The Working Poor Crisis

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    People in the Coffee Room are well familiar with the needs of kollel families. They are somehow supported either by the community, family, or Uncle Sam.

    I am a balabos who feels strongly that it is important for people to work. However, I am well aware that there are countless frum families who are the working poor. They earn enough to be inelligible or minimally eligible for Uncle Sam’s assistance, but are too poor to pay half their expenses. Many of these people are super diligent hard workers who just need some more mazal.

    How do we as a klal go about helping the working poor?

    If we let them fall, the price to rebuild the families will be too much to bear.

    I for once am ALL EARS.


    We are working on an innovative new high school model that combines top notch Torah education with an online secular high school education provided FREE by our state.

    This hybrid promises to create a Torah day school for boys with a tuition fee scale from 2-5k versus the current 6-19k fee scale which is crushing the regular Jews.


    artchill: congrats your thread make it to the homepage!


    A good first step will be to overcome this narishkeit that has somehow infiltrated yiddishe (mostly litvish but also to a degree chasidish) homes that there’s something wrong with working.

    Kollel is for the wealthy and the best of the best learners. This was ALWAYS how it was. Nobody else should be taking tzedakah for learning. You are literally taking food out of the mouths of yidden by redirecting limited resources to your own desires. And don’t tell me you are being moser nefesh for torah. Being moser nefesh for torah means being mkayim the halacha to support your family and only rely on tzedakah when there is no alternative and then after all that still being koveia itim in the morning and night to learn some gemara, halacha and chasidus.

    That would be a good first step. Then of course this aversion towards secular studies needs to be tackled. Step by step.


    Help them get an education so that they can support themselves.

    “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.” (author?)



    Give man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will drink beer for the rest of his life.


    Wow jewess that is very wise!


    There was an article in this past week’s Mishpacha of a woman who was describing marrying of her children in the current yeshiva world today. There was one line in the article that sent both me and my wife rolling “We were pretty secure financially, mostly because we married off out sons to girls whose families paid the lion’s share of the expenses. Indeed we had good children…and we were able to demand that. {regarding marrying off a daughter} If you want a good chassan, bring a great kallah and an even better apartment.”

    The rest of the article describes how when marrying off her sons they picked girls who would have steady, money making jobs, so their husbands could learn in kollel. But what ends up happening is that the wives are working crazy hours, never see their children, forget having dinners cooked during the week, cloths laundered etc. the husbands are the ones who are no longer learning and are have basically changed roles with the wife!

    NO WHERE in the Torah is there an obligation for a husband to sit and learning full time after he is married! The Torah makes it VERY CLEAR that a husband is supposed to SUPPORT HIS WIFE not the other way around. Yes is supposed to be kovea be itim, yes he is supposed to learn as much as he cans, but what we’ve created is a culture that looks down on people who are supporting their families, these “working men” who are supporting their families are actually being more true to the Torah then people who are learning in kollel all day.

    Now I’m not anti kollel at all, I think that for people who are serious learners and have support to do it should 100% do that, but when every Joe Shmo on the street feels that he can be passed off as a “learning boy” get support and then not do any learning, we a have a serious problem. Because if he does what he’s good at and goes out to work, the society around makes him feel like he’s worthless!

    Of course then there are people who, as was said above, who are afraid to work because of how they will be viewed. It is a problem in a Torah society for the people who work to viewed as second class.

    Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest.


    There are a number of ways that this can be addressed, and some of the most important have been addressed already by the earlier posters.

    The first is changing the educational system. At present, some institutions are teaching our children that kollel is a higher madreiga than working. (Note that for all cases, including those of us that have full-time jobs, we are still required to learn Torah. That is a given.) Where did this idea come about? Examples from the gdolim? We certainly know that a great many gedolim did not support themselves by Torah, and worked for a living. There is no reason to teach people that working for a living is somehow a shameful pursuit.

    Second, there is nothing wrong with a secular education to make a decent living. This hold true for both boys and girls. There are not enough teaching positions in Bais Yakov to fill the employment requirements of the entire Hareidi community.

