No School On Shushan Purim


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Dear YWN,

Sitting here at 12pm on a Monday, the first day of a new work week, I’m a bit frustrated.

Like most, my family and I are two income family and we struggle to do the best we can to raise our family, and pay our bills (including full tuition). In doing so, we often put ourselves last to make sure our children and schools get what they deserve.

Today I have the time to write this letter because there is no school and therefore I am unable to work.

We can dress it up (no pun intended) any way we want the bottom line is that the message is clear: There is no school because the staff needs a day to “recover” from Purim festivities.

Two thoughts come to mind:

1. With all the focus on the dangers of alcohol and the abuse in the young (and adult) community, what kind of message is this? The day after Purim  “Yom Ki-purim” no Yeshiva? It defies logic and is completely irresponsible.  It’s an indirect stamp of approval for “celebrating” to the point that you can’t get up for work the next day.

2. With all the economic difficulty going around, and I say this with much respect and appreciation for how hard Mechanchim  teachers work, and how significantly the economy has impacted the schools, how can it be that there is so little concern for the impact of a completely unnecessary day off on the vast majority of the parent body, the “two (or more) income” families?

I’m not perfect, and don’t expect everyone out there to be either… however, when making decisions that impact hundreds of households, I think more discretion should be used.

We are in a spiritual and economic crisis and we all know it. We cry, we wonder, we worry, but how much have we changed? It’s not just about the money, and the schools should not be viewed simply as someplace we dump our children so we can go to work. However, the combination of a hypocritical stance/message on alcohol, combined with a total disregard for the impact on the parent body seems a bit much to me today…



  1. While this article lists one side of the decision, now take a small look at the other side of the coin. Those involved in Jewish education, for the most part get no medical insurance or pensions. They get no great salaries like in the public schools. The one thing that yeshivas can give is ‘time’. This ‘what about the parents’ is the same complaint given around Pesach when schools especially girls schools give time off. No one is saying that the day is to give people to recover from getting drunk. It simply is a day off. In this case, there was no time off for Purim.

    But so what, they are only teacher and rabbeim. Lets put the whip to them and get every second out of them that we can. Here’s an idea. Why do we give off during chol hamoed or erev yom tov? You have to work, why shouldn’t they?

  2. While I understand what the writer is saying, I think that the kids need off today more than the staff. We finished our family purim seudah at 12:00 last night and the kids got to bed after 1. They woke up at 11am.
    Today everyones tired. But I do find other days very disturbing when the kids are home- like chanukah vacation and mid winter.
    Why do young kids need off then? They don’t appreciate it at all. As hard as it is for the mommies, its harder for the kids to be bored all day.

  3. First of all, you express your opinions as if they are absolute truths. Schools hava Vaad Rabonims that help make these types of choices, so I trust their outlook more than mine or yours.
    Secondly, if you drink a lot and then become freilech and spend a long night dancing and rejoicing in the simcha, that can make it a big challenge to get to work the next day. I had to come 2 hours late. I’m not talking about rolling around on the ground and being out of control. I’m talking about getting “buzzed” and calling my rabbeim and speaking openly about things to improve myself.
    Don’t make out the inyan of getting a little shikur into a careless indulgence by irresponsible people.
    (P.S., as people who don’t normally drink, it’s harder to recover even from not such a significant amount either)

  4. B”H you have been blessed with children, I know several childless couples who would love to be in your shoes. I understand your problem but it should come as no surprise to you, this is what was in the kids school calendar and you should make arrangements for babysitters. if you don’t like it switch schools cause you aren’t going to change them. Soon the kids will have off extra days before pesach, prepare yourself now.

  5. What world are you in? Not everything in the frum community has to do with drinking, drugs, and the like! Giving off on Shushan Purim, a very important day, has nothing to do with rebbeim and Mechanchim getting plastered to the point where a day off is needed to sober up. I would expect you to give a little more credit to,and have a little more respect for your children’s Mechanchim. The schedule has always been like this and it is no different in Eretz Yisroel, both in Yerushlayim and other cities. Send your kids to friends and stop complaining.

