Brooklyn, NY – My Message For Tisha Ba’v: Judge Ruchie Freier: Reflections From The Bench On Judging Our Children


    Lt. Judge Carolyn Wade chats with Rachel Freier in Brooklyn, NY on December 22, 2016. Winner of the election for civil court judge in Brooklyn's 5th District, Rachel Freier, who is the first Hasidic woman to hold elective office in the United States, took her oath of office during an induction ceremony in Brooklyn's Borough Hall, administered by her uncle, retired Supreme Court judge David Schmidt (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press) Brooklyn, NY –  I remember seven years ago when I first met 14 year old Malky Klein a”h.  She was sitting across me in the Seforim Room in my home.  She pensive yet pretty, wearing a long skirt and dressed B’Tznius.  Malky was wearing the uniform of the school that had expelled her because she was hurt and ashamed and did not want anyone to know that she had no school. 

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    Her parents were worried as she was experiencing challenges; no high school wanted to accept her.  Since Malky’s passing, many people are coming forward attacking the “system” and warning us of the dire consequences.  What people don’t know is the missing piece to this story. 

    During the early years of my community service, I began advocating for kids at risk and formed B’Derech focusing on adolescent Youth at Risk, primarily boys in the Chassidish Community.

    My previous articles appeard here on VIN share my early experience.

    One night, in late 2010, my aunt, Miriam Schwartz, called me.  “Ruchie, you must help me get my good friend Rifka Klein’s daughter into high school.”  My aunt explained that she knows this girl and her family for years and they were wonderful people. She explained there was a meeting tonight at a certain high school that Mrs. Klein was afraid to attend because if the other mothers see her, they would protest.

    After meeting with Malky and her parents, I had several conversations with their Rav, the Krulla Rebbe of Williamsburg.  He was concerned and supportive and offered to assist me in helping the Klein family with whom he was close with. 

    I pleaded with the principal, a kindhearted and righteous person, who was opening a new high school to accept Malky.  She was reluctant because there was negative information out there. 

    I advocated and ultimately the principal acquiesced.  But, it was only after she quietly told me that several mothers were calling her exclaiming that if Malky Klein is accepted, they will take their daughters out of the school. 

    In fact, the principal said that one of the mothers explained that she was related to the Kleins and thus had first hand information of what transpires in their home and strongly urged the Rebbetzin not to accept Malky.  This required my investigation which revealed that no such cousin existed.  This is merely one example of the exaggerated and/or false reports that were made by mothers in the class.

    While Malky was truly grateful to be accepted into the school, she longed to be with her friends and dreamed of joining them.    When Malky completed 9th grade, she was still hopeful that if she worked with tutors and tried harder, and got better grades in 10th grade, she would be able to transfer for 11th grade. 

    Malky personally wrote letters to other school principals and begged to be given the chance, all to no avail.  Alas, despite all her efforts she cried to her parents “What it takes girls in my class seconds to learn, takes me hours. If this is what it means to be a good girl, it’s not for me!” And that was the beginning of the tragic end for Malky.  A sweet girl, who was so misunderstood and hurt, despite the unconditional love of her wonderful parents.

    As we reject more children, the death rate goes up.  The Chazon Ish said that a decision to expel a child is Dinei Nefoshos and halachically requires a Bais Din of 23 members. 
    In this undated Photo Malky Klein is seen at the Kotel
    The Torah relates that a Bais Din that killed once in 70 years was considered a Bais Din of murderers.  Yet our system has resulted in approximately 70 deaths in less than one year due to rejection, despite the fact that so many sources do not support this policy. 

    In the Gemara, Bava Basra (21a) R’ Shmuel Bar Shilas, an Amoira who was an educator in his time, stated that the student who does not study or behave appropriately, should not be tortured or expelled.  Rather, he should be kept together with the other students for ultimately he will turn around. 

    The Rishonim, such as Nimokei Yosef, use even stronger language saying that it is prohibited to send off such a student, even on the possibility that it will set his heart in the right place.  The Maharsha (in Ruach HaKodesh) writes that keeping the child where he is, will be a big benefit for the other students. 

    The Michtav Eliyahu by HaRav Dessler, asks why Noach did not send his wayward son, Chom, during the mabul, to check what is happening outside?  Why did Noach send a bird?  He answers that when there is a mabul raging outside you do not throw someone out even if he behaves badly.  So what happened in our community; why have so many of our children been cast away – thrown overboard into dangerous and troubled waters?

    The Baal Teshuva Movement and the OTD Movement

    I grew up and went to school in the 1970’s and 1980’s; it was the generation that proved Hitler was wrong, we were the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.  It was the era of the Baal Teshuva Movement, the struggle to free Soviet Jewry, and of the inspirational public figures, R’ Shlomo Carlebach and Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, who would reach out to the multitudes of people who were “coming home.”  It was the time when R’ Noach Weinberg started Aish HaTorah and when we opened the Jewish radio we heard songs by Baalei Teshuva about Shabbos and Chanukah candles….  We walked around so proud to be Jewish. 

    I had classmates from a variety of backgrounds, and some girls had parents who were not frum from birth.  We all got along, our teachers valued each student, and encouraged us to reach greater heights in our connection to Hashem.  Some girls in my class had learning disabilities, but in those years, we didn’t know it, we just knew they failed most of their tests.  No one thought that these girls didn’t belong….no one’s parents called the school to complain or have them expelled. 

    Today most of my classmates, including the weaker students, are married with children and grandchildren.  During those decades, the term Off the Derech (OTD) did not exist in our community; nobody I knew left Yiddishkeit – we valued life and knew that while we had our differences, some of us Litvish, some Chassidish, some Misnagdim, etc. – each of us was created with a Tzelem Elokim and had a purpose.

    Something changed in the 1990’s – we thought we knew better than our parents and we were going to bring Torah to a level of unsurpassed excellence – we heralded  the advent of  Mitzuyanim — yeshivas and schools with higher standards, and disenfranchised many students who could not keep up.  Thus began the Churban of our generation….the rejection of so many innocent children left behind, hurt and destroyed. 

    The term Off the Derech had now been introduced into our lexicon as these rejected innocent souls turned to the streets and to drugs to numb their pain and leave Yiddishkeit, which they associated with shame and rejection.  And panic has ensued; parents are growing more concerned about what has become an epidemic with a vicious cycle of parents growing more alarmed, causing more children to be rejected, which only exacerbates the problem.

    Some people compare the OTD movement to the Haskala movement which began in the late 18th century and was responsible for turning many away from Torah values.   There is a huge distinction between those who we lost to Haskala and the souls we are losing to the OTD movement. 

    The Jews who joined the Haskala movement were beckoned by the outside world –they knew that in order to succeed in the professional world, to earn a college education and rise in academia, politics or the corporate world, one had to abandon Shabbos observance, traditional religious dress, etc.  That has changed, today one can be educated, enter the workforce, and even hold public office without compromising religious values.

