs of our mishpachos.

Where is the leadership we deserve? There are substantial organizations claiming to represent our community’s interests, backed by daas Torah, yet they allowed this travesty to unfold. The financial burden and emotional strain this has placed on countless families is unconscionable.

We have been let down, plain and simple.

The “we’re in this together” branding rings hollow when the very people who claim to stand beside us are clearly out of touch with reality and abjectly failing us.

Here we are, in the 21st century, and we can’t even manage to synchronize the opening of our schools? It’s an embarrassment that we can’t address such a fundamental issue while boasting of our resilience through history’s darkest moments.

Our askanim’s focus should first and foremost be on the issues that affect the majority of frum American households. The blaring oversight of school scheduling is a glaring example of how the leadership has become detached from the real needs of our community.

Let this letter serve as a stern rebuke to those who claim to lead us. It’s time to prioritize the very issues that affect our daily lives. Enough of the excuses, the elitism, and the disconnection. We deserve better, and our children deserve better. It’s high time for accountability and a leadership that truly represents our interests.


Obviously I Can’t Sign My Name. My Children Are in Shidduchim.


  1. There is one element missing that explains it all. Our yeshivos are not united. They are not complementary to each other. They are competitors. There supreme consideration is what works for them, whether convenience, image/reputation, financial. They tend not to be focused on the talmidim, their successes, their progress, their development, or their emotional health.

    Maybe they are not seeking to damage talmidim, but these concerns are not priority. The yeshivos will not be expected to coordinate their schedules with anyone, nor will they reckon with the needs of the parents. Don’t expect it. These concerns are not important to them.

    As for leadership, who would qualify as leadership? Anyone I can think of would be rejected by various factions in the community. Would our yeshivos follow a leader?

  2. I couldn’t agree with the author more. One mesivta son started a week and a half ago with half days and night seder, but no general studies till this week.

    One elementary son started school two weeks ago but only till 12:30 for two weeks.

    All my girls didn’t start school yet.

    There is endless carpooling, endless time that the kids are home, extra money to pay if you want the kids to join after school programs, and my wife and I both can’t get anything done.

    I’ve been scratching my head trying to figure out-who came up with this? It doesn’t work! What do parents who have rigid work schedules do?

    And the problem is that it’s becoming part of our accepted communal calendar to set it up this way. Help.

  3. What leadership? We live in a town where everyone owner of a mossad does whatever they want. They don’t need to follow anyone. Please tell me why our girls finish school & a day & a half later start camp? Why can’t they have a week after school to get ready for camp & have what to look forward to? We’re living in a time of such unhealthy competition to feed into egos of a bunch of private school owners who need a massage on their self esteems!

  4. This op-ed is spot on. From the viewpoint of a grandmother watching the frustration of her children who all work, there is really no excuse why girls schools should begin so much later than the boys. If the point was to bring everyone (both parent and children) to a point of total frustration and immense relief when school begins, then there was total success.

  5. spell out the facts with clear examples please, i am in the ny scene boropark camps came home on mon & tuesday , cheder is starting on monday / girls tuesday
    is bussing not a valid concern, maybe there is a solution but to wish it away…
    put down the facts rather than vague frustrations

    • The fact that Satmar and many Litvicher yeshivos in Brooklyn began yeshiva yesterday and other yeshivos were still having daycamp I think shows a big lack of coordination.

  6. Wow! This letter was obviously written by someone who has experienced this hardship for a number of years now and has seen no significant change, more importantly no significant effort at change. I am someone who spent years “in chinuch” and left to be able to make ends meet and work for people who valued my hard work/dedication. I will concede the point that the rebbeim/morahs/teachers need time to be able to recharge I do agree that most communities afford them more than enough time (again, speaking from experience).

    Bottom line, my thoughts from having been on both sides of the coin is that the schools/yeshivos do NOT understand the hardships that parents face during these few weeks whether it’s financial or for sure logistically. I come home every day from work (on the days that my wife can’t take off AGAIN!!) and am dealing with a family that just needs structure! Our kids and families need better accommodations from the school structure.

    As a final point, I will say that you should stop placing your hopes in community askanim, especially the big-name ones. (I might get in trouble for this!). Your “simple man” issues will not get resolved from them. Let me repeat, your issues will not get resolved from them.

  7. Agreed. Whatever happened to the time when schools did not start before Labor Day and ALL yeshivos (boys and girls) started a day after Labor Day. Camp was over no more than a week before (giving time for the mothers to take care of school shopping with their kids)

    • I second the motion
      The boys seemed so sad to go back to yeshiva while the girls cant wait to go back by now .
      More schooling is not an option the kids are overschooled
      Almost all of us were bored to tears by the time that school started again and even though we wouldnt admit it
      Labor Day seems like a fine idea

    • You’re 100% correct HOWEVER to understand where we went wrong, you’ll have to go back to why summer camps and bungalow colonies were opened in the first place and why the day after Labor Day was the default starting day. Summer vacations in the country began in the days of no air- conditioners but when air conditioning was invented, we installed them in our bungalows. We had to get away from the city pritzus this may still be an issue, yet in 2023 how many bring up their live ins and goitas or go flying around the world for vacations each year more exotic. There used to be an issue of getting city bussing before Labor day so many yeshivos purchased their own busses this is a positive that we can start before Labor Day but this year many yeshivos have different starting dates. What started out in the 1920, 1930’s as a very noble cause to get American children into a Torah environment has turned into a billion dollar industry. This explains why the 10- 11 week summer vacation program isn’t going away anytime soon.

