Illustration Photo: Oholei Torah Zal group portrait.

Yeshiva Institutes Changes; Mashpiim Issue Statement

Mounting pressure and public outcry finally lead to Oholei Torah’s Mashpiim distancing themselves from ‘self awareness’ group • Yeshiva administration issues memo prohibiting staff members from referring students to outside help without prior permission • Schools worldwide prohibit their students from attending Oholei Torah functions until clarification is issued

Since first coming to light, many more details have emerged regarding the Call of the Shofar movement and just how embedded it had become within the Crown Heights Chabad community and its schools. Most troubling: the roots it had taken within Crown Heights’ largest boys’ school, Oholei Torah, and revelation that certain staff members had sent many students to these ‘retreats’ and convinced several fellow staff members to attend themselves.

Last week an urgent gathering took place at Oholei Torah in order to address this troubling phenomenon. Over two thousand community members were in attendance, and several thousand more tuned in to a live webcast of the event.

Curiously present on the dais were the very Oholei Torah Mashpiim who were known to have both attended and sent students to the retreat. They remained publicly silent on the topic, until this Friday, when a letter was released carrying the names of 8 Mashpiim, including: Rabbis Nachman SchapiroSholom CharitonovShlomo SternbergPinchas KorfYekusiel FeldmanLevi Yitzchok MatusovYosef Yitzchok Pevzner and Schenor Zalman Vilenkin, in which all the signatories publically distance themselves from the Call of the Shofar.

But the letter raises more questions than answers, and falls short in addressing the public’s concerns.

The letter takes a clear stand against the Call of the Shofar, an apparent 180 degree turnaround, and denounces the organization as “eating from the fields of others” while maintaining that “there is only one conduit for chassidim and mekushorim.”

Notably absent from the letter are the names of the Rosh Yeshiva of Oholei Torah Zal, Rabbi Yisroel Friedman, as well as the director of the school, begging the question: Who was really behind the letter and what was its sudden motivation?

Calls to officials in Oholei Torah seeking to verify the letter’s authenticity were not answered or returned, but sources within the school wondered: “Who gave the undersigned permission to issue a public statement that was not approved by school’s executive director or its board of directors?


Other Yeshivos Prohibit Students from Attending Yud Shvat Shabbos Seudah Hosted by Oholei Torah

A screenshot of an email has been circulating which appears to be a response from an out of town Rosh Mesivta to a staff member of Oholei Torah. The writer says that “it is not shayech (possible) to send Bochurim to be mishtatef (participate) in any Seudah/Farbrengen that [Oholei Torah] hosts” until the Yeshiva takes a public stand “on the recent Meshugas.”

This email came in response to an invitation that was sent out by Oholei Torah inviting all the Yehivos to attend a Seudas Shabbos in Oholei Torah on the Shabbos of Yud Shvat, which is when the Kinus Hatmimim Haolami takes place with thousands of Bochurim from around the world in attendance.

Click to enlarge


Internal Memo

Last week an internal memo was distributed to all staff members in Oholei Torah prohibiting any teacher from referring a student to outside counseling or therapy without authorization. The memo was signed by Rabbi Joseph Rosenfeld and was printed on the stationary of Oholei Torah.

The letter says that after a meeting of the Yeshiva’s board of directors, a new policy is instituted that should a rebbe, morah, maggid shiur or mashpia feel it necessary to send a student to counseling with an outside organization or even a mashpia, they would need written approval by a direct dean or principal as well as another staff member.

The letter signs off that this new rule is of the utmost importance and will be strictly enforced.


Rabbi Sternberg Requests to Make a Public Apology

Sources told that Rabbi Shlomo Sternberg approached the organizers of last week’s gathering and asked that he be allowed to publicly apologize to the community.

Rabbi Yoel Kahn decisively refused this request, saying that the gathering is not about Rabbi Sternberg or the Call of the Shofar, rather it is about strengthening the community. Reb Yoel added that Rabbi Sternberg needs to pen his own letter and apologize to his students and the community.

When Will the Other Shoe Drop?

In light of Friday’s letter, many were left wondering when in fact Oholei Torah will issue an official public statement and clarify what steps were taken in response to this ‘breach of trust.’ While no official comments were made, sources tell that it is forthcoming and should be expected very soon.


  • Ripe victims

    I’m sorry to say but this is what happens when you raise an entire generation of uneducated people. OT has done themselves in this time.

    As an outsider (living in CH but sending my kids to other CH schools) I have seen various shortcomings of the school but this is beyond comprehension. That a staff member without a mental health license should even mention a student attend a “wellness weekend” is mind boggling. Even if the retreat was run by licensed professionals it is unethical for these staff members to offer it.

    Their job is to inspire the students and imbue them with a sense of chassidishkeit.

    Where were the parents???? Why would they consent without doing research???? It’s the blind leading the blind.

    Usually the prime victim for this type of behavior is someone who is uneducated. Here we have it folks. The s$&t has hit the fan.

