The Matzav Shmoooze: Where Are the Askanim?



As the summer comes to a close, the talk shifts to the upcoming school year and tuition. I will not regurgitate all that’s been mentioned in the past about this. However, there is a new issue that has manifested itself that will raise the cost of tuition for every parent of a child attending yeshiva in New York City.

Specifically, historically, yeshivos and congregations did not have to pay for water. Now the NYC DEP is visiting every Jewish religious institution – yeshivos and shuls – for an audit. If you have a dormitory, you have to pay for water for the dorm. If the school is not in session during the summer, you must pay for summer water. If the dining room is used for simchos as well, you have to pay.

I have spoken to various askanim about this, but there’s no one home. What is most disconcerting is that mipi hashmuah, NYC DEP is focusing only on yeshivos and shuls.

Rabbosai, this affects you.

Bekitzur, if you come to speak to me about your tuition, please be prepared to tell me what effort you made to help with this.

A Yeshiva Executive Director 

Brooklyn, NY


  1. Dear Rabbi Executive Director,
    I would like to ask YOU, why has tuition gone up every year for the past few years but the salary of my sons rabbeim has remained stagnant? Where is the money going? Glad to know that you are also making money off a simcha hall as well.
    Can you give a ball park figure of how much the water bill may be?
    An askan that is pained at the neglect given to the salaries of our rabbeim and moros.

  2. Re “please be prepared to tell me what effort you made to help with this” I cried tears over tuition costs- you can have them toward your water needs. The middle class baal habos is shoved away at all turns. If he has suggestions or questions for the school or board, he is ignored. If he attempts to offer help or become an askan, he is pushed away. It’s humorous to read you asking us to solve the water issue with the city. Your job title aptly describes that it’s your responsibility to resolve, not ours. We are powerless and even in rare instances where we may have power, we are rendered powerless by the askanim and board. Therefore to resolve your water issue, go to the power-hoarding group of askanim and board members and don’t try to place this one on us parents – that’s very misguided thinking. When I have extra plumbing costs on my home, I don’t ask the schools to lower tuition to account for my house plumbing. I do my due diligence and locate the best priced reliable plumber. I take responsibility and use the tools I have. Please do the same. I coomiserste with you and understand the extra pressure this causes you. Just saying that all that is no reason or excuse to pass the buck to me, the parent. I have it hard enough being squashed by the powers that be, I don’t need the school administrator joining in on the beating.

  3. There has always been a divide between the “have” and the “have not”. The “haves” are still on their fancy extravagant vacations and are coming back to their fancy extravagant wedding for their tzatzkila daughter. Make sure to book Ohad and Yisroel Lamm, early and arrange for their flight & hotel stay. For these chevra, tuition is nothing. It goes straight on to their Amex business card, racks up good mileage for use on their upcoming Shabbos sheva Brachos in Jerusalem. They are the ones extolling the importance of charging high tuition and kvetch how it’s not high enough as compared to the Modern Orthodox schools.
    For the rest of us, where we AND our spouse work full time and can barely pay our housing expenses, including water, even the reduced yeshiva tuition fee is not logically possible. Raising the tuition even an iota will just sink us.

    • Cinicism is not appropriate, especially were many of our wealthy fellow Jews are very generous in helping those of us (like me) who are not so fortunate. We definitely should concentrate more on showing הכרת הטוב, and definitely not transrgress the איסור of לא תחמוד וכו’ וכל אשר לרעך. Let’s not be so bitter about the success of others, not everyone can be rich and not everone can be poor – הקב”ה knows what he’s doing, that’s what we must remember!

  4. If it is correct that only Yeshivos and shuls are being subject to this audit them it is a cause for concern regardless of the costs

  5. This is one price NYC residents pay for having the likes of Warren Wilhelm as Mayor. The strange frum lovefest with radical big city politicians who undermine everyone’s quality of life but their own has to end.

  6. It is a good idea to alert the frum community about this issue and I’m sure that most parents would be happy to put in “effort to help you with this”. In order for this to happen, please state exactly what parents should do that would be effective in changing this situation. My guess is that the average parent doesn’t know how to effect change and would be happy to follow clear instructions that would improve the situation.

  7. We appreciate the help given by the gvirim. Don’t appreciate the administrators expectation tone on parents.
    As far as the reader asking for specific instruction for what help is needed, it seems he’s asking parents to volunteer more money and to collectively cover the increase.

  8. tuition goes up every year no matter how much money is brought in from the feds or the state
    im in the service business and can only raise my clients at best once in three years
    there is a fee for everything
    building fund is paid forever whether the school builds or not
    last i checked when i need capital expenditures in my business i cant ask clients to pay for it
    the schools are private buisnesses with no transparency
    but we need to support it!!

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