MAILBAG: Why Ending Summer Vacation Early Is Needed And Long Overdue


Dear YWN,

The Gedolim of Torah Umesorah are trying to correct a problem in the calendar that we have had for decades. When Rosh Chodesh Elul is early, camps are forced to end early in order to have counselors who are Bnei Torah – counselors must leave before Rosh Chodesh to get back to yeshiva. If left uncorrected, this year there would be a huge gap of literally three weeks between the end of camps and the start of yeshiva.

I think we can all agree that having three weeks of unstructured time off after camps are over before yeshiva starts is not a good chinuch idea. I believe every mechanech and bal habos will agree with that premise.

Torah Umesorah’s is to simply shift the calendar by one week (not one and a half weeks) and have it based upon Rosh Chodesh Elul and not Labor Day. The goal is to have mosdos end school one week earlier in June and start one week earlier (closer to Rosh Chodesh Ellul).

Everyone knows that the end of the school year is not as productive as the beginning of the school year. So it is really a win-win change. The gedolim were not looking to add any additional school days for the rabbeim but rather to shift the school calendar so that the talmidim would not have three weeks between the end of camps and the beginning of the school year. To quote from the letter sent out in February and posted on YWN.

“The Roshei Yeshiva are not suggesting that the summer vacation be shortened (that is up to the dynamics of each individual mosad), but rather that the end date of Yeshiva/Bais Yaakov in June should be earlier and that the start date of Yeshivos/Bais Yaakov in August should be earlier when Rosh Chodesh Elul begins in the middle of August.”

I do not understand why any rebbi was surprised by the change. I believe all rabbeim were aware of the possibility and if they had concerns, should have spoken with their menahalim. The letter from Torah Umesorah was sent out in February and that was after there were several weeks of dialogues with yeshivas and Bais Yaakovs. All menahalim have been aware of this impending change for several months. If not, it was really the menahels’ responsibility to communicate the possible calendar change to their rabbeim – it was not Torah Umesorah’s responsibility.

[MAILBAG: A Yeshiva Rebbi’s Thoughts On The Decision To End Summer Vacation Early]

The bottom line is that Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, shlita was consulted about this issue extensively, all the details were discussed with him and he said: “It is imperative to have the schools start earlier to prevent the unnecessary extra time between camp and school.”

In fact, Rav Dovid Feinstein, ztl was asked this same question on two occasions. He said, “The calendar change should take place. It is a very good idea – as long as the rabbeim are not asked to work more days over the year.”

Many, many mosdos have headed the call of our gedolim. They have decided to end yeshiva early and start early. Some mosdos are ending only a half a week early but starting a full week early. These mosdos are making up those extra days by giving rabbeim off two or three Fridays over the course of the year. If all mosdos followed suit, rabbeim would not have any complaints.

Out-of-town mosdos have been starting before Labor Day for decades. It is simply the right thing to do.

I think the most important point is: Our mosdos are entrusted in being mechanech our children. What chinuch lesson is learned when the talmidim see that the mosdos don’t listen to our gedolim the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva? What lesson is learned if the mosdos don’t listen to the words of our zkan Rosh HaYeshiva, godol hador Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, shlita. Shame on any yeshiva or Bais Yaakov that does not heed the call of our gedolim.

The change is needed. The change is long overdue. The change is the right thing to do.

Name withheld upon request

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. I believe all rabbeim were aware of the possibility and if they had concerns, should have spoken with their menahalim. Problem with this suggestion is that the Rebbeim don’t belong to a union, and don’t have union representatives to represent them, so obviously the Rebbeim could quite seriously be jeopardizing their jobs, if they voice their opinions to their Menhalim>>>employers.

  2. The only fix is to get all yeshivahs on the same schedule, not just the first day but last day, elementary, high school, boys and girls.

  3. Are they going to give off an extra few weeks next to Pesach and Sukkos to compensate? Maybe the parents should be asked before this decision, as well as the Rebbeim, and teachers. An extra week of vacation is a wonderful thing- school is not only to provide structure- sometimes families need to bond too- I agree that we have to listen to the Gedolim- but the circumstances behind this proclamation is not clear- if the Gedolim stated this proclamation unequivocally obviously I take it back- but Rebbeim can still voice a concern respectfully- camp is better then school and many upstanding Yeshivos have off for two months in the summer- maybe they should extend camp until Ellul and have more ruchnius – sometimes you can shteig more in camp then in a Yeshiva

  4. A few facts,
    Bnei torah counselors are sorely needed but almost no yeshiva that starts elul even allows their bochurim to be counselors for 8 weeks, rabbi kAufman from aguda begged reb elya zatzl shick Mir Dayne bochurim
    So the hs bochurim will be in the hot city in August with a half day yeshiva till 2 pm , no eng.and do what the rest of the day..the chassidish rebbes at a meeting said if they are in learning camps let them stay an extra wk and learn
    So the girls need to start skool so the boys can be in yeshiva
    Again the merits may outweigh but this needs time to set up and the plan was for summer 2025

  5. One more point satmar is starting early camp June 22 the dif is they only have 4 days between yesh camp and camp yesh, Secondly by them after the summer u go bak to last year rebbi and change to the new after sukkos..