    Third, something must be done about the high cost of Jewish education. It is simply impossible to sustain. Lower-cost alternatives must be found. We approve of large families, how can we require them to begin their budgets with several tens of thousands of dollars/year for that most basic of Jewish requirements?

    Fourth, this is the time that the nonsustainability of the kollel model is beginning to be felt. The major Yeshivot encouraged Kollel learning only. That talmidim and their wives responded magnificiently–as did their parents. A great many of trhe parents were of the generation that did not discourage secular education. studied, became professionals, and earned enough to support their children in Kollel. However, the next generation, encouraged by a great many Yeshivot–discouraged such secular learning, with the result that they do not have the same earning potential. Therefore, to support their own children in the same kollel lifestyle that they themselves enjoy is impossible–it falls on the community.

    So what is the solution to the fourth problem? There are only 3 possibilities:

    1) admit that the Kollel system is flawed (in this respect, at least) and downscale it;

    2) hope to increase support form the Hareidi community. In today’s financial situation, this may prove to be a difficult goal to accomplish–people have less money to contribute–not more;

    3) persuade the nonHareidi community to increase its support of Hareidi institutions. This may be difficult for 2 reasons: The first is that the financial crisis affects these sectors as well, and in addition, they have their own institutions to support. The second one can be read right here on these pages. A number of folks from the Hareidi community make no attempt to disguise their lack of respect for Modern Orthodoxy (much less other streams of Judaism). When one speaks to Roshei Yesivot and Rabbanim associated with hareidi institutions, they seem at great pains to tell us that we are all areivim zeh lazeh–we are all brothers in Torah. Yet this seems not be communicated effectively to their talmidim, who speak with a great deal of zilzul toward institutions such as YU, etc. If you feel that way about your fellow Orthodox Jews–that their derech is not only different than yours, but posul–fine. But do not expect us not to take notice, and do not expect us to support institutions that teach that our haskafa is treif.

    I have no idea if any of these are being considered by those in charge of the institutions–who are the leaders of the Hareidi community. Thgat is up to them. If they do not, the system will simply collapse of its won weight. What a shame.


    When addressing this issue, everyone dances around the 800 lb gorilla in the room. How can yeshivot now begin to teach students that work is preferable to learning for most people, without having to either outrightly or tacitly admit that the message over the past fifty years, that learning is preferable to everything else, was wrong? How are yeshivot and Bais Yaacovs to maintain the prestige of gedolei Yisrael in this reversal of pedagogical policy? Worse yet, doing such a thing might lend prestige to a whole group of Jews, the Modern Orthodox and their rabbinic leaders, who have been reviled and whose doctrines have been outrightly dismissed by the chareidi communities. No problem is ever solved until one admits there is a problem and this problem is not poverty. The real problem is far more fundamental.


    Much has been said already in this post – I agree that education and advanced skill building are keys to success (note – success doesn’t have to mean becoming a millionaire) in our world today.

    Cost of tuition coupled with the horribly relentless cost of living increase (especially in the tri-state area) is flat out unsustainable. I think it’s disgusting that a guy can slave for years through an advanced degree and through work in the hopes of making enough to cover costs and then by the time he gets to tuition, boom, all that slaving was really not enough. With tuition at like $15K per kid it never will be. Something HAS to give with tuition or the cost of frum living will become literally unsustainable over the next few years for all but the highest net worth individuals and people will just not have kids or not send them to higher cost Jewish schools.

    I’d say though that people can be encouraged to just move away from the NY-NJ area. Costs of taxes and housing (the number 1-2 expenses for your average family) have just spiraled out of control here. We pay an enormous amount of taxes to these states and get appallingly little for it. I find it repugnant that hard working people pay enormous amounts of tax cash to local municipalities for public school education that they never will use. I also find it repugnant that on top of all the other costs a frum person must shoulder, housing costs rise another 15%-20% as well for the privilege of living in a Jewish area. Taxes and housing are sharply lower in out of town communities (no state taxes in Texas, for example, where there are vibrant Jewish communities) and it’s possible to save nearly $30K a year or more in housing and tax costs alone. So why don’t more people turn their back on this area and leave for greener pastures if they can (job, etc)?