    However, the broken souls who are leaving the fold to join the OTD movement are being expelled by us!  They are given the message that they have no place in our community by schools and yeshivas who have shut the doors in their faces by expulsion or rejection.  It is more than twenty years since this churban began, and the rejection methods have not worked — we need to unite and champion true Torah values to solve our problem.

    Achdus and Arvus

    The value of Achdus – Unity among the Jewish People is undisputed.  The greatest moment in Jewish history was Matan Torah, the Revelation at Sinai, which is memorialized in history by the description K’Eesh Echad B’Lev Achad – Like One Man, with One Heart.  In an article by Devir Kahan, (Times of Israel 1/11/2016) the author writes, we mistakenly confuse Achdus with Achidus and Unity with Uniformity.  While we aspire harmony, we mistakenly demand conformity and stunt creative individuality and inhibit growth.

    The root of the word Achdus is Ach which represents brotherhood – siblings share a connection which surpasses friendship or love.  As Jews we are bound together – that is our heritage.  Kol Yisroel Areivim Ze L’Zeh (Sanhedrin 27b and Shavuos 39a).  All Jews are guarantors for one another. 

    The Gemara explains the case that when others are punished for a person’s sins, it refers to a case where the people could have protested and maybe prevented the person from sinning. Judaism mandates joint and mutual responsibility.  Mutual responsibility means I help you because I know that one day you will help me.  Joint responsibility, however, is where I help you simply because I am responsible for you as a fellow Jew without any expectation that you will reciprocate.

    Through my role at B’Derech, I have had children cry to me that since losing a parent, they have been unable to learn. I have heard Almanos cry that since losing their husbands they have been unable to keep up with their responsibilities, and that their children are failing in school…the boy whose father had a stroke was crying because his home was not a place for him to thrive…It seems we are remiss in our mandate of joint responsibility, of Achdus.

    Since my election to the bench, I have been interviewed and invited to speak to various groups around the world to share my story. 

    I recently spoke to a group of school principals in Borough Park and urged them to accept that students may be different and recognize that not every student will “fit into the one size fits all box” which our system has evolved into.  I explained that I was the average student who always had questions…all the way through high school and seminary.  That my Bais Yaakov teachers, many who were students of Sara Schenirer, a”h, were patient and answered all my questions. 

    By the time I graduated Bais Yaakov, I had all the answers and knew what was expected of me Beyn Adom L’Makom and Beyn Adom L’Chaveiro.  A few weeks after my lecture, one of the principals met me and in front of a group of women, made a point of telling me that she disagreed with what I said and walked out of the room during my speech to display her rejection of my hashkafos.  She also made sure to tell the Hanhala of my infraction. 

    When I questioned what bothered her she explained that we cannot encourage questions from students and that our Derech is too keep the students in a box without allowing for creativity of thoughtNow this was my turn to be rejected and publicly humiliated by a school principal.  But, I am neither vulnerable nor an adolescent.  And, with a confident smile I told the principal that we will have to agree to disagree and still be friends.     

    In this week’s parsha, Moshe Rabbeinu tells Klal Yisroel before he leaves this world….She’al Nah L’Yomim HaRishonim (V’Eschanon 4:32)At any given time and in any given place, just ask about Hashem’s miracles during Yetziyas Mitzrayim and Matan Torah

    This most important point in Jewish history should be a topic of discussion and questions should be encouraged.  And, Moshe further states, Atah Horaysa L’Daas kee Hashem Hu HaElokim, Eyn Od Milvado. (ibid 4:35).  You were shown to KNOW that Hashem is our G-D.  Moshe is explaining that Hashem opened up the heavens to show us His strength because He wants us to know Him.  This is not about blind faith, rather it is about cultivating a relationship with Hashem and fulfilling His Mitzvos with the security of knowing Him.  In this way, we will experience our love for Hashem and the fulfillment of Ve’Ahavta Es Hashem Elokecha.   Our children need to graduate school with a Love of Yiddishkeit and Simcha in being a part of Klal Yisroel.

    This principal reminded me of what we learned about the inhabitants of Sedom who were notorious for forcing everyone’s uniformity – Sanhedrin 109b states: They had beds [in Sedom] upon which travelers slept.  If he [the guest] was too long, they shortened him [by lopping off his feet]; if too short, they stretched him out.  Eliezer, Avroham’s servant, happened to go there.  They said to him, “Arise and sleep on the bed!”  He replied, “I vowed since the day of my mother’s death, not to sleep in a bed.”


    VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha vs. Chayecha Kodmin

    VeAhavta LeReacha Kamocha (Kedoshim 19:18) Love your friend as you love yourself is one of the core principles of Judaism.  Rabbi Akiva teaches that this principle is a Klal Gadol BaTorah! (Talmud Yerushalmi Nedarim 9:4).  However, the same Rabbi Akiva seems to make a contradictory statement in the Gemara regarding what a person should do if he is travelling through a desert with a friend and only has enough water for one of them to survive.  (Bava Metziah 62a).  There, Rabbi Akiva interpreted the posuk “…. V’Chay Achicha Emuch… And your brother shall live with you” (Vayikra 25:36) as meaning ‘along with you’ or ‘secondary to you’.  He taught that one’s own life takes precedence over one’s fellow man. 

    The Chasam Sofer explains that the word “Torah” from Zeh Klal Gadol B’Torah in Rabbi Akiva’s principle refers to the study of Torah to spirituality, Ruchniyus, and Olam HaBaah.  Conversely, Chayecha Kodmin, your own life only comes first, is with regard to Gashmius, namely, physical survival in this world.  It does not seem that Rabbi Akiva meant that students be rejected by schools rather we should apply the rule of Zeh Klal Gadol B’Torah.



    Chochmah B’Goyim Taamin

    Chochmah B’Goyim Taamin (Eichah Rabba 2) Perhaps there are some solutions that we can find outside our community.  Youth at Risk and drug overdose has presented itself in mainstream America way before it hit our community. 

    Last year I ran for Civil Court Judge, thanks to the voters in Boro Park and Kensington and my many supporters, with Siyata D’Shmaya I won the election.  To my surprise, I was assigned to Brooklyn Criminal Court.  On my first day on the bench, I was introduced to the judge who would be my mentor, Judge Craig Walker. 

    In New York, from the age of 16, a person who gets arrested is arraigned and tried in Criminal Court.  Judge Walker championed for the Youth Part so that defendants from 16 to 24 years of age are separated from the older defendants.  This is because research has shown that the human brain stops developing at the age of 24.  I sat on the bench many days with Judge Walker and observed numerous defendants who had dropped out of school, suffered rejection, isolation and ultimately committed crimes.  (Note, the law has recently changed; beginning in 2018 defendants ages 16-17 will go to Family Court).  In court, all the children charged with crimes are entitled to legal counsel and if a child is ordered not to return to his school, an alternative school is located.

