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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shulamis School: Parents Sue to Get Real Story



Thank you to "Rivka Schwartz" for the links to this story. Please see the Jewish Press for full story. Also see Jewish Star articles I and II which are archieved at the Yehiva World News website. PLEASE read the full story before commenting because I'm only picking out a few quotes. I am actually a bit shy about bringing this story forward, only because I don't have more information, which I wish I had. Nonetheless, the story fits very much within the subject matter of this blog and so I am putting it up.

Parents of Brooklyn's oldest girls schools, the centrist Shulamith School for Girls in Brooklyn, have made an unprecedented move. Faced with rumors that the school was closing and a more recent announcement that the building was being sold for $20 million to a Mr. Joshua Guttman, who is alleged to be listed as a board member despite denials, the parents engaged the pro bono legal services of Robert Tolchin (Jaroslawicz and Jaros, LLC) and have filed two actions in the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

The parents are demanding to see the "appraisal of the campus (the building is under contract for sale), the school’s bylaws (claimed to be "lost" but should prove important in the case as they might potentially invalidate board actions), the contract of sale of the building, annual reports, as well as financial records of both the Brooklyn and Long Island branches."

According to the Jewish Press, "Rabbi Zwick has declined to disclose any of the above information on the grounds that it is personal and is not in the school’s tradition to show financial papers to anyone who asks for it."

Rabbi Zwick and the board state that enrollment is down significantly and the numbers are not there to is not there to continue to maintain this campus, claiming their future is on Long Island. The parents feel they have been left in the cold, that there has been fiscal mismanagement, and that the school was allowed to dwindle purposefully (students turns away, no recruiting). The board claims they will have a smaller Brooklyn site and the school will continue to be in Brooklyn indefinitely, but that it does not want to be tied to an aging building. At the same time, the board says their future in Brooklyn is very limited, possibly two years.

Although the Rabbi states that “A yeshiva survives only if there is a team effort between the administration and the parents,” the parents believe they are not being treated as team members, having never been asked for their input, and only hearing of major news by rumor and brief correspondence, nor having any access to any pertinent information. And, therefore, they are compelled to bring their case to court to be heard. The board and executive director claim "membership" only allows parents to send their children to the school, not have a vote.

Ultimately the court must decide if the sale is in the best interest of the organization and its donors and the court must ensure the money from the sale is applied appropriately.

I have no idea what the judge on this case is going to think regarding the idea that financial and other records of this non-profit organization are considered completely "private" information as the Rabbi claimed in the highlighted sentence above. I can't figure out why such secrecy is necessary. I took a look at Guidestar and viewed the last three 990's or Shulamith. The last two showed a deficit (2006 and 2005). The 2004 form showed an excess. None of the highest paid employees listed look as if they are being paid excessively. This information is available to the public. If the internal financial records support the 990, there really shouldn't be much to hide that isn't out there already.

I do hope that something positive comes out of this case. Perhaps when other schools see that parents are organizing and demanding to be treated as shareholders, maybe schools will operate with more transparency? Or, perhaps that is just wishful thinking.

43 comments:

baruch said...

consider this - Brooklyn is now almost all chareidi as there are now only 3 or 4 MO schools left (compared to maybe 60 chareidi)

bat torah of monsey is moving to bergen county - there is now not one MO high school in all of rockland county

It all boils down to birthrates driven by yeshiva tuition

chareidim have 8-12 kids per family based on $1,000 tuitions for chasidim and $6,000 for litveshe

compared to $15,000 elementary school and $25,000 high school tuitions for the modern orthodox

The MO are becoming a smaller and smaller segment of orthodox jewery loosing because of their high tuitions - so they can barely afford 2 kids

ProfK said...

Baruch, you get what you pay for. Chasidishe schools do not use licensed teachers, nor even college graduates. Their teachers are drawn from the general graduates of girls/boys high schools (and I use the term "graduates" loosely). They pay small salaries to their teaching staff, subsidizing this pittance through sometimes giving the teachers free tuition for their own children. Their level of education is poor at best. Many of the girls schools do not have a senior year of high school, so their "graduates" do not have even a high school diploma. Their boys fare no better.