    • Rebbe

      THE Rebbe Instructed many times To go to the OHEL .
      yet this people are not educated in Torah and Chasidus and did not let students spend a Shabbos of inspiration at the Rebbes Ohel instead they went to avoda zara and sent students there.
      now for the first step they violated the law of the land by sending minors to unlicensed therapy. to spend shabbos empty from any kedusha. only with avoda zara .
      and it is not even known if the food was KOSHER .
      Now what is COTS ?
      1.very simple they brain wash the attending that from now on they are better and have no problem.
      2.they collect the $700
      3.all this zombies brain washed are now the sales people to recruit more zombies to pay $ 700 and recruit more zombies this is a brilliant Pyramid .
      and the bottom line is $$$$$$$$$$
      some people got very rich from all this losers.
      look around you and see who was approached for this “RETREAT”
      not the regular successful Crown Heights-er not the Normal Crown Heights-er .
      the victims are the unfortunate .
      and this people went the first retreat but the money did not rain from the sky (only on the owners) so they were convinced to go again and again.
      this is a scam more than a cult but that is the real mission of the cult owners, leaders, and gurus
      it is only the bottom line $$$$$$$$$ and more $$$$$ now send all victims to deprogram so they stop giving money to the GURUS

  • former parent of OT

    In light of all that has taken place.. yeshivah policies etc.. WE SEE THAT THE YESHIVA IS TRYING.
    However this is not enough..
    Best medicine for those mashpiim who r”l went themselves AND sent their talmidim to other spiritual guidance other then our Rebbe should either been suspended as mashpiim or be forbidden to farbreng with the bachurim for at least six months or until it is sure that they can be trusted again with our kids,

  • the chossid

    we must distance ourselves from oholei torah,regardless of what they think of the call of the shofar.

    • Wrong

      On the contrary, we must support the school since they are clearly trying to repair the damage. I feel very bad for Rabbi Sternberg, he seems very upset about the part he played. I’m sure he was sincere but the lesson learned is stick to Chassidus and leave professional services to professionals. And as another poster said, get some real training.


    whats being done there????? are teachers doing sincere teshuva????? is principal just saying so just to hold his job???
    we dont want our kids under this influence!

  • what about elementary....

    where many staff have gone..i hope this will be dealt with, and not ignored!

  • parent of oholei torah

    The above article addresses the higher department of Oholei torah, WE MUST remember that an elementary principal attended, convinced, and is continuing to convince other teachers, staff, and parents to attend the retreat, He must come out with an apology immediately!!, or the board-of-directors must fire him immediately!! Our boys cannot study under his leadership!! If nothing is done immediately. As parents we should join and demonstrate with our boys-allowing them to see that we stand up for all that the Rebbe taught us!!!

  • They'd Do ANYTHING to keep Their Job

    This letter is simply a TACTIC to keep their jobs secure. It is NOT an indication of “teshuva” or even regret / apology in ANY manner. It is simply to APPEASE the loud calls for their removal. They would sign ANYTHING to keep their jobs.

    If it would be even a little sincere:
    1. The letter would be SPECIFICALLY from those individuals who actually went, without adding the many others who did not attend. Teshuva or apologies are individual acts or regret and remorse, not generalized public policy statements.
    2. The individuals would clearly state WHY they regret their action, the reason that they went and encouraged others, and what changed their opinion for the future.
    3. The individuals take responsibility for their mistakes and resolve not to continue.

    The basics of teshuva is confession (viduy), regret of past, resolution for future. This was NOT done here!

    As mashpiim they should set aside their EGOS and accept INDIVIDUAL responsibility.

    Anything less is a farce and ingenious,

    Now to talk about The Elephant In The School:
    Investigate OT Elementary

    Much focus was on OT zal, but what about the Rabbeim in ELEMENTARY who were encouraged AND pressured (with subtle threats) that they must go to COTS? This is being swept under the carpet!! The principal of the elementary is an avid “supporter” of COTS and was recruiting ALL staff to join. No change in policy except that now it is “under ground”.

    • ye

      you would also do anything to keep your job!!

      judge yourself before you judge someone else

      ארור מכה רעהו בסתר

  • Who watches the watchmen

    Do mashpiim listen to mashpiim???

    ” Reb Yoel added that Rabbi Sternberg needs to pen his own letter and apologize to his students and the community.”

    That was a week ago and it has NOT happened!!

  • father of beis medrash bochur

    the reason why we fell so low…..simply because almost all those “mashpiem” that signed the “sorry letter” FORBID and counsel their students to avoid davening at the Rebbe’s OHEL!!!
    If a bochur has an issue and is pained he should be directed and advised to daven at the Rebbe’s Ohel and instead mashpiem recommended they go to….avoida zorah! Nachman Schapiro and company play politics and preach against the OHEL and therefore our boys fell so low in oholei torah


      You took the words right out of my mind. Was thinking about this over Shabbos and was about to write about this on my website.

      This comment is 100% right.

  • Yossi A

    As a former talmid of OT Yossel Rosenfeld is just trying to cover…
    He is VERY worried that this will hurt his fundraising for the Yeshivah.
    This is all a bunch of talk and as we all know talk is cheap.

  • So Disappointed

    There must be hope, but with each passing day, this issue seems worse than I had imagined it could be on the day before. What intensifies the disappointment is that this whole mess is unfolding as a lead-up to Yud Shvat. How could this have happened?

  • Yakov Kirschenbaum


    Why can’t this website post information, i.e. the Oholei Torah letter, and allow its readers to comment? Why the need to immediately comment and twist issues before the reader gets any chance to digest the information (i.e. the OT letter)?

