Op-Ed Follow Up: The Rebbe on Summer Vacation

As a follow up to the controversial op-ed we published last month decrying the almost three months of ‘summer vacation’ allotted to students of Crown Heights’ schools, we present to our readers an issue of the weekly publication by Merkaz Anash ‘Hammaseh Hu Ha’ikar,’ in which the Rebbe’s stance on the matter is made very clear.

Click on images to enlarge

A call For Action -Summer Vacation pg1 A call For Action -Summer Vacation pg2

For various reasons Yeshivas-Free translation-page-001

33 Comments

  • 1. Character over acedemics wrote:

    If only they focused on Yerei Shamayim and character at least of much as they focuse on scholastics and covering material, maybe the schools would produce more “Mentchen”. But alas, finishing more Psukim in Chumash is more important than building good Middos and making Chasidishe children.

    • 2. Give me A break wrote wrote:

      vacation, a break is a great thing, BUT not three months in the street. Especially, for teenage boys and girls who hang out the streets without any structure…. THIS is the main reason why they go off the DERECH.
      Most of the bochorim, aged mesiva and beis medrash, stay in the street. Very few land a job as a counselor or waiter, but the majority are without structure or plan.
      This leads them to alcohol… drugs… chilul shabbos.. You can clearly see (by viewing pictures of recent Lchaims) that a big majority of our bochorim dont have beards…the beginning to this is the three months of the summer…
      The Rebbe zt”l screamed and cried and wrote letters and answers about the HEFKAIRUS of closing of our Yeshivas for the three months of summer. AND NO ONE LISTENED TO THE REBBE….ALL his great big chassidim!!
      Today, we see that an entire generation does not know what it means to HACHANA (preparedness) to Rosh Hashana and the entire month of Tishrei. The empty summer months – brings the boys and girls to observe Tisha Baav-a day of mourning as a day to pass with watching videos , as is a minhag in many camps….And………
      In these three months they truly forget what they attempted to learn during YESHIVAS months…when the choice of what to do during the free months comes THE YETZER HORAH takes the lead

    • 3. Chaim wrote:

      I must disagree.
      Schools should and must focus on scholastics and covering material and Baroch Hashem there has been much improvement since my days in school. The point of the Sicho above is not about this. The point is that all this learning is wasted (for nothing) as a result of this so called “vacation”.

      Producing more “Mentchen”, building good Middos and making Chasidishe children, is something that can only come from the home (from the parents).

      You can’t teach “mentchlkit” in school, you need to show it, by leading in example (and this is mainly at home).

    • 4. רבינו ירוחם wrote:

      זאל אלעמען אריוספעלן צוליב דיר? עם הארץ?

  • 5. Chaim wrote:

    Can anybody explain how it is that for 10 weeks a year the doors to our Yeshivas and Chaders are closed?

    Perhaps the administration of Oholei Torah, the largest Chabad Yeshiva and Chader in America (or perhaps in the world) can answer this question?

    As divine providence has it on the 9th of Adar II 5774 Oholei Torah hosted an event that dealt with the question of how do we protect ourselves in the future from the Call of the Shofar saga and similar predicaments?

    The answer is common sense, so obvious and right in front of our faces.

    The Rebbe, our teacher and father points this out time and time again, year after year.

    Being that Oholei Torah is the largest educational institution, it is the Oholei Torah administrations responsibly to lead the way in implementing this change. The fact is that all the other [at least local Crown Heights] schools follow Oholei Torah ‘s lead. They do this for snow days; “Vacation” before Yomim Tovim and when to start and end school.

    That said, I ask….

    Rabbi Yossel Rosenfeld, Executive Director of Oholei Torah, how is it that you allow your institution of Torah learning to be closed for 10 whole weeks (during the summer)?

    Rabbi Sholom Rosenfeld, Director of Oholei Torah, how is it that you allow your institution of Torah learning to be closed for 10 whole weeks (during the summer)?

    Rabbi Hershel Lustig, dean of the elementary department of Oholei Torah, how is it that you allow your institution of Torah learning to be closed for 10 whole weeks (during the summer)?

    Rabbi Zushe Wilhelm, Menahel – Principal of Oholei Torah Mesivta and Mashgiac Rabbi Hillel A. Laufer, how is it that you allow your institution of Torah learning to be closed for 10 whole weeks (during the summer)?,

    Oholei Torah Zal, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yisroel Friedman and Mashpiim, Rabbis Nachman Schapiro, Sholom Charitonov, Shlomo Sternberg, Pinchas Korf, Yekusiel Feldman, Levi Yitzchok Matusov, Yosef Yitzchok Pevzner and Schenor Zalman Vilenkin how is it that you allow your institution of Torah learning to be closed for 10 whole weeks (during the summer)?

