Rabbi Ross. My wife & I have started reading this column weekly, and we enjoy it tremendously. We feel that you have a good grasp of what’s going on, and your advice is very helpful. You wrote a column last year about families in a specific location going away for mid-winter break, and I wanted to ask a bit further. We don’t go away since we both work, and logistically it won’t work out. Therefore, we have four children at home that are bored with “Nothing to do”. Any recommendation that won’t break the bank? It seems that many mid-winter camps are popping up, but we can’t afford or justify spending almost fifteen hundred dollars altogether, so our children shouldn’t be bored. Do the Yeshivos realize what they’re doing to us? What are your thoughts? Yanky – Flatbush
First of all, thank you for your kinds words. The column you’re referring to was written last January – you can click here to read it. Your question has two parts. First of all, you want to know what working parents should be doing with their children when they are home from school. Secondly, you are wondering why the Yeshivos give off.
To answer your first question, yes, there are ideas I can share with you. Most of them won’t break the bank, although they might take some time to set up.
However, a little time off isn’t a bad thing. It gives Rebbeim and teachers a chance to recharge their batteries. It also gives the kids a break from school, and time to unwind. It’s not easy on the parents all the time, but I’m pretty sure that Yeshivos have been giving this vacation for many years. As kids, you probably loved it, so it’s not really fair to complain now that it’s an inconvenience.
You should certainly not complain about it in front of your children. If you display disrespect towards the Yeshiva your children attend in front of them, you really can’t expect them to take it seriously. If it really bothers you, call up the Yeshiva and ask the Menahel or principal what the logic is.
Enjoy your vacation and have a good Shabbos!
12/28/2017 07:00:52 pm
What most impressive, is that you tell it like it is. When you were kids, you loved the vacation. Now you hate it? You can't have it both ways! Let your kids enjoy!
12/28/2017 07:07:49 pm
Many Yeshivos offer activities during Mid-winter vacation. If you tell the Yeshiva you can't afford it, I'm sure they'll work with you.
12/28/2017 07:12:17 pm
I know the person who asked the question. We discussed this, and he told me he was asking you. I am not surprised by your answer, although I wonder why you didn't include anything about Chavrusos or being Kovea Etim. Wouldn't that make sense for a Jewish Parenting tip?
12/28/2017 07:19:30 pm
It says in the e-mail vatichi instead of Vayichi. Auto Correct?
12/28/2017 07:21:17 pm
Mine says Vayichi. Anyway, great stuff. not a big fan of these vacations, but my kids are. Visiting grandparents is always a great idea.
12/28/2017 08:59:00 pm
It’s a fair question. Not the first part, but the second part. Why in the world do Yeshiva’s give off? There’s not reason! Parents don’t want it. We pay tuition for learning not days off!
Rivky & Tuvia Breuer
12/28/2017 09:02:14 pm
We did not have yeshiva week as kids, at least not where we came from, we had friday-mon/tues and maybe 1-2% of the kids went anywhere. The question is where/when/why did "Yeshiva" week become an additional Yom tov? One that requires you to get on an airplane to fulfill?
12/31/2017 10:10:29 pm
The Yeshiva where I went to HS half a century ago had a week exactly halfway through the school year. However, we did get any days off in December, including Chanukkah.
12/28/2017 09:05:04 pm
A few thoughts. I thought this was a great article. However it’s important to recognize why we really have vacation. It’s free days for the school. Saves money. Also, in response to the fellow who wanted learning, no ones stopping your kids from learning. If you need to see it written to do it, something’s a tad off.
A Retired Bubby and Zaidy
12/28/2017 09:09:30 pm
As always, Rabbi Ross delivers a wonderful response. We are both also confused about this vacation. It seems that Jewish people are OK with everything these days. 50 years ago, this would never have worked. Why don't all the parents on these "Group What Up Chats" decide to call out the Yeshivas?
12/28/2017 09:15:06 pm
First time commenter. I'm somewhat confused about this as well. It seems that the Yeshivas are under the impression that parents want these days off. Or it could be that if 1/3 the class takes off, it'll affect the learning. Who knows. The best way to find out is as Rabbi Ross says. Ask. It irks me when people discuss things instead of finding out the facts. It could also be that each yeshiva has different reasons.
12/31/2017 10:15:52 pm
I remember about 25 years ago when a moderate chareidi school gave off a day or two,essentially a long weekend during Yeshiva week, they received pressure from their machers to enable them to take the wealthy vacations . They of course switched to Yeshiva week which had started as a Modern Orthodox invention
12/28/2017 10:57:20 pm
Structure is key. That's the point I've been telling teachers for years. It's not about recess or being funny. It's having a structured classroom. Kids love structure, and that gives children a sense of security. Well written as usual.
12/28/2017 11:07:51 pm
This comment is really off topic. You mentioned to prepare in advance the transportation. These days people are so irresponsible that it wouldn't really matter. I've prepared events with carpools months in advance only to be canceled upon a day before the event. It's a different generation.
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Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.