Flatbush: Shulamith School For Girls Plans Purchase and Sale

(Wednesday, May 21st, 2008)

clasroom.jpgAfter seven years, Bnot Shulamith of Long Island, the local offspring of Brooklyn’s venerable Shulamith School for Girls, is closer than it’s ever been to a Five Towns home of its own, according to the school’s executive director, Rabbi Moshe Zwick.

Talks are underway to purchase a permanent campus in Inwood to house the entire Five Towns institution, he confirmed Monday. “We are negotiating now to finalize a deal to acquire a campus in the Five Towns,” he said. The school’s students currently are spread out in three locations.

Rabbi Zwick also confirmed that Shulamith is in negotiations to sell its current Midwood, Brooklyn campus. However, he emphasized that there is no plan to shut down the 76-year-old Brooklyn school soon, or anytime in the future.

“As long as it’s realistic to have classes the school will continue in Brooklyn,” he said. After a sale, “the school will remain in this building for at least a few years. After that the school will continue elsewhere in Brooklyn because we will have to vacate.”

The Shulamith board of directors has authorized Rabbi Zwick to seek a buyer for the Brooklyn campus, he said. The school’s bylaws require board approval of a sale.

Sheldon Fliegelman, Shulamith’s chairman of the board, confirmed in a telephone interview Monday night that the board at a meeting several months ago, granted unanimous approval to sell the Brooklyn campus.

Fliegelman also confirmed that Shulamith School for Girls would continue to operate both the elementary school and high school in Brooklyn, albeit in a different location than at present.

Any deal to sell the spacious Brooklyn property would include a clause allowing the school to remain in place for at least two-and-a-half years, Rabbi Zwick said, while a new location is found and prepared. However, “We’re not building a building in Brooklyn.”

Shulamith’s current real estate situations, in Brooklyn and on Long Island, are a drain on the school’s resources, its leaders believe.

The historic Brooklyn site, originally the home of the Vitagraph Movie Studio, and later of Yeshiva University’s Brooklyn Talmudical Academy, known as B.T.A., is too large for the school’s current needs, said Fliegelman. Flatbush’s Modern Orthodox community has given way to a decidedly more yeshivish demographic, he noted. Meanwhile, enrollment has dropped.

In addition, “The place needs major repairs,” Fliegelman said of the Brooklyn campus. “So you’re talking about a situation where investment in infrastructure has to take place. Do you want to do that to? Add that onto the pile.”

He warned that dramatically higher tuition would be the only way to satisfy the desire of some parents to maintain the current Brooklyn campus.

In the Five Towns the school has faced the strain of three separate sets of expenses; the pre-school is in one location, the elementary school in another, and a middle school in a third.

The campus in Inwood that the school hopes to purchase consists of several existing buildings that currently are empty.

The school’s growth in the Five Towns depends in large part on acquiring a permanent home. For instance, a high school would become a possibility. “Once we have space, which would be when we would occupy the new [campus], then we could entertain opening a high school,” Fliegelman said. “Right now we’re in four buildings and we don’t really relish going to a fifth.”

thejewishstar1.jpg(By Mayer Fertig: The Jewish Star)


50 Comments

  1. I.M. says:

    Anybody know how much that huge piece of property that is occupied by Shulamith would go for?

  2. ploniebenplonie says:

    For anyone who remains in Brooklyn: Your neighborhood will resemble Bnei Brak and Kiryas Joel in five years. For the Five Towns and Rockaway you have a while longer…

  3. workingman says:

    Plonie… “WILL” resemble? Its already there. I’m still trying to understand when and why we became a nation of penguins. Men and boys in nothing but black and white. Women and girls in nothing but black. I guess this must be the halacha today. I guess that I am an ausvorf cause I aint wearing white shirts on weekdays. I will wear blue, green, beige, even pink.

  4. sayitlikeitis says:

    Will be a great loss to the Brooklyn Community.
    A school which has and still gives over excellent education, hashkafa, confidence and ahavas yisroel to its young ladies who graduate and bring a kiddush hashem everywhere they go. The rebbeim and mechanchot in Shulamith over the years are incomparable to others!!! Success in the 5towns..
    Brooklyn of the 20′s, 30′s, Marine Park, Madison, and Ocean Parkway resembles more like Modiim, Ramat Bet Shemesh, Rechavia and a touch of Ramat Eshkol.

