Home › Forums › Yeshiva / School / College / Education Issues › Rebbeim Strike
- This topic has 50 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 12 years, 9 months ago by fabie.
August 30, 2010 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #592240mtlmavenMember
The Rebbeim of a Yeshiva have started a strike today because they were not guaranteed their full salary for the year and are owed some back pay from last year. They were told at the end of last year that there was to be a pay cut this year. Do they have the right to strike?August 30, 2010 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #693963
Yes.August 30, 2010 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #693964
Yes they do.
They need to be able to support their own families, including putting food on the table.
They are also not in professions that are legally not allowed to strike.
If people made tuition more of a priority, perhaps the teachers could be paid. [Am I becoming the AZ of tuition?]
(I have no idea if there are halachic implications)August 30, 2010 6:03 pm at 6:03 pm #693966
[Am I becoming the AZ of tuition?]
I’m definitely not going to fight for this title, but it was my intent to connect the two crises with my “What will be?” thread.
To wit: There is simply not enough money to go around as the situation stands. We can either decrease the number of participants or increase the amount of money coming in to the school.August 30, 2010 6:03 pm at 6:03 pm #693967Ben TorahParticipant
Better than to ask if they have “a right to strike”, perhaps the better question is “is it right to strike” (even if they “have the right”).
Who will replace the lost Torah of the tinokos shel beis rabban?August 30, 2010 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #693968
I think Rav Moshe has a Teshuva on this very topic. I remember seeing it in the Yad Moshe index. I have no idea what he may have replied though. No access to the Igros Moshe at this time.August 30, 2010 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #693969the.nurseMember
Ben Torah, who will replace the food that the Rebbeims kids don’t have because they are not getting paid? Most Rebbeim don’t have high salaries in the first place, and they rely on their salaries to pay their bills.August 30, 2010 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #693970rescue37Participant
I beleive Reb moshe may have paskened at one time that it is assur for a Rebbi to strike.
Also, since it is assur to receive money for teaching Torah, what are they striking about.August 30, 2010 6:14 pm at 6:14 pm #693971
Is it right to strike? Yes.
When people make yeshiva education a priority, then the rebbeim will be back to teach them.
How do you propose the rebbeim feed and shelter their own families?August 30, 2010 6:16 pm at 6:16 pm #693972
is it right to strike
Much better question.
How about the Rabbayim offering to take over the school, so that they can get paid by whatever tuition comes in. If the admins aren’t willing, it is on their heads.
Like GM tried doing by giving the stock to the union.August 30, 2010 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #693973
It is employment at will. Let them quit. Or, as SL put it, PLEASE quit so that they can improve their finances, and give the schools a wake-up call.August 30, 2010 6:19 pm at 6:19 pm #693974
On second thought, I don’t understand the question.
There is a halachic premise: Poel Yachol La’chazor B’Chatze Hayom. A worker can quit whenever they want. Of course, they will no longer get paid.
Since there are many possible “Rabbaiym” around in BMG or other kollelim, there is no problem of lost time to the employer.August 30, 2010 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #693975WIYMember
Many of the same people who aren’t paying tuition have all the money in the world for fancy cars, cable tv, vacations, summer camp, summer homes, and other extravagances.
PRIORITIES!!!!August 30, 2010 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #693976
Squeak, I think there is enough money to go around, but people don’t want to give up their luxuries.
People can’t have their husband in kollel, be a SAHM, dress to the nines, drive fancy cars, take yearly vacations, send their kids to Yeshiva…that’s not a money issue per se.August 30, 2010 6:45 pm at 6:45 pm #693977cantoresqMember
I also seem to recall that R. Moshe Feinstein held it is forbidden to strike. But R. Moshe is not the only authority. R. Kook, before he moved to Israel, paskened that a local rav can refuse to pasken shailes if the kehilla does not pay the contracted for salary. Moreover, other rabbanim were to respect the strike and not pasken for the kehilla if question if asked. Thus a kehilla could find itself without someone to resolve kashrut questions, or more importantly questions about tahrat hamishpacha. Additionally there were charamot on rabbis assuming pulpits until the prior rav was paid any money owed him. I think the two situation are arguably analogous.August 30, 2010 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #693978
Good to see you in the CR.August 30, 2010 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #693979
I think what you mean is that there could be enough money to go around, not that there is. Reducing vacations and fanciness of cars and clothes (the “spending” luxuries) of the non-full-tuition families is not going to be enough to bring most of those people to full-tuition level (unless you are very cynical). The “earning” side of the equation on your list is Kollel and SAHM, in each case the difference is a full income, which is much more likely to cover any deficiency in tuition.
