"The phone call tonight from Rav Shmuel [Kamenetsky] was heart rending. Nechamas Yisroel wants you to help rescue a Jewish child from being lost to public school. The message tells us what an important mitzva it is to give a child a Jewish education, especially before YOM HADIN [Yom Kippur]. The irony that this message was being played on the phones of homes in Lakewood [where more than 100 boys are being excluded from haredi schools] did not escape many."
Lakewood, New Jersey haredi political activist and community dissident Hershel Herskowitz writes:
Over 100 Boys still Without School
If R' Malkiel Kotler had the power to make sure no school accepted my children, why can't he make sure that all the schools accept the boys from Nesivos Ohr?
The phone call tonight from Rav Shmuel [Kamenetsky] was heart rending. Nechamas Yisroel wants you to help rescue a Jewish child from being lost to public school. The message tells us what an important mitzva it is to give a child a Jewish education, especially before YOM HADIN [Yom Kippur]. The irony that this message was being played on the phones of homes in Lakewood did not escape many.
Each year in Lakewood a game is played with parents and children as many are accepted to schools of their choice, some go to schools that they felt were not in the best interest of their children, and others are left to beg as their children watch others start school. These children can suffer permanent damage as feelings of inadequacy and shame can remain in their psyche for the rest of their school year, and onward.
This year along with the usual- not Tznius enough, not Heimish enough, not enough money, parents are difficult, child is difficult, divorced from my second cousin, not the right hat, not the right Shul, not the right neighborhood, the neighbor told us bad things, husband goes biking in shorts etc.- This year there is an extra difficulty. There are over 100 boys still not in school because Nesivos Ohr boys school closed down. Every week parents are promised new solutions, and although some have been placed in schools, many children are still without a school. The parent body has finally decided to go to the Rosh Hayeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha hoping that he could pressure the schools to accept all the children. R' Malkiel's initial reaction was that he thought they were all accepted already. When the parents explained that nothing was further from the truth, he promised he will try his best and speak to the boys schools to find a solution.
At a recent meeting attended by Roshei Hayeshiva to discuss an individual that the Yeshiva wanted to silence once and for all, an argument ensued between a certain Rabbi and R' Malkiel Kotler. During the argument R' Malkiel became angry and exclaimed "We have the power in this town, I made sure no school accepted Hershel Herskowitz's children."
Now it is the month of Elul. A time that Rav Shmuel Kaminetzky Shlita has said is a time to worry about the souls of jewish children going to public schools. Here in Lakewood we take the souls of our Jewish children for granted. We use them as pawns. We ignore their existence and focus on the parents. And in the case of the person that is at the helm of everything, we even use them to blackmail someone that we imagine to be a threat to our position of power.
Members of the Vaad, the Township Committee, along with Aaron and Malkiel Kotler spent so many hours last year working with principals of schools on how they would use my children to force me to do their will. The letter I was finally given to sign in order to get my girls into a local school was a revelation of all of their collective fears. 1. No Politics 2. No article writing 3. Never oppose any building projects, and of course 4. Never do anything for the Klal without permission of the Roshei Hayeshiva. I guess someone wanted to have the monopoly on doing good for the town.
So I concede. Since you have all the power, and you don't want me to do any good for anyone, I will give you carte blanche to do all the good you can by yourself.
There are over 100 boys watching their neighbors board buses every morning to go to Cheder. If there ever was a time to show how powerful you really are, now would be the time.
Hatzlacha, and a gut gebentched yur.