Badatz Shares Initiative to Raise Community Tznius

In a letter signed by Harav Avrohom Osdoba and Harav Yosef Braun, they share a new initiative in collaboration with local schools to enhance tznius throughout the community.

By staff

In a public letter, signed by Harav Avrohom Osdoba and Harav Yosef Braun, they share a new initiative in collaboration with local schools to enhance tznius throughout the community.

In the letter, dated 6 Elul, they tell of a collaboration between the Badatz and community mosdos to improve the tznius of both students and their parents to raise the community as a whole.

They invite parents to help by encouraging the leadership of their children’s school to make sure there are proper policies in place:

“Tznius is a fundamental and vital aspect of the future of Jewish women and girls and of the Jewish nation at large. The critical aspect of proper tznius cannot be overestimated.

“Many a time, we have been approached by members of the community about this vital issue. Over the years the Beis Din has put in a lot of time and energy, encouraging various initiatives to ensure that the standards of tznius are properly maintained in our community.

“As servants of the community, and as the sole rabbinic authority of the entire community at large, and as such also of all the schools in the community, we are entrusted in ensuring that standards of Halacha are followed. It is our duty and responsibility to ensure the implementation of halachic standards as expected.

“Recently, we made an effort to get in touch with the local board members of various Jewish Girls High Schools in our community to review their tznius policies and ensure that standards of Torah are appropriately maintained.

“The Beis Din has put in significant effort in making these meetings. We prepared elaborate folders with a lot of details about the significance of this matter, and we distributed suggested policies. We have stated in these meetings that we want to hear feedback from the board members, and we are happy for them to “tweak” matters as needed. All we are asking is that board members inform us “what steps have been taken and will be taken in accordance with was discussed at the meeting”. But it should be a “substantial response”.

“It is self-understood that not every policy is suitable for every student or parent body. Different schools have different attitudes and there is indeed room for different approaches. However, the issue must be addressed seriously, as it is of critical importance to our community.

“One idea that came up at these meetings was vetting the parent body and only allowing parents which observe proper Torah standards to send kids to the school. Naturally, vetting a parent body is a delicate and serious matter and needs to be looked at seriously. However, with goodwill and a positive attitude, all can be achieved.

“We are pleased to say that most of the schools in our community really take this issue very seriously as should be, they have proper policies in place, and they work very hard to make sure these policies are appropriately enforced. We reviewed thoroughly the policies from the schools which fully cooperated with the Beis Din and generally found them to be satisfactory.

“We commend those schools who have taken the matter of tznius very seriously. Regarding those who are not yet on board, we can only say that at this stage, we’ve done everything we can in this matter. We are now referring the matter back to the community. We ask you to encourage your school to make sure there are proper policies in place as per Torah guidelines.

“With blessings of a Ksiva Vachasima Tova,”

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  1. It’s about time that something be done to improve the tznius in Crown Heights. Tznius is something which needs constant attention. Good that the Beis Din is doing this.

  2. Some people have this idea that Chabad means that parents can do whatever they want and we must always accept their children in our schools.

    That’s not true. We must continue to show them love, but that doesn’t mean that they belong in the same mosdos. There should be separate classes or schools for children from these not observant homes.

    There’s a major difference between nor frum families who respect our values and try to do more, and people from the community who dismiss our values. The first kind don’t have a negative effect on others, but the second do.

    1. The Rebbe specifically told Beis Rivka of Montreal to davka include those that came from less observant homes (including sphardim with different minhagim) in the regular Beis Rivka and NOT to make a seperate school for them.

      1. Those less observant homes of 30, 40, 50 years ago we not ANTI Torah values.
        Like many Sefardi communities around the world, their emunah was sky high, but their observance was not up to par.
        They did not consider themselves Sefardi-Lite, or reform, and they were proud of people who kept the mitzvos.

        It is very different when someone’s ideology goes against the community and wants everybody to dress and act like them. A kid in BR or OT who invites her/his pre-1A classmates for a birthday party and has them playing ball on the sidewalk without an eruv, serves chalav akum birthday cake, etc is not the same thing.

      2. The Rebbe said that because the general will of those sefaradim on that time was to do better and to be stronger in the tora and mitsvot.
        Today unfortunately the people that the rabonim are speaking on are not interested to do better yet.
        Of course we need to find a good way to have a good impact on them but meanwhile the situation doesn’t go better…

        1. Actually the principals of beis rivka in montreal were specifically worried that those students would have a negative influence on the “mainstream” families and the Rebbe said that instead those families will have a positive influence on the other families.

          So too, nowadays. Some of my children are in schools outside of crown heights where they have friends who eat chalav akum or mothers that dont dress tznius. My biggest nachas moment was listening to my daughter tell a friend from her class why its so important so say sefer hamitzvos every day and telling her that days sefer hamitzvos.

          The onus is on us as parents to vet our kids friends and for the friends that come from less frum backgrounds to teach our kids what our standards are and what they can and cant do/eat in their friends house. This is the ultimate preparation for real life as opposed to living in a bubble where everyone is the same frum as you.

          See kuntres chof beis shvat in the sicha explaining the jewelry that eliezer gave to rivka.

          1. I live out of town as well and I can tell you that there’s a big difference. Those with lower standards aren’t showing it off and are generally respectful of those who keep a higher standard.