    “Calls to officials in Oholei Torah seeking to verify the letter’s authenticity were not answered or returned…”

    Suddenly there’s a concern that the letter was forged. The average reader reading the letter would not consider that the letter be forged. This is a good example of twisting information.

    • See for yourself

      Look at the letter from R’ Rosenfeld, then look at the letter from the Mashpiim and you tell me what the cause for concern is?

      Suddenly anyone in the yeshiva can go and speak on its behalf? Why? Because they want to?


      Sternberg should write a letter of his own with his own name on the letterhead, so should Schapiro and for that matter Goldstein and all the other Oholei Torah teachers and principals that attended.

      Thank you CHI for exposing these cronies for trying to hide behind some BS letter in which they dont even bother apologizing for the PRITZAS GEDER that they caused.

  • mother

    rabbi sternberg is NOT the only Rabbi to go ,so if you say one name, say them all.i know of others who went, one who works in Or Manachem i think all the schools should speak to all who went and get them HELP they need ,i hope the teacher will tell the trues that they went , there are lots of shulchim who went and they should get help too .
    what this means we need to have more community get together s and in a big place like crown heights each shool needs to come like a small community ,with helping out each other etc.we will get there.

  • how do we know

    real regret and not saying what need to in order to keep job??? (as some say..)
    also, charata is step one- the disease needs to be treated accordingly in order for it to stop spreading to others.

  • to 2

    right, he was dismissed for saying “maybe we should look for a new Rebbe” these people actually found one! (those who claim the Rebbe is still here bguf!) can it be that those who refused to accept his passing are the ones who fell for this the most?!?

    • Citizen Berel

      I don’t know anything about anything but if the issue was that he said “maybe..” then he and all the mashpim who did NOT advocate for his removal should have been removed.

  • Eli

    No matter what OT does, it seems nothing is enough. In the words of a former mayor: “I will be condemned if i do; i will be condemned if i don’t”. A new policy is instituted — no difference. Mashpiim issue first-ever letter — no difference. And now the Rosh Yeshiva has to be implicated as well, is Rabbi Friedman responsible to sign notices and letters? I think most reasonable people will agree that we are crossing the line to an all-out lynch (not to mention — or maybe it should be mentioned — two requests from the Rabbonim to stop already).

  • Financials

    EIN 33-1119637
    Name in IRS Master File CALL OF THE SHOFAR INC
    Street Address
    City, State, Zip BALTIMORE , MD 21209-3929
    NTEE Code B60
    NTEE Classification Adult, Continuing Education
    NTEE Type Educational Institutions and Related Activities
    Classification Educational Organization
    Subsection 501(c)(3) (View the list of codes)
    Foundation Status Organization that normally receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one-third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes. 509(a)(2)
    Deductibility Contributions are deductible
    Affiliation Independent – the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations).
    Group Name [Not Applicable]
    Exempt Organization Status Unconditional Exemption
    Ruling Date March, 2006
    Asset Amount $16,314
    Income Amount $241,981
    Form 990 Revenue Amount $241,981
    Latest Form 990 Return December, 2012
    Filing Requirement 990 (all other) or 990EZ return
    Fiscal Year End December
    IRS Forms 990
    (provided courtesy of Foundation Center) (Log In or Register Now to View Forms 990!) December, 2011
    December, 2010
    December, 2009
    December, 2008
    December, 2007

  • Some facts

    RYYP, one of the supposed signatories to this letter, said today by the Ohel to several people that he never signed anything!

    He was shocked that such a letter came out!

    He was shocked to learn that his name is listed with the two main perpetrators of this disastrous calamity that has befallen Oholei Torah, namely, Nachman Schapiro & Shloime Sternberg!

    He had no answer as to whom is the reference of MH”M made to in the letter, Frishling, Schapiro, or Sternberg!

    Clearly, Schapiro & Sternberg are trying to dupe the naive Mashpiim (yes politically naive), into thinking that they regret their actions and are trying to blend into the long list of pure (naive) Mashpiim!

    Teshuva entails regret for the past, and in a case of Choite Umachti Es Harabim (someone who sinned and caused others to sin, like selling treif meat, etc.), the Rambam paskens short & sweet “Yilbash Shchorim, Veyisatef Shchorim, Vyeileich Lemokom She-ein Makirim Oisoi (he should dress in black, wrap himself in black, and disappear to a place where nobody recognizes him)” and there he’ll be tested to see if he did true Teshuva. But to continue trusting our children’s education with their skulls full of mush to be formed by these loosers?

    These guys never admitted their error, they never publicly announced their regrets, all they’ve been doing over the last 10 days, was to try to defuse any public condemnation against them AND their evil actions, by sending fellow sinners to lobby the Rabbanim & other leaders to explain how noble their cause is, and to prevent any backlash against them. That’s no Teshuvah!

    And btw, Sternberg didn’t want to apologize at the public meeting, he only wanted to be given a public forum to voice his opinion and keep his standing in the community without any regrets. That’s why he (and Schapiro) shamelessly pushed their way onto the dais.

    Shame on them.

  • Zalman Goldstein

    What is being done to the Rabbi Zalman Goldstein for going, and sending others there. Its a disgrace that these people run out Yeshivas. It is about time Rabbi Yossel Rosenfeld stands up, and fires all these corrupt teacher.