  6. why not have yeshivos with different schedules to accommodate different people? Presumably, mos of them would follow the call from roshei yeshivos, but some might be used by families who have no problems with a 3 week period. for example, families where a father can dedicate his 3 weeks to teach his kids? or a mother who can supervise the kids learning on their own? Or even a Beruriah-type mother who can give children a kick or two to make them learn the right way.

    what seems evident by comparing two letters is that at least some schools did not succeed in communicating information correctly and on time, or some Rebbeim did not succeed in receiving and retaining the information. If I were a parent at such school, I would check what else they are not good at.

  7. The decision appears to make sense for most of those responsible for school administration. For those teachers who want to have the traditional summer vacation schedule and not have to go back to work until after Labor Day, they are free to find employment with a school or other employer who will give them that flexibility.

  8. The problem is pretty much like the shidduch crisis. Everyone agrees that there is an issue (yes, I am aware that there are those who think the earth is flat), but “Yeshivos” (to put it in general terms) refuse to do anything because they have legitimate reasons for not changing, so they refuse to do so. And the regular population also insists that their daughters go out at earlier ages then the boys, also individually for legitimate reasons; after all, who will be the first not to let their daughter date before they are 22, just to end the shidduch crisis.
    Similarly here, the Yeshivos (Mesivta & Beis Medrash) insist that they start at the beginning of Elul, as if it’s declared they must do so from the Shulchan Aruch, regardless of camps or elementary schools that need them to be part of the klal and to start later. And NY elementary schools have their own legitimate reasons, why they need to start later, and it’s probably not just to be good American citizens.
    But what about the “Psak”? If you don’t get all parties that this affects to be involved in the discussion and onboard, but rather they feel it is being rammed down their throats, then there’s a legitimate question as to why they feel that way. And perhaps the answer is to figure out, who has been pushing this and why. There’s always a story behind who has what to gain from this and the louder some scream “how dare you question the psak of a gadol”, the more questionable it is to me of who has a monetary issue to gain with this decision, regardless of as legitimate an issue as it is.

  9. The fundamental premise of this change, that there is “too much time” between camp and school, is a frightening statement about how our mechanchim and gedolim view the role of parents. Essentially what is being said, is that “chas v’shalom to allow parents too much time with ‘our’ children, so let’s minimize their time together.”
    Sounds frighteningly similar to the lack of trust many so-called liberal and progressive schools have for parents’ role in their children’s chinuch/education.

  10. What do the schools propose working parents do with their kids during the THREE weeks in between camp and school?

    Until there is an answer to that question, it’s a no brainer to start school as soon as possible after camp ends.

  11. I was disheartened by the mailbag letter written by the rebbe, especially to see someone even call it commendable and that they wish they were their sons rebbe. Well I’m happy he’s not my sons! He bemoans the fact that it *must be* that no one took the rebbeims position into the factor, and that *no* rebbeim were consulted. Just because you weren’t, doesn’t mean there wasn’t. You write about how people should think how you feel, yet you call out baaleibatim “who have never had to drive a kid to school” and imply that while you don’t, they do “sit around the pool all summer”. For someone preaching that those who made this decision are self-centered, i can’t help but scratch my head at these comments. They honestly made me sick. I suggest you take a look around, see that everyone is working hard just like you to make ends meet, and then and ONLY then decide if you want to start pointing fingers. You pride yourself as a mechanech and therefore you should know that you have a responsibility to project the best middos klal yisrael has to offer. Your close-minded, self-centered, ill-informed letter seems to reflect the opposite. I hope you can understand not everything is black and white, Anonymous rebbe.

  12. Minor detail for NY students. Regents. Many students are literally leaving to camp the day of their last regents exam. (In one case they arranged a separate bus for the students taking that regent so they can go later that afternoon. But they’ll already be later than the rest.)
    Can you get the state to accommodate as well? I think not.

  13. I agree, counselors bnei Torah are needed in camps everywhere. What mesivta/beis medrash finishes the zman the third week of June to supply those bachurim?

  14. The issue begins and ends with the decision being made without the input of the rabbeim and parents.

    I sympathize with those who are angered by this. If the schools want to institute a change in schedule, that should’ve been done when most schools send out the calendar: about a year earlier. If there was no time, then at least a memo could have issued in January or at least no later than Pesach. That provides enough notice to adjust summer schedules to accommodate the change and, for those not willing, to find other employment.