Litvish schools aren't much better. They also pay low salaries to teachers, although they are sometimes "forced" to pay a bit more in areas where it is harder to get a frum teacher--math or science. They, too, generally hire people who are not college graduates to be their teachers. Surely you are aware of the boys high schools that don't really provide a senior year for the boys? Oh, they give them the Regents exams, but "cover all that is necessary" in a one or two week camp course on passing the exam. For a rare student or two they will provide a teacher to give an AP course. Not so incidentally, they save a bundle this way--only rebbis to pay for, not secular staff. They, too, sometimes offer as a perk that a teacher's kids will go to the school tuition free. And you are way too low for the tuition price for a lot of those schools. TAG in Far Rockaway already charges $11,400 for a four-year-old entering kindergarden. Darchei's tuition is comparable. Prospect's high school tuition is even more. These schools are hardly MO.

MO schools are tuition victims of their own policies and the policies and expectations of their parent bodies. MO schools use college graduates and/or licensed, experienced teachers in their classes. They regularly update their textbooks so as to keep up with advances/changes in certain areas. They provide a full range of computer assisted learning as well as classes in computers. They provide labs for their science classes. They meet and exceed state and city requirements for graduation. These MO schools still provide a full curriculum, something the litvish and chasidishe schools do not. They provide, on site, special services for those students who need them, such as speech and hearing remediation and resource room help.

Tuition is only one small part of why the MO are not as large a segment of the frum community. It's not that tuition keeps them at only two children (and that "average" is actually 3 children). It's that economic common sense tells them that they can't have more children then they can afford, in every way.

The chasidishe and litvishe communities have their own "economic" formula--don't reduce the number of children that you have but do reduce the education and opportunities that you give those children.

Frankly, if some ambitious state education czar ever decides to do a full scale investigation of the ins and outs of private religious school institutions, in the Jewish quarter it is only the MO schools that will remain intact and standing. The chasidish/litvishe schools are going to crumble and will require huge infusions of cash to bring them up to the standards they are already supposed to be supporting and don't--and that infusion of cash is only going to come by raising tuition levels to the levels already seen in MO schools.

Chumi said...

Profk - I have to take issue with some of what you have written. At least some of you have written here is wrong. While it is true that chasidishe schools don't hire college-educated teachers, they do pay high salaries - at least in some of the girls’ schools. My sister-in-law taught in Satmar and in Belz and made over $80 an hour.

Chassidshe schools are able to charge less tuition than other schools because they are largly community funded.

As to the other tuitions you mention - Prospect Park's high school tuition is less than $8,000 a year.

As for standards – the chassidshe and yeshivish schools are interested in one thing – chinuch. Government funding and legislation requires them to provide a secular education so they do, but for the most part their focus is much more on limudei kodesh. They aren’t interested in having the best scores on standardized tests or regents.

Modern Orthodox schools seem to put a much greater emphasis on their secular subjects and that is where the bulk of the money is spent.

Anonymous said...

Profk--interesting comment, "if some ambitious state education czar ever decides to do a full scale investigation". I've always wondered what would happen if the NY Times blew the lid off the entire NY Jewish community, and the massive welfare fraud perpetuated in every community where you can find a kollel. Able bodied men and women living in luxury apartments, wearing designer clothing, eating red meat daily, driving SUV's, taking bi-annual vacations to a foreign country (Israel), sending their children to private schools, and getting every single government hand-out available.

In a country where students can't even have a 2 minute moment of silence in public schools as it constitutes a state endorsement of religion, what would the NY Times says to the fed, state, and local gov'ts essentially paying for what would be called "intolerant fundamentalist religious indoctrination"?

Anonymous said...

I daven for that every single day.

Jacobson said...

Of that $20 million, where will the money go; who is the _legal_ owner of the school and will profit from any windfall if the property changes hands?

How many of the Shulamith School parents, who have been paying Building Funds all these years, realize that the monies are quite possibly going into the private inheritance fund for the school's legal owners and their descendants.

I know a lot of my fellow yeshiva parents have no idea that when we contribute to a Building Fund or make a Bedek Habayis payment, we're actually adding substantial equity to the Legal owners or their family (usually the Dean or Founder). Even if they don't have plans to sell the institution, all that equity provides a strong collateral for a long-term loan at low-rates.

Rachel said...

I am a Brooklyn Shulamith parent who is very concerned that the administration has decided to close the school without worrying what will become of the 500+ girls who will be left out in the cold. The parents have trusted that the school was being run properly and are now somewhat shocked to find out that our trust has been misplaced. A yeshivah is not a private business; it is a not-for-profit religious institution, and the Board members and administrators have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the school and of its students.
Furthermore, all of this decision-making was being done in secret. The only reason that any disclosure was finally made is because the rumors became so rampant that alarmed parents started demanding answers. Even then, the information that was shared with us was inadequate and reluctantly given.
We are not interested in a power play here. All we want is for our daughters' educations to continue in the school that has been in our neighborhood for almost 80 years.

anonymous mom said...