  • New Plan

    This new certain group suggests as follows Shea Hecht should dress like a GALACH and run Oholei Torah Nachman Shapiro should be the cook and Sternberg should wash the floors and Mandelbaum should be the doorman Rieber should run the elevator and Mrs Hertzel should be the new Rosh Yeshivah and figure out the rest of the jobs yourself basically we’re down the drain there can’t be any success when there is such separation your fighting a losing battle and we see it in front of our eyes we’re losing hundreds of our children no normal Rabbinate everything is fighting name calling 770 has a bunch of idiots etc.etc.

  • TO #17

    Why don’t you name the people you are referring to?
    The name Sternberg was brought up since parents wrote his name. If you know of others, it will be a service to the WHOLE shechuna for them to be exposed.

  • Rap

    Whoever that rabbi is saying its forbidden to attend oholei Torah fabrengens etc… Can קישן טאכעס who does he think he is the shach? Making as if the hundreds of pure people there are not?! Just because of a few individuals?! If there weren’t a censorship i would use a lot of words in my head right now…

  • There is a boss

    All the letters and op ed’s are missing the main point and problem.

    There is a system fail and OT is just part of the problem.

    Lubavitch in general and OT in particular should figure out were the fail is and work to fix it.

    While I’m sure rabbis sternberg and Shapiro were actually trying to do a good job, and they made mistakes the biggest mistake is issuing the same old letters that have been issued in crown Heights for the last few decades (with different topics but the same general style) the way to fix things is to work hard to fix it.

  • I'm so happy this came out!

    First off as a former OT student the mashpiem in OT zal are no better then the people that run COTS. They both practice the same cult like behaviors. Both COTS and OT’s mashpiem try to disconnect you from the outside world so they can bombard you with there mishugas and get away with it.

    As a former student of shlomie sternberg i can tell you that the only reason i’m normal today (or at least half normal) is because i know that these mashpiem were full of them selves and confided in rabbi garlitsky and rabbi freidman. OT needs to be cleaned out from the radicals and start fresh with mashpiem that have whats best for there student at heart and actually know how to deal with bochrem correctly.

  • .V is for Vendetta

    I agree with 21 about crossing the line over to a toxic environment. Very stellar non-Jewish websites close comments off when such an atmosphere is created; we could learn a thing or two from them.

  • TO 30

    everyone who went has the same brainwashed-predictable opinion- so it doesnt help to ask someone who went their opinion- hes already a trapped victim.
    and 31 is right, many ppl cant listen to him anymore, his power and beautiful words just arent the same.

    as for the 3rd and 4th grades in OT…sounds like trouble that must be dealt with or else.
    step one is for them to realize they did wrong and why.
    step 2 is to retrain the mind.
    step 3 they should be tested if they are ready to take back position before coming back.

  • Cots

    Its starts with call of the shofar, and then goes on to selling backpacks on amazon with tumah in them.
    I bet you, its the same mechanchim, who are selling these backpacks.

  • NEW mIvtzoym Route

    we have to create A new mivtzoym route

    to go on Fridays before the COTS workshop starts, to give flyers warn participants

  • Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

    And one final story: the city of Dvinsk (nowadays: Daugavpils) in Lithuania had at one point two great chief rabbis who were appointed, inter alia, in order to counterbalance each other; one was Rabbi Meir Simcha haCohen, who was the rabbi of the mitnagdim, and the other Rabbi Yosef Rozin, known as the Rogochover Gaon, who was the rabbi of the Chassidim. Incidentally, they had an excellent relationship. One day a third person – a Jewish doctor or lawyer, someone with an official diploma – was also appointed as the rabbi designated by the authorities. Sometime later a local gentile encountered a local Jew and told him: “Last night we got together to drink and play cards all night, and one of the gang was your rabbi.” The Jew asked, “You mean Rabbi HaCohen?” “Of course not!” said the gentile. “Rabbi Rozin?” the Jew asked. “Surely not!” replied the Gentile. “So who was it?” asked the Jew. The gentile named the rabbi designated by the authorities. To this the Jew responded: “Him? He is your rabbi, not ours!”

  • To #32

    I assume you went to OT.
    At least it appears you do from your sentence structure and your spelling.
    Oholei Torah Chai!!!

  • Sternberg is a person too

    Just realize that he is someone’s husband father brother son etc. he was duped and brainwashed into this. I heard he went 9 or 10 times.

    He is now too confused to do the right thing. He should be offered leave to clear his head.

    He would be very valuable coming back. He knows a lot of chassidus, teaches well and relates to bochrim well while they are by him and long afyerwards

    • Agreed

      At last – a sensible idea. Leave of absence till Elul and let him get de-programmed (i am not kidding). He probably thought this garbage was positive and followed it carefully. Now he needs to get rid of the klippa.

  • No signatures

    Echoing comment #7, surprised that publicized the letter which was not on stationary and not signed with actual signatures. What weight does it really carry?

  • Rosenfeld solution

    Not sure how his proposal is any solution. So if the principal and the other two staff members approve of xyz cult as therapy, then it OK to recommend it?

    There is no mention of limiting referrals to licensed medical professionals or social workers, or even better having real licensed professionals (not mashpiiim) making the recommendations.

    A safer alternative is to merely notify the parents that professional help is recommended and let them make their own determinations. This school simply had lost any נאמנות on these matters at this point.

