Monday, December 29, 2008

Lakewood - Beis Feige/ (was concert banned)



Hamercaz reports: [forwarded by RaP] Also reported here.

Lakewood, N.J. -- In a surprising, last-minute move, the Roshei Yeshiva and Mashgiach of Lakewood's Beis Medrash Gavoha, the largest Yeshiva in the world outside of Israel, issued a ban of a women's entertainment event that took place in Lakewood's Beis Yaakov High School Sunday night.

The event, entitled "Comedance", was billed as a show illustrating "the journey of life through comedy and dance", and featured women performers singing and dancing in front of an all-female audience. Although the performance met with no opposition when it took place at Boro Park and other venues in prior weeks, that was not the case in Lakewood.

An automated phone call recording reached thousands of Lakewood homes Sunday evening, notifying all household that the Roshei Yeshiva and Mashgiach, R' Kotler, Neuman, Schustal, Olshin and Salomon, had issued a ruling that the performance should not be attended. Ironically, this followed similar automated calls on behalf of the producers of the show that had been placed just hours before, reminding local women and girls to attend the event, which was advertised as a benefit for Tzedaka R' Meir Ba'al HaNes.[...]

17 comments :

  1. Wolf has a good take on this -- http://wolfishmusings.blogspot.com/2008/12/questions-about-new-lakewood-ban.html

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  2. Wolf's knee-jerk reaction is to always oppose the Rabbonim Shlita.

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  3. Joseph,

    If you read my post, you'll notice that I did not oppose anyone but asked questions... questions that are quite valid, IMHO, including questioning whether the rabbonim were even involved at all.

    Do you mean to tell me that the last-minute way this was handled doesn't bother you at all?

    The Wolf

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  4. Joseph, you might find one of my favorite quotes relevant to your complaint about Wolf:

    "Now the spokesmen and the journalistic organs of Agudat Israel are not at all reticent in vigorously and sharply criticizing any and all aspects of modern orthodoxy, oftentimes even exceeding the bounds of good taste. But when I engage in an objective critique of certain views of one of their leading figures, I stand accused of a lack of Derekh Eretz, of launching a personal broadside. It is in this personalization of intellectual debate, this intolerance of criticism, no matter how respectfully expressed (and I could bring many examples of this phenomenon) that we see fully revealed the bitter fruits of the ideology of Daat Torah."
    -Dr. Lawrence Kaplan, translator of Halachic Man, responding to detractors of his famous 1980 article, "Rabbi Isaac Hutner's 'Daat Torah Perspective' on the Holocaust: A Critical Analysis"

    ReplyDelete
  5. Recipients and PublicityDecember 12, 2008 at 4:37 AM

    Crisis in Ir HaKodesh, Lakewood, NJ, USA !

    USA Economic Meltdown Shuts Down Lakewood's Bais Yaakov of 2,000 young girls. It's also a power struggle between rabbinic facations and involves dinei Torah and gedolim! Read on...

    What is REALLY alarming is how it has resulted in shutting down a major school and keeping girls home as if they were under siege by the Taliban, lehavdil. Maybe it's divine retribution for the fact that a year ago the Lakewood schools wanted to keep out local girls who were deemed not religious or yeshvish enough and were forced to reaccept them by Rav Eliashiv in Israel. Who knows?:

    As reported by Matzav.com:

    http://matzav.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=181&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=4341&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2222&hn=matzav&he=.com

    "Lakewood: Bais Faiga Classes Cancelled, Day 4

    Posted: 11.DEC.08

    [Updates below. Last update: Thurs. evening.]

    Sunday, 12/7:

    At the present time, it appears that all classes at Bais Faiga Elementary School in Lakewood, NJ, will be cancelled indefinitely beginning tomorrow after the teachers sent home notes with their students on Friday stating as much. The teachers have not gotten paid recently, and have endured on-again, off-again payments for a while now. The teachers have also dealt with a shortage of supplies, amongst other issues. Feeling that they have absolutely no alternative, the teachers made the decision to cease working until the situation at the school is resolved once and for all.

    At the Lakewood Cheder, the general studies teachers have also not been paid recently, in addition to being owed a month’s pay from last year. While at the time of this writing it appears that the teachers will be teaching today (the Lakewood Cheder has general studies on Sunday), it is believed that tomorrow the teachers will not be showing up, also expressing their frustration and need for the situation to be sorted out.

    The financial downturn - and now depression - that has hit virtually every segment of society is taking its toll on mosdos around the country and around the globe, and Lakewood is no exception. In addition to the aforementioned schools, at least one other mosad in Lakewood is several months behind on payments to its rabbeim. In general, the salaries of rabbeim and teachers are pitiful, to say the least.

    It is hoped that these situations are resolved so that the rabbeim and teachers will receive their paychecks and can continue their avodas hakodesh of educating the children of today to become the leaders of tomorrow.

    Monday, 12/8, 12 p.m.:

    Bais Faiga Girls Elementary School of Lakewood is closed today, as we reported here on Matzav.com. Hundreds of girls are home, requiring many parents to take off from work or fathers to stay home from yeshiva or kollel. A number of day camps have been arranged (see here) to keep the girls occupied during their day off. The usually busy block of Courtney Road between Madison and Clifton Avenues, and the busy area around Bais Faiga’s Gratter Building on Park Avenue South are both empty, with no buses or students in sight. For photos, click here.

    Tuesday, 12/9:

    Bais Faiga is closed once again today, leaving parents scrambling to make plans for the out-of-school daughters. Day camps have been arranged once again in various neighborhoods, and a roller skating outing has been arranged as well (see here) at the Jackson Skating Center right outside of Lakewood.

    As you wait for the situation to be resolved, double click on the play button below to watch students at the Lakewood Cheder during choir practice last night in preparation for a performance at an upcoming school function.

    Wednesday, 12/9:

    Bais Faiga's main building on Courtney Road and its Gratter Building (pictures here) remain empty as classes have been cancelled for a third straight day. A number of dedicated teachers from the school have gathered with their students in their own homes and are teaching them there until regular classes resume.

    Thursday, 12/10:

    Bais Faiga remains closed once again today, the fourth straight day with no classes.

    Thursday, 12/10, 7 p.m.:

    A gathering for Bais Faiga parents is scheduled to be held this evening at Bais Yaakov High School. Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky and Rav Matisyahu Salomon are expected to address the parents.

    {Dovid Bernstein-Matzav.com Newscenter}

    As reported on Hamercaz.com, it's actually a POWER STRUGGLE while the children and the schools are just pawns:

    http://www.hamercaz.com/

    "Bais Faiga Remains Closed, Lakewood Leaders Unable To Reach Compromise

    Dec 11, 2008

    Lakewood, N.J. -- Bais Faiga, the sister school to Lakewood Cheder that has an enrollment of close to two thousand elementary school age girls, remained closed as the week comes to an end.

    - Teachers Strike -

    Teachers sent home notes with the students last Friday stating that classes were cancelled as of the new week, and indeed, since Monday, Lakewood's streets have been filled with young girls playing, hanging out or tagging along as their mothers do errands about town.

    Teachers say they were forced to take the drastic measure because they had not been paid for months.

    - Background -

    But while the current economic crisis has certainly contributed to a budget crunch at Lakewood Cheder and Bais Faiga, sources close to the situation say that unpaid tuition and decreased donations are only part of the problem. According to the sources, the overdue payroll represents the fallout of a power struggle currently taking place for control of the two institutions that together provide for the education of a large percentage of Lakewood's youth.

    Beis Medrash Gavoha's CEO R' Aaron Kotler and the BMG Rosh Yeshivos are said to be interested in retaining control of the Mosdos which were founded and have always been operated in affiliation with Beis Medrash Gavoha, and would like to see the influence of long time administrator R' Baruch Manes diminished.

    Sources say that with future control of the schools undecided, neither side is willing to take responsibility for continuing to fund the school's expenses, until matters are decided. Complicating the situation is the fact that historically, Bais Faiga, bearing the lower payroll burden associated with having female teachers, was able to help with the financial burden of the Cheder. Income from the girls school used to cover the Cheder budget has thus been long spent and is not simply waiting in an account to be released.