  3. The Rebbe created the Badatz to address community issues. It’s years already that the tznius situation in Crown Heights is appalling, and it’s the talk of the entire frum world. The Badatz and the mosdos together have the power to change that. The mosdos need to not be afraid and stand by what is right.

  4. Can the honored Rabbis please please publish their guidelines?
    For someone reading this letter, how do they know what they need to improve? Or what policies to encourage thier schools to implement?

  5. There is no makor in divrei rabosenu nesiainu to punish children by not allowing them chinuch because if their parents behavior.

    On the contrary, the opposite approach is seen in all the sichos regarding chinuch, especially in America.

    1. This has nothing to do with punishment. If the parents ridicule and undermine the values you are teaching, and the child brings that to school, than the chinuch is counter productive. What we need is special mosdos catering to these families.

      1. It is most definitely a punishment.

        Notwithstanding the challenges that children from “non-tznius” families bring to school, every Jewish child, irrespective of the behavior of their parents deserves a place in a chassidishe and ehrlichr mossad chinuch.

        Denying *innocent children* that education because of their parents mistakes, is a punishment. It is not a punishment to the parent, it is a punishment to the child. It’s very sad to see the completely apathetic behavior towards these children, solely because of their parents’ nisyonis. In the previous generations, many grandparents of what are today prominent, chassidishe families had these same struggles, and instead of spurning them, the children were drawn in and given a proper chinuch. Strangely, I feel that these movements are not rooted in those that have a lubavitcher mesorah. VD”L. Ani ess nafshi hitzalti was never our path.

        Now, On the topic of a child disrupting a school and negatively influencing their classmates, that is an entirely different matter, which is judged on a child by child basis, and has nothing to do with their parents’ behavior. The most ehrliche yidden can r”l have the most opposite type children, which is why faith and prayer are a big part of raising chassidishe children.

        Ahavas yisroel is not just to give your seat on the bus and help someone with a suitcase, it is to welcome a spiritually abandoned child and gift them with the same education you would give to your children.

        1. You are clearly not a teacher on the ground. Please let the ones who are doing the chinuch decide was is best for their students.

    2. I don’t understand why people can’t recognize the difference between how to teach people who are uneducated and people who reject halacha. I’m not saying we should shun them ch”v, but we do need to realize that there is a difference…

  6. People will call a rov to ask a serious shailah in kashrus or taharas hamishpacha, yet when it comes to a communal issue that doesn’t sit well with them, they dismiss the rov as being hungarian/brisk/aloof/extreme and so on.

    Strong leadership is what our community is missing. And yes, sometimes it means setting guidelines and being strict. While this may not be the correct approach for a mashpia or friend, rabbonim and mosdos must set standards and guard them staunchly.

  7. The previous title re Rabbonim would benefit from rephrasing.

    On the contrary, b’chasdei Hashem we have merited to have stronger, more proactive Rabbanus in Crown Heights today, more than ever before. The ‘strong leadership’ problem is actually coming from within us, the left side – our yetzer horah.

    For some reason, tznius has turned into a monstrous issue, just at the time when we should be showing the world that we live with the Rebbe’s message, that the Geula is imminent, and we are therefore dressing to greet of royalty. Maybe that’s why the yetzer horah is so big. Let’s support each other rather than castigate, and help each other succeed with a good eye and positive words.

  8. Why on earth should we be taking the path of other communities to exclude kids from our schools because of their parents behaviors?

    I personally teach in a Mosad where we have many kids coming from perhaps more modern homes and their mothers may not dress so Tznius. But as positive Mechanchim we are able to get through to many of them too. Since when is it Shitas Chabad to be Merachek these kids. And ultimately, the kids development in Yiddishkeit can even have an effect on their parents.

    To me this approach is just going to push people further away. We need to rethink this and “spend time not focusing on what people aren’t doing, but what we can get people to do positive”. (This is a quote from the Rebbe I read/heard recently).

  9. Tznius is not the problem, it’s the symptom.

    The problem is excited involvement in olam hazeh, the indifference to halacha and darkei hachasidus, and priorities set by movie actors and tv hosts. These issues are the cause of many symptoms – such as improper dress – by both men and women.

    Enforcing standards in schools has no bearing on the real issue at hand and, by extension, probably won’t do much to solve the tznius issue in the general community.

    Regardless of the above, it is obviously important for schools to enforce their standards.

  10. אני לא מחסידי חב”ד אבל אוהב דברי והשקפות הרבי נ”ע, אבל מה שתמיה בעיני, ובעיני עולם החרדי, והוא קשיא גדולה, וזה מרחק כמה וכמה אנשים להתקרב לדברי הרבי, ואני מעיד את זה שראיתי את זה בחוש כמה פעמים אנשים שאינם חסידי חב”ד והיה להם התפעלות מהרבי והתחיל ללמוד חסידות וכו’ וכו’ ומיד שראה הצניעות בחב”ד עזב את הכל “כל הגדול מחבירו יצרו גדול ממנו” ודוק.

  11. as a mechanech, I was thinking about the טענה that it is not our שיטה to be מרחק especially innocent children, but I then realized what is the function of a school or a teacher, it should be an agent of the parents to give the chinuch that the parents should be giving but don’t have the time for. However if the parents openly oppose the school or teacher, or the values they try to impart, the teacher is no longer the parents agent or שליח and will have an extremely low chance at being mechanech that kid, so for that child’s sake it is critical that the child goes to a school and to teachers that the parents respect, that will give values that the parents will honor.

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