    There’s a head in the sand mentality about this though. I was speaking with someone who responded to my above argument (I was arguing about Texas) with “but are there yeshivas in Dallas or Houston?” To which I responded yes, there actually are a few. He said “but are they {certain type of hashkafa} places? I’d only want to send my kid to {type} of place”. I thought about that a little later and realized how ridiculous an argument (on its own) that is for staying in the NY-NJ area. Why would someone trade more financial peace of mind and shalom bayis etc so that their kid can be not just educated in a Jewish manner, but educated only to be yeshivish, modern, litvish, etc? You can’t have your cake and eat it, too, in economics. You always need to make a tradeoff. If you don’t, that could be leading yourself down the road to financial doom.

    No, popularly waving the phrase “shver tzu zein a yid” around doesn’t answer the problem nor is it proper. Saying that shows an appalling lack of thinking and initiative in combating the ingrained financial problems we face. It shows a remarkable ability to keep one’s head firmly in the sand while the world crumbles around them.



    If I’m not mistaken that quote comes from, or is similar to, one that is in the new testament.


    I think,respectfully, that none of you have been in this situation and are posting platitudes towards the Working world. I was in kollel and went to work(like alof of my friends) and even though I have a few degrees, the job market is still tough for me.

    Included in the fact is that everyone assumes that since I am working, so I can pay full tuition and give tzedaka etc to the fullest. Having a degree doesn’t guarantee you anything and b’mchilas artchill,there are people whose families are earning over 100k gross who are having problems today.

    As a famous Rov and Rosh Yeshiva told me, most of the rich people that i deal with never went to college.

    What we really should be doing is creating a venture capital fund and an ideas bank (all our retirees and businessmen)to create new businesses that could help employ others such as Citybrook in Israel does with ladies.


    In my husbands family going to work is a total busha. Well guess what!~!!! after my baby was born i lost my job and there was nobody to pay the bills. ( nobody supports us)My husband went out to work– we got the whole blablabal talk from pple about how you are supposed to be moiser nefesh for kollel and the likes…. Everyone calmed down later and I feel we did the right step. I just feel bad for those pple trapped in their own narrowmindedness that working is assur.



    Yes, it’s from that book, but if you are working, when do you have the time to read fairy tales 🙂


    Bloggerman2, see my post above – I agree wholeheartedly that it’s tough for even $100K earners, that’s exactly my point. I’m in the working world, have bills, etc.

    I still think that, today, you’re basically shortchanging yourself by not getting an education or not encouraging your kids to get one. College, etc doesn’t HAVE to be expensive, plus it’s an investment. Many studies have demonstrated that, on average, higher education translates to higher earnings. See this- – as an example. Even if $100K don’t quite cut the mustard, I’d still rather $100K/year + moderate student loans over my working life than $40-50K/year without.

    AND – the fact that even over $100K doesn’t work is, in my mind, a sad, sad commentary on how far our financial life has devolved, at least in this part of the country.


    Retarding the cost of tuition, I certainly agree.

    I do not understand the breakdown of religious schooling costs.

    I sure wish that someone in the know could post a fairly detailed summary of how it works. While I am sure that there are costs that are hidden from the customers, a little knowledge would go a long way in helping us understand why tuitions are so high.

    Some questions that come to mind:

    Yearly property taxes

    Cost of insurance

    Cost of infrastructure (upkeep and repair)

    costs of running the place (electricity, heating, AC, water)

    before taxes salaries: Principal, teachers of various levels, support staff

    teacher/pupil ratio

    Then throw in:

    cost of full tuition

    number of pupils paying full tuition

    average tuition subsidy

    number of people receiving average subsidy

    Stick all of those into an excel sheet, and things should more or less match up.


    What enlightened said about living costs in the NY-NJ area is totally correct.

    I’ve heard homeowners in Brooklyn say how their Homes are worth $1000000, so you say if you can’t make ends meet why don’t you move out? And they look at you like you just said the most scandalous comment.

