VIDEO: A Path-Breaking Speech by R’ Shlomo Yehudah Rechnitz About Serious Issue Facing Lakewood Community

(Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 07:45 AM)

syr[By Rabbi Yair Hoffman]

Every so often a speech comes along that not only has a remarkable impact upon its audience, but it changes the trajectory of where that society is heading.

Churchill gave such a speech in May of 1940 to the House of Commons.  England was at the point of yi’ush – giving up hope in light of Nazi victories.  Churchill gave his promise of nothing but blood, sweat, toil and tears.  The trajectory changed.  The British were inspired to a level of resiliency that eventually carried them to victory over the Nazis.

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There have been others as well.  Patrick Henry’s speech against the Stamp Act of 1764.  His speech of  “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” inspired the colonists to eventually cast off the oppressive British government.  That speech too, changed the trajectory of apathy and hopelessness in the face of oppressive tyranny. And America was born.

Last night too, a speech was delivered in Lakewood, New Jersey.  It was a powerful, emotional speech that cut to the very heart of a grave and critical problem that is uniquely affecting the Jewish community in Lakewood.  It was delivered by Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz.

It was a speech that will, no doubt, change the trajectory.

The problem Mr. Rechnitz addressed was the growing number of rejected children – children that have been excluded or precluded from attending any of the fine mosdos in Lakewood.  He addressed the bullet-like blow to the self-esteem of these children – to the instantaneous destruction of the self-worth of our youth, possibly never to be restored again.

He first spoke of almanos and young children who have lost their fathers.  He spoke of the daily tzaar of the almanah.  How they had lost the man who stood with them under the Chuppa not so long ago.. Who smiled, laughed, and danced before them.  He spoke how he had spent Shabbos with yesomos and yesomim.  Young boys under Bar Mitzvah, who don’t have a hand to hold onto, when they walk to Shul on Shabbos.

And then, Reb Shlomo Yehudah spoke of our own self-made problem – a problem we ourselves have created because of our attitudes. He spoke of fathers who don’t know where to turn, who were made to feel that they failed their innocent children. Of Mothers who cry themselves to sleep every night.  He spoke of the children who at a tender young age, try to put on a normal face, but hide in their room and cry and cry more. This child’s parents have already cried their hearts out to their Rabbanim, to the school administration. “Please, please take our child. It’s six weeks, and he’s still not in school.”

He spoke of a 13 year old girl, who clearly sees that nobody wants her. She’s the town’s Pesoles. “Can you imagine,” Mr. Rechnitz asked, “an innocent Bas Yisroel, putting on a face for her friends, claiming she hasn’t had enough time to decide which school to go to, only to lay her head down on her pillow at night, the pillow which is still wet from the tears of the night before?”

He remarked that just on his drive into Lakewood that day, he receieved three calls from parents who asked him, “I hear you’re coming to Lakewood, can you speak to so and so. And I will address every one of them, because how can I not? We are a nation who is Noseh B’oel Chaveiro. How can we be comfortable just because everything is fine and dandy by us, while someone else is clearly suffering. Forget Ahavas Yisroel. I won’t ask for that much, but another Yid needs us, another Yid is crying out to us. How can we not answer him, yet expect Hashem to answer us, to take care of our needs?”

Reb Shlomo Yehudah explained the rishonim on the Takana of Rav Yehoshua Ben Gamla, “Even if ONE child in not in school, any child, Nishtachach Torah M’yisroel.”

“Yehoshua Ben Gamla, as the Kohen Gadol, under Roman rule, knew that it was incumbent on him to make sure that every last child had a Cheder to go to. Zachur oisio ish l’tov, because if not for him, Nishtachach Torah M’Yisroel,” Reb Shlomo Yehuda continued.

And then he delivered the death thrust – the unmitigated, unvarnished truth, designed to open every one’s eyes to the tragedy unfolding in the heart of the greatest Torah city in the country.

“L’tzaareinu Harav, we have a Machla in Lakewood. No other out of town community would ever allow a child to be left without a school. In Los Angeles, if a child wouldn’t have a school the first day, the whole community would be all over it. The same thing would happen in Baltimore, Chicago and Toronto or anywhere else. This is basically a Lakewood Machla. Yes, there’s a few kids in Monsey, more than a few kids in Brooklyn, but nowhere else and in no other time in history was this problem close to the magnitude it is in Lakewood..Even the children that get in, how many of them and their parents shvitz for months, making phone calls, waiting for phone calls?”

He explained, of course that, “No one will dispute that Lakewood is everything right.. There is nothing as beautiful, no picture or painting, no scenery in the world that even slightly compares to the beauty of Lakewood. Walking into the multiple Chadorim and hearing the chorus of Komitz Aleph-Uh, Komitz Bais-buh, the angelic tune of our Tinokos Shel Bais Raban repeating pasuk after Pasuk after their Rebbe. The Rebbeim have a special place in their heart, a unique love for every single Talmid. You walk into the Kollelim..they’re so arayngetun in their learning. Their Ahavas Hatorah, their Simchas Hachaim. Chaim sheyesh bohem ahavas Hatorah V’yiras Shomayim…

But when it comes to schooling, we become Meshuga L’oisoi Davar.. We profess to teach Torah, and the importance of Daas Torah, yet when any Rosh Hayeshiva calls up a mosad to try to get a child in, they’re turned down with the swipe of a hand. How hypocritical can we be?”

He explained that the Roshei Mosdos shouldn’t take the blame. “They know that it just takes a few missteps, a few wrong decisions, a few wrong children, and next year, they quickly become the nebech school.”

He explained that the blame lies mostly on our shoulders. He said, “Many of us have created for ourselves a new  Torah, a new Yiddishkeit, that makes us feel good about ourselves, but has little to do with Hashem’s Torah that He gave us 3300 years ago. We turned our Frumkeit into an idol, and we have forgotten  some of the basic tenets of Yiddishkeit.”

He presented a list of five very false Ani Maamins:

1. I believe that “I am better than you.”

2. I believe that I have to show all my chumros, so everyone can see how frum I am.

3. I believe that “your children are not good enough for my children.”

4. I believe that the Torah was given to perfect children and perfect families.

5. I believe there is no room for individuality; we must all fit into the same perfect model.

And then he asked all present to declare the truth:

“1. We believe that Hashem loves every Yid, adult or child, unconditionally, and with tremendous  Ahava. We can never know the value of a particular Neshama. Every neshamah is a “chelek elokah memmaal.” Someone who is really frum loves every Yid with all his heart and all his soul. The notion that some of us are “better,” holier, and superior than others, is primitive, false, and simply foolish. Hashem calls each Yid his only child, yet we say, “You are not really that worthy.”

B’michilas Kvoidchem, we’ve skipped over the fundamentals and went directly to the Chumros. Bein Adam L’chaveiro is a nice thing if we can work it into our schedule, but Chas V’shalom, if my neighbor is struggling, instead of opening my heart to him, I become a cruel and arrogant Jew, and I think I am frum!

This is our Ani Maamin #1. Don’t tell me, you love me and you hate some of my means you do not love me. Do not tell Hashem, I love you but I dislike some of your children.

Ani maamin #2. We believe that Torah is based on humility, on genuine relationships and dedication.. But if a yid is arrogant and elitist, Hashem runs away from him. It is time to realize how our elitism has destroyed our ruchniyus.

Ani maamin #3. We believe that every child is priceless, his or her value is infinite. For every child we need mesiras nefesh. The Midrash says, if one of the 3 million Jews were not by Sinai, the Torah could not be given. Everyone had to be there. How we can say, that some of our children do not belong in our schools? If we would have said that at Har Sinai, we would have never had a Torah!

Ani maamin #4. I believe that we all struggle. Torah was not given to perfect people. It was given to people who struggle with life and who have ups and downs. We all need each other and must learn from each other. The Gemarah says in Shabbos, that Torah could not be given to angels; only to people who fall and stumble. Yet we.. invented that Torah is only for angels!

Ani maamin #5. I believe that not everybody has to be, or even can be, the same. The Mishnah says in Sanhedrin that Hashem created every person different. Why? Because he wants us to be different. Let us respect differences. Let us respect individual journeys. Let us respect Neshamos not only robots. Let us respect hearts not only machines. Let us not crush every kid into a particular box even if he is sticking out. Let us be a little more confident and secure, and tolerate different types of people.

Reb Shlomo Yehudah continued, “I am heartbroken for one particular conversation that occurs nonstop in Lakewood. Parents call up a school and say: if you take in so and so, I am not sending my child. The school buckles under and rejects that child.

I tell you today with all my heart: SHUMU SHAMAYIM AL ZOIS! This is a churban for klal yisroel!  How dare you destroy another child’s life because if your opinions of the other child?! How dare you become a murderer like that? How dare you face Hashem by davening when you snuffed out a Yiddishe Neshama? How DARE you?”