    There are various additional players - including Bais Faiga's principal and the Lakewood Va'ad -involved in the situation, each with their own loyalties and opinions with regard to how to resolve the situation.

    - Meetings Held To Attempt To Resolve Crisis -

    Earlier this week, a meeting was held between BMG Mashgiach R' Mattisyahu Salomon and members of the Lakewood Va'ad at the Mashgiach's home. In the midst of the discussion aimed at trying to resolve the matter, several local residents, supporters of the BMG Roshei Yeshiva's position, arrived at the Mashgiach's home. When they were not granted entry at the front door, they forced their way in to the house via a window.

    A ruckus erupted; those present at the meeting expressed outrage that uninvited individuals had the audacity to gain forced entry to a closed meeting. For their part, the interlopers protested that it was unjust to hold a meeting without allowing the position of the BMG supporters to be heard.

    Regardless, the meeting did not result in an end to the crisis.

    On Wednesday, another meeting was held at the home of the Mashgiach. This time, additional representatives of the various factions were in attendance, including the Mashgiach, Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva, R' Malkiel Kotler, and several administrators of other schools in town. Renowned philanthropist R' Yosef Tabak traveled from Brooklyn in the hopes that his experience as a skilled mediator would help to bring about a solution.

    Once again, the meeting ended with no practical results. While some attendees report that some insight was gained into what each side is demanding to bring about an end to the crisis, nothing was agreed to, and no definitive date was established as to when the school will be reopening.

    For now, mothers of Bais Faiga students will continue to have the opportunity to spend extra time with their daughters."

    Haven't been able to find anything about the matter on YW, but this is how VIN put it on 12/9/2008 at http://www.vosizneias.com/23947/2008/12/09/lakewood-nj-bais-faiga-cancels-class-1800-girls-are-home-from-school/

    "Lakewood, NJ - Bais Faiga Cancels Class, 1800 Girls Are Home from School

    Lakewood, NJ -The Lakewood Cheder and Bais Faiga were founded years ago under the auspices of Reb Shneur Kotler, ZT"L as Lakewood's first school for the yeshivaleit. It has since blossomed into as a major educational force in the greater Lakewood Jewish community.

    The Cheder and Bais Faiga are located in various facilities throughout the area. The Bais Faiga Elementary School has two buildings: the main campus on Courtney Rd. and the Grater building on Park Ave.

    For many years, both mosdos have been run by their current administrator and principal.

    But because of late payments to teachers and staff, Lakewood's local rabbinical authority has sided with the teachers' body in backing them up as they currently strike.

    The strike developed after the mehaheless, together with teachers, claimed that they approached the Lakewood Beis Din led by Rabbi Forscheimer for guidance, and that the Beis Din—with the direct guidance of Reb Shmuel Kamenetsky—decided to call the current strike to protest the non-payment of the already-meager salaries to the teachers.

    P.S.

    Cant resist this after-thought, why can't people like Dr. Tom Kaplan and his foundations like the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation (it would be from one woman to many wonderful young Jewish women who are destined to become the wonderful royalty of mothers and wives in Klal Yisroel) and that philanthropists like Dr. Tom Kaplan be guided to help real Torah causes and real Jewish girls who are the real future of the Jewish people instead of chasing nebulous goals of helping gentiles become Jews by the millions. It is truly a strange world we live in! (Oh well, to those who know, Rabbi Tropper has it in for the Kotlers of Lakewood too, too bad, think of all the real zechusim "merits" he is missing out on right under his nose and he does not have to travel far to see the girls and their teachers in need, they are not asking for conventions and grand dinners, and airfares to exotic cities, just the ability to help feed and clothe their families.)

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  6. Recipients and PublicityDecember 14, 2008 at 4:31 PM

    Lakewood's Basi Faiga bais yaakov to reopne on Monday, 15th December after unknown deal making behind the scenes resolves the crisis for now. So far, only Matzav.com is really reoprting and sort of interesting news that may reveal some tidbits if one reads between the lines.

    From the latest report at http://matzav.com/default.asp?sourceid=&smenu=181&twindow=&mad=&sdetail=4414&wpage=1&skeyword=&sidate=&ccat=&ccatm=&restate=&restatus=&reoption=&retype=&repmin=&repmax=&rebed=&rebath=&subname=&pform=&sc=2222&hn=matzav&he=.com

    "Lakewood's Bais Faiga to Reopen Monday

    Posted: 11.DEC.08

    Hundreds of men and women in Lakewood, NJ, gathered at the campus of Bais Yaakov High School of Lakewood on James Street for an asifa tonight to announce that the Bais Faiga Elementary School, which had been closed since this past Monday, will reopen this coming Monday, December 15. Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, rosh hayeshiva of Philadelphia Yeshiva, made a special trip to Lakewood to attend. Also in attendance were three of the four roshei hayeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, Rav Malkiel Kotler, Rav Dovid Schustal and Rav Yisroel Neuman, and the mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha, Rav Matiyahu Salomon.

    The gathering was called for 9:30 p.m. A minyan for Maariv began about 15 minutes later, during which time the roshei hayeshiva arrived. With the inclement weather and heavy downpours, heavy traffic backed up on James Street and men and women were forced to park some distance away before making their way to the school building’s hall.

    Shortly after 10 p.m., Tehillim was recited and all in attendance found their seats, the men at the front of the hall and the women in the back, behind the mechitzah. The roshei hayeshiva and the mashgiach were seated at a table facing the crowd at the front of the room.

    A pin drop could be heard as Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky approached the podium. Rav Shmuel, as one of our generation’s gedolei hador, reassured those in attendance, most of whom were parents of Bais Faiga students, Bais Faiga employees or spouses of Bais Faiga employees, that everything that had transpired over the last week had been done in accordance with daas Torah. Rav Shmuel said that it hasn’t been easy for parents, students and teachers with the school being closed this week, but he reassured those in attendance that a solution had been found to reopen the school in a manner that would be beneficial to all. He then called on the mashgiach, Rav Salomon, to address the gathered crowd and inform them of the decision that had been reached.

    Rav Salomon delivered an impassioned speech, with eloquence and genuine feeling. First and foremost, he thanked the moros (teachers) for their heroism and mesiras nefesh. He stated that everything that the teachers have been doing has been with the consultation of and in accordance with daas Torah.

    Rav Salomon decried those who have been and are quick to make leitzonus of this matter.

    He told the gathering that the phone calls that he and other rabbonim received over the past week were nothing short of an absolute kiddush Hashem. There were calls from parents seeking guidance regarding their children and calls from teachers who wished to make sure that every step they took was in consonance with daas Torah.

    The mashgiach then said: “We’ve come to a matzav where if the Yetzer Hara doesn’t interfere, we have reached a solution that will work for everyone."

    He then said, “Bais Faiga will reopen Monday” and will b’ezras Hashem remain open until the coming of Moshiach.

    He added that the roshei hayeshiva will not have shaychus (connection) with the running of the school, because “Bais Faiga belongs to the parents.” A vaad hakaspi (financial board) and a vaad hachinuch (educational board) have been established, he said, and there will thus be stability and authority in the running of this well-respected mosad of chinuch habanos.

    Rav Salomon told the audience of the great mesiras nefesh of the rosh hayeshiva, Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky. He said that he and Rav Shmuel will be filling a caretaker position at the school until final arrangements are put into place.


    Rav Salomon urged everyone to promote and act with shalom, and said that there are those who, unfortunately, don’t want shalom. But, he said, it takes two sides for there to be a lack of shalom in any situation, and he reiterated his call for peace to reign.

    Rav Salomon concluded his heartfelt and inspiring oratory by reiterating that everything that has been done has been “leman tinokos shel bais rabbon,” and “leman Hashem veToraso” (for the sake of the children and the sake of Hashem and His Torah).

    The gathering, said a number of attendees as they filed out of Bais Yaakov Hall, was an inspiring one, providing much needed chizuk and encouragement, and a true kiddush Hashem.

