Monday, January 18, 2010

Chabad's preschool outreach


The reception area in downtown Manhattan's Preschool of the Arts is a cheerful, modern space: dozens of self-portraits and paintings by children named Jem and Oliver and Esme crowd the walls. A small sign invites visitors to stop by the art gallery to see "action paintings created in the style of Jackson Pollock" and hangs next to an iconic photograph of the mid-century artist, cigarette dangling from mouth, and a shot of a toddler dripping paint on her own canvas.

A tall narrow bookshelf to the left of the reception desk doesn't garner much attention. Its shelves are divided into sections like child-rearing (two copies of the No Cry Sleep Solution as well as several baby sign-language books) and art (Crafts and La Vie En Rose). It's only the titles in the adult literature section that seem incongruous: Bringing Heaven to Earth, Opening the Tanya, and My Spiritual Journey.[...]


  1. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 18, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    It's not "outreach" it's forbidden proselytization and they do it to have parnossah. Perhaps they have the same "heterim" that EJF gave itself that in order to "mekarev" the Jewish spouse/s and/or partner/s it's somehow "muttar" to accept their kids even if the other spouse, especially the mother is NOT Halachically Jewish.

    And perhaps they give themselves another "heter" that this is part of their "Shiva Mitzvos Bnai Noach" campaign to "reach out to gentiles" and teach them about the Seven Noahide Laws and taking kids who are not Jewish into Chabad kindergartens is part of that.

    Whatever the reasons, Chabad has latched onto this already for the last 30 years together with building day schools. When they don't succeed in yeshiva building for older children they discovered that there is a market for "baby-sitting" and day care and nursery schools, where the ideological aspect does not kick in that much. In some ways it is an admission of failure that college-age and college-educated people do not buy into the Chabad message, so they switched gears and found that appealing to taking care of young kids works better.

    The Chabad schools are actually a lot better than the Torah Umesorah schools because they are heavy on ruach, love, security, affection, happiness and smiles, a very kid-friendly atmosphere by nice young teachers. Most of the kids come out happy and that is a reason the parents like it. They are truly happy cutomers. Chabad is kid friendly in its shulls and centers that compliments its educational work. Couples with young kids love bringing their kids to Chabad centers on Shabbat because they can make noise and run around, often with the shluchim's kids, unlike the more formal services in other Jewish denominations.

    But the underlying problem of kids who are NOT Halachically Jewish remains and gets covered up and glossed over and with time there will be many non-Halachic Jews from Chabad schools who THINK they are "full Jews" but are not. Batei Din, reliable Orthodox rabbis officiating at marriages or counseling, kiruv workers, and people looking for shidduchim for their kids will have a very rough time with this Jewish population group and this worsening situation, and it's not just in Chabad it's in all day schools and in Israeli public schools with those Russians who have unclear yichus.

  2. Bad experience with ChabadJanuary 18, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Here is our experience with Chabad.

    Although the pre-school was in a state of the art building, the school was a for-profit, money-grubbing scam. Chabad lucked out that everything was donated by rich secular Jews in the neighborhood sweet talked by the shaliach so any money they pull in is gravy.

    They charged more money than any other pre-school, even more than the most exclusive one in the 5 Towns but gave almost nothing in return.

    When the teacher has a baby, she is out most of the year. She has multiple replacements in the form of 18 year old girls who are only there for a week or two each and have zero interest in the class.

    The school shakes you down for extra fees for "trips" which you find out are some close to nil cost activity on a different floor of the same building.

    There was a violent boy with psychological problems in the class who was attacking the other children unprovoked. The school even tried to cover it up when the boy grabbed one girl and almost bit a chunk out of her face, leaving a massive bite print & welt under her eye. Removing the boy would of course mean less tuition coming in.

    If you live in NYC or Westchester, virtually every posek holds you have to filter tap water for copepods, a type of crustacean. Chabad was completely oblivious to this. They did not care what the poskim said, even from the Crown Hts poskim. They just do whatever they feel like without any hadracha. Someone donated filters at his own expense but they stonewalled having them installed.

    They insist on feeding kashrus-challenged & pathogen infested Rubashkin meat to the children which they get at a big discount. They use unchecked vegetables from problematic hashgochos. When you figure this out and ask that your child's menu is altered to be in line with the poskim you follow, they get angry and call you a baal lashon harah.

    The best thing we could do was enroll in a new school where the kashrus is much better, the program is much more comprehensive despite the tuition being much less and the attitude from the administration is much better.

  3. Kol hakavod to Chabad.

    They are easy targets for sure. They aren't perfect by any means, but they are doing the job no one else will.

    It is interesting to note how their biggest critics are the same people who wouldn't throw a nickel at a mossad that spends money on the frye.

    Those critics are like Sunday quarterbacks or armchair jihadis. They really have no business criticizing anyone.

    By all accounts, Chabad is doing a good job and getting better, at least in the pre school setting. If anyone has earned the right to criticize it is them.

    We ought to be grateful they don't exercise that prerogative too often.

  4. That's nonsense when you claim no one will do the job that Chabad is doing.

    Anyone can open a pre-school for profit and plenty do.

    There are many non-Chabad pre-schools geared to kids from secular homes and they do a better job in many cases.

  5. One of the Chabad schools here was being illegally maintained while a fire & safety hazard. This was a huge chilul Hashem that got in the Advance newspaper with Chabad lying to FDNY officials to cover up and get away with it.