    Every true Rebbe (teacher) should be demanding this! A teacher who does not demand this change, does not belong in a class room teaching our children. Such a teacher is a criminal.

    Every parent that cares for his children’s education and future should be demanding this!

    • 6. In a place where there is no mentsh.... wrote:

      In a place where Oholei Torah is not leading the way, another cheder has been standing up for the Rebbe’s horaos on this matter, for over 8 years now:
      Cheder Ohr Menachem goes from Rosh Chodesh Elul through into just before Tisha B’Av.
      The boys are happy, and they are learning, and they don’t need to bypass Yiddish teiching, and they have a geshmak in all they do.
      You say that Oholei Torah should be leading the way, but in a place where Oholei Torah is not leading the way, look elsewhere. Cheder Ohr Menachem is leading the way!

    • 8. לא מקשיבים לרבי זצ"ל wrote:

      אחרי שהקשבתי לשיחה האמורה נהיה לי שאלה קשה על המשפיעים ראשי ישיבות של מוסד אוהלי תורה איך הם נותנים ליסגור הישיבה לכמעט שלוש חודשים ושולחים את הבחורים לרחוב. לפי הרבי זצ”ל שהם כל היום משתמשים בשמו היו צריכים להקים צעקה גדולה ומרה אבל כניראה
      . …..
      וגם לפי ההלכה זה בגדר של עושה מלאכת השם רמיה ושוב פעם באם המשפיעים הראשי ישיבות אמיתים היו צריכים להקים קול צעקה על זה שסוגרים ישיבה לשלוש חודשים אבל כניראה
      ….
      והתירוץ הוא חיים בעלמא דשיקרא שהמפיעים והראשי ישיבות לא אכיפת להם מהבחורים כהוא זה ורק מחדירים בהם פוליטקא…. לא יראת שמים לא הלכה ולא חסידות …וד”ל והמבין יבין

  • 9. Chaim wrote:

    Everywhere I go in Crown Heights, whether it be a local store or office, I overhear parents discussing this issue.

    There’s a lot of frustration about this situation.

    One place I over hear parents discussing the high cost of camp.

    Another about the fact that there is not enough place for their children.

    Another place – and this is my main issue – how the children’s learning – everything they learned during the year goes down the drain.

    What good are all the extra programs we have during the years, when in the summer it’s all lost?

    What good are all the “mivtas” (campaigns), if during the summer it’s all lost?

    We are filling the cup with good healthy water, the problem is that there’s a hole at the bottom, that hole is the summer months.

    Before you comment here please take the time to actually read the Rebbe opinion on the matter.

  • 10. Why Are Our Kids Dropping Out? wrote:

    B”H

    Why Are Our Kids Dropping Out of Yeshiva
    and as a Result Dropping Out of Yiddishkeit?

    In a Sicha given over on Shabbos Parshas שמיני found here (page 343):

    http://www.livingwiththerebbe.com/pdf/82/82-2203-0.pdf

    The Rebbe relates a well known story that the Previous Rebbe related about a man known as “Yosef the Wooden-Beam” (“יאשע דער קלאץ”).

    [Free Translation]

    [Yosef] was a Jew who would study Torah 18 (out of 24) hours a day, and because of his great poverty, he didn’t own a chair, and thus he would sit on a wooden beam and because he would shake (to and thro) while learning, as is the custom of Jews, his “wooden beam” became shaped with the impression of where he sat, thus he received the name ” ,”יאשע דער קלאץ Yosef the Wooden Beam.

    He was once asked: Since it has been 30 or 40 years that you study 18 hours a day, why can’t you allow yourself to cease learning for an hour or a half an hour, learn only 17 (or 17 and a half) hours?

    He responded, that if he decreases even a bit in his learning, another Jew might leave the ways of Hashem (to go off the path) Heaven forbid!
    When asked to explain the meaning of this, he explained, when I learn 18 hours, he who is on a lower level will learn a bit less, and so on [For everyone looks at who is on a level above him, and accordingly accustoms themselves at one level below]. Until we reach the Jew who is at the lowest of all levels [of Torah study], and this Jew still holds on to his Yiddishkit. Therefore, if I decrease in my learning, then this will cause a decrease and weakening in all the levels, and the end will be that this last Jew (on the lowest level who learns a bit) will leave the Jewish faith Heaven forbid.

  • 11. Schools have wrong focus wrote:

    Are the schools’ main focus on Learning more Chumash or imparting and instilling the proper values into the students?
    Rhetorical question guys! We all know the answer.

