Tuesday, 25 Adar I, 5784
  |  March 5, 2024

Priceless Chidon Became a Pricey Experience

From the COLlive Inbox: "A $300 charge to parents per kid is just not justifiable and not right. I don’t think it’s right for kids or parents to “fundraise” for this level of luxury when there are real causes that need fundraising." Full Story

Yud Shvat Farbrengen Inspires at Chabad of the Valley

Next Story »

Journalist to Deliver Keynote at Shluchos Kinus Banquet

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Agree 100% !!!!!!!
February 5, 2023 11:00 pm

Thank you for putting my thoughts in writing! This is financially straining our already tight budget!!

Reply to  Agree 100% !!!!!!!
February 5, 2023 11:48 pm


Reply to  Agreed
February 6, 2023 9:55 am

I was in complete agreement with the author until she started talking about how it also makes a kid feel entitled to such a big prize for minimal effort, and how it’s wrong to have such a ‘gashmiusdike’ reward for learning Torah, etc.

If you want to make the argument that they are simply charging too much money (which I agree with), then make that argument honestly.

But don’t tell me that you can’t give children an enjoyable experience once in a while just because you are a little bit sour about the pricing.

The effort isn't minimal!
Reply to  ----
February 6, 2023 6:23 pm

I did Chidon for 5 years and I can assure you that I spent more time looking into that book than I did doing other things I love, like dancing, singing, baking, playing piano, ect.

Reply to  The effort isn't minimal!
February 6, 2023 7:54 pm

Chidon definitely takes effort, and the Havonah/iyun levels require studying. Maybe yesod and yediah levels, which incentives are the prizes are easier, but the other two levels require some thinking, and can amass great information.

Organizers should fundraise not parents
Reply to  ----
February 9, 2023 10:53 am

Agreed. I think they simply charge too much for that experience, the children deserve to get what they get for the amount of study they do aside o
From their regular schooling and its up to the organizers to find ways to fundraise or find something else that cost parents less money.

thank you, tzivos hashem
Reply to  Agreed
February 6, 2023 3:20 pm

chidon learning has been wonderful for my children. it made them spend thier time and effort learning lots of torah they wouldn’t otherwise know, and spent their time in other ways. they had to work hard, and while I agree the price is steep, I am happy to pay for the rewards they worked towards. kudos to TH for putting together such a great curriculum and program!!! (now please lower the burden on parents)

I Don't Think You Understand
Reply to  thank you, tzivos hashem
February 6, 2023 10:06 pm

Yeah, the author of the article went a bit off the rails about the whole “teaching kids to expect too much.”

But that doesn’t mean that her central thesis was wrong. The Chidon trip is far too expensive for many parents. Just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean everyone else can

I disagree strongly
Reply to  Agree 100% !!!!!!!
February 6, 2023 11:06 am

Who is forcing you to do this? You don’t like it don’t do it it already is heavily subsidized think about it how much does it cost to bring your kid on all these trips with all these rewards you don’t like it. That’s it don’t do it no asking you to do it it’s not like a forcibly thing I don’t like giving tips to counselors or camp raising their prices those things are pretty much mandatory Chidon is not mandatory at all. You don’t like the price and don’t send your kids if you don’t that’s it you’re… Read more »

There is kind of a twisted element to this..
Reply to  I disagree strongly
February 6, 2023 1:14 pm

As a parent you kind of forced to do it… They hype up your child and get them all worked up and they work hard .. then they spring on the parent the price tag… My son worked really hard on this so we will pay this year but will warn him that we won’t be doing so next year. .

they didn't spring anything
Reply to  There is kind of a twisted element to this..
February 6, 2023 2:07 pm

at the beginning of the year when the hype was started the sent home with every kid a brochure with all the pricing listed……..

the way its run is not mentchlach
Reply to  they didn't spring anything
February 6, 2023 2:24 pm

Perhaps they did, but as parents, we are inundated with a lot of stuff we don’t have time to go over and can’t read through every line of every piece of paper sent home with the kids… bottom line is they want to run this as an extracurricular program they should have the kids sign up and pay before they start the program … and then the parents can decide if they are interested or not …

Camp, Seminaries and Yeshivas are the BIGGER probl
Reply to  I disagree strongly
February 6, 2023 2:36 pm

Unfortunately, the bigger issue is that the Moisdos have been hijacked by people who seek to grab every nickel available on your credit card.
Even more troubling are the administrators/directors that are heartless….
It’s time to put back the “Non-profit” into the mosidos, not just a slogan…
Those that join
Chinuch “For-Profit” should be ousted.

Unfortunately, the Kosher food situation in Crown Heights and elsewhere is not much better. People taking advantage of those that need to eat Kosher…

May we be Zoche to the speedy arrival of Moshiach

Chidon is not for profit
Reply to  Camp, Seminaries and Yeshivas are the BIGGER probl
February 6, 2023 8:13 pm

Chidon is not making a profit. They spend more on your kid than you pay. There is a deficit that they work hard to make up by fundraising. And their campaigns don’t always even reach their goals…

so they should bring in someone
Reply to  Chidon is not for profit
February 6, 2023 11:13 pm

to help them balance their budget and prioritize on the incentives they give out to the participants. They “force” parents to pay money for prizes that most kids don’t need. Those kids that want it can buy it from them, but please don’t “force” people to buy the prizes at the beginning of the year.

Your wrong
Reply to  I disagree strongly
February 9, 2023 12:10 am

Really I should tell my child no when everyone is doing it?

Mendel Gilderson(@themendelg002)
Reply to  I disagree strongly
February 12, 2023 5:04 pm

In my sons’ school it’s as if it’s mandatory. They learn the Chidon book in class, even though they also learn Sefer Hamitzvos. On days with the Chidon test, they don’t daven or learn Gemara, or learn anything else. It should be the default to not do Chidon and then if you wan’t you can. Not the other way around.

Major disconnect here -
Reply to  Agree 100% !!!!!!!
February 6, 2023 12:53 pm

So, every month (at least) there are articles about families in crisis, (especially mental health emergencies) Shalom Bayis seminars, articles about dysfunction in the shidduch system. Is it so hard to connect the dots? That unreasonable and sky rocketing financial burdens on families is causing (or worsening) mental/emotional breaks and Shalom bayis problems? That unreasonable financial pressures are discouraging young people from getting married? . Financial stresses undermine joie de vivre. Where is the Ahavas yisroel for frum parents and families? Ignoring these facts is hurting Anash now and setting up problems for the near (and far) future.- So so… Read more »

Chidon is NOT the problem!!!
Reply to  Major disconnect here -
February 6, 2023 2:02 pm

Chidon is a drop in the bucket of family finances. The gashmius pressures are in everything else–the clothing, the vacations, the houses, the furniture, the lavish simchas. There are people raising a hue and cry about chidon who are living in luxury houses. All of a sudden Chidon is breaking the bank? Give me a break.

the way its run is not mentchlach
Reply to  Chidon is NOT the problem!!!
February 6, 2023 2:31 pm

it’s not about breaking the bank (although for many it actually is … ) it’s the way the program is rolled out. it’s unethical … if you have a program you expect the parents to pay for then be upfront and send the bill to the parents before the program starts… and if the parent does not want to pay then the child won’t be part of the program. and if not enough parents are signing up then you need to rethink the prizes being offered…

Very clear
Reply to  the way its run is not mentchlach
February 7, 2023 2:20 am

Pricing was clear from the beginning.
Each track costs a different amount. You pay a token fee intially as ‘registration’ and the remaining sum on completion once you know which track your child has passed.
This is done in the spirit of fairness so that no one pays for a track their child did not complete.