    Judge Walker has recently been recognized by acting Brooklyn District Attorney, Eric Gonzalez for his successful efforts to provide support, rehabilitation, social services, educational degrees etc. for these youth at risk.  Judge Walker sets the youth up for success and applauds everyone who receives a certificate of achievement in his courtroom.  Our educators can learn from Judge Walker’s success in turning around the lives of many young men and women in Brooklyn.

    BOCES is a public school alternative for children unable to sit through traditional classrooms. The Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) was formed by the NYS legislature in 1948 and has created an amazing network of schools which teach through hands-on learning.  For example, children who are interested in hair design, construction or automobiles, will sit in classrooms designed as salons, constructions sites or auto repair shops. I actually visited the BOCES in Orange County and was amazed at its success in transforming children who failed in class to excellent students.  Could we create such learning environments for our children who cannot sit in class for so many hours?

    Another option seen in the public school system is advanced classes for the students who are capable of a more challenging curriculum.  Rather than taking weaker students out of class, labeling them “learning disabled” and creating a feeling of low self esteem by continuous tutoring and resource rooms, take out the advanced children and keep “average” a standard that most students can meet without pain.  This would seem to comport with Chanoch L’Naar Al Pi Darko (Mishlei 22:6).

    Sinas Chinam vs. Ahavas Chinam

    The Gemara (Yoma 9b) states that the Second Bais Hamikdash was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam, Baseless Hatred, despite the fact that the people at that time were Talmidei Chachomim, observed Mitzvos and performed Maasim Tovim.  Thus, their failure Beyn Adom L’Chaveiro wreaked havoc on the Jewish nation, facilitated the Churban Bais Hamikdash and the golus that ensued. 

    In Orot HaKodesh vol. III, Rav Avraham Isaac HaKohen Kook, states “If we were destroyed and the world with us, due to baseless hatred, then we shall rebuild ourselves, and the world with us, with baseless love – Ahavas Chinam“.  In the weeks that followed Malky’s Petirah, her parents have exhibited incredible strength in forgiving the many people who have contributed to Malky’s tragic saga.  Rather than cast blame they are investing incredible efforts in sharing Malky’s story, creating awareness and mobilizing the community to understand how rejecting our youth is tantamount to a life sentence or more accurately, the death penalty.

    Malky’s parents understand that we must bring about change in the way we treat our children.  And just as the Constitution guarantees every American Citizen due process in judgment, so too, must all people of our community, father, mothers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins come together in unity, so that our children are judged fairly in school.  We must learn to accept that a child may be different, because that is the way Hashem created him, we need to allow creativity and teach our children Al Pi Darko to give them what is their right, namely, a Torah education without fear of rejection or shame.

    Mothers and fathers need to be involved in the transmission of Torah values to their children.  We cannot rely on the system and relinquish our role as parents.  If my child was hurt by a teacher or felt wronged by his teacher, I explained that teachers are human beings and just like Moshe Rabbeinu made a mistake when he hit the rock instead of speaking to it (Chukas 19:1-22:1), teachers can also make mistakes. 

    Our children need to feel unconditionally loved by their parents and by Hashem; and they in turn should be raised with the concept of VeAhavta Es Hashem Elokecha.  Our children should retain what we as parents teach them by example — Shema Bni Mussar Avicha v’al Titosh Toras Emecha

    Children should be encouraged to discuss Ikrei Emunah and Yesodos of Yiddishkeit with their parents and be able to freely ask questions without fear of criticism.  Parents should be prepared to answer questions and if they don’t know an answer, to praise the child for asking a question which requires some research. 

    There are good sources for information for parents, as an example Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Feldheim Publishers, by Rabbi Shmuel Waldman and GPS Navigation for Your Soul, Artscroll Shaar Press, by Yaakov Shain and Avi Fishoff, are excellent books on Hashkafa, Emunah and Bitachon.

    It is inaccurate to cast the full blame on the schools and yeshivas as they are following the lead set by us…the parents. 

    A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking to some women in my bungalow colony about Malky’s tragic story and explaining that mothers and fathers who call schools to complain about other children and demand that they be expelled, must realize that they are violating the rules of Shmiras HaLoshon

    One of the women, a fine person with good middos, explained how she recently felt compelled to complain about a boy is her son’s class and felt justified in doing so as she was told Chayecha Kodmin.  I found so many Chazzal on caring and sharing another’s pain, such as being Noseya B’Ol Im Chaveiro, Al Tadin es Chavercha ad Shetagiya L’Mkomo, VeAhavta Lreyacha Kamocha.  Yet it seems that society has broadened the exception and narrowed the rule by being more and more exclusive and rejecting more children leading to an increase in the OTD population.

    From the Sefer Baal Shem Tov, Parshas Kedoshim, we learn that “… that every bad decree that is decreed on a person, is decreed by himself.”  The Baal Shem Tov explains, of course no one decrees bad for himself.  What happens is that a person is shown someone else behaving in a certain way and that particular bad behavior can be found in him as well.  What he thinks and says to do with the other person, is what will be done to him.  How we treat other children, is how our children will be treated.

    Call to Action

    Hayom Katzer V’Hamlacha Meruba….Lo Alecha HaMlacha L’Gmor (Avos 2:20, 21) Each and every one of us needs to start taking small steps to work on changing our mindset and saving our children.  As the Mishnah states, we need not be concerned that the task is too great for us to finish, and at the same time, we are not absolved from trying….

    R’ Moshe Feinstein writes in his Sefer Shaylos V’Teshuvos that one is obligated to give one-tenth of his fortune to tzeddakah so too, one must give from his spiritual wealth one-tenth to those in need of spirituality.  Each of us needs to reach out to help a child in need – a kid at risk.

    Each and every one of us can make a difference.  It is not about the “system” the “school” or the “Hanhala” rather it is about each and every one of us in our own exclusive leadership position.  Whether we are at the helm of our household, the leader of a Tehilim group, the director in a corporate or business setting, etc. – Hashem gives each of us the opportunity to lead.  What does leadership entail?  When Hashem chose Moshe Rabbeinu as the leader of Klal Yisroel, he was chosen for his compassion – leadership is about compassion.

    The Medrash (Shmos Rabbah 2:2) relates that once when Moshe was shepherding Yisro’s flock a little sheep ran away.  This little sheep did not conform and follow along with the rest of the flock – just like the student who does not keep up with the rest of the class.  Moshe ran after the sheep until it came to a small pool of water and stopped to drink. 

    Instead of punishing the sheep, Moshe said “I did not know you were running because you were thirsty.  You must be tired.”  If we would understand that most likely the student who cannot keep up with the class is not being purposefully deviant, but may be thirsty, may be needy.  This student may be suffering from an ailment, from sickness, or from a broken home.

    The Medrash concludes with Moshe’s statement “If only I had known that you thirsted for water.  You must be exhausted from running.” Moshe did not punish or isolate the sheep; rather he put the little sheep on his shoulders and brought him back to the flock.  Moshe did not see a “rebellious” soul, rather a frightened being in need of immediate care and attention. 