  6. Rabbosai/VRebetzeinosai
    since the modern school system was set up, kids will have off here and there, lets stop the bchia lchinam, enjoy your children!

  7. i agree with the writer – there should be school – people should be in yeshiva learning – we are trying to manage the kollel lifestyle, which means somebody has to work, and i am not sure why we don’t feel that we should have the same work ethics for going to school and for going to yeshiva, as we have to have for going to work – you have to show up.

  8. Actually, among the Chassidim, we still wear Shabbos clothes on Shushan Purim and have another smaller seudah, a bit like Chol Hamoed, we therefore would not expect to have school today. Speaking as a parent and teacher I certainly prefer to have the day off, I have to recover and so do the kids!! They have to come back down to earth after the fun of Purim and I’d rather they do it at home than in my classroom!

  9. In this economy you are a two income family, pay your bills and full tuition and yet complain???? You should be thanking Hashem that Shushan Purim is your biggest problem. Having recently lost my job, my wife and I “truly” struggling, I sincerely wish that nothing “worse” happens to you.

  10. It’s very understandable that a parent who needs to work but can’t because all the kids are home would be upset. The public school parents were upset last week too when Bloomberg closed the schools because of the severe snow storm. But hey that’s the way the system works and we have to live within the system. Shushan Purim has always been a minor holiday of sorts for Yeshivos. In fact, and I say this knwoing that a large part of klal yisroel are not chasidish, most rebbes hold major tish on Shushan Purim, and their chasidim dress shabbosdik. Except of course those that must go to work. Every year there are hundreds of parentsw ho are upset because the schools close 2-3 days before Pesach or Succos and the kids are home and they have to go to work, and can’t. Or do and fret all day about what the kids are doing. This isn’t about sending a message to the kids, you got drunk, now here’s a day to sober up. It’s about an age-old day off for yeshivos, way before 2-income families became a necessity.

  11. With utmost respect, did you go to shul this morning? Did you notice – no Tachanun, no Lamnatzeiach? It’s a Yom Tov too. Will you ask why there isn’t school on Chol Hamoad? Parents need to work then as well?
    So before you go out and bash people – saying they are selfish and need time to “recover” from their irresponsible activities the day before – THINK.
    1. Is this a new day off that one or two schools decided that their Rabbaim/Teachers need a day to recover?
    2. Your sons Rebbe may need a just some time to recover from drinking a little – he isn’t an alcoholic – People have been drinking on Purim for a long time it’s nothing new – a lot of the issues that come about from it are – must be something else that needs to fixed.
    3.They didn’t spring this upon you – you knew about this – make proper arrangements in order to get to work.

  12. Here in Manchester the chassidishe Chadorim used to have school on Shushan Purim and the day was just wasted! They now have the day off.

  13. I think you are just a little overwhelmed by being home with the kids today because if I think of it, it does not make any sense to have school on shushan purim. I live in a place where my son has school and I really feel bad waking him up and pulling him out of bed after such a busy and tiring day. Yes they should rest up and then when they start school after shushan purim they will be really ready! p.s. enjoy the kids

  14. Another great venting letter that has many truths.

    A mechanech actually told me a few weeks ago that we, as parents should do what we think is right because yeshivos will NEVER change because they are fixed int heir ways and refuse to listen to the gedolim that have ways of lessening the pressures for all of them and us.

    The definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

    The only way to change anything for the better is for ALL OF US TO WORK TOGETHER for the better of everyone else. And this is a problem in itself. We all complain about the same things that affect all fo us but when it comes to getting together nobody does it! We don’t even vote in large numbers. I rest my case.

