Sep 1, 2015
New Board Steps In At Bais Rivkah

A new 7 man board has stepped in to ensure that Bais Rivkah School for girls in Crown Heights will be opening on time on Wednesday.

By COLlive reporter

Associated Beth Rivkah Schools, the flagship institution which pioneered the Lubavitch educational system for girls, will begin its 74th school year on Wednesday, September 2, 2015.

Wednesday is the 18th of Elul, an auspicious day when the Chassidic movement was founded in 1734 and the birthday of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidism, in 1698 and the 1st Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, in 1734.

Teachers will welcome back over 2000 students, ranging from preschool through seminary, and focus their opening remarks about the chassidic holiday.

A robocall went out to parents on Tuesday announcing the first day of school at their locations in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood: The early childhood center and elementary school at Campus Chomesh at 470 Lefferts Avenue and the high school, seminary and administrative offices at 310 Crown Street.

The new year begins with a voluntary board-in-formation that has been working diligently throughout the past year. Their aim is to help with the responsibilities carried until now by the school's leadership and current administration headed by Rabbis Leime Minkowitz and Benji Stock.

Beth Rivkah, billed as the trailblazer of all-day Jewish education system for girls, was created in 1941 by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn OBM, the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, who appointed his son-in-law, the future Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson as its Nosi.

In 1988, Rabbi Abraham Shemtov was appointed by the Rebbe as chairman of its board and has since overseen and guided its tremendous growth.

The school became an anchor in the Rebbe's historic efforts to dispatch energetic Shluchim who, armed with their top-quality Jewish education, love for their fellow Jew and Jewish pride, are continuing to achieve great success in their ongoing efforts to illuminate and transform the Jewish landscape worldwide.

Members of the new and emerging board are Rabbi Eliezer Shemtov, Dovid Junik, Yerachmeal Jacobson, Kasriel Shemtov, Itchik Orimland, Moshe Pinson and Dovid Sputz.

They announced in a letter to staff that a professional senior educational consultant, Dr. Chaim Botwinick, was hired "to help us with the evaluation of the realities in Beth Rivkah and provide recommendations for improvement and growth."



Most Read Most Comments




Opinions and Comments
1
Teachers
Hopefully they will make sure our teachers are paid and the Monies from tuition goes to the correct hands. A successful year to all.
(9/1/2015 6:19:20 PM)
2
really headstart too?
headstart is starting tom?
(9/1/2015 6:20:16 PM)
3
KUDOS TO THE NEW BOARD
Bengy stock and Yerachmiel are gifted people assisting our entire community with a warm heart! may the oibershter repay you with a Ksiva Vachasima Tova
we look forward to supporting the charity campaign....
take note this is already a nice accomplishment the school is starting on time! now we hope the teachers will be paid on time throughout the year !

hope the new board will assist and respect benjy who has been holding the place up for so many years !!!! Leorech Yomim Veshonim Tovos
(9/1/2015 6:21:25 PM)
4
Finally
It's about time !!! If they can get the school to match their personal success we will be in great shape.
(9/1/2015 6:28:39 PM)
5
Att:
my daughter in 9th grade tells me there is only ONE working water fountain in the entire high school building. Please work on that!
(9/1/2015 7:06:32 PM)
6
alumna
not a single woman on the board of lubavitch's flagship girls school?
(9/1/2015 7:09:03 PM)
7
Suggestion
If you have something positive and encouraging to say, please do so here. Any negative remarks or criticism can be sent to me directly and personally and I will, bli neder, pass it on to those that can do something about it.
Thank you,
KVT,
Eliezer Shemtov
Rabino.Shemtov@jabad.org.uy
(9/1/2015 7:14:36 PM)
8
Thank you
Thank you thank you and thank you..as a student at bais rivkah for many years and as a mother of children in bais rivkah for several years I still did not truly value the mesiras nefesh and dedication it takes to run a school until I began to take on a part responsibility of another school.. I am forever grateful to the current staff, administration and the new board that are investing of their time for a most thankless job..