  • Epraim Piekarsky

    Ever since they removed this man the OT zal has been turned into a center for Prikus OL and emptiness.


    For the past 20 years Meshichistim have been brainwashing our children that we don’t go to the Rebbe/Ohel R”L.

    Thousands of Jews all around the world visit the holy grave sites of Tzadikim to pray for all their needs and to pure out their hearts. Even Chabad Chassidim travel [yearly] to Russia to visit the grave-sites of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe’s ob”m. Many spending days on end, including Shabbos at the Rebbayims Ohelim.

    At every grave-site of a Tzadik you will find a full fledged Shul/Beth Medresh, and in many places you will find a full time operating kitchen for guest.

    But for some reason when it comes to the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l – OUR Rebbe- the leader of our generation, the man who gave his life for us, going or sending others to his grave site has become a political thing [?] R”L!!!!

    So much so [so bad is the situation], that even those who don’t count themselves in the ranks of the Meshichistim don’t suggest to those who come to them for advise to go to the Rebbe/Ohel. Only because they are afraid to take a “political side” R”L.

    How did we allow this Yetzer Hara (Avoda Zora) of the Meshichistim penetrate our hearts?

    A whole generation of young men coming out of Oholei Torah and various other Yeshivas, laugh at the concept of going to the Rebbe/Ohel for assistance. This is only as a result of the Meshichist “Mashpiim” embedded in our Yeshivas.

    It comes as no surprise that these same Meshichist “Mashpiim, who preached that going to the Rebbe/Ohel is forbidden, ended up going and encouraging others to go to the Inferior substitute (of Avoda Zora). After all…
    מצוה גוררת מצוה, ועברה גוררת עברה, ששכר מצוה מצוה, ושכר עברה עברה
    (פרקי אבות פרק ד משנה ב)

    What do we do now?

    1) Those (teachers and so called “Mashpiim”) and who have participated in the ‘Call of the Shofer’ must be fired immediately. They can not be allowed to serve as influences (“Mashpiim”) to our children and young men. This is not only because of the ‘call of Shofer’, but rather because of the past 20 years that have lead to this.

    If they have truly repented then they can study in our Yeshivas as students (I suggest they start from the Alef Beth). In goes without saying that they should be in no position of influence on our children.

    2) Going to the Rebbe/Ohel a must!!!!

    Every Chabad Yeshiva (Mesivta and Yeshiva Gedolah) in driving distance from the Rebbe/Ohel most go at least once a week to the Ohel, to daven, write a Pan etc…etc…

    Every student must go, there is no such concept in Chabad that one does not go to the Rebbe/Ohel. Anybody who refuses to join the Yeshiva, must be thrown out. If he has Meshichist beliefs (which is foreign to Chabad) he should go to a Meshichist school.

    Many Mesivtas have Shabbatons for it’s students, these should be at the Rebbe/Ohel.

    Going to the Rebbe/Ohel is not open for debate, it’s not one belief against another R”L. This concept of not going to the Rebbe/Ohel is a Meshichist one and should totally be eradicated from our (Chabad) institutions of education.

    Your a Chabad Chossid (a follower of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l) you thing you have problems (ברוחניות ובגשמיות) or you have good news to share, then you go to the Rebbe/Ohel. Period.

    All Yoma Depagra should be spend only at the Ohel/Rebbe (and not G-d forbid become another day off).

    • to no 44

      i poshut feel like crying hearing this. i always knew the meshichistim fon’t go to the ohel but i thought they were extreme tsfatis but like this in our midst, oy so so sad. himmel geshrei. and yes ephraim pikarski is the man and if he would been there all these years this wouldn’t have happened. i guess these mashpiim who went are not grounded, r’l

  • More facts

    The Bochrim in OT showed Rabbis Matusoff & Charitonov this letter, and they both denied any knowledge of this letter (as did Rabbi Pevzner earlier this morning). However Nachman Schapiro claimed that all the signatories on this letter agreed to it, but he had no time to collect the actual signatures.

    Whom do you believe?

  • Student of O.T.

    I am a bochur in OT zal this year. Reading this article and its comments is making me sick. I’d like to say first hand that I came into Ohelei Torah in middle of an extremely difficult situation.
    Bh thanks to the help of Rabbi Sternberg I am doing much better now than I was a few months ago.

    I think it’s absolutely disgusting for people to sit on their couches and write disgusting comments about a person who has devoted his life to teaching Chassidus and helping people.

    I have a bunch of friends who feel the same. The man really cares. And the facts are that knowing a little bit of psychology and the way the human heart and mind work is not at all a STIRA to Chassidus.

    In fact the Rebbe gave his Brochos to those who he felt learning these things would enable them to help others..Now I’m not suggesting that every student needs a mashpia that knows psychology, but there’s nothing wrong with having one and it is in FACT helpful for those bochurim who are struggling with REAL LIFE issues..
    Although all you HOLY comment writers want that the Mashpiim in OT should be only the HOLY guys who don’t believe in Therapy, the facts are that 85% of that Zal just isn’t HOLY.
    So unless you want to have a major disconnect between Mashpiim and bochurim, you gotta have a guy like him there.. Or else all the guys like me in zal are just going to be floating around without anyone helping us, because the Holy Mashpiim don’t like us and we don’t like them..

