Friday, 7 Tishri, 5781
  |  September 25, 2020


Whose Responsibility is Tuition?

Oped by Rabbi Sholom Ber Schapiro: Can a school refuse to allow a child to attend if tuition has not been paid - based on the Rebbe’s letters. Full Story

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This Is What Inclusion Looks Like

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What can parents do?!
August 22, 2018 3:27 pm

What can parents do to work together to expose those who ban children from learning based on tuition issues? This is especially embarrassing and damaging for the child if there is financial difficulty after the zman has started and the boy/girl is told to go home because your parents can’t pay your tuition!

Draft or final letter
August 20, 2018 10:48 am

Can we see the Rebbe’s signature on this letter? There is no indication that this was a final version signed by the Rebbe.

At Administratior #55
August 19, 2018 10:42 pm

Trying reading your own post objectively.
(Father answers the phone or walks down Kingston and you’ve made judgement. Sense of entitlement only in C.H. get training get a better job etc… don’t you see this is exactly what people are crying about, this exact judgement you have made)

To #27
August 19, 2018 8:19 pm

Thank you for your post. After years I took my children out of “Lubavitch” schools. I’m paying more in tuition but BH getting top notch chinuch. I read 60 comments of craziness and I am grateful to Hkb”H for giving me the das to do what’s right for my kids. I see I’mean not alone in seeing this clearly.

To 31 and 53
August 19, 2018 7:10 pm

Yes chinuch must be high on the list of priorities. Remember the more recent stories of mesiras nefesh for chinuch, not on the level of Hillel, but not so far from it either- the story of the Ridvatz who’s family shivered in the cold all winter so they could pay his melamed… The chassidishe Crown Heights family in the 60’s who’s father said ”yes we must have bread to eat but butter for the bread comes only after we’ve paid schar limmud for our children and there’s enough left” (Both these stories were printed in recent years in the Neshei… Read more »

56, 57, 58 - YES!!
August 19, 2018 3:54 pm

How many parents have been told to raise funds on our own? Close to 100,000 per year while working full time and raising ka”h families of 8, 9, 10 young children? How? Where are the outside grants, celebrity donations, government funds? It just doesn’t make any sense. Why new buildings when our rebbes and teachers can’t get paid? Meanwhile our children are being embarrassed and publicly humiliated in front of their friends. I just don’t get it.

August 19, 2018 2:57 pm

According to the horaa of the Rebbe were allowed to take a 49% commission and that is why they were successful.they were motivated! I don’t know anyone who works as a commission based fundraiser today.

WE are the school's partners
August 19, 2018 12:15 pm

Yes, by being cheap partners, enabling the schools to finance their new buildings as well as their hunger of nepotism, paying extraordinary sums for tuition EVEN after our kids are being sponsored by state or federally assisted programs, they still ask us for more money, then after many years of bleeding, stressing and paying fortunes out of our ears, they pat their own backs showing off their success standing on their beautiful buildings together with their exemplary families with their newly married children pulling (often) undeserved salaries over a self-created positions (sometimes 2 or 3 salaries) from day one after… Read more »

August 19, 2018 1:00 am

You said it Buddy
Time to get rid of the dinosaurs running our Rebbe’s institutions. They are bleeding us dry while they fleet around the world in first class making fancy chasunas and living in fancy homes and taking fancy holidays because after all, THEY ARE GEZER

August 19, 2018 12:54 am


August 18, 2018 11:52 pm

I am dreading this week before school. No I’m not wealthy. We worked like crazy to put our kids through school. I do my job with compassion and parents know I truly care about their kids. For every family that’s really trying to do their best, there’s 2 that curse and complain about every penny .Educating their kids and actually paying tuition is far down the list. When I call they house and the father picks up the phone or i see them strolling down Kingston i really wonder if they understand hard work. This sense of entitlement exists only… Read more »

parent's obligation according to Torah
August 18, 2018 11:08 pm

is to make sure their kids learn a trade as well as learn Torah. If more parents did that, we wouldn’t have most of the problems with tuition

August 18, 2018 10:21 pm

40 seems to be interpreting the Rebbe’s words to suit his opinion. NOWHERE does the Rebbe use the word “obligation” for the student/parent to act as Hillel. On the contrary- the Rebbe brings proof from Gemara as to Hillel’s elevated status. Would that indicate an “obligation” on the part of a regular person to act as Hillel did ? (not accept scholarship, charity etc.) On the contrary- it doesn’t make sense that Torah should excpect and obligate us to act as Hillel – what it does mean is that we should be inspired by Hillel’s example in his love and… Read more »

The rebbes message
August 18, 2018 9:05 pm

I heard from a very reliable source that the rebbe told Bais Rivkah when it was having financial difficulties to put ads in the newspapers saying that tuition will be free for any public school children that want to attend and this will help the situation.