    It was at that moment, that Hashem chose Moshe to be the leader of His people.  Each and every one of us needs to tap into our leadership roles and do what we can to fulfill the mandate Hashem has given us to lead His children with compassion and bring them all back to Him…V’Shuvu Bonim L’Gvulam.  May Malky be a Meylitza Yosher for us all so that we merit the Geulah — B’Derech Hatorah Neylech.

    I wish to thank my Choshuv son in law, Shia Fink, and my daughters, Shaindy Fink, Leah Freier and Faigy Freier for their time, input and insight which helped me in writing this article.  I am very proud of them.

    Rachel E. Freier known as Ruchie Freier by her friends is a newly elected Civil Court Judge assigned to Brooklyn Criminal Court. She is from Boro Park and the proud mother and grandmother of a Chassidic family. She is the first Chassidic woman elected to public office. Ruchie is the founder of B’Derech, an organization created to assist Kids at Risk in the Chassidic Community and Director of Ezras Nashim, the first all womens’ volunteer EMS agency. She graduated from Touro College with her BA and earned her JD from Brooklyn Law School.

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    6 years ago

    As much as I try to appreciate these long idealistic speeches full of good intent and special messages plus about the great organizations that there are out there, the facts remain facts. My daughter was rejected, thrown out, rejected again by too many of our top reputation schools. No one was there to help, I went from organization to organization, from Rav to Rav. Kept on getting the same answers – other parents complained, teachers can’t handle her lack of zitzfleish, her marks are not so great… She was rejected by various heimishe camps. She feels and she knows the rejection. Why? She had some issues with sitting through long classes (ADHD). She’s a good tzniusdike girl with amazing middos and tons of talent – she just doesn’t have the best grades. We worked with therapists, mechanchim and tutors. We spent thousands on outside help to ensure that she’s able to function as a regular student. Every single conversation with the school was an uphill battle – as if they are doing us a favor by listening to what we have to say. When things got really bad at high school, we begged them – please do not throw her out, we don’t want her to feel the rejection, we’ll find her a new school but don’t throw her out. She was thrown out by the principal the next day. She’ll remember that for life. I’m sorry, these articles are nice, but what’s going on out there is a lot worse than it sounds. Please don’t defend our mosdos or talk about great organizations. It’s hurtful to families like mine.

    Trusted Member
    6 years ago

    Although I am certainly not the expert that Ruchie Freier is, I thought I would add my few words from my experience in dealing with children.

    I found that there are 3 important factors in any kids’ life: Home, School, friends.

    Home, is how the parents treat the kid, how (if they do) understand his/her individual needs and how do they help the child with them and this includes a show of love too!

    School is how the teachers relate to the child. There are some teachers who are misfits, some who are good and few that are excellent.

    Friends are the child’s peer group.

    When a kid has problems and the parents are pushing him/her in one direction, but in reality the kid needs more understanding and maybe a different direction and it is not given by the parents, the kid can go OTD. and this is especially when the teachers give the kid problems and are compounded by the parent pushing the poor kid.

    Then he loses his friends and is open to the chevra that inhabits the streets. That is very dangerous; but it is frequent.

    UNDERSTAND who is your kid, and what HE/SHE needs and don’t push to be what everyone else says he/she should be.

    HaShem Ya’azor!

    6 years ago

    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of talk but no action on this sore subject. The ones in charge of the schools have the last say. Even if you belong to a kehilla, the higher ups aren’t allowed to get involved. From my experience it’s either buckle under, at your child’s expense, or leave. As much as is spoken about school and home should work as a team, reality has proven different. It’s the school against the parents with the unfortunate child ping ponging in between. There’s no one out there to help as a mediator. I’m talking from experience and am very hurt. We need action and not articles. Until they don’t get hurt personally nothing will change. Sad truth!!

    6 years ago

    The schools put too much stress on grades . This is not part of our history except for recent history. All Children-both boys and girls- are expected to sit long hours and excel from early years. Is this fair to expect from every child. ? Soon enough the labels are attached and hard to shake off, inevitably causing the child who is having a hard time, to find his love and respect elsewhere. Time for introspection and overhaul.

    6 years ago

    I read your article with great interest. The timing of Tisha B’Av, when we mourn the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash is the perfect time to address the churban occurring in our own midst.

    As someone who does not live within a “heimish” community, much of what you wrote was revealing and, indeed, an issue that must be addressed.

    Which brings me to my next point. I don’t live in a remote community for financial nor social reasons. I live here because I was sent here by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, זי”ע . I was, therefore, quite surprised to see the omission of the Rebbe and the mammoth organization he built in your line up of Kiruv pioneers and organizations. Whether you’re a Chabad admirer or otherwise the Rebbes “kiruv” initiatives (way before it was popular) cannot he ignored. To do so is no different than rejecting a girl because of “what others” will say.

    Would be happy to hear from the author, either privately ([email protected]) or publicly.

    On our side of the world Tisha Bav is over. Wishing everyone who is still fasting an easy fast.

    6 years ago

    She is so on point!
    We all just want to be in, and protect our “clubs”. Regardless of what we preach, religious level, or even religion, unfortunately. It has become a culture club, more than a religion, and it’s high time for our leadership to actually “walk the walk” and not just preach the gospel, they do not model. There are those rare exceptions, who are the real heroes, but unfortunately, they’re few and far between. Time to clean house, and save religious Judaism from itself. Actually, “Don’t do unto others, what is yourself hated”, and stop prioritizing all the other, bullsht commentary.
    Have an easy fast, and may we finally merit the geulah hashleima, now!

    6 years ago

    “….she explained that we cannot encourage questions from students and that our Derech is too keep the students in a box without allowing for creativity of thought”.

    6 years ago

    Shame on our Jewish schools and educators. My heart is broken for this family and others in the same situation. Jews should take care of Jews. We should withdraw our support for schools that don’t honor our children. Each child is to be valued and we must find the strengths that each child has. Teaching tolerance should come before teaching other subjects. I wonder how these “educators” sleep at night. If we can’t raise our children to be menschen, nothing else matters!

    6 years ago

    It is imperative that schools stop focusing so much on irrelevant educational material that is very hard for 50% of the student body to memorize and which serves no purpose in life other than to force students to memorize material for hours, and whether they got good test marks or not, sooner or later this irrelevant knowledge will be forgotten by students in any case. Some students will forget after they finish school and some will forget the material as soon as they finish the test. Educators keep in mind, ONLY education that kids use in real life, reading, writing , basic math, etc. will be remembered. Stop forcing nonsense down kids’ throat. Stop trying to force them to remember hundreds of meforshim and force them to memorize a ridiculous amount of secular information . It serves no purpose besides for getting those students who have a hard time memorizing, all angry about school. Instead, build up the students characters, giving them the chance to excel in science clubs, drama, music. THIS is education. Not everyone is a square you can neatly put them into the box. Children come in all shapes and sizes. Same for bucharim, we need to remember the Yissaschar and Zevulun partnership. Hashem created everyone differently and we can’t expect everyone to sit for hours and hours learning. And even those bucharim who have pushed themselves in their younger years in yeshiva sometimes push themselves to the max because of the pres sure to be the best boy. By the time they are 19,20, many feel burnt. Some even get depressed because the pressure was too much. The “system” of education needs to be relaxed to the standard that all students are comfortable reaching their level of success. And more more needs to be stressed on developing. mosdos and derech eretz and personal responsibility for the choices they make in life, as well as instilling students with an appreciation of Yiddishkeit.