"The MO are becoming a smaller and smaller segment of orthodox jewery loosing because of their high tuitions - so they can barely afford 2 kids"

I can't speak for all of Modern Orthodoxy, but the myth that the MO families are 2.5 kid families is just that, a myth. The average family in our large MO school is 4 children. Many have 5. Some have more than that. The MO friends I have in another part of the Metro area have 4 on the average. So, we are kind of a dying breed, but I don't think it is because we aren't having enough children due to tuition. We do have less kids on the average than the Chareidim, but there's more to the death of MO than that.
To the commenter who stated that we emphasize Secular Studies over Jewish Studies, that is actually another myth. We emphasize both equally and we pay our Rebbes who mostly do not have College Educations the same if not more than the educated Secular Staff. MO schools provide excellent Limudei Kodesh studies including Hebrew Language which is not offered in Chareidi boys' schools at all.

ProfK said...

Rachel, are you sure you meant 80 years? Shulamith has only been in Flatbush since YU pulled its boys high school out of the building. Before that it moved into the old Young Israel building in Boro Park on 5th between 13 and 14 avenue.

ProfK said...

Sorry 50th street

SephardiLady said...

My sister-in-law taught in Satmar and in Belz and made over $80 an hour.

What in the world was she teaching for $80 an hour.


Rachel-I wish you and the other parents much hatzlacha.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing is sad, but it seems pretty obvious what is going on here (at least to an outsider with no relationship at all to the issue). I could be completely wrong, but my take is that:
a) They have 2 campuses, one in Brooklyn and one in Long Island.
b) The Brooklyn campus enrollment has been shrinking, and is projected to shrink further.
c) The Long Island campus enrollment is growing, and is projected to grow further.
d) The Brooklyn building is very valuable and is about twice as large as necessary (since the enrollment has about halved over the years).
e) The Long Island campus requires a new/larger building.
f) The only logical conclusion is that they are selling the pricey building ($20M) to help fund the new Long Island building that is necessary.
g) The Brooklyn campus will move to a smaller, rented building elsewhere. And those premises will get smaller and smaller as enrollment declines. Eventually, it will probably close completely (because of lack of enrollment).

It seems pretty simple and obvious to me, but I could be completely wrong about this.

By the way, my sisters went to Shulamith many years ago when it was still located in Boro Park (I went to Etz Chaim in Boro Park). And I spent one year in the current Shulamith building when it was still BTA (many years ago), and then spent 3 years at MTA.

Over the years, Etz Chaim and Shulamith of Boro Park closed their doors as the people they served moved elsewhere (Flatbush, Long Island, Staten Island, New Jersey, etc). The same is happening here; Everyone should realize it and accept it. It is simply a fact of life.

Mark

baruch said...

to anon mom

the MO I know with 4-5 kids are either extremely wealthy or are making aliya

Dr. marvin Schick notices the aliya trend in staten island and I notice it in Bergen County - every year one of the local schools highlights the families making aliya - my wife and I always notice that the families making aliya (and there are usually 5-10 per year)average five children

do the math - you can not support $15,000 to $25,000 tuitions + the manadatory summer camp for so many kids unless you are wealthy (upper-middle class will not cut it )

Gitty said...

ProfK: By "our neighborhood," Rochel meant in Brooklyn and not Long Island, not specifically Flatbush. It opened almost 80 years ago and incorporated as a religious corporation in 1937.

The school's charter says the main place of worship (since it is a religious corporation) is Brooklyn, NY. That means they can't move it out to the Island.

To the anonymous commenter, did you consider that part of the reason school enrollment has declined is BECAUSE the school wouldn't stop the decade-long rumors that they're moving to LI?

We're here, and our school is here. Why did they move to LI if they want their girls to have a Shulamith education? When I was in school (not in Shulamith), girls came from NJ and Staten Island! If our building is too big now, then let's fill it with those LI girls because we've got a pool, gym, auditorium, and grassy campus that's already built!

baruch said...

The MO attrtion rate is not only due to their poor fertility compared to chareidim (and it is exponentially lower) - but also because of university attendance in secular universities more MO go off the derech - despite all the talk of chareidim at risk - both percentage wise and certainly in terms of whole numbers - the MO lose more to secularism than the chareidim do and it is not even close

I know people here in Bergen County that spent over $250,000 to educate their kids in yeshiva + the year in Israel at yeshiva and they have nice kids who do not believe in G-D and are not shomer shabbos

Gitty said...