Every drop makes a difference
Reply to  Chidon is NOT the problem!!!
February 6, 2023 2:35 pm

There are dozens of ways in which we waste money. If you point to every single one with that attitude, the result is death by a thousand cuts.
Don’t eliminate the Chidon, tamp down the prizes and pyrotechnics on stage

view from a different perspective.
Reply to  Agree 100% !!!!!!!
February 6, 2023 4:07 pm

i agree i am a mother with 8 kids 4 of them are chidon age and really want to do chidon. and i agree with all the expensive things inflation tuition ect. but during chidons first years they had exactly what many people are saying to have a small trip and basically no prizes. and they had 70 kids in their program….. todays day and age requires cool custom prizes awesome trips and rewards. its true, its true, that this is very annoying and tough but this is our reality. if you want kids to be excited about learning and… Read more »

Aside from the NUMBER I disagree
Reply to  Agree 100% !!!!!!!
February 6, 2023 6:21 pm

As someone who did Chidon for 5 years of my life, I can say that the Chidon really changed my aspect on life. From when I was in 4th grade I was learning and spending my time in a way other girls my age wouldn’t be spending their time. I studied for hours preparing myself for the tests and it paid off. I got really good marks and made it all the way to the trip. Till today I still remember what I learned and it helps me in so many ways. The trip is an incentive; you tell a… Read more »

Reply to  Aside from the NUMBER I disagree
February 6, 2023 8:15 pm

Groceries have doubled in cost. It’s not crazy that chidon used to cost 180 and now costs 300…

also did chidon every year we dont need prizes
Reply to  Aside from the NUMBER I disagree
February 6, 2023 10:51 pm

yes kids study very hard but they dont need a billion prizestrips and incentives for everything they do. they can learn to work a little hard without having a huge reward.its completly unececary

Tzivos Hashem is a lifesaver
Reply to  Agree 100% !!!!!!!
February 6, 2023 10:17 pm

It’s unfortunate that there is something positive that causes some parents financial angst. I went to the Chidon as a student and Baruch Hashem my children are as well. It’s hard to believe that there are very many kids capable of getting a passing mark on Havonah without putting in a substantial amount of time and effort. If your child is able to take 2 hours and get a 70% on Havonah, thank Hashem for giving you an iluy. The trashing of Tzivos Hashem in these comments, a Moised fully dedicated to helping your child truly be a Chayal in… Read more »

Especially the California kids
February 5, 2023 11:02 pm

They work by far the hardest

Agree AND …
February 5, 2023 11:03 pm

I agrée with you
It’s too much
Over the top
And when I see it it still brings tears to my eyes

So I feel both feelings simultaneously
Not sure what to make of it

February 5, 2023 11:10 pm

Thanks for putting In words my feelings about this, i too can’t afford this but have the the “system” make me go it to more credit card debt bc of peer pressure.
Please give the kids a modest prize and something רוחניות that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. Not a trip, trophy, etc.
it’s time for the ועד הרוחני to step in, if there is one..
A working hard and stress parent.

Who is the target audience?
Reply to  Wow
February 6, 2023 7:48 am

I think it’s time for people to realize that while they are happy to include children who come from home of more modest income families, the real goal is to try to motivate richer children and get them on board. As soon as I was able to see that, my frustration didn’t go away completely but at least I was able to understand what’s going on. That was several years ago. Now, I have unfortunately seen this in more and more of the Lubavitch educational system. Especially on the girls side of things. As the girls get into high school… Read more »

Who are we catering to?
Reply to  Who is the target audience?
February 7, 2023 11:24 am

This has been my experience as well (to our dismay). Can those of you who disagree tell us about your experiences?

I am guessing that chinuch “feels” more like out of town shlichus if you focus on the more modern students (or the more challenging ones)?

i know this is not the original topic, but its important nonetheless.

February 5, 2023 11:14 pm

Right on target. Feeling the same for a few years now. Thanks for writing this.

I think the problem is something else entirely
Reply to  Absolutely
February 6, 2023 10:09 pm

The issue stems from the lack of a proper education system. If parents were better educated, they would then qualify for higher-paying employment, thereby eliminating the problem of this article for most.

Thank you for speaking up.
February 5, 2023 11:15 pm

This is so true, my children have all made it to the trip, and have barely studied..for some of the tests they didn’t even get through the units one time. I think that in the interest of getting more kids to join, and making the tests too easy, the whole campaign seems to have gone downhill. I would be happy to pay for them to have a Shabbaton experience, travel to the Rebbe, participate in the chidon gameshow, the way it used to be. But to pay for an expensive trip with no tochen, seems like a waste of money,… Read more »

Same thoughts
Reply to  Thank you for speaking up.
February 6, 2023 8:16 am

My kid also didn’t study regularly, just read through the book for about 2 hours before each test and got an 85% average qualifying for the trip. The trip is what motivated her to join chidon in the first place so I paid for it and I’m glad I did it, but we both know that it didn’t take major effort and it’s not like she has mastery of all the mitzvos she learned. Also even the prizes – there are so many of them on top of the trip and on top of the prizes they get for each… Read more »

your kids are smarter
Reply to  Same thoughts
February 6, 2023 2:13 pm

the problem here is that you let your kids get away with doing the Havana track when clearly they are capable and should have been ‘forced’ into doing the iyun track

Reply to  your kids are smarter
February 6, 2023 6:34 pm

Tell your kid to go for the 90 average on the hardest track and then you’ll see them working

Short, sweet, and TRUTH
February 5, 2023 11:17 pm

Thank you.

We are just feeding entitlement

Same cry new item
Reply to  Short, sweet, and TRUTH
February 6, 2023 6:35 pm

When you were growing up you also had things happening that the generation before you said was “feeding entitlement” at least here it’s “feeding entitlement” for a good cause

Come On
Reply to  Short, sweet, and TRUTH
February 6, 2023 10:17 pm

You’re one of those people who have the unique and annoying talent of taking a valid issue and infusing it with irrelevant nonsense. The Chidon is too expensive for most parents. That’s not because they aren’t getting their money’s worth. They are—the expenses of the trip far exceeds the $300 per head. Instead, it’s too expensive because many parents simply don’t have the money for it. That’s a valid problem. Schools practically force parents to enroll their children in the Chidon, burdening some families with more than $1000 in additional tuition fees. But give me a break with the whole… Read more »

February 5, 2023 11:17 pm


This is beyond pathetic
Reply to  Agreed.
February 7, 2023 2:50 pm

After carefully reading this article, I was very surprised to see that there are people who don’t realize and appreciate the hard work that not only the entire chidon team invests into the chidon but how hard our own children work on learning these mitzvos. I think everyone spends so much money on worthless things and this is something that you can spend your good money on instead of buying a brand new iPhone for your ten year old daughter!

Reply to  This is beyond pathetic
February 7, 2023 8:31 pm


Thank you for writing this article
February 5, 2023 11:17 pm

Frum chassidish way of life is getting more and more expensive as if camp and tuition isn’t stressful enough. The value on materialistic goals leaves me uninspired and wondering where everyone is getting their money from and how many are like me that have to borrow and beg.

Cut it out
Reply to  Thank you for writing this article
February 6, 2023 10:18 pm

The Frierdiker Rebbe was all for giving materialistic rewards to school children

February 5, 2023 11:19 pm

My children love chidon and work very hard to succeed. The price is high and it’s not easy especially when there are multiple children learning for this. I would love if we skipped the prizes and just have the trip definitely would b more affordable. However the love for chidon and the excitement is worth everything thank you shimmy!

It’s all cost to the parents
Reply to  Hmm
February 5, 2023 11:53 pm

We paid $340 per child plus cost of the books, $50 each child.
We paid $390 for my child, x 3 almost $1200.
All for the sake of learning.
I won’t be doing this next year.
It has gotten way out of hand.
For Chidon water bottles, hand bags, sweaters. Luxury trip…..
I’m sorry but this is not some rich country club.

I won’t be buying in again.

I spent 12k on school tuition last year
Reply to  It’s all cost to the parents
February 6, 2023 12:04 am

And the only knowledge my kids has is from the $300 I spent on chidon

Reply to  I spent 12k on school tuition last year
February 6, 2023 1:58 pm

You should send your kids to school. If Chidon is the only knowledge they’ve received, they are being neglected.

As a kid...
Reply to  I spent 12k on school tuition last year
February 6, 2023 6:38 pm

That’s all I remember

Reply to  As a kid...
February 7, 2023 8:10 pm

and what did your child learn – much less

Reply to  I spent 12k on school tuition last year
February 6, 2023 10:24 pm

As a high school student who has done Chidon every year as a kid, I strongly disagree with this. True, I remember so much from Chidon. But it also feels like much more because I’m the only one in my class who knew it. Everything we learnt in school goes without saying, in a way, because we all know it. You learnt in school. Your 12K didn’t go down the drain. To say you didn’t learn is an extreme lack of appreciation to your school and your teachers who gave so much of themselves to you. Besides, even if you… Read more »

Completely agree!!
Reply to  I spent 12k on school tuition last year
February 7, 2023 9:57 am

Literally the best investment for our kids ❤️❤️

Reply to  It’s all cost to the parents
February 6, 2023 5:28 pm

Agree 100%

But it's worth it
Reply to  It’s all cost to the parents
February 6, 2023 6:37 pm

I did Chidon all 5 years I was able to and people often joke about how I know”too much” and yet I remember nothing from those same 5 years that I learned in school

agree the prizes are unessary and cost is huge
Reply to  Hmm
February 6, 2023 1:52 pm

get cheaper prizes and if there is anyway to go back to Shabbatons plus trip would be amazing, but if not then maybe trip should somehow be cheaper the 200 reduced price should cover the cost of a one day trip, yet they are saying that it does not, something does not seem to add up maybe there are unecessary expenses that can be cut down however, in terms of those that say there is no work put in: many children put in hours and hours of work and the fact that this is their koch is amazing chidon is… Read more »

February 5, 2023 11:20 pm

I applauded the writer of this article for voicing what many people have been saying for a long while. My young grandchildren are approaching their parents’friends for money. The amount of trips and rewards and pure fun fun fun has gotten way out of hand. I have tried speaking to those in charge but,as the writer correctly stated, the organisers disagree! Yes the learning is incredible, but the reward system is not sustainable, nor is it good chinuch for the children.