    Parents, from their part, need to respect that the average mosod is not equipped, and it is not rational to expect them to be equipped, to service the needs of those students who need professional help or are not reasonably disciplined by parents. The school cannot give the chinuch and discipline that is required of parents , nor offer professional help should the child need it (which btw, is relied on too heavily today as many parents who should, but don’t want to, deal with kids tantrums because it’s easier to pop pills). And the average school usually working on a deficit, or at most on a shoestring budget, usually does not have the means to provide students with severe learning disabilities (which is actually the wrong terminology used to describe these children as in most cases they just process information differently than average students) the help they deserve.

    6 years ago

    my experience with “organizations” without exception has been very negative, they either make you feel like an outcast or worse like they are doing you a favor by them doing their job and this is if you are lucky to have them get back to you after countless messages. the last thing we need is more organizations we have enough UJA, OU, AGUDA, Oorah and the lavish paying one Met Council on Jewish POVERTY (where the CEO makes more than Trump) and literally DOZENS of others but when has a problem they are all like the government, useless.

    6 years ago

    Too many sleepless nights, too much pain, and very damaging fallout. All coming from people who are supposed to be molding our generation. It’s time to call all of them out for what they have and continue to do. Even on Tisha B’Av. Mesivta Ohr Yisrael in Marine Park known as Zuckers and run by Refoel Bernstein, an abusive man, is one such institution. They have lost their way and routinely kick our kids around on a daily basis. Too many have been thrown out — even in the middle of the year! And those who stay are simply unhappy. No Jewish education here! Skip this school!

    6 years ago

    Not 15 minutes ago I was talking to my son, a “reject” from a “better school.”

    I understood the problems “Avi” was causing in school but I was lucky that some other teachers told me the truth. Avi was bullied by other boys, left with the smoking gun in his hand when the others fled, & slapped by the teachers. Eventually, we pulled him out but he had nowhere to go. It was 3 weeks before my son’s wedding & Avi was in 8th grade.

    I spent the next years building my son’s self esteem. At 13 we sent him out of town, but my husband visited even for Shabbosim, & we were on the Menhal’s speed dial. Gradually, with therapy, lots of support & davenning every day, Avi got through the entire system.

    He just told me he has been offered a tremendous promotion based on the incredible work this ADD/dyslexic son has done, making millions for his hi-tech firm. He is married to a wonderful girl from a “top” family, has beautiful kids and a 2 year old who is just like his Abba… in every way!

    The system IS set up to fail the Malky’s & Avi’s, but parents can fight back. We did. Perhaps we were lucky, but Avi is our biggest nachas; he succeeded against all odds. I just told him so.

    6 years ago

    As someone who studied the issue I will say this..
    Special schools who except kids who need help or placing kids in different schools then their siblings does not work!
    The issues that children have is mainly shame, embarrassment, being treated different, that is why it is IMPORTANT to keep them in regular schools despite of how they are doing in terms of marks and grades..
    Besides, unlike the secular world, the first question by shidduchim is where did he or she learn, do I need to explain any further?

    It is vitally important that a school which excepts a child must except all other siblings!
    Shame is what ultimately destroyes these beautiful souls, first comes the low self esteem etc.. And then all which follows..

    Expelling children because of cell phones is a different issue..

    6 years ago

    Although the article is very well written and tugs at the heartstrings, it is of no practical value. I challenge Judge Freier to run a school and do a better job. It’s tough enough as it is. It takes some nerve asking the school administrators (who owe us nothing, our tuition doesn’t cover half their cost) to become the problem solvers of all our problems. I happen to see the facts from the other side. You tell me that a school principal has to keep a student in class who has a boyfriend on the side, or who refuses to adhere to the dress code. Which one of us would want our daughters exposed to that kind of stuff. I was involved in a case of a chassidishe 16 year old girl who confided to her best friend that she “went all the way” with her boyfriend the past shabbos. The “best friend” betrayed the trust and the whole class became aware of it. The entire conversation in the class became x-rated. Mothers were justifiably horrified, and that girl had to go immediately (she had been given several chances before). Ask any school administrator how many times they have given a troubled girl a break, based on assurances by the girl and her parents, and then have it backfire in th

    6 years ago

    There have been many good points made. I would add that we as a community also need to educate/raise our children to have ahavas yisroel. If they have a friend, neighbor or class mate that has been marginalized by the system, we need to reach out to them. Parents should invite such children over for a play dates, and kids should be encouraged to be friends with them. Kids must be taught to show love for every jew. Maybe then, these kids will feel more like an integral part of the community. I noticed when my kids were growing up that often the more “frum” kids or the kids from the “choshuveh” families were often very snobbish and cliquish. I think in a suttle way that kids see these kids as the “system”, when they are marginalized by these kids, they feel themselves to be less of a part of the “system”

    6 years ago

    I can tell you that yeshivas only concern is comformity, if you wear a feather in your hat you will be called to the menahel and told you are a soldier and soldiers follow orders, except sailors on leave as we know. too many restrictions, too long days, too many rabbis who got jobs for being a son-in-law or other mishpacha oh and of course the only people who get respect are the “askanim” millionaires many of whom did NOT earn money fairly (why else would you get sanctioned by Medicaid?) who are like the parnes of the shtetl, the shtetl aint coming back and the shtetl have more problems than not.

    6 years ago

    As we approach the fast of Av known as Tisha Bav we mourn the loss of our holy temple. We must also feel sad for all our brothers and sisters who are lost in the secular world. We must daven for them and show Ahavas Chinam. Sinas Chinam destroyed our holy temple Ahavas Chinam will bring the Geula. Please take a moment during Shemonah Esrei to say this tefilla by Hashevenu for someone who left Judaism or is far away from it. In this zecus may we all be worthy of the Geulah.
    יהי רצון מלפניך ה’ אלקינו ואלקי אבותינו שתחתר חתירה מתחת כסא כבודך להחזיר בתשובה שלמה לכל פושעי ישראל ובכללם תחזיר
    ( insert name)
    כי ימינך ה’ פשוטה לקבל שבים
    Please share to as many people as possible

    6 years ago

    This topic is a real “Himel Geshrie”. This requires a weekly Citifield gathering, until Klal Yisroel gets the message once and for all, that’s “Lo Zee Haderech”.