  15. The Yeshiva System should be utterly ashamed of themselves. I am not interested in the mantra that they follow the daas torah. It is wrong and plain wrong what is transpiring. When the Yeshivas get 2 and half months off in the summer, Yomim Tovim, fast days, snow days, mid winter vacation, some days in Chanukkah and Isru Chag and Shushan Purim, there is something seriously wrong. The bitul torah will need to be addressed in the world to come. With the eroneous crazy tuition that these schools require and then they have the nerve to take all these days off, it is a travesty. I am sick and tired of hearing these pathetic lame excuses that Daas Torah is the reason why these kids are getting so many days off.
    To comment JoShmo, it is NOT a Yomtov today. We don’t say Tachnun or Lamnatzeach on Rosh Chodesh either, yet they have school. Chol Hamoed is a YomTov, Shulchan Aruch clearly dictates that working is prohibited except for dovor haovud. It is sheer laziness of these mechanchim. Thats all it is.

  16. Skokie Yeshiva had yeshiva today. 7:30 Shacharis for Beis Midrash and 8:30 for high school.

    Someone pointed out to me after observing various yeshiva students on Purim, those that go home for purim aren’t really that into the learning. They are hockers. They have the face. They just get drunk,they do not look shtark and yeshivish when they are throwing up and acting like fools.
    The really shtark guys are not at home for Purim anyway. They are staying in Yeshiva and having Purim in the presence of their Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbeim. The elite of Lakewood are having purim by Rav Kotler. The elite of Philiadelphia are by Rav Kamenetzky.
    I am also sure that those elite were in the Beis Midrash at 7:30 (or whatever time regular davening and seder is).

  17. Forget about alcohol; the kids are so high on sugar I’m peeling them off the ceiling!

    I work outside the home (all mothers are working mothers although only some of us bring in a paycheck) and I agree that it sometimes seems the schools are very quick to give the kids off. In this case, though, I agree wholeheartedly – the schools should be closed on Shushan Purim. Everyone was up late at the seudah and there is no way the kids would have had a productive day at school. And you know what else? I need the time too, to clean up after Purim.

  18. For many schools being that today is the first of the month it is pay day. If the yeshivah would be paying on time today there should be school if the yeshivah would not be paying on time today then the parents should take off from work to demand that the teachers be paid on time.

  19. Bruriah HS in Elizabeth has school. They learned and had fun and dressed up. Lesson: Real life. Got to get up the next day. (Not the rest of the family who recuped from an tiring yesterday). Don’t know which is correct.

  20. 1) why are you sitting at home dont you have work to do
    2) why do you care what everyone else does on purim everyone has there own way of celebrating who died and made you the only opinion we can follow
    3)shsushan purim is still a day of simcha if you go to eretz yisroel many places are celebrating ppurim today!!!
    so before all you ppl make your ignorant and snide remarks about other jews ec. remember this is all loshon hara if you want to talk call each other “oy vey i cant talk to a women” your nieve if you have internet and feel that way.

  21. When Moshiach comes and we no longer live in golus, the yeshivos can give off shushan purim, isru chag and erev erev erev yom tov. For those of us who work in today’s “real” world, we have a hard enough time taking off for yom tov and leaving early on Fridays. As it is many companies lose patience witrh all the Jewish holidays. To pay for a babysitter is an extra expense on top of our insanely high tuition. Yes I would love to have spent the day recovering with our kids, but I had no choice but to go to work. Yeshivos must tealize things are not the same today as they were 25 years ago. They must change their schedules to reflect today’s tough realities.

  22. Purim is a late night for Rabbeim, teachers, and talmidim. Shushan Purim is a good day for those able to relax and get ready. Stop whining and blaming alcohol. Not everything that happens will be perfect foy YOU. Just because it’s bad for you doesn’t make it a bad policy.

  23. To R Gluck – chasidim wear their Yom Tov Levush today. Not on Rosh Chodesh. And FYI in Lakewood the boys get 4 weeks off in the summer and my childrens’ school does NOT give off Chanukah (just no english). No mid winter vacation either and they were only closed one day this year for snow.

  24. Just curious – How much did the author of this letter tip their son’s rebbe this Purim. From the tone of the letter, I would imagine much less than they should have.