  5. bupsbups says:

    This is an outrage! Aren’t there like 500 students in that school? Whose getting the money from the sale of the property?
    Is this school private property or a community school?

  6. ASAEL says:

    Shulamith school for girls is a community school which was created over 70 years ago for the brooklyn community.
    Are we going to just stand by and watch such an important part of our community be moved out to the 5 towns? Let them start their own schools!!!
    How can people think that this heinous act is acceptable?
    Did you know that there are currently over 500 students attending Shulamith of Bklyn?How can we stand by as they lose their home to another community? We need Shulamith to remain here, to act as a buffer btwn the chareidim and modern orthodox. If we don’t help those children, we will be destroying our own neighborhood.
    Please contact your rabbis to help keep shulamith wher it belongs.

  7. ASAEL says:

    By the way, anyone wondering why enrollment has dropped? If new registration is being turned away-of course enrollment drops!!!!!
    This was the plan of R Moshe Zwick-If he can prove that the school isn’t viable he thinks he’ll be able to sell the building, and take over $20 million out of Flatbush

  8. workingman says:

    ASAEL, I don’t think they are turning away students. It all boils down to the “holier than thou” mentality that has taken over Flatbush by storm. Every girl wants Prospect because it will look better on the shidduch resume. Shulamith girls are probably considered second class citizens like the working boys. (AND NO, THIS IS NOT MY OPINION) And you write, contact “your rabbis”. Who?? They are all busy listening to every stupidity that their “Askanim” bring up.

  9. outfront says:

    ASAEL

    I remember when Shulamith was in Boro Park and not in Flatbush. They are not the first school to leave Brooklyn or to close (remember Central and BTA? Yeshiva of Eastern Parkway?). Shulamith has had their 5 Towns school for a number of years already.

    I know a number of Shulamith graduates who send their daughters to Prospect. Obviously they know that something changed in Shulamith from the time that they went there.

  10. bupsbups says:

    THis sounds to me like a very important community issue. Have we called our elected officials? They can’t sell a school without the Attorney General’s approval.

    Edited by Site Moderator.

  11. Dapr says:

    Elected officials? I thought we speak to rabbonim and go to bais din for problems. And as someone who had kids in the school and moved away, I know enrollment has dropped and changed because the community changed. Who in Flatbush wants to send their kids anymore to a school that has Hatikva sung at their dinner? The Flatbush crowd isn’t in sync with Shulamith anymore – but the 5 towns is – and thats why the school is growing there.
    ASAEL, i guess you are upset that they sold their building in boro park and moved from there to Flatbush, too – right? Get real – Flatbush is different than it was 10, 15 years ago.

    Who do you think pays for Shulamith in the 5 towns? 5 Towns parents are not freeloading on the Brooklyn parents – thats for sure.
    Allowing an institution that has been around for 70 years to continues where its thriving is heinous? I think stifling growth is.

  12. ujm says:

    Brooklyn will resemble Bnei Brak AND Kiryas Joel?!

    BARUCH HASHEM!!

    5 Towns will take a little longer?
    LET’s Speed It Up!!

    Baruch Hashem for all the improvements in maintaining Shulchan Aruch.

  13. I.M. says:

    Condos or Co-ops anyone? I hear 20 million. Do I have a bid for 25? Sounds kind of low to me.

  14. 735W says:

    WorkingMan: How do you know Shulamith is NOT turning away students for the coming years? I have lived in Brooklyn (Midwood)for 22 years, yet have never seen one poster, article, publication, advertisment, etc. for recruiment for new students.

    My concern is what will happen to this piece of land? Will it become low-income housing as rumor has it (as opposed to affordable housing). We know how the Bronx and parts of Brooklyn turned out on this one!!!