Totally agree
February 5, 2023 11:21 pm

This is way out of hand,
This needs to stop, the pressure and guilt this is having on us as parents and on the children needs to stop!!

If you don't want to pay then don't.
Reply to  Totally agree
February 6, 2023 6:40 pm

Tell your kid that as much as you are proud of them you aren’t able to pay for them to spend their own time learning.

Right on the mark
February 5, 2023 11:24 pm

To run a program then come to the parents and demand $300 is totally unfair.
Stop this nonsense.

run and then demand?
Reply to  Right on the mark
February 6, 2023 2:16 pm

at the beginning of the year every kid came home with the brochure that had all the pricings

Words of truth
February 5, 2023 11:26 pm

I feel the same as this writer,
Can’t understand how a Mossad runs a program and then guilts the parents in to paying $300 per child for a trip.
Can’t understand it.
It has to come to an end.

Today kids needs to be rewarded
Reply to  Words of truth
February 6, 2023 9:58 am

How do you want to run the program without any budget?
How would you reward yourself for doing the best at job? You are expecting a bonus.
Chidon trip is a bonus for a good study

Valid points
February 5, 2023 11:29 pm

I can’t comment on the nature and expense of the trip. Re the level of the tests, I want to point out the flip side- I have a student who studied really hard for chidon. She is a weaker student and just managed to get a passing average. I was so grateful that the tests were made that she was able to pass, with a lot of effort.
Not sure how this type of situation can be balanced with kids who barely study and pass.

Agree with this
February 5, 2023 11:32 pm

It’s not good for chinuch, it does lots of harm, has children with terrible entitlement come from this.

Please put an end to this.

Reply to  Agree with this
February 6, 2023 1:55 pm

don’t really think this is an effect of chidon

February 5, 2023 11:34 pm


February 5, 2023 11:37 pm


February 5, 2023 11:38 pm

The fact the I have for the my sons prize and trip for the kind of money is outrageous. I can buy him prizes with far less. One year I spent 1000 a week of work for flights etc. to send two kids to the Chidon event.
I believe there has to be a better way. Thanks for bringing up this most important issue.

February 5, 2023 11:39 pm

The learning is incredible I had children party of the Shabbaton and grand ceremony and it was soemthing out of this world . It has not been the same once that has stopped .

Spot on
February 5, 2023 11:39 pm

I have been waiting for so long for this to be brought up. It has been a never ending spiral of trying to make our kids feel as if we’re / they’re wealthy. It’s as if we have to compensate for leading a more chasidish / toichendig / aidel way of life. The message is: We are part of that social pyramid which values gashmiyus as the number one, so they (our children) shouldn’t “suffer” from our (their parents) decision to invest their life in ruchnius. Our message should be: We have the zchus to live a life of tiochen,… Read more »

Reply to  Spot on
February 6, 2023 12:16 am

You explained it well. It’s the truth! The Gashmius has gotten way out of hand. Before you throw tomatoes at me, I am in no way saying that we should give them a square of chocolate as reward and call it a day but there has to be some middle ground here. Chidon became a luxury disguised as a “Chassidish “thing.Something is not right with this picture. We are losing focus here. We need to stop before we lose sight of the ultimate goal of learning Sefer Hamitzvos !!!

Thats really expensive
February 5, 2023 11:39 pm

I have grandchildren in the chidon. They work hard, the learning is amazing, its a fabulous program. $300 per child is really expensive. Is the answer to lower the cost or find a way to raise it? The other way to look at it is that its a zchus to spend it on something so positive as this.

Prizes are not chassidish
February 5, 2023 11:39 pm

Let them learn without incentives! My kids do Chidon and they’re incentive is that they can test each other and feel good that they know Torah

learn without incentive
Reply to  Prizes are not chassidish
February 6, 2023 2:20 pm

not everyone is like your kids

Reply to  Prizes are not chassidish
February 6, 2023 10:29 pm

Would you take on a job if you weren’t getting paid? Work overtime for free? I loved Chidon. I loved learning in my time. And yet, it was hard. Picture a kid who sits 7-8 hours in school. They come home, eat supper, do homework, and then study an hour for Chidon. That’s a lot. Really takes away a lot of chill/play time. I know I wouldn’t have been able to give up and hour every single day if there wasn’t something motivating me. And no, the learning itself isn’t enough of a motivation. That’s expecting too much from an… Read more »

It’s even worse
February 5, 2023 11:42 pm

They say that whatever the parents put in does not even cover half of the expense. Which makes no sense
A shirt and water bottle does not cost $50 especially when your buying a few thousand of the same item (wholesale bulk)
It became a whole business.
It needs to go back the way it was in the beginning.

Reply to  It’s even worse
February 6, 2023 8:25 am

I really don’t think anyone is making money off chidon. They need to hire graphic designers to custom design many of the prizes (a full card game, all the party decorations, benchers, packaging), then there’s the shipping (not just from China but to all the schools), the salaries of various coordinators, the sweatshirts are high quality with custom zippers, then there’s the trip cost (American dream is like $100 per person) and food and busses and counselors (not sure if they’re volunteers?) and then professionally producing the virtual game show… the whole thing is very expensive. It’s just a question… Read more »

It doesn't cover shipping costs
Reply to  Disagree
February 6, 2023 12:06 pm

For overseas anyways…

so maybe they need to cut down on several areas
Reply to  Disagree
February 6, 2023 1:58 pm

i really dont think the kids do chidon because of the prizes they get after each test, if they do want to give prizes there are much cheaper prizes, like a chocolate bar ETC

Don’t do it!!!!
Reply to  Disagree
February 6, 2023 5:49 pm

Nobody asked for it

February 5, 2023 11:43 pm

And if ur kids isn’t going on the trip cuz didn’t make it to that level, did I just pay $100-$200 as well as $50 initial registration for a prize and a sweater??? Actual stealing

Reply to  Sara
February 6, 2023 2:44 pm

I could t believe that I was being charged 100 for 75 in prizes and a sweatshirt, so basically I am paying for my kids prizes, what does the main office pay for? I also paid $50 for the book and $40 for registration!!

The book
Reply to  Agreed!
February 6, 2023 10:33 pm

Stop blaming Chidon that you paid $50 for the book. That’s how much it costs. And it’s not like they take it away if you don’t pass.
You’re buying a book that you will have for forever. Whether or not your child uses it is irrelevant.
And if paying for the book was really the issue, you could have always borrowed from a neighbor who has a kid the grade older than your child.

February 5, 2023 11:45 pm

It is indeed very unfair to come to the parents with such a fee to cover trips. The gameshow is indeed an amazing experience for the kids and makes sense. The trips are beyond reason… Parents don’t want to say no to their kids

gamehsow online is simply not the same
Reply to  Agree
February 6, 2023 1:59 pm

but maybe it is the only way these days

It shouldn't be though
Reply to  gamehsow online is simply not the same
February 6, 2023 6:42 pm

I did the gameshow in person and online and it’s not the same. The pressure isn’t there and it just feels so much better in person

Its not just this
February 5, 2023 11:46 pm

Lets be honest, we have so many kids and no money to pay for them. 1 mother taking care of 10 kids 50 years ago is probably like taking care of 3 now. Torah is emes but the system doesnt align to it. I cant have many kids, if I cannot afford them or care for them properly. However, we all feel pressured to win the race to see who has the most kids the fastest. When bills start to pile up and the stress is too much then we realize that we were just trying to put a facade… Read more »

Reply to  Its not just this
February 6, 2023 12:19 am

My friend, you are right yet we do it to ourselves by raising the standards higher and higher for no reason. I have non Jewish Co workers from wealthy neighborhoods in Brooklyn yet they are wearing 5$ sweat pants from Old Navy. Don’t bash the system bash the artificial “needs” and standards we created. The author of this article is pointing out one of them. Perhaps we should respectfully approach the organizers and explain to them the voice of many parents. I am really hoping they will take this to heart.

Thank you!
Reply to  Chassid
February 6, 2023 8:51 am

I actually once complained and they told me if I need help paying for it they would give me discount. I think this is ridiculous. We work and pay large expenses including tuition.

Asei Lecha Rav
Reply to  Its not just this
February 6, 2023 9:05 am

The Rebbe addresses your taane

Asei Lecha Rav
Reply to  Its not just this
February 6, 2023 9:07 am

See the sicha of 5741

having kids is NOT a race
Reply to  Its not just this
February 6, 2023 2:01 pm

please do not write that we all feel pressured to win the race…

please talk for yourself only and if this is indeed how you feel you should perhaps speak to a rov

Hashem sends kinderlach to each couple differently, c”v that it shoudl be looked at as some kind of race

Parent of 2 Chidon kids
February 5, 2023 11:49 pm

i’m not sure what the reward is, if parents have to pay. Shouldn’t it be that you could earn yourself a prize – free of charge to the parents – if you learn x amount?