    “It is a true chizuk to see our gedolim, led by Maran Rav Shmuel [Kamenetsky], guiding us, directing us, and encouraging us,” said one parent. “What has happened in the past is not what matters. What is nogeiyah (matters) is mikan ulehabah (from here on). And our manhigim (leaders) have told us that everything will be in order. Boruch Hashem and amen kein yehi ratzon.”

    Note: Because this situation has been resolved, all previous posts regarding this story have been removed from Matzav.com.

    {F. Bauminger, Chaim Boruch Breskin special for Matzav.com Newscenter}"

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  7. Recipients and PublicityDecember 14, 2008 at 4:49 PM

    In an added twist to the Bais Faiga closing, the Lakewood mashgiach evidently attacked the Matzav.com site for simply reporting about the events. The local NY/NJ print media totally ignored the story (about all teachers going on strike, when it started it was indefinite, at a bais yaakov with close to 2,000 talmidos) and the other Orthodox news sites giving the story little or no coverage, as if that were a "crime" while all sorts of constant drivel and trivia and sneeering reports about how the American and Israeli governments are not doing anything right, and as if people in Lakewood NJ and the frum world at large can do no wrong...

    Anyhow, here is the (counter) report from Hamerkaz.com at
    http://hamercaz.com/hamercaz/site/news_item.php?id=2696

    "Bais Faiga To Reopen, R' Matisyahu Salomon Addresses Parents

    Dec 12, 2008

    Lakewood, N.J. -- At a Thursday night gathering, R' Matisyahu Salomon announced that Bais Faiga, the Lakewood girls school that has been closed for the past week [see story HERE], will be reopening on Monday.

    The gathering, which filled Lakewood's Bais Yaakov with an overflow crowds of thousands, was attended by Bais Faiga parents, teachers, and other interested Lakewood residents, as well as Rabbonim including R' Shmuel Kaminetsky, Rosh Yeshiva Philadelphia, and several Lakewood Roshei Yeshiva.

    Unprepared to deal with the logistics of the massive number of vehicles that converged on James Street and nearby side-streets, Lakewood police struggled to control the flow of traffic in the area, with numerous police cars and officers on the scene.

    The gathering began with Ma'ariv followed by the saying of Tehillim. After some general comments and inspirational words delivered by R' Kaminetsky, R' Salomon stepped up to the podium. While R' Kaminetsky's remarks were quite general in nature, R' Salomon went into some specifics.

    The Lakewood Mashgiach praised both the teachers and parents of Bais Faiga. He said that the questions that he had fielded from parents and teachers alike during the past week indicated that all involved seemed interested in doing the right thing, and proved that Lakewood is indeed worthy of the title "Ihr HaTorah." He also stated that the teachers did not walk out because of financial considerations but rather because of the increased tension resulting from administrative issues at the school.

    In an obvious reference to Orthodox blogs and news websites, the Mashgiach added that in contrast, "modern technologies" that were used as a vehicle to discuss the crisis, had been harmful and contributed to an atmosphere of mockery of the community's leaders.


    After announcing that the school would reopen on Monday, R' Salomon clarified who would be responsible for the administration of the school. Without mentioning the struggle for control between Beis Medrash Gavoha and long-time administrator R' Baruch Manes that resulted in the school's closing, the Mashgiach announced that henceforth, the school would be run by the parent body. Two boards, one responsible for financial administration and one charged with educational administration, are to be formed in upcoming weeks. Until that time, the school will remain under the stewardship of R' Salomon and R' Kamenetsky.

    R' Salomon ended with a call for all involved in the matter to move forward in a spirit of peace and harmony."

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  8. Recipients and PublicityDecember 14, 2008 at 11:23 PM

    Bais Faiga's troubles

    Background: AFAIK, there are about five fairly reliable frum news websites at present. They are:

    -Yeshiva World http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/
    -Vos Iz Neias ("What's News?") http://www.vosizneias.com/
    -Matzav ("Situation") http://matzav.com/
    -Hamerkaz ("The Center") http://www.hamercaz.com/
    -Frum Report ("Religious Report") http://www.frumreport.com/

    None of the NY/NJ Orthodox print media reported that the largest Bais Yaakov in New Jersey and one of the largest in the world was closed due to a teachers strike last week. The job was left to some of the pro-Orthodox websites who were willing to carry the story. YW did not.

    But they did not all report the story equally and some did it relatively more vigorously than others. The Internet (that big convenient buggaboo and cyber-whipping boy that is always good to go for a free public flogging when one wants to avoid the real issues) and frum websites got dragged into the Bais Faiga strike when the Lakewood mashgiach ruchani Rav Matisyahu Salamon decided to create a red herring issue that the story was being reported at all (as that is illegal?) with some temerity which was being done mostly by Matzav.com that basically gave daily reports.

    Evidently Matzav.com said something that they retracted and apologized for (something about barging into a rov's office and demand answers?) but they still got it not just from Rav Salamon but from holier-than-thou "frum" news websites like FrumReport.com that reported:

    "MATZAV SLAMMED BY R' MATISYAHU SOLOMON . . . Matzav fails to mention opening statement when R' Matisyahu slammed "blogs" (Premire online Torah Newscenter) for posting anything about the strike on the Internet; Sources: Matzav removes all comments from story out of panic *DEVELOPING*"

    YET, right below that FrumReport has another headline that "Bais Faiga Strike Over; Whose in Charge Now?? . . . " which only links to the Matzav.com story, so that while Frum Report is busy adding fuel to the flames by saying that Rav Salamon "only" meant to condemn "Matzav.com" they nevertheless still have no news of their own to report and link back to the ongoing Matzav.com story. Go figure all this out.

    If they were smart they would know that Rav Salamon like most gedolim condemn the whole Internet and all blogs and anything to do with cyberspace unless it is needed for parnosah and under very strict controls. Is YW and FrumReport going to be disengenious to claim that they need their own sites about "frum" news because it is "their parnosah"? That would very circular and empty non-argument. Like saying the Earth is round because it is round.

    Hamercaz.com reported his criticisms, directed not at any of the local rabbis who were allegedly responsible for the power-play that resulted in the lockout of about 2000 heilige and lichtigge bnos Yisroel but he chose to use the red herring and blast the Internet instead. Oh well. Are people so dumb?

    Here is the crux as reported at http://hamercaz.com/hamercaz/site/news_item.php?id=2696

    "...In an obvious reference to Orthodox blogs and news websites, the Mashgiach added that in contrast, "modern technologies" that were used as a vehicle to discuss the crisis, had been harmful and contributed to an atmosphere of mockery of the community's leaders.

    After announcing that the school would reopen on Monday, R' Salomon clarified who would be responsible for the administration of the school. Without mentioning the struggle for control between Beis Medrash Gavoha and long-time administrator R' Baruch Manes that resulted in the school's closing, the Mashgiach announced that henceforth, the school would be run by the parent body. Two boards, one responsible for financial administration and one charged with educational administration, are to be formed in upcoming weeks. Until that time, the school will remain under the stewardship of R' Salomon and R' Kamenetsky.
    "

    But the actual story, as of Sunday evening the 14 of December is still not clear with conflicting reports that the Bais Faiga saga is not over quite yet. One poster at Matzav.com asks: "DEC 14 • there seems to be a fax going around on sunday and maybe things arent as rosy as we thought. maybe no school on monday. any new news?"

    And to top it off FrumReport (they must be so cynical to carry the "best" and "worst" reports with headlines seemingly in a frum perspective but linking to stories that are more controversial such as the headline (with a photo of Rav Slamon attached to it): "Report: Bais Faiga Will Not Reopen Monday . . ." that links to of all things the "YidVid" blog that really has some news stories on the Bais Faiga closing

    See http://yidvid.blogspot.com/2008/12/as-of-hr.html

    "Saturday, December 13 Reports That Bais Faiga Will NOT reopen on Monday Lakewood, New Jersey: Update: As of 8:30PM Motzei Shabbos YIDVID is getting reports that Bais Faiga will not reopen on Monday. As reported earlier on YIDVID.

