By COLlive reporter
Representatives of Jewish schools for boys in Crown Heights reportedly held an emergency meeting Monday in an unknown location discussing the shortage of space in the institutions.
A teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, told COLlive that 60 children were not accepted into any school because of a lack of space.
Rabbi Hershel Lustig, dean of the Elementary Division of Educational Institute Oholei Torah, told COLlive in response: “If there was such a meeting, I was not involved.”
Also Rabbi Yosef Simpson, Principal at United Lubavitcher Yeshiva, told COLlive, “I don’t know of any meeting.”
The two, who head the largest elementary schools in the Brooklyn neighborhood, aknowledged that there is a problem, but differed on whether it is immediate.
“I don’t know of anyone who was not able to get in,” Rabbi Lustig said. “There is definitely a very tight situation. If you project to the future, it can develop into a problem.”
His explanation to the mysterious meeting is “someone might be raising the roof because he wants to enroll in a second school after being accepted somewhere else first.”
Rabbi Simpson, on the other hand, said: “I know we turned away quite a few children. We are talking about pre-schoolers. We are pushing 30 in a class and don’t have the physical space to open a new class.”
60 is an exaggeration, according to Simpson. “I would say certainly in the area of 40. This is a crisis that will only be going to get worse.”
In recent years new schools have opened, catering to specialized needs of students, such as Cheder at the Ohel on one hand and Ohr Menachem on the other.
“We are giving better service today – better rooms and smaller classes,” Rabbi Lustig says. “We actually had more talmidim in past years, before the other schools opened. We had classes in rooms that today, parents wouldn’t stand for.”
Rabbi Simpson: “Is there a solution? I don’t know of any remedy for this problem. But there definitely is a crisis. I think it’s due to many young couples not going on shlichus these days because of a shortage of positions. So they go to college and settle here, with their growing families.”