Posted to Op-Ed on

Op-Ed: Chabad Spring

by Anonymous

Is the Chabad lifestyle sustainable? I believe it is not; here is why.

First of all – a bit about me: I am a Lubavitcher Working (not on Shlichus) father of a five kids. My wife and I are what you would call a normal working class ‘gezhe’ family. We were both brought up in, and graduated, the Chabad educational system. I went to yeshiva my whole life, went on Yeshiva shlichus, got smicha, went on Merkos shlichus and learned in kolel. My wife went to Chabad schools, Camp Emuna and Seminary – she is what they would refer to as “an amazing girl”. We never rebelled, and dedicated our lives to bring up our children like a normal Chabad family.

Here is the problem:

We were brought up with a certain hadracha and hashkafa, which for the most part dictates the behavior of our daily life. But in addition to Halacha, if you are living in the Chabad lifestyle, there are a lot more unspoken expectations of you and your family. For example, you have to send your kids to a Chabad School –No matter the cost of tuition; you have to send your kids to a Chabad summer camp, no matter the cost of tuition; this is all just so your kids are not marginalized, and labeled as outcasts.

Then there are the ‘elite’ Mesivtas and seminaries, mostly out-of-town schools, and with the games surrounding the artificial supply and demand for the limited spots at these Mosdos – the price tag to send a child there is not cheap. A recent article on amplified this concern relating to tuition: “$19,500 for Oholei Torah Yeshiva Gedola, $8,000 for K-8 at Oholei Torah. At Beis Rivkah they charge $6,000 per student per year, and of course there are the seminaries that charge $16,000 for the year excluding airfare and other expenses.” In short, if you calculate the cost of having a child – to educate them, see them thorugh the system and marry them off within the framework of ‘the system’ – it can cost between $200,000 and $300,000 each, depending on the schooling options you choose.

The initial knee-jerk reaction to this would be to have a smaller family. While logical, it is not practical. Let’s be honest, have you seen a couple in their mid 30s with only two kids? They are the talk of the town; “oy, nebach, I bet they have health problems, should we daven for them?” or “they are such freiyaken, I think they are part of chabad 2.0 / Newbavitch and they are family planning; oy, I should talk to their Mashpia.”

As Chasidim we all do our best; we sacrifice a lot just to be mekusher to the Rebbe. But I feel it should be a two way street: if we keep our end of the deal and have a large family, and keep our kids from going to anything but a yeshiva “al taharas hakodesh,” then there should be a central organization that supports this lifestyle, and not just a nebach-case special-needs charity fund.

If we tear a page out of the Catholic educational system’s playbook, we can learn a thing or two. They subsidize education from the top down, so tuition costs only $3,000 per child (with extra subsidies for larger families). They put up the money to encourage parents to send their kids to these schools, in order to educate them with their beliefs and get them to become followers; this keeps the cycle running.

Sadly, we have a broken system: we discourage attending college, so the result is either a couple on Shlichus who need to be supported, or low wage workers who are unable to support neither the Shluchim nor their own children’s education. Add large families to this picture, and you see how it just doesn’t add up.

Alternatively, if you wish to tear a page out of the Satmar school system’s playbook, their tuition is heavily subsidized, and so they can keep having large families without worry.

The Reality is, and it’s no secret, almost all our resources are going towards fishing for new Jews to join into our system. We have Friendship circles, holocaust survivor circles, released time, youth programs for college kids, youth programs for kids who come to Chabad Houses, Camp L’maan Achai, camps for yaldei hashluchim.. you name it! if you are not yet Frum – Chabad has something for you. Every shliach out there is doing his best to be mekarev yidden, yet the fact of the matter is that there are very little programs, funds, resources or attention paid to us – the ones who are actually living the Chabad lifestyle.

If you are a shliach, you are truly living a not-for-profit lifestyle with mesiras nefesh, and kudos to you and your family; you are doing the Rebbe’s work. To appreciate your dedication, you get all the discounts, the beneficiary of donations from “working Chabad,” plus shluchim discounts at many Mosdos. In addition, you get discounts in many stores on Kingston, not to mention other perks that are well known.

Lomo Nigora!? What about us, those of us who are not on Shlichus, but working hard to pay for this expensive Chabad lifestyle?

As “working class Lubavitcher,” there are few tuition breaks for school, camp or other programs which we are expected to send our kids to. It’s at a point where I feel that I should be temporarily donating to “inreach” programs and discontinue supporting Shluchim who are doing “Outreach.”

I imagine that if all “working Chabad” took all their donations and contributed to a central education fund for tuition, or camp fund, to give a break to those who are working and struggling to keep thier kids “in the system,” the Chabad lifestyle will become sustainable, affordable and much more attractive – thus making the Shluchim’s jobs easier.

There seems to be an absolute vacuum in leadership when it comes to “inreach,” and so, to get the conversation started and until someone can come up with some better ideas, allow me to suggest a few, and hopefully some leadership or organization will emerge.

1. Tuition at Chabad day camps and overnight camps should be capped at $1,500 for the summer, or $3,000 for a family no matter how many kids they send to camp.

2. Schools should start teaching and offering a track for Parnasa. These days shlichus is not a given anymore as an absolute outcome of your education, it is now based on a connection you have, family or other, or if you marry into a shlichus family. Everyone needs to have the basics of reading and writing. A career counselor should work with every child at the age of 14 and determine their strengths and weaknesses, and help coach the student into a path that best fits his/her abilities.

3. Institute a cap on school tuition: if you have one Child in school – $5,500; a second child – $4,500; a third – $3,500 etc., with a $15,000 total cap no matter how many kids you send to school. The rest should be completely subsidized by Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. Everyone will pay their tuition to Merkos, and Merkos in turn will send a check with additional subsidized money to the Chabad run school of your choice.

4. Mesivta and Zal should be free – yes, free. If we want our kids to stay in ‘the system,’ we need to find a way to make it free. Seminary for girls should also be free. This must be placed on the shoulders of the Central Chabad leadership – if you want to promote the perpetuation of Chabad for the next generation – make it free.

5. Enact a freeze on all shlichus donations, and instead redirect all donations to the Merkos Central Education Fund.

6. Like Satmar, have a strong ethic of trying to promote each other’s businesses, no matter what.

7. I also think that 4-6 kids should be the largest families we should be having. We can’t worry about the guilt placed onto us about having large families. All those great chassidim who are running the Mosdos conveniently forgot that the Rebbe asked them to keep tuition low and affordable, but now 18 years after Gimmul Tamuz we are the ones holding the bill, begging for their mercy to let our kids in at a discount.

8. Have a petition signed by every working Chabad family in Lubavitch and demand that we reform the current system, with real actionable steps right away. Let there be a focus on fundraising $100 Million dollars and inviting Chabad Yeshivos and Day Schools to be under the Merkos umbrella.

I write this as a mere warning, since the writing is already on the wall.

Dear Chabad HQ, you are losing your base. Bringing new baalei teshuva into Chabad, which is clearly the current focus, is a very nice activity, it’s the Rebbe’s work, but working with those already here is even more important. Please pay attention to us, before the already broken system collapses entirely.


  • 2. Leibel wrote:

    Spot on. But you will have to wait for the Old Guard to retire first, change like this is too much for them to handle. Wait a few more years……
    Also, You don’t mention the ridiculous cost of living in CH, move out and on. Move to the sticks, almost anywhere is better.

  • 3. Schneur Zalman...yeh, nach mit aza nomen wrote:

    THREE WORDS!!!!!!!
    WOW!! wow!! wow!!
    Finally, someone says it the way it is…or at least ought to be.

  • 5. Direction wrote:


    Great article I commend you for taking the time to write it out.

    As a man just about to get started in the shiduch chapter of my life this is something that I think about very often. How on earth will I have the means to support a family in Chabad? People tell me to trust in G-D … well that is fine for me but my future wife and kids….????? I think not… I am determined to build a life for my family that is secure and if that means not having Children for a few years so be it. The main issue with Chabad are the people in charge they should be the ones writing these articles!!! Don’t they realize that all there new baili Tesuhva are nothing if we can not insure that the foundation of Chabad is sound. However due to their shortsightedness Chabad will crumble and I for one am not sure I want to be a part of it.

  • 6. A Shliach wrote:

    I’m a Shliach – in California to be exact.

    You make some valid points, and others that are obviously contrary to Chabad values and the Rebbe’s teachings such as limiting family sizes because of financial concerns.

    You also seem to be insinuating that Shluchim are draining all the money from Crown Heights. That is inaccurate and frankly, quite offensive. I know that I, and the overwhelming majority of Shluchim that I know (and those that I don’t) rely on their own communities for support. Yes, there are some communities which cannot support their Chabad mosdos and the Shluchim are forced to turn to “central funds.” However, those funds are getting their support not from Crown Heights but rather from balabatim who were introduced to Chabad by Shluchim such as George Rohr, Gannady Bogolubov, Levi Levayev and the like.

    The fact is that any money that does go to Shluchim from Crown Heights is usually from family members to family members on Shlichus (father to son or son-in-law, brother to brother or sister etc.)and that would and should continue regardless of circumstances.