    And the Wednesday December 10 YidVid, not always the best of sources, but where some people turn when no official explanations are given beyond blank condemnations of the Internet when girls are home and not in school. If they would keep the girls in school they would not have time to even dream of being online either...

    So YidVid stated that:

    "Bais Faiga Remains Closed as Fourth Day of Teachers Strike Looms: Update: Meeting taking place right now in R' Matisyahu Solomon's home. Attending are R' Malkiel Kotler, R' Shlomo Kanarek, R' Mendel Rabinowitz, & Mr. Joe Tabak.

    Update: Total stand-off continues. No movement. Parents furious at "Daas Torah". Girls are seen 'walking the streets', parents taking off work to watch kids & yungerleit not learning for 3 days does not seem to mean anything to Daas Torah."


    And as it reported a story from the local NJ media APP.com (Asbury Park Press) at http://www.app.com/article/20081210/NEWS/81210074/1001/rss

    "Teachers strike at Lakewood private school

    Zach Patberg • TOMS RIVER BUREAU • December 10, 2008

    LAKEWOOD — Classes at Bais Faiga Elementary, a large Orthodox Jewish private girls school, have been cancelled since Monday due to a teacher strike, a town official and reports on a community Web site have confirmed.

    The strike is a result of teachers at the school on Courtney Road not getting paid and supply shortages as the economic downturn takes its toll on private schools, reported Matzav.com, a Jewish news site.

    Township Committee Deputy Mayor Meir Lichtenstein said his child has been out of school since Monday because of the strike.

    The strike has forced hundreds of parents to remain home from work to care for their children while a number of day camps have been set up to occupy the students while out of school, the Web site reported.

    Members of the Igud, a council of private school leaders in Lakewood, could not be reached today for comment."

    So noone quite knows what Monday 15th December 08 will bring or if Bais Faiga will return to normal after a week when the talmidos became pawns in the machinations of higher-ups who, had they all cooperated could have avoided such a situation, and a mass chillul Hashem, from happening in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Recipients and PublicityDecember 15, 2008 at 6:23 AM

    The Bais Faiga closing.

    As of late Sunday night, 14th December, Matzav.com was reporting as follows:

    "MATZAV.COM EDITOR
    DEC 14 • Sunday night, 8:30 P.M.

    Our sources have told us, as we have reported, that school will indeed reopen tomorrow. Rumors to the contrary have been swirling, and a number of stories have been fabricated.

    What we can say is that Bais Faiga is scheduled to resume classes tomorrow morning.

    -Matzav.com Editor

    wondering

    DEC 14 • Please let us know if there is school on Monday. My sources tell me there probably won't be school on Monday."

    ReplyDelete
  10. Recipients and PublicityDecember 21, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    There was absolutely NOTHING reported during the week of the Bais Faiga school closing nor in the week after's Orthodox Jewish papers.

    The Jewish Press, Yated Ne'eman and Hamodiah had absolutely nothing to report or say on what was a very serious event that brought about a teachers' strike and the closing of a bais ya'akov for nearly 2,000 (yes, that's almost two thousand) of the Lakewood yeshiva community's precious young daughters who were locked out of school and were forced to stay home causing a major disruption in the lives of parents, of mothers who could not go to work to support their families whose husbands are in kollel and the many kollel fathers who had to sacrifice Torah learning time and become baby sitters for their homebound kids while several groups of rabbis and laypeople duked it out in a power play over control over the school and its connected Cheder for the boys.

    Strangely, the Yated Ne'eman which has an entire section devoted exclusively to news from Lakewood and usually reports every minor melaveh malka or the smallest crimes committed against the community by local gentiles had nothing to report about the school closing and what transpired. There is a note in small print on official stationary from the yeshiva's hanhala (faculty) that warns all residents to wear "REFLECTORS" when walking on the mostly unlit local streets at night to avoid being knocked over by oncoming traffic as recently happened to someone who was tragically killed, but absolutely nothing about last week's events and the turmoil that resulted in the walk-out by all the teachers, the shutting down of the school for an entire week, and the very dramatic meetings and negotiations as reported on the few frum Jewish Internet media outlets who dared to report on the story, like Matzav.com day by day, or Vos Iz Nei'es once or twice, and eventually were criticized for doing even that by Rabbi Matisyahu Salamon the mashgiach ruchani of Lakewood, as if the closing of a school with about 2,000 children from virtually all the families in yeshiva, could be kept a "secret" and not spoken about when it was on every parents and relatives lips and minds and people who have relatives and close friends in Lakewood.

    There needs to be better communication between the rabbinic leadership and its local community as well as with the Jewish communities all over America who were very worried and alarmed by these events.

    Imagine Jewish grandparents, cousins and aunts and uncles knowing that their sweetheart grandchildren and daughters were out of school for an undetermined time, wouldn't they be entitled to reassurance from the rabbinic leadership through some of the Jewish media that all is well or that all ended well from either the print or Internet media that in this day and age, almost everyone is tuned in to for lack of any other news channel from the yeshivas and big kehillas?

    This incident was very disturbing in many ways!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Recipients and PublicityDecember 25, 2008 at 7:13 AM

    Unrest in Lakewood reaches the boiling point on the Internet!

    Unfortunately the situation in Lakewood has taken a turn for the worse stemming from the closing of the Bais Faiga bais yaakov saga and its far from resolved as it now reported that it will supossedly become a long drawn battle in front of a Bais Din in Monsey, NY that has agreed to hear the case involving the dispute between the Kotler family of Lakewood and the rabbis heading Bais Faiga and its affiliated Cheder school, with obviously irrate parents left fuming and innocent bewildered childrent as backdrops.

    The Bais Faiga teachers' strike has evidently created a lot of bitterness and ill-will among the parent body, some of whom are now involved in taking the unheard of steps of revolting against the Kotler dynasty that has always ruled the Lakewood Yeshiva (Bais Medrash Gevoha).

    One major development is that since the mainstrean print Orthodox media in the NY/NJ area have stayed away from the story and the real-life events with the unfolding drama, and the main Orthodox Internet news sites like YW and VIN and others have either said nothing or been stifled into apologies as Matzav.com was, it has now reached the point that some people, perhaps even revolting Yungeleit and members of the Lakewood yeshiva have launched their own Blog at lakewoodscoop.blogspot.com (reader discretion is strongly advised as there is lots of bitterness and sarcasm in some posts) over the past few days and are giving more daily details (since there are none forthcoming from the source of this conflict) about what is really going on and its not such comforting news nor is it pretty reading for a frum Jew.

    This is just the latest in a shocking chain of events, for what they say about both the events as well as about those who have now been driven to partake in such measures:


    Lots Of Stuff Going On (December 24, 2008):

    "There is alot of news coming out of all four coffee rooms today. Boruch hashem for bain hasdorim, that the olam can get working on the SCOOP again.

    The olam taynes today that Rabbi Manis is going to mail out the hazmana from the bais din to the entire Lakewood. This would be a gevaldig zach, and we wish him much hatzlacha. Also, SCOOP is arranging with the bais din to allow a live webcast of the din torah so that the entire velt can see what moredig chutzpah these people can have.

    There is also raid that yungerlet are contimplating a strike in yeshiva very soon. This is still in the beginning stages, but it's totally mutar to do this, as we see that strikes are mutar. The reason for the strike would be stam altz ah shtickle payback to the moridige nerve that the hanhala had when the olam was nebach stuck at home with bored crying kinderlach for a gantzer vuch while Aron Kotler was on his skiing trip out of town and running the show behind the scenes.

    Talking about a strike, the rabeiyim in the cheder are also talking about a strike, since they have not been paid in three weeks (thanks to the Mashgiach SHLIT"A).

    We will i"h post some very intersanter verter here in a shtickle tzeit. We just need to chap a schmooze with the chevra running the SCOOP on which mehalech we need to farfeer the olam on today.

    Ah guten tug, un a frlichen chanukah."