    Another point is that before your kids enter the shidduch scene explain to the exactly what it means to be in kollel. Tell them how it is, don’t paint a rosy picture, that’s unrealistic.


    The opening post put forth a question about the working poor. The working poor can be found in every segment of society, from Chassidic to Yeshivish to Modern Orthodox to RW Conservative to LW Conservative to Reform to Reconstructionist to everything inbetween :).

    There are *some* communities that have a significant portion of the population poor, due mostly to *currently* being in Kollel; the OP was about working poor, not Kollel, and perhaps a segment due to “lack of training” secondary to the Kollel issue.

    In BP, a large portion of the population is Chassidic, and this population does not frown upon work; to the contrary, there are many males who are working even prior to marriage. In Flatbush, there is no *large* Kollel population in comparison to the general population- they are more of a relative minority. So the majority of “working poor” in Flatbush are poor because they are poor, not because of eschewing education/training. There are multitudes of “teva” reasons why someone may be poor; there is no need to list them. The Williamsburgh population is not a majority Kollel population, and neither is the Monsey one. Neither is Highland Park, Passaic, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Houston, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Yardley. Yet there are working poor in each of these locales. I am not including E”Y in this post.

    When people discuss the “Kollel effect” on subsequent earning ability, they must be talking about basically one community: Lakewood. That is the only community that has a Kollel/formerly in long-term Kollel majority, from which we can determine societal impact of Kollel/concept of eschewing training/education in the early adult years.

    So…how can it be that a discussion on how to give a leg-up to the working poor devolves into a discussion of Kollel? Does no one see the working poor right in their own backyards? Does no one see the many struggling families in their own, non-“very yeshivish” communities? Whether Lakewood has a problem or not should not be the entire discussion- it is only ONE community! True, it is an important one, and a leader in Torah learning and dissemination. But numbers-wise, there are hundreds of communities around the USA, (not to exclude the working poor in Manchester, Golders Green, or Toulouse) and their total population numbers and working poor numbers far exceed those of one community, even a large community! Are the working poor in the Five-Towns to ignored?

    In fact, the tuition requirements of some of these locales are far above those of “in-town”, exacerbating an already difficult situation. I think tuitions are a primary cause of financial distress, among other causes.

    Talking about “Kollel families” and the families who don’t allow their child to get a kosher education (that will vary among families- some need a single-gender university, some a correspondence/online format of education, some encourage their children to follow natural talents such as carpentry, plumbing, musical prowess, etc) is to kick the real problem under the table because it’s so much more interesting (and the adrenalin rushes in) to talk about how ideology caused the problems. Perhaps the community(ies?) in which the problem is related to ideology is high profile, but numbers-wise, it is a small segment of the larger problem.

    Discussion on how the “kosher” factor affects earning ability makes sense, because many Orthodox families don’t want their children on mixed campuses, and the Jewish ones available are not always an option for everyone. Furthermore, not everyone is cut out for white collar work, and there are many trades that can be mastered with the right, hands-on training/apprenticeship. Can we say we have a culture problem because not everyone wants to/is able to become a doctor or lawyer? I personally believe the correct hishtadlus does not necessarily mean one *must* attend graduate school leading to one of the top professions. One, for reasons of ability- it is Hashem who gave one the ability to become a physician. Two, for reasons of hashkafah and halacha- if a parent feels their child does not belong on a mixed campus and there is no local medical school, it seems the right hishtadlus-related decision to make another parnassah choice.

    In summation, there is a real problem of working poor in communities around the USA, the majority of which do not have a Lakewood mentality, and I haven’t seen any less financial distress in Modern Orthodox communities or in Litvish communities that are open to kosher education/training than in Lakewood (I am familiar with all three above).

    So…does anyone have ideas about the query in the OP?



    You are missing my point. I know many people, who to no fault of their own are not making even 100k especially since alot people who I know who are overqualified (due to layoffs etc) and are barely making ends meet.As a matter of fact, an administrator of a famous yeshiva told a kollel parent “At least you are not a computer programmer…” regarding tuition. And the kollel fellow told me that he felt compelled to blast the administrator “who says that a programmer has it any easier paying tuition”.