    In summation: The solution to the money issue you mention needs to be found elsewhere. You can try to “enact a freeze on all shlichus donations” but nothing will happen. Family members will continue supporting their own (as they should). And other than that, there really are no other significant donations going to Shluchim.

  • 7. Nobody wrote:

    It really is pointless to discuss perpetuating the Chabad lifestyle with suggestions like “I also think that 4-6 kids should be the largest families we should be having.” You have already lost the Chabad lifestyle if that is where you are.

    That being said, I agree that the “system” is systemically broken. The way to start fixing it is to stop with the keeping up with the Jonses mentality that pervades this article. Apparently the only thing people need to stop judging is how many kids you have, but it is just fine and dandy that they judge if you sent your kids to the “in” summer camps. No suggestion of change there.

    That tells us where your Yetzer Hara is.

  • 8. Chaim Yankel wrote:

    How can you write/publish this drivel?

    You’re advocating no more then 4-6 children, and you call yourself a Lubavitcher? Think of the Rebbe’s Sicha to the women in Tof Shin Mem “Children, Many Children!!

    Look at yesterday’s Hayom Yom:

    <i> No matter how much effort is exerted, no-one can earn one cent more than G-d has ordained that he – this particular person – shall earn. One must do what is necessary, but one must remember that all his work is but an adjunct. The main thing is G-d’s blessing, and that blessing is earned by being observant of G-d’s commands: Davening with a minyan, observing Shabbat b’hidur (beyond the minimum, with ”beauty“), meticulous observance of kashrut, having children instructed by sincerely religious teachers. </i>

    No one i saying it’s easy. It’s hard as can be. But c’mon fellow, to throw all your values out the window because its hard? To spit the Rebbe’s face and suggest smaller families becasue by all accounts it seems like you have an Emuna problem?

    I shudder to think that is the voice of today’s Chabad parents!

    Your point about Merkos subsidizing tuition is not new. It’s in the Merkos Charter in the back of the Siddur. Why they’ve dropped the ball is anyone’s guess.

    A Chossid once complained to the Kotzker, that everything is so hard. The Kotzker answered him: ”Zint ven hut ir a contract mitten Aibershter az altz darf zain gring“ Roughly translated: Since when do you have a contact with G-D that everything has to be easy”

    In conclusion: Your op-ed, and attitude flies in the face of everything the Rebbe taught us. If you’re advocating families of no more then 4-6 children, worry not about the Mesirus Nefesh of sending your children to Chabad Mosdos. You can safely send them to public school.

    P.S. I do agree that the local Mosdos must step up their fundraising efforts, and not leave the burden on the parents.

  • 9. Rochel wrote:

    This is a lengthy list- if YOU want to commit yourself to raising $100 million dollars, go for it. Don’t demand it of others.
    And it is just… I cant even find the word… how dare you suggest people limit how many children they have?
    Yes, there should be some sort of tuition assistance for lubavitch families, I fully agree, but not at the expense of shluchim who also need the money.

    The Abishter only gives us what we can handle- IY”H you and your wife will find a way to make things work. Hatzlacha

  • 10. akfdj wrote:

    couldnt read the rest of your article after reading about tuition…so i’ll read the rest first….so, yes, tuition is supposed to be 6 or 8 thougsand, i doubt too many pay that amount, i dont blame them, most graduated from the same school and end up graduating not being qualified for any job that would pay enough to help cover such high tuitions…if pple did pay, maybe our yeshivas would be a bit better….
    let me tell you my life story now— my husband and i, both followed whole system as well, only we’re not ‘gezhe’ so u’re still better off than some ;)

  • 11. Couldn-t have said it better...! wrote:

    In 100% agreement.

    It’s not just that “the house is burning” — it burnt down years ago. The embers are almost cold.

    The problem is that there is no “HQ.” There are many bosses in Lubavitch, but not one that would dare get stuck with a shred of achrayus.

  • 12. Chosid wrote:

    The feelings are understandable but the solutions proposed are impractical. I have a hard time believing the author is an adult with several children in the system.

  • 13. to sum it up wrote:

    Yes we can!!

    Debate on the details and suggestions, agree that change is needed.

  • 14. Author: YOU r judgemental wrote:

    Your comment: “Let’s be honest..have you ever seen a couple in their mid thirties with only two kids?”…Maybe they have health problems?!?!?1?

    Only a guy who is seriously judgmental and not fully mature would think/write such a thing. That statement made me cringe…you obviously have good intentions with your suggestions but I feel that as a father of five children, you lack basic maturity in your thought processes if you actually think you need to pray for ppl in their mid thirties with only two kids and for thinking that a committee of people who spend their days working on finding teachers, dorms, and everything else that comes along with seminary..should be free!! HA! That’s ludicrous and so is your nasty comment about how a couple with only two kids in their 30’s is the talk of town and how ppl should talk to their mashpia….sorry, that is just PATHETIC

  • 15. Excellent wrote:


    Excellent article. Putting in words what is on many peoples mind . Ch info thanks for publishing .

  • 16. A working class Lubavitcher wrote:

    The overall point of your article is very true although I disagree on a few specifics. Firstly as a parent you have to make decisions what is best for you not what other think. If you cannot afford a big family you have the responsibility as a husband and father not to have more children than you can realistically afford (cost of children includes school fees). Children are expensive and it is not right to have a big family without knowing how you will support them. would you buy a house without knowing how you will pay the mortgage?? (bad example just a lack of another that comes to mind)
    second, it is 100% understood that there are people that need tzedaka help with a living, however, as an adult and workingman you should not go around expecting handouts because you are part of a religious sect (Chabad) come on…

    Third, schools fees are expensive. we all demand and expect the best teachers and education for our children, but how do you expect to receive it by paying such minimal fees? who will pay the teachers? yes the teachers you demand the best of.

    that being said, as a community we definitely should have a better support system or “inreach” as you called it.

    Yeshivah Gedolahs should be properly accredited so the time spent learning until a boy is 21 or the 1-2 years girls go to seminary should count if/when they would like to further their education (collage etc.). There is no reason that a 21 year old that has been in yeshivah all his life should have credit for it, thus causing them to waste a few years not making a living but rather studying in collage. Additionally, if that were the case going to collage would not be as daunting to these young adults as they would not need to be in collage the next 4-6 years. especially with the Chabad culture as is and bochurim getting married 22-24 and now have to support themselves. So going to collage would be easier.
    I am not suggesting the yeshivah just give the credits either. the yeshivah should require those who would like the credits to adhere to the schedule, write essays on gemara and Jewish topics, pass tests and be 100% involved in other words there should a proper curriculum.
    Furthermore by doing so it would actually be beneficial for the yeshivah as more bochurim would care and be held responsible. as parents it would be easier to pay the tuition because you know that the child will have more to strive for, learn more and come out with credits or actually may I say a BA.

    there are many more points to write about this op-ed some of which I agree with the writer and others that I dont agree with, but for that I should write my own op-ed.

  • 17. Go-ds right hand man wrote:

    There is no doubt being shomer shabbos leads to communism or moving to a community that will eventually have strong communal practices !
    The financial equation is come to the holy land a billionaire……!
    The Israelites support the Levites and priests !
    Can it work in Miami, las Vegas, Los Angeles , green bay, yes, for how long ?
    Successful Israelites are needed for a community to prosper !
    Victorious warriors if necessary !
    The real deal !

  • 18. David wrote:

    Agreed all around. I’m also a working man, with two kids. I’m seriously thinking about limiting the family to 4 kids maximum. I’ll get over the looks and the things people say. Why should I be a burden on the rest of society, to supplement my school fees? And don’t tell me to have Bitachon – look at all those struggling and needing the support.

  • 19. Moishe wrote:

    You spent an entire paragraph describing yourself “I am a Lubavitcher Working father…..learned in kolel. My wife “an amazing girl”. We dedicated our lives to bring up our children like a normal Chabad family”.

    But once you write “I also think that 4-6 kids should be the largest families we should be having”. It becomes evident that somewhere in your chinuch you went wrong because this statement lacks bitochon. Not the misirus nefesh requested by our dear Rebbe from an average Lubavicher. But simple bitchon that any shulchon oruch yid has.

    As do item 2 & 5 a lubavitcher follows our dear rebbe’s opinions this items smell from kfirah

    For the most part you are expressing a sentiment felt by most frum yidden today this is true in Lubavitch as well as many other circles. But a bit of action would go much further then this beautiful well written article.

    BTW who is the chairman of merkos today? I really don’t know. But are you sure you want your hard dollars going to him?


    I have never read an article on this website that I agreed with more!! Thank you thank you thank you for writing this!!!! This is the absolute truth and it is time for people to wake up and see what is happening to our community.

  • 21. In debt over my head and not done yet!!! wrote:

    Right on!!!!!!!!!!!
    Who’s going to step up to lead this VERY important movement?
    This is essential – many families are really losing it under the terrible strain. We MUST take care of our own. We must!!!!

  • 22. Rochelleahbrook wrote:

    Great article! Totally agree with every single word besides one. You can’t tell people how big their family should be! Children are a brocha from Hashem. If he gives the brocha we should except it and deal with it happily. Good luck with all the plans. I am all for it.