  25. What might be disturbing is the cottage industry of Shushan Purim entertainment for the kids that’s sprung up. Not that I don’t fargin worthwhile causes but if kids have to be off today, let them Pesach clean.

  26. In Eretz Yisrael, there is no yeshiva/Bais Yaacov on Shushan Purim because many people go to Yerushalayim where it is actually Purim. The next day, yeshiva/Bais Yaacov starts an hour later.

  27. It is obvious that schools being closed on Shushan Purim are very difficult for you. Think of it as you saved an extra day as Purim fell out on a Sunday, as it does next year. As you have no choice as to stay home and take care of the children you gave birth to you, here is an idea. Instead of writing to YWN and complaining, then spending your entire day watching the comments, spend the day with your children and have fun. As one post stated earlier, if this is your only problem in life, you are very fortunate. Tomorrow you can be back at work being מקיום the קללה of בזעת אפיך.

  28. Why are people always so angry at the system? There are good reasons to let off on shushan purim, and even if you don’t agree with the reasons its ridiculous to totally lose it at the yeshivah system in general for such a small thing. As has been pointed out, yeshivos run on a much tighter budget than public schools do (to put it mildly!), and the teachers get vacation instead of paychecks.
    Also, the yeshivah system does an amazing job when compared to the average public school in America. They have drug problem, knife and gun fights, and an incredibly high dropout rate. We have little to none of that, and our system is much more challenging, time-wise and academically. Our system may not be totally perfect, but it’s alot better than anybody else’s. Stop complaining, and look at all the good in the system!!

  29. There’s no reason why kids should not be off. My daughter’s school had off but my son’s school didn’t. His school is not part of a Yeshiva although it is a frum school. I kind of thought it was weird that he didn’t have school and that I had to wake up a 3 year old after a long day to go to school. I could have kept him home if I wanted to but I didn’t. The point is that kids are people and they need a break too. And so what if the teachers and Rabbeim need off because they “drank alcohol” which that is not the case? You work in public school, then you don’t get off after Purim, you work in a Yeshiva you get off on the Yeshiva’s schedule. I understand that it is hard to have both parents working, however for days like these, you should arrange for a babysitter. And who ever said shame on Yeshiva for giving off should think twice before they are speaking. Yeshiva’s know when to give off and not.

  30. To the letter writer. As a working parent in a 2 income family I can relate to where you are coming from, up to a point. It is 5-6 months since the school calendar was sent home. It is a surprise and shock that the kids are off on Shushan Purim?

    Bottom line in my view. I received the yeshiva calendar back in September and had plenty of time to make any necessary arrangements. If I don’t like the calendar, ill ask the principle what’s going on. I won’t cry about it, either way, on Shushan Purim. Its pointless.
    As to why the kids have no yeshiva, I don’t know the reasons given by the yeshivos that do give off. Some of the suggested reasons stated in this thread are simply outrageous though. Day off for the rabbeim to sober up? Its a day in lieu of pay? A day for the kids to “calm down” (your 2nd grader drank himself to sleep? Worked himself into a frenzy?). Speculation is good. Silliness is best left for Purim.

  31. I believe its the fact that in many households both parents do work to put food on the table and while I do drink on Purim I went to work today because I needed to! It wasn’t easy but it must be done so its done. I agree with a previous comment that there should be a 2 hour delay or something like that but giving a day off really is hard on parents such as my wife and myself. I think this letter speaks more to the point of that it messes up working parents schedules and Yeshivos should take that more into consideration when giving off.

  32. attn ani tapuach since when do you have to tip a rebbi? as a matter of a fact it is downright bribery, I guess you must be one of them since that’s all you think about; whenever anything comes up(how underpaid/overworked ect. you are) additionaly, bribery is an issur in the torah, remember or are you to hungover?

  33. Uh, doesn’t the school year always have a fixed number (e.g., 180) days? So, if they had today off, don’t the parents get an extra day of babysitting^H^H^H^H school at the end of the year?