    IMPORTANT INFORMATION (December 23, 2008)

    A bit of housekeeping:

    1- If anyone has any imperative SCOOP that you need help being mefarsem, please email lakewoodscoop@gmail.com

    The ba'ya is, that it is time consuming for the yungerleit running SCOOP to run around to all 4 coffee rooms in Yeshiva, and we are missing shtarka information which the olam needs to know right away.

    If you don't have Internet access in yeshiva, and have a very vichtiger shtickle information for the SCOOP, please run to Berel Sassoon and give him the info. He will pass it along the chain of command.

    2- SCOOP has just found out that Butch Epstein has found out about SCOOP, and has assigned "snitchers" to all 4 coffee rooms.

    Raboysay! This is pikuach nefesh mamish! He is extremely dangerous, so please, make sure not to get caught by one of his henchmen. Use your brains when shmoozing, and if necessary you can text messages to each other from on binyan to another.

    We will be establishing a call-in center soon where the olam can call in vital info to.

    Protim yavoyu....."

    Shimmy Glick Tells The Kotlers Money Supply to Be Shut Off (December 23, 2008)

    "Huge" Kiddush Hashem (NOT) (December 23, 2008)

    "So here we are, just about 2 weeks since the "big" asifa took place "lmaan hashalom". The Mashiach Shlita got up and stated birabim, that all parties are in agreement with what he was going to anounce. He wasn't C"V not telling the 100% truth. He just meant that all those CHASHUVIM sitting there were in agreement.

    Moving right along, he made sure to anounce the most important info, that the Roshei Hayeshiva, will have nothing to do with the mosaad. He wasn't fooling anyone, cause noone believed him anyways, It only took 48 hours after that asifa, for R' Malkiel SHLIT"A to call the beis din, and to proclaim that he doesn't have to come to B"D because "he owns both mosdos" (Bais Faiga & Lakewood Cheder).

    Next was the promise to have a Vaad set up....... Uh huh! LIke I stated earlier. It's now just under 2 weeks since then..... The few names that were originally mentioned, either say they have no shayches, or the best is Meir Gelley, the one real big name that R' Matisyahu mentioned and later stated that it was a "big mistake" to get him involved.

    Most importantly, is that everyone should please send moooonnnneeeyyy!!!! To where? To a P.O. Box??? In Howell Twp??? If it wasn't so sad, I would be laughing at the absurdity.

    "We have no Vaad, no office adress or phone number, but just send in all outstanding tuitions. And most importantly, we are in the midst of setting up a computerized office." I guess that has priority to stabilizing the moisad.

    It seems like this is the "stability" the Masgiach Shlit"a was referring to."

    Bais Faiga & Cheder Crumbling To Pieces (December 22, 2008)

    "Dear Cheder/Bais Faige Parents,

    This is the truth. It may not be pleasant, but if you stick your head in the sand, you'll find there is no school left when you take it out.

    I spoke last night to Rabbi Levin, Mechal Gruss and Shimon Zeldes (both board of directors) among others.By all accounts the schools are crumbling before our eyes. There are two huge schools without leader or administrator.

    There is growing unrest. Noone is taking financial responsibility.If you are like me you think this is one fight to big for us little parents to fight. All of the above three said the opposite is true. The parents are the only ones right now that can do anything. It cannot be resolved in bais din because they have refused to go to beis din.

    Rav Matisyahu stood up in front of thousands of people and said that the school belongs to the parents. Yet, noone has asked the parents how they felt. The mashgiach said the roshei yeshiva are not involved, and yet they signed a shtar that they are taking achrayos for paying the salaries of Bais Faiga.

    Rabbi Babad, the dayan on the Mechon L'horayah bais din in Monsey, when questioned regarding their reasons for withdrawing from the case and being told that prior to the hazmonoh Rav Matisyahu said to the entire parent body and teachers that the Roshei Yeshiva relinquished control of and involvement in Bais Faiga, said "if what you are saying is true then the roshei yeshiva are liars".

    Rav Matisyahu called a meeting with the four board members of the cheder and demanded that they sign over Bais Faige to a mysterious vaad, yet to be established. They refused.

    Rabbi Zeldes stressed that they were thrown out by the Roshei Yeshivos - that there is no such thing as dividing one mosad in half. They warned Rav Matisyahu repeatedly that to take away Bais Faige was a death sentance to the Cheder. They were ignored.

    The suggestion of all of the above three was that if the parents unite and speak to Rav Matisyahu, things could be resolved. They seem convinced that it is the only hope (in fact rabbi zeldes said that people mistakenly think they have to go and say something. He said all you need to do is congregate in front of him. Let him see that you are parents who care, who are losing their school b/c of this) I said to Rabbi Zeldes and Rabbi Gruss that the problem is that most parents are so ignorant and have no idea what is going on. Rabbi Gruss said "they'll find out soon enough when the school begins to unravel". I asked aren't we better off doing something before that happens? He said "yes".

    The problem is noone can talk publicly. Those that know the facts have been silenced with threats and blackmail. The remainder have no idea whats flying.So if you care, tell others. Anyone within the school will tell you it will not last long unless we unite.

    Someone is working on scheduling a meeting with Rav Matisyahu. If the message and situation is discussed when the meeting is publicized people will understand the importance of coming to express there concers or just to show a united front.

    Please, pass on the message.
    "

    ReplyDelete
  12. Recipients and PublicityDecember 26, 2008 at 10:29 AM

    Din Torah widens over Bais Faiga case.

    Hamercaz.com has two unfortunate reports about the latest developments:

    Bais Faiga Dispute Goes To Monsey Beis Din

    "Dec 15, 2008

    Monsey, N.Y. -- The dispute over control of Bais Faiga between long-time administrator R' Baruch Manes and the administration of Beis Medrash Gavoha of Lakewood continued over the weekend.

    Although the issue of who would be in charge of the girls school, which is Lakewood's largest, appeared to be settled after last Thursday's meeting [see story HERE ("Bais Faiga To Reopen, R' Matisyahu Salomon Addresses Parents." Dec 12, 2008)], with a board of parents to supervise the school, by Friday, R' Manes had obtained an "Ikul" from Beis Din Machon L'Hora'ah of Monsey. The document essentially indicated that all further actions relating to future control of the school would have to be suspended until such time as the feuding parties would appear before a Beis Din to settle the matter.

    However, by Sunday night the situation had changed again. Machon L'Hora'ah rescinded their Ikul after representatives of the Yeshiva reportedly explained the situation to the Beis Din.

    It is unknown what options, if any, R' Manes now has in taking the matter further.

    Regardless, Bais Faiga will be open on Monday. For now, the parents of the almost-two-thousand-strong student body will be sending their daughters off to school for the first time in more than a week."

    Bais Faiga Case Back In Beis Din, Machon L'Hora'ah Issues New Hazmonah

    "Bais Faiga Case Back In Beis Din, Machon L'Hora'ah Issues New Hazmonah

    Dec 25, 2008

    Lakewood, N.J. -- The dispute over control of Lakewood's largest girls school, thought to be settled several weeks ago, is raging once again.

    Earlier this month, it seemed that the future of Bais Faiga was in the hands of a newly-appointed Va'ad composed of representatives chosen from the school's parent body, as announced by Beis Medrash Gavoha Mashgiach R' Mattisyahu Salomon at a special gathering of parents, Rabbonim, and BMG Hanhala [see story HERE ("Bais Faiga To Reopen, R' Matisyahu Salomon Addresses Parents." Dec 12, 2008)]. Although long-time administrator R' Baruch Manes, who is competing with BMG for control of the school, procured a document from Beis Din Machon L'Hora'ah of Monsey that froze further action until the matter would be settled by Beis Din, BMG administration prevailed upon Machon L'Hora'ah to rescind the document within days of it being issued, clearing the way for the BMG-backed board to retain control [see story HERE ("Bais Faiga Dispute Goes To Monsey Beis Din." Dec 15, 2008)].

    However, earlier this week, due in part to the intervention of community activists and philanthropists who communicated with Machon L'Hora'ah, the Monsey Beis Din reversed itself yet again, and issued a Hazmonah to the newly appointed board members, requiring that they appear before Beis Din to settle matters.