    Now if u want to talk about Chassidus for a second, Chassidus wants us to be involved in real things. Thinking about our Relationship with Gd Almighty and not all this stupid stuff going on about COTS..
    So why don’t you stop writing comments against very good people and open up a Chumash or Tanya and do what the Rebbe wants from you..

    I think Rabbi Sternberg deserves an appology from anyone who wrote not nice things about him..

    May you all be Blessed!

  • to #47

    you might be right.
    problem is shlomo sternberg goes regularly to the ohel!!!
    your comment has no place here you are just mixing your anti-ism to this problem!!!!

  • Rabbinical hypocrisy

    to me

    I think Rabbis Braun and Schwei should go on a COTS Shabbaton to see for themselves what it’s all about before issuing a blanket OSSUR p’sak.

    Maybe they will find out its not as bad as they were lead to believe….

    While jumping up and down on a mattress blindfolded for an hour is definitely “out there”, it pales in comparison to the far more bizarre behaviour that regularly takes place inside 770

  • the chossid

    we continue to permit the blind to lead us,its not only the losers in oholei torah ,its also the losers in the lubavitcher yeshiva high school on eastern parkway together with their so called beis hamedrash.heaven help us all, we are self destructing,hundreds of our boys and girls running around wild,because we dont have the guts to fight these monsters.

  • Farmer

    The chickens come home to roost. 20 years of fighting have finally caught up. Plant and sow.

  • im scared!

    Oholei Torah has acted under pressure. What does that say about their decision making process? this is a mosad who is charged with the responsibility to EDUCATE our children. what does this say about their decision process?


    School does things hotheadedly????? THIS IS WHY THEY LOOK LIKE THE WAY THEY DO!!!!!!!!

  • Look how bad are generation is getting

    They don’t let Bochurim go Shabbos to the Rebbe’s Ohel (more then once a month, and never more, but sometimes they will give permission to go else where more than once a month)
    Bochurim need to fight strang to do what’s right
    The Yeshiva only cares about politics (the Hanhala of Chassidus are Moshiachistim and they won’t do nothing, and even the hanhala of Niglah won’t do anything because that Yeshiva Neglah and Chassidus Hanholah are 2 completely different management, i had a good friend how learnt there and he us to complain to me all the time telling me ”it’s too hard to stay a Chassidishe Bocher when the Hanhola is not letting you to stay strong and go to the Rebbe when you want”)

  • we must get rid of them,

    How did we manage to let our children be in the care of people who desperately need mental help. We
    must have a board of rabbis that consist of licensed
    psychologist and psychiatrist to evaluate these so called mashpiim to at least get them certified as being normal. All politics aside the situation has gone from bad to worse, we must bring in the professionals. This will be a start then we can move on to torah and avodah. Too many nut jobs taking care of our children time to clean house!! if your a child molester bully manipulator we will not let you take care of our precious children. Period!!!

  • TO 60

    throughout history- rabbanim never had to do avoda zara in order to tell everyone not to go. sorry. but its obvious from miles away that this ossur- no need to do something ossur to know its ossur,
    tell me ONE aveira that we need to do first and then judge if its right or wrong.
    its wrong. wrong. wrong.
    its so sad that those that went just dont see it. so sad.

  • Moe COTS

    I want to share something i found inspiring its from one of my rebbeim who has impacted me in many deep ways and was niftar this past shabbat
    Your Personal Yetzias Mitzrayim — Rav Asher Zelig Rubenstein ZT”L

    Adapted from a shiur given by Rav Asher Zelig Rubinstein, ZT”L

    The Vilna Gaon, inOros HaGra Darchei Avodah 5:1, says that the very foundation of Yetzias Mitzrayim is a person’s ability to escape from the walls of his own internal prison. Doing something wrong out of habit, hargel. Indeed, Mitzrayim is the embodi- ment of bondage to habit. Only Hakadosh Baruch Hu was able to take everyone out; no eved was able to escape on his own. As Yishaya says– laymor le’assurim tze’u The prison of bad habit is a dungeon in which are all confined – each man to his own de- gree. And if we would each make a cheshbon hanefesh, we would see to what extent we are prisoners.

    There are at least four categories of habit that hold us captive:

    1) Hargel aveiros: Habitual sins.

    2)Hargel middos ra’os: Negative character traits become “ingrained,” leading us to believe that we’re just
    naturally the way we are and we can’t change.
    3)Chisaron derech eretz: Despite knowing that certain uncouth or antisocial behaviors might make others uncom-

    fortable, we do them anyway – slaves to the habit of smoking, staring or even cracking one’s knuckles.

    Ahavas Olam Haze

    Yetzias Mitzrayim is Zeman Cheiroseinu. No one likes to be an eved – especially to himself! The zeman yetziah lecheirus
    should be a time to make a cheshbon hanefesh and get started making your own yetziah from the Mitzrayim of your
    habits. And the process of getting out of Mitzrayim, says the Gra, is what mussar is all about.What is mussar based on?
    It’s about changing yourself for the better by working on your negative traits and bad habits..

    If you are not actively working on getting out of Mitzrayim, then you are still there and will remain stuck there, until
    you work on escaping. The passuk in Iyov says, “Ayar pera adam yevoled,” which the Alter from Kelm explains as fol-
    lows: A man is born an ayar pera, but an adam has to be nolad. You have to be molid yourself. The baalei mussar say
    that your birthday is not the day that your ayar pera was born. But when the adam was born. His birth takes place
    when he starts to work on avodas Hashem and involves himself in mussar. And what does it all come back to? Control-
    ling your bad habits.