May hashem give you continued koichos in this endeaver.
(9/1/2015 7:27:56 PM)
9
Rabbi Shemtov
Thank you for posting that! I hope people listen and instead of commenting negatively, contact you so something can be done! Yasher Koach
(9/1/2015 7:32:29 PM)
10
School for girls should be run by woman
There are so many capable and smart woman in our community, why doesn't the board reflect that
(9/1/2015 7:47:01 PM)
11
water fountain
to # 5 .There are 3 + WORKING water fountains, just ask any of the girls taht went there in the summer.
(9/1/2015 8:05:24 PM)
12
to #10
I was wondering the same thing! There's no halacha that says all our moisdois have to be run by men who so far are doing a so so job any way.
(9/1/2015 8:11:50 PM)
13
Reply to 10 & 6
How many woman fundraisers do know of? Why don't you volunteer your services and join the board, I am sure they will be happy to utilize the skills of such smart women as yourselves. Enough complaining, action is what matters.
(9/1/2015 8:35:47 PM)
14
Fresh staff needed
Old principals and staff are old and tired, used to old school tactics , not qualified to todays Girl challenges, example : Special attention to failing students , instead of child being left back to last years grade because of weakness in scholastic achievements , loosing old classmates can be a challenging and dramatic trauma to the student , instead allow the student to be promoted ,and have remedial tutors arraigned at least as a trial
please bring in new energy
(9/1/2015 8:45:12 PM)
15
Women
I agree that women can play a big role here
(9/1/2015 8:59:18 PM)
16
PROUD BAIS RIVKAH MOMMY
I think we all need stop and think.
Yes no one is perfect.
Yes we make mistakes.
I think i can honestly say.
Bais Rivka was their for my daughters.
Also for so many others
Hatzlacho .
(9/1/2015 9:04:27 PM)
17
Check your dates, please.
Alger Rebbe was born in 1745, not 1734.
(9/1/2015 9:05:48 PM)
18
Kol Hakavod
To whoever is behind this, thank you.
It's about time.
(9/1/2015 9:08:18 PM)
19
A very positive step
I truly hope and look forward to the time that Beis Rivka once again becomes the pride and glory of Lubavitch and Crown Heights.
(9/1/2015 9:17:32 PM)
20
To number six and ten
The board's function most likely is to fundraise, as anyone involved with a school knows that school fees alone don't cover running expenses.
If women want to fundraise, I'm sure it will be welcomed!
Let's keep focused on upping the level of Jewish education for women, to best equip our girls as yidden, chasidim and future leaders.
(9/1/2015 9:20:18 PM)
21
water fountain
remember the good old days when we were in hs , we had to bring a water bottle to school, what a big deal....
(9/1/2015 9:37:37 PM)
22
Trailblazing board?
How can an all-girls school be called trailblazing in any way, when in 2015, in Brooklyn, the all-girls school doesn't have a single female on the Board. That's like when anti-semitism councils are created and don't include any Jews.
(9/1/2015 9:39:36 PM)
23
bais rivka parent -
1. All girls school needs 2 woman on the board at absolute minimum

2. Benjy and Rabbi Minkowicz are irreplaceable in the formula they have come up with to run registration and attend to the needs of the many programs. In writing such a press release please elaborate how new board intends to help. We, the parent body don't want to see a change in the administrative staff at 310 crown street. Historically it backfires and causes harm to us as parents.

Thank you
(9/1/2015 9:48:39 PM)
24
Excellent Board
To those that complain that there are no women on the board: this board is not to implement tznius guideline etc. rather enforce a financial foothold that the school can continue to function.
(9/1/2015 9:51:47 PM)
25
#10
A school with parents who are unable to pay the actual cost of educating their children should do more fundraising. How about a two million dollars CHARIDY campaign and have every alumni as well as parents donate and get three other friends or relatives to donate. Women are great fundraisers. Who can refuse a woman? Let's bring Bais Rivka to new levels of support. Money solves most problems especially when you have mesiras nefeshdike teachers. Go Bais Rivka Go
(9/1/2015 9:52:22 PM)
26
Bais rivka is in good hands
Dr Chaim Botwinick is a great addition. After working with him for many years I can confidently say that there will be some great changes
(9/1/2015 10:04:35 PM)
27
Familiar face
I see some board members that were previously part of U.L.Y. Are they working on scholarships for those that can't afford to pay in full or are they just throwing out the kids???
(9/1/2015 10:15:55 PM)
28
i feel bad for you all
move OUT of ch to a place you can afford a house! for example: new haven, detroit, chicago, texas, certain areas of florida, etc.
so much messed up things going down in CH and so many politics
i will NOT be raising my children there
(9/1/2015 10:19:47 PM)
29
WHERE ARE THE WOMAN?
why do i not see a single female name up there?? RIDICULOUS
(9/1/2015 10:20:58 PM)
30
David Sputz, A history of Emes & Transparency.
I salute the wise choice of a true "Yekeh". I had the merit of learning by his father, he is a 2nd Generation a good Viennese business head. A real dedicated community servant.