He exhorted the listeners, “This is mammash shefechus damim. If the school isn’t good enough for your child, shut your mouth and go find him a school that does work, or create your own school just for your child. Make a yeshiva just for him.

I call on every principal, every Rosh Hamosod, no, I’m not calling on you. I’m munning you. That from today on, if you ever get such a comment, that if you take in that kid, the other family will not send their kid to your school, have the courage to tell them, “We apologize, but we clearly are not the place for your child prodigy.”

And then he added, “And if you are afraid of the money.. you call me. I will supplement!”

Reb Shlomo Yehudah ended with the following thought, “Suddenly, when it comes to the most important thing, we leave out Hashem from the entire picture!…There goes that Bitachon.

Well, we all know, the freezer in lakewood opens tonight. The boys come out of the freezer on 15 Shevat and make sure to get a date.. But let’s make this Tu B’shvat the day when we can celebrate our new fruits.., all of our children, our most precious fruits who will blossom in our schools, as we change our perspective.  Tonight I want to make a shechayanu on a new chapter IN LAKEWOOD. A NEW BEGINNING.  A new era. One in which no child will EVER be rejected again.”

A great majority of the audience internalized and appreciated it by show of a standing ovation, but whatever your thoughts were regarding his speech, we can all agree that the intentions behind it were sincere. They came directly from his Neshama pained by the Tzaar of his people.

It was a speech like no other.  It was a speech that B’Ezras hashem will change the trajectory.

The author can be reached at

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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  1. Yaakov33 says:

    It’s about time that someone of stature opened their mouth about the Lakewood CHURBAN!

  2. Truther says:

    i heard oilam furious at him, but guess what? no one else has the guts to ever do anything, so i have more respect for him. if a guy ever chas veshaolom goes to work in lkwd he is never going to get his kids enrolled into many yeshivas.


  3. Not getting involved says:

    Very powerful emotional speech. Devorim hayotzim min halev. How can one not cry when watching this?

    Which administrators in that room will change their policy’s???!

  4. Ferd says:

    #3- NOT ONE.

    A new REAL community-wide yeshiva needs to be opened.

  5. Ungizetst says:

    I am not for baalei batim giving shitos, but I am actually thrilled that someone did this.

    lakewood is so out of control with their heads in the sand.

    more issues in lakewood then any other frum community in the world, but chas veshalom to say that. lakewood is only choshuvar people. oh, and a few lowlives who infiltrated from brooklyn…

  6. Talmidchochom says:

    And for this people go running to live in Lakewood?

  7. jOjO says:

    his speech was a masterpiece. i encourage everyone to watch it. i watched it live last night on YWN, and just watched it again.


  8. bpmomy says:

    Finally!! Now can he come speak to the boropark schools/yeshivas admin?!

  9. eric55 says:

    I was waiting to hear him say if i ever hear of a school rejecting a child they wont see a dime from me. either that was supposed to be self understood or he didnt want to go that far, but saying that definitely would have put more teeth in it. excellent speech well said and well delivered

  10. 1mandeamar says:

    Lakewoods frum place with most issues and problem. Nothing there

  11. cool masmid says:

    As I read the first 7 posts on this story I counted at least 5 of them that show a downright hatred for Lakewood. Maybe you 5 are so caught up in your blind hatred for Lakewood that you didnt manage to hear the beautifull things that R’ Shlomo Yehudah said about Lakewood and how R’ Shlomo Y. expressed his love for this town. How sad that there are yidden among us who take such a glee in belittling such a magnificent town of Torah and chesed and feel such a sense of purpose to put down all what this town stands for …. and yes!!! with all of it’s shortcomings its still the beacon of light to the entire world.

  12. Kavod HaTorah2 says:

    I beg you to take down this article. It is extremely offensive and demeaning. Right or wrong speaking to the tzibur who were in attendance, and to the rest of the tzibur who were not there, was not called for.

    First the tzibur deserve an apology and then and only then will we have an appropriate dialogue.

    In the mean time please remove this.

  13. Gold says:

    Yasher Koach! I hope that his words will translate into concrete actions.

  14. MDshweks says:

    Kavod HaTorah2 [2],

    You mean well but you’re mistaken. Everyone knows the problems, and it’s more Kavod HaTorah to see that they are taking rebuke properly and turning the bend…

  15. MDshweks says:

    I Mean Kavod HaTorah2 [12]

  16. Chosomo Shel HKBH Emes says:

    I’m sure this article is going to help the situation. After all it’s written by s/o outside the town who writes to people outside the town. It serves the purpose of giving the Lakewood badgers another platform to bash Lakewood. I apologize for the sarcasm, but if people want to take care of difficulties, let them do something constructive. If they don’t know what to do Daven, but this just brings more Sinos Chinum and has almost none of any benefit.

  17. bpmomy says:

    To kavod HaTorah2– truth hurts huh?!

  18. bobo99 says:

    This article is just what Lakewood needs to hear. Maybe by hearing how mothers n little kids soak there pillows with tears will finally pull at some hearts. Good job Reb rechnitz!!!!!! Thank you for saying what’s on so many of our minds

  19. Lakewood chusid says:

    Wow what a great speech by such a great courageous man. A man who did and does for the klal and who’s not afraid to put his money where his mouth is

  20. Realisticguy says:

    I beg you not to listen to “kavod hatorah” ha…what kavod hatorah it’s obvious the kind of person you are. Any person who doesn’t take the right mussar from this message really needs to do a self check.maybe start by changing your screen name…..second as far as Reb rechnitz is concerned Wether he’s a rav or not everyone of us is taught to stand up and do something when something is wrong and I have all the respect for him that he actually stood up and did it. He’s fulfilling his tachlis in this world. How many of you can say the same? I cant

  21. ZionGate says:

    #12 :
    You’re in a growing minority of those who keep from facing reality about problems in the frum communies .
    This speech could have been about different issues in different communities, be they Chassidish, Litvish or other Chareidi groups. It’s Lakewood today, and ______ ( fill in the blank) tomorrow.
    Actually, this gentleman is speaking for the silent majority who is intimidated and afraid to speak out against the ever growing problems ( not to mention runaway chumras) that are ripping people apart financially, mentally , emotionally and destabilizing meaningful Yiddishkeit.
    The rumbling in the streets , neighorhoods and shuls against those who are in positions of power and leadership is ever growing. Unless you and others stop shoving everything and anything under the rug, and quickly listen to the tzibbur in a non-condescending manner , a revolution of Trump-like proportions is at hand. We’re fed up.

  22. shirley123 says:

    The truth hurts…

  23. Lost in Lakewood says:

    To #12 Kavod HaTorah2:

    Why should this be taken down? I’m so happy to see this on a web site other than the Lakewood one where any negative post isn’t allowed or posted by an editor. Thank you YW for posting it and not censoring all the comments.

    I’ve lived in Lakewood the past 15 years (grew up in an “out of town” city). I really do love “almost” everything about Lakewood which is why I live here and want to raise my children here.

    It was a wonderful speech & I applaud the speaker for making it.

    Can someone tell me how this will help me get my daughter in to school? My wife & I applied to four schools as soon as they started taking applications (none are schools that people would consider “impossible to get in to”). Unfortunately all four “didn’t have room”.

    I sent two of the schools I applied to very nice checks within the last year when friends were being honored. Is it wrong for me to wish I didn’t send them any money?

    I’m a parent that went through the Yeshiva system & am not looking for tuition breaks.

    Can you get a kid in to school without connections?

    If I go back to Yeshiva would I then be able to get my kid in to school? Sure I would be able to give as much to Lakewood mosdos anymore and wouldn’t be able to afford tuition, but at least then I won’t be a “working guy”.

  24. Moshe_antyuchis says:

    To #11&12 no one has anything against Lakewood or the general public there, the problem is with the people who run the show and think that God personally hired them to basically choose who lives and who dies! I would be embarrassed to stick up for thes . Low lives I’m happy somebody finally got up and gave it to them where it hurts I truly hope thing will change there

  25. fattsso says:

    It does not need an apology he spoke the truth you don’t know what it means to be a rejected its painful

  26. charles343 says:

    If they would allow I would post a link to the asbury park press comment section where the toms river and Jackson residents comments about the “Jews of Lakewood”. You would see a lot of similarities between those comments and these comments posted and what will be posted only difference is these are written by frum yidden.

    Before anyone posts anything further keep that in mind and also the avlah of a goy Chad vasholem getting their hands on this string of comments and using your comments as more ammunition for anti semetism.