    Editors Note: The (long) remainder of this comment was deleted. YWN will NOT be the place to ask “various” questions. Should you have questions regarding the owners, board of directors, principals, teachers, students, janitors, cooks, waiters, secretary’s, painters, security guards, exterminators, plumbers, electricians, etc etc etc of SHULAMIS HIGH SCHOOL – then kindly bring up your questions to THOSE PEOPLE.

    NOT here.

  15. 735W says:

    Re I.M: I spoke with a real-estate friend. She said the land itself would go between $22-$25 million, yes, million. That is only for the land.

    By the way. Some or all of the buildings are historical landmarks. During the 1920s the buildings were used to film silent movies. You know, the Keystone Cops, Buster Keaton, etc.

    So, even if the land is sold, some or all of the buildings will have to remain intact.

  16. Dapr says:

    735W – I guess you never read the Jewish Press. They always advertised their open house for parents there. They always had publicity pieces there. Lo rainu aino raiya, apparently.

  17. stan the man says:

    Baruch Hashem for all the improvements in maintaining Shulchan Aruch—-is this a joke? Which volume and chapter, for example?

    So many memories in those buildings, anyone remember the Central and BTA days… with the only Pizza shop a run for it on Ave J.

  18. Joseph says:

    stan – the chapter on tzinius would be an example.

  19. willi says:

    working man- you’re entitled to dress as you please, but I still find it interesting that a man would wear a PINK shirt.

  20. 5townsmama says:

    People need to be more in tune to the community in Brooklyn times have changed this is not the same school as it was years ago…..in life you need to go with the times. The school in the 5ts has been there for 9 years!!! The tuition is sky high, our children do not have proper buildings with the facitities that they need to get educated. A building is the answer to educate these girls with the best resources. Even though enrollment is at its max. I know many parents that would not consider Shulamith because of the lack of a building, resource room. library, science room, computer room…….All the parents in the school now have been patient and held their breath in hopes that a buidling will be in the near future. It is 2008 children deserve to be educated with the latest and greatest materials. So what if the money from a sale of the Brooklyn campus went to 5ts…where else should it go…this is the future and Brooklyn was the past. Yes it is unfrortunate but as I mentioned earlier times have changed.

  21. bklynmom123 says:

    Has anyone taken a minute to think about the hundreds of girls in Brooklyn Shulamith that may soon be without a school? Aren’t they entitled to an education, a building and the latest and greatest materials as 5townsmama mentions Long Island Shulamith is “entitled” to?

    What an awful thing to say that Brooklyn is the past and Shulamith Long Island is entitled to the money from the sale! Do Shulamith Brooklyn’s children not count anymore just because Brooklyn is not what it used to be?

  22. bupsbups says:

    The children in Brooklyn don’t deserve an education, while those who live in Woodmere do? Whose going to absorb 500 students? For sure some will end up in public school! This will be on our Cheshbon!

  23. 5townsmama says:

    I will like to clarify something here …I did not say that the children in Bklyn dont deserve a education of course they do…perhaps u should read the article above again. Rabbi Z said that they will remain in the school for at least 2 and ahlf yrs and they will find a new place …no mention of closing down. My point is that all children need to be educated and in 5t’s the children are lacking….we need funds…Shulamith has 2 locations it is time that bklyn realizes that. Bklyn is the past the school was built up for many decades!!!! Now concentration needs to be meet here. Shulamith in 5t is a warm and loving school. It has wonderful families and a caring staff. Bklyn your children have a home base. Stop the madness !!!!! My child in pre-school even knows how to share…..

  24. ASAEL says:

    OUTFRONT- WHEN SHULAMITH MOVED FROM BP TO FLATBUSH(WHICH IS LESS THAN 10 MINUTES AWAY,NOT 40), IT WAS A MOVEMENT OF GROWTH. THE SCHOOL BOUGHT ITS BEAUTIFUL CAMPUS FOR THE PURPOSE OF GROWTH. ALL TEACHERS WERE MOVED INTO THE NEW CAMPUS AS WELL. HOW CAN YOU COMPARE THE 2 EVENTS?! CHILDREN WILL BE LEFT WITHOUT A SCHOOL, AND AMAZING TEACHERS WHO DEDICATED THEIR LIVES TO SHULAMITH WILL BE LEFT WITHOUT JOBS. CHECK YOUR FACYS BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

  25. Dapr says:

    ASAEL – what don’t you get? Getting a campus in the 5T IS GROWTH! There is no lack of schools in Brooklyn, so no one will be left “withot a school” – and as 5Tmama and the article said, the school is NOT closing. But the 5T location IS GROWING! And a school should stay in a certain location solely to provide jobs?