Baruch, I know someone with 5 kids in Yeshiva of Flatbush. She's not wealthy enough to pay the $76,000 tuition that they want, and she's not making aliyah. She's talking to the tuition committee.

And Jacobson, Shulamith is a community school that doesn't have an "owner." It's a religious corporation chartered in 1937. The people who seem to own the school are employees of the corporation. The board wants to take the majority of the $20 million out of the community to pay for the new LI campus, which will leave us without enough to continue even in a small space.

anonymous mom said...

Sorry, I think Mark has it right on. That was my take on it when I heard the news. Gitty, the reality is that many young marrieds are fleeing Queens and Brooklyn for the Five Towns and Monsey. The MO are all going to Five Towns with a smaller portion going to Bergenfield and Teaneck. Your demographics are shifting because there are literally greener pastures waiting for these people elsewhere. And, the entire MO movement is slowing petering out because we don't produce MO educators. Both YI and YU are not churning out Rabbis into our communities and many MO kids do not turn to education and/or the Rabbinate. OK. That said, Baruch, I stand by my stats. Most MO families are 4 and up these days. They are like me middle to upper income and that is precisely because we are educated professionals. Those of us who struggle with the high tuitions either teach in the schools or speak to the tuition committees. The Aliyah stats are not as high as they should be and the reason you see so many larger families going is because we MO have larger families than people expect. We are not losing our kids to "secularism" at any relevant rate. What we are doing is losing more and more of them to right-wing Orthodoxy. Ever heard of the book "Flipping Out?" Well, it's a real phenomenon, one I fear for my children. So, bottom line, Mark who posted as anonymous has it right. My sympathies to you guys in Brooklyn and to my own MO self. I feel for you. It's all down-hill from here.

anonymous mom said...

And what I mean by that is the following: It will only take a few more years before many in the MO world realize that all our Limudei Kodesh teachers are Chareidi. Until YU and the Day Schools start putting that together and doing something about it, MO as we know it will die out. It's happening already and the parents don't see it. Look around, people. Who is educating our kids? Why is MO waining? What is YU doing about it?

Lion of Zion said...

BARUCH:

"The MO are becoming a smaller and smaller segment of orthodox jewery loosing because of their high tuitions"

this is true, but only to a certain extent. anon mom above is 100% on target and this is something i've said for a while. so even if we had 10 kids per family it wouldn't matter.

"the MO I know with 4-5 kids are either extremely wealthy or are making aliya"

this is so irrelevant. do you know how few americans actually make aliyah every year?

CHUMI:

"My sister-in-law taught in Satmar and in Belz and made over $80 an hour."

that's more that probably most readers here make. no way as a teacher. maybe as a bilingual speech therapist/PT/OT, but even that is really pushing it

Lion of Zion said...

GITTY:

"did you consider that part of the reason school enrollment has declined is . . ."


its fairly simply why enrollment has declined. despite the fact that shulamith itself has moved to the right over the years, for the vast majority of brooklyn orthodoxy it has become treif. (the worst fear of a prospect mother is that shulamith will close and some of these "bad influences" might be admitted to prospect). this is the dominant attitude, and it will only become more prevalent as MO here disappears. of my own circle of friends i am the only one that remains in brooklyn. my wife, who graduated from shulamith, does have friends who've stayed. with one exception, however, none would even consider shulamith for their own daughters.

btw, i'm not saying that there were no improprieties in the administration, but ultimately this is not the cause of the decline.

Lion of Zion said...

ANON MOM:

honestly, how would you feel if your son went into chinuch or the pulpit, or if your daughter married a boy who did this?

SephardiLady said...

The people who seem to own the school are employees of the corporation.

I think this is the crux of the case.

Anonymous said...

Chumi, I paid almost $8000 for elementary school 3 years ago at Prospect. How could high school now cost the same?

Tamiri said...

(1) I think it's astounding that people are using the tuition crisis as one reason to move to Israel. Whatever it takes!
(2) MO has shifted to the right, but it still exists. The rabbis for Modern Orthodoxy are alive and well and living in Israel. The yeshivot here put out fabulous young (sometimes clean-shaven) Rabbis.

Elitzur said...

I'm sorry but PLEASE stop playing taps for MO. If you've actually seen the research you'll know that the flipping out phenomenon and the college assmilation phenomenon are the exceptions. Most kids end up just about where there parents are (though there may be periods of adjustment during teenage years to early twenties).