  27. appleface says:

    Sure Lakewood has its problems! They were Rightfully addressed last night. But that in No way means to say Lakewood stands alone, with issues. Maybe Lakewood has its own and unique problems. But, make no mistake, Flatbush, Boro Park (and LA) aren’t Perfect places. I know of a Chasidasha Rav in Boro Park who advised a friend of mine, not to consider settling Anywhere besides Lakewood. This type of Asifa wouldn’t be Able to take place in the first place, Anywhere besides Lakewood! In places where Everything goes, EVERYTHING GOES!!!

  28. ZionGate says:

    Cool Masmid,
    I beg your pardon, but you made a mistake. The beacon of light comes from Eretz Yisroel. KI MITZIYON Teitzei Torah. Not from anywhere else in golus.

  29. BenK says:

    Theres a Yeshiva in Flatbush where it is known The High School does NOT ACCEPT MOST of the elementary school. (I will leave it unnamed!) Could the contents of this speech be applicable?! I think we might need to throw in who made the Torah Law we need to Wear BLACK hats and peple with say navy blue are “too modern”! What Tipshs and “Fakerism” – Chitsoniyos. I am NOT SAYING Many are like that. Many many (MOst) frum yidden are Diamonds and decent and kind and all embracing of fellow Jews and men. Butr if there is substance to what is said about Lakewood – is there in Flatbush as well?! One quesion is — WHY!

  30. UncleMo says:

    To Kavod HaTorah2:

    Why do you beg for the article to be removed? Too hard on the eyes? Too hard to hear the truth? Trying to stifle the truth from being heard outside Lakewood?

    Every word Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz said is 1000% true. I live in Lakewood just about 15 years and can attest to all he says. You need to fit into a box in this town. If you don’t, well you get thrown- with the box- into recycling. I don’t care how harsh he spoke, he spoke what noone else has been willing to say. He spoke about issues of tremendous magnitude but all you worry is Kavod Hatorah.

    Please tell us; is it Kavod HATORAH you seek or Kavod for yourself and the “IHR Hatorah”?

    I too learned in solid yeshivos, including BMG for a few years. I wasn’t diagnosed with a “mild case of A.D.D. :-) but I did go to work AFTER consulting with my Rabbonim. I am proud of myself, I am proud of my family. I am proud to be a frum Yid. As a Yid, I must treat other Yidden the way Hashem commanded us to. So for the sake of Kavod Hatorah not Kevoid Atzmi and Kavod IHR Hatorah, I will heed the words of S Y Rechnitz and NOT yours! Hopefully many other will too, though I have huge doubts. Lakewood knows better than the rest of the world. That is why we likely have the largest concentration of “at risk” or OTD children- from the FINEST families.

  31. MezritchaMaggid says:

    Truth to power. Thank you SY, you are spot on. This is das Torah.

  32. ZionGate says:

    Yes, BenK, there is in Flatbush as well. I know the yeshiva to which you’re alluding , it used to be a rather modern yeshiva way back when.
    I have indirect connection there via family students, and frankly don’t know who made this rule and why. Was it activist parents? Hanhalah? That yeshiva is on the cusp of being a real right wing place. It keeps getting more impossible by the day, as everybody is copying everybody else. Like I wrote earlier, a pushback is seething and brewing.

  33. Gadolhadorah says:

    Like most controversial issues, this story has two sides. What is not really said is that the chasushve rabbonim and askanim of Lakewood, including those affiliated with the BMG mosdos, often have good reasons for not wanting a particular boy or girl attend their school. Who are we to judge their decisions. The parents are the ones ultimately responsible for finding an opening for their yinglach and there are plenty of schools to choose from, especially in Lakewood. If multiple schools turn them down, perhaps its time to look in the mirror before blaming everyone else.

  34. dev86 says:

    1mandeamar I am surprised that YWN let you post that comment of yours. You obviously don’t know what kovod HaTorah is. Shame on you.

  35. Be wise613 says:

    Wow!!!! Powerful!!! Truth!!!! G-d bless R’ Rechnitz!!!!

  36. Yaapchik says:

    #29, BenK! You’re obviously referring to The Cheder! Their noses are even longer than elephants and all dripping with gaavah! It’s a known fact! As for any parent whose child is not a Rogetchover knows how painful it is to have to be so belittled by the application process – it’s downright sickening! Children were not born perfectly pressed from the chink, they are precious Yiddishe Neshamos all from the same Ribono Shel Olam and some do need a little more attention and others a little less. They are כולם קדושים as are their parents and no menahel or board has any right to belittle parents and cause them to come begging like a famished dog to “”"LET”"” their G-d Given Child into “”"THEIR”"” school! Mr. Rechnitz was a statesman and did not use the word רציחה but that’s what it is! Call a spade a spade! Hopefully things would change! But I’m naive cuz the last guy who offered the Brooklyn Bridge for me to buy, I put down a downpayment!

  37. chevraman says:

    A big yasher koach goes to this true askan who lives & breathes Klal Yisroel.

    However, frankly I see the problem differently. It’s simply a matter of numbers. There are not enough desks in our classrooms to put all the kids in. So who are the ones to be left out? Should a school pass over the good kids cramming to get in and instead opt to take the ones that are gonna cost them so much more to educate and risk the influence they will have on others as well?

    Parenthetically, it should be noted that very often it’s not the kids that are being rejected, but their parents, and often for good reason. Why should a school choose difficult parents when they don’t need them.

    Simply put, when supply is greater than demand schools will run after nearly every kid. When demand is higher than supply than parents will run after every school. (Same with Shidduchim).

    R’ Shlomo Yehuda you’ve done so much for Klal Yisroel, now it’s time to galvanize the many ashirim in your sphere and add 5000 desks to Lakewood schools.
    The problem will be solved.

    Chazak V’ematz

  38. hamster says:

    Lhavdil very similar to trump in many ways! Vd”l. Kol hakavod!

  39. UncleMo says:

    Why is it that the ones defending the Lakewood Yeshivos go by the names “Kavod HaTorah2 “,”Gadolhadorah”. Is there perhaps any connection to what S.Y. Rechnitz said last night about this “elitist” attitude?????? I wonder.

  40. shocked says:

    Kol Hakavod!
    It’s time to BOYCOTT these balaei batims businesses who use the GRAND position on the Vaad so they can build a STERLING reputation for themselves.
    V’hameivin Yuvin

  41. Ich bin ein Berliner says:

    All $$$ the $$$ rabonim $$$ hypocrites $$$ clapping$$$ pretending$$$agreeing $$$ with $$$ rechnitz $$$

  42. Your Average Joe says:

    Kol hakavod for RSYR for putting his mouth where his money is! That was a tremendously powerful and important speech. It’s unfortunate that it needs to come from an out of town philanthropist and not from one of the leaders of the town where the problem is but if it hasn’t come from them at this point, it’s safe to assume that they won’t just wake up one day and say “hey, Lakewood we have a problem”. And if it’s not coming from them, then who more qualified to deliver this message than one who deals with these parents and children day and night and does all he can to help anyone he can? The uncomfortable shifting and shuffling by many up on the dais (with one or two exceptions because they have nothing to be uncomfortable about) spoke volumes upon volumes of how they realize that what he was saying is the blunt, sad truth.

  43. Coy boy says:

    Once again the silent majority has proven itself indeed to be the majority and indeed to have been silent. Kudos to Rabbi Rechnitz, may he continue being a beacon of hope to our community.

  44. ChalabiJew says:

    In Los Angeles, if the school year starts and a student doesn’t have a school willing to accept them, a makeshift Beis Din is formed of three respected menahalim to decide which school is the right one for the child and they pressure the school to accept them. This has been tried and true successfully.

  45. Health says:

    Mr. Godol -”Like most controversial issues, this story has two sides. If multiple schools turn them down, perhaps its time to look in the mirror before blaming everyone else.”

    You’re right. It’s about time the truth got their chance. TY Mr. Rechnitz for speaking it!

  46. Nosson77 says:

    This is an interesting problem. I think there are multiple issues here.

    Being elite. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being elite. If you want to get in to Harvard you need to be a certain standard. If we didn’t have an elite everyone would be middle of the road and the middle of the road would go lower and lower.

    I think the schools are simply reflecting the Lakewood culture where everyone had to be perfect.

    There should be schools that are more inclusive but you can’t demand any particular school to be more inclusive.

    I think the best solution is not to try to force schools to accept those students but to find schools that would be prepared to take a new approach and fund them or to start a new school.

    Montessori was started with children from the streets. Thomas Edison was sent out of school because he was not able to learn but his mother believed in him.

    There is a lot that can be done with the right attitude and the right environment.

    I understand where rechnitzer is coming from and like most people in the comments section agree with him but to make changes I believe you need to create something new.

