Initiative for accurate media reporting in the frum community

    Tuition, Yeshivos, and COVID

    The Coronovirus pandemic has brought out the best in many, going the extra mile to care for their family, friends and neighbors. Many, but not all. There are always those that are on top of the hierarchy seeking to act in predatory manner to those perceived as “useful idiots”. Right from the get-go, documents emerged from Rabbanim and Bati Dinim regarding the monetary obligations from cancelled contracts. These Piskai Din revolved around weddings and playgroups. But never was a psak din issued regarding schools. It must be understood that while the issues of playgroups and weddings are substantial, it doesn’t come close to the sheer volume of money involved when it comes to school tuitions. Not everyone makes weddings, and even though many families have children in playgroups, these numbers are minuscule compared to those of school tuitions. The maximum number of children that any family has in playgroup is one or two, and the tuitions are relatively cheaper. Many families are very large and have multiple children in schools with considerable larger tuition bills per child. Many Rabbonim were asked about it and assured the callers that a psak would be short in coming… that was months ago. The Bais Havaad was asked explicitly why schools are different than playgroups where the Bais Havaad had issued document on peshara whereas by schools the accepted practice is to pay in full[1]. The answer given was ”in actuality, there is much less of a reason to pay school tuition”. The reason given is beyond the scope of this article, but the fact that it hasn’t been addressed is not.

    In a revealing moment, a post was put up on a popular website in Lakewood showing a letter from a Yeshiva who was giving tuition credit for the month of May. In the comments, many questioned why more yeshivos weren’t doing it, and administrators responded. Apparently though, just the conversation was so toxic that the post was deleted the next day[2]!

    The question is twofold. First, are parents obligated to pay for services not rendered. But more intriguing is the fact that Yeshivos received PPP forgivable loans to cover their expenses. Are parents obligated to pay for services not received when the expenses were covered by the federal government?

    This is not a Halachic article, and all are encouraged to reach out to their respective rabbanim. We are just pointing out the anomaly that no Halachic ruling was rendered on this topic. Is it a remote possibility that Rabbanim were enjoined not to answer this question?

    To forestall the possibility of confusion and Halachic complications in the future, we encourage all to attach the addendum below to their child’s tuition contract. As with all monetary arrangements, a clearly stipulated agreement at the onset is the correct way to avoid any potential dispute or misunderstanding.

    In the chart below from the US Treasury, you can see approximately how much your child’s school in Lakewood received in these forgivable loans. Note that grants under $150k are not included.