    Sometimes you might find yourself looking at a smoker and thinking, “Why can’t he just quit?” A person becomes en-
    slaved to his habits the same way a smoker becomes addicted to cigarettes. At times like this, when you have a live
    demonstration of servitude taking place before your eyes, stop and ask yourself if you’ve ended your bad habits, some
    of which could be even worse than smoking.

    So, how does one begin extricating himself from the prison of his own design, the detention center of habit? There are
    five steps:

    1) Realize that the yetzer hara’s main goal is to get you into the Mitzrayim of habitual, rote behavior,
    which allows him to rest easy because you’ve become a slave to yourself and your negative ways.

    2) Discover what middos, actions, aveiros, and other things comprise your personal Mitzrayim.

    3) Know that you can escape. Never despair of being able to get out. Hargalim are not a life sentence;
    Hakadosh Baruch Hu took us out of Mitzrayim to serve Him. He won’t abandon you. Remind yourself
    that the voice inside of you, which is telling you that you are already too old and too set in your ways, is
    the voice of the Satan, and that your perspective is only that of teva and that you need siyatta diShmaya
    to bring about your yeshuah. To break the despair, strengthen your emunah in Hashem – and know that
    once you have done your part, He will do the rest to take you out.

    4) Desire to change. Confirm your goal of leaving Mitzrayim to be an eved Hashem and not an eved
    leParoh. Realizing your desire to change is more than half the battle.

    5) Wage war. Leaving Mitzrayim is lifelong battle, which must be planned step-by-step.

    The mekubalim say that the 49 days between Yetzias Mitrayim and Kabbalas HaTorah correspond to the 49

    shaarei tumah, one thing is certain: Yetzias Mitzrayim is the beginning of the work of yetzias Mitrayim – and defi nitely
    not the end.Leil Pesach is the leil eirusin of Hakadosh Baruch Hu withKlal Yisrael, as evidenced by Haka dosh Baruch Hu Him-
    self coming to Mitzrayim during makkas bechoros and not sending an emissary. Because Seder night is the zeman kiddushin,
    there had to be a revelation of the Shechinah. This is why we read Shir Hashirim on Pesach – because it is the eis dodim. And just
    as a chassan will go to great lengths for his kallah, even breaking bad habits, like quitting smoking because he cares so much for
    his kallah and what she thinks of him, so, too, we can realize the ahavas Hakadosh Baruch Hu and start caring more about
    what Hashem thinks than what our peers do.

    May we all be zoche to want to be taken out of Mitzrayim and to strengthen our relationship with Hakadosh Ba r u c h
    Hu. If we try our best,He will do the rest and take us out of Mitzrayim

  • shlomo sternberg

    issues like most of us and he went to look for Help

    and he winded up in a colt !!

    let him leave and get real HELP.
    and come back when he is ready.

    but don’t stand there when there is a event going on to condemn the SHOFER
    and you think you did teshuvah!!



    “Anonomous wrote:

    Extremes are not healthy. Take the middle path. Yes, go to ohel. But so often?”

    Once again you are being this about politics and you should be ashamed.

    Explain how going to the Rebbe/Ohel is extreme in anyway, form or fashion?

    How many times did the Rebbe zt”l go to the Ohel? Do You know? How many times did the Rebbe direct people to the Ohel or told them that he will mention them at the Ohel?

    You fool. Playing right in to the Meshichist propaganda (Avodas Zora).

    It is precisely this type of take that has brought us to this sad and unfortunate point.

    I hope that if anything good comes out of this, it’s that we finally recognize that the source/core of all this is the Meshichistim and we finally get rid of them from our institutions.


    Yitzchok Halevi wrote:

    ”the man who gave his life for us”????

    Yes, Just like I am currently giving my life to my wife and kids. Everything I do, all my Avoda (physically and spiritually) is for the well being of my family.

    The Rebbe dedicated his life.
    i.e. gave up on his own personal life, to assist; to lift up etc…etc… all of Klal Yisroel.

    Hence, he gave his life for us.

    [I know what your attempting to suggest…only someone whose thinking that way would (well) think this way…they guy your thinking about R”L “died” for his people….not lived for them].


    “your comment has no place here you are just mixing your anti-ism to this problem!!!!”

    What is anti-ism?

    Please explain.


    As a side note:

    Any documents not actually signed by hand is worthless. No court of law (Jewish or non) would recognize this.

  • Shame on us for acting like a lynch mob

    Former white house chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once said don’t let a good crisis go to waste.
    So now it has become the new “in” thing to bash COTS and some people are using this new crisis to settle old scores.

    The young people whom we are all protecting so much so, that we call an emergency meeting, care so very much for that we now have lynch mobs going after their perpetrators job are watching the reaction of rabbi’s, heads of schools and the general public. They are not fooled by the message of the 90’s and 2000’s: do as I say not how I act.

    The reaction of the masses, the rabbis and mashpim IS THE PROBLEM.

    Please do us all one favor, not for me but for the kids, youth and young adults that everyone is so worried about and be honest. If you have issues with a school, individual, political affiliation or way of thinking and you want to use this crisis to get back at them, then please be honest and say so.