  47. Lakewood chusid says:

    I agree to hamster i love shlomo yehuda for the sane reason i like the Donald lehavdil…..the bottomb line is their not scared to speak the truth and they take on anybody

  48. Health says:

    Chevraman -”Parenthetically, it should be noted that very often it’s not the kids that are being rejected, but their parents, and often for good reason. Why should a school choose difficult parents when they don’t need them.”
    If you want to have your cake & eat it too, then go knock on s/o else’s door, Not S.Y. Rechnitz’s!

  49. eric55 says:

    #37 chevraman You are mistaken but its not only you its a big misconception. My father is very involved in trying to get kids into schools, alot of parents come crying to him. I have spoken to him at length, The problem is as SY said they only want certain types of familys, of course the reason they give you is they have no room. Many many people are turned away simply because the parents are divorced or they dont fit the mold a certain way, and the hanahalh is pressured by the ovdai avodah zara parents not to take them. I am giving you first hand knowledge i think its important to set the record straight. SY words were spot on to a tee of what the problem is

  50. american_yerushalmi says:

    There is not the slightest doubt that Reb Shlomo Yehuda has already long ago achieved an enviable spot in Olam Haba with his nearly incalculable material support for Torah mosdos. Nevertheless, with this remarkable, courageous speech, I am certain that he was “koneh olamo be’sha’a achas” even more!! (If that’s even possible!) Reb S.Y. has demonstrated that along with unparalleled generosity, he is fearless, honest, among other things, and possesses a pure soul that burns hot for the honor of Hashem, Torah, and Hashem’s beloved kinderlach. If only he would now set his sights on E.Y., and deliver such a speech and such an ultimatum to the many mosdos here that need to once and for all hear the truth. Mi yi’tein…..

  51. Mark Levin says:


  52. luckshun kugel says:

    he should give a similar speech here in Israel, we have the same problem.

  53. brhmg says:

    To cheraman
    If they mean hashem then those kids who are not so good or who have troubled parents should come first,
    Those who have good parents can be reached by their parents either directly or by example, those who the parents are not an example need the school to teach them
    And like Mr Rechnitz said r Shia Ben gamla made the telm a for those kids who didn’t have a parent to teach them.
    So according to Torah the elites come last if it’s a supply issue

  54. Softwords says:

    Truth be told (לע’ד) the problem is really not a Lakewood problem, but rather a 2000 year old problem in Klal Yisrael. The root of the problem is שינת חינם, which results from having an elites attitude. “I’m better than you!” (I.E. גאוה)

    The Ramban in אגרת הרמב”ן states:
    וְכֹל אָדַם יִהְיֶה גָּדוֹל מִמְּךָ בְּעֵינֶיךָ, וְאִם חֲכַם אוֹ עָשִׁיר הוּא-עָלֶיךָ לְכַבְּדוֹ, וְאִם רָשׁ הוּא וְאִתָּהּ עָשִׁיר אוֹ חָכַם מִמֶּנּוּ-חֲשֹׁב בְּלִבְּךָ כִּי אַתָּה חַיַּב מִמֶּנּוּ וְהוּא זַכַּאי מִמְּךָ, שֶׁאִם הוּא חוֹטֵא, הוּא שֹׁגֵג וְאַתָּה מֵזִיד.

    How many of us can say we judge others favorable while being constructively critical of ourselves?

    A mistake we are making is that places like LA, St. Louis, and Miami are immune to this problem. In reality, the reason why they do not have this problem is because they are not big enough yet. If you notice, the only places that have this problem are the big cities. Once a community gets to the size that they are no longer desperate to “save lives” the “elites” mentality creeps in.

    All of us need to seriously look inwards, find, and eradicate this p’gam within us. We must realize that we can’t expect Biyas HaMoshiach and Binyan Beis HaMikdash until we uproot the source of the problem that caused the Chorban.

  55. josh levine says:

    In Israel there is a similar dynamic with Sephardim who want to go to Ashkenasic schools cry they don’t get admitted. Not there are not schools for them, but rather they want to get into schools that are not for them.

    Perhaps, I am wrong, but from what I see it’s not that there aren’t schools in Lakewood for kids to go, but rather they don’t want to go to the schools that have availability. It is the parents of these kids that make there kids miserable, because they feel entitled to get their kid into a school that they want their kids to be in.

    I am certain that if Mr Rechnitz in his great chesed were to open a school to accept all the kids who “can’t” get accepted elsewhere, nobody would send their kids. If so, who really is causing the problems?

    Am I wrong?

  56. machaneches says:

    From the entire klal yisroel THANK UUUUUU!!!!

    Reb Shlomo Yehuda you will be saving hundreds of yiddishe

    neshamos .

    May hashem give u GEZUNT and NAchas from your wonderful mishpacha.

  57. bentzion says:

    Any way someone can send me the audio? My filter blocks the video from playing and I would really love to hear the speech.

  58. RG Fam says:

    This is the first time I ever wrote a comment. I just have to get it out and this will hopefully save me from several visits to a therapist.
    Let’s get real:
    Knowing Lakewood, had a non-wealthy person delivered such a speech, after his first insult, he would have been lynched.
    Do we really think that this issue will be solved by addressing it at such a venue? I was sitting there and looked around the room. It was like the words HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT ME written all over their faces.
    I am currently working with eleven young men and woman who are in deep trouble. Only one of them was denied entry into a school. What about what happens to ALL the students who are admitted into the schools? Who and when will the issue of emotional abuse be addressed? A much bigger problem, destroying many more children.
    I spoke to four principals yesterday for their reaction to the speech and they all shared the same. They said that the students they don’t allow are those who either don’t pay their fair share (those who can afford it) and those families who live one way at home and expect something different from the school. They don’t accept these children because they will be messed up going to the wrong school.
    The speech addressed several attitudes of Lakewooders. Yet, those points will not be heard because the focus was on the children not being accepted to schools. The Ani Maamins were on target, but who will focus on that message?
    Why are we so wowed by the speech? This was exactly what Rav Shteiman shlita said years ago?
    I hate having to say this, but first of all, Rechnitz didn’t write that speech. Yes, well delivered, but not his. Second, it was too peppered with gaavah. There have been and there are many wealthy people (much wealthier and much more generous than Rechnitz) who never flaunted their money. Did you hear of Reichman? Did you hear of Tannenbaum? Did they brag about their tzedokoh? Why have we made Rechnitz as the financial tsaddik of this generation? Do you know that this Rechnitz has a twin brother (who gives much more tzedokoh than his brother)? Why not? Because he doesn’t publicize it. What values are we instilling in our community by giving a person with some dollars such a platform? Why are we not living up to the words of Chazal, that a giver is simply giving the money Hashem gave him to give others?
    I am sorry to have to say this but someone must. Rechnitz said that he would never say no to someone who asked him for help with schooling. I wish a certain individual would have been given a chance to stand up right then and there and ask Rechnitz why he turned down his request for help which resulted in this father burying his daughter! No, you don’t have to help everyone and anyone (even though who are you to decide who will live and who will die), but don’t get up there and say that you never turned away a request for schooling help.
    Rechnitz mentioned J2 hangout in his speech. What about the thousands of young people who are raised in a way that simply doesn’t make sense? You know where they hang out? In the body of a frustrated and scared person who feels no connection to Yiddishkeit and is going with the flow because if not…. Ten hours a day learning a few lines of Gemorah that doesn’t speak to the talmid??? It works beautifully for a very small minority, but not at all for the majority. You know why we have a community of adults that don’t know priorities and don’t understand what it means to be a real Yid? Because that is the way they were trained. Kovod HaTorah is a huge responsibility! Kovod Talmidei Chachomim is huge! But where does Kovod atzmni fit in?
    Rechnitz spoke about the seutah di”Shemah as to the reason that Lakewood exists. How foolish! It exists on sheker and genevah. This is not what Hashem meant when He asked for a Holy Nation. Yes, it is a miracle that the Feds don’t know or are turning a blind eye. But is this the way to raise children (and adults)?
    Rechnitz spoke about the shidduch crisis several years ago with major publicity. Can we see the results of that passion? Words are meaningless!
    Show me any Rov, Rosh yeshiva or the like who doesn’t get or doesn’t expect to get some dollars who would have allowed Rechnitz to get away with what he does. You and I know that if you or I would have said what he did, we would be forced to leave Lakewood the next day.
    Finally, let me conclude by sharing the following: I am a Kollel Yungerman who lives in Lakewood and survives with the support of generous in laws. None of my seven (kah) children have been turned down by a school or yeshiva. No one would label me as a bitter person. Yet, how long should we remain silent?

  59. TieBearYes says:

    😦😭 From the Heart 😢😳

    Already at about 8 minutes you aroused tears and then by about 20 minutes I realized that I was crying out of control.

