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Letter: Midwinter Vacation | Zev Kotel

As a parent I find midwinter vacation upsetting. Yes, family time is a good thing, but there is a time and a place for everything. Of course, midwinter vacation has been around for a long time so nobody is being blamed for anything, but let’s take a step back for a minute and think about it.

·   For many parents, midwinter vacation presents a scheduling problem. Who is going to be home for the kids all day? It’s not so easy for everyone to take off from work or to hire babysitters.

·   The kids all want to go somewhere. When they get back to school, they listen to what the other kids did, and they don’t want to feel left out. All of that costs money and not everyone has it in their budget.

·   Most importantly, why is it OK to shut down the Torah learning of pure children for one or two or more days? Doesn’t that go against so much of what we are taught?

·   Finally, due to Covid, perhaps it’s better to avoid crowded places altogether. I hope nobody gets sick due to midwinter vacation.

Now, I’ve heard the argument that it’s time off for the teachers, but let’s be frank. Don’t think we don’t appreciate the teachers. We do. But the reality is that most people work all year without much vacation at all. Many even work on Chol Hamoed.

Teachers get summers off. Of course, the flip side is that Rebbeim work on Sundays and many take jobs in the summer too. But be it as it may, it’s not like other people are getting off either. But most importantly, the Torah and Tefillah of thousands of children is being halted without good cause. Perhaps a better idea is for schools to take the children on a trip. The kids would still have time to learn and daven much like the first month of summer, and the parents would not be pressed for time and money.

Once again, school midwinter vacations have been around for a long time. As such, this is more about highlighting the issue than faulting anyone. Hatzlacha to everyone.

(TLS welcomes your letters by submitting them to letters@thelakewoodscoop.com)

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There are 21 Comments to "Letter: Midwinter Vacation | Zev Kotel"

  • Simcha schreiber says:

    Something tells me that you don’t make such a good parent

    • A loving father says:

      Reb Yid – I work 365 days a year – less actual shabbos and yom tov. I don’t get to take off for nothing. I struggle really hard to make a living, and yes, my wife works too.
      Do you know how hard midwiter vacation is?? Do you understand what its like to have to pay double what I usually do, for just part of the day and still generally need to take off and lose pay for the 3 days so our teachers can have a break?
      I am happy you have an easy parnasa and easy life, and never struggle with the struggles every single other normal person in the world struggles with, but don’t decide others aren’t good parents because they aren’t wealthy due to a yirusha like you are.
      May hashem be michaper you for the tzaar you caused to me, the letter writer, and I am sure many others, trust me, you need the kapparah.

  • a yideshe tatte says:

    oish! who was watching your kids while you wrote this letter?
    and just one question;how many years removed are you from school?
    a hundred years or two hundred?

  • Two sides says:

    I hear what you’re saying. Consider this though- when Moshe Rabbeinu went out to see bnei yisrael working, he went to Pharoh and asked for a “day off”. He explained to Pharoh that the people would work much better and more efficiently if they had a break. Pharoh told Moshe to pick a day and he chose Shabbos bc it was important to the Avos. (When Bnei Yisrael got the mitzva of Shabbos in the midbar, it says “yismach Moshe b’matnas chelko”).

    The kids have been working hard. Their lives changed, classes sit in masks behind plexi glass day in, day out. Time off will leave them recharged. As far as other people going away, this is a PRICELESS opportunity to teach them sameach b’chelko. Each of us has things we are machmir in and things we are makil in. The same way someone else might have a pool in their yard and I don’t, or three cars, or a summer home, or carry on Shabbos where others don’t (I can go on and on but younget the idea), this is a huge chinuch chance to teach them your values.

    We have to stop smoothing the way for our children and teach resilience, ayin tova and instill our values regardless of what “yenem” is doing.

    Some people prepare their child for the path, others prepare the path for their child.

    Girls don’t have an inyan of bitul Torah and neither do under bar mitzva boys. And even older ones have bein hazmanim.

    I didn’t go to Florida until I was 20 even though a lot of classmates did and I B”H turned out fine. Did you see Dubai being advertised? Costa Rica? Puerto Rico? So others are going. I’m not, it’s not my derech. Be proud of who you are!!!!

  • My Take says:

    I think it is very bad that kids think they have to do something special because of peer pressure. Also unless you have one parent who doesn’t work, you need someone to watch the kids. Other than that I have nothing against vacation

  • Relax says:

    Part of being a parent is having to take off work when ur kids have off of school that’s just part of life. School was created to give the kids an education not to be a five day a week babysitter. And besides in lakewood the whole midwinter is all of Friday and Monday my relatives who live in all different out of town places have a whole week off and somehow in their towns no one complains it’s just an accepted part of the school schedule and they all figure out how to manage.

  • Fraidy says:

    Yawn. Same conversation every year. Just get over it and deal with the facts of life. You can’t always have things work out your way.