August 18, 2018 8:53 pm

I think that all the askonim and all the people in charge of all the yeshiva should demand from the government to exempt from paying public school tax it will have a big impact on all the parents that they are able to pay a little more

Shulchan aruch on tzedoka + more halacha
August 18, 2018 8:16 pm

First is family, then local community, then Eretz Yisroel then discretionary.
School is not a business and anyone making money off school programs needs to learn the halochos (something about being chayav misa)

August 18, 2018 7:59 pm

To number 47 ,you are the exception , too many people have horror stories ,these so called “administrators “are bullies extortionists , abusers and should shamed and humiliated in public ,let us change the system don’t give in to their sickness , let them find a real job , 9 to 5 .

I was NOT sent away
August 18, 2018 3:02 pm

I was in yeshiva and one year my parents did not pay tuition and I was NOT sent home !

to #26
August 18, 2018 5:49 am

Tuition is charged on a sliding scale per family in our out of town school. BIG, BIG mistake and very unfair. What this means is that a family with 1 child could potentially be paying the same amount for tuition as a family with 8 children. It is extremely unfair to make people pay different prices for the same product. If I am paying $10 000 or more for 1 child to attend a school, I am going to expect a higher quality school than if I was paying only $1000 or $2000 per child. Therefore it is not a… Read more »

to #22
August 17, 2018 7:58 pm

I am so happy for you that you have never known the trauma of being humiliated by a lubavitcher moisid because of your money, because they don’t follow the Rebbe’s directives. This brings aawareness to our school administrators to stop this terrible, terrible ritual of shaming parents and children.

August 17, 2018 6:02 pm

Ok when this subject comes up why don’t we work with the fellow private schools in the area to get vouchers passed? Milwaukee’s Chabad school has vouchers for free lunches, vouchers for tuition and gets 800k/yr from the federation! The rich can’t cover the cost of everyone, the poor can’t pay but if our kids went to public school it would be free. They are entitled to that money from the US Government so why not campaign to redirect it to our schools?

Emmes man
August 17, 2018 5:50 pm

Haven’t you all wondered why there is not one administrator or even one of his children who don’t own homes or are financially incapable of owning a home , eventually suddenly over night they seem to have the funds for a down payment and are able to afford the mortgage , we truly have an amazing Eibershter ,wake up smell the coffee , good shabbos to all .

Misdirected Pressure!!
August 17, 2018 5:41 pm

Yes teachers need to get paid. But the yeshivas need to direct the pressure on the wealthy people in the city to fill the deficit of parents who don’t pay like the alter Rebbe states in halacha.

August 17, 2018 4:46 pm

How sad. That you are refusing to teach your children their G-d given heritage. The story about Hillel was told because a person when he is judged will be asked why he did not study Torah. Was he as poor as Hillel. Who even though he was poor, he had mesiras nefesh to learn Torah. The point of this article is that children have the right to learn Torah and the parents and schools have an obligation to see that they do.
Your children are poorer than the children of the families that can not afford tuition.

August 17, 2018 4:41 pm

Based on R Shapiro understanding of the Rebbe’s Shitah, does this also apply to out of town school? If a parent from CH really (B’Emes) can’t afford to pay, does that mean that the Yeshiva in LA, Chicago, Toronto etc must take the Bochur anyway because it’s better for the individual Bochur or can they then say that we care for the needy in our city and CH should take care of the CH needy?