    I never realized that you SEE and FEEL the problems so close at heart. Embarrased to say it… I thought you gave money to fix the problem then forget about it. I SEE I AM TERRIBLY WRONG ABOUT YOU. You honestly do care a lot. You had the guts to say what hurts you aloud and in the open. I am in awe.
    I want to help. You aroused me to become involved in your DERECH HaEMES.

  60. TannaKamma says:

    To #58 “RG FAM”

    If you are making such severe accusations why not write out your full name or at least contact Mr Rechnitz directly and inquire why he turned down that particular request?

    Attacking him anonymously in a public forum is the wrong approach and casts doubt on your claims…

  61. zionflag says:

    Reichmann & Tannenbaum were tzedakah donors in a time when these were not issues.
    Remember the Torah Umesorah model of COMMUNITY YESHIVA – where MO, Chassidish, Israeli, Bucharian, Yeshivish, Heimish & BT plus Geirim all learned under one umbrella in every city. We grew up fine & dandy & noW are the grandparents of kids who can’t enter the pearly gates of PURE TORAH INSTITUTES.

    It is quite funny – if it wasn’t so SAD!!!

  62. Softwords says:

    #58 RG FAM – May I recommend you get a good nights rest as it was clear from your comments that your thoughts are all over the place. Your statements reminded me of a ping pong ball bouncing back and forth from one side to the next. At points it sounded like you agree there are issues. At other points it sounded just the opposite. The only clear thing from your statements is that you have a disdain for Rechnitz.

    What saddens me is that you did not attack his claims, but rather attacked him directly. This often hints to a legitimacy of the claims stated and show a desire to try to deny the charges. In other words, guilt may be hovering over your head and you should really do a serious cheshbon hanefesh. Perhaps you are one of those parents that either calls the schools threatening to pull your child from school if ploney’s child is accepted or at least desires to do so even if you haven’t done so in actually. Perhaps I am misjudging you, but this is the way you came across to me.

    What is important is not who said, but what was said. If what was said is true then that is all that matters. STOP trying to quench the fire by pointing fingers or being a naysayer.

    As far as your concern for at-risk kids and the like, yes that needs to be addressed as well. However, we don’t negate one problem just because there is another serious problem as well. In truth, both issues stem from the same treif elitist mentality. They are just two separate results resulting from the same root problem.

    The Torah DEMANDS “ואהבת לרעך כמוך”. Who can claim that they truly fulfill the aspect of כמוך to its fullest? Most people today are concerned with אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. How many are concerned with the hemshich, וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי?

    Changes are needed and excuses do not help.

  63. Uffineh Bihaima says:

    #58 – You are not a kollel yungerman., You are a regular blogger, and a big one at that. You have comments posted during Seder all the time in YWN.

    cut the garbage.

    And if you ARE a kollel yungerman, then you are a Ganav, who is stealing money from your in-laws, as well as the BMG Kollel. Besides you have no Ishur whatsoever to use the Internet for this. And you are going against the rules of the Kollel. Another question of Geneiva.

    So do us all a favor, and take you pack of lies along with your personality disorder, and see a shrink.

    Now to SYR – Ashrecha!

    Your speech was incredible!

  64. RG Fam says:


    You got me totally wrong – you should reread what I wrote. This is not at all intended to be a personal attack against anyone, surely not against Rechnitz. I happen to be one of his greatest admirers. All you are doing is attacking some honest truth.

    Other than the comment about Reichman and Tannenbaum, you didn’t respond to my comments.

    #63. You claim that I am a blogger. Yet, this is my first time I commented on any issue. I don’t think that someone who gives his father-in-law a monthly cheshbon of his learning schedule and accomplishments is a ganev. I also don’t take any money from BMG.

    Internet rules of BMG! Which? Who follows any rules and what about following the basics of halochoh?

    #60. Be honest! Did Rechnitz not attack people anonymously in public? Yes or no? He said some very complimentary things about Lakewood, but he also threw the yeshiva and school leaders to the trash. While I agree completely with the wrong that is being committed, did anyone have a chance to defend their position? yes, he gives lots of tzedokoh, how are the yeshivos supposed to pay the rabbeim when parents (who complain that their children are not accepted) don’t do their part (when they can?

    Let’s stop attacking. We are the proud Nation and we should be honest and address the problems honestly.

    Back to the gemorah.

  65. DarkKnight0613 says:

    It is not only getting a child in to a Yeshiva. But what happens if they don’t fit the mold? Or they miss behave. The
    Yeshiva will tho them out. Then
    the parents will never find them a good Yeshiva. Look at the children at risk that are on our street. The Yeshiva system is broken and needs new leadership with Rabbi’s that will stand up to the money people and not tho children out like garbage. It is not only a Lakewood problem. It is a Jewish problem. It is up to the Rebbe’s, Morah’s, and the administration of a Yeshiva to
    do the right thing. You have to look at each child and their parents not at the money. If the Rosh Yeshiva doesn’t have the strength to stand up for a child then they should resign. The Rosh Yeshiva has to have Emunah in G-d not in the all mighty dollar.

  66. D.A. says:

    I listened to SY Rechnitz’s speech and felt my Neshama burning inside me. How on target SY Rechnitzs was!

    From someone who is a yeshiva bochur and has countless relationships with teenagers, Bochurim etc I can tell you that there is an undercurrent that is not being addressed that I believe is connected with what SY Rechnitz stated in his speech last night.

    There is an overwhelming frustration amongst many teenagers and bm bochurim in regards to society’s expectation that one must become a person who studies Gemara/Torah all day and learns as in depth and as long as required, while at the same time one’s emotional growth and personal development takes a back seat and falls to the wayside.

    That is, that somehow we can assume that in todays generation the majority of young boys/men are a complete Keli (specifically emotionally) who will be able to reap the benefits of being fully engrossed with learning Torah all day.

    Sure it’s easy to give a boy a Gemara, a shtender and maar mekomos to prepare for a shuir, and at the same time constantly hammer home the importance of learning Torah but how much do we cater to the emotional needs and development of our youth and bochurim?

    Somehow we assume that when a boy enters Bais Medrash (or high school) he is fully mature and capable to take on the same rigorous hourly schedule and curriculum as those which men far older than them struggle to abide by.

    But these boys are still just that. Growing, developing boys/young men.

    They still have emotional needs, they still have individual interests, talents, and self esteem to develop and nurture. They still need guidance and a loving Rebbi who they can confide in with the knowledge and total confidence that they will not be judgmental or think down of them if they reveal that they are struggling in areas of Avodas Hashem, Keduasha, or a lack of interest/enjoyment in learning.

    Somehow, it seems that we became focused on image management.

    That despite one’s individuality, despite a boy’s personal strengths and weaknesses, as long as one is doing what he is told is the ideal in life, and hence is what looks good in the eyes of one’s rebbeim, peers and society in general, then a bochur simply must do it because that is what is expected of him, despite his personal temperament and emotional needs and development not being catered to.

    I hope that RY Rechnitzs speech will be a catalyst for change. Sure there will be detractors and naysayers who scream “who does Rechnitz think he is/how dare he” and those who pull the “Daas Torah” card without even knowing what Daas Torah really holds by or stands for.

    But Emes is Emes and those who are in touch with their Neshama, who are able to dig past the layers upon layers of gayva bad middos and elitism, were able to hear and feel the Emes that permeated from SY Rechnitz’s speech.

    Yasher Koach SY Rechnitz! Chazak V’ematz

  67. Softwords says:

    #55 josh levine – I must disagree with you. First of all your comment about Sefardim in Israel is incorrect. The reality is that Yeshivos often reject Sefardim purely based on a disdain for Sefardim and/or a concern that their Yeshivah will get a name of being a “Sefardi Yeshivah”. Sometimes it’s the hanhalah and sometimes it’s due to shameful parents that don’t want their kids in a predominantly Sefardi student body. I know this first hand. This is nothing less than Sinas Chinum! (…and no, I am not Sefardi and don’t personally have to deal with this issue.)

    As far as your comments about Lakewood, your statements are purely speculation. I think it would make more sense to trust what askanim that have to deal with communal issues say rather than speculating.

  68. MDshweks says:

    Menahalim who want a certain level for their classes should learn from R’ Shimon Bender of Darchei (who looked very pleased up there…). As soon as he has a number of applicants of a level he creates for them a different track. If they really care Hashem will help them make it happen.
    אשריו ואשרי חלקו

  69. Bored_on_the_Job says:

    @#58 I think you have alot of valid points about suffering kids. Kids should not be accepted to schools that are not for them and that can cause severe harm to their emotional well being,perhaps worse than not being accepted to any school.
    However I do not think that is a stira to Mr.rechnitzs point that kids are turned away for other reasons as well.

