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Letter: How Hard Could It Be To Coordinate School Vacations?

A frustrated mother laments ‘our broken community’, and the neighborhood schools’ inability to treat its parent bodies with ‘respect’. From random and sudden school calendar changes, to the schools inability to coordinate with each other.

To the Boards of our Crown Heights Educational Institutions,

I write to you as both a frustrated mother and a member of a very broken community.

You, our educational institutions, instill within us from birth the beauty of large families, the Mivtza of pru urvu.  Yet you do nothing to support us in raising them, in fact you are showing us both apathy and contempt.

It is 2018.

Surely the school boards can get together and make a community school calendar.

What has been happening since forever does not work, each school setting their own vacations, then another being so arrogant to change their entire school calendar four months into the school year and telling the other schools to get on board or else be left behind.

Do none of you have children? Do none of you have both sons and daughters and need to set the same schedules for all family members?

Boys schools start Rosh Chodesh Elul, girls schools start the Monday after Labor Day, which leaves  a two and a half week spread for some children to be at school and some to be home.

Over Chanuka, Beis Rivkah and the boys’ schools had off Thursday through Monday, while Bnos Menachem Friday through Tuesday.

What do parents with daughters in both girls’ schools do?

Mid-winter break in Beis Rivkah is January 19-22, while at Bnos Menachem its February 4-9.

This leaves boy’s schools to decide which parent body gets to have all of their children home at the same time, and which parents have to take off two weeks of work, two weeks apart from each other, with only some children home each time.

This is not rocket science, it is basic metchlichkeit and respect for YOUR parent bodies.

Why can’t you ALL sit down together in July and make a community wide school calendar where all schools close the same dates?

A little respect for your parents and your students.

A Frustrated Mother


  • 2. Baruch wrote:

    Get Real
    This ain’t no “community”.
    This is a “neighborhood”.
    U get the difference?

    Unfortunately, starting with the real estate Mongols in crown heights, this place went from a community to a neighborhood.

    It all goes down to money, something which the real estate Mongols of crown heights decided to up the price of property leaving no money for anything else.

    Now don’t tell me that they did not do etc it was the Yuppys..
    Look at Williamsburg, they have had a yuppy problem a lot longer then we did, and they held strong!

    Sorry guys.
    Crown heights became a neighborhood now.

    • 3. To Reb Boruch #2 wrote:

      We are discussing the school calendar here. Real Estate and Rental prices are important, but let’s stay on topic please.

  • 4. Berel wrote:

    Burn it down. Do an Sanchariv on this entire summer break churbon of an institution until it’s broken beyond repair, and then let’s get to where we need to be.

    2.5 months is obscene, there’s no reason for it.

    3 weeks max, doesn’t cost much more money and parents will just continue paying the same tuition rates into the summer.

    Staff will complain, it will take a half decade for a new norm to be established, but it will be established, some staff will move on and new staff will fill their shoes

    Parents who don’t care about limudei koidesh and have luxurious summers in datche will weep and gnash their teeth … and get over it or not.

    The Rebbe made his view clear on this in no uncertain terms

    And it’s not a gezirus hakosuv that you cannot relate to, life as we know it, where you get up and go and study with structure every single day just stops for 2 and half months and then we start the cycle again.

    This has been hurting our children for decades.


    • 5. just saying wrote:

      there can be a cycle for staff they get a small break just take turns ….

  • 6. Anonymous wrote:

    I wish my comment could be heard as a voice note, so as not to sound harsh… Thats not my intention at all

    What kind of example do we set for our children when we rant and rave at society around us? How are we demonstrating our belief that everything ultimately was ordained by the Hashem for our personal and unique benefit, each of us in a different way?

    Yes its frustrating practically, but lets keep our eyes on the bigger picture and focus on why we were put in this world to begin with…

  • 7. Anonymous wrote:

    I recently started working in a Crown Heights moisad and began to know more about the ppl, that are so flippantly put down in this article…
    I cant vouch for everyone, but the large majority of ppl involved in chinuch are giving their mind, body, heart, soul, sweat and blood to the betterment of their students.

    Why are we not ashamed to have such chutzpah cross our lips, as is displayed in this article and as children sometimes hear their parents openly discuss at the supper table?

    May Hashem open our eyes to help us see that the best thing we can do for our childrens chinuch, is not to coordinate their vacations just so, but to express our respect for those in charge.

    Whether or not we understand.

    • 8. Anonymous wrote:

      They may give their “mind, body, heart, soul, sweat and blood to the betterment of their students” but that does not take away the fact that they should put some thought and coordination into the school calendars for the betterment of the students families.

  • 10. To #3 camp is amazing wrote:

    Many kids benefit from the school break
    The trick is to make sure their time is filled appropriately

    • 11. Berel wrote:

      It’s a lie we tell ourselves, kids benefit from learning Torah year round. I’m looking around at a world filled with kids who ‘benefited’ from going to camp.

      There is no way to fill a camp to approximate learning Torah full time on a regular basis with a veteran Rebi they’ve built a relationship with throughout the year. And nothing you can’t do in camp to obviate the terrible ramp up and get back into reality recovery time they spend at the onset of the new school year. It’s a tragedy.

      Again, the Rebbe spoke about this numerous times.

