Flatbush Shul Refuses To Vacate School Building


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mto.jpgThe Jewish Press reports:

Last Monday night’s deadline for Congregation Machzikei Torah to abandon its premises at the Zvi Dov Roth Academy of Yeshiva Rambam in Flatbush came and passed. The congregation’s leader, Rabbi Moshe Toiv, says he isn’t going anywhere.

“If they attempt to force us out,” he said, “we’ll call the police.”

For over 30 years the congregation has called Rambam’s high school building its home. This year, however, Rambam rented its entire first floor to the Hebrew Language Academy Charter School – the first school of its kind in New York and only the second in the country – thereby forcing out the congregation.

Rabbi Toiv is outraged. “For over 60 years people have been putting together their pennies and dollars in order to have a place for children to study and learn Torah . But now Rambam is renting [its building] to this new charter school, which by law is not permitted to teach anything of faith. They took out the mezuzahs; they’re going to have to take out my sifrei Torah.”

But Rambam’s president and chairman of the board, Alex Rovt, said Rabbi Toiv is being unreasonable. Rovt, who donates $300,000 to Rambam annually, said the high school is in dire financial straits and needs the rent money from the charter school.

“If I have to choose to pull out a shul or [be forced] to let 110 children go to public school [as a result of Rambam folding], I will choose to pull out the shul,” he said.

“This is my decision and the board’s decision. We took the charter school for a simple reason: to get money. We don’t have money.”

As for the congregation’s future, Rovt said, “Of course, I will not throw him out before Yom Tov . But if they won’t go, we’ll go to the courts.”

(Source: The Jewish Press)


  1. If they would stop their “integration” policy and go back to girls and boys separated, maybe they would attract more of a clientele.

  2. it is a good thing that some Christian institution was not offering more money, otherwise the president would have no qualms in renting to them as well.

  3. We stand up when the Aron is opened and say Vayehi Binso’ah. We acknowledge that the same Hashem who asked to build a Mishkan is the same one who is asking the Aron to move on.

    When the West Side of Chicago turned into a war zone, the shuls moved. The walking Sifrei Torah, the children are the main objective. So in Chicago when the choice was to have a nice shul with a murdered child each week, or move on, the city migrated north.

    In this situation, although the shul was there for a long time since the choice is jeapordizing the Chinuch of a vulnerable Jewish child, or find a new location, hopefully Rabbi Toiv will make the mature choice.

  4. The school is in a tough spot. I feel bad for the school that thye have to do this to stay open and feel bad for the shul…. nobody is wrong here. I hope they can work something out without going to court.

  5. Rambam would sell their soul yo yoshka. What chutzpah they have. If you notice the article says that”our board decided…”. The article does not say we asked das torah. The statement says it all we have to know about the bumbling clowns at rambam.

  6. “If I have to choose to pull out a shul or [be forced] to let 110 children go to public school [as a result of Rambam folding], I will choose to pull out the shul,” he said.

    Based on this disturbing story , there appears to be an obvious lack of Daas Torah Hadrochah (guidance) here. Who is guiding this board? These are Dinai Nifoshos and not for lay leaders to make- no matter how wealthy, generous or well intentioned. Chachmai Yisroel must guide this process. The president’s statwment-“I have to choose” and “I will pull” clearly shows how over his head he is. These are clearly Daas Torah questions.
    It is obvious that the Yeshiva is struggling and it is also clear that the decisions being made here are far bigger than simply financial.

    The fact that a charter school void of any religion but in the guis of a “Jewish school” is opening in Flatbush, Brooklyn is even worse than the Shul losing its home (if thats possible). That dozens of parents (tinokos shel nishbah) who admirably felt some sort of obligation to provide their kids with a Jewish education now may feel that their conscious is clear because of their children attending this “hebrew” charter school, poses terrible consequences for these Yiddishe Kinder. Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein are creating the appearance of Hebrew education but this is so removed from anything remotely religious it is an absolute outrage to the religious community and they should be called on it. Yeshivos like the Crown Heights Yeshiva (in flatbush) and Beer Hagolah and Sinai academy and others have been doing Hashems holy work saving these kinderloch for years. Parents who do value some sort of Yiddidshe education have been sending their children though many reluctantly for cost.The success of these institutions is not in dispute. Now with the invention of this charter disgrace, these parents have been given an out.
    The fact that the Mezuzos have already been removed speaks volumes.

    This is a major story that has not yet been told.
    These are our kinderloch-wake up!

  7. “Rambam would sell their soul yo yoshka.”

    C’mon – we’re right before Selichot here, Rosh Hashana is a week away. Did you really need to say this in such a mean way?

  8. Rambam had occupied both floors. The Shul rents part of the first floor. Rambam consolidated and moved to the top floor and has rented the whole first floor to the Charter School.

    As for comments about closing Rambam, the fact is that Rambam chose to close their elementary school a few years ago which is the main reason why now there is nothing feeding students into their high school.

  9. Mr. rovt is not saving these children from going to public school! as of next yr. rambam is leasing out the complete building- both floors to the hebrew charter public school. this was told to me by the rambam administration. when i asked them what’s going to happen to the children of rambam next year, they told me that MAYBE they’ll add on a third floor. RIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!
    there are many yeshivos and bais yaakovs that are desperate for a nice building and could fill it with hundreds of yiddishe kinderlach learning Torah. if rambam cant use it, let them pass it on to those who can!
    regarding the shul, the minyan is there on weekends and early mornings when the public school is not using the room anyway! Why can’t an accommodation be made?

  10. Why should people rent to religious institutions if its such a problem when you don’t want them as tenents anymore?? We should try to make kiddush hashems!! Not taking things to government courts to decide!! A beis din is where these cases should be settled!

  11. Rambam better watch out because their kids are only going to go down one flight of stairs where the tuition is free.
    The Charter school is being underwritten by billionaire Michael Steinhart, the force and money behind the Birthright Israel. Perhaps a better way is to get to him.

  12. 1. Rabbi Toiv has a reputation of doing nothing before asking “das Torah” and a similar reputation for following it exactly.
    2. Birthright Israel monitors its groups to make certain no yiddishkeit, or as little as possible, is provided the participants. It has been reported that many innocent Yidden, including those from Torah observant homes, were ill-effected by these trips. If the charter school is being funded by this individual, Rambam should have done everything in their power to keep the school out.

  13. There is a great piece in this week’s HaModia magazine about President Eisenhower and a cow. Not unrelated to our story and a must read for Rambam’s board.

  14. Perhaps Yeshivish Hocker doesn’t understand that when it comes to milchamtah shel torah it takes much more then a song and dance. Rabbi Toiv is out there on the front lines and knows that he is fighting for the very essence of Jewish education. He could easily find a new building for his Shul, I am sure, but that won’t send the right message to those who are ready to exchange the incredible power of tefillah for a little extra cash.