  70. nuschus says:

    The speech was incredible. The sarcasm and elitist attitude was also evident in the speech. The words rang true. The problems are clear. There is much blame to go around in all directions. people on this blog and others who’s voices were not heard are in pain and rightfully so. The situation must be rectified.
    but there is one thing that has to be said and that is that Jews had shtadlanim and shtadlanus is an art that needs shimush just like any halacha does. We have lived in America for many years and had our fair share of all types of shtadlanim. To speak to a large audience that has such publicity and to wipe the floors with the Rabbonim & Roshei Hayeshiva in this fashion is not acceptable. There has to be a better way to get over the message and rectify the situation. This is not it. SY, you said truth but you damaged kovod hatorah. Frankly, I am embarrassed to watch as people who represent R Aharon Kotlers legacy are demeaned in public. It is a Chilul Hashem.
    Just as an historical footnote one of the gedolim who lived shortly after the tragic times of the cantonists said that the experience of the cantonist period was the underlying cause of the birth of the yevseksia movement in Russia. Because rabonim were placed in an impossible situation to decide who goes and who doesnt. Many made bad decisions but many were in situations that whatever they decided were doomed for rebuke. And rebuke they got for obvious reasons. From that point on respect for our leaders were forever tarnished perhaps to never fully recover in galus.

  71. Please. Every person I know has been saying this for years, but the rich kid says it and now it’s news.

    I think that’s a bigger problem than the issues he’s talking about. I think his next speech should be “don’t only listen to the rich kid.”

  72. monsey77 says:

    amen brother
    and to #58 if thats all you have than keep it.
    you can take every speaker and speech and analize it to DEATH
    the people that do that are usually the ones that needed to hear it most but they find something wrong with the speaker or speech end delete the message the same chazal that you claim to listen to says
    kabel huemes mimi sheomro #58 look at yourself and if you ever find the reason why you felt so driven to write what you did than your life might be alot happier

  73. It is Time for Truth says:

    Sure! So let him make an “avg.” inclusive school and then convince his relatives to send their own children there….

    good ,but irrelevant

  74. kush says:

    I have no words, I was crying from his speech so much pain. But enough is enough starting with Lakewood The Jewish Politician Mafia, it’s time for them to go, I have lived in Lakewood there are a lot of great people living there but also a lot of wise-guys. One big currupt town. I’m greatful that I was able to hear a speechlike that in my lifetime. Chasdie Hashem there is still Emes in this world. its not the Rosh yeshivas to blame their hands are tied in BMG. it’s the mafia politician who run the yeshiva who tell the Olim who to vote for. They are a bunch of crooks. Sholem k

  75. Softwords says:

    #66 D.A. – Very nicely written. Thanks for your comments.

    #70 nuschus – I disagree with you. Rechnitz did not point fingers directly at any individuals. Any Rabbanim that may be speculated at already ruined their own reputations. Sometimes the only way people will listen is when they are under public scrutiny. Better public criticism than private murmurs. Until today nothing has been done to change the situation. Perhaps now people will be moved to rectify this evil.

    BTW – an earlier commentary stated that Rav Shteinman shlita publicly spoke about this problem on an earlier occasion. If this is so, then aren’t you coming out against a Gadol b’Yisrael as well?

  76. profp says:

    I agree with everything R’ Rechnitz said but I don’t think it will have any effect just like his initiative with the shidduch crisis had no effect. Like everything else in koala yisriel in America we don’t have leaders who are leading us we have machers and the wealthy leading the leaders for their own agendas and nothing gets done. This speech should have been given by one of the gadolim not a Baal habus but then again when was the last time an American gadol made such a speech that chinch today has to change. We have so much tzaros in the Klal especially in the area of bein adom lechaveiro and nobody of any stature is willing to get up and lead. That is why I give credit to R’ Rechnitz for at least trying.

  77. Shmilfke says:

    Rechnitz actually personified part of the problem with Lakewood when he called Lakewood “an in-town community” and referred to major American and Canadian cities as “out of town”.

    This illness among Lakewood dwellers of thinking of Lakewood as the center of the universe is a big part of the problem. It causes them to believe that the way they are doing things is automatically correct.

  78. cindy101 says:

    Finally somebody is speaking up, we need more ppl like him

  79. karlbenmarx says:

    there are 2 sides to the story, as #58 said, the only reason Rechnitz is listened to is because his money, everyday heroes that work, daven, learn are invisible to the askanim. however Rechnitz does have some good points but at the end of the day NOTHING will change.

  80. emes liamitoi says:

    People are saying Rechnitz has no place to say this, but you know what? Who’s place is it to say this? The Roshei Yeshivos? They are too scared they will lose their “customers” and monetary support. So thanks for using your power to be real, but you know the world would be a more beautiful place if there would be people with not as much money who would have the guts to stand up and say this.
    One more thing Mr. Rechnitz if you really believed what you were saying you wouldn’t give millions to lkwd rather you would support communities that actually live the Hashkafah you preach, lakewood doesn’t have Torah minus Middos, if this is what’s going on there they have faulty Torah they need an overhaul! Stop letting people who know few Blatt in every yeshiveshe masechta be the ones who shtel the hashkafa, Gemorah is not a hashkafa sefer! Mr. Rechnitz back it up suport low key places who are real, sincerely an outsider. Who know what’s going on in lkwd.

  81. hopefullydoinggood says:

    Yasher koach! He spoke so well! Now lets daven that something comes put of this speech…

  82. Kressel says:

    I live in Monsey, which has its own set of problems, particularly the charges against the frum community for educational discrimination. The charges are being made by and about the public school community, but I have a feeling that they’ve come about because we’ve been discriminating against our own for too long. I’ve learned that in the absence of nevi’im, we get mussar from our enemies. The mussar message from the East Ramapo advocates seems especially fitting. I’m glad someone in klal Yisroel is addressing this chinuch problem, which extends beyond Lakewood.

    BTW, we’re getting mussar from our OTD kids, too. Reject enough kids from the frum community, and then they’ll begin rejecting their rejectors.

  83. Donald trump 15 says:

    So much respect for this man. He is the superman of klal Yisroel. Someone who lives to help out others. Sees people in pain and takes action. So spot on with this speech. Other wealthy people out there should learn from shlomo yehuda and help out klal yisroel. Respect!!!

  84. shekermoochlat says:

    What SYRechnitz did was start a conversation. Now, it’s up to the regular non-millionaire Shmoes to take a stand and mobilize the masses to change the course of Yiddishkeit back to the EMES.

  85. Talmidchochom says:

    In response to profp:

    Think that his speech won’t be effective? All Reb Rechnitz has to do is shut down his funding of mosdos in Lakewood if change does not occur. You will see how eager Lakewood will be to change their ways.

  86. Klal Yisroel says:

    So GESHMAK to listen to!

    From his wording is seems that perhaps he has been learning a bit of TANYA lately. Because (with his passion and phrases) he sounds a bit like a Lubavithcher or something.

    Its about time someone spoke the EMES

  87. Other side says:

    I would like to explain the other side. Although there is always room for improvement and no child or family deserves to go through the pain, I would like to explain where the attitude comes from.

    If a litvish/yeshivish family would apply to a chasidesha Cheder/Bais Yaakov in Lakewood and would not get accepted would you have the same complaints? No. Because you understand that there is a specific standard that the chasidesha Cheder/Bais Yaakov may expect from their parent body and students that the litvish family may do or not do. Does it have to do with an ani mamin? Does it mean that they are better? No. It means that they want a certain standard and ruach in their Cheder/Bais Yaakov that the litvish family does not keep. Whether it means the boys payos, size of yarmulke what he brings in for snack or the girls tights.

    In Lakewood there are many families that chose a certain lifestyle. It’s based on chazal that the more shaychus one has to olam hazeh the less he can have to Olam Haba and vice versa. These are families consciously decided that they want to live a simple lifestyle. This can include living in a simple home, dressing in a true tznius fashion, not driving a new car not going out to eat and not taking you children out to eat. It includes the types of trips a family goes on chol hamoed or the summer, and the list goes on. These ideals they are trying so hard to instill in their children. (please don’t start pointing at the large houses built by many but look at the ones I am talking about). These parents chose a neighborhood in Lakewood that fits with their standards and ideals as they don’t want their children getting “musagim” that does not fit with their desired lifestyle. And yes you may say that they are living in the “Lakewood Box” to that I answer yes and they are doing it with pride.
    Choosing a school for their children is no different. They want to keep their children sheltered from lifestyles that they are trying so hard to keep away from. They don’t want their children coming home from school and asking for example, Why is our house so small? Why don’t you/we ever go to Florida in the winter? What are the yankees? Kids in my class have been in every eatery in Lakewood and we never go. And the list goes on.