If anything chareidism is becoming closer to MO. There is increased support for the state of Israel, there is a building realization that secular education is necessary. The major issue that continues to be debated is da'as torah and the increased number and stupidity of invoking da'as torah shows that it to is starting to unravel.

If you want to know what YU is doing the answer is - they're educating rabbis. Look at schools like TABC, Ma'ayanot, Flatbush, etc. These schools do not have chareidi teachers. Is there a single chareidi shul in the country that has as many members as R' Billet's shul in Woodmere, R' Goldin's shul in Englewood or the JC or Lincoln Square?

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated...

anonymous mom said...

Tamiri, Kol Hakovod. You inspire me and hopefully you will inspire others.
Lion, honestly, I would worry about him a bit because I know how difficult it is to be a full-time Mechanech or to serve in the Rabbinate. It means no job stability--you're moving around often and then may be "phased out" at 60. The demands of the Klal, the lack of Hakaras Hatov...But, that said, if my sons showed promise in those areas and pursued it, I would be mighty proud. But, hey, I'm a Mechanechet, after all.

Anonymous said...

"The school's charter says the main place of worship (since it is a religious corporation) is Brooklyn, NY. That means they can't move it out to the Island."

But they aren't moving it, they simply opened another branch a few years ago.

"To the anonymous commenter, did you consider that part of the reason school enrollment has declined is BECAUSE the school wouldn't stop the decade-long rumors that they're moving to LI?"

Maybe a small part of it, but for the most part, modern orthodox people prefer to live in the suburbs which aren't dominated by chassidim. I was born in Washington Heights, moved to Boro Park at age 3, lived there until Bar Mitzvah, moved to Staten Island, then Israel, and then South Florida where I live today. People move, and the centers of modern orthodoxy move as well.

Do you think the majority of modern orthodox moved out of Boro Park because of rumors that Etz Chaim was closing and Shulamith was moving to Flatbush? No, it was because the Chassidishe population was rapidly growing and the neighborhoods became Chassidishe. So did the schools.

"We're here, and our school is here. Why did they move to LI if they want their girls to have a Shulamith education? When I was in school (not in Shulamith), girls came from NJ and Staten Island! If our building is too big now, then let's fill it with those LI girls because we've got a pool, gym, auditorium, and grassy campus that's already built!"

Yes, many girls commute, or commuted, to Shulamith, including my sisters (from Staten Island). But fewer and fewer are doing so today because they apparently have other options closer to home.

Mark

enigma said...

To the commenter who wondered when YU is going to wake up and do something--they are. They're starting a teaching fellowship this year, specifically to train teachers to work in Jewish (presumably MO) schools.

JLam said...

"enigma said...
To the commenter who wondered when YU is going to wake up and do something--they are. They're starting a teaching fellowship this year, specifically to train teachers to work in Jewish (presumably MO) schools."

There is, of course, another source of teachers of limudei kodesh in the MO world who are starting to arive....women finishing Drisha's Scholars Circle or Stern's GPATS.

anonymous mom said...

Enigma and Jlam, thank you so much. I am so happy.
Jlam, the real dearth is among the male teaching population so that is why I stress YU's obligation.
There may be hope. Baruch Hashem.

Lion of Zion said...

ANON MOM:

don't get your hopes up. i don't know what the YU fellowship program will accomplish. the issue is not teaching training programs. azrielli and revel, natural sources of day school teachers, have been around for a while. there are also plenty of similar israeli institutions.

the issue is not a dearth of appropriate training programs, but rather meager remuneration. this is what turns off potential day school teachers.

anonymous mom said...

I think I mentioned before that many do not wish to pursue elementary education as it strikes them as beneath them to do so. I may be a hopeless romantic, but I do believe if more money is put into outreach and programming hooking up high school and college kids with elementary schools, that more YU graduates would consider education.

ProfK said...

One of my former students is doing something interesting--going both for smicha and for his masters at Azrielli. His hope is to be both a rebbi and an English teacher at the same time. Remuneration won't be an issue for him as his salary will be doubled and still allow him to have the best of both worlds that he loves.

Lion of Zion said...

ANON MOM:

"it strikes them as beneath them to do so."

well it is beneath them . . . because of the paltry remuneration i mentioned. this is one thing that the RW have over MO; for the former going into chinuch is respected.

"I may be a hopeless romantic, but I do believe if more money is put into outreach and programming hooking up high school and college kids with elementary schools, that more YU graduates would consider education"

I may be a hopeless utilitarian, but I do believe if more money is put into remuneration, YU graduates would consider education.

it's nice that someone is investing $ in fostering MO educators, but they they throwing their $ in the wrong direction.

