Bais Rivkah Board Claims Authority Challenged

Breaking their silence for the first time since teachers in the primary division of Bais Rivkah in Crown Heights have gone on strike, the school’s board claims their legal authority was challenged, and have therefore stopped their activities.

30 Nissan, 5777

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Official Statement from the Board of Beth Rivkah

On September 11, 2016 we were voted onto the Board of Directors of Beth Rivkah and, among other responsibilities, assumed the responsibility to make sure that teachers would be paid in a timely fashion. On February 10 our legal authority was challenged by the administrators. In order to avoid a Chilul Hashem, etc., we worked to quietly resolve the issues at hand in order to be able to resume our activities and fulfillment of our obligations unhindered.

After many deadlines came and went in our effort to remove the obstacles, there are still some technical details that need to be finalized and it seems that we are finally close to resolution and it will be finalized within the next few days.

We, who are also parents of students and teachers, understand the urgency of the situation very well and are working diligently to see it resolved ASAP so that our precious daughters can resume classes and our dear teachers can be paid up what is owed to them and be secure in knowing that they can count on their salaries being paid in a timely fashion.

One of the priorities of the Board is to implement structural changes in the administration and financial office of the school in order to assure that, with G-d’s help, we never have to experience such a crisis ever again.

When classes resume, IYH, we will then invite all parents and teachers to a meeting where we will share our vision for the immediate and long term future and see how we can proceed together to make a Keili for the Rebbe’s brochos to help move Beth Rivkah mechayil el choyil.

Please bear with us.

The Board

Sources told that sometime during the night of February 9th, a number of board members went into the administration offices and changed the locks on the door of Laime Minkowicz’s office without his knowledge. When he arrived the following morning, the police were called and informed that the office was broken into and the locks changed without permission.

When it was discovered who was behind the changing of the locks, a letter was sent to the board informing them that they have no legal right to do what they did – thus challenging their authority.

Teachers say that they are still owed seven paychecks from the previous school-year, as well as an additional three from this year. Grades 1 to 3 have begun a strike before Pesach, which is ongoing, and a partial strike affecting grades 4 to 7 began yesterday.


  • 1. crazy wrote:

    how can people trust this so called board that they will do this correctly. when they have so brazenly broke into r’ minkowitz’s office.
    crazy add masei!!!

  • 2. Information at last wrote:

    1) who voted in this bogus board and what legal power did they have to do so?

    2) our power was questioned so we chose to withold checks from teachers and put thousands of kids and parents in an unfathomable situation

    This board, and the sole person they represent are reprehensible.

  • 3. In short wrote:

    In short they thought they were a bored and still didn’t pay the teachers not just that they took interest
    So they are making money very nice

  • 5. When will we hear the truth wrote:



    Dear Rabbi Shemtov,

    1) board members just came out with an official statement it seems they left out important information.

    2)board member suggested that the board needs treat parents like natzis
    3)board members want to double tuition.
    4)board members stated they would like to build condos for the their own interest on Beth Rivkah property instead of using the property for school expansions which the school desperately needs.
    5)there are rumors that interest was taken on their own money that they loaned to school
    6)they committed to paying teachers in September and did not keep their commitment
    7)they are telling parents and teachers they have money to pay the teachers now but are holding students hostage until paper worked is filed

    Rabbi Shemtov please address the above issues.

    May we be Zoche to see the lights of “open classrooms” turn back on Bagala Didan, with the teachers leading the students to Artzaynu Hakdosha Takef Umyad Mammosh.

    Zalman S and Moshe P

  • 6. Don't hide the lies! wrote:

    So now can you please explain to is parents how you had the chutzpah to take interest on then loans…
    This is not a business that you think your putting yourselves into, this is our community school.

  • 7. Wake up and smell the coffee! wrote:

    Why is there a fundraiser getting paid through all this and he didn’t bring in $1.
    Is there an answer how as a community are we letting these people take the school over!

    • 8. We the people wrote:

      Fundraising is an art and takes time. Relationships need to be built. It is a work in progress.

  • 9. The kangeroo wrote:

    I told you if a fish starts stinking, it starts from the head.Get the job done!Teach the children.

  • 10. Save yourself SOS wrote:


  • 11. Someone who didn't know wrote:

    How are we letting these people take over?
    R. Shemtov why are you hiding?
    How are you letting these people on our school board?
    Do you not care?…

  • 12. Citizen Berel wrote:

    Why can’t anybody be clear. All this juicy innuendo and accusation and unhingynes but not a single coherent paragraph laying out the issue as you see it.