    I am not saying that choosing this lifestyle is an excuse to hurt fellow yidden. I am just saying that the attitude does not come from that I am better than you but the attitude is that even though in shamayim you may be better then me, I am trying to live a sheltered lifestyle and would like to send my children to a school that only accepts families with the same ideals.

    I heard a story from a respected woman from Brooklyn that most of you know and is known for her love for yidden and not considered a “right winger”. She sent her boys to a Yeshiva in Brooklyn that is considered very yeshivish and hard to get into. She related that once at a school function she met another mother that was not dressed what she considered appropriate. She confronted her and asked, Why do you send to this Yeshiva? We all chose this Yeshiva to keep away from thing we don’t consider appropriate. If you dress like this you could have gone elsewhere.
    The same goes for Lakewood. Many (not all) of the parents that are not getting their children into a school is because they want a school that does not fit with the lifestyle they are living. They may be wonderful people and ehrliche yidden but they live a different lifestyle. If a school has a rule that they don’t accept families that have a television and a family with a television applies and is not willing to give up their television and does not get accepted would you have the same complaints? The same is here just on a more delicate level.

    Think twice the attitude may not come from such a bad place.

  88. mattbrods2 says:

    I’m sure people would agree with me, I think the speech applies to more then just about the schools when he said people are so busy about their chumros and learning that they don’t think about other things. I’m a 23 year old born in Lakewood and was one who can never sit and just learn so I went to work. The thing is that when I would say I’m working or be dressing different then what Lakewood would approve of , I would be looked down on as if I’m a bum or not worthy. Lakewood heads up finally someone says the truth, don’t think that just bec your good and shtark u can’t think about others. Ur allowed to help others who dress differently or who are less frum or whatever the reason is. Everyon is busy trying to get there kid in to the best school and that’s all they care about, Lakewood the truth hurts no ????? Rabbi rechnitz I never met you but I love I anyways for saying the truth about how we gotta pay attention to everyone else and not just think about ourselves.

  89. Lakewood chusid says:

    Two days later and I still have a big smile on my face thank you SY RECHNITZ may you be zocheh to many happy healthy years

  90. lakewood bachur says:

    I’m very surprised at people how you just post whatever stupid comment comes to your mind!! Rabbi Rechnitz has a heart of gold. If your jealous….. go learn mesilas yesharim. No one should ever judge others just try to make yourself better and everyone will be much more happy!!

  91. profp says:

    too late he gave the money already. One item he forgot to mention how these Rosh hamosdim shake down the grand parents if they want to get their grandchildren into school. It cost me friend $18,000 to get his granddaughter into the school of his choice. I told my friend to his face he was stupid and wasted his money.

  92. devorah35 says:

    I live in Lakewood and I too feel that they here the concept of chinuch is all wrong. It’s easy to “preach to the choir” when all your students are similar cookie cutters of each other there isn’t much to inspire them with or affect any change or growth. Real chinuch is a challenge and I feel that Lakewood mechanchim aren’t professional and genuine enough to deal with and that is why they are so afraid to accept all our children. I have had a few kids go through the system here and they even from a young age can pick up on this lack of chinuch. School for them was a matter of survival, I made sure to send them to more inclusive camps and seminaries and mesivtas so they would not perpetuate on this type of behavior.

  93. loseyourself says:

    ive been in lakewood for quite a few years now, i know my way around here, i think this problem is really a coming from another problem thats way deeper, it has to do with the Shtultz in lakewood, lemaaysa there are many learning oppurtunites in lakewood and oppurtunites to grow,but the problem is the Shtultz in lakewood, you could be a real person and a yiras shomayim, but if you dont look a certain way or act a certain way or have a certain type of background then you are under the Shtulz of Lakewood, whether its in shidduchim, schools, houses, neighborhoods, shuls, friends, social life, etc, people dont realize that a person is a world, u cant be the same as everyone else, thats insane to even think like that, the main thing is that you know you are doing the right thing and u have a rebbi or someone backing you up, then tell everyone else and their shtulz to jump on the lake. anyway Rabbi Rechnitz hit the point very well in terms of the school. no wonder were still in golus. people dont realize “Yeshivish” and “Yiras Shomayim” are two different things for example our leaders from the torah (Moshe Rabeinu) was not Yeshivish, he didnt have a black hat, he wasnt brought up in lakewood,and his parents were even divorced at one point, but he was a true Yiras Shomayim. some people (only some, that have the worthless SHtulz) dont know the difference between Yeshivish and Yiras Shomayim. Look whats happening in the World the enemies of klal yisroel dont diffrentiate between Yidden, How can our own people Differentiate between themselves, this is the Lesson that we are being taught in our genereation whether we see it or not. so instead of putting ppl down with your shtullz we should all get up and work on Achdus, and connecting with each other even though its not always possible but we should do it in the most possible way that we can. how upsetting that our generation got so low.

  94. Wolfman says:

    I agree with the words of Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz. Kol Hakavod.

    What I disagree with is the many posters who labeled this as speaking truth to power. As if SYR has something to be afraid of. He doesn’t. SYR has an enormous amount of power. This is truly a case of “Power speaking truth to power.” What SYR should be congratulated for is using his power to express what others are powerless to express.

  95. DontForgetToSmile says:

    To everyone posting here arguing:
    We are missing the exact point on which Rechnitz was giving us mussar. Stop fighting with everyone and be accepting of others and their differences. It’s not your opinion that matters, it’s whether you have accomplished what you’re here for and arguing with another will only distract you from your mission. Get real. Do we actually know how to do that?

  96. Realisticguy says:

    It’s unbelievable to me that there could even be one negative comment towards rechnitz.

    You know why he did what he did? Because it’s been years with this problem and nobody else did and he could. Yes it should’ve been the rosh yeshiva and our gedolim but they didn’t so he did.

    He speaks about his money so he can get his point across and therefore there is no issue with that.

    Anyone who is trying to defend ” the other side” what are you talking about!!!! Everyone who lives in Lakewood in one way or another is there for the same reason as you. As you say I want my kids in this place because that’s the type of person you are…well guess what they think the same thing and I bet you Mr elite that there’s someone more elite saying the same thing as you.

    There’s one major point that I believe most people missed. I missed as well the first time I heard the speech. You talk about not having enough room and rechnitz addressed this he said what happened to the siyata ddishmaya that you had when you moved to lakewood and had 10 kids with no job and you were learning all day?!? All of a sudden there aren’t enough desks?? Wheres your siyata dishmaya for that???….

    If you have something negative to say or have any negative feelings towards what he said I suggest you go find a rav and find out where you went wrong in Yiddishkeit because if you were raised right and your learning was sincere you would understand and be grateful for every word of Mussar he put out there.

  97. Mordche123 says:

    There is a great frustration by parents who get rejected by a yeshiva or by a girl’s school.
    Rabbi Rechnitz hit the spot and gets an A+ for addressing a highly emotional issue and he also gets an A+ for saying things that so many people would love to say, but don’t have the guts to say it. Therefore, the overall response was….. Wow, he really gave it to them.
    With my great respect for Rabbi Rechnitz for all his good deeds, I must say that I was very disappointed with the speech for the following reasons…..
    1. All these frustrated parents, once their child is accepted do they really want that the Yeshivah should accept anybody regardless of their background ? If the answer is NO, why not, what about the great Ahavat Yisroel that Rabbi Rechnitz suggested ?
    2. Who is Lakewood that he was blasting ? Lakewood Is a town in New Jersey that so many different people from so many different backgrounds are coming to, because of economic reasons and has no connection to the original BMG whatsoever. There is Bli Ayin Horah a great successful explosion in Lakewood, and the growth can’t keep up with the Yeshivas. That is part of the problem.
    3. Even when a person has some very good points and the person does many good deeds we can’t forget the great importance of the Kovod of the Rosh Yeshivos. As soon as we undermine Kovod of our esteemed leaders, than all the rest (as good and as emotional as it sounnds) becomes worthless.

  98. ABS-SA says:

    I think the ultimate cause of these issues is that we have developed a very one-dimensional attitude to what constitutes excellence in Torah, namely academic excellence (to the exclusion of all else).

    In reality (and without denigrating the importance of having high academic standards)this is not the full picture. We neglect the emotional health of our children, we teach them “frum” bigotry and we simply do not put enough emphasis on good middos and a healthy attitude to life. A Talmid Chocham that eats like some sort of wild beast is not a Talmid Chocham – at best he is a “professor of talmudic thought”! Or for that matter a Talmid Chocham that lacks integrity, or who defends abusers, or who refuses to protect the vulnerable, or who forments machlokess…

    This coupled with an epidemic of poor self-esteem has lead to a manifestation of narcissism that would almost be excessive for Hollywood! Narcissism is the belief that “I am better than you (and even if there is no obvious reason for this belief, I will create one”). We thus see people becoming “elitist”, “chumra-driven” and in some instances spiteful in order to maintain their narcissistic worldview. It should be noted that a lack of empathy is a hallmark of narcissism.