    My point is that we need:

    1)to educate people that working people are not necessarily rich

    2)we need to take a good look at ourselves and evaluate what we are good for(kollel,work,rebbi)and if our spouses are in-tune wo what we are doing (decided before the chasunah)to do the best possible job that we can at what we are doing.

    3)Try to create opportunities for people to get decent salaries. And yes, making 50k is bad but if you work hard at a job that has potential, people notice and with Hashem’s help you canmove up.

    4)As a community we need to solve the tuition issue. Vouchers,”death tax”,living communal tax would be some of the issues. Also, if Chasidishe yeshivas don’t require large tuition bills, we have to look at their model and decide why we are paying 15k.

    5)Out of town prices are cheaper but job opportunities are scarcer in Jewish community(ask around you will see)

    6)We need people to create cheaper halls and convince rich people to make cheaper simchas to drive down the expected costs of a simcha.


    Jewess, Jewishandworking22, etc.,

    I had always understood that quote to be a paraphrasing of the highest degree of Tzedaka on the Rambam’s ladder.


    Well, bemused, you certainly bring up some interesting (and valid) points.

    Certainly there should be no problem with a child who decides that he is more suited for cabinetmaking than medicine. However, professions like these still require instruction and training for the vast majority of people. These types of schools can be community colleges, state schools, vocational institutes, etc. Of course, it is very unlikely that they will be single-sex. And very unlikely that they will be primarily Jewish–especially if one lives outside of the NY area.

    Personally, I think that the solution lies in education at the High school level. Sooner or later, our children will go out into the real world and interact with other people of both sexes, Jews and nonJews. (I realize that there are communities which are exceptions to this.) I personally think that the Orthodox world has carried the separation of the sexes too far–and when they are finally thrown together, many of our children have no idea of how to interact. Perhaps with a little exposure to people of the opposite sex–during high school–say, a mixed mathematics or history class–might be a good idea. They could learn that not every encounter between boys and girls at a social level need lead to an aveirah*. Perhaps then, they could attend a vocational school or college alongside members of the opposite sex, and still keep their eyes and minds on the job–that is, getting an education.

    *Yes, I am also aware that there are those who believe that simple conversation between a boy and a girl is an aveirah.



    I agree on your points, but – “5)Out of town prices are cheaper but job opportunities are scarcer in Jewish community(ask around you will see)”

    Not sure what you mean by “…in the Jewish community…”? If you’re moving to another Jewish community, you only look for “Jewish” jobs?

    And Texas, BTW, has a much more dynamic economy than NY/NJ right now…



    What I was trying to say is while living in the Jewish community. Of course, I could live on farm somewhere and it would be cheaper.

    You can’t make a blanket statement that Texas is better since economic situations are usually cyclical and therefore if today NY/NJ isn’t good, tommorrow it is. Like it or not, the local area runs on Wall Street/NYC just as living in Silver Springs/MD is effected if the Fed Govt decided to lay off.

    Also, it’s not always feasible (age, children’s individual education needs etc)to move to that area.


    I don’t have the answer for every family but many families that are “poor” and aren’t able to pay their bills have one reason to blame: their HOUSE! Being a homeowner is a beautiful thing, but it brings with it so many expenses (i.e. mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, fixing boilers sinks and toilets etc). A family should not buy a house unless their mortgage/tax/insurance payments would be less than the cost of renting an apartment that would “fit” their family. In other words, enough with the large mortgages!! Being a homeowner should be what it used to be…a luxury!


    Cantoresque mentioned the gorilla in the room. I’ll add the zoo with the elephant in the room.

    Another factor is that when people leave kollel, the men might start out at entry level jobs equal to or less than what they were making when in kollel (no more bein hasedorim for the odd jobs). Unless they’re getting supported until they’re on their feet fully they may well end up part of the working poor.