  • 23. Solution to the problem wrote:

    Perhaps you can look into the schools who are successful financially, and you will find that they have good training in running the financial part, perhaps all administrations should hire a consultant. They may have already.

    Also every school should have a parent board that can make healthy decisions for the mossad.

    There is much funds available in many just need fundraisers to tap onto those resources.

    You cannot put a freeze on the funds for shluchim. for the following reasons.
    1. no one likes to be told what to do with their Tzedaka money, it just wouldn’t work.
    2. If your brother or son is on shlichus and need to put food on the table, I can assure you that’s where the money is going to.
    3. There are many who want to partner in shlichus work and couldn’t do it personally, this is a way for them to participate.

    Finally, in order for locals to give their money besides their full tuition you need to create trust and a healthy relationship between the school and the parents, I think it’s critical that schools create parent boards.

    And don’t forget go out there and meet people and get money to our mosdos, the funds are not in CH they are all over everywhere there is a yid who cares about shichus and about creating new soldiers to the Rebbe’s army.

  • 24. I don-t agree!! wrote:

    first of all , I live in CH I have 4 Children and we are also struggling. My husbands works and does the best he can I am home raising my children. Let me tell you Crown Heights does give tuition breaks and camp breaks! If u moved to LA or Florida or anywhere else on the map there are NO breaks at all. we’re lucky to live here. I don’t have enough money even for the break that i receive but I promise you it’s better than being anywhere else. Money is up to Hashem and we just have to daven and hope. As far as Shluchim are concerned that is who we are that is what the Rebbe stood for!! It’s not there fault that you are having trouble and it doesn’t mean that u and your wife shouldn’t be who you are. That’s your problem between you and Hashem not the Shluchim and their funds. I wish you all the best and me as well but this is not CHABADS fault and we will continue to survive always. Have a little faith!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 25. Take it down wrote:

    This article is a disgrace and clearly against things the rebbe spoke about clearly

    Please TAKE IT DOWN

  • 26. It-s to your benefit wrote:

    What is very clear about your logic is that you think you are doing someone a favor by raising your kids in Chabad, you do not value being a Chossid of the Rebbe, as is clear by you wanting schools to be free????
    you sound:
    a- immature
    b- like you have a chip on your shoulder, why should camps cap their tuition, camp is not compulsory and grants are available, many children do not go to camp because their parents can’t afford it and their parents raise them to be happy with what they have:
    health, loving family and last but not least being mekushar to the rebbe by doing what the rebbe wants

  • 27. I think CAY just found their new Rav wrote:

    If you resent being mekushar to the Rebbe and all its implications, why do you even care if the system is broken? Based on your tone, it sounds like you don’t give a darn about the Rebbe, only impressing others and playing the part. Let’s be clear: The Rebbe owes you nothing, fellow Lubavitchers owe you nothing and no one wants to listen to a whiny little baby who says “I tried and failed.” According to Pirkei Avos, you’re a liar. I’m tired of all these crybabies thrusting their personal struggles on the rest of the community. If you need a support group, I heard CAY is looking for congregants to flesh out its new hippie compound.

  • 28. Thanks for voicing these issues! wrote:

    Dear writer,
    You sure have my support; the current system is not sustainable. We are doing everything we were taught is right yet, it is not enough to sustain our physical needs. I especially encourage career training for our boys. (and smaller families) I’m not sure how we can effect such enormous changes, though, as administrators seem pretty stuck in old school thinking and are still intent on encouraging unrealistic ideals to students. How about an “occupy” protest!?

  • 31. Yossi wrote:

    As a shliach I could not agree more. The reality is that for decades relatively few of our graduates go on shlichus, I think teh number is about 5%, 10% max. The issue is not one for merkos to take on, rather for the leadership of anash communities.

    Every community has rabbonim, LA has Rabbi Raichik, Chicago as Rabbi Hertz etc, these rabbonim together with askonim need to take the bull by the horns. While I did recieive some support from CH anash before I went on shlichus ($1500 total), I receive almost none from any anash for the past 10 years.

    The notion that anash are supporting the shluchim is ludicrous. The issue is the community of anash does not have its act together, as the author writes.

  • 32. Shliach wrote:

    Aside for parents helping their children and the few big Gevirim, I am not sure about all this money you say is going to Shluchim? which Shluchim are the beneficiaries??

    Aside for new shluchim moving out, generally- shluchim fund-raise in the Mokom Hashlichus. If a Shliach asks for $ in the heights, its a VERY desperate situation – its far from fun…. the feeling is almost like a Shnurer with a cup in 770.. its not something which is done regularly..

  • 33. shocked wrote:

    the tone of this article is disgusting and written without any sensitivity, if you see a problem get a bunch of people together and fix it instead of blaming everything under the sun (be it the rebbe, shlichus, merkos, ect’)

    to im begging you please set some sort of standard, do you relies the impact of everything that goes on this website has on hundreds of people from all backgrounds who read your website. if someone in ch is demanding to stop all funds to shluchim how is a balebus of a shliach who is reading right now supposed to react to such a thing


  • 34. Zalmen der Shikker wrote:

    You could argue with the specific details, but this guy has a valid, general point!

  • 35. Ch wrote:

    Let’s start with implementing English and giving our boys tools to be confident and successful and not setting them up for failure. Our boys have no options ( shlichus is a dying ‘profession’) and you can still be frum chassidish AND educated! We will then be able to finance our own children’s education!!!

  • 37. Another Point. wrote:

    Granted, it is difficult to pay tuition. And it becomes even more difficult when you have multiple children in the system.

    But another point to consider is: There are people who are able to cough up money for summer homes, second cars, posh bar mitzvahs and weddings, home remodeling and vacations. Yet when it comes to yeshiva tuition, all of a sudden they have no money. A lot of things in life have to do with prioritizing.Are your children and their education your priority or are they somewhere lower down on the list of importance?

  • 38. Sara Goldberg wrote:

    Very nicely written! Everyone should support this! Things are changing in Chabad and unless we do something about it it will collapse! Yasher koach to whoever wrote this!

  • 39. Question to Author wrote:

    Dear Author,
    I really appreciate you writing such a beutifully written and timely article. I have been thinking about many of your questions, but you have come up with a solution (although I think not practical, kudos to you for at least bringing this up) My question to you, Do you think when the Rebbe spoke his sichos of having large families it was contingent upon the mosdos reducing tuition? Meaning, if there was large tuitiion bills 40 years ago the Rebbe never would have said we should have large families. I guarantee you many lubavitchers are struggling with this question

  • 40. Anonymous wrote:

    Time to rebel people!!! I am in nearly the same situation as the writer. The expectation Vs the system are not only NOT sustainable but ridiculous even from the Rebbe’s perspective. The Rebbe ONLY wanted people to go to Kollel if they had the proper financial backing. Couples are getting divorced right and left because of the preposterous expectations. The same people that trained us to sit Zal and waist time are trying to make YOU feel guilty if you don’t kill yourself over this –. This is NOT Torah this is NOT Chassidus this is a bunch of irrational people who continue to fail to bring Lubavtich to where is should be. The younger generation must unite and denounce these so called mashpiim and try to make a decent future for us and our kids.

  • 41. wow wrote:

    This is obviously written by a anti chabad anti frum antu jewish person

    its againts everything halacha stands for

    im surprised will print this

  • 42. makes no sense wrote:

    each family in the world has its own issues it has nothing to do with chabad.

    every community has its own issues so should we tell every community to stop working and just work with their kids? shlichus is a job its the livelihood for the shluchim and their families and it has nothing to do with the problems within chabad, you can do your job and work with your family

  • 43. bravo! wrote:

    few points to consider
    shlichus has much more room for growth we need to take away the soviet blockade and hundreds of opportunites will open!
    those in staying in ch have to learn to make big money 770 should barley have a minyan after 9 am get all lazy people to work asap!!!
    demand transparent disclousure from all those running the mosdos what they and their families are getting paid and why children grandchildren/ nephews nieces not paying tution

  • 44. Middle Ager wrote:

    I agree with many of your points. My wife and I have the same struggles. My wife and I both work full time. We have to juggle childcare house work etc. We barely make ends meet. We cut where we can -e.g. just one session of camp. We keep one kid home from camp each summer. However, I am amazed to see so many young couples driving newer cars, going out to dinner, on vacations. Women wear expensive sheitels and designer clothing. Where are our community’s priorities.

  • 45. Mendel wrote:

    You could have said this in 2 sentences: “Tuition is not affordable. We need a solution.”

  • 48. Sid Goldstein, esq wrote:

    Your words mean nothing unless they’re published under your actual name, both legally and spiritually.

    What you’re looking for is for others to exhibit Ahavas Yisroel but until you’re willing to give and not just get, it will be as elusive as that tuition break you’ve been barking for. Fact is, you’re attitude is part of the problem. Quit blaming others and “the system” for the life you’ve created. If you want to live a certain way, it’s no one’s choice but yours!

    Incidentally, should all those with more than six children now be forced to give the excess up for adoption or are those births grandfathered in. Just wondering.