It’s basically saying, “Congratulations for putting in all the effort, now you have to pay for your reward”…

And worst of all, it turns kids in shnorers… what kind of a reward is that?

Yup well said
Reply to  Parent of 2 Chidon kids
February 5, 2023 11:57 pm

Well said

Who should pay for your child?
Reply to  Parent of 2 Chidon kids
February 6, 2023 11:11 am

Who should pay for your child education, Chidon is part of Chinuh? Why don’t you want to give maiser or zdokah to your child first?
Or your neighbor child?

February 5, 2023 11:50 pm

1) perhaps they need a scale of differential tests so that those with gifted minds take a level 1 course, and average students take level 2. 2) I think in general, Tzivos Hashem – chayol division has become one Chidon campaign. The Rebbe wanted everyone to learn Rambam. There was no such curriculum of learning it in this order… there is so much else a chabad chossid in their younger years should ALSO be applying themselves. Like bettering their middos and doing more mivtzoim. I don’t think the entire kuch should be all about Chidon… (especially if the goal is… Read more »

Won’t be joining next year
Reply to  And...
February 5, 2023 11:58 pm

It has created much entitlement. Keeping up with the demand and price is out of hand.

in all honesty
Reply to  Won’t be joining next year
February 6, 2023 2:05 pm

it is really NOT the kids who are pushing the kinds of prizes they get

perhaps it is well-meaning people who think this is what’s needed to get the kids excited, but it is not necessary, the kids never asked for it, and it is so expensive

chidon is a very special program and thank you to all who put in so much into it, but there is NO reason for it to be so expensive, there must be another way, also without creating a huge debt for the organizers

The parent remains the parent
February 5, 2023 11:51 pm

As a parent you are the only one that truly knows how much your child studied and if they maximized their potential. If your child got a 75 with minimal studying , you are fully entitled as a parent to tell them you are not registering them unless they score a 90 or above. Some schools have raised the passing grade to an 80 but for those select students that study hard and don’t reach that grade, or if a parent feels that bar is too high for them to reach the school accommodates.

Best answer so far!!
Reply to  The parent remains the parent
February 6, 2023 8:52 am

Maybe some kids get in with minimal studying. My kids have good heads BH and had to work hard. Don’t bash the ones who have to work hard!

What is that ?
February 5, 2023 11:52 pm

You can send an email to Chidon and write your thoughts on everything.
I think bashing publicly a mosad that have done so much for our children is wrong!
I’m sure Rabbi Weinbaum will be happy to listen and explain.

Tried this, he won’t listen.
Reply to  What is that ?
February 5, 2023 11:56 pm

Brought it up several times, they won’t listen!!!

Reply to  Tried this, he won’t listen.
February 6, 2023 12:21 am

Won’t listen or won’t do what you dictate to them? Huge difference!

Reply to  What?
February 6, 2023 12:32 am

I highly doubt any one is dictating. We are respectfully asking for BIG CHANGE.

Whats the big change you are asking for?
Reply to  mom
February 6, 2023 12:09 pm

Please be as detailed as possible.

A parent
Reply to  What is that ?
February 6, 2023 12:07 am

May I kindly suggest the Chidon board sees these heartfelt comments and consult with some Rabanim or Igud to find a middle balance? Times have changed. Its inflation for all of us. There’s nothing wrong with lowering the bar. Not everything needs such glitz and glamour. This is not Hollywood it’s a test on Torah Knowledge.

Crown Heightser
Reply to  What is that ?
February 6, 2023 1:09 am

Not publicly bashing, simply trying to bring power in number of people who feel the same way in order for change to happen. Its the way to create change.

February 5, 2023 11:56 pm

My children came home from school today eager for me to register. I mentioned that 450.00 for two kids trip is a lot of money, my daughter tried to explain to me how it really isn’t because of all that is included in the fee. In the meantime, she is embarrassed to invite friends over to home because she feels her house is not nice enough. These extravagant trips and prizes are contributing to raising children who have no value for money and do not feel happy for what they have. I will end up paying for it because they… Read more »

There is a big divide between the rich and the res
Reply to  Agree
February 6, 2023 12:29 am

Many organizers and school board and rich leaders in crown heights don’t seem to understand what it’s like to live on the poverty level or middle class with a large family. The high standards our community places on gashmius is the antithesis of the ruchniyis way of life and leads to financial and mental spiritual and physical anguish when your scraping for money.

100% agree
February 5, 2023 11:58 pm

Thank you, these were my thoughts exactly! This is my fourth year with kids in chidon and the prices just keep going up and up with not much change in rewards. I don’t care for the premium prices of toys and water bottles that have their logo. I don’t pay extra money to have a company name on a shirt, I don’t want to pay $50 due a chidon sweatshirt that we already have 5 in the house! In addition, the pressure that you must sign up in one day is ridiculous. My school didn’t even say when or what… Read more »

signing up in one day
Reply to  100% agree
February 6, 2023 2:29 pm

how long do you have to sign up for camp especially the bar mitzvah boys where you wait at the computer cause you only have 3 hours

and how long does it take you to sign up tzivos hashem is just asking that it be done on a specific date because they still have things they need to do that are dependent on how many people actually sign up

February 6, 2023 12:03 am

I have to agree – when the children came to CH and joined in the special program they felt part of something so special – watching the Chidon live was amazing. Being at home each family separately watching on the computer is not the same – for this and a school trip the cost is way to high. The cost has gone up and the experience has gone down

A parent
February 6, 2023 12:04 am

We need to bring this back to basics. It has become a big pressure and financial strain on many middle class families such as myself. We work hard and budget well yet how can we explain to our kids that we cant afford a trip like this. They don’t understand that their learning is worth so much more than dollars and cents yet there is a big financial gap here. We need to see where we can cut down. May I humbly suggest a lower scale event. A trip to American Dream is way big enough. In times like this… Read more »

Mother of 2 chidon boys
Reply to  A parent
February 6, 2023 9:12 am

The money Is not even the trip. They charge Montreal the same…. and they don’t go on any major trip.

Proud chidon mom
Reply to  A parent
February 7, 2023 6:37 am

I wonder if the organizers do market research? Maybe it’s possible to consolidate a little to cut costs? I don’t regret what we spent on Chidon because i see what it did for my son, and especially now that he’s in yeshiva and looking for every opportunity to increase his learning And improve his middos. He considers the time he spent on chidon prep utterly worthwhile because it gave him such depth and breadth of knowledge that has made his later learning so much easier and better. But didn’t start out there. The incentives were important at the time. He… Read more »

Thank you
February 6, 2023 12:08 am

Unfortunately I felt the pressure and signed up my kids right away. Truth is I should have offered them a while day trip and a prize from us and it would’ve been waay cheaper. Dont think we’ll be joining next year.

Reply to  Thank you
February 6, 2023 8:56 am

Me too. I felt pressured yesterday and just paid the $300, but if I had known that other parents also thought this was too expensive, I’d way rather have sided with them and not paid.

Far cry
February 6, 2023 12:12 am

The Chidon had become a money grab and a far cry from years ago. What a shame that the administration rotted such a beautiful program. My children will not enter next time around, nor should others. What a real pity.

Thank you author for pointing out the elephant in the room – or the ‘Chidon’ (emperor) with no clothes…

Sorry this comment is so rude 🤮
Reply to  Far cry
February 7, 2023 10:08 am

You have no idea the amount of work and Mesiras Nefesh that the “administration” has put in to making tzivos hashem into what it is today – exactly how the rebbe would want it

The lastest technology – most Exciting and fun for kid to learn Torah

Proud Mom
February 6, 2023 12:13 am

I am so proud of my daughter, for using her own time to learn extra Torah. We should make sure we give off that positive message and let our children know how proud we are of them. To my understanding there are ways to fundraise to help cover the costs. With so much distraction going on in our world, we should be so proud of our children that used their own personal time to learn Torah.

Yes yes yes
Reply to  Proud Mom
February 6, 2023 12:25 am

We must give that positive message, and our children should know we are proud of them. They definitely deserve to be rewarded since we need their torah learning to help bring MOSHIACH. so yes they definitely need extrinsic motivation. Some children even feel that the previous years had more trips and fun…
I’m almost positive that if you ask for a donation for tzivos hashem, everyone wants to invest in our future. It has the highest rate of return.

No no no
Reply to  Yes yes yes
February 6, 2023 12:34 am

And so does our son’s yeshiva chinese auction and mivtzoim for chanukah and Yeshiva’s building campaign . Wait did I mention Chanukah gelt etc. You are missing the point here. No one is not proud of their child. We are simply bringing up a point that is bothering many many parents.

another mom
Reply to  Proud Mom
February 6, 2023 12:27 am

I am proud as well. But who am i supposed to fundraise from? We don’t have relatives to go ask for money. I should ask them to use Chanukah gelt, fine and where is the rest coming from? This is not a small token sum. Its a weeks groceries for me. I value Torah learning very much but there sure got to be a better way to impart that value to our children without putting such a financial strain on so so many parents.