    Additionally, sources say that R'Manes has friends among some of Beis Medrash Gavoha's financial backers, and that some of these individuals have let it be known to BMG's administration that they would like to see the matter adjudicated in Beis Din with full transparency, and avoid any appearance that BMG is strong-arming R' Manes by refusing to work things out through Beis Din.

    In related developments, a petition in support of R' Baruch Manes has been circulating amongst Bais Faiga's parent body over the past week. While the petition has not garnered signatures from a majority of the parent body, organizers say that they do have a significant minority of parents who have signed the document and thus indicated their desire to see R' Manes continue to run the school. The organizers say that since R' Salomon announced that the school "belongs to the parents", they believe the matter should be put to referendum vote, a vote which they believe will show that the majority of parents would indeed prefer that R' Manes continue to be in charge."

    ReplyDelete
  13. Recipients and PublicityDecember 29, 2008 at 7:26 AM

    Bais Faiga battle on three fronts: Lakewood, Bais Din, media.

    The multi-front fight concerning the Bais Faiga strike and ongoing turmoil between rival groups of rabbis and individuals continues on a few fronts: In the ground in Lakewood's yeshvishe community with all of its connections to the outside world, in at least one Bais Din outside of Lakewood, if not with others in and out of Lakewood, and in the media as the newly-minted blog: "Lakewood SCOOP" is forced offline and shuts down. No reason is posted there, but one poster on the the ""Circus Tent" blog, notes: "Anonymous said...
    Filth blog lakewoodscoop was exposed as being yeshivaworld and promptly shut down. Why is Eckstein mixing in to someoneelses fight? Are things too quiet in the Mirrer that the menuval need to look elsewhere? Sunday, December 28, 2008 11:30:00 AM". Whther that is true or not, one cannot say, but what is true is that the battle to control both the outflow of information to the Lakewood community as well as what flows out about the Lakewood community on the Internet and in the Orthodox Jewish media channles is obviously being taken very seriously by many parties concerned, even the "Yid-Vid" blog has not posted anything since December 13, 2008.

    With the Kotler family and their allies looking for any way to limit the outflow of information about the ongoing troubles that are still surrounding Bais Faiga from reaching the outside world and also trying to stop the ability of foes of the of the Kotlers from having the ability to sway public opinion in the frum world against them, and at the same time, those parties and individuals who are in the camp opposing the Kotler's meaning probably those who are the other other ba'alei davar in the Din Torah as well as any aggrieved parents who are chafing at the situation who wish to get their side of the story out to the world.

    So it's a right royal mess, and it doesn't look like it;s going to get better soon for any of the parties concerned as the underlying problem, which is the meltdown in the US economy that has been with it a downturn in donations and the ability to pay or help pay tuitions. Many Kollel members who receive help from in-laws or parents to live also receive help with the payment for tuitions (sechar limmud) for their children, and with the economic meltdown, it's become a tough job paying for and funding everything.

    In the mean time, the most recent Orthodox print media continues a news blackout about the recent strike, the serious infighting, and the widening Din Torah, and the fascinating online wars between those who have tried to "spread" the word about what is going on (and at times perhaps even fan the flames which is inevitable) versus those who are trying to suppress the word about what's going on and retain both media/virtual and real/life control.

    The recent editions of The Jewish Press, English language versions of the Modiah and the the Yated have nothing about the Bais Faiga story.

    Even though the Yated carries a special column every week, this past week's December 26, 2008 edition has nothing about the goings on in its "Featuring Lakewood," "Lakewood News" and "Lakewood Communal Calendar" sections that cover eleven pages (from page 82 to 92) even though there are dozens of news items with literally dozens more pictures and photos of rabbis and events all around Lakewood and its many frum citizens conncted to the yeshiva community

    So far, as far as the Orthodox media is concerned, the Lakewood yeshiva's leadership has succeeded in keeping the story about the Bais Faiga strike and all surrounding controversy about it out of the print Orthodox Jewish media, and has managed to get one news site, Matzav.com to withdraw and remove its initial reporting of the story and now to shut down a blog ("SCOOP") that looked like it was going to gather steam.

    The news site Hamercaz.com, still has all of its news reports about the Bais Faiga story up and running, namely these six reports that summarize how events have unfolded as of December 29, 2008:

    1) Turmoil At Lakewood Cheder - Teachers Strike, Status Of Administrator Uncertain (Sep 11, 2008):

    "Lakewood N.J. -- The Lakewood Cheder, the oldest boys school serving the Yeshiva community in Lakewood, is undergoing turmoil this week. The status of R' Baruch Manes, the administrator of the Yeshiva, is in question, with conflicting reports as to whether or not he will be staying on in his position moving forward. In recent weeks, there has been pressure placed upon him to resign.

    In a parallel development, the secular studies teachers at the Cheder have gone on strike due to dissatisfaction with the terms of their compensation. Sources say that this issue is intertwined with issues relating to issue of R' Manes' resignation.

    As of now, all students are leaving school each day at the completion of Limudei Kodesh."

    2) Lakewood's Bais Faiga Girls' School Closed By Teachers' Strike (Dec 07, 2008):

    "Lakewood, New Jersey -- Lakewood's Bais Faiga girls' elementary school is closed due to a teachers' strike that began Monday.

    Bais Faiga is the Lakewood Jewish community's largest girl's elementary school, with thousands of students and numerous parallel classes.

    On Friday, students were sent home with a note informing parents that the school would be closed Monday. Teachers say that they have held out for as long as they can, but they are owed two months' back pay, and will no longer continue to work for free.

    Sources close to the situation report that while contributing factors have been unpaid tuition balances and a drop in donations due to the financial crisis, there is another issue as play as well. Apparently, the disagreement among administrators as to who is to control Bais Faiga and the parallel boys' school Lakewood Cheder [see story HERE] has spilled over into this area is well, and currently in dispute is who is responsible for the schools' financial obligations.

    R' Matisyahu Solomon was scheduled to meet Sunday night with the parties involved in hopes of moderating a solution that will allow the school to remain open.

    The teachers had wanted to go on strike last week, but were asked by R' Salomon to allow the school some more time to resolve the issue, sources say."

    3) Bais Faiga Remains Closed, Lakewood Leaders Unable To Reach Compromise (Dec 11, 2008):

    "Lakewood, N.J. -- Bais Faiga, the sister school to Lakewood Cheder that has an enrollment of close to two thousand elementary school age girls, remained closed as the week comes to an end.

    - Teachers Strike -

    Teachers sent home notes with the students last Friday stating that classes were cancelled as of the new week, and indeed, since Monday, Lakewood's streets have been filled with young girls playing, hanging out or tagging along as their mothers do errands about town.

    Teachers say they were forced to take the drastic measure because they had not been paid for months.

    - Background -

    But while the current economic crisis has certainly contributed to a budget crunch at Lakewood Cheder and Bais Faiga, sources close to the situation say that unpaid tuition and decreased donations are only part of the problem. According to the sources, the overdue payroll represents the fallout of a power struggle currently taking place for control of the two institutions that together provide for the education of a large percentage of Lakewood's youth.

    Beis Medrash Gavoha's CEO R' Aaron Kotler and the BMG Rosh Yeshivos are said to be interested in retaining control of the Mosdos which were founded and have always been operated in affiliation with Beis Medrash Gavoha, and would like to see the influence of long time administrator R' Baruch Manes diminished.

    Sources say that with future control of the schools undecided, neither side is willing to take responsibility for continuing to fund the school's expenses, until matters are decided. Complicating the situation is the fact that historically, Bais Faiga, bearing the lower payroll burden associated with having female teachers, was able to help with the financial burden of the Cheder. Income from the girls school used to cover the Cheder budget has thus been long spent and is not simply waiting in an account to be released.

    There are various additional players - including Bais Faiga's principal and the Lakewood Va'ad -involved in the situation, each with their own loyalties and opinions with regard to how to resolve the situation.

