Chinuch Atzmai: Say ‘No’ to Discrimination in Yerushalayim Beis Yaakov


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shteinman.jpgAfter 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)


  1. 1) ” and Maran Rav Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita, who has personally taken on correcting the unacceptable situation.”

    Do you mean Rav Aharon Yehudah Leib?

    2) among the chareidim’s school system, teh chinuch atzmai is mostly beis yaakovs. Chadorim are not under the auspecies of CA, and they get much less funding from the government, and rely on tuition and fund raising

  2. I cannot believe what I read . I have spoken to someone who was present when this menahelet Mrs Sokolovsky spoke to both Maran Harav Elyashiv and Marann Horav Shteinman.Your article is throwing fuel on a flame and is patently untrue. this situation and the way it is being presented has ruined the reputation of yeshivwe worlsd to speak the truth .
    The givirim have no say in how these schools are run and both gedolie yisroel side with Mrs Sokolovsky.

  3. By the way Rav Shteinman said . She is correct in what she did there is no choice but if you can spread out the American girls three or four in a class you should try and do it . Unfortunately there are too many to spread out in such small numbers .

  4. The article has the words “unacceptable situation ” highlighted in blue. The real situation that is unacceptable is wealthy people who are arrogant enough to withhold their donations to “Chinuch atsmai ” when they dont really know what is going on. We have all suffered from these people for generations.Ask any one who ever tried to save a school from its arrogant wealthy board members.

  5. navon, enough is enough of you being the only one who knows all the details. there are many in yerushayalim and the families themselves that are awware of what is going on. Protesting and stopping donations does get a point across, it is time for two sides to communicate.

  6. Dear City of Gold,
    Thank you so mucj for your message to me. You are one thousand percent correct! Enough is enough of onley me knowing the facts . I want everyone to know them . I also believe that there should be communication. That is why I suggested that The americans stop seeing only one side and try and see it from their side, instead of maliciously attacking her. One way to communicate is by listening yourself instead of yelling at everyone else to listen.
    I agree with you in any case . There should be communication. I know that many rabbonim sat down with her and approved of the classes she drew up including one of the chief generals of the attack. She certainly is holding her position and not changing it . That does not mean that she hasnt communicated. Maybe some people on your side are hard of hearing.

  7. #5 navon,
    The words “unacceptable situation” are highlighted in blue because they are a link to a previous article. They were not highlighted to prove any point.

  8. “chinuch atzmai functions primarily as a direct result of donations ” huh?!! actuallly it functions as a result of ….. Hashem. your hashkafos give all americans a bad name, which might be the reason they cant get into an israeli school.

  9. A honest journalist would call Mrs Sokolovsky herself before writing all sorts of damaging untrue slanted pieces. She lives in yerushalayim like he does. Why in the world is he speaking to Henoch Cohen when the Menahelet lives right there?
    The bottom line again, The Americans are seeing their own problem not the entire issue. That is ok I guess . But the menahelet is trying to do the best for everyone involved ,not just the Americans.

  10. The original article clearly states that YW tried to get in touch with Mrs. Sokolovsky:

    “Principal Sokolovsky’s secretary informed me on Thursday morning following a number of calls that she (the principal) is unwilling to respond to my questions or meet, referring me to Rav Baumel, who she explained is handling the entire matter on behalf of the school and Chinuch Atzmai.”

    Although I know nothing about the issue, Navon is clearly deeply concerned and would appear to be as biased, if not more so, than s/he claims YW to be.

  11. Dear Burich,
    As for my bias , If you read all my comments you will see I never have claimed that Mrs sokolovsky is correct . I have said that she has a problem that is not be discussed and she is being sytematically villafied. I have always mantained thati am certain that there are two sides . unfortunately ywn has taken only one.
    Did you know for example that the separate classes she had been suggesting were to receive the best teachers? Did you know that many of the teachers had said that the class of americans might even do betyter than the Israelis? I am not saying her approach is the only one . I am saying that it was trying to solve a very serious problem and she was doing it in a fair sensible way / She can possibly be corrected if someone has a better plan taking all things into account.
    If that is Bias I am proud to be called bias

  12. every community has their own standards which is why the brightest finest girl from bais yakov of lakewood would not be welcome at a chasidish school in boro park. this is accepted and understood by anyone living in the real world. israeli bnei torah have their standards too , they are as entitled as the rest of us to maintain those standards without compromise. american bnei torah may be wonderful , but they simply do not conform to the communal standards of israeli bnei torah. they just dont. the only mean and heartless people in this story are those who refuse to respect another communities standards . instead they threaten financial ruin to a mosad that serves tens of thousands of students , malign people who have devoted their life to chinuch , and whatever else it takes until ….. they are accomodated . would you want such people in your school ?

  13. Dear Silver dollar, It is nice to know that there are some clear thinking people out there .. You speak the truth . I actually dont think the mob are bad people . just a little hard of hearing. But I agree with your first statement and wrote the same earlier.There re differences that are real and problematic, The principal is trying to deal with them . she might be making a mistake but if she is it was not without discussing this scores of times with parents teachers rabbonim and gedolie yisroel .That deserves respect and tolerance. none of which seems to be coming out of ywn and the mob .

  14. Silver Dollar & Navon would like to spin this story to their agenda. But the fact is that the Chinuch Atzmai has much to learn. First, ‘separate but equal’ is never equal. After segregated classes, what next ? Separate recess? lunch hours? lavatories? water fountains?

    Second, Rav Elyashiv, Shlita, certainly did not agree with the menahelet; he recommended that a panel of rabbonim check into her complaints. Rebuffed, Chinuch Atzmai then turned To Rav Shteinman, Shlita – further insisting that the American avreichim NOT be allowed into the meeting with Rav Shteinman. Of course. One look at these avreichim would be sufficient to totally belie the smear tactics (“rich”, “Modern”, etc.) used against them and their daughters to justify segregation. Like Rav Elyashiv, Rav Shteinman did not fall for this character assassination either.
    Third, it is high time that Chinuch Atzmai stop the charade of hiding behind this hapless menahelet’s apron. She could not have undertaken such a patently discriminatory policy without a clear “green light” from the top. That’s why this policy has not been reversed – Chinuch Atzmai believes in it, not the menahelet.Let’s stop scapegoating her, and taking Chinuch Atzmai off the hook.
    Who is going to save Chinuch Atzmai from their own stupidity?

  15. by the way Reb Simcha Sokolovsky would like to speak to the writer of these articles and is more than happy to answer all the questions.


  16. #17, you need a reality check. Badly. Do you honestly believe that the top rabbonim in Chinuch Atzmai gave a “clear green light” to this discrimination?!?! That’s possibly the clearest case of motzei shaim ra I’ve ever seen. And of course “this policy has not been reversed”, it’s not a policy!!! Please take back your terrible motzei shaim ra on Chinuch Atzmai, a sorely needed organization that spreads the light of Torah and is supported by every last one of the gedolim. If even one person gives a dollar less to Chinuch Atzmai because of you, what will you say on the after 120?