Rekhasim, Israel - Chareidi Man Takes His Own Life After Daughter Isn’t Accepted By School
Rekhasim, Israel - Hours after the apparent suicide of a Sefardi man in Israel, an area rabbi is pointing the finger of blame at the administrators of a local Chareidi school, saying that it was their refusal to accept the deceased’s daughter into their institution that drove him to take his own life.
According to Israeli news site Kikar HaShabat, the niftar, who lived in the Rechasim settlement in Northern Israel, had just been advised yesterday morning that his daughter was not accepted into first grade. Rechasim has over 1,800 families and received a low ranking on the socio-economic scale by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Several individuals, including prominent community members and rabbis in the settlement, have accused the school of playing a part in the man’s death.
“Those who support this city cannot say that they bear no responsibility for the blood that was spilled here,” Rabbi Yosef Gigi, a rosh kollel in Rechasim, said during this morning’s emotionally charged funeral, targeting his remarks squarely at the school’s administration.
Grieving residents echoed the same sentiment, telling one member of the school’s administration that he played a role in yesterday’s tragedy by not doing his part to accommodate the family’s difficult financial situation.
“This is a very sad story,” said Nati Chayak, a Shas representative of the Rechasim community council. “For two months they tried to make arrangements for the daughter. He tried to use all of his connections to get her into the school and unfortunately, he did not succeed.”
The name of the deceased was not released but Chayak, who said he often worked with the father, described the story as “very painful.”
“He would take care of transportation in the yeshiva that I worked in and he worked for me steadily,” said Chayak. “This time he didn’t share his situation with me, unfortunately.”
According to Chayak, the father had been doing all that he could to get his daughter into school.
“He came with me to the administration and said to me, ‘Do you see Nati? Do you see the price? Do you see the situation? Where can we go with this?’”
A family member said that the father, a typically strong individual who preferred not to ask for favors from others, had been extremely distraught about the situation over Shabbos.
“Suddenly he found himself in a situation and he had no way to find a solution,” said Chayak.
Chayak said that it was clear that the school administrators did not appreciate the depths of the frustration felt by this father who was unable to pay his children’s tuition.
“An animal who finds itself in a desperate situation and is unable to protect his young and feels helpless will run away,” observed Chayak. “This was an escape of another kind when he found himself unable to cope with his difficult situation.”
As someone who has spoken with many families in difficult financial straits over the past two weeks, Chayak said that the desperation is unimaginable.
“The pain is so great and the ache is enormous,” said Chayak. “How can you even face a father who cries to you on the phone about his daughter’s plight? There are no words to console a father in that state and we don’t have the ability to ease that kind of heartache. There is nothing you can say to comfort a father who knows that his daughter will not be able to go to school.”
In its statement, the Rechasim council expressed both its sympathies and its innocence in the matter.
“We are overwhelmed and grieving from this terrible tragedy and we share in the grief of this family, one of the oldest and most important in our settlement. After hearing of this disaster, Rabbi Yitzchak Reich, head of the council, has agreed to provide the family with all of the required assistance. As for the charges that the school’s refusal to admit the daughter, she has been enrolled in the Chinuch Atzmai Ohr Chadash school in the settlement and her placement for the upcoming school year is guaranteed. The council plays no part in the acceptance policies of private schools in Rechasim and the Ministry of Education will only intervene if a child has no school placement at all.”
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