Stamford, CT - Flatbush Rabbi: Forget Segulos, Give Up Pesach Hotels; Paying 'Melamdim' Inadequately Jeopardizes Our Children
Stamford, CT - In a passionate speech on Motzei Shabbos at the Agudah Convention in Stamford, Connecticut, a Brooklyn rabbi warned that the future of klal yisroel is in grave danger because of the dismal salaries paid to rabbeim.
Rabbi David Ozeri of Congregation Yad Yosef in Flatbush spoke eloquently for almost 35 minutes, noting that while the Jewish community has lavished attention on the sick, children at risk and the unaffiliated, those in chinuch are being neglected and are inadequately compensated for the invaluable services they provide.
Describing chinuch as “the most lofty field which the universe has to offer,” Rabbi Ozeri noted that with our children being exposed to unprecedented outside influences, quality rabbeim are more important than ever, yet many are leaving the field because they cannot support their families on the salaries that they receive.
Translating from Hebrew to English, Rabbi Ozeri quoted the Pele Yoetz who promised great rewards to those who ensure that rabbeim are paid appropriately.
“The baalei batim have to open up their eyes to these melamdim’s paranasa and whatever they are lacking,” read Rabbi Ozeri. “How should you pay them? Cash. Every week ... don’t worry about this great expense, greater is this mitzvah of ... supporting the melamdim… than the Beit Hamikdash. This mitzvah is capable of saving you from any tzara and it shall give you bracha.”
Rabbi Ozeri issued challenged everyone in attendance to find ways to provide more money to rabbeim, noting that just one year ago he spoke about the same topic and since that time, over $500,000 has been distributed to rabbeim in his community.
Rabbi Ozeri read an essay written by Rabbi Shimon Schwab who lamented that people find money to give for every segula while overlooking those who perform the greatest task of all: educating our children.
“Is this a way to treat the greatest heroes or our generations? We have turned them into schnorers ... It is time to wake up and smell the coffee. Let us give up the Pesach hotel just one year and use the dollars saved to give our children’s rabbeim and morahs their due.”
Noting that in a rare interview, Paul Reichmann Z’l once said that his greatest accomplishment had been teaching Torah to children in Morocco, Rabbi Ozeri concluded with a heartfelt admonition.
“I’m begging you,” said Rabbi Ozeri. “Take care of your melamdim or the next generation is in big trouble.”
This year marks the 93rd Agudah Convention, an annual event hosted by Agudath Israel of America designed to address and discuss various issues facing the Jewish community.
Watch below the full speech:
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