We're all proud of our kids
Reply to  Proud Mom
February 6, 2023 12:34 am

Not being able to afford the pricey rewards does not mean one is not proud of their kids. We’re all proud of our kids,and you feeling like it’s not a bid deal to fundraiser does not make you any more proud of your kids than other parents.

Spot On.
February 6, 2023 12:16 am

Unfortunately I have tried numerous times addressing this issue with the organizers as they bully the kids into thinking the more trips the better it is. Ones simple trip and a game show the overloaded need for making it all about how many kids. not taking the sensitivity involved is hurtful and damaging the very cause they ought to be promoting.

another mom
Reply to  Spot On.
February 6, 2023 12:30 am

If the organizers can not respectfully understand the pain so many parents are feeling it’s time for us parents to do something. We should not have our children participate. Part of being a Chasid is being responsible and being a mentch. I hope they will understand.Its just sad that this is what it may come to. Me and my husband work full time and the amount just adds up when you have more than one child participating. I can’t be the only one thinking that Pesach is very soon…..

Proud chidon mom
Reply to  another mom
February 7, 2023 6:51 am

I’m not saying this is you – it’s just a comment i have to make. But so many are complaining about the cost of all these trips but come chol hamoed etc they spend a fortune taking their kids on great trips. We had to choose and we chose to spend the money as the chidon reward instead of the chol hamoed entertainment. No regrets, although my kids do complain that we don’t do anything exciting for cool hamoed. But at least we try for family time, games, projects, day hikes… But yeah. Can’t spend the same money twice.

Thank you!
February 6, 2023 12:17 am

Thank you for this article! You have expressed what ALL parents are feeling. We have all put up with the shenanigans all this time out of respect for Tzivos Hashem and our kids. But, it is a point where parents rise and say “this program has gone of its rails. “

Reply to  Thank you!
February 6, 2023 9:36 pm

To speak for all parents
Actually, many I know are extremely grateful and thankful for the incredible work of TZIVOS HASHEM.
Life changing
They get our kids

Spot on. I hope shimmy is reading this thread.
February 6, 2023 12:19 am

It was a great Peulah when it was meaningful and affordable.

Now it’s meaningless and expensive.

Kids are passing without event studying once. And parents have to spend hundreds they don’t have on rewards and trips.

Program needs a complete restructuring.

If we like it or not
Reply to  Spot on. I hope shimmy is reading this thread.
February 6, 2023 6:59 am

There is a point that has not been addressed yet.

Even if someone is ABLE to afford it or it isn’t a hardship (still wrong because it is hard for so many), this is not an expense you are deciding if you will or won’t have.

You have 3 choices:

1) pay whether you like it or not

2) Let your child shnor from all your friends and relatives (undesirable for most of us, is it even tzedakah al pi halocho?)

3) Let your child down.

Exactly! Well Said.
Reply to  If we like it or not
February 6, 2023 11:20 am

I can afford to pay for my grandchildren – but my children don’t want the peer pressure. Not in the “you must register within a few days” nor the added stress of the learning sense, because for some kids it is an added stress. My grandson is smart B”H and doesn’t have to work too hard, but the tests, levels, competition, etc is a stress to him yet he wants to take part and succeed.

Doesn't add up
February 6, 2023 12:21 am

After initial registration fee which should cover the small prizes…. Trips don’t cost $300

When my child has a trip in school, they don’t charge $300

When we send our kids to camp, we don’t pay $300 per day…($9,000 per session)

And the camp is providing much more.. Sleeping etc.

The chidon trips should cost way less and the mosad should fundraise

There needs to be a financial vaad with disclosure and accountability.

Where does all the excess funds go?

Too much pressure on large families with multiple participants

They don’t go on expensive trips every day
Reply to  Doesn't add up
February 6, 2023 12:31 am

They don’t go on expensive trips every day
And when they do it’s spread out so they give thing out though out the summer
Chidon is one day one trip one amazing experience… that cost way too much money and parents shouldn’t have to pay for 🤔

300 per day in camp
Reply to  Doesn't add up
February 6, 2023 2:35 pm

I wonder what the math is when you take into account that 6 out of 7 days a week you’re in campgrounds 2 out of 7 days a week are Friday and shabbos where they aren’t really even having activities now that your math

Absolutely agree
February 6, 2023 12:23 am

Been saying this for years. Let’s teach children to learn for the sake of learning and achievement, not an over- abundance of gashmiyus prizes. And for out of town parents, there is also the price of tickets!

Ok then
Reply to  Absolutely agree
February 6, 2023 11:34 am

But you’d end up with only 45 kids in chidon instead of thousands that reinforce each other and making learning the “in” thing to do instead of the “elite” or “nerdy” thing to do

It's the in thing
Reply to  Ok then
February 6, 2023 8:34 pm

But look how many parents are coming clean on here and being honest that their children aren’t really learning the material or not putting in that much effort.

Proud chidon mom
Reply to  It's the in thing
February 7, 2023 7:02 am

That was the hardest part of chidon, if you ask me, not the cost. Trying to get my son to the point of being interested in learning it by himself every day.
It took a lot of daily effort and time and patience. And it was worth every minute

the alter Rebbe writes in tanya
Reply to  Absolutely agree
February 6, 2023 2:36 pm

sheloi lishma bo lishma

Proud chidon mom
Reply to  Absolutely agree
February 7, 2023 6:59 am

“One should always study Torah and perform mitzvos not lishma, for from not lishma he will come to lishma” (Pesachim 50b).

And the $300 doesn't include tickets..
February 6, 2023 12:25 am

All of this is without getting into the tickets for all of those who live out of town. It may sound nice to say “our true cost is $500” and you only need to raise $250 (not counting the previous fees). But for anyone out of town we are already paying at least that amount just in tickets. So you can easily end up paying $500-700 out of pocket even WITH “fundraising.” So yes, out of towners pay a lot more than the percentage of the cost that the chidon pays for.

February 6, 2023 12:26 am

Over the years many people offered to donate or offer their services for the prizes/trips and so on to keep cost down. But they refused….

A parent
February 6, 2023 12:28 am

Where did you see 300??? 200 is max.

Won’t be joining next year
Reply to  A parent
February 6, 2023 12:37 pm

It’s $300,
If you want and can’t afford them TH is doing you a favor and allowing you to pay $200.

Let’s get the kids to rise money for a trip they want, wow great chinuch moment.

What trip?
February 6, 2023 12:28 am

What kind of trip for kids costs $300???

February 6, 2023 12:28 am

I remember going back 10 years ago when the chidon program had 45 children and those were not your average kids. Those were the few children who had taken upon themselves to learn in their spare time. Your average kid would never think of going for the chidon. Fast forward 10 years and now 7000 children are part of this movement. How did this transformation happen. It did not happen on its own. It happened because of a ‘Meshugner’ yes I call him a meshugner because he is crazy and does crazy things that are not normal. And don’t make… Read more »

Reply to  Respect
February 6, 2023 12:46 am

I hope people read this comment! Very much agreed!

A Father
Reply to  Respect
February 6, 2023 12:50 am

I respectfully disagree with you. Yes the organizers fuel up our children to be involved with good things and bring chayus to learning but lets not make a cholent here of kids learning, going OTD and finances here. Let’s be fair and hear all the sides. When a person doesn’t have they simply don’t have. You can not make cheshbonos of ” Its better my child doesn’t go OTD and Im spending on this ” when you are literally working as hard as you can ( and yes with a degree for those of you who will say get a… Read more »

Proud chidon mom
Reply to  A Father
February 7, 2023 7:09 am

For years i made chinuch decisions based on cost. When i let go of that and just took the plunge, my husband’s income went up. I can personally bear witness to the truth in the teaching that the money for chinuch is not included in your parnasa for the year as decided at Rosh Hashana.

I would be proud to add the extra money
Reply to  Respect
February 6, 2023 12:55 am

If I had it!

Won’t be joining next year
Reply to  Respect
February 6, 2023 12:36 pm

Missed the point most parents are making.
They are turning the child in to an entitled, demanding child.
If you don’t have, then tell the child to ride money to get what he wants,
Makes total sense to me

Don’t do it!!!!
Reply to  Won’t be joining next year
February 6, 2023 6:09 pm

That’s the point!!!! The luxury that is not befit of a chosid. It is not because it is kosher it is necessary!!!!!

This is heresy
Reply to  Respect
February 6, 2023 6:29 pm

What does asking a parent for $1200 (not to mention plane tickets) right before Purim and Pesach have to do with children who struggle and choose another path? My kids barely cracked open a book this year and all scores in the high 80s-90s. How is throwing stuff and trips at them and wringing their parents dry in the process in any way helpful to their chinuch? My younger kids have already read the Yahadus books because they’re around the house. Are they only safe from “going OTD” as you call it if we throw money at the guy in… Read more »

Reply to  Respect
February 6, 2023 8:25 pm

7000 kids are not going to be learning this on their own time. Narishkeit is free. Happy?