A fan from the chartered bus days:)
(9/1/2015 10:23:53 PM)
31
yay
cant wait for school start!!!!!!!!
(9/1/2015 10:24:37 PM)
32
crown heights
My daughter just told me that there is only ONE water fountain and hardly any water comes out. Water bottles are for emergency. WE need water machines, coolers,fountains etc.to keep their mind working.
I graduated Bais rivkah also.

please make proper bathrooms that are new,privacy doors and NOT a smelly hangout, like in my days and now also
(9/1/2015 10:25:53 PM)
33
Meir
BS"D
sorry to throw water on the subject
other than Rabbis M & S a board should consist solely and only of people who commit to give $ 100.000 and by and large that should be their only function
to sit on the Board of the Rabbinical College in Morristown NJ requires a financial commitment
a board is not needed to tell parents you need to pay more
a hint of their intentions is the hiring of Dr. B. Is a brand new illustrious board needed for this
BR is a fine school-only one thing is missing-MONEY
(9/1/2015 10:35:15 PM)
34
Hatzlach Dr. Botwinick!
I worked with Dr. Botwinick for two years, he is a wonderful asset to any school!!! Looking forward to hearing great things!
Wishing you all the best!
(9/1/2015 10:40:33 PM)
35
to #10
Perhaps this is a fundraising board and that's why it's men. The school principals and teachers are women. Also, Tznius may be an issue with a co-ed board, consider that!
(9/1/2015 10:50:21 PM)
36
Sima
Time for people to stop trying to live up to the jones and start paying!! How do u expect to hire good teachers if u don't pay
(9/1/2015 10:53:41 PM)
37
good choice
Dovid sputz is truly devoted to the rebbe's inyunim
(9/1/2015 11:00:29 PM)
38
#33
Umm. Did you take a look at the names of the board members? I believe that's the idea. money!!!
(9/1/2015 11:41:21 PM)
39
BR alumnus
The problem is that so many of beis Rivkah alumni do not have good memories and therefore feel no loyalty or desire to give back. I went to br, had a great social life, but I do not have fond memories of the hanhala and much of the teachers at all. Sad to say. And I refused to send my own daughters there. I would donate if I saw significant change, otherwise, if it stays the same as when I was there (15 years ago) I would not want to give my hard earned money there. Unfortunately, a lot of (the bad) stuff have remained exactly as is for the past 20+ years.
(9/1/2015 11:52:07 PM)
40
#32
I would love to see how much tuition you pay. And if so maybe put in a little donation instead of sitting and complainin.
A PROUD PARENT!
(9/1/2015 11:58:13 PM)
41
Tznius
To all those individuals complaining about why there are no women on the board, did it ever occur to you that it is not tzniusdik for men and women to work together on a board. Just like hatzolah wouldn't accept females. Let's allow the men to bring in the money for the school. It would be nice if a group of women would volunteer to form a committee to improve in areas of tznius and halachos for our Bais Rivkah girls.
(9/2/2015 12:00:03 AM)
42
To Meir
Have to disagree with you on this. large financial contributions does not need to be a requirement to sitting on the board. Often a person has experience that is worth more than a one time contribution. A board should be a collection of individuals who collectively posses skills and experience that can help the school structure their finances properly and run the school efficiently, as well as implement new fundraising techniques. Obviously it goes wihout saying that if board members can and do contribute large financial sums , that is definitely a huge bonus.
(9/2/2015 12:16:07 AM)
43
Women
There is room for women. Bais rivka needs to broaden it's pta add pta activities . Please get involved if you are able to help.
(9/2/2015 1:14:16 AM)
44
The main question is..
Will there be transparency of funds and who are the board answerable to? It should be someone elected by the parents. This will regain the lost trust. Thank you.
(9/2/2015 3:18:50 AM)
45
Define a clear and coherent objective
Otherwise, the:

Parents
Administration
Teachers

Are all right, but their finger-pointing is mutually exclusive.
Transparency adds credibility, and competition is always good for the consumer. Make everyone involved accountable.
(9/2/2015 7:34:06 AM)
46
Why negative comments
Finally something good is happening, we should be applauding it and encouraging it. Instead so many negative comments. Yes I am not stupid I realize that things are not perfect and this could end up being good or not too good. But for those who haven't yet realized we live in a imperfect world, and when some long awaited change is finally happening we should encourage it.
But the ney sayers will always be there just to complain. So I say if you want to be negative Keep it to yourselves don't bring down the rest of the community with you.
I too havn't been happy the way Beis Rivka is running (my wife works there and my daughters learn there), that is why I'm so happy that there is some real effort for change. But when you change things you have to be careful not to change the good things otherwise it will backfire on you. I love crown Heights and aside for Eretz Yisroel I would never live anywhere else in the world. I've been there done that and I know, that withall our problems we have the best community. Period
(9/2/2015 7:43:39 AM)
47
BR 10th grader
Bais RIvkah has 3 water fountains on different floors, and a water cooler in elkas office. the only problem is the bathrooms are not so private i usually go to the first floor where there are no cracks. the teachers are okay some good some bad.. i think the first thing they should redo is the bathrooms!
(9/2/2015 7:55:53 AM)
48
yossi stern
I wish my good friend Dovid junik all the success to perform well for the school. It is a very tough job, and it will be impossible to please everyone. Therefore if I can share a few thoughts with you, I hope you will accept them. 1. What ever it takes, you must pay the teachers before the administrators. The admins are the last ones to get paid, as employees should always get paid first. 2. I definitely believe you should create a womens board to enhance the creative side of the needs of the girls, address the stresses of the female employees, and create additional corriculam for the school. (Baking, art, music etc). 3. There must be two paid employees brought on, one is a professional fundraiser / grantwriter, the second is a proffessional school administrator that can enfuse new energy, new ideas and correct many of the old and destrcutive habits that the school has been holding onto. I wish you the best!
(9/2/2015 8:33:08 AM)
49
Appreciation
As parents we appreciate all the hard work that is being done with mesiras nefesh throughout the year from the board, principals and everyone else.
Don't know who this should be addressed to,but it's heartbreaking when teachers who are so devoted and give so much of their koach, devotion , love and time come home and Can't pay their rent and other necessities .This has been going on for years! Why? I admire everyone who works there and doesn't want to leave the Rebbi's moised but it's heartbreaking as a mother to see your child struggling, turning to you for help and you're not in a position to help. Mother's of young children, with that being the only income! Salaries have not been paid in many months. Hope this will be solved now. Kesivah vachasima tovah!
(9/2/2015 8:54:29 AM)
50
itchik O.
Very lucky to have him Join!!
(9/2/2015 9:18:10 AM)
51
Kol hakovod!!!
To the board! They are extremely busy people who are volunteering to fix up the financial mess in basis Rivkah!so everyone should be thankful to them and stop complaining .... Let's just put positive input here! No one else stepped up to the plate.. Woman can form a seperate board and raise funds make auctions dinners etc! Like every other school in crown heights! Each person on this board are tzaddikim! They contribute a lot to our community ... Literally selfless acts of CHESED to soo many !!!! Wishing them lots of hatzlocha and brochos for their families for giving their own personal time to help the rebbes school!!
(9/2/2015 9:31:44 AM)
52
Larry
How about putting someone on the board who has an understanding and feeling towards parents who do not have the means.
(9/2/2015 9:39:06 AM)
53
Tuition?
To all those who say parents should start paying more tuition before they complain, has it occurred to you that we are not a wealthy community? Do you realize what percentage of income goes to tuition? There is a reason why public schools are free. We need someone who knows how to work on getting government funds going to private schools.
(9/2/2015 9:54:05 AM)
54
lsw
I think that some of the negative comments come from bitterness that some of those people's girls didnt get either, of professional treatment, or ahavas yisroel. The girls who are not so "put together" deserve....I won't even say....we all know what Torah says, and what the Rebbe wants. Therefore all I can say is that the new people should act as the Rebbe wants. Treat the girls with respect. If you can't help them, reach them or anything, just let them leave knowing you acted how you would want to have been treated, and how the Rebbe would want. and to #46, all I can say is....yes, talking positive is productive, but we have to account for bitterness for some very inappropriate treatment for many years. Get your act together, BR, Moshiach is counting on you
(9/2/2015 9:54:34 AM)
55
This board will improve the school
I don't doubt it, sounds like a great team. Looking forward to some changes finally.
(9/2/2015 11:47:37 AM)
56
A teacher of BR
We teachers work hours to prepare and we put all out strenght into our students so they can avhieve and be happy chassideshe children . BUT WHY DO WE NOT GET PAID!
And then at the end of the year right before school we get all the checks where were they before ? WHY do we have to struggle every month to pay for food and rent and for our kids clothes when we work so so hard . ATT BOARD PLEASE PAY US EVERY TWO WEEKS like in every school does . We greatly appreiciate your time and hard work .
(9/2/2015 12:11:44 PM)
57
To # 51