The question is if anyone has plaitzes big enough to address this issue.August 30, 2010 7:35 pm at 7:35 pm #693981
For a rebbe to strike for BACKPAY OWED, Rav Moshe has already paskened NO.
For a rebbe to strike about a PAY CUT, certainly NO. There are ten capable people to take over any desk vacated by ANY rebbe. If the rebbe feels his s’char betailah is worth more than his salary, kol hakavod, QUIT and try out the REAL job market.
Strikes and Unions are NOT the way Rebbeim should be acting. If this is their mentality, they should be in another profession.August 30, 2010 8:28 pm at 8:28 pm #693982arcParticipant
“Strikes and Unions are NOT the way Rebbeim should be acting. If this is their mentality, they should be in another profession”
No other profession would get away with not paying employees for months at a time.
The Rebbein obviously feel that the school can pay otherwise there would be no point in striking.August 30, 2010 8:55 pm at 8:55 pm #693983
Most other companies and industries won’t get away with not paying employees. However, Rav Moshe was QUITE emphatic that rebbeim are NOT TO STRIKE.
EDITEDAugust 30, 2010 9:03 pm at 9:03 pm #693984
I’m too hot today. My computer is actually smelling funny today!
I’ll try and take a chill!August 30, 2010 9:04 pm at 9:04 pm #693985
Let them walk. It will do the schools some good to see that not every bargain is a value. Sure, the schools can fill every desk in a blink. But putting an avrech in front of a class of 20 smart-alecky 11 year olds is a class uproar waiting to happen. Many rebbeim ARE worth what they get paid.
But when all is said and done, this is a sad day for torah.. regardless what the outcomeAugust 30, 2010 9:32 pm at 9:32 pm #693986
Many rebbeim ARE worth what they get paid.
I don’t mean to make a snarky remark here, but the discussion is about rebbeim who are not getting paid, so your comment is out of place. 🙂
I agree with you- rebbeim deserve to be paid a decent salary, certainly enough to encourage men of talent to apply. I think rebbeim get salaries+benefits that are reasonable commensurate with the job they have to do, while not being too high (which would also attract the wrong people for the job).
The point here is that they are not getting paid what they were promised – regardless of what you or I think they deserve. In this case they should do something about it- walking out may be a good option, as it frees up their time to earn at least some money to live on.August 30, 2010 9:36 pm at 9:36 pm #693987
With the proliferation of teaching courses, there are Baruch Hashem many CAPABLE and Cracker Jack rebbeim chomping at the bit for an opportunity. Today’s Educated NEW rebbeim are not like how it was even ten years ago. The schools should have NO qualms about opening the door an letting the ‘striking rebbeim’ see the Egress!!! Every Rebbe understands the joke!!August 30, 2010 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm #693988MoqMember
Interesting. More power to them. When it becomes an absolute that Rabbeim get paid, the quality of the people we entrust our children too will improve. Sadly, now many nebachs go into chinuch, and we pay the psychologist bills later. Why not save the money now?
R’ Elyashiv has a teshuva ( In Techumim, I believe chelek chaf), and says that the Rabbeim do not have a greater obligation to the limud of tinoko shel beis rabban then anyone in the community. Hence, they may strike ( there is a similar din by the chevra kadisha).
But when it becomes a reality that tuition must be paid even at the expenses of – seminary! or summer camp! – well, then there salaries will come on time. They are noble individuals, trying to live an ideal. Alas, doesn’t always happen that way. They cannot carry the tuition breaks of the school – Halachically, a child should stay home, rather then a Rebbe not be paid. Let the parents fundraise – why should he pay for there child’s education?
Let them unionize, and be treated like mentechen.August 30, 2010 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm #693989Feif UnParticipant
Before asking if it’s ok for the Rabbeim to strike, how about asking if it’s ok for the yeshiva not to pay them on time! Doesn’t the posuk say that you’re required to pay a worker at the end of the day? I’m sure that if you make up to pay weekly, monthly, etc. that it’s ok, but you’re not allowed to pay late! The Torah says so.
