It is approximately 9 weeks since we received the letter that our school, Ateres Tziporah was closing. It is now approximately 1 week into the school year.
The new school, Bais Yaakov of Ocean County looks like it will open at some point. However, at this time it is no more than a pipe dream. The much-hyped administrator removed himself from the situation. There is currently no administrator, no menaheles, no building, and no timeline.
The situation is as terrible as you might imagine. We watch girls in their school uniforms get on busses by every morning while my daughter has nowhere to go. In the beginning, she asked me every 15 minutes if we’ve heard back from any schools. She’s stopped asking me. She cries herself to sleep every night while I soothe her. No one is there to soothe me as I soak my pillow later. All she wants to know is what color her uniform is going to be, and if I think they will start by Monday.
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I have done everything humanly possible to try and get my daughter placed. I have begged, I have grovelled and I have humiliated myself. I have called in every favor that I could. However, at this point, I’ve given up. There is no one left to call or email. There is no one left to grovel in front of. Fathers, grown men are breaking down over this. And there is no end in sight.
We are stuck in an awful catch-22. There is no timeline for this new school, however knowing what we know, there is no logical way that it can open before Succos. On the other side, the schools refuse to budge. There are only about 120 girls without schools. They can easily be absorbed by other schools, but that is not happening.
I blame the callous school administrators and principals who will not budge. They will not agree to an interview. How they can sleep at night, on the tears of children, boggles my mind.
Keeping our children busy is impossible. There is no structure. Most of us are 2 working parent homes. It is causing incredible stress. While everyone has seemingly moved on from us as yesterday’s news, we’ve literally begun the battle for our daughter’s souls. It is at times an hour-by-hour battle and it is real. This is not hyperbole.
A while back there was a takanah from the BMG Roshei yeshiva which is still in place. The takanah was that no school opens until all girls are placed. For some reason that was not enforced. This travesty could be solved in 2 days if all schools were forced to close until each beautiful and vulnerable neshama had a school to call their own.
As a father, I cannot describe the utter heartbreak and hopelessness that has become our lives. But somehow, aside from some dedicated askanim, the town has moved on. So as you go about your day-to-day lives and prepare for the Yom hadin, please understand in no uncertain terms, this is on you Lakewood.
An Ateres Tziporah parent
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of GreaterLakewood