    Please do not act holier then now and act surprised and outraged and demand that people lose their jobs over this. Does anyone really think that the big problem in crown heights or in Lubavitch is/was COTS?

    Is this the new Lubavitch way? Is this what Tanya teaches us to do? Or Is this Lubavitch V.8?

    It is so easy to be a bystander and do nothing, nothing people can do no wrong because they do nothing (besides write anonymous comments on web sites). People whom are actually involved can and will do something wrong because they do something and are human.

    Anyone that does know me knows that I am the last person to be a defender of Oholei Torah, mishichistim or Rabbi Shapiro. But I do know what it feels like to have a lynching mob after me, rabbis write letters about us without hearing our side and having so called friends and neighbors whom were help by our family for over 30 years be back stabbers.

    Yanky Blachman


      Dear Yanky Blachman,

      Were you so concerned four years ago when six Jews were being prosecuted in a viscous blood libel (orchestrated by Meshichisti Mossrim)?

      Did you voice your outrage then?

      Did you voice your outrage when Yaakov Spritzer took the Hershkops/Heber/Hartman/Goldman families to court in a viscous blood libel?

      Or did your father dance with Spritzer at the time?

      Your comment is full of projections.

    • to CHLEAKS.COM

      big time yes
      absolutely yes
      i can only reply and talk for myself
      ask and you will know

  • CHelm...

    Welcome to the world of CHelm…truly…yet sad.
    Hmmm, maybe the subtle radicalization of Lubavitch communities/educational system over the last 20 years, has led to directionless disaster (mimicking the general Charedi system). Perhaps the: no-English/hardcore learning/white-shirts-only/and the like, club (for the masses), which were new inventions of the 90’s (as they didn’t exist in my 80’s generation), has proven the law of “unintended consequence”, and raised a generation of good kids who don’t know what/who to believe, and where to turn to. Yet they’re smart enough to realize on their own, the utter unsustainability of it, regardless of the generous amounts of “Kool-Aid” served by their irrelevant leaders in their own “ivory towers”. Want to really change the results (effect)? Change the system (cause), and fundamentally at that. The pendulum needs to swing back to normalcy, finally.

  • COTS is increasing workshops

    COTS added in their web sites more workshops to be held in Morristown (5) and Toronto (1)

    This might mean that more people are signing in


      A million people can sign up and perhaps find themselves their, HOWEVER these millions are not Chabad.

      This truth applies also to Mershichistim.
      It doesn’t matter how many they are in numbers….”We are not Chassidim of other Chassidim, we are Chassidim of the Rebbe zt”l. We don’t do or not do something because 99.9% of people are or aren’t doing something. We do whats right.”

      b) Had the Rebbe not inserted the three words b’midat emet leYaakov (“according to the attribute of Truth unto Yaakov”) -*-, he would have attracted fifty thousand more chassidim. But the Rebbe demands the trait of truth.

      -*- .Following the exhortation to the chassidim that “they are to subdue their spirit and heart before everyone.”

  • Peace on Earth

    As a person who actually went to a COTS weekend, I can assure everyone that if each of the three rabbonim of our Beit Din would go for one weekend to COTS, they will come back as friends and get along peacefully.

    I am willing to sponsor the weekend if all three rabbonim agree to go.

    It would be the BEST thing for our community!

  • TO 78

    you may as well send them to the gurus in india. they dont need your $, advice, nor the avoda zara.
    everyone who goes assures the solutions to all the worlds problems.
    how typical of a cult!

  • I agree.

    AFTER they attend, they very well might come back all the better for it! It might transform the community! But why? Everything in the community is so harmonious!? They should be so proud!? (Sorry for the sarcasm. I guess I’m just confused as to why there is so much hysteria about “Shofar”. Live and let live! Provide the environment which would not lead to people needing to try something else. If you don’t provide that, then who can blame them? ASK people what they need. Ask them what they got out of “Shofar”. Try to perceive where the problem is coming from. This has happened for a reason, and clearly the reason is not being addressed from within. Instead, things are just being forbidden. Speeches are being made. Who among them has sat down and had a real conversation with anyone who went to “Shofar”? ) I think you NEED TO LISTEN!!!!

  • I've Listened

    And what I’ve heard is “I’m working on my well-being,” “I’m on a good path,” “I want unconditional love,” etc. The trouble is that they all say the same things! So when I listen, what I hear is frightening. What I see—huge, fake smiles, empty, staring eyes, and a loss of the centrality of Torah V’Mitzvos—is even more frightening. Classic symptoms of mind control. Are there a voids that needs filling? Of course there are. That’s life. But filling voids with this dangerous narishkeit is just plain wrong.

  • to 84

    who are u talking to? what do they owe you? , when frum yidden ae drowning they run to save you ad anyone would do one to another, that doesn’t mean they owe you as much as to call you sit down to speak to you etc. you can do the first step and call your mashpia/rov and i am sure he will listen and answer and talk but who is appointing themselves leaders here and go farbraing with you? whom are you paying to do that?

  • make the change now!!

    for argument sake if the fact would be that after getting rid of two teachers the school would be clean of all problems ok but the fact is many teachers went to the program and the school has many different problems and there are more teachers that they can get rid of even if they were not part of the program so here is the deal they should reinstate those teachers or they will eventually have to deal with DOE and the DOH etc. don’t take the gamble be smart before parents really get involved.