Rabbi Yaakov Bender has spoken about this publicly many times. Recordings are out there if you want to hear it. He says that yeshivos who don’t pay on time are stealing!August 30, 2010 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm #693990Ben TorahParticipant
Whoever is to blame, it surely isn’t the Yeshiva. The Yeshiva doesn’t have the money, and they can’t print it.August 31, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am #693991
The concept of employment assumes an AT WILL relationship. The employer or employee can terminate the relationship AT WILL. The employee is not a slave, and the employer is not stuck with a ‘lemon’ employee.
This is a STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE in most schools under the Torah UMesorah umbrella:
1. When a school falls behind on paychecks for TWO MONTHS, they warn their employees that disaster is upon them, and ask for employee patience and cooperation.
2. If a school fails to find resources and has already announced their situation to their employees, they have two weeks to make a determination about financial abilities.
3. If after these two weeks, it is apparent that the resources won’t be granted, the school is to offer any teacher unable to afford to wait for payment, the option to remove themselves from employment. THESE EMPLOYEES ARE GRANTED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
4. All monies raised MUST go first to those employees who opted out.
5. School administration and board of directors are to meet with staff every two weeks with updates.
These guidelines allow the staff to make a reasonable judgment whether they are employed or are volunteering! Any employee who agrees to these terms, has to be a team player and stick with the administration and board. As long as the school was honest, the school is in the CLEAR, because it was the staff person’s personal choice to stick with it.August 31, 2010 12:10 am at 12:10 am #693992
Rabbi Bender is a powerhouse. He should have health, happiness, and success ad meah v’esrim. V’Ad Bichlal!!
Guess who is up day and night raising the money?? RABBI BENDER Bichvodo U’beatzmo!!August 31, 2010 2:17 am at 2:17 am #693993Feif UnParticipant
artchill, I’ve heard Rabbi Bender speak many times about how he goes together with R’ Harbater knocking on doors to raise money for his yeshiva. He doesn’t think it’s below him. He also constantly speaks about how Rabbeim deserve higher salaries.August 31, 2010 2:44 am at 2:44 am #693994
In this (hypothetical?) Yeshiva where the Rabbeim are on strike to collect their salaries; are the other employees of the yeshiva being paid at this time?August 31, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am #693995fabieMember
I don’t know if this has been raised here, but the idea that Milton Friedman originally suggested about a voucher system, would likely help to solve these issues. I remember it was put on the ballot app. 20 years ago in Ca. and was defeated. I wouil suggest that everyone try to push legislation. Far more important than the majority of welfare programs.August 31, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #693996
This is the wrong shilah.
The shilah should be, is it mutar to work for an organization that violates explicit Torah commandments?
The Torah explicitly requires that employees be paid on time. How can a yeshiva that violates this commandment be considered Orthodox? We would never countenance a yeshiva serving treif food in order to save money. Yet Chazal tell us that financial transgressions are worse than arayot!August 31, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm #693997
Milton Friedman did not invent the idea of voucher systems; they have been used in three New England states with great success since the 19th century. Furtmermore, in many free countries including Ireland, Spain, the UK, France, and Canada the Jewish schools get direct government support. All these schools have to follow government curriculum mandates; I don’t have a problem with that at all but some in the frum world do. And vouchers for religious schools violate the provisions of 38 state constitutions in the US, and they have been defeated in every single referendum ever held in the US, usually by landslide margins. An attempt to amend the NY State Constitution to allow direct funding of religious schools was made in 1967 and it got under 30% of the vote. Furthermore, significant support for religious schools would require significant tax increases and the frum community has in recent years been allying itself with the anti-tax folks. I would support an effort to repeal New York State’s Blaine Amendment, consolidate schools (public and private) in order to save money, and an alliance with the unions (almost all Catholic schools are unionized in NY) and poor minorities (who suffer disproportionately from inadequate public schools) in order to increase educational options via vouchers or direct governmental support. But I don’t see anyone seriously trying to build the necessary coalitions.
(I should mention that I used to be an opponent of government funding of religious schools but have turned around 180 degrees on this after visting three of the countries I mentioned.)August 31, 2010 1:17 pm at 1:17 pm #693998
That is why there are those of us who support Rabbi Bender’s Yeshiva liberally.