    LoanRangeBusinessName
    e $150,000-350,000AGUDATH ISRAEL OF LAKEWOOD NJ COMMUNITY SERVICES INC
    d $350,000-1 millionBAIS CHINUCH L’BONOS BAYIS RUCHEL INC.,
    e $150,000-350,000BAIS KAILA PREPARATORY HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
    e $150,000-350,000BAIS MALKA OF LAKEWOOD INC
    d $350,000-1 millionBAIS REUVEN KAMENITZ OF LAKEWOOD
    d $350,000-1 millionBAIS RIVKA ROCHEL, INC.
    d $350,000-1 millionBAIS SHAINDEL HIGH SCHOOL
    e $150,000-350,000BAIS SHAINDEL HIGH SCHOOL
    c $1-2 millionBAIS TOVA INC.
    d $350,000-1 millionBAIS YAAKOV HIGH SCHOOL OF LAKEWOOD, INC
    b $2-5 millionBETH MEDRASH GOVOHA OF AMERICA
    d $350,000-1 millionBETH MEDRASH GOVOHA OF LAKEWOOD INC
    e $150,000-350,000BETH MEDRASH GOVOHA OF NEW YORK
    e $150,000-350,000BNOS BAIS YAAKOV, INC
    d $350,000-1 millionBNOS BRACHA INC.
    e $150,000-350,000BNOS ESTHER MALKA INC
    e $150,000-350,000BNOS ORCHOS CHAIM INC.
    d $350,000-1 millionBP PRINT GROUP INC.
    c $1-2 millionBRAIN BUILDERS LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
    e $150,000-350,000CALVARY LIGHTHOUSE
    e $150,000-350,000CHEDER TORAS ZEV
    d $350,000-1 millionCONG BNOS DEVORAH INC.
    e $150,000-350,000CONG SANZ OF LAKEWOOD
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION AHAVAS CHESED
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION KESSER BAIS YAAKOV
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION MEOROS NOSSON INC
    d $350,000-1 millionCONGREGATION OROS BAIS YAAKOV OF LAKEWOOD
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION RACHMISTRIVKA INC,
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION TIFERES SHULEM INC
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION TORAS EMES
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION YESHIVA EVEN YISROEL INC.
    e $150,000-350,000CONGREGATION YESHIVA YESODEI TORAH, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000FAMILY PLANNING CENTER OF OCEAN COUNTY INC
    c $1-2 millionHARROGATE INC
    e $150,000-350,000HIGHER EDUCATION MANAGEMENT INC
    d $350,000-1 millionKARS 4 KIDS INC.
    e $150,000-350,000KINDER PEDIATRICS, P.C.
    b $2-5 millionLAKEWOOD CHEDER SCHOOL, INC.
    d $350,000-1 millionLAKEWOOD COMMUNITY SERVICES CORP.
    b $2-5 millionLAKEWOOD RESOURCE AND REFERRAL CENTER IN
    e $150,000-350,000LEV ROCHEL BIKUR CHOLIM OF LAKEWOOD INC
    e $150,000-350,000LITTLE PEOPLE CHILDCARE INC
    d $350,000-1 millionMASORAS AVOS INC
    e $150,000-350,000MEOROS BAIS YAAKOV, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000MORASHA OLAMI INC.
    e $150,000-350,000MOSDOS YAAKOV V’YISROEL INC
    e $150,000-350,000NACHLAS BAIS YAAKOV
    c $1-2 millionOORAH INC.
    e $150,000-350,000SCHI DISABILITY SERVICES, INC
    d $350,000-1 millionSEPHARDIC BET YAAKOV
    b $2-5 millionSERVICES FOR CHILDREN WITH HIDDEN INTELLIGENCE INC
    e $150,000-350,000SHIRAS CHAIM INC.
    e $150,000-350,000SPARK PRESCHOOL NFP
    d $350,000-1 millionSTAR THERAPEUTICS LLC
    d $350,000-1 millionSUCCESS THERAPY LLC
    d $350,000-1 millionTASHBAR OF LAKEWOOD, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000TENDER TOTS DECATUR
    e $150,000-350,000TENDER TOTS SUGAR HILL
    e $150,000-350,000TENDER TOTS WASHINGTON LLC
    d $350,000-1 millionTENDER TOUCH EDUCATIONAL SERVICES LLC
    d $350,000-1 millionTHE CENTER FOR EDUCATION NJ INC
    c $1-2 millionTHE SPECIAL CHILDREN CENTER, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000THE THERAPY PLACE PC
    e $150,000-350,000THE VOICE OF LAKEWOOD LIMITED LIABILITY DBA CIRCLE MAGAZINE
    d $350,000-1 millionTIFERES BAIS YAAKOV
    d $350,000-1 millionTORAS IMECHA, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000UNITED TALMUDICAL ACADEMY OF LAKEWOOD INC
    e $150,000-350,000YESHIVA NACHLEI TORAH INC.
    e $150,000-350,000YESHIVA OHR YEHUDA INC.
    c $1-2 millionYESHIVA ORCHOS CHAIM INC
    d $350,000-1 millionYESHIVA SHAGAS ARYEH, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000YESHIVA STOLIN KARLIN
    d $350,000-1 millionYESHIVA TIFERETH TORAH INC.
    d $350,000-1 millionYESHIVA TORAS ARON, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000YESHIVA TORAS CHAIM
    e $150,000-350,000YESHIVA TORAS MENACHEM
    d $350,000-1 millionYESHIVAS OHR HATORAH, INC.
    e $150,000-350,000YESHIVAT OR HACHAIM OF LAKEWOOD
    e $150,000-350,000YESHIVAT YAGDIL TORAH INC

    Download file

    Download file


    [1] https://www.baishavaad.org/playgroups-vs-schools/

    [2] Was available here: https://www.thelakewoodscoop.com/news/2020/06/check-out-this-letter-sent-out-by-a-lakewood-yeshiva.html. Currently, it is only available below, saved for posterity.

    Baruch Katzenstein
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    One Comment

    1. Guest Contributor
      November 5, 2020

      why call it a pandemic? the media numbers are all lies

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