After the series of articles published by YWN, I had the privilege of speaking with Rabbi Henach Cohen, the head of Chinuch Atzmai in the United States, a position that he holds for over a half a century.
Baruch Hashem, Rabbi Cohen acted when he read the articles, admittedly well-aware of the situation prior to our publishing the story, but he was compelled to act in the interest of the students of the American yungerliet living in Yerushalayim.
Rabbi Cohen was very candid and up-front in our conversation, admitting that the situation presented to readers placed additional pressure on his office, with givirim making demands to bring an end to the policy, and some actually withholding donations in protest over the unacceptable situation.
Rabbi Cohen assured me that he has been in constant contact with the parties involved, including the head of Chinuch Atzmai in Eretz Yisrael, Rabbi Tzvi Baumel, and Rabbi Yitzchak Berkowitz, and Maran Rav Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita, who has personally taken on correcting the unacceptable situation.
“The principal of the Beis Yaakov HaTzafon acted against the wishes of the hanhalah and against daas gedolei torah,” Rabbi Cohen stated, explaining she is truly a lone voice, one that has no place in the Chinuch Atzmai system. He explained the Rav Shteinman Shlita has met with the principal, and the matter is being rectified in the immediate future, giving me his word, explaining he personally is monitoring the situation.
I would like to add that since Chinuch Atzmai has been on the YWN agenda somewhat, it is worthwhile to point out that while many believe it is funded by the Israeli government, in actuality, the system functions primarily as a direct result of donations. If chas v’sholom Chinuch Atzmai would be compelled to survive on Israeli governmental funding alone, schools like Beis Yaakov HaTzafon and many others would surely vanish. The contributions from givirim and those who can give whatever they can ensure the torah network in Eretz HaKodesh remains a steadfast foundation to ensure the proper chinuch for the torah community of Israel.
I have been assured that this matter is in no way being swept under a carpet, but is being addressed head-on. I personally was impressed by the interest taken by Rabbi Cohen, who was well-aware of the details of the issues at hand, and who seemingly is a man of action, not just words.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)