He deserves it, and he doesn’t reject children because of their “grouping”.August 31, 2010 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #693999
“the discussion is about rebbeim who are not getting paid”
What I meant to say is, the rebbeim SHOULD walk and let the hanhallah see how tough it is to replace quality staff. And while it might be (is?) wise to add a new fresh face to the staff mix every now and then, without a solid backbone of proven, seasoned rebbeim, no yeshiva can make it (unless you’re talking about an upstart outfit with 2nd grade and under only).
Of course, this will mean that only the good staffers will either be taken back (or hired elsewhere) but that’s how it works in the corporate world, and sad to say, yeshiva has become a business, so you need to be ready to play hardball.August 31, 2010 2:39 pm at 2:39 pm #694001
It will also show the parent body that rebbeim are not shmattes. I have many friends who are top notch rebbeim, ones who could just as easily be CPAs or network administrators. They choose to be in chinuch becuase they want to.. not because they have to. They have the training, have the skills, and as a result, have jobs in $ solvent mosdos.
Not to say the striking school is not cash rich and the rebbeim are not on top of the game, but if the conditions warrant it (and it sounds like it does) they should leave the school high and dry.August 31, 2010 2:39 pm at 2:39 pm #694002
Personally, I am strongly opposed to Public Funding of ANY Private Educational Institution, and have made no secret of this to the elected officials. These are my two strongest objections that resonate across the aisle:
1. Every time the government is generous and foolish enough to carve some money out to help Private Organizations do the work of the Public, misplaced advocacy takes place. It’s inevitible that Frum organizations jump in and make a Chillul Hashem. See: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=68891
2. Public funding for education means that the Private Educational Institution DELIVERS a quality SECULAR EDUCATION as mandetaed by State standards. How many Lakewood mesivtas will offer three hours of QUALITY secular education as established by the State? Private institutions that don’t wish to abide by the terms of the PUBLICLY FUNDED GRANT should not ask for it to begin with, and don’t complain when BIG BROTHER WATCHES OVER YOU!August 31, 2010 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #694003
“This is the wrong shilah.
The shilah should be, is it mutar to work for an organization that violates explicit Torah commandments?
The Torah explicitly requires that employees be paid on time. How can a yeshiva that violates this commandment be considered Orthodox?”
Charlie. Would you prefer the Rabbeim be laid off? The yeshiva shut down? What do you recommend the administrators do if there is no money to meet payroll?August 31, 2010 2:52 pm at 2:52 pm #694004
I would suggest closing down school if there isn’t enough money to pay.
Maybe then parents would prioritize more of their money for schools.August 31, 2010 3:10 pm at 3:10 pm #694005
“Would you prefer the Rabbeim be laid off? The yeshiva shut down?”
What is the heter that permits a business to violate Torah law? Would you suggest that a kosher meat restaurant that can only get non-kosher meat continue to operate?August 31, 2010 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #694006
“Private institutions that don’t wish to abide by the terms of the PUBLICLY FUNDED GRANT should not ask for it to begin with, and don’t complain when BIG BROTHER WATCHES OVER YOU! “
I do agree with this statement; those who do not want to follow government rules should not ask for government money. But we should not complain when the money is given to someone willing to follow the rules.August 31, 2010 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #694007
Since money is often given and an audit showing the institution is in substantial non-compliance with terms of the grant comes later on. Therefore, unless the Board of Directors are willing to personally vouch for orgainizational compliance, where they are liable for deviations from the grant proposal, NO PUBLIC MONEY SHOULD BE GIVEN.
I don’t begrudge the handful of Jewish Educational Institutions who’s Board’s would be willing to do this.They have nothing to hide. However, these institutions are to the left of the Jewish organization advocating for Public Funding for Jewish schools.August 31, 2010 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #694008I-87Member
Three comments to people above –
1)Everyone says that people aren’t machshiv torah education and that is why the rebbeim are suffering. That shows some naivete of the establishment. I never ever hear from the establishment that the charges for tuition are just simply unrealistic. The average person does not have $25K – $3OK after tax income.
2)How about some consolidation of the jewish mosdos instead of new ones opening each year and tapping into the same monies that existing mosdos are tapping into. Tell me – why do we need tzedakas that are for identical causes making duplicate chinese auctions and fundraisers.Wouldn’t it be so much better if there was one organization instead of two?