Letter was added to the article
August 17, 2018 4:31 pm

Now that the letter was posted, it is apparent that the op-ed is just that – the opinions of the writer and pure conjecture on his part. There is NO indication from the Rebbe’s letter that there is a distinction between the lesson to the doorkeeper and the student, nor is it factual to say that the order indicates a greater obligation on the doorkeeper; aderaba, in the first part of the letter the Rebbe focuses on the self-sacrifice that is the OBLIGATION of the student FIRST. It is a sad state that so many are frustrated by the crisis… Read more »

An idea that could potentially help.
August 17, 2018 4:10 pm

I would like to share an Idea that might have the potential to help with the important issue of tuition. First, I would like to share my perspective on a few points on the tuition subject. 1. I believe that the tuition situation is now one of the biggest challenges of our community and Klal Yisrael and has very wide range affects. 2. I do not resonate with any of the blaming comments. My comment and suggestion is not addressed to those who have figured out who is at fault and what others ought to do to fix the situation.… Read more »

August 17, 2018 3:40 pm

The ones running our schools all have fixed over homes and all thier married children all own homes and country Homes as well, one administrator manages luxury vacations. These all the while making parents sick and embarrassing them in public by not letting the kids into school. Some yeshivas embarrassing the children as a guarantee that the parents will pay whats past due ( what I am saying is a fact) so its all about the money and not about our children its simply a business for them as someone that has a plumbing supply business you pay you get… Read more »

August 17, 2018 3:32 pm

Do you think parents are hiding money? The article points to the fact that boards should fundraise outside the community instead of squeezing broke parents for money they don’t have.

August 17, 2018 3:21 pm

Sad situation There’s never been a case in known history where education was at the same time paid for exclusively by parents and also universal. Choose one. Universal education is either on the backs of the community (taxes) or else on the wealthy. Tuition has never been the primary component of funding a universal education system. Times have changed and the cost of running schools has risen (try finding a place to house your school, should you wish to open one up…) and our wealthy are a lot less… than they once were. Parents are being squeezed and are coughing… Read more »

Wait till the teachers aren't paid.
August 17, 2018 2:27 pm

The largest expense for schools are salaries. I wonder what Rabbi Shapiro will do when teachers are paid less or not at all thanks to his insight of why the Rebbe put the responsibility of the hanhala first and that to the parents it is just a good “recommendation” to parents to strive for.

Several points made here
August 17, 2018 2:25 pm

There is a difference between parents who can’t reasonably pay and those that won’t. Pr parents tht try and parents that never return phone calls.
In Lakewood there is a strict minimum tuition and parents are expected to go fund raise for themselves in order to pay the minimum.
Now about children with what you call “other considerations, behavior challenges- both elementary age and high school-
I believe you find more children in public schools or OTD as our school can’t or won’t have professional staff to help with this.

Did Anyone Look !,, How many Jewish / Frum children Are in Public Schools
August 17, 2018 1:43 pm

It’s Astonishing , Our Help needs to come to Fruition ,
( I’m talking Boro Park, Crown heights ect)

Justice supreme
August 17, 2018 1:15 pm

In all chassiddishe Mosdos even the well to do don’t pay more than 2500.00 per student , the multimillionaires take care and support the yeshivas , it is unheard of that a child should not be permitted in Yeshiva because of the lack of money ,the administrators simply don’t respect the people and our holy Rebbe enough to follow the rules , they would rather use extortion and terror , shame on them , it must come to an end , it’s simply unacceptable .

to 28
August 17, 2018 1:05 pm

i dont believ that . Yes the schools push you to the limit , myself included. But it is a parents responsibility to educate the child. so even if that means forgoing any luxuries whatsoever, tuition comes first. Yes i know its expenisve to live in CH , i live here too. I just see so many people crying poverty but then spenidng on luxuries

l. r. m.
August 17, 2018 12:53 pm

b’h A very crucial point which the administrations need to ALWAYS bear in mind: You are PUBLIC SERVANTS. YOU SERVE THE COMMUNITY AND ITS MEMBERS.. Just as Moshe Rabbeinu, the Rebbe, Shevet Levy etc. – all are humble PUBLIC SERVANTS who are well aware of their holy and very important job – and are careful to constantly be above suspicion in all matters (personal, spiritual, financial etc). A regular person working in his own business and profession does as he pleases and of course needs to also deal honestly etc. But one who serves the kl’all needs to be even… Read more »

to #24
August 17, 2018 12:13 pm

the fact is that a lot Lubavitcher mosdos and yeshivos today even turn away children who truly CAN’T pay tuition at all cause they struggle just to feed and care for basic family needs. They come up with pilpulim that there are other yeshivos in town to send your kids so it is kosher to do so! All Lubavitcher Rabbonim should unite against this disgrace to the Rebbe’s mosdos and prohibit turning away a jewish child no matter the excuse! Let them fundraise from gevirim harder or step down!