    The solution to this is a return to fundamental Torah values and attitudes. SYR’s speech was a good start, although it will probably not be enough to change the society.

  99. sam613 says:

    To #87 Other side – I really do understand where you’re coming from. I also want to protect my children from the dangers you mentioned. At the same time, it’s an ideal which has repercussions that we can’t afford.

    I don’t live in Lakewood. I live in Baltimore. We face the same sheltering challenges you mentioned, but we don’t have the luxury of choosing a school that perfectly fits our lifestyle. Instead, our kids come home with the expectations they gleaned from their friends at school, and we have to parent them in a way that they’ll feel special about our own lifestyle and not desire as much to live like others. It’s a challenge, but that’s parenting. We also don’t have a choice.

    What SYR is explaining to people is that the luxury of having the choice to shelter yourselves and take that parenting shortcut has expired. People are suffering at the hands of your luxury. That’s the writing on the wall, as it were.

    This is all Ratzon H’, so perhaps H’ is saying it’s time to face new challenges, you have the Kochos to meet them, and to come out even better than you were before. Teaching your children to appreciate and be proud of the lifestyle you’ve chosen, to respect the choices of others, and to love every Jew for who they are and for the challenges THEY have overcome, is an amazing lesson who’s time has come.

    It’s a call for Achdus and Ahavas Yisrael, and it comes with Mesiras Nefesh.

    You can do it Lakewood!

  100. Softwords says:

    #87 other side – note: what you profess is a treif machshava. So said Rav Steinman, shlita (the video can be found on line) and so said Rav Elyashiv, z”l.

    Are you aware of even one Gadol of their stature that holds otherwise?

    Rav Steinman states that the Brisker Rav sent his sons to a Yeshiva that had bums learning there as well even though he had an opportunity to send them elsewhere. He also stated that there are always kids from fine families that go off the derech. You can’t stop that.

    Don’t trust me? Look it up. It’s on line in color and clear audio.

  101. Moishe3rd says:

    My dear friends and family,
    I watched the video of Reb Shlomo Rechnitz at the Lakewood event.
    And, I listened to my friends and family applaud his words.
    And, I read all of the comments here on his speech.

    I am not a tsaddik, nor the son of a tsaddik. I do not live in Lakewood. I am not a successful businessman. And, I am far less of a talmid chacham than even any of my grandchildren, who all DO live in Lakewood.

    So, it is with the understanding that I know nothing and do not comprehend how these things are done that I ask these questions –

    Why don’t parents send their child to a school that does not theoretically meet their particular standards? Why are the school’s standard’s “too high” for your children while at the same time your standards are “too high” for some other school?

    If the problem is indeed that there are not enough schools in Lakewood, why not build more schools?
    Reb Shlomo said: “I’m prepared, along with other people, to put the money up to build schools. I look forward to build schools.”
    So – it is not impossible.
    When there are large numbers of people who have a certain particular problem, they often get together and try and solve that problem.
    Why not find like-minded parents who have this problem and organize new schools? If Reb Shlomo cannot help with your particular children, I strongly suspect that there are rabbeim and gedolim and other Jews who have strong financial resources who would help if asked…. Why not?

    If all this is simply not possible (for reasons that are beyond me), why are you living in Lakewood?
    Why are my children and grandchildren and other friends living in Lakewood if these attitudes that Reb Shlomo describes in his speech are so prevalent and overwhelming?

    Lastly, as I noted, I am not even remotely a talmid chacham. For over ten years, I have learned Daf Yomi using the Artscroll… In spite of some feeble attempts at classes on my part, I still can barely read Rashi script and I still have no Hebrew or Aramaic vocabulary. This is nobody’s fault but my own. We all put our energy in what we value.
    However, what I do value and, I suspect that everybody who reads this mostly likely values, is davening daily and talking to Hashem.
    The one thing I really do understand is that Life is Beautiful All the Time.
    Which means that everything in our lives is as it is meant to be, as decreed by Hashem and that it is our responsibility to ask Hashem to help us overcome those things in This World that we view as problems; which are in reality nisayonos – tests for us to, indeed, overcome and come out stronger than before.
    That’s our job.
    And, the question I must ask myself is, how often do I daven for this or that or the other and, how often does that davening really correspond to the efforts I make to change my behavior or way of thinking in order to become the person that Hashem commands that I become?

    Reb Shlomo also said: “We have one secret… that they never heard of… It’s called Siyata Dishmaya; Hashem helps us.”
    I has been my experience that in order for Hashem to help us, we need to meet Him halfway by doing something to change our situation.

  102. Some Common Sense says:

    This exactly happened to my son. He is a very good and well mannered boy that is not the strongest learner. All of the schools in town (a large community) refused us because “someone else called and said they would leave” or it would hurt their image. When I asked them for help, all they could say was “no us, try out of town”!

    To #12, this was such a Chillul HaShem, worse that the criminals sitting in jail. As lease they don’t kill families and generations!

    Think of what Rabbi Ronny Greenwald would say here; on which side would he agree with?

  103. Realisticguy says:

    @sam613 I think the words we have all been looking for you hut right on the head. It sums it all up. It would be nice to shelter and have our kids be with only good influences however that period of luxury they enjoyed is now coming at a cost to children’s future and hadracha. Even the children that are accepted I’m sure are aware of all this that’s going on and so the luxury can no longer be afforded. If these parents still feel they need their shelter maybe it’s Time to move on from lakewood and start a new town and every 30-40 years they will have the same issue and then they can start again.

  104. Mel says:

    After watching this video and reading hundreds of comments across several sites, I have come to a clear solution. EVERYONE IN LAKEWOOD NEEDS A HUG!

    My vote is we establish a Give-Someone-from-Lakewood-a-Hug-Day every Rosh Chodesh, so we can get back to a place where we all remember that despite our differences and disagreements, we are ALL worthy of love, no matter who we are and what we do.

    In all seriousness though, Gaivah and Elitism are defense mechanisms for low self-worth. Unfortunately, Mussar (especially the public kind) will fall on deaf ears. Not because they are bad people, but because they are already putting up a shield to protect themselves.

    The ideas in this speech are crucial and it’s great that it’s come to the forefront of discussion, but the people it was targeted to cannot accept mussar, and will naturally deflect from taking responsibility.

    The people who are open to this message are working endlessly to fix the situation, and the people in power who can make a difference are faced with an impossible situation, where no matter what they do, they will face criticism.

    Still, I think the real issue. The fundamental core issue that needs to be addressed is this narishkeit idea that schools instill values and that controlling the environment of people in specific schools somehow stacks the odds in your favor. I can’t fault parents for wanting the best for their kids, but this idea that who and what you are exposed to in school somehow impacts who you become is a complete narishkeit.
    Even if you choose to disagree with me and want to claim Daas Torah disagrees, I dont think anyone in good conscious can deny that self-worth and leading by example is a much more important to child development than who you are in class with and what they might expose you to.

    Values are learned one way. By example from the parents.
    How a child turns out is not a function of their school or their education… it is a clear cut formula of a healthy self esteem and leading by example as parents and human beings.

    Schools serve two functions in development. They teach you knowledge and they teach you social skills. They don’t teach values.

    In short, I believe everyone on every side means well and is trying their best to do what they believe is right…but, there is one thing that is as true as they come…

    Don’t do unto others that which is distasteful to yourself.

    Or, in clearer words…if people are being deeply hurt by the schools admission process…than It is impossible that it is consistent to Torah Values. Hillel taught us that!

    Whatever your take on these issues. If you can’t look at a situation, see that it hurts somebody and can’t find a way to not hurt them consistent with Torah Values… than you have to wonder if you are being led around by your Yetzer Horah…

    This is the most important point. If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit!

  105. chevraman says:

    Reb Shlomo Yehudah:

    First I want to convey my tanchumim to you and your illustrious family upon the great loss of Moreinu HaRav Y.C. Belsky Zt”l. Hard to imagine how we will be able to go on without him.

    Secondly, after seeing the video of your speech, there is nothing you said that warranted you asking mechilah. It is simply a geder of Tzaddikim yelchu bom uReshaim yikoshlu bom. Bloggers will always take things out of context and distort anything good. You truly did a masterful life altering job. And if you were possibly a drop too sharf, that will serve as an impetus to get the oilam to do something. It was respectful, full of ahavas Yisroel and lemaan HaShem viToraso. May the zechus of every neshama that will now get into a school be yours for eternity. I’m mekaneh you. Chazak v’ematz

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