  15. I’m not being mekabel Loshon Horah on Torah Umesorah & their Rabbinic leadership. I trust that they fairly viewed the pros & cons of this decision & took the needs of the Rebbeim in consideration before making this decision. Being a Rebbi is an Avodas Hakodesh which differs from other secular jobs. The success of the tinokos shel beis rabbon is paramount to our chinuch system. If I was a Rebbi, I would understand, that if the gedolei Yisroel decided to change the school schedule, I would need to accept it & adjust to it. A Rebbi is a Shliach Tzibbur for the spiritual needs of his class, he needs to negate his own wishes in favor of his holy calling as a transmitter of Torah to the next generation.

  16. Perhaps the issue is that Rabbeim need to stop feeling the need to control everyone’s life at every moment. Three weeks is really a very short time and this should be a nonissue. No every kid is in camp anyway so they will have had time off.

    It might actually be healthy for our children to have some free time and not have the stress of getting back to Yehsivha so fast. Let parents be parents and they can give advice to their kids on how to spend their time off or perhaps they can get involved in some chessed activity.

  17. With much respect to the letter writer, as in my reply to The Rebbe’s letter, the views presented here are NOT Entirely accurate.

    If the plan was truly to correct a Problem that as you say we have had for decades, then Yeshiva would end as you say a week earlier this year and start a week earlier next year. However that is entirely NOT the case. You see, Yeshiva was supposed to end Thursday June 22 around the time it ends every year. However due to some camps having their own agenda and setting their start dates on June 22 and NOT willing to bend, US Yeshivos were FORCED to move up the end of Yeshiva. Some to Wednesday the 21 and some to Tuesday the 20th.

    If we were simply swapping a week in June for a week in August, Yeshiva would end Thursday June 15 which is a week earlier then it was supposed to end and start Tuesday August 29 instead of Tuesday September 5. So NO we are not simply switching a week for a week. We are adding a week of Yeshiva for the 2023/2024 School Year and taking off a day maybe 2 max from the current year. And lest anyone think otherwise, Ending Yeshiva on June 20 or 21 of this year (some of my fellow Yeshivos are actually sticking to their Thursday June 22 end date (ie the same day some camps start!!!) was NOT part of the program but again something the Hanhala Had to do because CAMPS REFUSED TO BEND.

    In addition while its very nice that other out of town communities have been starting before Labor Day for years, we in Flatbush unlike “the out of town communities” or Lakewood Yeshivos, have something called The New York State Regents. The last Regent in June 2024 is Wednesday June 26. What exactly is the plan?!!!

    I don’t know who the letter writer is or what his or her interest is in this whole Parsha. I don’t know what is causing him to speak of our Yeshivos and This Devoted Rebbe who is just trying to do his job while feeding and raising his own family in the manner he is speaking.

    I am a Faculty Member of a Flatbush Yeshiva and yes I’m staying anonymous because the pressure being put on us by “so called askanim” is out of control.

    You correctly say that Our Mosdos have been entrusted to be Mechanech our children. That trust has been placed in US by The parents of our Talmidim.

    You wrote “What chinuch lesson is learned when the talmidim see that the mosdos don’t listen to our gedolim the Vaad Roshei Yeshiva? What lesson is learned if the mosdos don’t listen to the words of our zkan Rosh HaYeshiva, godol hador Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, shlita. Shame on any yeshiva or Bais Yaakov that does not heed the call of our gedolim”

    On what planet is there a one size fits all?!!! The lessons we teach in OUR YESHIVA are,
    כשם שאין פרצופם שבים כך אין דעותיהם שבים. What works for one Yeshiva or community is not necessarily the right thing for another. Yes there are Gedolim who support this effort just as you say (though the questions some of them were asked, and what facts or ramifications of such a decision were shared with them when the questions were asked are questionable). There is one indisputable fact and that is that there are
    שבעים פנים לתורה. Rav Shmuel who we say Tehilim for in Yeshiva Twice every day should have a full, speedy and complete Refuah Bikarov Mamesh. However. Flatbush is NOT a Kehila/Community with a Central Vaad for example as exists in The Five Towns. Flatbush certainly does not have one Rav or Rosh Yeshiva who everyone follows. As I said before שבעים פנים לתורה. To say what you are saying about Us Yeshivos who in the Best Interests of Our Talmidim (whose Chinuch Our Tuition Paying Parents have entrusted US with) are NOT supportive of This “Change” is Chutzpah at The Highest Level!! Our Staff Rebbeim, Morah’s, Secretaries are devoted to our Talmidim and so underpaid. We have Rebbe’s that drive in from Lakewood every day to teach Torah for a salary that certainly doesn’t justify 3 hours a day in the car. A little respect for them and a bit of humility in that others in chinuch may also have a shita that makes sense would go a long way.

    Had this entire process been a true discussion as opposed to being presented almost as a fate accompli with Yeshivos and Bais Yaakov’s that don’t have their own Rosh Yeshiva being bullied into participating in this process, the landscape right now would look very different and very peaceful. To My Fellow Yeshiva Administrators, Menahalim, Menahalos, Rebbe’s, Stay Strong in your conviction to do what you know and believe is best for YOUR Yeshiva and what has worked for you.

    A Very Frustrated Yeshiva Faculty Member