Lion of Zion said...

PROFK:

"One of my former students is doing something interesting--going both for smicha and for his masters at Azrielli."

in of itself not so interesting. semikha students at YU must get get a graduate degree (a small minority opt out by doing a special program). many of them fulfill this requirement at revel or azrielli (when i was in revel i was the only non-semikha guy in my classes).

"His hope is to be both a rebbi and an English teacher at the same time."

i thought azrielli is only for jewish education.

"Remuneration won't be an issue for him as his salary will be doubled and still allow him to have the best of both worlds that he loves."

this is not necessarily necessary, depending on where he wants to teach. some schools (at least the MO high schools) have a staggered curriculum (i.e., no designated part of the day for jewish or secular subjects), so it is not a problem for to teach just one full time.

incidentally, r. aharon lichtenstein took the path of semikha cum english lit

ProfK said...

Lion, this student is not a YU boy and is taking his smicha elsewhere. His credits towards teaching English have already been completed and the education courses from Azrielli will count towards the ed courses needed to teach. He is, however, an out of towner and plans on going back out of town to teach in a day school where what he is offering is a little bit different.

Anonymous said...

So much to comment on!

I have to say right off the bat, i think Mark's assessment is spot on.

To start off, most people don't know who owns their school buildings. And maybe they should. The CO/MO school my son goes to is wholly owned by the Rav. I believe it is his to pass down as he chooses. It is not an unusual thing, I have concluded after doing some research. This happens in Deal and in Brooklyn, even at an MO institution like Shulamith. I'd love Schick to research this and tell us what that means about the education our kids are getting.

There is, of course, another source of teachers of limudei kodesh in the MO world who are starting to arive....women finishing Drisha's Scholars Circle or Stern's GPATS.

I know some of the GPATS women. By and large, they aren't going to be teaching Chumash to 7th graders. They want to be administrators, innovators, community leaders. They have specialized training and won't go for tiny salaries. Nor should they.

Chaim B. said...

>>>in of itself not so interesting. semikha students at YU must get get a graduate degree

Just FYI: Unless things have changed in the past 12 years, this is not the case. When I was in YU one could fulfill the smicha by either pursuing a graduate degree along with one's morning seder study, or spend the afternoon enrolled in R' Shachter's kollel. And unless things have changed, there are very few people in YU's kollel who would seriously consider teaching secular studies. The reason most people are in smicha is because they have a desire to learn torah lishma or to become professional torah mechanchim or pulpit rabbis.

anonymous mom said...

I'm concerned that they are not pursuing teaching Limudei Kodesh. Definately not on the elementary school/Junior High level and in very small numbers at the high school level. Limudei Kodesh is my concern right now. That is where Hashkafa is indirectly if not directly passed over to the kids.

Lion of Zion said...

CHAIM B

"Unless things have changed in the past 12 years"

i was in revel in 97-98. i have no idea what has changed since then.

the requirement was either a master's or the מחשבת ישראל program, but most did the former. revel was very popular (i was the only non-riets male student in my classes) because of the course content appeal and because it wasn't that academically demanding. azrielli was also a strong option. ferkauf and wurzweiler were real options, but much rarer because of competitive entrance requirements. i did know a few people at the time who were pursuing grad studies in other schools, including one getting an MBA at NYU.

Lion of Zion said...

the current riets catalogue requires an MA at revel/azrielli/wurzweiler or kollel or מחשבת ישראל

"The reason most people are in smicha is because they have a desire to learn torah lishma . . ."

i suggested elsewhere that riets make some type of שליחות requirement after ordination. this would help spread (save) MO, especially in communities that would not otherwise have access to an MO-sympathetic rabbi. (i think it is pretty reasonable, considering the financial support given to riets students.)

the problem with this, however, is that, like you say, some students are only there lishma and have no desire/intention to work as rabbis. such a requirement could turn them away from riets.

(btw, iirc riets was not the first rabbinical school to require--although my use of "require" apparently needs to be modified--a grad degree. hildesheimer required a phd (and those were real phd's))

anonymous mom said...

l of z, good suggestion.

Anonymous said...

"The MO are becoming a smaller and smaller segment of orthodox jewery"

That is only true in the US, and even there, it's in large part because a couple thousand of them (disproportionately young people) make aliyah every year. Their birthrate is much lower than in charedi communities, but still far above replacement levels.