Reply to  Respect
February 7, 2023 10:17 am

THANK YOU!!! Well said!!

This should be written as an official response In a separate article 😉

February 6, 2023 12:29 am

I sooo agree with this!!! I also wondered if I was the only parent thinking that way…I also wouldn’t buy prizes or trip for that amount…the real motivation and experience was going to NY shabbaton, but now, lots of money for not much…won’t be joining next year either

Grateful Mom
February 6, 2023 12:29 am

I am exceedingly grateful for Chidon, which has my children using their free time to learn and review tochendik material. I am so appreciative that the natural ambition and competitiveness of children is channeled so beautifully. At the same time, we are very financially strapped right now, and this is a very significant expense. It’s going to take a neis to be able to come up with the funds (even on credit cards) to register in time. Anyone who thinks that Tzivos Hashem is making money off of this is simply unaware of the cost of running a large project… Read more »

Reply to  Grateful Mom
February 6, 2023 12:40 am

Yes and yes

Reply to  Grateful Mom
February 7, 2023 10:19 am

Thank you for writing

Back to the old days
February 6, 2023 12:30 am

In my days only two kids per class were chosen to participate in chidon. The rest of the class learned the booklet as part of class once a week. I’ve seen kids now be so pressured to join and for some,it’s really not good for them. Their minds can’t handle it along with all their school work and then they just feel like failures. I think the whole system has to be revamped.

Focus on these kids.......
Reply to  Back to the old days
February 6, 2023 2:09 am

The ones who can’t handle it.

It's too much
February 6, 2023 12:30 am

I recognize that chidon staff work really hard to find nice incentives for the children. They do give beautiful prizes but my child refuses to use anything with a chidon symbol, saying that it’s nebby. They go straight in the garbage because a younger sibling using it is even nebbier. There seems to be a lot of wasteful spending, it’s too much. I don’t appreciate being slapped with extra fees and then being forced into paying for my child’s prize. It’s like they’re trying to pull money out of all ends of us again and again. A huge contest based… Read more »

Mistakes and errors?
Reply to  It's too much
February 6, 2023 8:18 pm

Pricing issues can be true, but “books with mistakes and errors”? These “books” are the Rambam’s sefer hamitzvos. Not “books” with mistakes and errors.

Halevai it was just a sefer hamitzvos
Reply to  Mistakes and errors?
February 6, 2023 8:54 pm

The Chidon is based on the Yahadus books that were published by TH. They are full of wonderful content but also lots of errors. They cost $50 a book and then you have to use the pamphlet of corrections and check it before each unit because there are lots of mistakes.

It's a real shame
February 6, 2023 12:38 am

Unfortunately, Chidon was never encouraged in my home due to the cost.

A Father
Reply to  It's a real shame
February 6, 2023 12:53 am

From one parent to another, Hashem will help bring the light and Joy of learning Torah to your children in another way without putting a hole in your pocket. What can I tell you, It’s just sad it has become like this. In a world where people are cutting back and businesses are closing we are raising the bar higher and higher as if it is not enough already. It’s unfortunate that there is no Das Torah that can help bridge the gap.

Stay strong
Reply to  It's a real shame
February 6, 2023 8:38 pm

Hashem has you covered.

February 6, 2023 12:41 am

I live “out of town” and here my daughter is in girls scouts and sells cookies… And during the summer she fundraises for chai life line for jumping rope and earning prizes.
I thought it was great that they set up the chidon drive and didn’t find anything wrong with having her call family and friends and raising the $.

I’m curious to know what’s your alternative suggestion is… Are you saying not to make a big trip at the end? Learn lshma? Or that chidon should fundraise millions of dollars to cover everything?

Same thing doesn't always work for everyone
Reply to  OOT
February 6, 2023 7:22 am

Let’s just say that our kids calling our parents, siblings relatives friends to give them money for a trip they have already earned does not work for everyone

Reply to  Same thing doesn't always work for everyone
February 6, 2023 12:49 pm

How is that different from raising $ for chai life line, or a FC marathon? Are you saying the fact that they learned entitles them to a free trip? Ppl who work so hard training for a marathon still fundraises $2,000 +/- to join the trip (be it FC or another one)

Reply to  OOT
February 6, 2023 8:42 pm

1) Are you referring to kids or adults?

2) this needs to be made clear to both parents and kids ahead of time.

3) here they are straight up fundraising for their *own* trip.

So true....!
February 6, 2023 12:42 am

Thank you for starting this discussion!
The kids are not getting the proper message here at all…. The Shabbaton in NY was the best experience but BH has gotten too big. Perhaps there should be a Shabbaton for every grade separately?

Raises the bar for other mosdos
February 6, 2023 12:44 am

Now due to Tzivos HaShem, American dream has become the norm for all other trips. Day off of school? Of course spend 85$+ on the amusement park Sleep away camp has their grand trip after a full two month session? “Oh we’re just going to the water park so stupid.” I️ was A participant in the first chidon and we had a blast- we went on a double decker bus, rode a boat, did ice skating AND bowling etc I️ know The logistics are nearly impossible with the size it’s become so American dream is an easy solution but they… Read more »

Let’s break it down
February 6, 2023 12:45 am

The goal of all the incentives, awards, merch is all to build excitement , feeling of belonging to something larger and a healthy dose or kinas sofrim! There are MANY kids that study really hard and do really really well! They go on to leaning shlosha prakim with a solid foundation ! The question at hand is can you accomplish the same thing for less? Let’s break it down Sweatshirts- everyone knows that nowadays a sweatshirt is essential- it tells everyone you are part of the club, it builds allegiance and a feeling of belonging . – that cost $20… Read more »

Teacher and parent
Reply to  Let’s break it down
February 6, 2023 1:00 am

I am a teacher and parent. My husband works in Chinuch as well. Yes, Kinas sofrim but there is also an inyan of consulting with Mashpiim when so many people are voicing the same concern. I gave up a weeks salary to pay for my children to join. Is it better than them watching Jewish videos, definitely but there is big problem here and we need to address it not justify it.

Teacher and parent
Reply to  Let’s break it down
February 6, 2023 1:02 am

Living in a small apartment I don’t want the trophies. I am sure a framed certificate serves the same purpose and is much more budget friendly. If there is a will there is a way. If we want,we can make this much more affordable. Torah learning should not be for only the “haves”.

Tzivois Hashem??
February 6, 2023 12:48 am

What happened to the Tzivois Hashem that the rebbe opened??? The one that we signed up our children as soon as they were born, even before giving a name, and this Tzivois hashem was free, and they sent prizes in the mail for each time the child went up a rank, this tzivois hashem was an army where each child had a number , and they got newsletters before each yomtov it was something that even today’s frum kids were able to join along, yet along with all the the children that were not necessarily frum yet. Unfortunately this tzivois… Read more »

What happened
Reply to  Tzivois Hashem??
February 6, 2023 11:42 am

Chabad kids weren’t getting much from a program that turned them into generals just for eating matza on pesach so the program was split into ckids (for whom matza is a pretty big deal) and the regular program where things like shabbos mevorchim tehilim is a real challenge

Was thinking similarly
Reply to  Tzivois Hashem??
February 6, 2023 11:48 am

When my children were young, we looked fw to getting those newspapers, filling out the missions and moving higher in rank. Yes, we signed them up when they were born – as per instructions of the Rebbe. I was surprised to hear my grandchildren say, “Our school doesn’t do TH until x grade”. Our children were part of the club w/o the pricey sweatshirts/water bottles, etc that no one needs. The excitement was to reach the level of General, as well as see your name in print going up in the ranks listed on the back page.

And most importantly
Reply to  Tzivois Hashem??
February 6, 2023 12:17 pm

One could become a five star General with missions that were easily attainable.

Also, with do many five star generals, why did the Tzivos Hashem 2.0 give a helicopter ride to their first five star general? Besides for the obvious waste of yiddishe gelt, was that to announce that the previous real Tzivos Hashem, instituted by the Rebbe, holds no value ch”v?!

Reply to  Tzivois Hashem??
February 6, 2023 12:39 pm

U mean the one that was a pain the neck to fill in missions and we could never find a stamp to send it in and when we were lucky enough to go up in rank we got a sticker and a pencil and getting to become a general was a pipe dream bc who could figure out the system anyways?

U mean that system?

Reply to  Tzivois Hashem??
February 6, 2023 2:40 pm

I love what you write. It brings me back to my youth. It was very special.

At the same time we need to be realistic. The Rebbe started a moised called Merkoz specifically to deal with Chinuch. There’s very little this moised does today that has to do with chinuch. You can’t blame Tzivoes Hashem for recognizing this and trying to emulate it. Fundraising is hard; it’s much easier to veer away from a mission if it’s going to bring success.