  • 49. afdko wrote:

    okay, read the rest now,,, awesome article11
    what i loved most….is that tuition shud be the most with one child and less with every other child coming in, capped at 15000
    also, yes, money, charity, chessed, u name it, should be focused inwards, to our community, to our children,,,,,there’s enouhg out there , and you labeled them clearly, plus some more which we dont know about…..

  • 50. Dont throw the baby out... wrote:

    Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater…literally…

    You should never have kids out of guilt. I have a smaller family (4-6 kids) due to factors beyond my control. I love my kids and wish to Heaven that I had more. Yes, its a hard job, but after 120, that’s what you leave behind, so even for SELFISH reasons, its the greatest investment you’ll ever make.

    PS – You sound young, my guess is late 20’s early 30’s. Would like to hear your thoughts when you are mid-fifties…

  • 51. Worky wrote:

    Thank you so much! How true! While I may disagree on a few points in “solutions” section,“family planning” specifically, the main message is my thoughts exactly.

  • 52. Great Article. Poor Premise wrote:

    The article is well thought out and a joy to read. The basic premise is that there is in fact a current, central institution in Lubavitch that has “funds” or leadership. As an insider, I tend to see this as a self perpetuated farce. In fact, if a particular donor is excited and passionate about a certain cause the gvir’s contact/organization becomes the vehicle for its disbursement. There is in fact absolutely NO central leadership to speak of within our self perpetuating system.

  • 53. CH wrote:

    Wow, you have alot of chutzpah to directly negate the rebbes mivtzah to have large families. I can understand that life is expensive, but having smaller families should not be the solution.

  • 54. Reality check wrote:

    Reality check

    You are from a ‘gezah’ family and yet your refer to a mythological creature called ‘ Chabad HQ’ ? What’s that ?

    First of all, if there is a ‘Chabad HQ’ at all, it is splintered and divided , with squabbling, turf wars and back stabbing.

    Factually, there isn’t one place called Merkos any longer. There are multiple groups.

    And more importantly, the system was never set up as, say the Satmar kehilla, which took care of their own with subsidized education, subsidized wedding halls, simcha plans, trying to help each other out with employment, business and the like.

    (FYI , the Satmar schools charge less then one hundred dollars a month per child. I know this because I work with them. Camps are virtually free.)

    We aren’t a ‘kehilla’, in the Hungarian sense of the term
    (for better or worse). we are a loosely associated amalgamation of sorts.

    If ever a grocery owner, school administrator, camp director gives someone a break in costs and expenses, it is a personal feeling between them and the recipient. Not out of a sense of community, per se.

    It is so rare to hear someone in Crown Heights say or think, yes I will shop at this store or hire that person because he is a Lubavitcher. People dont think twice about patronizing , or using goods and services from anyone or anywhere else. Doesn’t even cross their mind.

  • 55. ch resident wrote:

    I have three kids and I struggle to pay the bills. I would love to take a couple of your kids off your hands and have them become part of my family so you can have more money to spend on your lifestyle. It would be better for you and the kids.


    Non lubavitch schools are even more expensive. Non lubavitch camps are even more expensive.

    What your questioning is not chabad, it is religious schooling in general.

    there are a lot of issues with chabad but the cost of tuition is definitely not one of them.

  • 57. Go-ds right hand man wrote:

    Also I’m sure the rebbe envisioned that shiluchim would send funds to ch !
    If a shliach isn’t able to send a certain amount to ch and/or the ohel each year/month the license to say I’m a shliach of ch and the rebbe can lapse !
    How did they figure it works ?

  • 58. Schneur Zalman....again!! wrote:

    To all detractors and naysayers:
    You go on an continue to live in your fantasy world, go on and offer your wise words of Mussar! Go and build your monstrosity Chabad houses just so that you can boast my dog’s bigger than yours! Go travel the world and enjoy life (like we baalei batim do) under the so called rubric of shlichus, Rebbe and Chabad! Go! All the while that there’s an inferno burning in our own backyard!!! Because, this writer is a genius! All you need to read is the first few words: Sustainability! It is not and will not, it’s broken at its seems and it will further detriorate to the point where the revolution now brewing will heat up to a crescenda and all will simply topple on its own, though then you will not be in position to control and then you will have no excuse or defense – the Writer is simply sounding the early warning Alaram!!!

  • 59. ye... wrote:

    I agree with everything, but change is never gonna happen.

    You are nuts if you believe that the Yeshivos are going to align with the Merkos.

    The naive, robotic bochrim and girls become naive robotic Yungerleit and “balabustes” who basically create their own imagination of what the Rebbe wanted.

    But some of the change will happen, because most of the women today are already buckling under the pressure of 1 or 2 kids, and they can no longer handle the tradition of the 12 child family.

  • 60. WOW WOW WOW!!! wrote:

    I started reading this, thinking here we go again, another Chabad-Lite poster attacking mainstream Chabad & justifying his/her lifestyle.

    Boy, was I wrong! This is a great article & I totally agree 100%. I don’t know who you are, but I applaud your realism. B”H all my kids are finished with tuition and camp but I think you’re right, tuition is the new form of birth control. I hope someone, somewhere reads it and takes these ideas on board, but unless the whole community refuses to carry on like this I don’t think anything will change. We need to make a huge change in the whole system and start looking after the people in the system before using every resource we have for outsiders.

  • 61. The milking of Lubavitchers wrote:

    How many times have I heard pay up or send your children elsewhere. Yeshiva’s, specifically Mesivtas are ruthless in Lubavitch today. I recently went to sholom zocher of non- Lubavitcher down the block and it was his 12th child. He told me if he was Lubavitch he wouldn’t be able to have more than 4 because he couldn’t afford it. So there and that is the truth.

  • 62. A couple wrote:

    Agree with much of your article so thanks for that :)

    You probably should not have given a number to how many children people “choose” to have…I say people should have as many children as they can AFFORD to have (mentally and financially).

  • 63. zev wrote:

    2 points.
    A. The failure of the crown heights community is no ones fault but the crown heights community. It’s not shluchim’s fault or Rabbi Krinsky’s fault or anyone elses fault. The community allowed itself to be dragged through one machloikes after the other disenfranchising the entire population from any cohesive effort to build itself properly. there are plenty of gevirim in crown heights that could help with the chinuch moisdos. But machloikes prevails. Corruption amongst the rabbonim the chjcc….. Any person that has ever done anything positive for the community has been driven away like a wild animal (Dovid Fischer?). Get the community in order, Do away with all machloikes, throw those involved in community politics (need names?)to the gutter where they belong, then sit down with Drizin, Popack, Chitrik, Smetana, Fischer, I could list 10 more names. Make a real plan that gvirim would want to support. The community is currently unsupportable.

    B. The Rebbe’s vision for the community was not one dimensional, have lots of kids. it was a lifestyle based on Torah and Mitzvos. How many farbrengens did the Rebbe speak against going to the country? Every other car in C.H. is from leasing direct, have people seen the clip of the Rebbe refusing to get into a new car? If you took all the money it costed the community to go to the catskills for one summer you could probably pay for every precious kid in C.H. tuition. You cant live in a vaccum.

  • 65. Conclusion wrote:

    Hashem: Obviously the author of this article is failing the nisayon of aniyus. I don’t think he can be trusted with that nisayon, just give him parnosso b’harchovah!

  • 66. having many children is not always a mit wrote:

    It is assur to have a Child if it puts the mother at risk.

    A comptent rov should be consulted about having or not having children not some annonomoys commentaters.

  • 67. RG wrote:

    shluhim in our town seem to make a nice parnasa, more than a lot of us since the colapse in the us economy. i think they should have to pay tuition and camp fees too. n our town they seem to get to do everything for free nd the res of us working stiffs hae to compensate for their families being able to live their lubavitch lifestyle.

  • 68. Dovid wrote:

    Besides a “feeling” of belonging – what else does chabad offer in return?

    Been waiting for years to get an answer to this question.

  • 69. Anonymous wrote:

    You didn’t write anything about budgeting,
    That’s the most practical solution!!!

  • 70. Curious wrote:

    So you send your kids to Chabad schools “ all just so your kids are not marginalized,” thats why you send them to Chabad schools?

  • 71. agree with one exception wrote:

    one discrepancy in the article: shluchim who receive salaries are also struggling big time because their salaries don’t cover life never mind tuition. There is something very very wrong in all spheres. I agree that like satmar there should be a cap on tuition.

  • 72. Chaim wrote:

    All your premises are made up.
    Christian and Catholic schools are in the $10,000-$15,000 range.
    CH Anash does not support shluchim financially.
    Camp Ramah (conservitive jewish overnight camp) cost $800 per week or $3200 per month.
    Oh and if you are from a “gezeh” family and married an amazing girl, and you went through the system through smicha with the hadrochos of the system why aren’t you on Shlichus?

  • 73. Derech Eretz Kadmah L-Torah wrote:

    After reading all of these responses to the issues raised by this struggling Ba’al Habayis, I must say that I am absolutely appalled by the intense, mean spirited crudeness of many of the respondents.

    I am a middle aged father of 5 kids that has struggled to bring his children up in the ideals of Chabad; only to find that the “emperor had no clothes”… that the love, caring, community, and social responsibility towards those becoming Ba’lei Tsuvah disappeared once they became part of the community.