  34. attn ani tapuach since when do you have to tip a rebbi? as a matter of a fact it is downright bribery, I guess you must be one of them since that’s all you think about; whenever anything comes up(how underpaid/overworked ect. you are) additionaly, bribery is an issur in the torah, remember or are you to hungover?

  35. schools in many communities used to have classes Shushan Purim. Half the kids came in late, some not at all cuz they traveled late the night before, or because of drunken fathers, only came home on Shushan Purim. Teachers were unable to teach much, because the latecomers disturbed the class, and the kids were so wired from lack of sleep and excess sugar and nash.

    wake up, you complainers! THEY ARE YOUR CHILDREN AND YOU WILL SOMETIMES HAVE TO MAKE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS WHEN THERE IS NO SCHOOL. Look at a school calendar in September so you can make other arrangements.

  36. #35 mw13

    “Why are people always so angry at the system? There are good reasons to let off on shushan purim, and even if you don’t agree with the reasons its ridiculous to totally lose it at the yeshivah system in general for such a small thing. As has been pointed out, yeshivos run on a much tighter budget than public schools do (to put it mildly!), and the teachers get vacation instead of paychecks.
    Also, the yeshivah system does an amazing job when compared to the average public school in America. They have drug problem, knife and gun fights, and an incredibly high dropout rate. We have little to none of that, and our system is much more challenging, time-wise and academically. Our system may not be totally perfect, but it’s alot better than anybody else’s. Stop complaining, and look at all the good in the system!!

    Comment by mw13 — March 1, 2010 @ 8:34 pm”

    Are you that naive to think that the Jewish school system doesn’t have problems. They have their fair share of drugs, alcohol, violence, drop-out rates, and unmarried cohabitation. The Jewish schools just cover things up, turn a blind eye, or just take the stance of it didn’t happen in our school during school we don’t have to deal with it. Or they just say to students it is better you leave the Yeshiva/Beis Yaakov/Etc before the issue has to be made official.

    To those that think about a break. The schools can have school but just do a more fun environment on Shushan purim with a lighter schedule with no tests and more attention grabbing excersizes. They will have three weeks off in a month.

  37. I agree with the writer of this letter, up until the point where she labels a reason why. Instead of giving opinions as to why teachers get off, she should have explained why it is unfair that they are given off.

    Most of us who do work 9 to 5 jobs make it into Pesach and Sukkos without taking 2 days off from work. Why do teachers need it?

    Who takes off the day after Pesach and Sukkos from work because their too tired from putting dishes or a sukkah away??? Why do teachers need it?

    Hangover the day after Purim? Take a vacation day, or don’t drink too much! All my co-workers came into work today. Why not teachers?

    Is it really hard to work on a fast day? I know it gets a little tiring later on in the day but do we take off from work? 12PM dismissal at school???? Where does that come from? If I told my boss I wanted to leave at 12 just because it was a fast day, it would be the last day I worked for my company!

    3 days off for chanuka and then 1 month later another 3 days for mid-winter? This is insane for a regular workplace.

    If a teacher ever needs off because they personally can’t handle something, let them get a substitute. Don’t close down a whole Yeshiva.

    Teachers do get off a enough. They get 2 weeks off for Sukkos and Pesach, plus personal vacation days. Why do they have to be different then regular employees?

  38. To R Gluck & Bugnot (& any others I missed)

    Ever heard of burnout? Teachers don’t just work a half/full day a few weeks a year. They spend evenings & weekends grading papers, creating assignments & tests, reviewing material, introducing new material, mentoring students, liaising with parents, Board of Ed, schools, therapists, etc etc etc.

    I knew it was time to retire when my annual burnout (usually after Pesach) came on week 2. That was my last year of teaching.

    You think teachers get too much vacation? If you weren’t so dumb & it wouldn’t be fair to the children I’d suggest you try it. I taught on average over 100 teenagers A DAY in my classes. 5 different topics every week. And it wasn’t out of the book either!