The Rebbe's ZY'A position is mirrored by Rav Moshe Feinstein, ZY'A
August 17, 2018 12:00 pm

One day, Rav Moshe, ZY’A saw one of the students of his Yeshiva, walking in the street. He wondered why? The lad was thrown out because his parents did not have the money to pay tuition for him. Rav Moshe was incensed. Not only did Rav Moshe take the boy back into school, he took him home to live with him until he married. He became a great Rov himself, Rav Nissan Alpert. OBM. The point is that a Yeshiva education is the RIGHT of every Jewish child. A yeshiva is not a business. Neither is teaching our precious diamonds…our… Read more »

August 17, 2018 11:53 am

If you go through the system as I did, you are taught to have many children, not go to college, to be a homemaker. Boys don’t learn (some) English and are encouraged to go on Shlichos and became teachers. A successful product of the schooling you provide ensures that most people won’t be able to afford the tuition demanded. You can sit in front of the board , you and your children could be humiliated because you’ve become who they taught you to be. At the same time tuition is needed to pay teachers and maintain the school and the… Read more »

Some suggestions
August 17, 2018 11:50 am

Until schools are free (endowments, vouchers, or gvirim), schools need limits of what to expect. Tuitions are endangering our community. 1. A Merkos school should agree to one rate per family, K-12. 2. Sliding scale tuition per family: <100K, you pay 10% of income; 100-250K, 20%; more than that, tov alov brocha 3. That should include maaser (need a Rov to figure this out) 4. Split the bill by number of kids in elementary & mesivta 5. Hanhalos need to do the heavy lifting to fundraise; and the community must respond in kind. This is a large-scale problem, that needs… Read more »

stupid article - sorry
August 17, 2018 11:40 am

firstly, post the letters you quote. Secondly i believe the Rebbe was referring to accepting kids who CANT pay tuition not DONT WANT TO. if you can afford to go to the country you can afford tuition. end of story. I dont go to the country because i cant afford it – i stay in the city to WORK and pay tuition fr my kids. So stop complaining, get jobs and pay tuition so all our kids can have a better education. . Not talking about the select few who due to unfortunate circumstances cant. If you’re healthy and well,… Read more »

Print many copies of this article and bring it to administrator
August 17, 2018 11:34 am

Print a copy and bring it to administrator
Administrators who embarrass and humiliate the parents. Should be removed from his job
Administrator who bring these pressures to parents should be made public their names in a “wall of reshaim”

August 17, 2018 11:30 am

b’h This is precisely the point: (21) WE HAVE SURPASSED ALL FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGNS?! this statement is ludicrous – how much are the administrations doing to fund raise?1 How much time are they spending in their offices and how much time are they spending traveling the world, as Rabbi Weinberg and others did to bring in funds?! You can’t do this just with a cell phone and pressuring parents for funds. As the Rebbe says – there are various means – ALL means must be tried to the UTMOST. And if these administrators cannot do their job properly – let them… Read more »

This article is nothing new!
August 17, 2018 11:01 am

The Rebbe holds that schools should accept all children (if they can pay or not). This is old and self understood. But this article doesn’t show how to resolve the problem of schools not being able to pay their teachers. We have surpassed all fundraising campaigns . Now what?! Don’t see the point of this article.

August 17, 2018 10:40 am

Yes, it is a necessity we live in apartments with 8 children , in some cases 2 in a bed , no where for the children to run around , paying 3800.00 per month rent , yes rent not a mortgage , are we permitted to have a little better life for our children , or we must give itt to the already lazy , money grabbing administrators who lack nothing what’s so ever .

August 17, 2018 10:37 am

In the local Lubavitch Yeshiva Gedolah (not CH or US) the administrater went up to a local bocher in the dining room and in front of all the other bochurim told him to go home to eat as his parents do not pay any tuition!!!

Very unrealistic
August 17, 2018 10:24 am

Who is supposed to give money to one of the smaller yeshivas
Nobody. Who is supposed to pay teachers and the huge expenses of running a school. Somebody. That’s CH. Entitlement that the government or invisible rich donors will pay their bills. Of course lying to get benefits is ok. Not stealing. Out of state schools have 3 times the tuition with no government handouts. .
I’ve been called a gonif trying to get $4000 for 6 kids. While my own kids (shluchim) pay $6k per kid. Something smells.