    Then once one no longer toes the line, the attitude becomes the direct opposite of the love, caring, and community referred to above.

    The author is much braver than me…he is committed to being part of the system and wants to start a movement to reform it. He should be commended for this. Or at the very least, he should be treated with the basic respect that a fellow Jew (let alone a Lubavitcher) deserves!

    I am in the process of leaving Chabad after having endured 2 decades of this.

  • 74. Milhouse wrote:

    I was more or less with you until point 7. How can any frum Jew — let alone one who claims to be a Lubavitcher — suggest such a wicked thing? Which rov do you think will give you a heter to limit your family for economic reasons? In any case, to think that a person can improve his economic situation by having fewer children means that you don’t believe each child brings its own parnossoh with it, which is mamash kefirah. How could the Rebbe have been any clearer on this?

    Commenter #35, who claims to be a “working class Lubavitcher”, is even more explicit: “If you cannot afford a big family you have the responsibility as a husband and father not to have more children than you can realistically afford (cost of children includes school fees). Children are expensive and it is not right to have a big family without knowing how you will support them.”

    As the Rebbe would say, rachmono litzlan meihai dayto! This statement betrays your lie. You are not a Lubavitcher; no Lubavitcher could believe such a thing.

    The same applies to #33 (David), who has no shame in openly writing that he plans to limit his family. Do you think you can get a rov to give you a heter for this, or are you going to do it without a heter? You see people with big families who need support; do you think if their families were smaller they wouldn’t need the same support or more? Then you’re saying that you don’t believe parnossoh comes from Hashem. And if that’s so, then how can you call yourself a frummer yid, let alone a Lubavitcher? David, why don’t you just eat a big juicy pork chop, and get it over with?

    #44, how does a Lubavitcher bochur come to such thoughts? You’re not even married, you don’t yet have the yoke of parnossoh, and you’re already planning such a terrible thing, and have no shame to say it out loud? Have you told whoever tries setting you up that you want to delay having children, so they shouldn’t set you up with any girls who care about the shulchon oruch? And if you do marry such a girl, how can you trust that she goes to mikveh or that she doesn’t make the kitchen treif?

  • 75. Esq. wrote:

    It seems clear to me that those children who grow up in an environment of poverty (depression) will not have any inclination to remain on the same path as their parents. Call it a survival instinct but those children who leave yiddishkeit generally leave because they cannot cope with some or all of the negative aspects of being frum (poverty).

    If we want our children to stay frum we need to try something different as a community.

    Albert Einstein said that doing the same thing again and again and expecting something a different result is the definition of insanity.

    Our children are going off the derech in such large numbers it is truly a catastrophe of monumental proportion.

    I don’t know what we need to do exactly to stop the crisis but “we” as a community must do something “different” soon otherwise we will not have any children to inherit our precious way of life.

  • 76. Attention the 99% wrote:

    I challenge the 99% of people with large families who could not afford full tuition for all their children – who subsidized you? The 1% – the people who either have a lot of money to pay full tuition for their 12 kids, or the ones with a ‘decent’ income, but ‘only’ have 4 kids. So please, your Bitachon is on yenems cheshbon. I’m NOT saying what the Rebbe said about lage families is incorrect, but want to get this out there. For all practical purposes, if EVERYONE could pay the full fees,they would be half of what they are now.

  • 77. Self made family wrote:

    I agree with most said. I have called parents and had a father pick up the phone at 11 AM or moms whose youngest child is 12. I am sure there are hard workers in CH but also see people who think the world owes them a living. How about getting a job.
    Stop whining about education.Be motivated and energetic and you can accomplish anything.

  • 78. Great Chabad education wrote:

    Public School is the right way to go. And eventually that’s what people will start doing

  • 79. moti wrote:

    I agree with a lot you write and let’s face it people are talking and worrying about these things so saying “you have chutzpah.. rebbe…large families” isn’t the answer


    Why was this posted FIRST on a certain nebach website which I won’t even name which is totally anti-lubavitch and offensive to the Rebbe? What was the point of that?

  • 80. 10% wrote:

    If your gonna take a page out of the christian play book, then you have to go much further.

    Every individual gives 10%, yes 10% of what they make, no matter how much this is. This is how churches are so rich that they not only have the funds to help with tuition, they also have hundreds of millions to fund outreach..(JforJ)

    It is then on top of 10% of your total income, that that they pay those subsidized tuition rates.

    So start doing.If every Lubavitcher gave 10% of their income to Merkos, then Merkos will be happy to subsidize tuition.

  • 81. Chabad Fall wrote:

    You address an issue that is not being dealt with; however, your hashkagis are not the rebbe’s hashkafos, perhaps a little misguided.

    But its a great post to get people thinking and to investigate what torah, i.e. Shulchan Aruch, Hoiroas from the rebbeim, etc.

    P.S. A greise pohr hostu zicher nisht varum tzu shrayben ohn ah nohmen bavayst, az du hust moireh az men ver vissen ver du bist un men vet fun aychen machen laytzonus. Ir zayt punkt azoi klug un azoi sharf vi mir. Vos ich arbet nisht. Odder yeh. Ver vays. Ah? Mayn nommen is b’emes fraydeh. Odder yoske. Efsher bin ich 12 yohr alt. Efsher hub ich shoyn gepaygert vd”l.

  • 82. change now! wrote:

    Most people in america pay nothing for education.
    The idea of subsidized education is fantastic.
    Seeing parents collapse under mountains of bills to mosdos who teach how to be chasidim isn’t exactly a selling point for the kids themselves.Sucking money that regular folk dont have doesn’t make the ‘system’ seem a friend to the children they try to educate.
    In addition teachers should be chosen for merit not jut a need for parnasah.

  • 83. 3-erhshoi wrote:

    Debate all you want,
    FACT: People ARE family planning,
    FACT: More kids ARE running around in the streets because their parents cannot “work things out” with the schools
    Fact: the schools need to pay their teachers and pay them well
    Fact: People ARE getting divorced and one of the pressures IS financial
    FACT: The rebbe spoke against family planning
    Fact: Shluchim NEED our support
    Fact: there IS NO infrastructure IN Crown Heights (not even B’ruchnius)
    Fact: It costs way to much for the average family to pay tuition
    Fact: Breaks ARE available, but not nearly enoughe1po’qwe

  • 84. Alexander wrote:

    Raising kids in frumkeit requires a lot of emunah. Every child brings his or her parnosa. So why worry?
    On another track, in my experience most educational mosdos in CH have a lot of heart. So give credit to them for providing a good religious education at a very reasonable cost, the Rebbes deserve to get paid too. And most yeshivas cannot rely solely on tuition to cover their expenses.
    Ok, you guessed it, I am a BT. I’m proud of it.

  • 85. Laaniyas.dayti@gmail wrote:

    Difficult to understand what the author hopes to accomplish.

    There are no leaders in L today.
    There are no followers.
    If there were followers, there would be leaders.
    L is a breeding house of social entrepreneurs. Take an issue and work it to some sort of success, then you become a leader. Get yourself a chazakah in some area or corner of 770, put a lock on it – figuratively or in actuality – and you join the ranks of the entrenched establishment.
    It is what it is.
    It ain’t chassiduss.
    Nor, for that matter is the tone of the well intentioned op-ed.
    Anyway,Moshiach is coming “ot ot”, so why bother fixing the vehicle.
    Yes, it’s an old tune -18 years old- but a fact of life. No?

  • 86. Pleased but far away wrote:

    The only way this will work (and all of it is very realistic except that no one has the right to determine anyone else’s family size, and discounts for the largest families must remain) is if those who want to see it happen start a new CH-based organization.

    If anything, Merkos should be kept far, far away from this plan. The powers that (wanna) be in all of the organizations today have very sticky fingers and no accountability.

    This will only succeed if the goals are clear and the books are wide open.

  • 87. Thinkster wrote:

    Well written, my man, well written.
    You hit the nail on the head.

    The only shame is how long it takes people to learn what you’ve learned. By the time most people get it, well, it’s too late to do anything about it. For those that get it early, or who are lucky – they end up as lawyers, accountants, allied health professionals.

    And yes – Chabad is great at bringing people in – then horrible at keeping us in. A lot more could be said about that.

  • 88. David wrote:

    To #81 – I am David from #35. Let me first tell you, that I love you as a fellow yid, even after your words of fire and open retribution. And no, I don’t plan on eating Pork in the near future. But, if you are a product of the system, then we have some serious issues to overcome.

    Yes, I will certainly go to a Rov to ask such Shalilos such as these – if you must know. I will likely go to a Rov who believes in Torah U’Mada, and lives in the real world.

    Finally, I would love it of someone could do a survey of all the families in a certain area – let’s take Crown Heights as an example. Look at the average earning per family, divided by number of children. Then look at the people who are struggling. Then come back to me and tell me the same percentage people who have small families are struggling as the same percentage of large families. I just don’t believe it. Yes, more children brig more brocha – but not always in proportion.

    Unless you are talking about being able to apply for more health and food benefits, the more children you have?

    P.S. I still love you.