    If you know the deal and are commenting or even if you just have some harebrained theory, would you please elaborate clearly and specifically, and if you don’t know the deal or cannot conjure a theory, then just be quiet.

    The only thing missing on these comment threads are the pitch fork emojis.

    Seriously,, are you listening?


  • 13. yankel "Todis" wrote:

    If I remember correctly the Rebbi did not like papers/lletters/statements that are signed Board or Vaad being as that is like saying “no one is taking responsibility” if the “board is above board let them sign a NAME to all their statement (otherwise they can/will claim “we/I never said that”

    secondly I have spoken to a few parents of children in 1-3 grade and they would like to know who represented them as class spokesman ( 3 parents said nobody asked them or their spouse any input) and who empowered anyone to speak for someone else.

    thirdly WHO are these peoples that are having meeting with no one has any names and who is empowering them to repesent anyone,

    personally if no one give a face/name to we/us in any of the statement it looks like it is a power-play or madeup story of this “vaad”

  • 14. Let's raise our voices wrote:

    We realized this board are liars
    Now what can we do?
    We need them out…

  • 15. Let's raise our voices wrote:

    Big lying here…
    Now what can we do?
    We need this board out…
    Now is our chance they aren’t legal yet….

  • 16. not chabad online wrote:

    So sad that that other site is owned by shemtov mafia and can’t publish the truth 😡😡

  • 17. We the people wrote:

    We need to organise a march on Philadelphia. Us parents and our girls who are out of school need to hold a sit in at Shemtov’s house and not leave till he answers out questions TRUTHFULLY.

  • 18. Oh no, don't let these new people in wrote:

    They are a bunch of lairs they never knew they weren’t a board until Feb why weren’t all their promises made until they learnt they weren’t a board…

  • 20. We support! wrote:

    Benji, don’t let them fool you too… Save us!!!
    Don’t let them take over…

  • 21. Another vote for R. Stock wrote:

    Make noise, don’t let them take over!!!
    We are scared!

  • 22. who is doing the hiring wrote:

    Moshe Pinson was hired to fundraise for the school he was put on a salary why who knows usually youcollect a percentage of whats brought in maybe we should call him and ask him where the money is

  • 24. OY HASHEM! wrote:

    Hashem…. PEOPLE WAKE UP IF if the board really cared they would RUN… they will use the school for business
    Pets save ourselves before it’s too late!!!

  • 25. WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE??? wrote:


  • 26. Hey wrote:

    Did anybody else try writing a comment on that other site and not pass their censorship. It seems they are censoring all information that has to do with anything good and the administration.
    It seems they are in cahoots with rabbi shemtov in trying to get rid of other administrators

  • 27. Pity wrote:

    I saw so many little girls around Crown Heights today, some wearing their uniforms. This is the real tragedy. How can these corrupt stupid men sleep at night?
    My daughter who graduated from BCM sends her daughters and granddaughter else. What does that say?

  • 28. Scared parent wrote:

    We need to call the source of the problem!!!
    R. Shemtov where are you, why are you hiding.
    You should be ashamed of yourself
    This is what you do
    We don’t trust you, and we don’t trust the board that YOU CHOSE!

  • 29. Big Z Schapiro wrote:

    Bais Rifka is one of the greatest schools in Crown Heights so whoever is in charge you must take care of this the children should not be running around Kinks them and you doing nothing so I support this school and whatever is going on I wish you lot of luck

  • 30. Enough. wrote:

    You want to avoid a Chill Hashem. LOL.. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU. I think if parents are serious about chinch they should seriously think of pulling their children from the school and enter them in to a good Beis Yakov school.

  • 31. One Question wrote:

    The only question:
    Is BR better or worse off with the new board?

    Has this board improved the school or worsened it?

    Think about it:
    Was there ever such a serious and long strike?!

    Yes, things were not perfect, not at all. But except for the odd days, school generally stayed open!

    This is the only question: Is BR better off with the new board or is it worse off???

    The Administration

  • 33. Why are you blaming the board? wrote:

    Teachers haven’t been paid in years. This is an ongoing issue it’s nothing new!

  • 34. In defense of administration wrote:

    As far as I understand the TOTAL debt of bais Rivka is around $3,000,000. That number represents about $100,000 for each year that this administration has been in place.