Amazing program
February 6, 2023 12:51 am

I find the article hard to read and the comments much worse. My kids are learning for an hour each day and so are over 1000 other kids who passed the IYUN track. I don’t have money and $200 is a lot for me. But my kids have put in over 100 hours of learning. When I look at it this way I paid $2 per hour for their learning. The value this program has is priceless. If you don’t want your kids to join don’t sign them up. But to bash the program like this is very wrong. Just… Read more »

Crown Heightser
Reply to  Amazing program
February 6, 2023 1:05 am

TORAH LEARNING SHOULD NOT BE ONLY FOR PEOPLE WITH MONEY! There is something very wrong with this picture if it not accessible to so many people as is being displayed in the comments.

Reply to  Crown Heightser
February 6, 2023 11:44 am

People here spend so much more for camp and not getting any learning, just the forgetting

Couldn't have said it any better
Reply to  Amazing program
February 6, 2023 1:17 am

One of my children is an Iyun/Trophy finalist, and another has just completed five years of Chidon at a more basic level, working very hard to barely pass the minimum grade. Both of them have spent a very large percentage of their free time putting in tremendous efforts to meet their goals. Within the same program, these two children, of completely different abilities, have both pushed themselves to the finish line and are ready to taste yagati umatzasi taamin. I am so indebted to Tzivos Hashem for creating such an invaluable program. My credit card is nearly maxed out and… Read more »

Reply to  Couldn't have said it any better
February 6, 2023 8:32 pm

Love the therapy analogie. Would most parents pay for 1 therapy session if their kid would benefit? I sincerely hope so.

Reply to  Couldn't have said it any better
February 7, 2023 10:25 am

Love this!!! So true!!

Yes but...
Reply to  Amazing program
February 6, 2023 2:31 pm

It is a FANTASTIC program and hope it continues. Unfortunately, the focus has been forgotten over the years. Chidon should continue as it used to with a great chidon show and plaques/trophies. To incentivize the kids there should be a “night out” with a smaller trip and maybe bbq/dinner highlighting those students that worked hard. Unfortunately the focus became on marketing the chidon name with paying money for designers and customizations, etc. and need the fanciest of trips DURING school where they miss out on the regular learning and makes it VERY hard for those not in chidon to be… Read more »

Reply to  Amazing program
February 7, 2023 10:24 am


TH is not the problem! It US as a community
February 6, 2023 12:57 am

Half of kids in CH left to Florida on winter vacation, Every one spending crazy money… we became very materialistic!!!!
And TH maybe reflect this type of life style
The amount of gifts boxes full of prizes ….the kids don’t even appreciate it anymore it’s way way too much!
But wake up it’s all of us living life like that …
it all needs to change ….

Yes. Before you blame chidon...
Reply to  TH is not the problem! It US as a community
February 6, 2023 8:33 pm

Are you spending on expensive vacations? Designer baby clothes? Eating out? Don’t look for torah learning as the first area to cut costs

Our 3rd child
February 6, 2023 12:58 am

This is our 3rd child taking part now. He told me straight out that he is doing it to win a specific prize! I told him that for $300 I can buy him the prize myself and even a nicer one ! It looks like it has just become a business, like everything else😕. He didn’t learn that hard at all or received very good marks! They make it easy in order to maximise the amount of paying participants! My issue is not afford, but rather the pressure it puts on us and in the children to take part, when… Read more »

Reply to  Our 3rd child
February 6, 2023 8:38 am

You really think they’re trying to make it easy to they get more money? I would think a much bigger motivator is that they don’t want kids failing and feeling like failures and then not even bothering to try the next year. It’s tricky to make it a level that is hard enough to require effort but easy enough to be able to pass, and they tried to make it work with the different tracks, etc. Every moisad is expensive to run and requires a ton of fundraising, actually more fundraising the more kids participate.

So true
February 6, 2023 1:13 am

These days kids are treated out as if it’s a 5 star Pesach program! you should see the trips and food that they give on these Shabbatons and in the over night camps I think it’s gotten a little out of hand and its becoming the standard.

Too much
Reply to  So true
February 6, 2023 1:55 pm

Every trip seems like this. I think the organizers all do a very good job, but the kids get used of this extravagance, and it gives them unrealistic expectations.

With respect
February 6, 2023 1:17 am

I think the learning is fantastic. Small incentives along the way are not a bad thing, and a good motivator for some kids. However it is a fact that intrinsic reward is much more satisfying and impactful than all the prizes you can throw at a kid. Studies have shown that children are often more motivated by smaller prizes, the feeling of success and accomplishment alone is extremely rewarding. I think a local shabbaton where they receive their certificates/plaques etc. would be very exciting for the kids and if run correctly, significantly more cost effective. But in all honestly, lets… Read more »

kids shnorers
February 6, 2023 1:25 am

In their latest videos the kids are told to sign up for the most expensive package and add some other money maker sweatshirt for tatty (who will hopefully never wear it) . the kid then goes to the payment section and uses the CC on file.
No adult in the picture.
Then the kid explains a whole system of how they should become shnorers to fund the stuff he just ordered.
Does anyone know of a name of an educator who backs this?

My thoughts exactly!!!!
Reply to  kids shnorers
February 6, 2023 9:25 am

I feel this way 100%. It’s beautiful that my kids are learning so much, working hard, and feeling good about achievement etc etc. BH. At the same time, there’s a lot here that I feel is uneducational. Teaching kids that if you can’t afford an outrageous prize you beg others to pay for it is such a bad message. The message I try to give my kids is to live within your means (and no we don’t go to Florida during mid winter vacation). In addition to the way children using devices is encouraged. I was shocked it was presented… Read more »

We've come a long way
Reply to  My thoughts exactly!!!!
February 6, 2023 12:15 pm

When my sons were in ULY, CH, we had to sign that there was no internet in the house…. Now, TH encourages kids to use the computer on their own, and charge to the c/c on file!?!?.
Whew….Lubavitch needs to find that safe middle path.

My kids
Reply to  We've come a long way
February 6, 2023 8:49 pm

My kids were introduced to the internet cuz they needed to do their missions online (everyone else is…..) I should have put my foot down but didn’t.

How should I have known to be suspicious of TH?

I'd like to emphasize that
February 6, 2023 1:27 am

When an organization creates a program and offers prizes to those who join and earn them, it is not the parents’ job to pay for the prizes!

But here they went and recruited my kid and then asked ME to pay for the prize!

It’s BLACKMAIL! Even if the prize was just $5 – it’s still blackmail!

Nobody is forcing you!
February 6, 2023 1:41 am

If you don’t want to pay, don’t send your kids, chidon is not a chesed organization!

Reply to  Nobody is forcing you!
February 6, 2023 3:47 pm

Not a chesed organization? Spoken like someone who has no concept of what its like to not be able to afford everything. And the chidon shouldnt only be for ppl who can afford it, its so much more than that. Should studious and smart chassidish kids have to watch their fellow classmates be part of something they can’t afford …

Reply to  Wow
February 6, 2023 6:39 pm

You don’t have to have everything everyone has,the point is if you can’t afford, doesn’t give you a right to complain, just like you you can’t complain when you’re grocery go’s in price…

There are kids in your child's class
Reply to  Wow
February 6, 2023 8:36 pm

Who take dance lessons or voice lessons o r piano lessons. I dont see opens about those. Be happy your child wants to be busy with learning Torah, even if it’s the big prizes that motivates them

We don't talk about skimping on CTEEN, Why Chidon?
February 6, 2023 1:42 am

I’d rather spend on Chidon than the vacations and other things that have become the normal standard of living. It’s a beautiful program, and I think, when we see our kids wishing to participate in the lavish events geared for CTeen and other communities where boys and girls are together in Times Square, and there is no talk about the cost or paying for it, somehow shluchim will find a way to send someone from their Chabad house to Israel or Yeshiva, and many other high end events geared for bringing people to Crown Heights, and asking why things are… Read more »

I agree
February 6, 2023 1:44 am

Let’s instill a Geshmak in Torah for sefarim rewards!! It’s bleeding so many families! Enough!!

Grateful for the chidon
February 6, 2023 1:54 am

I love the chidon and my son learning the mitzvos. But I don’t need another sweatshirt. The girls get a few ever year in high school… Class,dorm, production it’s ridiculous. Prizes not so necessary, I do like the trip. I only have 1 child in it so it’s not such an expense, but years ago when I come have easily had 3-4… It would have been a big expense. I think the expense should be kept down but still make it rewarding for the kids. Tzivos Hashem swallows a lot of the cost and does an amazing job motivating the… Read more »

incredible experience
February 6, 2023 2:13 am

My daugher overcame a huge obstacle in her dyslexia learning for chidon. She was so driven and motivated with her goal to achieve – and she did! She realized she can and that empowerment impacted a lot of other areas in her life.

the program is amazing
Reply to  incredible experience
February 6, 2023 11:02 pm

the costs are too high

and there are ways to bring them down

if they can’t do it themselves, let them bring a professional in to help them, it will be worth the charge

Great idea!
Reply to  the program is amazing
February 8, 2023 7:25 pm

A financial adviser is an amazing idea! You should definitely hire one to help you plan your year so you can pay for all the things you want to get for your kids!

