Yeshiva Tuition Nightmare
Be fruitful and multiply (pru urevu as they call it) is one of the Torah’s Commandments. Hey, the bright side of looking at it is it’s a mitzvah that’s pretty doable, pardon the French. It’s one of those commandments that most frum Jews have no problem conforming to, for the most part. The opposite spectrum of that would be a mitzvah that’s extremely beyond reasonable expectations, so it seems, such as vahavta leriach komocho. Is it too much to ask of a fellow Jew to respect other human beings and to come to their aid in their time of need? In the same way that one would be repulsed by those who deceive the klal by selling them non-kosher chicken and meat to consume, so too they should be just as ambitious and determined to speak out and demonstrate the unacceptable repulsive conduct of those who enable abuse. At fresser events, the "Glatt Kosher" turned out to be pure treif meat which thousand upon thousands of yiddishe neshamas - Rabbis, gedolim, Jews of all kinds were consuming treif meat. Isn't that in itself a wake-up call? Is it too much to expect from the average Jew to intercede and help other Jews, instead of shamelessly watching silently as their Jewish brethren are being psychologically and physically abused? Is it too crazy to start holding parents responsible and accountable for refusing to protest or say a word against the brutality taking place right under their noses?
So you go under the covers one Friday night with your spouse and make sweet noises until dawn. You keep in mind that this is
an essential act of planting seeds for future generations to come. Before you know it you become a parent and have a baby boy.
Inside you’re ecstatic that your first is a boy and not a girl - although you convince yourself that had it been a girl you would have been just as gratified and satisfied. And it’s true, all you really care about is that the baby is healthy. You make a Shalom Zachar and thank the almighty for giving you such a nice present. Mazal Tov, Mazal Tov!
You become a father. Your wife becomes a mother. Your parents now become proud Grandmas and Grandpas. How beautiful it is. Before you know it, your
baby gets older and it’s time to send him to a Yeshiva. It’s your first child so the average $8,000 - 15,000 annual tag of tuition is not exactly
affordable, but you still manage to make ends meet, because you are able to hold down to a ‘decent’ paying job. Then one day your wife says to you, honey; I’m pregnant, again.
You can hardly contain your glee. you’re in seventh heaven. You can’t wait for the day you will become a father for the second time. And then
comes the delivery, it’s a baby girl. Mazel Tov. Mazel Tov! You’re totally delirious. On your second try you have managed to accomplish what many
cannot ever do in a lifetime, and that’s fulfilling the mitzvah completely with the hasgachas badatz on it -
affixed with gedolim signatures, which says one must have at least one boy and one girl. You and your wife are now proud parents of
two healthy wonderful children. Time passes by quickly and your little baby girl is now a five or a six and it’s time to find a good school for her. You search for a nice
Jewish girls school. It’s going to be another big financial burden. For your child though, you would do anything. Your tuition bill is now running you over $20,000 annually for both of your kids. As it is, you have other bills that need to be paid. You're not Donald Trump. You get a second job to make ends meet. It’s the only way.
Time passes and by now you have 3, 4, 5, 6, 7...... children. You thank Hashem everyday for the beautiful children he gave you
as a gift. However, times are not so good anymore. Even with your decent paying job, the cost of Yeshiva tuition for all your kids
has taken its toll on you. You can no longer afford the outrageous tuition asking price. It’s too much of a financial burden on you.
To add insult to injury, you discover that three of your children are in need of special education. You enroll them in the B’tach program (run by Chaim
“their door is open to everybody.” You soon discover that their claim is as real as false teeth. You can’t help but shake your head and laugh at the outright lies and deceit. You try too keep things in perspective. You remind yourself that B”Tach is just one example; but that there are many more Yeshiva’s and institutions that are downright dripping with similar thuggish tactics and unethical behavior patterns. You learn that money is the only language they understand. Despite all of that, for a special education school who claim to be professional and qualified, you realize that you sure aren’t getting a buck for your dollar. What you are getting in return for your investment in your child's education, is a lot of grief and being royally ripped of by some phony unqualified money hungry institution that has now caused you to take a closer look on how Judaisms should not be practiced.
The stress has reached its peak. You just cannot handle it anymore. Your wallet is empty and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Combine the ridiculous $20,000 - $30,000 per child for this ‘special education’ school and you just want to rip the hair right out of your head.
Then one day you get a phone call from the pit-bull money collector. He screams and yells bloody murder at you for being behind and late on your tuition fees. When you try to explain him the dire straits you find yourself in, he admonishes you for having the nerve to complain. Just give me some more time, you try and reason with him to no avail. You are rudely told that your children can no longer attend school until tuition balances are paid in full. You protest again. The bloodhound money collector continues to degrade you as if you were a criminal.