      • My apologies but we need to set the record straight
        Even the most irreligious yidden went to the Catskills in the 20’s and 30’s there was every abizrayhu shayich and then some in that time
        The frum also capitalized on this and were able to make their own enclaves
        As AC became the norm the borscht belt Jews opted for beaches somewhere that we obviously cannot go and the frum now have the monopoly more or less
        In any event let these boys have vacation
        We don’t need to schlep kids to school kicking and screaming
        The kids also need to be kids

  8. Dear Parent,

    Speaking as a parent and as a former teacher I feel you have overlooked one very important aspect of your child’s education, yourself. A child that learns zerisus and can do from a parent has major advantages. A child that learns it’s the other one’s fault has my sympathy.

    • True, but when you have Ke”h a large family and you have boys in mesivta, girls in High school, boys and girls in elementary school and if you’re really lucky a child or two in playgroup and you and your husband are working it can get a bit difficult to manage. Why can’t can all the schools coordinate a standard beginning of the year or end of the year.

  9. Amen! Well said. Let’s now hear all the pathetic rebuttals of the teachers “We work so hard with kids, we need time to relax/prepare, we don’t get paid enough (although per hour its pretty good $$) blah blah. We all have jobs (most of us) and we all need to work hard. No one should be telling anyone else may job his harder than yours. Just focus on your own.

  10. With respect, the author does not tell us what happened, only what she feels about it.

    We the readers who don’t live in your community have no idea what you’re referring to. You expressed your reaction to what occurred, not what actually occurred. Rewrite your letter with the facts and dates of what actually transpired if you wish for any of us to know what you’re on about.

  11. The trolling at Matzav Inbox is getting more professional, more nuanced, and increasingly in-touch with just the right level of realistic-sounding shrillness.
    Keep them coming!
    I would point out, though, that the writer’s level of diction, elocution, and complexity of sentence structure does not match his or her apparent lack of capacity for self-examination and self-awareness one would normally expect from an intelligent Orthodox Jew. This wide chasm gives it away to some readers (such as myself).

    • Matzav censors. Especially when you say something that hurts their fragile feelings. Heck, this will probably not see the light of day. But whatever…
      Matzav should be more transparent about the fact that they don’t operate according to Halachah. This piece, for example, is nothing more than a rant filled with hatred and anger. There is nothing productive in it, no suggestions. Pure Lashon Hara.
      And to the author’s point – if a Lkwd resident did actually write this – your inconvenience is not the end of the world. Your children would benefit greatly if they saw their parents dealing with inconveniences with positivity, calmness and bitachon.

    • The basic question (minus the anger and whatnot) is: How do these survive as businesses if (!) they can’t or won’t meet the customers’ reasonable scheduling needs?

  12. Dear letter writer. Firstly Brooklyn isn’t perfect, though much better. Thus I would advise you if your employment allows for it, move back to Brooklyn.

  13. Question: Why are mothers not available to take care of their children in the camp-school gap?
    Answer: Girls are discouraged from the one profession who’s schedule aligns with their kids- teaching. Why? Because we need to fund increasingly extravagant lifestyles. Drive a Yeshivishe car? No way. Wear last season’s clothing? A shanda!

  14. Her myopic”should first and foremost be on the issues that affect the majority of frum American households”is basically how they have operated for recent generations.
    With poor showings.

  15. That’s right. I’m sick and tired of the schools not watching my children so I can go to work. Who came up with this inane idea of parents watching their own kids for two weeks? And then the real chutzpah, the schools charge tuition!
    Money!! They want ME to pay THEM to watch my kids!! The chutzpah of it all!!!
    We need more people to step up to the plate to volunteer their time and effort and watch my kids so I can go to work!!!
    Don’t get me started with having to pay.

    • I give you a brocha to find you’re zivug quickly and be blessed with a large family b”eh and then if you live in Lakewood or Boro Park you’ll understand.

  16. We have met the enemy and he is us is a famous adage That I think applies to the current situation. I speak for New York City parents when I say the current system needs much fixing, adjustment, overhaul. How is it possible that I today I met a neighbor, a rebbi in a Litvicher yeshiva. He began teaching yesterday but he was a rebbi in chasidishe
    day camp upstate and had to get a sub for the last 2 days because they first finished day camp this week. How is possible that some children are on vacation some years, about 77 days or 11 weeks? How can it be that some children are in day camp and other children are in yeshiva already? I heard all the excuses and some of them may be valid, and some excuses need to be addressed, but there is something I think everyone can relate to and that is Chodesh Elul. I’ll grant you the 8 week vacation. Maybe the kids need it. Maybe the rebbeim need it. Many entrepreneurs make their yearly income in these 8 weeks, BUT why can’t the 8 weeks be from about Rosh Chodesh Tamuz until Rosh Chodesh Elul? Well at least next year shouldn’t be a problem. Labor day is before rosh Chodesh Elul.