    When you know what you’re talking about, you may actually post something worthwhile. Until then…keep quiet.

    As for Shushan Purim being a “day off”…AFAIK, it’s a Yom Tov. OP…check with your Rav. And be better organized next year.

    Of course, there’s always public school if you can’t take a day off for Shushan Purim. Try a week or two at a time (not Yom Tov!!)

    Some people make me spit!

  39. To #48: Your question is: “Why do they have to be different then regular employees?” The answer is very simple, they have the MOST IMPORTANT JOBS IN THE WORLD!!! They are teaching YOUR CHILDREN!!! They are conveying our TORAH, PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION to your CHILDREN!!! They are training your children for the future. What job do you have?

  40. #50, so what? Why does that mean you get extra vacation?

    #49, I also work nights and weekends here and there. Many of us bring home small work or have blackberries that have to be responded to 24/6.

  41. To whoever said that you shouldn’t bribe the Rebbe – I have spoken to plenty of Gedolim and they ALL told me the same thing “chanfe der kinders Rebbaim”. So if you have a Rabbi – ask him (if you listen to him). A little extra TLC and/or attention that a child gets from a Rebbi goes a long way. If you don’t have the money write a nice detailed complimentary card to the Rebbi – that may go even further then a few dollars.

  42. To #49 with an attitude like yours no wonder why you got burnt out, why are you teachers kvetching a whole day? face the real working world (oh right you don’t know how to that’s why you chose teaching as a “job”)

  43. Are you comparing sitting in front of a computer or blackberry to standing in front of a class of live children whose attention you must keep for hours while trying to meet their emotional and educational needs??


    The main difference, should you require clarification, is that at the office you are basically focused on yourself, and in the classroom, you had better NOT be focused on yourself!

  44. To Bugnot, re the day after Succos: don’t know how many people – including faculty – travel to family for yom tov in your community.

  45. Obviously, you don’t wear a shtreimel, or you would know it is YOm TOv.

    In any case, I would not have managed to get the kids out of the house on time yesterday, never mind the kids. They were able to sleep late, B”H, and today were back to normal. Part of life.

  46. #54, computers and blackberries are the only jobs I’m talking about? (not that they are as easy as you think.) What about doctors, lawyers, warehouse shleppers, and so on. I’m not disputing if teaching is hard or not, it just doesn’t deserve a category of it’s own. There are many jobs that are harder even.

    #55, go ask any frum employer who runs a business were all his staff is frum, men and ladies, if he closes down the day after Succos. All emplyes make sure they are back or have to file for a vacation day. Almost everyone can make it to work first thing the day after Succos if they need to.

  47. if you actually read the megillah you would see that esther asked for a second day of yom tov
    so both days really are purim
    so we should have school the first day
    according to you
    exept that the fact is that the mitzvah on purim is mishteh

  48. shmerel shapiro it is sad how you are so quick to mock and degrade those who are building up the next generation of Klal Yisroel. In my heart I hope you are really some high school drop out who is looking to blame the Yeshiva system for your poor childhood. The Average Mechanech/teacher works more hours per day then your typical 9-5 job (most will be holding down 2 jobs plus tutoring) work on Sundays (between 30 – 40 per year) and have to use the Summer time to work for a reduced rate to make up for the salary that they will not be getting. While many get a nice 10 mid winter break there are many that get a 4 day weekend. (take a look at public school and see how much time they get between winter break , spring break, holiday time etc..) Plus I don’t know what Rebbiem you had, but the stress load in chinuch is much greater. Kids are more brazen then ever, parents demands are often unrealistic (not all but enough to make things hard)and now must compete with a mind of a child that has been trained to not focus on anything more than 15 minutes.

  49. Bentzy18 i don’t know where you get your info from but the focused attention span of a child is approximately between 8 and 45 secounds long. I guess you dropped out of high school before your teachers got up to that I don’t know where you get any of your info as a matter of a fact