  26. yeshiva11230 says:

    The reality is that this is the first time that a thriving yeshiva is selling its building to move to another area, a wealthier area that should be able to fund raise for their own building. There are 700 girls in Shulamith today. True that is down from 1100, when the five towns school opened. However, most of the reduction has been because of the uncertainty promoted by the school until this point. The ‘changing demographics’ excuse is simply that, an excuse.

  27. bklynmom123 says:

    5townsmama – Easy for you to stay to stop the madness. 5t is getting exactly what it wants. What exactly do you think Brooklyn Shulamith wil be getting?? Notice how the article doesn’t even make a mention of that and neither will the executive director. The only information the article gives about Brooklyn location is that they WON’T be building a building. The parents in Brooklyn are being told NOTHING. Shulamith Brooklyn will be lucky if there is a school in 2 1/2 years. And if there is, do you really think it will have the resource room, library, computer room, science room and the latest and greatest materials that your children will have? Do our children not deserve it b/c times have changed?? Last time I checked, when you share it is supposed to be FAIR FOR EVERYONE – you don’t take away from one group to make improvements for another. Didn’t your preschooler teach you that???

  28. bupsbups says:

    Let’s stop the bickering for a moment and think clearly. We are getting all worked up about our own little communities in Brooklyn and Woodmere. Have we all forgotten where we should be focusing our efforts? After 2000 years, Hashem has given us our own country and it’s not even in our dreams to live there. Imagine what 22 million dollars can do for the Israeli economy. Shulamith is a zionist school, you don’t take $22 million dollars, wipe away Brooklyn’s students and plant it in Woodmere. This is not YASHRUS and it certainly doesn’t promote zionism. We really need to start thinking seriously about Aliyah.

  29. Dapr says:

    yeshiva11230 – its not thriving. Did you send your kids there? Did you see who comprises the parent body? Enrollment was going down before the 5T school opened. Changing demographics is a reality, not an excuse.
    And its not just affecting Shulamith. There are even yeshivish places that are hurting. Why? Because for years they accepted siblings first. Now those youngest siblings are graduating, young couples couldn’t and still can’t afford to buy homes in Brooklyn, so they are getting fewer new parents. What exacerbates the situation with Shulamith is that its hashkafos are not in line with mainstream Flatbush – and I do not see how an open minded observer could deny that.

  30. fedup11210 says:

    ASAEL

    What did OUTFRONT say that made you shout (all caps)? What facts did he/she get wrong? I have reread the comment twice. What fact did OURFRONT get wrong? Remembering that they moved from BP?

  31. yeshiva11230 says:

    Dapr – Clearly your definition of thriving is not most people’s definition. A school of 700 students, by most definition’s is thriving. If the school is in trouble, its because it is being forced into trouble by its administration. Enrollment was not down before the 5T situation. The building was in good shape before the 5T situation. Its only after resources were being drained from Brooklyn to the 5T that these problems started. Yes, Brooklyn is changing. So what?!?! You want Bnot Shulamith? Fund raise for your own building. What gives the 5T parents the right to take what years of Brooklyn parents paid for? We are still here. We did it. Grow up and do it also.

  32. yeshiva11230 says:

    What I find really amusing, if one could use that word in this situation, is that the Brooklyn school still has more students than the 5T branch. I use the word branch because, its really not its own school. It has totally piggybacked its existence upon the Brooklyn school. There is one corporation, one 501(c)3, one 990 form. If the 5T school was really a ‘success’ why wasn’t it started from the begining as its own institution? The only answer is that without Brooklyn paying the way, the 5T would never have gotten off the ground.