    If you ask any objective person, they will tell you that running a school this size with a $100,000 annual deficit is a very good job.

    Of course, as this deficit builds up it becomes crushing. But that is a reason to make a campaign to increase cash flow. It’s not a reason to badmouthing an administrator who has taken in all students regardless of status and ability to pay for so many years.

    • 35. Moshe D. Cohen wrote:

      In 2017 a school needs to produce proper independent accounts.
      Unfortunately BR is run like a private fiefdom.
      Major donors will not contribute until there is financial transparency.
      Further, parent will can then be expected to pay their childrens tuition at a rate commensurate with their family income.

  • 36. The real real truth wrote:

    Every orginaization that gets too big must be lead by a board. אין דן יחידי אלא אחד it is very often that the previous manager or administrator cannot shift to collaborative leadership. control is addictive and to loose it is very difficult.

    • 37. yoy wrote:

      there is not just one person in charge.
      unless you mean rabbi shemtov who is trying to get rid of 2 other administrators

  • 38. My 2 cents wrote:




  • 39. If I lived in CH wrote:

    I would send to another school. Better even a litvish school than this chilul Hashem and chilul lubavitch, that everyone has a different story and the teachers aren’t paid.

  • 40. Misnagid wrote:

    What a chillul lubavitch

    This is why I should have moved into a normal jewish community that doesn’t have problems like crown heights

    We need more sincere honest people who are doing all this for the children and the teachers not the money

    May hashem bless this community

    The yiddin in 5 towns must be laughing at all this

    Mamish chillul chabad lubavitch making the rebbeh look bad

  • 41. Careless wrote:

    Anybody that is involved in this strike is careless to our children​, you can strike but if you really care about the chinuch of the girls have a plan were the kids are not affected , make full day school in large groups in the lunch rooms with principals our some devoted staff.

    Teachers, administrators, board members alike if you really care do not make the kids lose respect for the rebbes school.

    • 42. Totally agree wrote:

      Totally agree with #37

      Its time for someone to care and if you don’t step down!!

    • 43. @37 Free? wrote:

      Do you work for free? And if you dont, does that mean that you dont “Care”?

    • 44. Rent wrote:

      And will you pay the teacher’s rent, food bills, tuition, clothing needs, health bills, electricity bills? Despite being on strike these teachers teach the girls for 2 hours a day, they have a right to strike. As we all know, Ein Kemach Ein Torah.
      What you are forgetting is that according to Torah, it is the chiyuv of THE PARENTS to be mechanech their children, most parents cannot, and so mechanchim are paid to do it for them. In the old days, there was no such thing as tuition breaks or rebbeim sacrificing their families needs and teaching for free. Parents worked night and day to be able to send their children to the rebbi, NO ONE EVER EXPECTED THE REBBI TO DO IT FREE OF CHARGE.

    • 45. yoy wrote:

      the teachers know they will get paid in the future which hopefully would be soon.
      however, because of a fight between administrators there is pay. so why strike, you will get paid you are only adding problems for others

  • 46. A parent wrote:

    Dr. Botwinck was hired in September as CEO and consultant of Bais Rivkah. He worked directly with the board and administration.
    We paid him with our tuition! In the spirit of transparency and clarity, We the parents demand that the new board and administration provide a report from Dr. Botwinck an outsider to our school of exactly what went on and why he left Bais Rivkah.

    • 47. Mendy wrote:

      He quit the day after the new bogus board broke in and changed locks.

      He realized that the new bogus board is just a bunch of corrupt clueless amateurs who are using him to settle scores with the real board.

    • 48. Mendy J wrote:

      Not sure why the teachers are striking, yes they have not been paid.
      But the current conflict is about who should be in charge?
      Do the teachers trust the new board after they lied to them, or do they trust the old administration!

      Rumor has it that the administration is actually leaving, but what will be with the money the teachers are owed. Is the board ready to pay each teacher the amount they are owed in one check. Many teacher are owed over 10k.

      Perhaps before the administration leaves they should make sure that the teachers are paid.

      Rabbi shemtov mentioned before the school year that he would be paying the teachers by pesach for last year. Where is that money!
      (Or where is the money that the board took from some parents as tuition)

      What is going on in crown heights. We should have a demonstration outside rabbi shemtov house and shul in Philadelphia.