From a shliach
February 6, 2023 3:07 am

Afraid I agree. It is a beautiful concept but ridiculous. My 3 kids cost $600 minimum. Plus cost of flight for trip. I don’t have that money lying around.
What is Tzivos Hashem raising millions for in their charity campaigns?
Why do they think we have this kind of money?
And we are constantly being asked now to go to our family and friends for this charidy campaign or that…. not all of us have wealthy communities
But don’t want to say not to our kids having the opportunities obviously…

Couldn't agree more!
February 6, 2023 3:12 am

I have friend’s who are fundraising for their child to go to the Chidon! That’s so ridiculous I’m at a loss for words. Yiddishe Gelt should go to DESERVING TZEDOKOS! Not to this! I actually think it’s a chutzpah to be passing links that say.. ‘please help send Mendy to the Chidon’. What? No way! So many worthy fundraisers out there!
I hope there will be massive change ASAP.
This in no way diminishes all the hard work of Shimmy Weinbaum and his incredible team!

From a shaliach
February 6, 2023 3:19 am

If the kids do well but don’t have money they cannot participate. What a horrible message!

A lot of times you don’t win a prize but get entered in a raffle to win a prize…. which is not really a reward… would prefer smaller simpler prizes which correspond to the learning not the “mazel” of a raffle.

It will not stop because people keep paying the prices! Dream on!

How much of the cost goes towards paying the staff in the organisation who have to make a living somehow?

Another issue is...
February 6, 2023 3:56 am

When I was growing up, we learned sefer hamitzvos according to the morah shiur. As per the rebbe’s takono.

Yahadus / chidon is piggybacking on the rebbe’s mivtzah to find legitimacy for their new (fabulous) curriculum. They don’t follow the morah shiur, so this is not the rebbe’s takono.

If they want to make a new takono – by all means, but why do they present it as the sefer hamitzvos when it isn’t?!

You are a real Apikores
Reply to  Another issue is...
February 6, 2023 11:19 am

I have learnt all 5 books and got a Kol Hatorah Kula Trophy and they do follow the Rambam to the fullest

Perhaps you're illiterate
Reply to  You are a real Apikores
February 6, 2023 6:56 pm

Yes they wrote the books based on the rambam.

But the curriculum does not follow the morah shiur (schedule of daily learning) which is very much central to the takono of learning sefer hamitzvos, so that it should correspond with the daily 3 perokim cycle.

And so, chidon does not fulfill the rebbe’s takono, as special as it is.

Reply to  Another issue is...
February 6, 2023 6:51 pm

And guess what? I know more than you probably do. Because I know all five books inside out till today, have my trophy, plaques and medals proudly displayed in my room. If you are complaining that the learning is wrong then stop because YOU are wrong. Now in High school when I learn all this inside from the Rambam I have a much easier time understanding because I learned it all before.
Now you tell me
Is knowing the information 6 years after learning it worth is for a $300 trip?

February 6, 2023 4:06 am

My daughter signed up her kids and just paid about $ 1,200. Totally not right. The kids studied real hard. Theu pashut dont have the momey! What could she say. Doesnt want to argue. It is what it is! I say its very too much- way over her head. Please refund her and all those who already paid, who didnt want to make a big deal about it, at least half! Or come to some agreement to charge less. It really got out of hand completely. Most parents DO NOT have that kind of money especially if there are multiple… Read more »

Another (steep) expense
February 6, 2023 4:18 am

There’s no question that chidon has succeeded tremendously at what they set out to do. Question is, at what expense? Have they considered all those who are learning less in school, not developing their basic learning skills, due to their focus on yahadus? Have they considered all those children who would otherwise be learning Mishnayos, Tanya and Gemara bal peh, if not for this much more exciting alternative? We have to remember, these basics are what yiddishkeit (yahadus) is really about. This is what we have been doing for centuries! [And yes, for sure there are those kids that were… Read more »

Before chidon
Reply to  Another (steep) expense
February 6, 2023 11:51 am

We know what happened to kids before chidon. All they did was learn baal peh and never touched a sefer ever since because they never really learned anything with any understanding…chidon changed the system.

Reply to  Another (steep) expense
February 7, 2023 1:01 am

Your kids would be on tiktok, or worse, in their spare time if not for chidon.
Get your head out the sand

February 6, 2023 4:58 am

This article has really good points. The whole chidon thing has become increasingly about the numbers, instead of teaching our children the importance of Torah. Unfortunately, for many kids it takes the place of learning what they are supposed to in school. For others, they don’t need to even try that hard to pass, and for others they are just learning it to go on a trip. Are these the traits we want to be teaching our children?? My daughter passed the tests, but when I saw the crazy price for the trip, I told her I’ll take her on… Read more »

February 6, 2023 5:36 am

For starters: count yourselves lucky that your kids easily qualify. My daughter gave up after 3 years of failing tests…and she is an 80 student. Next: face it — the world is far more nuanced and complicated and leveled up than it ever was. If it’s only teens at risk that we spend on or kids in despair or crisis…what message are we sending kids who are good and doing the right thing? You we give the “leftovers”? Something is not sitting well with me. While $300 is a lot, if it’s for a weekend (which I think it is)… Read more »

Worth the money
February 6, 2023 5:44 am

The $300/$200 is part of the registration fee.
I think it is wrong to think of it as paying for prizes.
Chidon has helped my child build his Jewish identity. Yes, he didn’t study so hard, but it has done wonders for his sense of belonging.
The prizes aren’t so important to him.
He is excited to go on our regional Shabbaton. His main motivation has been the prospect of winning a medal or trophy.

Thank you
Reply to  Worth the money
February 6, 2023 11:19 am

Thank you for being that person to say one good thing about chidon.

many people said nice things
Reply to  Thank you
February 6, 2023 2:12 pm

it does not take away from that costs need to come down

there is no shabbaton anymore
Reply to  Worth the money
February 6, 2023 2:11 pm

and the 300/200 is not a registration fee

you pay registartion at the beginning of the year

Reply to  there is no shabbaton anymore
February 6, 2023 2:29 pm

Our regional trip is a Shabbaton at a local campsite.

It's like everything you do
February 6, 2023 5:59 am

You eat kosher because of peer pressure ?
You send your kids to learn Torah in this school because of peer pressure ?
You daven in this shul because of peer pressure ?
Start asking these q

Don’t do it!!!!
Reply to  It's like everything you do
February 6, 2023 6:19 pm

It is not a comparison!
Chidon and eating kosher? Are you serious?

February 6, 2023 6:33 am

Firstly, talking of chinuch, what kind of chinuch are.you.giving your kids by bashmutzing on a public forum?? 2ndly, any year long competition on this scale will cost way more than $200. Wouldn’t you pay that to encourage learning? We pay it for camp, extra school shabbatons etc etc. 3rdly, it’s NOT with minimum effort on the kids part to pass. It’s alot of work. 4 – you say only a shabbaton justifies this cost? For many, the week trip is more convenient 5- we all know what it takes to run an organization. They are in deficit. Your 200 doesn’t… Read more »

February 6, 2023 6:38 am

My dear fellow yidden. Dear struggling parents. This gashmeyos overspending has hit every frum community. I see it everywhere. Boro park,Williamsburg,Flatbush,Monsey,Lakewood you name it. You see the kids Going on expensive Yom tov vacations. There is a crazy rush for gashmiyos. Where is all the money coming from. Grandparents and great grandparents try to help. Kids today are missing the real values. They don’t realize how basic food prices have jumped sky high. You need control. Kids must be thought and given the experience of the joy of Torah. Joy of shabbos. Joy of being involved in helping parents and… Read more »

February 6, 2023 6:38 am

Let’s be honest with everything going on in the world around us, is it a terrible thing that learning has a strong gashmius appeal ? Could it be maybe that motivates kids? Could it be not all kids would join lishma? After all it’s alot of work on the kids part!
Of all things, is this what we want to make a big commotion about? Are our kids really not into the gashmius? Do they really become entitled from chidon??

Not the rebbes bakosha
February 6, 2023 6:40 am

The night before the test my kids sat down for an hour and read through the units. All passed into the 70 mark, some got 80s or 90s. I am not paying for anything. I told my kids a simple no. They aren’t even arguing they know I’m right. The whole program has become laughable.

And as someone mentioned. Much to the misinformation of many of the kids, The rebbes Koch in rambam was learning certain things everyday. This is in NO WAY fulfilling that bakosha nafshis.