  33. dont have internet says:

    the brooklyn school has more kids bec theres a high school— and i have s/t to tell you! i know alot of the parents of the 5T shulamis and they are loaded they are very rich-so they are for sure paying for the brooklyn school

  34. yeshiva11230 says:

    sorry, ‘dont have internet’, but you are wrong. The 5T parents may be wealthier but the cash flow has been in only one direction: Brooklyn to LI. In all of the earlier years of the 5T, how could you ever even think they were even close to paying their own way? They weren’t. And yes, there is a HS in Brooklyn. Two years ago, they tried to open a HS in the 5T and guess what? NO ONE CAME. They was not enough interest to start a HS.

  35. dont have internet says:

    yeshiva11230-thats not true they never tried to open a h.s. maybe they talked about it but nothing ever happened! and there is no way they tried two years ago bec the first graduating class was last year

  36. yeshiva11230 says:

    Once again ‘dont have internet’ you are WRONG. They did try and could not get enough interest. Clearly you have no knowledge of how a school runs. If the first 5T graduating 8th grade was last year, you don’t first start to try opening a high school for that September, you start more than a year before that. They did try. They could not get enough girls. It was way beyond just “talk”, it was very real. It was also a very real failure.

  37. ASAEL says:

    To FEDUP11210-My problem with OUTFRONT is that he/she is trying to equate the move from BP to flatbush to the new move, if you read my answer carefully you will see that they are not the same.
    To 5townsmama-Your school is sending wrong messages to you.They claim they’re selling the bklyn campus and are purchasing a new campus in Inwood….Wait till you see what happens when the bklyn parents foil the plans. You should start brainstorming, and find alternate ways to pay for your $14 million property in Inwood. I can promise that the $ won’t be coming from where you were promised that it would. Good luck

  38. ASAEL says:

    To DAPR- Shame on you. What exactly are you saying about the shulamith parent body? Tread carefully-remember you’re talking about your fellow brothers and sisters. “ACHEINU KOL BEIT YISRAEL”.

  39. ASAEL says:

    To ‘don’t have internet’- If the 5t parents are “loaded” as you say, then why do they need to sell the bklyn school to fund their own?

  40. alumni says:

    I went to Shalumith from Staten Island for 15 years!! Why can’t the Brooklyn girls travel for once? So many “out of towners” travel to Bklyn for school, why can’t your kids? If you like the school so much, travel a little like so many!
    - Sorry, I don’t feel bad for you.

    Besides – I agree with some of the responses – Brooklyn has changed (I would never live there), and Shulamith has changed too…

  41. ASAEL says:

    To Alumni- The reason you were bussed from SI to Bklyn is because you lived in a place where there wern’t any schools for you-that was your parents choice- Did your parents even once consider asking Shulamith to move to SI?!-Of course not. If they wanted you to go to Shulamith then you had to travel. So… if the 5t people want their kids in Shulamith then let THEM bus their kids to Shulamith. Why should Shulamith move to them?
    As to your comment regarding the changes in Bklyn-you just said you never lived here-so you really should not be making any blanket statements about a place you have no connection to. As to your comment that you would never live here- well you’d never be able to sell your SI house and buy a house in bklyn for equal value. Most people move to SI because they can’t afford to live in Bklyn.

  42. yeshiva11230 says:

    Alumni – its sad that Staten Island did not have a girls yeshiva for you and your parents wanted you to commute to Brooklyn. And many Brooklyn students do travel to other yeshivas. The issue is not one of traveling. There is a Shulamith in Brooklyn today. It has over 700 students. Why should these 700 students be forced to find new schools, or travel as you were forced to, or lacking a suitable yeshiva, their families be forced to move? Clearly you have some issues to deal with that you were forced to commute to school as child. Your childhood is not the issue here.

  43. yeshiva11230 says:

    To all posters: UPDATE: Shulamith has now announced that the Five Towns is no longer the up and coming area. Starting in September 2008, Shulamith School will be accepting registration for their new school to be located in Westchester. Said Rabbi Zwick “Clearly we made a mistake. Westchester is the place for Shulamith.” Sheldon Fliegelman, Shulamith’s chairman of the board stated that “the Five Towns parents were only out for our Brooklyn building. We think its time they started fund raising on their own.”