Totally agree, each one of them are "tzadikkim" i personally know one of these tzadikkim he just help me with my down payment on my house. May he be blessed a thousand times over.
(9/2/2015 1:57:55 PM)
58
Dovid Sputs and K Shemtov
Dovid Sputs and K Shemtov were extremely accommodating and understanding to me when it came to paying tuition, and they give so much of their time to BR, a big Thank You to both.
Yossi B.
(9/2/2015 3:15:12 PM)
59
This board will make the school even better!!!
especially because Dovid Junik is on it that will help greatly.
(9/2/2015 3:18:23 PM)
60
to 14
It sounds like you have no idea of what actually goes on in BR. Please do some research before making those types of comments. As far as hiring an educational consultant- please be sure he is here to make suggestions and improve oon what works, not simply criticize and tear things apart. And why is it ok for a MAN consultant to work with women administration and staff, and not women on the board? Because men just know better and should be in charge? Oh well...
(9/2/2015 4:48:59 PM)
61
Tznius on the board
thats rubbish that it wouldn't be tznius! So you can employ women but you can't have them on the board! If need be, have men sitting on one side and women on the other of the table!!! Merkos, JEM, JLI all employ women what's the difference. Excuses but of course, we are still living in the dark ages.
(9/2/2015 5:27:03 PM)
62
a Mom and former teacher in Bais Rivka
I don't usually write, but feel compelled to, because of the tone of some of these comments. I am a parent in BR, and a former teacher there.
Bais Rivka does not have very good PR, and there's lots of negative sentiment out there. My daughters have gotten an excellent education there, with some very dedicated,caring teachers. It is true that not every year, and every teacher, was exceptional, but, guess what, that happened with my sons' schools too! And, guess what, it happens in public schools too, and in modern orthodox, expensive schools too. All in all though, I do believe that they got a very good education, in some ways, better than that which my sons got.
And, my experience with the Hanhala, principals, in almost all the departments, was some very devoted, caring principals, who mean well, are extremely devoted, work tremendously hard, and are very unappreciated by the parent body. Someone here commented it is a thankless job. It is SO thankless -- I'm not sure how they have the fortitude to continue, except that they must believe in the cause of Jewish, Chassidishe education for our future generations so much, that they allow themselves to be in this thankless position.
So here's a public thank you to the administration and principals in Bais Rivka -- you do an amazing job!!
My dear fellow community members, if you want to improve things, offer your services, volunteer, don't be so critical. It just eats away at people who devote their lives for OUR children.
If you don't have time, or money, to help -- which is understandable, given our extremely busy lives, and B"H beautifully large families -- here's an easy thing to do. Send a note of appreciation to your children's teacher AND principal AND the school administration. How many of those letters do you think your child's principal gets a year? (My guess, one or two, sadly.. And not because they don't deserve it. And not even because you and I don't think they deserve it. We just don't take the time to do it).
But, how do you think your daughter's teacher/principal/administrator will feel if you do write that card? And, while we're at it, let's send thank you cards to this new VAAD who are stepping in to help pay up the beleaguered teacher body, that is working virtually without pay. If you think it's a good idea, please act on it today, before tomorrow gets too busy!
And, thank you for listening to me !
(9/2/2015 6:58:57 PM)
63
to 62
I'll say it now! Thank you! To the teachers, administration, and this new board- it is a big responsibility and a privilege to
(9/2/2015 9:43:43 PM)
64
Tznius
To all those individuals complaining about why there are no women on the board, did it ever occur to you that it is not tzniusdik for men and women to work together on a board. Just like hatzolah wouldn't accept females. Let's allow the men to bring in the money for the school. It would be nice if a group of women would volunteer to form a committee to improve in areas of tznius and halachos for our Bais Rivkah girls.
(9/2/2015 9:45:34 PM)
65
Tuition committee is important
Of course tuition is important to help pay for upkeep and salaries of school. But what about parents with several kids who only earn $35,000 a year and have high rent to pay. Why is the board so cold to their plight? You want the checks to bounce or you want them to pay the amount that will actually be cleared by the bank. Instead of sending them home and not accepting their checks, sponsor that families tuition. Don't take away food from their mouths and their children. It's easy to sit on the other side, while nicely padded, and reject what the parents could actually afford to pay. Do you really know what is going on in the other persons home? No!! So before you reject do your homework!!
(9/2/2015 10:46:35 PM)
66
Why people don't thank the principals.
I would wager to say that many many parents and students are very thankful and in awe of the dedicated work done by the administration, principals and teachers, day after day, week after week, year after year. They don't say so directly because they feel that it is not needed and doesn't makes a difference, that they "Shteyen hecher fun dem". They are too big to care about my little "thank you". It's "nerdy".
Perhaps we can learn from the Aibershter himself who wants us to say a Bracha 100 times a day: it's important to say thank you. 100 times a day. Even the aibershter appreciates it.
In this case: When in doubt, Shout it out!
Eliezer
(9/3/2015 11:17:28 AM)
67
Not one Baal Teshuva?
How many Baalei Teshuva over the years their time, effort and professional recommendations to improving Bais Rivkah's academic and spiritual outcomes only to be repeatedly rebuffed by the "old guard".
.
I wish the new board success, but I sincerely hope that, in addition, to fundraising success, it will also:

1. standardize principal and teacher proficiency,

2. will ensure that students are fluent in Hebrew and English

3. will provide a four year professional high school program for students who need to learn either all subjects or some (Limudei Kodesh and Limudei Chol) at a slower or alternative pace. The elementary school has done a very good job at this and to stop this support at the high school level undermines students' academic, spiritual and emotional growth.

2. raise the standard for secular studies both in content and teacher competency. These subjects should be taught in the light of Torah, especially Science.

3. will implement in the high school a variety of creative and intellectually stimulating clubs, in addition to Achos, that attract every student giving them an opportunity shinel and engage in wholesome activities. Production is not enough.

4. will implement a fresh and creative approach to transmit ting the beauty of Tznius within its Halachic parameters

And, finally, among other things: FIX the heating system in the high school. There were ways to receive grants to do so in the past but inexplicably the applications were never filled out. How can students learn when one side of the building is freezing in the winter and the other side is boiling hot.

Woe to the girl who asks to keep her coat on when she's in a classroom on the cold side!

The Bais Rivka sweaters are not warm, are made cheaply and are overpriced making it hard for parents to buy more than one. At the very least this ridiculous rule with the sweaters and the coats should be abolished.

Hatzlacha!
(9/7/2015 9:56:08 PM)
68
Some Excellent Points #67
My understanding is that they will be looking at these important issues as well.....rest assured.
(9/8/2015 9:44:58 AM)
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