    6 years ago

    Many good comments but No one has magic answers …..but one thing all will agree , it cannot be expected of a teacher to reach out and even function in overcrowded classes. First priority to finance: Smaller classes and more teachers.

    6 years ago

    Been there. I had a son who did not learn well at all. He is a learning disability and I could not afford to pay for the school. Only by the open Hand of Hashem; he is a fine Jew, father, husband, and worker. Even though he was rejected I worked with him and he work hard on himself. I got somebody who taught him how to read, he write but his hand writing is horrible, he speaks fluently in 4 languages and works very hard 14 hours a day 6 days a week. How he is frum is only because constant davening and Hashem guiding him day by day. No school has the right to shun our children. We can’t afford the lost

    6 years ago

    I’m tired of seeing all these Rabbis and Rebbitzens bemoaning the existence of OTD kids as ‘the loss of so many children’. I just want to grab them by the shoulders, look them in the eye, and say:

    We are not lost.
    We are still here.
    We lost you.

    Before we ever had you, we lost you.

    We lost you to a book, you lost us to every other book.
    We lost you to war for one country, you lost us to every other island and continent.
    We lost you to ignorance, you lost us to the sum total of the remainder of human knowledge.


    You mourn yourselves as victims of genocide when your own holy book gloats over your own genocide of the seven nations of Canaan, and pray for a day when you will do the same to Amalek.
    You mourn the loss of connection to your Father in heaven when fathers among you have abandoned your own children.
    You pray for the return of a temple where the blind, ugly, and disabled cannot enter.
    We left, but we are not lost.

    6 years ago

    As a mother whose six out of seven kids did not fit into that Box! I have a lot of experience and a lot to say.

    We as mothers know, there are academically inclined children, and creatively inclined children.

    The problem is the people who open and run schools are surely Well Meaning but they are the ones who were the academically inclined children. Therefore they don’t have any understanding of the needs of the Creative Active children.

    Parents have forgotten that Yes school is a Business. And We the parents are the customers. The business is supposed to satisfy the customers. Customers don’t conform to the business.

    I have personally witnessed over the years how parents are completely intimidated to speak up and advocate for their children. Some are paranoid that if they speak up too much the school will kick out their children.

    And not only that! It suddenly became the Norm for schools to control the parents! They have to Grant Permission to keep your child home from school!

    Parents inadvertently have given up the rights! Parents are contorting and completely submitting themselves to the control of the principals.
    That is NOT true Yiddishkeit.

    Just like a bully will continue bullying if the victim shows fear and intimidation. Once the victim stands up for himself the bully will back off.

    I am deeply grateful to Hashem for giving me the insight and courage to advocate for my children and Never giving up my rights as a parent. Not that it was always easy, but there are effective ways to handle things.

    Always give respect to principals and teachers yet firmly demanded for your respect as well. And you know what? That works.
    This is what I would claim to principles:
    We all acknowledge that Hashem has created different types of children. The subdued, the academic, the creative, the active. To Deny the needs and existence of the creative active ones is equivalent to Denying Hashems work…..!
    There was never a disagreement to this!

    Until someone actually opens up a school geared to the creative active child, a parent has to be creative to figure out what the child needs in order to survive the system. Whether it’s letting the kids have breaks and go out of class for a few minutes to let off some energy. Giving the child errands to make them feel good and alleviating the restlessness. To quietly doodle, or having a squish ball to squeeze to expend energy…
    Sometimes vitamins or medicine is necessary to calm a childs system in order to function in school and at home as well.

    A child Must know that Marks is not everything!
    The only thing in a person’s hand is their effort.
    Success is completely in Hashems hands! And this applies to learning Torah as well! Parents must pump this into their children.

    Children must know that Hashem knows what’s in their hearts, and values them and appreciates their efforts!

    This is what the schools must Acknowledge Accept and Understand!!!

    And it’s up to Us parents to Promote Establish and Demand this!

    6 years ago

    As a parent of teenagers with spiritual challenges I too can blame the system and the “system” does favor the mitzuyanim. But I’m a rebbi so I get to see the other side of the story. I personally can feel the Klien’s pain. However, as I read Malky’s story, one would think her problems began as a teenager or when .the high school didn’t accept her. This may be true, however in many cases the problem begins in nursery with the parents. I have seen countless times parents push their child into school and they aren’t ready. They fight tooth and nail not to leave their child back. Child psychologists cost a fortune. so they don’t take them until its almost to late. Many parents are just overwhelmed with parnasa, their families etc, to focus on this child. In addition, in a class of 25 different personalities and family dynamics its very easy for an average child to fall through the cracks until they have to take a test or farher for high school. Second, it’s easy to say ” fix the system” and I agree there needs much upgrading to our system, but with no system you have hefker and then you have kul alam giver – the strongest wins. May we merit to see Moshiach bmihara biyamanu.

    6 years ago

    The Agudah runs under the Moetzes. Perhaps every school needs to be under the auspices of a Moetzes. No school can be run as an individual or family’s personal fiefdom. They all need to have oversight in everything they do. And, when anything comes up between the school and it’s parent body, the Moetzes must be the final arbiter. The Agudah functions in this manner and our schools, all of them, should to. It wasn’t too long ago, that the Satmar Rav made all decisions in his school. I believe this is what needs to happen, the sooner the better for us all.

    6 years ago

    Judge Freier and prominent educated people like her might be able to have a positive impact, however, I am skeptical. Those who run Yeshivas and Bais Yaakovs cannot function on ideology alone. They need to deal with competition. They need to deal with all kinds of parents, students, teachers, and the ever changing society (both frum and general) we function in. Is it realistic to think that everyone’s needs can be met? The public school system has a legal mandate to deal with every child, they have resources.Our educational (?) institutions do not.
    My experience with dealing with bais yaakovs is that those who run them do not personify the heights of professionalism, intelligence or compassion (although a few do).The ‘soup du jour’ hashkafa is more in line with what that principal told Judge Freier “we cannot encourage questions from students and that our Derech is too keep the students in a box without allowing for creativity of thought”. If that reflects current policy with schools and the parent body, it is bound to exclude many children who are (b’h) not in the box.
    Finally, Judge Freier quotes Oros HaKodesh. Can you tell me which BP school or teacher has one

    6 years ago

    I have the answer!
    How in the world do we as parents expect a rebbe, morah, or English teacher to have 25 children in one class for 2-5 hours a day and meet the needs of all them?!
    Most parents cannot spend a whole shabbos meal once a week with all their kids. Dismiss them from the shabbos table or the kids just go to play.
    I want to see ONE asken, ONE parents try and teach a class of 25 year olds for one week. But Don’t just teach. Teach, inspire, look each kid in the eye, show compassion, never get upset etc. That is the easy part. The challenge for a teacher? Incompetent administrators for the most part, and parents that are nebach under pressure to have kids that fit in. They can’t and don’t want to hear that their yankele or chanele have an issue and the teacher is told by the incompetent administrator – you can do it.
    I challenge Mrs. Fier and all concerned parents and askanim to nip the problem in it’s heel. Every single classroom MUST have two aides that can tend to the needs of each child. Teachers MUST communicate with every single parent once a month. Principals are a major problem and I don’t have a solution.
    Thats right. Teachers are vastly underpaid