    EDITED Don’t buy a home? And then, when these folks get old and need to retire, and have nothing to live on, you’ll yell, why didn’t they contibute to a retirement account. Well, many people consider their home to be their retirment funds. Their kids are married by then, they sell the house and move into a small condo or apt. and live off the extra money. So you can’t have it both ways. Don’t yell now that they’re spending too much money and later that they didn’t spend enough. Besides, how many apts are there that are large enough for 7+ kids and how many landlords are willing to let large families live in (and wear out) their apts. Moving every 2-3 years is an added expense. I think that the smartest thing is for a family to buy a house – not an upgraded mansion if they can’t afford it, but a home to live in.


    Jewishandworking, WOOPS, I did not know that that saying is from the new testament.

    Isn’t there a Jewish saying “Chochma bagoyim ta’amin; Torah bagoyim al ta’amin” or something like that? I would take the quote I wrote as “chochma” and not as “Torah”.

    Sammygol, at least he’ll be paying for his own beer.

    Just-a-guy, I never studied the Rambam’s teachings, but that probably is the highest form of tzedaka to give a person. Not only are you giving them the ability to support themselves, you are also giving them pride (in a good way) and the opportunity to be able to give to others too.

    Bloggerman2, you wrote, “As a famous Rov and Rosh Yeshiva told me, most of the rich people that i deal with never went to college.” True, that many of the richest people in the world are rich without a degree, and true that education is not a get-out-of-poverty-free ticket, but there is no denying that it does open more doors to a job seeker than does a lack of education. Also, not everybody has a business mind. Some of the very wealthy people that I know did not go to college and basically own real estate and businesses for a living, but very few can get that far without money to start with, and in today’s market the only way to get money legally is to get a high paying job which can only be gotten with the right credentials. (Or to inherit it.) There are so many programs today that help Jewish men and women attain degrees without even going to a regular college or university, that it’s a shame that more people don’t take advantage of the opportunities. They can even get financial aid from the government to help them pay for school, assuming we are talking about low to no income families.


    This is a really interesting and constructive thread, and I’d like to add my two cents as someone with a professional outlook.

    First, as has been observed, living in the NY/NJ area is fiendishly expensive, and the job opportunities are scarce. (Looking for jobs only within the Jewish community is a good way to stay unemployed or working poor – ask any yeshiva rebbe or administrator. Frum businesses also tend to pay less).

    Second, the economy is changing even more since the crash. Even a general college degree does not bring a job automatically. Certain fields have jobs, and many others don’t, so a blanket “get educated” directive will not succeed.

    Third, too many young men finish yeshiva with a pathetically inadequate secular education. This has to be remedied, as noted above, and it will be complicated and diplomatically complex.

    Fourth, no matter what we do in upgrading yeshiva secular studies, there is still the problem of those who have gone to work or want to start but are not qualified for anything with a reasonable salary. We must do something to help them NOW. I was told by someone who has great expertise and authority in the matter of off-the-derech kids that a major factor is the stress of family poverty. It also contributes to the divorce rate, depression, you name it.

    One solution would be to start a nationwide cooperating-across-hashkafah-groupings agency that would provide:

    1) Assessment of current skills, identifying which ones are lacking. When basic skills are lacking, the worker should be helped to upgrade them.

    2) Guidance – testing the worker’s preferences and aptitudes, and combining this knowledge with what the job market is providing – or is expected to provide – to plan a career path, and what type of education or training qualification is required. Many higher-level jobs require only an Associates Degree with a specialization, which could be more practical for a person who is already married and supporting a family.

    3) Identify educational/training resources available. This will vary from community to community. Some areas have excellent junior colleges or technical schools, others have none. In most cases this will require attendance at secular programs, so information should be gathered as to how “frum-friendly” the school is (for instance, do they gladly give time off for Yom Tov and reschedule exams, or do they do it only under pressure?)

    4. Help the worker to choose, and then PROVIDE ONGOING SUPPORT. Going back to school after working as an adult can be stressful or bewildering. Encountering a secular environment for the first time can be intimidating or even, for some, shocking. Personal and rabbinic guidance should be provided throughout the educational process, and beyond into the phase of applying for the first job in the new field.