    • 12. ahavasyisroel wrote:

      they benefit from…forgetting everything they learned in school. Not just what they have learned in Torah knowledge but also in behavior and discipline

    • 13. Chaim wrote:

      Yes, they put negal vasser next to their beds with so much excitement, without any reminders……for two WHOLE weeks. (Sarcasm)

      The so “gains” is not worth the loss.

      Stop fooling yourself.

      With schools open 11 months a one week a year, no tricks are needed.

      Your kids should be loving school, loving learning, if they don’t, they are not in the right school, find another school for them.

    • 14. Wish it were so simple wrote:

      The classroom for many children isnt an easy place to be and many of these children flourish in camps and are imbued with a chayus that lasts all year

  • 15. We are not a broken community wrote:

    You cant compare CH to other communities

    It is bli ayin hara the largest Chabad community in the world

    There is much growth that can happen, jst like in any community, we need to work on ourselves, but please also be realistic.

    Look for the good vs calling CH broken and say at the same time we can improve in this and this and this.

    But we are not Broken, except from this long Golus.

    CH is made up of many different smaller communities within the larger one

    The fact that we have so many schools B”H shows just how large the community is

    The author is correct though that it would make a huge difference to families if days off are the same in all schools.

    Even if one school is only giving two days off let’s say, where another is giving 7, at least let those two days overlap at some point with the seven, so that families can be home together. It makes it so much easier and also allows siblings to spend time together.

  • 16. wrong wrote:

    boys always had more learning days then the girls. boys belong in yeshiva not on the streets

    99% of parents dont have girls in both schools

    PS OT is the only school that made changes talk to them

  • 17. Skype Bubby wrote:

    Please moisdos get your act together. Working mothers, even those working in a moisad, are cracking under the pressure of finding care for kids. Youngish kids (age 10?) are home alone or watching younger siblings, because Mommy teaches somewhere else and is working. vechulai. We love and respect hanholos, melamdim and teachers but this is too much. This has nothing to do with respect. It’s a matter of coordinated scheduling. Please reconsider.

    Moshiach NOW

  • 18. Yossi A wrote:

    1) CH isn’t a broken community. We are a community that needs a bit more ahavas yisroel.
    2) I spoke to one of the vaad members of OT, the school everyone is complaining about, they most definitely tried to coordinate with other schools. If not for certain peoples ego, everything would have worked out.
    3) there shouldn’t be any parant taking issue with cutting down vacation time.
    In Israel, vacation is 3 weeks. 10 weeks is way to much.
    4) adjusting the school year to coordinate Rosh Hashana is a very logical decision for a chasideshe mosad to do. The secular dept can start a week later. That will give the students even for yom tov learning. Which should a win win for everyone.

    Sounds like the only parents having issue, are the ones that feel they must stay in the bungalow until after labor day.

  • 19. why publicize??? wrote:

    if you want answers, if you are truly sincere, if you want change, then speak directly to those in charge.
    sounds like you just like to complain.

  • 21. always looking to complain wrote:

    I agree that vacations should be coordinated.just pointing out that some schools have their own buses while others do not. This gives them the upper hand in making decisions since they will do what they want regardless if the other schools are on board or not.

  • 23. Blessings wrote:

    To all those of you saying “your lucky…” and “be thankfull…” you are literally saying

    משפייעט אין פנים און מען זאעגט אז עס איז גשמי ברכה


    Those days are over and we deserve to be treated better.

  • 26. Crown Heights is not a community wrote:

    I absolutely agree with the above poster who said Crown Heights is a neighborhood more than a community.

    There is no unity, no leadership, and no sense of communal responsibility.

    Crown Heights is one of the only Chabad communities in the world where a person can move and meet no one, not be invited for Shabbos or Yom Tov ever, and make absolutely no connections. I know several people who this happened to, and after a couple of years they moved away and had drastically different experiences in other communities.

  • 28. To #25 wrote:

    How can you even compare?
    There is no other Chabad community that is the size of CH
    There is no other Chabad community that has a huge population of people coming to live here lchatchila for a few weeks to a few months or a year, or two or three…
    Theres B”H thousands of guests coming through…
    It doesnt make it easier, but look at it for what it is
    You have to be a bit more assertive to get invited its true
    But how can you say that people dont get invited when there are just in out of town students from all the schools alone, hundreds of guests at CH homes

    And that doesnt include families being invited

    Or the Shabbatons that are always happening

  • 30. Frustrated Parent wrote:

    I have a daughter in BR Sem who works in Bnos Menachem in the afternoons, and nieces in both schools. She essentially has no mid-winter break, and the same for Chanukah. Why is it so hard for schools to coordinate their vacations at the same time, so sisters and cousins can spend days off together??

    • 31. seriously? wrote:

      Your daughter is a working adult. Very few adults have winter vacation.

  • 32. They can coordinate wrote:

    It would take very little effort for the schools to do this. Thanks to modern technology, a simple WhatsApp group or GoogleDoc shared by all the Crown Heights mosdos can be created and then all the schools can post their ideas for vacations before their calendars are set. Then, taking into consideration the needs of each school, perhaps some common dates could be agreed upon.

  • 33. Anonymous wrote:

    Anyone who commented “against” this writer obviously was never effected. She has no tone disrespect or the like. She is simply stating a very simple and easily changeable reality which must be changed. I BH have four little children (few compared to other families) The one day of Chankah vacation that didn’t match my own and the rest of my kids cost me $100 in babysitting (what a waste) and I’m sure others were way more effected.

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