    6 years ago

    are highly qualified and underappreciated

    6 years ago

    The answer is Money! Thats right…….money!!!!
    How can a teacher, even the best of them focus on so many kids all day?!
    Therapists work one on one.
    Yet, the rebbe or morah is expected to be a teacher, mom or dad, therapist, mediator at recess, and fifty other things all day long.
    You want to make a difference?
    DEMAND higher teacher to student ratio!
    I challenge one parent or askan to try the impossible job of teaching so many for so long all alone.
    We have a solution but it won’t happen. You know why?
    Bc ed. consultants give fancy data and theories and don’t give practical solutions, and ppl don’t get kavod for giving gelt to teachers.
    Some might say what does this have to do w Malky a”h?
    I am positive that Malkies moros and teachers were stressed and maybe bittter. i am in no way excusing their behavior at all. However, the teachers need support and chizuk as well.

    6 years ago

    Classic example of Bait and Switch!
    In her lead caption, the Honorable Judge represents that she is presenting this (multi paragraph) piece based on her experience on the bench. Yet upon review of her written opinion, only ONE paragraph makes mention of her experience on the Bench . And even this one paragraph does not refer to her experience as a Judge; but rather as a trainee.
    Ms. Freier makes reference to, draws on, and relys on Judaic sources.Thus, in this realm, she is less of an authority that a 9th grade mesivta Bachur.

    When it comes to espousing an opinion on a hashkafic issue, that is the domain of our Torah leaders.

    In short, Ms. Frier, leave the Torah to the Rabanim, and stick to the law which is your forte. There are enough problems that frum yidden have with the criminal and civil courts. I don’t need a mussar shiur by a vaibel on inyanai chinuch.

    A Frum Lawer on Court Street.

    6 years ago

    Amen, amen and amen to the article.

    Then I read the bottom of it, and this sentence:
    I wish to thank my Choshuv son in law….

    and I groaned.


    Herein lies the crux of the problem! The systemic issue that is plaguing the community is…elitism, or as I would put it, Choshuv’ism.

    It would suffice to write devoted son in law, dear son in law or any term of endearment, but why the classism?

    Its ironic that this important essay was ended this way. The crux of this problem in Chinuch is that everyone wants to be Choshuv, hence the overprotective mothers and schools.

    Not that this article/essay is not brilliant, true, honest and courageous. However, its post script reminds me that Systemic Classism, to honour, to be a ‘top’ person is pervasive, even with the very people working hard to changing the status quo.

    I hope this article is reprinted and distributed to every person in Chinuch; it is well written and encompassing, and should be mandatory reading….but for goodness sake, omit the elitist shtick. It enables this destructive caste style-system to flourish. Let’s cut it out.

    6 years ago

    The only answer is Home Schooling and Public Schools. Many Rebetezen’s went to public Schoo’ls and turned out much better than today’s Beth Yakov girls. Most of our Grandmothers did not go to any School and there was no suicide, no Off The Derech or the so called “Shiduch Crisis”

    6 years ago

    Very interesting how everyone is against the system and they all trying to get in the system. If i believe it’s rotten (it Is) I would stay a mile away. There is alternate Education than Beith Yakov.

    6 years ago

    Something that has not been mention here; First we have to lower our standard of living and support school and have departments to help all kids not just the stars.
    People want the money and their children to go to star schools but if you hav ADD or AHD kids nobody want to help. We don’t need new cars every 2 years but we need that not one kid feels rejected or ends up on drugs. We are too much in the secular word of things including dress style and gashmius. I don’t know why anybody who is not working needs a smart phone. Why do women walk the street push a pram while her ear is attach to a phone. She is out with her kids pay attention. When the cross the street the main thing is the phone not the kids. I watch the men walking the streets and almost all are attach to a phone why. I am a businessman but never walk on the street with my phone to my ear. We need to spend less on things and more to give to schools to make all kids fit in. If you think I am wrong think again. We need to give all to help the community.
    I have a new car because my last one was 12 years old. I don’t have it for the next 3 weeks because I gave it to a Rosh Yeshiva so he could have a good car to go on vac

    6 years ago

    #49 please take your atheist agenda of blaspheming the Torah elsewhere. Go to an atheist site where it will be appreciated. We believe in the Torah not in the garbage you are spouting as being superior to the Torah Chas veshalom….

    6 years ago

    To all those nitpicking my comments:
    It is impossible for even the best teacher to meet the needs of 25 kids with different personalities, needs, IQ’s, family situations, emotions, all by themselves. Not having a higher teacher to student ratio is akin to producing faulty tires and then opening organizations and askanim to deal with the crashes and injured people. Let’s open hospitals, guard rails etc.! come the screams from the askanim.
    No. Go to the tire plant and spend the money on fixing the fault. That is not so shtary (askanim also like kavod and power, ask a rebbe or two) so it does not get the true attention it needs. So to, we don’t go to schools to work on the issue. Get your tuches in schools and demand better teachers and more importantly, better administrators. It takes money! It takes time! But it’s more geshmak to blasta system with no viable solution. Yes even teachers can be stressed and we the parents MUST support the underpaid teacher (unlike the untrue and obnoxious comment #67 and 69).
    You have a choice. Come up w a solution and work hard or become angry and disenfranchised and lose out.
    As the great Bob Grant would say, your influence counts – uuuuuse it!

    6 years ago

    Y is comment #49 still on? Y do u give a disgruntled OTD person the bully pulpit to vent on our people? VIN shld know better and not allow it. Pls remove #49 as it is despicable!

    6 years ago

    Simple solution:
    Set up an AFFORDABLE online school, OR a limudei kodesh version of (l’havdil) the Khan academy. Think of all the problems this will solve, bruchnius and bgashmius.
    No bullying, abuse, snobbery, incompetent staff…families could relocate to affordable neighborhoods…children could learn together in small groups..

    6 years ago

    The yeshivos can do better. For all the people that say that a yeshiva can not service all the various different academic levels of children, I point to Yeshiva Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway, headed by Rav Yaakov Bender. This incredible yeshiva services all. There is an aleph class for superb students. There are 8 parallel classes for each and every level. There are resource rooms. There are accommodations for the physically handicapped and those with social issues. Why does this Yeshiva exist and thrive? Because the YeShiva cares. It is an indictment on the others that do not care, but only want to have a top class f
    or their own reputation.
    As the people were exiting the funeral of malki Klein, others were trying to enter the building for the funeral of Reb Mayor Zlottowitz. Funny how Artscroll disseminated Torah to those that previously Had no or limited access. We all came to pay our respects as we should have. Ironically that inability to bring the Torah to people like malki, Was the cause of her spiritual and physical death. We can and we must do better.