    - Meetings Held To Attempt To Resolve Crisis -

    Earlier this week, a meeting was held between BMG Mashgiach R' Mattisyahu Salomon and members of the Lakewood Va'ad at the Mashgiach's home. In the midst of the discussion aimed at trying to resolve the matter, several local residents, supporters of the BMG Roshei Yeshiva's position, arrived at the Mashgiach's home. When they were not granted entry at the front door, they forced their way in to the house via a window.

    A ruckus erupted; those present at the meeting expressed outrage that uninvited individuals had the audacity to gain forced entry to a closed meeting. For their part, the interlopers protested that it was unjust to hold a meeting without allowing the position of the BMG supporters to be heard.

    Regardless, the meeting did not result in an end to the crisis.

    On Wednesday, another meeting was held at the home of the Mashgiach. This time, additional representatives of the various factions were in attendance, including the Mashgiach, Lakewood Rosh Yeshiva, R' Malkiel Kotler, and several administrators of other schools in town. Renowned philanthropist R' Yosef Tabak traveled from Brooklyn in the hopes that his experience as a skilled mediator would help to bring about a solution.

    Once again, the meeting ended with no practical results. While some attendees report that some insight was gained into what each side is demanding to bring about an end to the crisis, nothing was agreed to, and no definitive date was established as to when the school will be reopening.

    For now, mothers of Bais Faiga students will continue to have the opportunity to spend extra time with their daughters."

    4) Bais Faiga To Reopen, R' Matisyahu Salomon Addresses Parents (Dec 12, 2008):

    "Lakewood, N.J. -- At a Thursday night gathering, R' Matisyahu Salomon announced that Bais Faiga, the Lakewood girls school that has been closed for the past week [see story HERE], will be reopening on Monday.

    The gathering, which filled Lakewood's Bais Yaakov with an overflow crowds of thousands, was attended by Bais Faiga parents, teachers, and other interested Lakewood residents, as well as Rabbonim including R' Shmuel Kaminetsky, Rosh Yeshiva Philadelphia, and several Lakewood Roshei Yeshiva.

    Unprepared to deal with the logistics of the massive number of vehicles that converged on James Street and nearby side-streets, Lakewood police struggled to control the flow of traffic in the area, with numerous police cars and officers on the scene.

    The gathering began with Ma'ariv followed by the saying of Tehillim. After some general comments and inspirational words delivered by R' Kaminetsky, R' Salomon stepped up to the podium. While R' Kaminetsky's remarks were quite general in nature, R' Salomon went into some specifics.

    The Lakewood Mashgiach praised both the teachers and parents of Bais Faiga. He said that the questions that he had fielded from parents and teachers alike during the past week indicated that all involved seemed interested in doing the right thing, and proved that Lakewood is indeed worthy of the title "Ihr HaTorah." He also stated that the teachers did not walk out because of financial considerations but rather because of the increased tension resulting from administrative issues at the school.

    In an obvious reference to Orthodox blogs and news websites, the Mashgiach added that in contrast, "modern technologies" that were used as a vehicle to discuss the crisis, had been harmful and contributed to an atmosphere of mockery of the community's leaders.

    After announcing that the school would reopen on Monday, R' Salomon clarified who would be responsible for the administration of the school. Without mentioning the struggle for control between Beis Medrash Gavoha and long-time administrator R' Baruch Manes that resulted in the school's closing, the Mashgiach announced that henceforth, the school would be run by the parent body. Two boards, one responsible for financial administration and one charged with educational administration, are to be formed in upcoming weeks. Until that time, the school will remain under the stewardship of R' Salomon and R' Kamenetsky.

    R' Salomon ended with a call for all involved in the matter to move forward in a spirit of peace and harmony."

    5) Bais Faiga Dispute Goes To Monsey Beis Din (Dec 15, 2008):

    "Monsey, N.Y. -- The dispute over control of Bais Faiga between long-time administrator R' Baruch Manes and the administration of Beis Medrash Gavoha of Lakewood continued over the weekend.

    Although the issue of who would be in charge of the girls school, which is Lakewood's largest, appeared to be settled after last Thursday's meeting [see story HERE], with a board of parents to supervise the school, by Friday, R' Manes had obtained an "Ikul" from Beis Din Machon L'Hora'ah of Monsey. The document essentially indicated that all further actions relating to future control of the school would have to be suspended until such time as the feuding parties would appear before a Beis Din to settle the matter.

    However, by Sunday night the situation had changed again. Machon L'Hora'ah rescinded their Ikul after representatives of the Yeshiva reportedly explained the situation to the Beis Din.

    It is unknown what options, if any, R' Manes now has in taking the matter further.

    Regardless, Bais Faiga will be open on Monday. For now, the parents of the almost-two-thousand-strong student body will be sending their daughters off to school for the first time in more than a week."

    6) Bais Faiga Case Back In Beis Din, Machon L'Hora'ah Issues New Hazmonah (Dec 25, 2008):

    "Lakewood, N.J. -- The dispute over control of Lakewood's largest girls school, thought to be settled several weeks ago, is raging once again.

    Earlier this month, it seemed that the future of Bais Faiga was in the hands of a newly-appointed Va'ad composed of representatives chosen from the school's parent body, as announced by Beis Medrash Gavoha Mashgiach R' Mattisyahu Salomon at a special gathering of parents, Rabbonim, and BMG Hanhala [see story HERE]. Although long-time administrator R' Baruch Manes, who is competing with BMG for control of the school, procured a document from Beis Din Machon L'Hora'ah of Monsey that froze further action until the matter would be settled by Beis Din, BMG administration prevailed upon Machon L'Hora'ah to rescind the document within days of it being issued, clearing the way for the BMG-backed board to retain control [see story HERE].

    However, earlier this week, due in part to the intervention of community activists and philanthropists who communicated with Machon L'Hora'ah, the Monsey Beis Din reversed itself yet again, and issued a Hazmonah to the newly appointed board members, requiring that they appear before Beis Din to settle matters.

    Additionally, sources say that R'Manes has friends among some of Beis Medrash Gavoha's financial backers, and that some of these individuals have let it be known to BMG's administration that they would like to see the matter adjudicated in Beis Din with full transparency, and avoid any appearance that BMG is strong-arming R' Manes by refusing to work things out through Beis Din.

    In related developments, a petition in support of R' Baruch Manes has been circulating amongst Bais Faiga's parent body over the past week. While the petition has not garnered signatures from a majority of the parent body, organizers say that they do have a significant minority of parents who have signed the document and thus indicated their desire to see R' Manes continue to run the school. The organizers say that since R' Salomon announced that the school "belongs to the parents", they believe the matter should be put to referendum vote, a vote which they believe will show that the majority of parents would indeed prefer that R' Manes continue to be in charge."

    ReplyDelete
  14. The situation in Lakewood is all rabbi Bomzer fault and all what Rabbi Tropper is doing is fixing it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Recipients and PublicityDecember 30, 2008 at 2:33 PM

    The Bais Faiga story as it has spread on the Internet.

    It's hard to understand the determintaion with which certain parties in Lakewood have tried to suppress the story because in addition to pretty respectable Orthodox Jewish news sites like Matzav.com, Hamercaz.com and Vos Iz Nei'as reporting it as a news story of concern to thousands of yeshivishe families, and with Jewish bloggers here and there taking an interest in the story and surrounding events, the spread of information on fairly reputable sites, pareve chat forums and basically decent blogs that cannot be shut down by threats or strong-arm tactics.

