Three Women Elected to Colony’s Board of Directors

Election results from a vote held in the Mei Menuchos bungalow colony in S. Fallsburg, NY, were unprecedented, with the new board now comprised entirely of women. A Crown Heights Rabbi objected to women serving on the board, only to backtrack later and permit it.

On Motzai Shabbos, bungalow owners in the Mei Menuchos colony in the Catskill Mountains held elections for replacements to their three-member board of directors.

Vying for the positions was a bloc of three men, opposite a bloc of three woman.

When the final votes were tallied, the three women, Mrs. Esther Caplan, Mrs. Chanie Levy and Mrs. Ahuva Fogelman, won with 53% of the vote.

This victory is unprecedented, in that the new board will be made up exclusively of women. Other bungalow colonies have had mixed boards with both men and women, but never a board comprised solely of women.

Before the elections, word was going around Mei Menuchos that Rabbi Yaacov Schwei, a Crown Heights Rov, had weighed in that woman should not be allowed to serve on the board of a colony. The Rabbi indicated that certain types of public service were forbidden for woman to serve in.

At the elections themselves, Mrs. Sara Donin, a homeowner and the general bookkeeper of the colony, announced that she had spoken with Rabbi Schwei and that he said that women can in fact serve on the board, but that a man needs to serve as president – if only in title alone.

Attempts to reach Rabbi Schwei for independent clarification of his remarks were unsuccessful, and messages left were not returned by the time of publication.

74 Comments

  • 1. CR wrote:

    This is the shape of things to come. In so many communities in which the men spend years learning in kollelim it is the women who go into the working world and become professionals or entrepreneurs to support their households. After attaining success and becoming major figures in their respective fields they will begin applying those leadership skills in local community institutions as well.

    Regardless of what we may think of this development this is rapidly becoming inevitable.

    Reply
  • 2. leave it to the rabbis... wrote:

    …to screw it all up. what is wrong with women running something? is it that they are no longer in the kitchen that bothers them so much?

    Reply
    • 3. Milhouse wrote:

      Try learning some halocho once in a while and you’ll know what the problem is. It’s the rabbis’ job to keep us on the straight and narrow, and to object when we deviate from it.

  • 5. cost wrote:

    i wonder how much an average summer costs upstate? do all those who own upstate homes pay full tuition?

    Reply
    • 6. Mei Menuchos wrote:

      in that colony I heard this year between taxes and maintenance the cost was about 10,000 before factoring all the summer living expenses (food, gas, tolls…)

    • 8. Anonymous wrote:

      For starters, Shoprite is a fraction of the cost of the local stores. I calculate I save at least 300 per week.

  • 12. Jewish law wrote:

    Rambam -Melachim uMilchamot – Chapter 1, Melachim uMilchamot
    5
    We may not appoint a woman as king. When describing the monarchy, the Torah employs the male form of the word king and not the female.
    This principle also applies to all other positions of authority within Israel. Only men should be appointed to fill them.

    Reply
    • 13. Check your facts wrote:

      Um devorah haneviah??

      Don’t you think it’s kind of a stretch to say the the board of a dinky little bungalow colony is a position of “authority “?!

    • 14. Milhouse wrote:

      Why don’t you check your facts? Devorah could only arbitrate between parties who had all voluntarily agreed to accept her decision despite her not being a real judge. If both parties to a dispute agree they can use any means to resolve their dispute, including tossing a coin or consulting someone who is not a judge but whom they both trust, even if that person is a goy, let alone a Jewish woman. She had no authority to compel people to submit to her judgement, and she could not sit on cases which require a real court.

    • 15. Milhouse wrote:

      Even an irrigation commissioner, if he has sole authority over rationing the water, may not be a woman or a ger. A board is different because all decisions must be made by a majority, so none of its members is in a position of sole authority.

  • 16. I Spy wrote:

    I spy one of these yentes, they most definitely do not pay even close to full Tuition…….

    Reply
  • 18. To number 3 wrote:

    Most of the owners get breaks on tuition and I’ve seen them shop with ebt cards etc

    Reply
  • 19. Everyone needs a brake wrote:

    People are entitled to live
    Stop judging everyone about cost and tuition

    Everyone needs a break
    Especially those who live in small apartments all year round
    And all kids deserve to enjoy their summer

    Reply
    • 20. just wondering wrote:

      I was just wondering, should that break come at the cost of not being able to pay teachers on time, so that teachers themselves should never be able to get a break?

      Give ME a BREAK! If you can find a way to pay an extra $20,000 in summer expenses then you can find a way to pony up full tuition. You break does not get to come at the expense of all teachers.

      For Shame!!!

  • 22. On the Board without a board/beard wrote:

    Next we need women on the school boards, starting with GIRLS schools and then also boys schools and yeshivos… The shul boards… CH Jewish Community Counsel Board…time to get with the times! No need to have a “board” (yiddish for beard) to be on the board!