    • 13. To Chaim wrote:

      You’re right to a point, but ultimately when kids grow up and forget most of the material they learned anyway, just like you, me and most out there. (remember the whole “Perek Ha’Soicher”? My point) What’ll mater is whether they’ve got character, are Mentchen, have good Middos and are Ehrliche Yidden. Yes the home plays a massive role, but schools need to focus much more on it.

  • 14. A Desire For Change wrote:

    Now there is an את רצון -Desire- for change in the way we do things.

    This whole story with ‘COTS’ was a great wake up call. It is time to start implementing the Rebbe’s will.

    As a father I know that what the Rebbe is saying is not just an opinion c”v or good advise, but rather a realty.

    My oldest is now 7 years (in second grade), Thank G-d he’s a good student and B”H he gives us lot’s of Nachas.

    When he was 5 and in Pre-1a, I already saw the damage the summer did to his learning and behavior.

    Time to wake up and do the right thing.

    This vacation is killing our children’s Yiddishkit!!!!

  • 15. I hope wrote:

    I hope the schools teach enough Chumash and Gemara, etc. but I hope even more that they turn the kids into moral and principled Chasidishe Bochurim.

    • 16. חילול השם wrote wrote:

      The mashpiam of the Yeshivas -who always preach in farbregens that CHABAD LUBAVITCH is the TOP OF TOP, These same mashpiam should go to WIlliamsburg, Boro Park, Monsey , and even Lakewood to see how they run their Yeshivas in the summer months.
      They are always open to guide their talmidim- or in the city or in the whole yeshiva moves to the country air
      Lubavitch is the ONLY one who sends hundreds and thousands children to the street for three months and GO AROUND the world to MEKAREV one JEW -not that its not important
      BUT PLEASE …OUR children…SAVE THEM

  • 17. A real shame! wrote:

    This is so true! And especially for the boys yeshivas, mesivta, and bais medrash that sing the “we never close” song …so casually close down for three months without caring what the boys are doing or occupying themselves with!!! A real shame!

    • 18. Bocher wrote:

      And they even harass bochrim for coming a bit late.

      For G-Ds skae, you close the yeshiva down for almost three months, why you all of a sudden concerned about the 5 – 10 minutes i came late?

  • 19. Boys need a Break wrote:

    It is not a mitzvah to keep the energy of growing boys all pent up. They sit and learn a whole year – they need the fresh air and the physical activity of camp. Plus they have plenty of torah in camp. Let them live.

    • 20. Chaim wrote:

      See above Sicho before commenting. Your comment suggest that you didn’t read the Sicho.

  • 21. Daycamp wrote:

    How do you say the Yeshiva is closed? They offer 8 weeks of day camp. They accept what ever you can pay so no child should be stuck home. They have melamdim teaching in the mornings.

    AND there is a week of ‘summer learning’ in OT between daycamp and school. We get a postcard about it each year.

    • 22. Chaim wrote:

      Are you debating the Lubavitcher Rebbe?

      It’s the Rebbe whose asking how it is that schools close their doors during the summer. I’m sure the Rebbe was very much aware of the fact that there was day camps and sleep away camps. (The Rebbe spoke about those many times).
      STILL the Rebbe didn’t want that Yeshivas etc… should close during the summer.

      When the Rebbe did speak about camp, it was only because if we were not going to listen (about keeping Yeshiva open), at least do the camp this way or that. This does not mean we can’t start listing now, esp when we see the damage this “vacation” does.

      It’s time to face realty.

  • 23. Chaim wrote:

    Something tells me that you just might be a director of such a camp…it’s just a feeling.

    Anyways, daycamo is a joke. There is burly any learning. The learning is not the same as during the year, its not consistent and not on the same level.

    The structure of camp is not the same, period!
    The fact is, the realty is that kids/bochrim either go down in learning and behavior and the older ones leave yeshiva. This is fact. All because of the summer.

    Because a few go to camp and MAY gain form it, does not mean the rest need to lose.

    The lose of many outweights the so called “gain” of a few.

    Another point aboit day camps:
    who are the counslors, young bochrim (14 to 17), kids watching over kids. What do those bochrim do after 3or 4pm when they finish “work”?

    • 24. Anonymous wrote:

      I am NOT a camp director. I am a parent in the community who, while knowing we have a lot to improve, appreciates what we have.

    • 25. Chaim wrote:

      To Anonymous who wrote:
      …”I am a parent in the community who, while knowing we have a lot to improve, appreciates what we have.”

      If you are sending your child for babysitting then by all mean “appreciate what we have”, after all what would be the difference, the hour are the same.

      But if you care about your child’s ongoing education, behavior and as the Rebbe describes “his Yiddishkit” , then you don’t just appreciate what you have, you demand more, you demand better.