    This is the safety of Jewish kids here for crying out loud. I think that anyone has "earned the right" to criticize this.

  6. Great Experience With ChabadJanuary 18, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Chabad has been an inspiration for me and my family for many years. I enrolled my children in a Chabad school in upstate NY five years ago. The menahel and the teachers were very dedicated and loving to my children, and my children, to this day, still remember the wonderful experiences they had at the school.

    Now that we have moved to a bigger community (my students are enrolled in very good non-chassishe schools), I miss the Chabad school very much. Their approach to teaching Yiddishkeit was always exciting and fun, and my children never complained about going to school.

    Kol Hakovod to chabad!! May Hashem continue to bless with with hatzlacha in their shlichus.

    To the first two commenters, stop whining and spreading loshon hora. Sinas chinam gets you no where in life.

    Have a good day!

  7. Oh Please!

    The bottom line is quite evident: While there may be a few for profit pre schools that do a great job, the fact remains that Chabad has the track of successful schools for the unaffiliated that are supported by their kehilla- and not all are for profit endeavors.

    They alone seek out the unaffiliated or those with other affiliations and make room for them without demands. They focus on the kids.

  8. To Rabbi Eidensohn,

    Why are you allowing some of these commenters to write words of loshon hora on your site? You are sending a very wrong message, especially since you have Rabbi as a title to your name.

    What was the purpose of posting this article in the first place? Was it to show the people on this site about the good things that Chabad does? Or to instigate anti-Chabad bloggers to vent their hatred?

  9. I lived in a city here in the usa where only chabad had a Jewish Day School! yes they might charge you for babysitting as you put it! but at least i had Jews watching my kids not goyim!!! no tv at home with a nonjew watching my children! All day schools and nursery's need to pay the teachers and staff! so how many shluchim -chabadnik are driving the Cadillac convertibles? go to boro park every second car is one!!

  10. Amazing how you can never point out legitimate concerns that need to be raised with groups like Lubavitch without all these bellyachers coming out of the woodwork to yell "lashon horah!"

  11. Today's yiddishkeit isn't williamsburg or monroe! lakewood or boro park! its more then that! for the past 60 years American Jewry hasn't grow! It was 5 million 60 years ago and now 5 million! what happened to the 2 kids per family? we should be at least 15 million! Blame America, blame your mothers cat, the bottom-line, unless "frum" "orthodox" Jews except Halachikly Jews who aren't religious and put a smile on there faces and be Derechardik to them, just like you would do to a goy, then we have no hope. I am turn off with the better then you mentality in yiddishkeit, especially with jersey girl who thinks wearing the best sheitel to impress the neighbors is yiddishkeit! or shopping on 13th ave as the purpose she was created then we have no hope in the future as American Jewry!

  12. The question to Chabad is: Why do you have goyim mixed with Jewish children?
    All other issues do not answer this question

  13. Chabad schools are sprouting up in every city in the USA and they are similiar to the SHUVU schools in Israel. Gentle torah education, no strong indoctronation, respectful and inviting. THAT IS THEIR SUCCESS.

  14. Chabad is doing overall an amazing job !
    Kol Hakavod Chabad!

  15. >Chabad has been an inspiration for me and my family for many years. I enrolled my children in a Chabad school in upstate NY five years ago. The menahel and the teachers were very dedicated and loving to my children, and my children, to this day, still remember the wonderful experiences they had at the school.<

    I hope it wasn't that recent teacher who admitted molesting kids a few weeks ago in an upstate NY chabad.

    That said, I went to both a Litvish and Chabad yeshiva. Many years later, when I walk by the Litvish yeshiva, I feel like I'm walking by a supermarket, while I do feel some sense of kedusha when I walk by the Chabad school.

  16. Recipients and PublicityJanuary 19, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    "Saul said...The question to Chabad is: Why do you have goyim mixed with Jewish children?
    All other issues do not answer this question

    That is a VERY important question that noone here has answered. Can any of the pro-Chabad posters here answer the question please? Do they even have any answers? Do they even care? Or is it just about following the almighty buck while ignoring the Almighty's Torah and Halacha about not "mekareving" goyim and not engaging in any form of forbidden proselytization that was Tropper's and EJF's first undoing.

    Or would Chabad prefer to be called Sabbateans following Shabtai Tzvi who dropped the mitzvos because he said he was the "true moshiach" and that the mitzvos no longer apply, r"l. Sound familiar?

  17. Many of the Chabad preschools in the US are state-of-the-art. See Pittsburgh and Milwaukee to name a couple. Furthermore, preschool is more than 'glorified babysitting', people actually study pedagogy and child psychology before teaching your children (yes, in seminary too). Additionally, they are definitely not for profit.

  18. chabad excepting non Jewish kids is interesting, for the day camps they will not. So the questions arise why do the school except the non Jewish children. I can guess money? or like all frum school if the parents are converting they give them a year window to convert or the children can't attend the Jewish School. Saving one Jew is worth it!
    How come chabad are makpid on cholov yisroel, pas yisroel and beards but the velt doesn't care about theses things?

  19. "Saving one Jew is worth it!"

    Mixing jewish children with goyishe kids will save the jewish kids? or foster more intermarriage? Better not to be makpid on cholov yisroel and have one less intermarriage!


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