3)How about trying out a kehilla system in flatbush? 10 thousand families contribute 10K a year to a fund instead of tuition and then you have 100Million a year. That’s not enough to run a school system and camp system? That will stimulate the jewish economy by taking the burden off of parents who have to pay 4 times that amount.August 31, 2010 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #694009arcParticipant
most people arent out spending on everything but tuition. There is a legitamate recession out there causing these problems for schools.August 31, 2010 4:08 pm at 4:08 pm #694010
arc, read the other thread. Cleaning help is a necessity, at least more than yeshiva tuition.August 31, 2010 5:23 pm at 5:23 pm #694011fabieMember
I appreciate your response. I agree that Milton Friedman didn’t initiate the actual idea, as he said himself, however, he was one of the main individuals, and especially one of the more well known individuals supporting it. You have provided me with some quality information. I have recently become a major advocate of the idea, which has been partially initiated in different situations. The one I heard of was in DC.
This issue is a much broader issue then simply the Yeshiva-Religious world, it goes way beyond that scope. It deals with minorities as well.
Tax cuts and a voucher system are no contradiction. Milton Friedman was a proponent of the system and definitely advocates lower taxes and smaller government. They actually are quite compatible.
If and when I have more time, I really think I could convince you. I would suggest doing some additional research on the issue. You can look up Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, and Walter E. Williams at YouTube, or read their books.
Public education has and will constanntly fail, just like all other goverment programs.
I can tell you from my personal experiences in Eretz Yisroel, where religious schools get funding, why even there, there should be a voucher system.
Case in point. I started a school for children with learning disabilities, and other factors, which made a school system the best option. I applied for government funding, went through all of the legal channels, and all the beucratic nonsense as well. 1.5 meters height of oil based paint on the walls, etc. In the end, the money never arrived, all the salaries except mine, were paid out of my pockect app. 50K+ of debts, but that was the least of the problems. The children who left the school, most of which were almost ready to be mainstreamed back into the regular system got lost. One child who I see regularly now, an adult, who was a genious. Learning Gemara with Rishonim at the age of seven, but had some minor issues, that needed work, eventually had a full break down, based upon what he told me, to the point he was hospitalized. Most of the rest have suffered tremendously, but honestly who cares. Professor Friedman has a video of a school set up in store front in Harlem. I highly recommend watching it.August 31, 2010 7:37 pm at 7:37 pm #694012
Tax cuts and a voucher system are definitely incompatible in any area where large numbers of children attend voucher eligible private schools. That is simple arithmetic.
Huge savings in could be achieved through school consolidations. This is true both for public schools and private schools. NY State has almost 700 school districts, NJ about 600 — but Maryland has only 24! Since every school district has to have a Superintendent, at a market rate of about $200k/year or more, that is tens of millions of dollars in Superintendent salaries alone that MD avoids each year, and the efficencies extend throughout the system.
And the same holds for yeshivot. Chasidic schools tend to be much larger than yeshivish or MO schools and the tuition costs are commensurately lower. But who has the authority to order a rabbi to close his school and combine it with another?August 31, 2010 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #694013
“Public education has and will constanntly fail, just like all other goverment programs.”
This is factually untrue. There are many great public schools all over the United States. There is one a few miles from me in the Bronx that has produced seven Nobel Prize winners and it remains an excellent school at a per pupil cost of about $15,000. Many surburban schools are and remain outstanding and if you look at referendum results, it is those surburban parents who overwhelmingly vote down vouchers everywhere because they (correctly) think that many pro-voucher advocates are out to destroy the public school system.August 31, 2010 8:39 pm at 8:39 pm #694014I-87Member
Best way to resolve the problem is a kehilla system. 10K tax per family on each family in Flatbush. You will have $100 Million each year to run your school system. Add government aid to that equation and you will have the funding. Take all the yeshivas in flatbush and consolidate under one central management board which will issue an audited financial report every year in all the jewish newspapers.
You’ll stimulate the jewish economy, solve the tuition crisis and cut out the corruption.
Rambam says a yeshiva is a chiyuv of a commmunity (not just the individual parents who send there.)
Yeshivas as a private business is a failed model.
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