    • You missed the point. There was no Daas Torah here. There was no Daas anything here. Every mossad out for itself. No one decided how to coordinate for the public. And parents don’t matter.

  17. I’m laughing that someone still thinks “askanim” try to help average Joe problems. Don’t you realize almost all they do is rub shoulders with politicians (usually Democrats) to secure more funding for THEIR cause, thereby adding to their kavod. There are a few exceptions, but don’t hold your breath on this one.

  18. Nothing will be solved of these issues-from major coronavirus pandemic mageifa issues to this chinuch issue and many other issues hitting klal yisroel-until we wake up and realize that everything is run entirely by Hashem who runs the entire world and it’s all with a professional planned out plan already all the way up until Mashiach comes.

    “Hakol bidei shamayim chutz miyiras shamayim”

    May we all start to wake up and realize who is really running the entire world and turn directly to Hashem -versus messengers rather askanim or Rebbe’s etc…-for help in anything we need. As we say at the end of benching which comes from tehillim chapter 34 “vedorshei Hashem lo yachsiru kol tov” which means “for one who seeks out Hashem DIRECTLY lacks nothing that is good”

  19. As a Yeshiva administrator I will try to address some of the points made above, trying to avoid any sharp criticism, as I completely understand both sides of the coin. On the one hand I’m balancing the functioning of a school, on the other hand I am working year round, as is my wife. So we completely understand the frustrations of both sides.
    I do want to start off by saying that many Yeshivas and Bais Yaakov’s are run by ehrliche people, who first and foremost care about the children and their chinuch, then everything else. (Now when we use the word chinuch, we mean to encompass the whole child, not just academics.) these mechanech im are moser nefesh beyond your wildest dreams!
    Now in no particular order…
    Do any of you know what the daily costs of running a school are? When accounting for payroll, utilities, insurance, supplies, facilities, etc… it adds up rather quickly. Take a well run, economic school, that is really conservative in its spending, with about 700 students, the average daily operating costs when school is in session are in the 40k-45k range. So let’s just round that to $60/student per day. If you add 2 weeks of Yeshiva, that’s at least an additional $600-$720/year per student (depending if there is yeshiva on Sunday or not). That’s assuming everyone is paying full tuition.
    Now I am sure some of you will scream, it’s worth us paying that. Maybe some of you will find it worth it, but sitting on my side of the desk working with parents, most parents will not be happy with the increase. They will protest the sharp increase (not taking into account any other increase needed to account for inflation).
    So that’s one issue, and no, do not scream it’s all about the money. It’s not! Nobody goes into chinuch for the money. But we most certainly need to pay the bills and our most dedicated faculty.
    Now on a side note, to the poster who mentioned rebbeim make as much as anyone else per hour, that’s a great point. B”H in many of our mosdos, rebbeim do make as much as many other jobs per hour. But keep the following in mind. A Rebbi is limited to working 5-6 hours/day for less than 200 days/year. So let’s now work the math, to make it easy we’ll go with 200 days at 5 hours/day (most elementary schools fell a couple of days short of 200 last year). Assume the Rebbi is getting $60/hr for the time he is in yeshiva. That comes to 60×5=300, 300×200=60,000. A person working in a different field is getting $60/hr is making: 60×8=480, multiply that by an average of 250 work days/yr (really depends how yamim tovim fall out, on a year like this it can be up to 262). You now have 120,000. Same 60/hr, comes to half the salary. So this person dedicating his life to chinuch gave up half a salary.
    What you need to also consider is that a dedicated Rebbi is spending hours of his time at night preparing lessons, sheets, speaking to parents, etc. Most jobs allow you to go home and forget about work while at home, or compensate you for work done at home, chinuch does not.
    Now this doesn’t even address the fact that we are grossly neglecting our Morahs and general studies teachers who don’t make nearly as much as Rebbeim. That’s for another post.
    So before you formulate your letters please consider above.
    Now I haven’t addressed everything, but surely let the above sink in meanwhile.
    Now I will say that there is a huge problem in the Yeshiva world that there are those who treat them like a family business, but this really a miyut she’bimiyut of yeshivas. The bigger problem is that most heimishe mosdos are poorly and inefficiently run. There are too many small mosdos, that are wasting money on overhead and too many mosdos that aren’t structured correctly, so wasting a lot of money on “top heavy” structures.
    Due to the fragmented nature of our “in-town” communities, there is no simple solution.
    I hope I have enlightened some. If anyone is interested in doing a deep dive into this topic and start addressing it with the hopes of achieving real success in the running of our mosdos for the sake of our children, reply here in the thread and I may just reach out.


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