    • 50. Teachers are strinking wrote:

      Teachers are striking because they did not sign up for volunteer work, they were promised they would be paid up, they weren’t, it is not their issue that the board and administration can’t work together, what is their issue is that they have to pay rent, tuition for their children, babysitters, food, Pesach bills, all bills.
      Would you continue working if your job didn’t pay?
      Yes, this has been an age old problem, so that is why it is time they actually make a real stand and let the school know that they will no longer work for free.

    • 51. yoy to 46 wrote:

      some of the teachers that instigated striking are connected to the so called board.
      i hear there was one teacher who got her job because she fought the principles and the new board forced the principles to take her back.

      the school does not need people who are just trying to fight the administrators.

      these teachers should make sure
      when the board takes over,if they are a day late in paying all teachers should not come in.

  • 52. A dedicated Teacher. .. wrote:

    Teachers are striking because they were told to by the “board”.
    You can’t trust these people, when they thought they were a “board” they couldn’t keep their word.

    • 53. to 47 wrote:

      teachers are striking against the board!?

      that should be the headlines everywhere. it seems they are striking because want to get paid.

      unless the websites and other media are false.

      perhaps the teachers should get together and hold up signs and say what they really want.
      the community needs the truth

  • 54. what would happen? wrote:

    What do you think might happen if the truth got out? If the world knew that there is plenty of money in the school accounts to pay all the teachers? That the ONLY reason teachers aren’t being paid is because Avremel Shemtov forbade checks from being cut?

    What do you think might happen if the world knew that truth that Avermel Shemtov wants a strik? Wants hundreds of girls to be roaming the streets aimlessly? Wants parental outrage?

    What do you think might happen if the world knew that the teachers could be paid in full and school would resume if Shemtov and the board stopped using the poor teachers as his puppets to further his agenda?

    What do you think people might do if they knew that Avremel Shemtov has a lot to answer for?

  • 55. Irreparable Damage wrote:

    When the teachers are paid the money owed, they are made whole again. They return to work. But the students cannot be made whole again for the days the school was closed.

    When the teachers get paid, and eventually they will, a significant amount must be DEDUCTED for each day that they damaged the students.

    In fact, the longer they strike, the less they are owed!

    We are deducting a significant amount from each teacher that is striking.

    Future contracts of BR teachers WILL include a clause that they are FORBIDDEN to strike, like ALL ESSENTIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS!

    Did you know that all essential service providers are forbidden to strike?

    If you don’t know why, look at the students that are not in school. When you take a job that is an ESSENTIAL SERVICE, you ARE signing up that the job will be done NO MATTER WHAT!

  • 56. The kangeroo wrote:

    I fail to see an issue, teachers are workers they must be paid period. Everything else is trivial.

  • 57. a blogger wrote:

    When you find corruption, fight against it. Don’t fund it. Expose the dishonesty in your midst and clean house! Your kids and teachers are depending on you. Don’t let them be hostages to greed and incompetence.

  • 58. Teaher wrote:

    The average annual salary for the person who dishes out pasta salad at my neighborhood deli is $24,646; the man who collects my garbage in the wee morning hours earns $38,028; and the guy who walks my neighbor’s dog makes a whopping $42,000. The teachers at my daughter’s Jewish preschool earn about $18,000 a year. The rabbis of the Midrash wrote, “If you see cities uprooted, know that it came about because they did not maintain teachers’ salaries.”

  • 59. Did any Rov give a Heter for the teachers to strike? wrote:

    Frum Yidden ask a shaylah to a Rov before they do something, especially when it affects others. Did any Rov give a Heter for the teachers to strike?

    • 60. k wrote:

      Your question also has the answer: frum yidden ask a shaylah. Those that aren’t- don’t.

  • 61. American dream wrote:

    Why don’t they have an auction like everyone else???? Or fundraising dinner with entertainment? The issue goes deeper than that. The administration should perhaps learn from other successful schools how to operate like professionals. I taught there several times and it almost ruined my teaching career, G-d forbid, lo Aleinu. I asked another Teacher to abide by the dress code, because she was dressed so immodestly that it sincerely made me uncomfortable, and they tried to ban ME from the school campus. Unbelievable. The mother’s are expected to be perfect and dress according to tznius, the teachers should not treat school as a fashion show, and should be held to the same tznius standards – regardless of who they are related to in the community!!!!! Immodest dress is like reverse sexual harassment, because it forces others to see those parts of you that are reserved only for your husband. That is very presumptious and it makes others very uncomfortable. Especially in a school with our impressionable and vulnerable girls. Yet when we speak up we are banned from the campus???? How unprofessional.


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