NEW YORK (Rabbi Elchanan Poupko / VINNews) — As the New York Board of Regents implements changes in New York’s Yeshivas, we have seen an eruption of askanim, community leaders, rabbis, and others speaking out in support of Yeshivas and against outside intervention in those.

As someone whose family comes from Radin, I hear the echoes of the Chafetz Chaim’s strong opposition to changes made to traditional Yeshivas and Chadarim and believe that those seeking a broader education should be welcomed to do so in a different school of their choice. That being said, there is something appalling about this most recent campaign, namely: where was everyone when our kids truly needed us?

Where were the Lakewood askanim last summer when dozens of frum girls had no schools to go to? Why do we see insane stories like Sholom Rubashkin being the one getting two kids into school in Lakewood after parents could not do so for months? Where are all of those savvy askanim and people who reportedly speak for the community until now? What happens to those kids who don’t have someone like him step in for them?

Where are all of us when the most amazing bochurim and parents are repeatedly humiliated by menahalim when all they want is to get into a Yeshiva, pay full tuition, and sit and learn all day?

Where are all those (rightfully) going to war now with New York State courts and officials last year when those same courts were the only thing that stopped Bais Yaakov in Brooklyn from immorally and unlawfully removing girls whose parents began attending Reb Shaul Alter’s Kehilla?

Where are all of us when school and Yeshivas in Eretz Yisrael repeatedly and consistently reject, humiliate, and discriminate against Sephardic and Mizrachi children and their families? How are we so silent when their blood is spilled day after day, year after year?

Where is the emergency Asifa about the fact that one-third (!!!) of the people who grow up frum end up leaving our communities? Where is the emergency Asifa to make sure that those who can’t sit in Yeshiva all day or don’t fit the mold do not end up on the streets or treated with the mercilessness that our system treats them with? In fact, has anyone who has encountered the harshness of our system (most of us) ever stopped and asked what happens to those who can’t make the cut? How DO they manage?

Where are our Askanim and spokes people when the infamous Ya’asfeini organization targets families inside Gerr who decide to join R’ Shaul Alter’s community and convinces children to leave their parents? Why do we not hear more voices speaking out against the shameful practice of alienating parents from their children?

Where are we all when guys coming back from studying in Eretz Yisroel, wanting to get married and carry on with their lives, are rejected by some of the post-EY Yeshivas for random and arbitrary reasons???

Furthermore, as the NYT article elaborates on the horrifying reality of violence against kids in our Yeshivos, where is our communal outrage against the places where this does take place? How can we remain silent even in the face of a chashash that some mosdos are hurting our children? If they spoke to hundreds of people who say violence against our children is a reality, how can we just dismiss that? Why are we not all speaking out?

My hope is that from this storm, we see some calm and that the renewed interest in protecting Tinokos Shel Beis Rabban bring about care and concern for the most precious of all–our children–and not just an attempt to protect the system as it is.

The writer is an eleventh-generation rabbi, teacher and author. He has written Sacred Days on the Jewish Holidays, Poupko on the Parsha, and hundreds of articles published in five languages. He is a member of the executive committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.

As reported by VINnews