      Az Gut Iz Gut, iz Besser Nisht besser (if good is good, is better not better).

      When my first child (a son) was is PRE1A, i already recognized the decline in his learning and behavior (he’s B”H a good student, who enjoys learning).

      I’m dreading the summer.

      I work 12 months a year. I Don’t have 10 weeks vacation and I don’t want a 10 week vacation.

      I have a vacation day once a week, it’s called Shabbos Kodesh. I use this vacation to spend extra time with my wife and kids and doing some extra learning myself.

      Sleep? I’ll sleep after 120.

      I also get many days of Yomim Tovim.

      Bottom line: The day camps (the way they are set up now), is not the solution. I’m not interested in make believe learning.

      I suggest you read or listen to the Sicho before commenting.

  • 26. $$$$$ wrote:

    Parents pay for camps and summer programs way more than they pay for tuition……
    so money is not the issue… …
    They give that money to schools and schools can pay their teachers!!

  • 27. mz wrote:

    From the של”ה הקודש:
    ועיקר הכולל הכל יהיה נעקר ונשרש מן העולם השם של בין הזמנים, לא יזכר ולא יפקד, רק כל העתים שוים לטובה, יתנהגו במנהג אחד לתורה, כמו שנאמר (יהושע א, ח) : והגית בו יומם ולילה.

  • 28. Cheder Menachem Los Angeles wrote:

    Is open 11 months a year. The boys get 1 week of vacation and then it is mandatory (unless you have a legible excuse) that every boy in grades 1-6 attend, and boys in 7th and 8th grade that do not go to sleepaway camp must also attend. The only way to get out of this, for boys in 6th grade and older, is if they go to camp for 2 months. Otherwise all of the Cheder menachem boys go to CGI Montreal, Parksville… 2nd month.
    The 1 month of summer camp-school functions very well. The boys learn with their regular Rebbi in the morning, like usual, and in the afternoon they have counselors (yeshiva bochurim) and a regular camp staff with head counselor, lunch and activities and trips.

    For teenage girls, Camp Emunah BJJ Teen Camp is the place to be! I spent 2 summers there as a girl; the best, most ruchnius growing months of my life.
    They have an amazing staff, and in fact one slogan that was often repeated was one that the Rebbe said when he visited Camp Emunah (I’m not sure what year), “What you can accomplish in one month of camp, you cannot accomplish in 10 months of school.”

    I know that this quote can be torn apart, but if you want to take it the right way, there is so much to gain from it. I did not go to a Lubavitch high school, so Teen Camp is where I learned so much.

    And this saying certainly held true for me.

    In fact, for Color War, our team being “camp” and the other team being “school”, we won using this quote as our team motto.

    If you pick the right place for your child then you can hold onto this idea as well.

    And the complaint is a very valid one. But do all of these Rebbi’s and rabbonim check these websites??? Why not send a delegation of parents to speak with the administration?
    How about parents being proactive instead of complaining, which is obviously not helping.
    (BTW: I would go but I live out of town, on Shlichus).

    Hatazlacha, and this should lead to only good news.

  • 29. Citizen Berel wrote:

    Schools are bleeding money, teachers are overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated, I don’t think the solution is the school, though that would be nice.

    The solution is …. older bochurim and perhaps young men samuch al shulchan avihem. Make learning camps using the empty schools who could at least provide space for no cost. A new genre of shlichus.

    As we get poorer and poorer and the price of everything goes up and up and government help because more and more parsimonious and restrictive we are going to need to solve our issues with more human capital than material.

    • 30. Chaim wrote:

      If you read or listened to the Sicho above you would notice that the Rebbe zt”l address this issue (amongst many).

      MONEY?

      “If the point is money — life is worth much more. We speak of the life of the children and all the generations to come. Give him strength now so that he will have the ability — years later — to establish a family.”

      THEY NEED A BRAKE?

      “There is another argument — that the teachers need to rest, or maybe the children need a rest. They worked hard for 10 months, 6 days a week, studying — have pity, let them rest. The answer is there is no resting from life!! It is the opposite of rest!”

  • 32. ex-israeli wrote:

    In Israel the schools did not close for such long vacations. The boys only had off around 2 weeks in summer. And despite that – kids were dropping out. So it is not logical to blame all of our social ills on this one issue. it may be a contributing factor, but the full story is much more complex. The internet has stolen far more children from our community than any lack of school or relaxed day camp. Maybe people can get together and arrange casual, small groups among themselves for some of the summer weeks. A chance to help struggling kids get ahead, review material, or offer advancement for gifted learners. a lot of parents are also home all summer (teachers, school staff). there are also good online learning opportunities to avail yourselves of.

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