Readers’ Matzav: Help Me Switch Judah Out of Public School

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public-schoolDear Editor,

I am a yeshiva bochur learning in a yeshiva in Lakewood. I recently got to know a wonderful family that is distanced from Yiddishkeit. They have a 13-year-old son, Judah, who I became very close with. He attends public school, but has a sincere desire to find out more about Yiddishkeit.

We learned a bit together and started to discuss his future. He related something that shocked me. People convinced his parents to send him to yeshiva a few years ago. He liked it a lot and his parents were actually very proud and supportive of him. However, his parents were not able to continue paying the yeshiva tuition and switched him back to public school. Since then, he forgot even the little he learned and is completely not religious.

From getting to know him, I see that if we can return him to a yeshiva, he has tremendous potential. He is a very good boy. Getting him into a yeshiva may even cause the parents to become more religious. However, they cannot afford the money for tuition and the free option to send him to public school is blinding.

I arranged for him to take an interview in a kiruv yeshiva and he got accepted. They were very impressed with his behavior and desire to attend a frum school. The only issue is coming up with the money to pay for his tuition. I contacted a few family friends who contributed nicely. I also contactted organizations that help pay tuition for public school kids. After all that, I am still short $4,500 for tuition. I tried to negotiate with the school further, but they said that, as it is, they are struggling financially, and as much as they would love to take him in, they can’t afford to lower the tuition any more than they already have.

Therefore, before Rosh Hashanah, I am writing to everyone who reads this letter: As soon as i can raise this $4,500, my friend can be placed in a frum yeshiva and taken out of public school. I am not an organization, and I can assure you that every dollar you donate will be given over to the yeshiva for his tuition.

Please click on the paypal link below and donate generously. Judah becoming frum will be”H be in your zechus!

Yosef Gottesmen

Editor’s Note: has verified the accuracy and legitimacy of this worthy cause.

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  1. i ama a frum person with many children in Yeshivot. i cannot afford tuition and many times think about putting my children into public school. who can help me?

  2. Please post either an email address or some other way to get a hold of the letter writer. I may be able to help substantially, but need to correspond with him first.

  3. Curly, I hear you. It has been suggested that people make their larger donations to local causes, but that doesn’t preclude making smaller donations to other causes (and they do add up).

    B”H we’re not from Sodom.

  4. are all the people who said we should support our own yeshivos first in the kiruv on ice article not gona help out this poor boy? look by getting him to yeshiva – you might get his whole family frum.

  5. you forgot to mention that once he becomes frum , grows up, and makes money – now u got another supporter for yeshivos.

    the way to help yeshivos is by doing kiruv bringing more people into our circles who will eventually be able to support our mosdos.

    we must expand klal yisroel – recruit more frum people – now u are getting a double mitzvah – kiruv now – and investment for yeshiva support for the future!!!

    what do u have to say about this thought?

  6. why is our tax money going to pay for judah to go for free to public school. we need vouchers that our tax money should be able to help kids like judah go to a school of their choice such as a religious school.

    so sad. we are supporting by taxes public school kids more than yeshiva kids.

    now that i have to pay taxes and give donations – i myself will soon need a donation as i will go broke.

  7. maybe we should go back to the old European system where rabeyim learned with kids at home. tuition was much less. no busing. no mortgages. no overhead. no fancy dining rooms. then we would be able to afford tuition and kids would not have to go to public school and yeshivas would not be struggling.

    but i will donate anyway…

  8. 8 “you forgot to mention that once he becomes frum , grows up, and makes money – now u got another supporter for yeshivos. ”
    I don’t think he forgot to mention it, I think he is a frum jew who loves another jew and hurts to see him in this situation. He never even thought about the financial aspect.
    For you to say that we should do kiruv because we need to expand our base is sickening.
    After all- is our goal to get donations or to bring people closer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu?

  9. To # 8:
    I disagree, if the kid is successful according to the way yeshiva’s measure success then he will end up sitting in kollel and learning and then won’t be able to afford tuition so he will have to collect. I don’t see a monetary gain in this, a spiritual gain is a different discussion.

  10. How many Lakewood frum families are there that momish have zero money to live on. Large families with very little. Do you also have rachmonis on them or only when its shtoddy. A public school kid that everyone is saying is such a kiddush hashem.

    How about doing the same for your next door kolel yungerman neighbor whose children may be At Risk because of the lack of funds in the household?

  11. There ought to be an organization just for raising tuition money to help all needy Jews, frum and not frum alike. Seems like everyone has a hard time paying tuition.

  12. I, too, am in tremendous debt, but I’m a frum guy living in Brooklyn, so who cares about me? I should have become Conservative, then the support would come pouring in….

  13. I would like to thank the Editors of Matzav for putting on this article. Thank you to the many donors that donated so generously, you made a huge dent in the $4,500. I’m very confident we will be able to get the rest of the sum. Tizku Limitvos and C’siva V’chasima Tova to all.

  14. To Yossi (19): articles here may not express the hashkafor of Matzav or whoever their daas Torah is; it’s all food for thought. So don’t take the title of an article (“Put Kiruv on Ice”) as halacha l’maaseh.

  15. I don’t know which Yeshiva you’re sending this kid to, but my kids are main stream & I don’t pay that much, after scholership. And you said you already gave a substantial sum? Change Yeshivos. Why should A Baal teshuva Yeshiva cost more than a regular one? Something is messed up here.


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