Aug 29, 2011

Orot Banot With no place to learn?

Guest Post by a parent of an OROT student

With less than a week before the start of the school year, the Orot Banot school that was geared to its move to its new premises in Ramat Neriya, next to Orot Banim,  was informed by the mayor that he is not letting them move in. This is more complicated than it sounds since the old building in old Bet Shemesh on Rechov Herzl has already been handed over to the Bronco Weiss school.

According to a representative of Misrad Hachinuch that visited yesterday in the new campus, this area was zoned for the school Orot Banot by misrad Hachinuch. However, it still hinges on the city giving a “tofes ichlus” which is what the mayor has said he will not give. The reason provided by the mayor for this last minute decision is for the protection of the girls since the extremists who live nearby have threatened violence as they do not want girls (who are up to grade 6 – 11 years old!) to be so close to their homes.

Last night, the confrontations began when on the Orot banot side a small group of men/teens stayed the night, but the opposition group found a way into the campus as well. Today both sides are in the building facing off against each other.

The head of all of Shaalei Torah yesterday, Rav Rachamim Nisimi, said that they actually, informally, have polled the residents of the adjacent buildings and most of them have no problem with the school. Shaalei Torah has also already clarified that there are charedi teachers who work in the school and do not see this as a charedi – DL issue, but just with the extremists. It is said (will it happen?) that Charedim will be joining a protest tonight starting at 6:30 to keep orot in its slated building.

The nearby neighborhood of Nofei Aviv had opposite news foisted upon them simultaneously. After having thought that they won the battle to prove the illegality of placing the Sulam (charedi school for autistic boys) in a house on their street, the mayor personally overturned the official decision on Friday, claiming they have no other place for the school to be. I guess he is not worried about the extremists in the DL neighborhood making it dangerous for the boys to be there. I wonder if the mayor tried to find another place since the decision or did he plan this all along?


  1. Here is a link to an article and interview with spokesman for vaad horim:

  2. The folks of Aviv employ a double standard. They didnt want a "business" in their neighborhood but the real reason was it was a Chardei special needs school.

    Many Avivians run businesses out of their homes like day camps (which endanger kids walking and create dangerous traffic situations) but since the people running THOSE businesses are like them - not Chardei - the residents allow those businesses to slide. Good for the special needs school. Thumbs Down to the Nofei Aviv kehilla.

  3. The Bet Shemesh Taliban seems to be at it again!

  4. There are a few differences:
    1. A business that has appointments where one person comes at a time cannot be compared to a school that has buses and one taxi per teacher dropping off in the morning. It is a serious hazard.
    2. A school next door to a family with 2 babies under a year old that has no quiet all day to put their kids to sleep is much different
    3. a school means no one lives there which leads to the local bored kids breaking in on shabbat and playing on the mitkanim
    4. a school without regular residents harms the fabric of a small block where there is one less family living there
    5. Most businesses dont have patrons who throw rocks at the kids as they walk home from the bus (yes i know they are autistic but the rocks are still real)

  5. You never address the camp business. The camp creates traffic issues every morning and the people on the block are upset but they never did anything about it. You dont address this at all. Double Standard. As to other businesses they too make noise and have cars parking but again nobody cares since they are not Charadi. Double Standard. As to your claim the Sulam school kids threw rocks - I never heard anything about rocks being thrown at any Aviv kid. Your statement is outrageous. You imply bored Aviv kids "break in" and play in the Sulam School - that is the problem of the Sulam School. BTW where are the bored kids' parents? Oh another double standard. Its OK for anglos to break in. I know several Aviv residents on Yasmin and they never said anything about it. Do you live there and if so did you personally witness rock throwing? If not, repeating rumor is wrong.

  6. i dont know anything about those issues being debated by anonymous or David R.

    I would point out though the double standard of the mayor. he doesnt want to put a non-charedi school in or near a charedi neighborhood, but he has no problem putting charedi schools in non-charedi neighborhoods (like Sulam along with other schools)

  7. The issue of breaking into the school is actually our ethiopian neighbors across the street and not local aviv kids. yes, we are asking all the time where are the parents as they vandalize our shul and throw rocks at our kids...

    I also think that your claim about the camp is a good claim and there are definitely unhappy families there, but there is no comparison between that and zoning a school to be in a private house. Its illegal. We should not even have to debate it. And the iriya pays the rent to this owner for it.

    And yes, kids (girls) get spat at, debris thrown at them and name calling when they walk by.

  8. I really hate to see this debate overshadow the Orot issue, but I feel I have to comment about the Sulam issue:
    I personally never cared about the fact that the Sulam school was Charedi run. It's a great organization, and they perform a desperately needed function. But we were their neighbor, and we were seriously affected by their presence. There were many disturbing incidents while we was living there. I don't feel it's necessary to enumerate these; you've seen the complaints elsewhere.

    The owner of the house had previously rented that place to another school as a dorm. This wasn't a charedi school. We complained then, too, and we succeeded in getting the owner not to renew the lease. Clearly it wasn't a case of being prejudiced against Charedi.

    Having a school in a residential neighborhood is simply wrong. There's a flow to traffic that is disturbed, a flow to noise, and yes, a reduction in property values. The area isn't zoned for a school, the streets aren't constructed to accommodate the traffic, and the neighbors find it disturbing. We'd find it disturbing even if it were a normal school of any kind. But a school where kids make loud noises that isn't normal kid noise but constant wailing unsettles everyone.

    If you want to complain about other businesses, that's your prerogative. Talk to the Vaad.

  9. If this issue isnt proof that hashem luvs Am Yisroel, that I dont know what could be. Any deity based on reason would certainly destroy the occupants of beit Shemesh, given their propensity for pettiness and internecine loathing.
    It's Elul, guys!!! Come one!!!!

  10. To "Really":

    If you think these issues are petty, you don't understand the issues. The options are to simply roll over and let thugs run rampant or to take legal, non violent actions that might be effective.
    School starts in just a few days. These girls have to attend school someplace, and we all had every reason to believe the issues were all settled. The building is prepared; the doors even have names of teachers.

    Regarding your comment about "loathing": At the hafgana last night there was no violence, just a show of support. Barely any chanting, and there was even some music playing. I won't pretend there were NO hard feelings, but the sense I got wasn't "we hate the other side". It was "don't tread on me". The amount of disruption a last minute change will mean to these girls and their parents is hard to imagine.

    Regarding Sulam, if you read my earlier post, you'll see no evidence of "loathing" either. I got involved in complaints against the earlier non-family occupants of the house as well. The basis of the complaints are clearly not directed at one particular group. The complaints are "this is inappropriate for the area and degrades the quality of life of the residents unfairly".

    Saying "why can't we just all love each other" looks great on paper but ignores real issues.


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