    Reply
    • 23. Bill wrote:

      You obviously haven’t seen some of the boards in Crown Heights – many not having beards (and they are men)

  • 24. Who spends more time? wrote:

    Who spends more time upstate? Whoevwr that is should be elected as they know better whats needed etc.

    Not giving a psak din but look rambam melachim chapter 1 halcha 4-6
    [ה] אין מעמידין אישה במלכות–שנאמר “מלך” (דברים יז,טו), ולא מלכה; וכן כל משימות שבישראל, אין ממנים בהם אלא איש

    Reply
  • 25. outrageous wrote:

    Rabbi Osdaba was also asked before the election took place and he said that women should not be on the board .

    Reply
  • 27. Stay at Homer wrote:

    I prefer my spacious Crown Heights home to a cramped bungalow in the middle of nowhere.

    Reply
    • 29. saying something in the name of: wrote:

      “אמר רבי אלעזר א”ר חנינא כל האומר דבר בשם אומרו מביא גאולה לעולם שנאמר ותאמר אסתר למלך בשם מרדכי”

      מגילה טז ע”א

    • 30. Name wrote:

      Chutzpenyak
      The Rambam said it not enough for you ?
      Rambam
      Melachim uMilchamot – Chapter 1, Melachim uMilchamot
      5
      We may not appoint a woman as king. When describing the monarchy, the Torah employs the male form of the word king and not the female.

  • 31. Berel wrote:

    Best topic ever.

    So far this is about husbands learning too much in kolel and power shifting to women and it’s about rabbis having issues with women leaving the kitchen and it’s about bungalo peoples cheating on tuition, and it isn’t even Monday morning yet.

    Reply
  • 33. Why do people run upstate?!?!?! wrote:

    Why do people run upstate?!?!?!
    Traffic in Monticello and Woodburn is horrible I’m not sure I understand what the whole hype is….
    people run away from Crown Heights every Friday.
    It’s an embarrassment that the shechuna is so empty every shabbos in the summer.
    this is not how it’s supposed to be…the Rebbe was against it.

    Reply
  • 37. king/president? wrote:

    A man has to be president? Why?

    No wonder some get turned off from being frum. So bizzare. Ever hear I’d Dvora Hanevia? What about Rebetzin Menucha Rochel?

    Reply
    • 38. Ezra wrote:

      Ever hear of Tosafos? They write in several places that either (a) Devorah just taught the people, or (b) was able to serve as a judge על פי הדיבור, because Hashem said so in that unique case.

      So maybe the problem with “some getting turned off” is that they learn these kinds of things only superficially, on a 5th-grade level, and never bother to look into the details.

      As for Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel, what about her? People came to her for advice and berachos; she held no official position.

    • 39. Total ignorance wrote:

      Yes I know your totally right, I don’t get it, don’t they devorah was a king, and menuchah rochel was president of Israel?!

      And Esther hamalkah was queen as well.

      They are just so ignorant.

  • 40. NoYechi770InJerusalem wrote:

    Ask Rav Osdoba,Rav Segal,Rabbi Heller or Rav Bogomilisky & forget clowns like Schwei & Braun!!!

    Reply
    • 42. Absolutely wrote:

      Hear ye. Hear ye.
      R Schwei is afraid to deal with one”shlucha” in the viber shul.
      He is too intimidated and easily swayed, and causes the many to suffer as a result.

  • 43. Very upset.... wrote:

    I don’t go up to the Country, however my workout instructor not only leaves me for the entire summer, now she goes ahead and becomes part of a board, no chance of staying on shape thru the Summer.

    Reply
  • 44. Spy #10 wrote:

    So you called someone a yenta . But you are clearly the biggest yenta because you “spied her” What a low judgmental comment you should be ashamed of yourself. Unless you are such an expert yenta you know exactly whats going on in “her” house!!!!

    Reply
  • 45. Milhouse wrote:

    To the best of my knowledge most poskim understand שררה to mean a position that is not answerable to anyone. If the position’s holder can make decisions that nobody can veto then it’s a שררה and neither women nor gerim may be appointed to it. If there is someone who can veto or review the holder’s decisions then it is open to women and gerim.

    Reply
  • 46. Yossi A wrote:

    STOP ARGUING.
    Looking at the 36+ comnents.
    Only 1 comment makes sense..
    The women are upstate for a full 8-10 weeks. The men are there ONLY for שבת .
    Fact is, the women know what the place needs.

    Reply
  • 48. Woman on Board wrote:

    There’s a woman on the board of the condo building I live in. When I or my friends and neighbors need anything done, we go to her. When you need something done, ask a busy woman!