  • Horrified says:

    You are 100% right. You must be a working parent and a good parent who actually earns a parnassah. All the insulting comments must be written by people who don’t work and receive unearned income or they are teachers. If teachers want a salary, that would come from the tuition we pay. We can only afford tuition if we work and if we work we can’t take off so the teachers can go on vacation. The shocking part is this is like the goyishe politics where the hard working republicans fight to make a living while the democrats fight to stay at home and live off the hard working people. The difference is in politics the goyim fight with insults. I would expect that frum people would write respectful comments. This letter writer is struggling. If you b”h have the luxury of taking off and still earning money, you must be careful to respect the writer’s feelings.

  • Anonymous says:

    i am a rebbe for over 40 years, and a Haussler to. Still a person can only work so much till he needs a break of the steady schedule of a daily challenge of lively and needy children. couldn’t wait any longer to have this needed 2 day break(Friday & Sunday. Summer we are not off .We still need to pay our bills. There must be a real good and proven reason that these 2 days were an excepted part of the school calendar.

    • A father who works says:

      I work. Hard. Every day. I also need breaks. I get them – first days and last days yom tov, and shabbos.
      I also finance YOUR vacation by having to lose either mine or my wifes salary to watch my children.
      Yes, schools have alot of power. That’s the reason. And they can do what they want to appreciate the teachers – at the parents expense.
      I appreciate all you do, but understand – it makes life extremely difficult to those of us who work always. It also feels like a slap in the face when I hear about how you must have a vacation – at the expense of those who rarely, if ever, get one.

      • mayo says:

        no one works harder then rabbaiem and teachers. like i always say, if you think we have it so good then get into chinuch. but you cant because you don’t know to be a rebbe. like i don’t know to be a surgeon, but a surgeon makes six figures and works two days a week because he does a job that is considered a specialty. a job that others cant do. a job that he worked hard to get and have. rabbaim can do what you cant. rabbaim are special and unique at what they do. why should they be robbed of the perks that come along with the job. if you want all those days off and all the tons of money that comes with those chanukah and purim gifts and all the free tuition then do it your self…..but you cant

  • SG says:

    Do the public schools also have midwinter break?

  • Lkwd mom says:

    Lol SG- public schools were just off the wk of xmas and the wk of new years

  • Well Said says:

    Thank you, Letter writer for a point well said. Your points are well articulated and mopst of us feel your pain.
    I also want to say, I hurt for you from the comment of poster #1.
    It was below you to even respond to a comment like that.
    But I’ve learned over the years, and occasionally meeting some posters in person, someone who posts a comment like that is either trolling you or is, nebech, not well. Or stam a 10 year old kid on his Mommy’s phone. Just ignore it and move on.

  • A sensitive mother says:

    Why can’t someone just write his feelings without disgusting comments getting back to him. He is probably a wonderful father that cares for his kids just like any father does. Why can’t he feel this way? Keep quiet! Be nice and understanding and stop being bitter and negative! There should not be a “ Lakewood scoop” if everyone feels they can be so mean and hurtful on comments when we’re all just yidin trying to do what we are supposed to do. Not everyone has to be like you! Just be gentle and understanding to others. Please! Be nice!

  • mayo says:

    no one works harder then rabbaiem and teachers. like i always say, if you think we have it so good then get into chinuch. but you cant because you don’t know to be a rebbe. like i don’t know to be a surgeon, but a surgeon makes six figures and works two days a week because he does a job that is considered a specialty. a job that others cant do. a job that he worked hard to get and have. rabbaim can do what you cant. rabbaim are special and unique at what they do. why should they be robbed of the perks that come along with the job. if you want all those days off and all the tons of money that comes with those chanukah and purim gifts and all the free tuition then do it your self…..but you cant

  • A Yid says:

    What does this have to do with teachers????? Mid Winter break if for the kids!!!! Life can not be just about school. Life is about living!! Have you ever thought about kids that are not happy in school either socially or academically? Have ever heard of family time. Indeed every child needs a change of scenery, family time and wholesome experiences. How much money do you think creating preciouses childhood memories is worth?
    Change your attitude and embrace the job you signed on to when you had your first child, the job of being a parent. Its more important than your other jobs.
    If you made a pidyan Haben and the Cohen asked you מאי בעית טפי… did you answer I’ll take my bechor but dot if I have to spend money on raising him outside of school?

  • Moshe says:

    Very important points raised by the letter writer.

  • Logical yid says:

    um Mr letter writer dont write letters if you cant take a comments that dissent. And you are not doing your arguments any favors by resorting to emotional ones
    and please can everyone become a bit more manly and not feel like your kids have to go to Florida just because others are?
    i feel like there are no more gavrahs in klal yisroel….

  • byebyemiswintervac says:

    1000% no point in midwinter vacation kids dont need it they were just off a few days on chanuka a month ago and purim is in a month with pesach a few weeks after that i dont know why it still exists as a rebbi or teacher does being underpaid mean u need more vacation

  • Don't be foolish says:

    Yeshiva policies are not dictated by hard working parents (read those paying less than full tuition plus Gold page ad in the dinner journal). The parents who do set the policy are not concerned with the additional cost of midwinter vacation or any possible wages lost as a result of time taken off from work. This as well should answer the usual annual letter complaining about the tuition issue. If you can’t pay, they could care less about you.