    These open-ended discussion boards and general sites cannot be controlled by any one group, unless they were under the hammer like that of the government of communist China with its massive Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China, so that that there has been quite a variety and spread of the Bais Faiga situation, so far mostly restricted to locations that have a deeper interest in the goings on in the very Orthodox world, such as:

    The Baltimore Jewish Site ("a site focused on news and information relevant to the Baltimore Jewish community") that reported on Teachers at Lakewood Elementary School Strike, School Closes (December 9, 2008) and Lakewood’s Bais Faiga Reopens Today (December 15, 2008)

    Hashkafah.com had a discussion about Bais Faiga teachers go on strike due to no pay, leaving 1800 students without education (Dec 9-10 2008). (Discussion:) "'I expect the heads of the school to do something about it. before the teachers have to strike.' 'Obviously they didn't. What are the teachers to do? And it's nice that teachers are finally doing something to get paid. I wonder where the tuition goes all the time. In some schools, it always goes to newer and fancier buildings.' 'It's over folks.' 'There was a big meeting to announce that the problem was resolved, without any details as to its miraculous resolution. Money grew on a tree?" 'Nope, just a hostile takeover of the place.' 'Care to explain? Was the management team replaced by the Board of Directors?' 'After mysterious brain surgery, the teachers are suddenly all for working without pay. Problem solved.' 'Pay was far from the issue.' 'really? so what was the issue? after reading the link, looks like there was some political/power problem?'..."

    Israelforum.com reported about Bais Faiga – The Tip of the Iceberg (2008-12-11)

    The prestigious blog Emes Ve-Emunah has had long discussions about its post concerning Bais Faiga – The Tip of the Iceberg (December 11, 2008): "Bais Faiga is probably just the tip of the iceberg. The teachers there have reached the end of their rope. There simply is not enough money in the school coffers to pay them what they earned. It is true that most religious school teachers do not go into Chinuch because of the money. In most cases they do it for the most altruistic of reasons. They are truly dedicated to educating their students. But even altruistic teachers such as these have limits. They cannot eat altruism. They must have the means to survive and purchase the basic necessities of life. Many of them are maxed out in their credit lines at the grocery stores whose generous and understanding owners give them. Many teachers have been buying groceries on credit and it wouldn’t surprise me if they never fully get out of debt. But if one does not get paid at all, all the generosity in the world is not going to help them in the end. The army of professional Mechanchim with large families must all eat to survive. And so the good teachers at Bais Faiga have walked out. They have apparently not been paid in a long time. And when I say good teacher, I include the secular studies teachers as well who seem to be just as devoted as the religious studies teachers. From my perspective there is no villain here. There is not a single person who thinks these underpaid over-worked teachers should not be paid in full what they are owed. There should be no parent in Bais Faiga, no matter how exasperated they are by this - that should begrudge these teachers their pay – or blame them from walking out. And I am sure the Baalei Battim- the board of directors at Bais Faiga feel the same way. I think I have a sense of how serious this problem is and I’m not sure there is an answer other than a complete re-structuring of the entire system. What this new educational structure would look like is anybody’s guess. But one thing seems certain. The present system has reached a point where it may collapse entirely and this is something nobody who cares about perpetuating Judaism dare ignore."

    I am a mother.com ("connecting Jewish mothers") went into some lengthy discussions about How to entertain Bais Faiga kids while they don't have school (Dec 11 - , 2008): Where the opening question is: "Does anyone have any ideas on how to entertain the girls that are home now without school? Do you try to teach them or just let them have fun and forget learning for a week or two?" And one poster adds some new information how things got to be that way: "Here's a small snip from an article explaining situation. But because of late payments to teachers and staff, Lakewood's local rabbinical authority has sided with the teachers' body in backing them up as they currently strike. The strike developed after the mehaheless, together with teachers, claimed that they approached the Lakewood Beis Din led by Rabbi Forscheimer for guidance, and that the Beis Din—with the direct guidance of Reb Shmuel Kamenetsky—decided to call the current strike to protest the non-payment of the already-meager salaries to the teachers. This past Friday, letters were send home by teachers to parents explaining their decision. The letter stated that since the teachers have not been paid recently, and because of a shortage in supplies, they now feel that there is no other option for their part other a cessation of teaching until the matter between the administration and the menahelless is resolved once and for all. As it stands now, about 1,800 girls from the Bais Faiga Elementary School are staying home until further notice. The situation in the boys' school is also tense, but as of now there is no strike there. I should really be doing something else right now."

    Yentit.com ("Yent IT becomes a Yenta") ran the Vos Iz Nei'as story at Lakewood, NJ - Bais Faiga Cancels Class, 1800 Girls Are Home from School

    Zimbio.com ("An Interactive Magazine With 10 Million Readers a Month") ran the story, also extracted from Vos Iz Nei'as as Lakewood, NJ - Crises with Bais Faiga School Over, 1800 Girls Back in Class on Monday (December 12, 2008).

    And a very intelligent and comprehensive discussion, going into some detail took place on Jewishblogging.com that discussed: Headline: Are Yeshivos Economically Viable? (10 Dec 2008): "...That's where Bais Faiga is today. Many people would like to blame the situation in Bais Faiga on the kollel lifestyle, but I'm not certain that the kollel lifestyle is really the problem. It's certainly arguable that because of the kollel lifestyle, Bais Faiga is the among the first instituions to come to this, but I believe that it will eventually spread to the "working communtiy" as well. The question is, when (and if) it hits the working community, at what point does the whole system become unsustainable? At what point will yeshivos be forced to make the difficult decision to turn away kids or close? Or at what point will parents have to make the decision to send their kids to public school? In short, is the entire concept of everyone going to yeshiva sustainable? Or have we ran it as long as we can and now that the bills are coming due, it can happen no longer?..."

    And so on and so forth that shows the scope and depth of the various concerns of people whose voices are not being heard at the big meetings and at the Dinei Torah but that reflect the core concerns of the Torah world in Lakewood and beyond at the present time.

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  16. Recipients and PublicityJuly 22, 2009 at 9:07 AM

    YW reports: "Lakewood Cheder & Bais Faiga Hires New Executive Director (July 21, 2009): YWN has learned that the Lakewood Cheder/ Bais Faiga has hired R’ Yossi Posen as the new Executive Director of the Mosdos. He is the past Executive Director of Yeshiva Tiferes Torah (YTT) and former Rosh Yeshiva of Bradley Beach Yeshiva - and brings with him over 20 years of Chinuch experience. He will be filling the position of Rabbi Boruch Manes, the long-time Executive Director of the Mosdos, who has just retired. The leadership of Rabbi Boruch Manes will be dearly missed by the Lakewood Tzibur, and the community wishes him much Hatzlacha in his future endeavours. The Lakewood Cheder & Bais Faiga Girls School total well over 3,500 children."

    And now as the founder of this school is finally on the way out, it seems that the Lakewood yeshiva's hanholla has finally won the power struggle, and some of the comments of YWN news following the article are worth noting for what they reveal:

    "1) We, the parents of Lakewood Cheder/ Bais Faiga, owe a huge Yasher Koach to Rav Boruch for his years of hard work.

    2) U’Re’ei Vanim L’Vanecha Shalom Al Yisroel. Rav Boruch, hatzlachah rabbah! And a tremendous yasher koach for following the Torah way of Darchei Noam. May you and your family have shalom and shalva for the rest of your lives. You made a kiddush hashem and your actions should be emulated. My fervent tefillah is that Hashem should guide all those who have the opportunity to pursue shalom, should pursue it. Hashem will make things work out better for all of you.

    3) Lakewood will forever regret this move.>לייקוואוד עם ברוך מנס לעולם ועד

    4) Hey YTT thers an ausom executive directer looking for a job Reb Baruch Manes N”Y he comes with years of outstanding sevrice deication that goes to the point of mesiras nefesh skills in this area that are second to none he will expand your mosed ten fold makesure the children have wgat they need make sure the rabbeim are treated like the chashuvim they are and to beat will do it all on a shoe string budget with out a word of complaint and not expecting a thankyou at the least
    lucky is the mosed that will be blessed enough to have this true keli kodesh work for them
    Ashrecha Reb Baruch and much hatzlocha to you

    5) Thank you Rabbi Manies for a job well done. You turned a fledgling struggling School into a Mossad par excellence. The Cheder is the first school that schools look at when they want to establish a Derech for their school. Rabbi Manies always tried his best to do what was right for the Mossad even when that was a cause of Agmas Nefesh for himself.
    I, & am sure all the parents wish him an abundance of Brocha & Hatzlocha in his future endeavors."

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