You are told to go knocking door to door and collect from complete strangers,
so that you can pay B’tach the tuition balance. Your financial nightmare gets even worse when this creep continues his threats about paying up or being forced to find another school for your kids. On top of that, you come to a sudden realization that the
staff and “special ed” teachers are nothing to write home about either. What kind of certification credentials do they have anyhow you can’t help but wonder, because
they sure don’t show it. The Yeshiva bulldogs treat you like you committed a crime - all because why?
Because your not rich enough to afford the tuition? Does that make any sense? That’s a reason to treat and talk to someone who unfortunately is in such a predicament with such utter disregard? The kind of values and manners they adhere to is sickening and it makes you so angry. By now you have totally lost it. You agonize over your misery.
Your sholom bayis is down the drain. You begin to reexamine your faith in Judiasim. You begin to have serious and legitimate doubts.
Suddenly, a thought creeps up on you. You receive a flash and envision the future. You see your children happily attending Public School.
You see them getting a fine education with dedicated professionals who are committed to your children’s best interests. You have no more Sholom
Bayis issues because financially you are secure and the children are well taken care of. No more do you have to suffer the wrath and
tongue of some sleazy bloodhound chastising and degrading you. Thank G-D no more threatening phone calls and meetings. You no longer
suffer anxiety over tuition bills because you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Your children are attending school where boys and girls
are classmates. You make sure to educate and talk to your children about sex and how to protect themselves from a sexual predator. You are Jewish
and know damn well the Rabbi child molestation epidemic that exists. Your kids are no longer in “Jewish” schools but child molesters could be
of any ethnic origin, gender, race, or color you constantly remind your child. You’re a secular Jew now, you don’t fall for any of the crap that are spewing
out of the mouths of so called “poskim” and “gedolim”. You remain traditional and try to keep some semblance of your orthodox Jewish past. You have
a Jewish soul you keep on reminding yourself. You vow to have the tradition continue by reminding your kids to marry a Jew, although not necessarily an orthodox Jew.
Life is good now. You like your job. And best of all, you no longer are financially burdened to the degree that it messes with your life and psyche. You can never ever forgive
the Yeshivas for the ugly and terrible manner in which they dealt with you. Inside though, you are crying for what could have been. You had good intentions. You had wanted
your children to thrive in a nice Jewish Orthodox atmosphere, just like it was when you were growing up. You ask forgiveness from the almighty for living a different lifestyle that you had not envisioned when you started a family. You make a simple vow. You will do good to all. You will harm none. Your children will be respectful, well mannered, and hopefully get into a good college where they will be filled with the knowledge and determination to lead a successful life. You may not be “frum” so to speak. You may get the hostile stares and rude comments by others who can’t empathize with your situation. That’s when you say to yourself, see... I’m Jewish. I’m a mentch. I have derech eretz. I’m real. Who needs to be a fake, a hypocrite, and a phony? With those thoughts in mind, you wish your wife and children a good night. You fall asleep and have a dream. You see the following comment that was
posted on the Unorthodox Jew blog.
Pirush Ombudsman said...
A rov spoke about the Spinker shtinkers on Shabbos. He was visibly shaken by the chilul Hashem so far and from what will emerge when all the shoytim who gave the money are rounded up.
He did not justify their actions but made an excellent point that yeshivos are partially to blame for demanding ridiculously high tuition fees. Outside of
You can’t help but relate to that helpless, degrading, humiliation that was once you. You wish you could solve this problem so that no other folks suffer such. You’re devastated
that no solution for this crisis is on the horizon. You think about all the stuff orthodox Jews waste money on. What if each caring Jew would put aside five dollars a month towards a tuition fund that will be used in helping those in dire financial straits? There are so many tzedakah funds, why not one for this purpose? A thought creeps up on you.
What about the Yeshivas, do they deserve 10-30 thousand dollars per child? Are they so fantastic? Why the outrageous tuition fees to begin with? Why be so greedy?
They have bills to pay? So do everybody else. If a Yeshiva has so much emunah and bitochon like they lecture their students and parents to have - then again, why the crazy asking fee? Shouldn’t they trust in hakodosh baruch hu, rather than resorting to unforgivable attacks on Jews who are struggling to make ends meet because of ridiculous tuition prices?
You wish you had an answer. You wish you had a solution. You begin to cry. You wake up in a sweat. Just another nightmare!Also check out the posting "is yeshiva tuition driving you over the edge" and Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis piece `A Blight On All Of Us`.