August 17, 2018 9:39 am

This Letter must be so comforting to all those coming back from a beautiful summer up in the mountains cry in the offices they have no tuition. Oh I forgot the country is not a luxury its And necessity

I agree that there could be more fundraising but what about more parental participation?
August 17, 2018 8:58 am

Some schools allow parents to barter services to pay tuition. That includes substituting, lice checks, preparing art projects, supervising field trips, etc…

One fundraiser that I have not seen in ages, however, involved getting a business to donate a portion of the proceeds of a sale on a certain day and then the school drums up business for that day. These could involve gas stations, restaurants, or any frequently used business.

August 17, 2018 7:39 am

Ask those who run the Mosdos to show you their cancelled checks that they wrote for tuition , these people with their children and grandchildren are taken care of forever because we are paying their bills etc.. we sustain their lifestyle , cars houses bungalows vacations etc everything under the sun , we are foolish , stop giving them let them get out there and collect the money , it’s called work , which they know about .

Where is the like button!
August 17, 2018 7:08 am

Can I like this a hundred times!!!

No Way
August 17, 2018 6:50 am

There is no way that tuition alone can cover the school’s budget. The administration has the holy mission of raising funds to support the schools and insure the future of the Jewish people. Whether from the government, Federation, foundations, or wealthy donors, the budget must be raised.
Ambitious young people! This is also “shlichus”! Become a fundraiser for a Chabad school and give the Rebbe nachas!

Case in point
August 17, 2018 4:44 am

As a Rebbes Torah institution, we recently had a parent claimed not afford even $1 in tuitions and a decision was made to accept the child non-the-less. But this is hardly possible or responsible to run a school that way. Since ultimately the staff will not be able to get paid. Yes, school must and do fundraise. Yes, school must look for new and creative ways to fundraise. But so many wealthy people that schools approach for support answer, “we are so “over asked”. And contribute relatively small sums which don’t fill the budget gap. This is a 3 way… Read more »

Thank You
August 17, 2018 2:19 am

Please post the actual letters

August 17, 2018 2:16 am



Yasher Koach for this important article
August 17, 2018 2:16 am

Many of us parents have been choked to the “I cannot breathe” stage when it comes to tuition. I remember hearing Rabbi Yosef Wineberg crying in a session to shluchim, saying how he does not think that this is what the Rebbe envisioned regarding how badly parents are squeezed with tuition. With all that it would be worth it if at least we felt that the boys are really getting the love and care that is needed in today’s generation…but that is a whole new topic…

You have no idea...
August 17, 2018 2:15 am

How we’ve been humiliated and abused, our children publicly embarrassed due to financial challenges. This article and the words of our Dear Rebbe are a balm of healing. Rabbi Schapiro, thank you.

Would like to see original letter
August 17, 2018 12:52 am

Can you please post the actual letter

August 17, 2018 12:22 am

I have hundreds of dollars debts , not a dime to marry my children and I have to pay for my 5 children in yeshiva so much money where am I suppose to have it

Rabbi Shapiro - a brave man!
August 16, 2018 11:15 pm

Rabbi Shapiro. You are a very brave man. You stood up to say what’s right; if The Rebbe wrote these words than IT IS right! Much too long His holy words have been ignored.
It’s very convenient and easy for our institutions to boast about how many students they have while ommiting the sad facts – the many children who were/are hurt by their practice of squeezing, shaming and pressuring. Sadly, even some of the “notable” Ziknei Hachasiddim succumbed to applying these tactics.

August 16, 2018 11:12 pm

I always wondered when it comes to tuition, the Rebbes advice flies out the window. The boards do not ask a shaila to any Rav before throwing out kids. Thank you for your clarity in this dire issue that affects our kinderach neshomos. I truly pray that the people in charge take heed and won’t keep kids home due to money.

August 16, 2018 10:44 pm

When parents and the yeshiva will be on one page , parents generous and yeshivha more flexible – our kids will benefit from the system …..

tuition should be affordable for all and better free , parents will give birth to more kids and make bigger local community

Well written.
August 16, 2018 10:22 pm

If only the people at the top of the administrations in these “Chabad” schools practiced the words of what our Rebbe spoke. It is not easy to run a school and with the power they feel it brings them it is easily to forget the words of what the Rebbe has spoken of that you mention here and unfortunately the power blinds them from being able to run a Chabad school the true and right way the Rebbe spoke of.

August 16, 2018 10:15 pm

thank you thank you thank you for bringning awareness to our moisdois! finally this has been said! countless families have been humiliated in our own moisdois because of their financial situation.