    6 years ago

    Your Honor Judge Frier:
    Did you reach out to the Hanhala of that Mosad and explain to them that their principal is a danger to their children. She’s afraid of questions because she doesn’t know the answers. She needs training quick. Tell her to get the series on Emunah from the Ani Ma’amin Foundation.

    6 years ago

    I don’t understand why everyone is making it so complicated. You cannot cut teachers salaries and you are a very ungreatful person if you say so.

    To make schools better, simply cut uninspiring teachers and principals even “chusheva” ones from “chusheva families”. Cut ridiculous, irrelevent subjects, meaning subjects that have no impact in real life, and fill that gap with clubs for academically inclined children, i.e. science and technology clubs and creative classes for creative children, i.e. music , drama, baking, etc. so that these children have a chance to shine. School should not be the pressure cooker it is with so much homework on top of it. Don’t worry about what girls will do in their spare time, if you need to worry about that then you have not taught them well.

    And parents need to be responsible and not throw kids with issues into school and expect the teachers to take care of it. If a child has discipline problems, it is the parents fault, they cannot blame the school for not being able to deal with it. Parents and kids who flaunt the rules cannot expect to be understood for all the issues they have in their lives- it’s not an excuse to behave untzniusdig, have boyfriends, etc.

    And for boys , it’s important to understand that not everyone can learn for so many hours straight. Hashem CREATED people differently. So I suggest some sort of music or sports program in every yeshiva.

    6 years ago

    Well i am number 100
    Could not read all comments, however so much pain and shame AND great drashas by so many people..
    Rabosei..we are suffering from a terrible machla.. the many parents of these beautiful neshamas are hurting, sleepless nights and the whole educational system that is taking the oxygen of growing up. All the eitzah givers out there sicken me. Eitzah givers about parenting…spend a year in the churban of a child who does not know who he or she can trust.The need of two breadwinners to survive and still cannot afford the expenses of holding on to a jewish life.
    My answer ..Book Citifield and Madison Square Garden, and say tehillim for at least two hours and let all the great smart gedolim and educational leaders say vidui and beg hashem to find away out of this churban..
    Malky Klein obm, beg hashem for us.. we do not know what we are doing ..
    The Writer of this article..left yeshiva because i was not a gemara kup..
    However came back becse, i realized that ain oid milvado. and built my own community, mikvas.. kollels and and a great yeshiva..and m
    ore important a place for all the malkies, joes ,yussies .michaels, avrahams…

    6 years ago

    If a child doesn’t get into a high school,parents need to assess,what is best for their child–begging the school,getting your rav etc. to try to get in,is not the answer.Even if all the siblings went to that school ,each child is different and THIS child may need a DIFFERENT school.We need to get rid of the stigma of “special ” schools, and people need to get over themselves, and realize that.Obviously people are not thinking of their child’s best interest, which is understandable-because our children are an extension of ourselves, and it’s hard to accept that OUR child has such and such issues.
    Why would anybody want their academically challenged/learning disabled child,to be in a “regular” school where their self esteem can be crushed ,as they watch their peers breeze through the classes while they are struggling and FAILING??
    Also some students are accepted to “regular” schools,on condition that they go to the easier tracks that the school provides, and even THEN you have parents,who put up a fuss that THEIR child doesn’t NEED that..and that they will feel “dumb”…parents wake up!!your child will feel a lot “dumber”,in a “regular” class–kids receive all sorts of therapies from a young age and are always going out of class,by the time high school comes around,it’s pretty much socially acceptable..
    The reason I am preaching this,is because this tragedy really hit home for me,and if I can open up the mind of even one parent out there,it will be will be worth it!
    My 10 year old daughter is learning disabled,and it took years before we were able to come to terms with that.
    Like Malky we were told at the early age of 4,to have our daughter evaluated,we didn’t see anything out of the ordinary,and the bd. of ed. found nothing wrong.(quite frankly we thought her teacher was “nuts”)
    The next year,we were badgered constantly by the new teacher,but we felt that we did our part,by having her evaluated and that the bd. of ed. found nothing to be amiss.
    We had a meeting with the school at the end of the year, and they said she can’t proceed to first grade-we took her to a neuropsychologist who was going to write her a script on the spot for inattentive ADHD (she was having trouble focusing)-he promised it will be like “magic” and the school will see the bright girl,that we see-we were not ready to put her on meds. so we asked the school if we could repeat her.
    She improved slightly, but, it wasn’t enough.
    When she finally started first grade,(even though it was very painful for us)we started her on meds. to help her focus.She did o.k. but, there was def. no “magic”-she still struggled academically,but,she was promoted to 2nd grade.
    She had an INCREDIBLE teacher,who encouraged her but,she was starting to feel really badly,because she TRIED so HARD but, she was still behind the others.
    We switched her medication,and I was called to the school that she was like a zombie– I ran to pick her up (I couldn’t stop crying)as it finally dawned on me that all that time when I felt that the teachers didn’t see what I see, I didn’t see what THEY saw a few years earlier,or I wouldn’t have put us all through so much heartache,trying to keep my daughter in a “regular” school.
    I had my daughter reevaluated, and she was diagnosed with a learning disability.,and was recommended to be in a “contained” classroom-which sounded like she was going to be put in a fish bowl!
    We went to look at a program, and found other girls, who looked “normal” too, and our fears were totally squashed.We enrolled her there for 3rd grade ,this past year,and she totally thrived with 8 girls in her class, -she learned to read fluently, to play guitar and to knit!!They also do certain activities/things with the mainstream part of the school ,and those girls are totally accepting of them!
    Looking back, I am thoroughly horrified at the lengths I went to,to keep my child in a “regular” school-
    –Being left back,had an effect on my daughter..she always says,I’m supposed to be in x.. grade….
    –The fact that she was put on mind altering drugs,just so she shouldn’t go to a “special” school, is mind boggling (we also told her not to discuss it with anyone..and she took it so personally –and the the end of the day she would do h.w. and say “you see it doesn’t make me smart it already wore off,it’s ME who knew the answer..”)
    –Listen to what teachers have to say,keep an open mind.
    –TEACHER’S–you need to be so careful,how you approach parents,if you see there’s an issue,start off with SOMETHING positive about the child, I’m sure you can find ONE parents can be receptive to what you have to say..

    My daughter is beautiful, popular,creative,hilarious, totally “socially normal”,and grounded,she just happens to learn a different way than most people and if you don’t want to consider her for your your precious son one day..because she went to a “special” school, then YOU are losing out on a really “special” girl!

    6 years ago

    I am amazed by all the comments/ suggestions! One thing everyone agrees upon is that we need to change ! That goes for all of us, the parents and the Mosdos!
    Each and everyone of us has the power to make a difference. If we just turn the page and ignore the cries it’s as if we’re hiding in the sand. Please let’s wake up ……….