    5. As noted in other posts, counseling should be provided for people who need help with feelings of failure who may need encouragement to keep up with the program while at the same time supporting the worker in being kovea ittim. Keeping a commitment – even if not large – to Torah study is a strong factor in resisting harmful secular influences, which will be met with on the job, not just during career studies.

    6. Get the communities as a whole behind this. Each city/town should put together a committee of the local shuls, yeshivas, etc. that will ensure that the needs of the whole community will be met without anyone having to prove they belong to the “right” element, and without any pressure to conform to any one hashkafah. The word – which seems to get forgotten sometimes – is Achdus.

    If we all work together and do our hishtadlus, we can receive Siyata D’Shemaya.




    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    That and the fact that renting can lead to being intransient – renters can be subject to the selling whim of the owner, med to long term.


    Starwolf, there have been many scientific studies done PROVING that boys do much better academically when there are no girls around. you also seem to be unaware of a basic fact of life that occurs in mixed environments. Speak to any educator in a co-ed high school for a proper second opinion, and he’ll give you an earful. Mixed classes are a churban.


    Jothar- it doesn’t matter if the studies show that the boys do better without girls around, if you’re trying to teach them a skill that they’d need to replicated in a mixed workplace.


    Jothar, you’re right but…

    Those studies are geared to kids, not adults. Separate educational venues that are practical, affordable, etc. are great but if an adult has no choice s/he should be able to handle mixed classes.

    says who

    By the way some classes in touro college in flatbush have mechitzas


    says who: I thought Touro in Flatbush was strictly separate nights for men and women.

    says who

    there are some classes that for some reason are not seperate. This is what i heard a few years ago maybe by now it changed.


    My concern is for the families where the sole breadwinner has degrees that were lucrative when the economy was strong, and mazel just seems to be running the other way. The following quote from another site, sums up the dilemma in a nutshell:

    How do we help them in a derech kavod?


    Tzippi, agreed 100%. But separate classes are better.


    According to Bartlett’s, it’s a Chinese proverb.


    it could be the most misattributed quote in the history of the world.

    It is actually a modern quote, but I have heard it attributed to the Torah, India, China, etc.

    It dates back to the 1960s, when there were a number of very talented slogan makers, such as Ashleigh Brilliant, who condensed all knowledge to 17 words or less, pot-shots, – check out his website, for more of his work. These were meant to be put on postcards, t-shirts, etc.

    some of Brilliant’s best known slogans:






    My favorite variant:

    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day, teach a man to be a fish and he’ll swim away.


    Jothar posted: “Starwolf, there have been many scientific studies done PROVING that boys do much better academically when there are no girls around. you also seem to be unaware of a basic fact of life that occurs in mixed environments. Speak to any educator in a co-ed high school for a proper second opinion, and he’ll give you an earful. Mixed classes are a churban. “

    You may have an opinion of mixed classes based on your particular view of proper behavior. However, I teach in a few Universities for a living, and I see no particular academic churban as a result of mixed classes in the high schools of my pupils. And I spend a considerable amount of my time speaking to both primary and secondary school educators–in Israel, at least.

    It is somewhat more difficult for those students who have been in a separate environment all their lives. We do see some Hareidi students in University in Israel, and they do not always look comfortable. The system does go to some effort to ensure that they are accomodated as much as possible within the framework. of course, this is more so in Israel, where we have a better understanding of what the needs are.

    As far as my misunderstanding of what goes on in mixed environments–rest assured that I have been associated with Universities as a student and teacher for quite some time. If students wish to fool around (in any way), of course I cannot stop this. But I see very little of it in the schools that I am associated with. Keep in mind that, in Israel, most students are older, the vast majority of them work, and they are not there to have a good time. (In the US, I am associated with rather elite institutions at which the students are well known for working their you-know-whats off.) I reinforce this by giving the student very heavy workloads, encouraging debate in the classroom (meaning that they had better be on top of the material) and being completely willing to fail students who do not fullfil the course requirements.