  • 89. THE SOLUTION wrote:

    Go out there and get a real job,and if you cant find one, start your own company and MAKE YOURSELF A GOOD JOB!! Problem today is that almost no one in CH is motivated/has enough baitzim to do that, and they settle for shleper jobs ($12-15 Hour) get too comfortable and before they know it ther crying bloody murder “i cant pay the bills”

    GUYS!! get MOTIVATED!!! Make money…. believe me its possible…all you have to do is BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!

    I personally went to Oholei Torah my whole life, i am 22 yrs old now, i too did not want to have this dilemma , so i set out and started my company a year and a half ago, and this past year i pulled in over $250K B”H,im happy with that but im not satisfied bc i still have that motivation and fire to make more so that my family and fellow community members can all live a better life. My point is not to C”V say im better then anyone of you, FARKERT im a little shnook just like everyone else, i had nothing….nothing but MOTIVATION!!

    Soon enough iy”h ill be able to get married and do what the rebbeh wanted from every one of us!!

    Point is Chevreh, Dont be lazy, get up and grab life by the horns!!

  • 90. Using iPhone. Sorry grammar shocking wrote:


    I am making the choice to have a small family due to difficult pregnancies and income. However, that is a personal choice I have made and I am not Pushing my views on everyone. Maybe it’s my yetzer horah or lack of emu ah. It’s probably one or the other.mbchlal, there is a lot that I struggle with in Lubavitch. I find that there is a lot of corruptness, etc. and sometimes I wondering with everything going on is this what I want for my family.

    But reading your article and the way you attack he Rebbe made me realise how Lubavitch I am, because even though I have made this choice, I can not understand how YOU have the chutzpah to push such a view on a Lubavitch public forum in the Rebbes Shechuna. You may make your personal choice, but the Rebbe is our Rebbe and we take direction from him. And if you struggle like me, keep shtum.

    (just wondering why ideal number is 4-6. Is it because you have 5 lol?)

  • 91. Mendel wrote:

    Well Said. I just must say That Bais Rivkah is charging me four and a half thousand dollars for one child and that is four and half thousand dollar is completely debt. I do not do Food Stamps, Wic, etc. $5,500 is too much for some

  • 92. chaim wrote:

    can you imagine if this article had an efect and will result in chas visholom even one nishomoh not coming down to the world? who is to say the effect that this nishomoh would of had in this world?

    i wounder if the smart write of this article thought about that. and if he did is willing to take that responsibilty.

    i assure you not.

  • 93. Milhouse wrote:

    Further to #89, “Unless you are talking about being able to apply for more health and food benefits, the more children you have?”

    Hashem has many ways of providing parnossoh, and apparently that is one of the ways He uses. Don’t disdain it. I wish we lived in a world where these benefits weren’t being provided, and our taxes were correspondingly lower; if that were so, fewer people would need them in the first place. But we don’t live in that world, we are taxed to pay for these benefits, and for some reason this is how Hashem has arranged His world for now, so there is no shame in taking advantage of it. If IYH we manage to close off that tzinor, then Hashem will simply have to open up a different one.

  • 94. Milhouse wrote:

    #85, Don’t change the subject. We are not talking about risk to the mother’s health. For health reasons you can go to a competent rov and if he agrees that it’s necessary he can give you a heter for birth control. But there is no heter for economic reasons, and the Rebbe clearly said that even to seek such a heter shows a lack of emunah ch”v.

  • 95. Milhouse wrote:

    #89, “ if you must know. I will likely go to a Rov who believes in Torah U’Mada, and lives in the real world.”

    You mean a rov who shaves, and eats cholov akum, and doesn’t believe in the Zohar, or in pshuto shel mikra of Bereishis. In other words you are not a Lubavitcher.
    “Yes, more children brig more brocha – but not always in proportion.”

    The Rebbe said that each child brings with him the parnossoh that he is supposed to have. If the parents of a large family are struggling, it’s because they’re *supposed* to struggle, and if they had fewer children their income would be even lower than it is now. That is something we have to believe.

  • 96. Sad wrote:

    It’s so sad that the same issues keep coming up over and over-tznius,money,sheitels,weddings,jobs,lack of jobs…Certain things just will never be resolved.

  • 97. Chaim Tovim wrote:

    I think the author brings up many important points. However, I would present a different conclusion: Instead of creating a welfare society, in which school tuitions are covered by generous donors, how about create a system in which Chabad students actually get an academic education in a kosher way, thus enabling them to make a proper living?! For example, is an affordable, Lubavitch run nationally accredited college (offering online classes as well) that enables students to earn a BA in a kosher, gender segregated setting with frum instructors. Students can go on to an MA program if they desire. Time and again, studies show that significantly higher percentages of people with a BA are employed, and at a higher wage, than those who merely graduated high school.

    Sadly, Lubavitch students, both male and female, are not prepared for the real world after getting married and often struggle with lifelong poverty or low income as a result of not getting a proper education.

    Of course, learning Torah is important; while as a young student as well as throughout life. However, supporting oneself is also important and a mitzvah. To quote Rambam Hilchot Talmud Torah Chapter 3 Halachah 10: “Anyone who comes to the conclusion that he should involve himself in Torah study without doing work and derive his livelihood from charity, desecrates [God’s] name, dishonors the Torah, extinguishes the light of faith, brings evil upon himself, and forfeits the life of the world to come, for it is forbidden to derive benefit from the words of Torah in this world.”
    “It is a tremendous advantage for a person to derive his livelihood from his own efforts. This attribute was possessed by the pious of the early generations. In this manner, one will merit all [types of] honor and benefit in this world and in the world to come, as [Psalms 128:2] states: ”If you eat the toil of your hands, you will be happy and it will be good for you.”

    I would say that in this day and age it is not really feasible – with the exception of a few very business minded lucky individuals – for a person to earn a livelihood in which he/she will not be reliant on charity if they don’t have an academic degree.

    I think this change will allow members of our community to become self-sufficient, earn a proper parnossah, not need charity and/or government handouts, and be able to provide properly for their family and for education.

    I look forward to feedback from others

  • 98. YES. wrote:

    Yes. Way to go. Say it like it is. We all need to find a solution. Thanks. Don’t let the naysayers bite you.

  • 99. to 83 wrote:

    instead of thinking in terms of ‘what do i get out of it’ think, “what can I GIVE” –being a part of chabad is an opportunity for you to be a part of the rebbe’s chassidim, and live and learn the chabad lifestyle.

  • 100. live and let live wrote:

    I remember when i had a son i did not make a shalom zocher Friday night ,
    1 because i could not afford it
    2 because i didn’t have the energy and didn’t want to burden other people
    3 me and my wife needed a break
    Many chabadniks said and harassed me why i didn’t make a shalom zocher .I answered i am not going to do a mitzva on the account of bothering other people

  • 101. Work required wrote:

    # 83 writes
    ”Besides a “feeling” of belonging – what else does chabad offer in return?

    Been waiting for years to get an answer to this question”.

    The Rebbe, Chassidus and a push to things on your own.
    In the very first Farbrengen the Rebbe said that you will have to do work on your own (with His help).

  • 102. Living in the real world. wrote:

    #89 writes
    “I will likely go to a Rov who believes in Torah U’Mada, and lives in the real world”.
    Is Hashem & Torah the real world or is money & wall street the real world? That is the question.
    I think (hope) we know the answer.

  • 103. be a leader wrote:

    if this writter trully wanted change ..he would have given his name and a few easy to manage constructive suggestions . without, this is nothing more than a venting excercise….and of no benefit to anyone .

  • 104. Don-t judge wrote:

    #82 writes
    “shluhim in our town seem to make a nice parnasa”,
    I obviously don’t know what is going on in your town, but I know a number of Shluchim that make beautiful meals & programs for others, but they can barely afford to pay their electric bills and the like.
    Point being, we can’t always judge how someone else is doing financially.

  • 105. to #35 wrote:

    “Yeshivah Gedolahs should be properly accredited so the time spent learning until a boy is 21 or the 1-2 years girls go to seminary should count if/when they would like to further their education” – many of them are. Morristown gives BA equivalent. People go to law schools and masters degree programs with that. OT gives college credits, and so does the central ULY. Many schools accept those credits, including Turo, YU, etc.

    A bochur can easily get 60-70 credits from those yeshivos, and get a BA in less then 2 years after that.

    There’re programs for girls in Boro Park that give a BA and a professional degree / license in less than 2 years

  • 106. Number 81 from 44 wrote:

    I will answer your questions one by one.

    I have seen to many children hurting because of the choices that their parents made. The parents have more children then they can afford and therefore are forced down a road that hurts the children. They cheat on taxes and lie to get pell grants. This sends the wrong message to their kids they preach one thing and do an other. Not to mention the fact that it is completely against the law and Halacha. When a person goes up to heaven the first thing they ask him is if he was honest in his dealings.

    I feel this needs to be said for the reasons I stated above.

    Yes I have.

    Also you can get a heter for it and in frum places it is not looked down on like in Chabad.

    Because she will be a girl that cares about her connection to G/D and understand that in order to bring up healthy children you need to have a proper foundation.

    We are forbidden to rely on miracles and I don’t see why this is any different. We must be ready financially to support a family before doing so. Like the Rambam said a fool gets married then gets a occupation and then buys a house.