    Reply
  • 49. maintenance wrote:

    i heard that owners in mm paid this year over $7k in maintenance alone. i know that in that town taxes are around $5k so the total is around $12k.

    out of the 40 ppl that own in mm how many of them have kids in crown heights schools? how many of them pay full tuition?

    p.s. dont sell me no bull about ppl renting out to offset cost, cuz even if you were getting $1k a week you still dont cover expenses and you dont even get to enjoy it.

    ppl dont pay $1k a week in mm, they would rather go to ml or evergreen and get a basketball court along with a working pool.

    Reply
    • 50. Mm wrote:

      The taxes are included in the maintenance
      And a bungalow in mm goes for around $1,200 a week get your facts straight

    • 51. Wrong!! wrote:

      You are wrong – and are likely misleading everyone intentionally.

      Mei Menuchos is a Condominium, the maintenance covers the cost of the grounds including the taxes on the common grounds.

      BUT

      Being that each home is individually owned, every homeowner gets a separate property tax bill and local school tax bill.

      Across the street at Naharia, the colony is formed as a Co-Op and their maintenance covers all expenses since no one there owns their homes, rather they only own shares which represent the homes they live in.

  • 52. Horrified at some comments here wrote:

    Have we stooped so low that we are now judging people’s ways of making ends meet?? Jealousy? Can we try to be happy with how others are getting by…can we begin appreciating when people give of their time to help communal causes? Can we??

    Reply
    • 53. Public wrote:

      Horrified ?

      this women know all about. and they all have hidden Personal agendas. what’s wrong with calling them out ?
      Yes Granted 2 of the women named are super Rich but as far as someone can see there are some questions and if you seek public position the public have the right and obligation to question you.

  • 55. Facts Please wrote:

    Amazing how silly some of these comments , are you people adults ? , yes the women on the board will now decide how the grass is cut and how hot the water will be coming out of your sinks , oy vey what a travesty , what a power grab by the women. LOL

    Reply
  • 56. This is absurd wrote:

    Chanie levy???????????????????
    What in the world!!
    This is not right!!
    Women should not be on the board, and if yes why in the world do you need to post it, do you really have to post of small stupid thing

    Reply
  • 59. whats the obsession? wrote:

    whats the obsession with going to the catskills? everything you need you have in brooklyn, there are pools and parks to run around etc

    Reply
  • 60. Sinas Chinom wrote:

    I Thank Hashem a million times that I don’t live in Crown Heights! The comments are appalling. They are filled with Judgement, Shaming and Pure Sinas Chinom that is bleeding through my computer screen.
    How do you know how they are doing Financially, Mentally and Physically that you can decide how one should live their lives. Thankfully I live in an Out Of Town Lubavitch community where we do not count peoples money and add up their personal vacations. We look out for each other!

    Reply
  • 61. Mm wrote:

    Will we now get to see the books (after 3 years) and finally understand how badly the colony got screwed by the last bored

    Reply
  • 62. Anonymous wrote:

    I don’t get it. This is not a Beis Din or a Shul.So why can’t women be on the board?

    Reply
    • 63. Milhouse wrote:

      Since when does halacha apply only to botei din and shuls? Does a business not have to run according to halacha?!

      Whether it’s a shul or a business, I’m pretty sure the halacha does allow women and gerim to be board members, because no board member has sole decision-making authority, and that is the generally-accepted definition of “seroroh”.

  • 64. Amazing wrote:

    Finally this is what Lubavitch needs, women need to be on the board on everything because they don’t cause politics and they are just amazing and they are smarter, wiser, much stronger, and funny.
    3 beautiful women are on this amazing board which I don’t see it go wrong in any shape or fashion.
    Thank you a proud mom

    Reply
    • 65. Berel wrote:

      “women need to be on the board on everything because they don’t cause politics and they are just amazing and they are smarter, wiser, much stronger, and funny”

      The web the is ultimate equalizer. No matter how feverish the mind, an author gets the same 100/100 pixel comment box to sound off as anybody else.

      Read at your own risk.

  • 67. Anonymous wrote:

    In the cobdominium, the Board is in charge of the shul. They will appoint the Gabbai, and be in charge of the minyanim.
    Maybe bring in a Rabbanit to give a Shabbat drasha.

    Reply
  • 70. To sinas chinam wrote:

    U r right!!!!

    Lucky that ur out!!

    Many of us are stuck here in this very judgemental place, but we’re happy for all of you that are out…enjoy

    Reply
  • 71. Finally wrote:

    I would like to offer a mazal tov to the new board and wish them hatzloche in their new role. Congratulations to mei menuchos owners who voted them in. This is a very positive step in the right direction. To all those small minded men vociferously objecting, I say, hahahhaha

    Reply
  • 72. A stay in crown heights resudent wrote:

    These people are rich and I have seen one or two of them use their food stamp card and go to country and have beautiful homes in crown heights

    Reply
  • 74. no judgement wrote:

    Your job is not to judge. Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something. Your job is to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting.

    Reply
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