  44. bupsbups says:

    I also heard that Shulamith gave up on Woodmere.
    It’s about time they realized their mistake. Let’s hope that this is the end of the story and we can all just get along!

  45. bupsbups says:

    Rabosai, this is getting serious. 22 million dollars can really blind people. We don’t need them to start auditing all of our other Yeshivos. It’s really not worth the Orange jump suit. Apparently, while the parents in Woodmere are very giddy, the board in Brooklyn is extremely nervous about the impropriety involved.

  46. Metullah says:

    Shulamith has turned down students over the last several years- I know, friends of mine wanted to send their daughters and were turned down- they were from more right wing schools but were disappointed in the quality of materialism and pretention that existed in large numbers in the student body of their school choices. They saw how well my daughter was doing,b”h, the strong hashkafos, the openess to teach girls to use the secular to enhance their spiritual life… Shulamith offers something very unique and real- the girls are unpretentious, are kind, involve themselves in chesed, become professionals devoted to doing chesed and teachers encourage them to critically observe and comment on life- they are engaged with the world, not cut off and the result is they learn to incorporate torah and mitsvos into their lives in a conscious way. Its not the traveling that is the only problem- I don’t think there is a school that does this so well, tying the spiritual and the secular together in way that creates girls who participate in yiddishkeit fully of their own will, and not by rote. Once you have it its difficult to let go. Its presence is the only real option for the many frum parents who still live in Brooklyn, who are the nurses, doctors, etcetera that take care of this community! So,Long Island- your children definately need the Shulamith option- and I am glad that it is available to you, but we need to have our school continue here, too. What we have not done, in a serious way, is publicise the gift that Shulamith is to our community. So for the future- we all need the rational and reasonable middle of the road hashkafa that Shulamith offers- lets speak out for eachother, be positive in speaking about and for one another, to support our common goals. Belive me, the Shulamith girls don’t speak in the negatives- they’ve been taught differently – al pi halacha!

  47. kiddo15 says:

    Believe it or not, I know someone who travels from Bayswater to Brooklyn every day for school. It’s not that there aren’t any closer shools, it’s just that they moved there from Brooklyn, and wanted to continue in the same school. If they want to continue in Shulamith, maybe they can arrange transportation for the Brooklyn kids.

  48. ASAEL says:

    To kiddo15-I have a better idea: since there is already a beautiful campus established in brooklyn, with a state of the art auditorium, gymnasium, swimming pool ,computer rooms etc, why don’t they arrange transportation for the 5T kids???????????

  49. esther d says:

    To BoroParkBoy: Shame on you! How could you say these words about Shulamith! Are you proud that kids from your schools don’t know “Hatikvah”? Are you proud that kids don’t even know anything about Israel as a country which gives hope to soo many Jewish people? Are you proud that kids in your schools hardly know anything about Holocaust? Shame to people like you – snobs who don’t consider other fellow Jew.
    To eagleteach: Thumbs up! Yes, that what the majority of Shulamith parents want.
    To matzahlocaol101: Thank you! Parents need to know this info.

    I’m not affiliated with Shulamith in anyway but i’m a parent of kids in the other yeshivah. I’m a proud member of this community. I’m with you Shulamith. You need to have as much resources as possible to fight fo your existance.

  50. oldshulamgrad says:

    to all those people who believe in the “viable school theory” – how on earth can a school be viable if the foundation (pre-school) is collapsing? and is anyone realizing the reason for this collapse? parents that are or have tried to register are being turned away by “administrators” telling them “we don’t know if there will be more than a few children entering the nursery/kindergarten classes and there is no “guarantee” that the school will continue past 2 yrs or thereabout!!!!!” being a proud graduate and parent of a child that went from preschool thru high school it puts a knife into my heart to see an institution like this leave brooklyn without retaining the “dignity” it deserves. when the jewish nation tried to rebuild “yiddishkeit” after the HOLOCAUST Shulamith School for Girls was there to welcome the next generation of jewish daughters and start rebuilding yiddishkeit that we are so proud of today! Is this need no longer here???????

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