  • 107. Sholom Ber wrote:

    The fundamental issue is, the painful reality of no Rebbe.
    Sooner or later we in Chabad will need to start the “conversation”.
    We will need to face many questions but we will get there.
    Another issue is there such an idea as infallibility of humam leaders however great they are?.

  • 108. Signature Please wrote:

    What’s up with these nameless op eds?!
    If you stand behind what you write, put your name on it!
    Without your name it’s just not as potent.

  • 109. from 770 wrote:


  • 110. Frederick Hayek wrote:

    Why do you let other’s expectations dictate your lifestyle and choices?

  • 111. Let your heart speak wrote:

    Chabad Spring, although I do not agree with everything you suggest, I feel you are speaking from your heart, and that you are sincere about experiencing these problems. If you listen to some here, you could conclude that it is better to deny your problems exist.
    To Millhouse, is it right to keep others from speaking what is in their heart? He has expressed a problem. It is up to others to help him find a solution, not to mock him so shamefully.

  • 112. Whatever wrote:

    Great article!
    Commentators here have criticized the author for suggesting that we have smaller families. They have claimed that this is not what the Rebbe would have wanted.
    First of all, can anyone tell me of any ‘gezheh’ families from Russia who had 10 children while in Russia or Europe? There were none. Can any one mention any families of first-generation Russian-Lubavitch immigrants who had 10 children? Very very few.
    Fact is that if one follows a natural lifestyle, one will not have so many children! Today we have much increased medical care and low-infant mortality rates b’H. We also have many working mothers and consequently bottle-fed babies (as opposed to nursing babies), which allows for much greater possibility of pregnancy. Thus, having so many children is not necessarily the ‘natural’ and most normal path. Just because it happens this way, doesn’t mean that we are necessarily wired for this way. Yes, it is possible to ‘churn’ them out, doesn’t mean we have to have children endlessly.
    Finally, it’s not only the ‘physical’ burden of raising 10 children, but also the ’emotional’ burden which some may find way overwhelming. In my life, I have met many mothers and fathers who complain about not being able to adequately bear the responsibility, even if having familial support.

  • 113. Record Straight wrote:

    First of all, can anyone tell me of any ‘gezheh’ families from Russia who had 10 children while in Russia or Europe?

    Reb Avrohom Mayorer AH. That is only because he and his Rebbetzin Soro AH were gebensched that they lost only one child before she reached adulthood.

    Many others of that generation lost more than one child to improper delivery, bad prenatal care, childhood disease or even starvation during the horrible times. Had those children survived, the parents would have had 10, 11, 12. What’s more, not everyone told their stories and I would not be surprised to know that even the children of some European parents do not know that their parents lost children.

  • 114. Record Straight wrote:

    By the way, my family is far from Lubavitch, but I had 10 great-aunts and great-uncles on my European-born, Chassidish (either one of the Chernobyler kreizen or Sadigora – I am not sure), maternal side. Between assimilation and a genetic infertility issue, few of them had any descendants.

  • 115. Elesoy wrote:

    I just learned I’ll need to shoulder the bill for my last semester at college, thanks to Yeshiva using my PELL.
    A group never wakes up from Groupthink. The wakeup occurs one by one, individual by individual who learns to think for his/herself.
    This article has some good suggestions, like smaller families, but that’s already being done. Overall the suggestions are too little, too late, and won’t be implemented.
    Educate Your Kids At A Place That Offers Them A Future.

  • 116. FD wrote:

    I am a mother of two little kids and I could not agree more with the author! It’s awful how some of these comments can be so insensitive about the very real issues in our community that revolve around raising our children in the frum and Chabad way. These issues are very real.
    I really believe that the answer to many of our problems is to prepare our children in a way that they will be self-sufficient when they grow up to be adults. Secular education should be taught in our schools and they should be given the opportunity to go to university and develop a career for themselves. Kids should be prepared in elementary and high school with the proper guidance and skills that they will need in order to cope in university and onward (this includes strengthening their Yiddishkeit so they can withstand the tests). Not all kids will grow up to be official shluchim. We have to understand this and prepare the other 90% for the alternatives. Our children are growing up handicapped. They can’t even begin in the real world to make a parnosa for themselves and this is the source of most of the problems in our communities. With professionals in our midst, there will be more money for tuition, tzedaka for shluchim, camp, and everything else.
    Schools would be higher quality, churning out balanced, frum young adults who are prepared for the world, both in their frumkeit and their parnosa.
    I know what I will do with my own kids. They will go to a frum, non-Lubavitch school where they can get a proper education that prepares them for their futures.
    I am not prepared to take chances with my children on talks of change that have not played out. I will send them where I know I get the quality that I pay for.

  • 117. whats with this gezhe guy wrote:

    whats better to be a Catholic or Satmar,seemingly this gezhe Lubavitcher puts Catholics before Satmars

  • 118. The truth be told wrote:

    Last I checked it was:
    1. A shliach supporting the largest mosad in Crown Heights, Beis Rivka.
    2. Sluchim’s children paying more tuition than most Crown Heights residence, and that’s besides room and board, plane tickets and the cost for living away from home.
    3. Shluchim bringing millions of dollars to Crown through their children studying here, their and their Balei Batims visits here and their purchasing food, Judaica etc. and never the other way around.
    4. Some Crown Heights members are very helpful to shluchim by opening their homes and hearts to shluchim and their community members, but every day more shluchim are renting apartments and basements for $125 – $150 a night bringing more funds to Crown Heights.
    In short, the mosdos and members of the Crown Heights community benefit a lot from the shluchim and shlichus and not so much the other way around. This is only on the material side, in the spiritual sense, it is nothing to discuss. Please stop bashing the shluchim and shlichus, this is the Rebbes legacy and brought and continues to bring blessings to us and the whole world.
    That said, I agree that we as a community should start worrying about our fellow community members and build up a respectful community but this has nothing to do with Merkos or any other Lubavitch mosad, We are the Crown Heights community and we should start doing something about it. We know that we cannot rely on the Rabbonim because they are busy fighting each other and have no time, mind or heart to worry about the community, but we have nice mosdos chinuch and many fine and capable people who can build a community.

  • 119. Sheluchim Worry about Sheluchim wrote:

    Unfortunately we have a two tear system. Sheluchim verses others.
    Just a week a ago I was told by a sheliach he was told by another (head) Sheliach how do you send your child to camp…..
    it is not running under another Sheliach we support each other…. and this (HEAD) sheliach really gave this Sheliach a Cheilek. After the (head) sheliach left another sheliach told him. Don’t worry you do what is good for your child. The camp you send your child is by far much better then this (HEAD) sheliachs camp and it is also cheaper. Do what is good for you.

    The reason I am writing the above is your article sort of bashes all Sheluchim. In truth what you are writing is correct and codo to you. But what really should be mentioned is. The only way the system will work is if we work with each other to make Chabad better. Charity starts at home. Some Sheluchim/Mosdos became blind to why they are really there and who helped them in the beginning. We are all guilty of this.

    First those who can afford should help the Mosdos who are here for the Chabad Community or if you could afford it open up another Mosod which is for the Chabad Community. Competition is good for every one. Your grand child and the grand child of your competition will be happy. Unfortunately the Sheluchim lost focus of their own community. They should start thinking of the future. If not we are all in trouble.

    Lets not give up hope. Have more children not everything is Sechel keep on having children. The Rebbe is watching us we are lucky to be in a system like this. Unfortunately when you have a system so big as ours it takes time to fix. Lets each of us try and do what we can to help another Chabadnik including a Sheliach who is drowning. We are in golus it will not be perfect but we all can help to make this better. What ever we do we should do with Sholom, if the competition does not like it. Daven and IY”H he will realize your are working for the benefit of everyone including the competition.

    I am proud to be a Chabadnik and I would not give it up for a Million + dollars we are all rich (azeh who osher Hasamaiach Bechelko).

  • 121. Russia, Russia, I will never forget you. wrote:

    You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy, The wise will discern.

  • 122. Ignorance Is Bliss? wrote:

    Wow, I am so happy to see this article up here, you have no idea! I completely agree with everything!

    I am dumbfounded with how stupid some of these commentaries are. They are so naive!
    I love how some of you get all defensive and start assuming that the writer is anti-frum and anti-Chabad!! So, so IGNORANT.

    This article tells it straight. Good job poster!

    P.S. For the majority of you who can’t spell on here, stop responding to these kind of articles. No one with even an ounce of intelligence will take you seriously. You just prove my point all the more so!

  • 123. chani wrote:

    it’s funny how enlightened lubavitchers always tout university as the answer. the universities are struggling maintaining their face, being as “university” is an antiquated, ill preparing, institutionalized idea in which the majority of graduates do not end up working in the field of their major. if you want to make money, WORK!!! Everyone in this country expects handouts and feels that everyone owes them everything. you don’t want to have kids – don’t have kids. stop blaming everything on everyone. there is a guarantee that every last one of these clever op eds ends up shifting the blame to the shluchim, who are working hard too. and then the belligerent commenting which will call out Chevra Ahavas Yisrael. like what do they have to do with any of your problems. seriously.

    Do as the satmar do, get jobs, start working when you’re 18. somehow they manage without a degree. why? because they’re ambitious. stop whining. stop being lazy, and get a life.