    I understand that this may not fit the standard view that society has of University–as TV and the movies portray it. I also understand that some people do party their way through college. In my schools, I see this kind of behavior very very rarely. Apparently, many students seem to be able to resist the siren calls of fooling around in college. Perhaps I only see the serious students. Whatever the reason, one would hope that after 12 years of religious education, our (the Torah world) children would be among the serious ones, who go to school with a mission, not to fool around. If our children are not among these, then the fault must lie with our system of education. Either with the curriculum, or the social environment. Or does anyone have any other theories?



    I want to go out on a limb and say that in a sense Chasidishe or other boys without a degree are more flexible since they aren’t constricted to one job-market,they can try to jump into the market and succeed at whatever it is they try.

    Also, alot of the people that I went to college with have changed careers for one reason or the other.If they are let go in today’s economy, they have a problem looking for their niche.


    “perhaps a perversion of Karl Marx’s ‘Sell a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.'”

    ronsr: I think you have it backwards. I think Karl Marx’s vesion is a perversion of the original.

    The original is attributed to Confucius. He lived a little bit before Marx.


    I’m thinking that my (author?) is the correct answer.


    I know someone who went to touro in the last year or so… so, according to them:

    Undergraduate courses at touro college flatbush are separate. That is if you go through the regular LAS program. Mondays, WED, SUN nights are for men. Tuesday, THURS, and Sunday morning and afternoon are all for women. They dont let students of the wrong gender (depending on the night) past security. The security guard goes around and kicks people out, the library staff make sure you leave ect.

    You can opt to take a class in the SCAS program, which is their program so they can write that they dont descriminate on the bases of gender ect. Any person can be a part of the program, like any other school. These classes are in the morning MON-FRI. If you go through the LAS (FRUM) program, you do NOT have to take classes here. Some do because of convenience ect.

    Touro Graduate schools- those have a mechitza.


    I would like to add a few ideas to the general pool of thought. There are many great ideas here…

    – start to teach either your children or your classes (if you teach) that not all workers are rich, not everyone should be in kollel if they cannot do it ect. parents and teachers alike will have your head but it has to be said.

    -If people felt what kollel was really like, not living off your parents for a few extra years, maybe more people will sincerely think about getting a job. They shouldnt be living off everyone ect. I heard two people talking “do you think that your parents treated your brothers differently than you (female)? In todays world, do they spend more on you than your brother?” (I was listening in to a psychology lecture) “Well, he’s married so he needs more support than I do” . If someone is married, shouldnt they be able to support themselves?


    Why dont we start looking into smaller communities to live in? To contradict what others said, There are plenty that have job openings that need more people to stay around. Otherwise, if they move to NY, more competition for the same jobs…

    New York is not the only place to live! In smaller communities there are more job openings, especially for teachers, special ed ect. They need them! Also, cost of living can be so much cheaper there that a little decrease in salary can be still manageable. I have lived in many areas and have seen it. Want to open a pizza shop? Go someplace where there isnt 4 on a block, just one or two in the city. Open on a different “side of town”. Just look at these areas and you will see that it is manageable to move out of NY. Yes, you wont be able to most likely have 5 types of cholov yisroel cheddar cheese, but you might have one or two.


    Newsflash to havesomeseichel: there are working poor out of town too. And many of these cities really, really don’t need a third pizza shop. (Not a bad thing, nothing to do with the economy.)



    They may not need an extra pizza shop but since the cost of living is dramatically lower, you could probably find other job oportunities.


    mybat got it right. It was just an example. I have lived all over: places with no pizza shops or restaurants, places with only a bakery, places with several pizza shops. It was just an example. They might have a need for something that is taken for granted in New York that would make a decent business out of town. Also, out of town, people are more willing to “help the frum guy” and go to his store because they know that everyone needs to help everyone versus in New york where people might go to the shop right ect. I support you and you help me.

    Cost of living in small towns are a lot cheaper. Besides for cost of housing ect, people are more willing to accept you for who you are. There is less of the “I have this and you dont….” or competing with the Golds or “I’ll only be friends if you have this…” (peer pressure is less). So your other purchases cost less because you dont feel the same drive as in NY. Yes, it depends on the area but this is just in my experience.

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