    WE NEED TO JOIN FORCES WITH THE OU – Even more Achdus in Klall Yisroel can’t hurt!

    PEJE, OU Collaborate to Launch the Jewish Day School Affordability Knowledge Center.

  • 125. parent who is struggling with tuition wrote:

    Please do not bring the Rebbe into this. Yes, you need to have kids but tuition needs to be affordable. What are the schools thinking? If you can not fund raise, give up and go away.
    Also do not bring in the baal teshuva issue here. This is one place that baakei teshuva and the rest of us have the same problem. HOwever, many baalei teshuva have a secular education and so can support their families easier in this society. We studied in OT without any secular subjects.
    As an aside: At least if our kids would get a good education in these schools that demand so much money. They should demand from the teachers better performance etc. etc.

  • 126. to #110 wrote:

    To 110
    what are you talking about? why justify small families? You know the dinim. This is about tuition not about birth control. As the saying today is “tuition is the new birth control”

  • 127. tuition wrote:

    this is not about schools needing money. Schools do need money and tuiton does not cover. How much do the administrators REALLY earn? Let them do a job and raise funds for the school

  • 128. laaniyas.dayti@gmail wrote:

    To # 90

    […The fundamental issue is, the painful reality of no Rebbe.
    Sooner or later we in Chabad will need to start the “conversation”…]

    You have touched the “3rd Rail of Lubavitch”.
    i) Some will never be able to. (A Rebbe with the same neshama isn’t good enough; they need the same face, and maybe the hat also).
    ii) Many can no longer care less.
    iii) Others are suspended between (i) and (ii).

    Pnimiyus Chabad (Pach) is, for all intents and purposes, a broken vessel. HaPach nishbar. Mashpiyim have become “ideological promoters”, rather than compassionate providers, of a deeper inner experience. Positions are filled on the basis of either, nepotism, glibness with delivering the right slogan at the right moment, joyless trudging chnyokishkeit, or nepotism (yes, listed twice). Obesity appears to add value (probably because it demonstrates an ability to excel in the hiddur of mezonos before shacharis.)
    When was the last time you saw a “normal” intelligent chassidisheh yid, who resonated with a pikchus (savvy), welded to serious davenen, by an inner force of true, yet passive and unobtrusive, simcha. (Think R.Mendel Futerffass for most of that.) Someone who was not dependent on a paycheck from the establishment, and who could express engaging, intelligent, and creative, chassidishe advice, attitudes, talks and snippets.

    Yet you are correct. The 3rd rail will be tackled. Unfortunately, only when there are significantly less people who care. It will take time and toll, with plenty of these kind of blogs, to winnow and sift, leaving a much, much smaller (and sophisticated) base of interested chassidim, to whom chassidishe drochim are more important than the “Chabad lifestyle” – whatever that means.

    Nevertheless, I seriously urge you to silently seek out people with thoughts like yours, and start the discreet conversations right now.

  • 129. #85 wrote:

    Like I said, a couple should consult their Rov when determining whether or not to have a(nother) child. C”v tindividuals should be influenced by blogs in this decision, even chosheveh sounding bloggers like ‘millhouse’. You put those bloggers in a position of being oiver Lo samod al dam royecha if C’v the mother is sent over the deep end mentally or physically b/c she had a child she was not able to have.

    A rov paskining this shaaleh, whether assur or mutor, carries the lives of others in their hands. I am a strong believer that they are given siyata dishmaya before issuing a psak din (the Rebbe said a sicha explaining how mitzoyas is sometimes changed to ensure a psak din is not in error). There is no ‘machmir’ or ‘meikil’ in this psak din.

    On another comment you write there is no shame in taking welfare. Welfare and other programs are designed to support those in ‘poverty’ (the income levels required are based on poverty rates). There is no shame in being poor but as the sages have said, you should be ashamed if you are poor and doing nothing about it or have not prepared yourself well enough but to inevvetibly become poor. The aibershter firt di velt and He does not look kindly on those that rely on charity, welfare systems, etc. When they don’t have to.

    You seem to be a relly smart guy but might need a little brushing up on the fifth chelek of shulchon aruch.

  • 130. Milhouse wrote:

    #110, we don’t need to speculate about what the Rebbe “would” want. We have his explicit words, and we *know* what he wants.

    And as “record straight” says, in those times things weren’t so easy. *None* of those chassidim deliberately limited the size of their family. Not one. If their families were smaller than is usual today, it was because these things are in Hashem’s hands, not in ours. In addition to poor health and infant mortality, there was also war, hunger, and other factors that interfere with family growth.

    #112, He has the right to speak what’s on his heart, and most of what he wrote was reasonable; but he does *not* have the right to propose “solutions” that go against both Shulchan Aruch and the Rebbe’s explicit instructions.

  • 131. #110 wrote:

    Everyone knows that a rov will give a heter for having a smaller family, if necessary. And caring, open-minded and life-loving rabbonim do give these heterim. Because they understand what it is to actually have and raise children, not to be talking about it like something in a petri dish.
    It goes against common sense to believe illogically that one should keep having more and more children, if the mother and/or father are going to have a nervous breakdown or if they cannot afford to have more children. We’re not talking about an extra piece of chicken on the table at supper time! We’re talking about a commitment to thousands and thousands of dollars each year! Later when parents cannot afford to send their children to yeshivas and seminaries, everybody starts asking, ‘duh, what went wrong with them??’ What went wrong is that no one could afford to pay their tuition, so they drayed zich in gass!
    Every parent loves every single child, no doubt. However, go ask any parent of 10+ children how they feel about having such large families. I have – and have never received a positive answer.
    Those that pronounce that we should promote large families should seriously take some of the advice suggested by the wise author of this article. The ‘community’ wants lots of kids, then they should take the lead in helping to sustain them.

  • 132. Elesoy wrote:

    Hi laaniyas.dayti@gmail, you’re a provocative thinker.
    A new Rebbe is not possible. The book is closed because the circumstances that created Rebbe #7 cannot be recreated. And we–having learned the word “Rebbe” to apply to a very specific person and context–will settle for nothing other than that.
    Chabad will continue to evolve into multiple races. There will be drones like Milhouse, whose opinions are only activated when a real life issue bares some resemblance to something they read discussed in the ‘canon’. These automatons find something comforting and secure in whatever’s inflexible, and they were never instilled with the values or motivation to just pursue a law degree…
    There will also be high-powered corporate executives and business men with a suave polished veneer who don’t care about Chabad’s philosophy, but who don’t need to, since Rebbe #7 promoted action over all else.
    And other races….

  • 133. Let your heart speak wrote:

    Milhouse, #112, I am sorry, I know you perhaps do not understand that your words are hurtful, but I myself have encountered others who remind me of the Rebbe’s instructions as pressure not to think of solutions. Yet you must know how hard it is in today’s world to raise a family with many children, and to see them as they grow up and understand that you cannot provide for them. It is always a struggle, and children see us suffer. Do you think our children will want to live the same lives, and pass this onto their children, when things is only getting harder for us?
    And when we try to speak of solutions, as this man did with courage from his heart, we are told no, you must not think of such things. But even others commenting here do not agree that this is what the Rebbe meant.

  • 134. awacs wrote:

    “We’re talking about a commitment to thousands and thousands of dollars each year!”

    Frankly, #131, if the big $$ commitment is to tuition (which it seems to be), then why just have the children, and send them to public school? Surely, that’s better than not having them at all! And, almost as cheap …

  • 136. ulay yerachem wrote:

    I’m very glad that this issue is being discussed. I am in the same boat as the author. My generation is at a big disadvantage compared to my parents. Real estate prices are many more multiples of a decent salary than in the previous generation. Tuition is much higher due to much less fundraising by the schools. Therefore nobody in the previous generation can judge anybody today about having a large family or not. Personally, after a few years of dealing with school administrators about tuition and listening to their difficulties paying their bills I have come to the conclusion of “assay shabbatcha chol, v’al titztarech labri’os”. I will not have any more beautiful children until I can afford full tuition for the ones I already have. I do not a have summer home or go on big vacations or have a fancy car. If the schools are to blame for almost 10,000/year tuition then they will have to answer on judgement day. Perhaps school vouchers will solve the issue. In the meantime I will do the best I can with what I have.

  • 137. What will be done? wrote:

    So, the Rebbe was the last of the Rebbes. Chabad Lubavitch wants to maintain itself and at the same time move on. The point is, what has been done to create a viable paradigm for the present situation. Did the Rebbe share any thoughts? Does anyone have any ideas now? Has this been discussed? By whom? As I understand it, the Rebbe came to a point where he said that he had done all he could, that the rest was up to others. Was there a vision behind that statement? On his part? On others’ parts? It seems that the situation presents a whole new scenario, one different from any other in history, as far as I know. So it seems to me that instead of existing in a sort of limbo without a Rebbe per se, either a new design is in order ASAP or we just continue this way. How will this unfamiliar scenario be resolved? And does it need to be? There has been a #1,2,3,4,5,6,7. There will not be a traditional #8. Where do we go from here? Zei gezuhnt.


Leave Comment

Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear shortly.