Showing posts with label YHS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label YHS. Show all posts

Friday, 26 January 2018

Panning the PANs–Part 4: The Consultation

And so with the background aside it is time to move on to the actual Consultation with a paragraph by paragraph analysis of the proposals.

This consultation sets out and explains the reasons why Yesodey Hatorah Girls School wishes to annex a Year 5 and Year 6 in September 2019 to its existing Secondary school and create a cross-phase school which would cater for students from Year 5 to Year 11.

This consultation sets out nothing of the sort. The true reason for expanding the school to year 5 and 6 is to exclude Beis Yakov primary school pupils and the 'reasons' set out in the document are at best disingenuous and at worst outright lies.

The primary reason behind this move would be to increase the number of students who attend the school in order to reach our Published Admission Number (PAN) of 455.

If this was indeed the ‘primary reason’ the most logical step would would be to set up a 6th form, especially as Be'er Miriam is already on the premises. Indeed, as the extract of the minutes below shows, Be’er Miriam was created to solve the problem of overcapacity’ in the first place.

Seminary minutes

But as was explained above, 6th form is when many girls in the community change schools and so were it to become state-aided the competition for places would be such that places would have to be allocated on an objective set of criteria. This is something YH and Pinter have shown themselves incapable of doing.

The only plausible ‘primary reason’ is to exclude Beis Yaakov primary school and to entrench Pinter power at YHS. These girls were mostly rejected when they applied to YH primary school and YHS cannot face the prospect of them joining 'his' secondary school. Although the 7 BY girls from year 6 who applied for admission in the next school year may be accepted (offers of places go out only in March) this consultation is to avoid a repeat next year and the year after and so on.

Context and Intent

Yesodey Hatorah was set up for the education of chareidi girls in years 7 to 11. The aim is to provide these girls with a robust and well-balanced education while maintaining the ethos and values that are central to their way of life. We now wish to give some of the younger students the same opportunity that their older sisters to receive a quality education building on the foundations set in the primary school.

This does not make sense at all unless it is suggesting that YH primary is not providing a satisfactory education. What it may mean is that the younger girls should receive the benefit of a free state-funded education just like their older sisters, though this is not what it says. If that is the meaning, why not apply for the primary school to join the state system as a primary school, especially as the same people are at the helm of both schools? That way the entire Yesodey Hatorah, primary and secondary, would be state aided and which would indeed be a huge benefit for the community.

When the school was built and received Voluntary Aid Status in 2005 the PAN was set at 450.

This figure was set by the 'Trustees' of the school and advertised (below) by Pinter himself in 2001.

YHS, founding advert

Why the PAN was set at this number is not clear. In the advert Pinter states ‘It is anticipated that the school will operate at its full capacity from September 2005.’ Yet we are now 17 years later and despite the community's high birth rate those numbers can still not be filled. Was it to justify being given the large site they now occupy and which others within the community were competing for? Would they have not been granted a £5m Government grant to build the school had the numbers been smaller? I do not know and I can only speculate.

The present PAN is 400 with an expected 80 students per year group. The governors’ admission policy agrees with this PAN namely of 80 students per year.

PAN, minutes

The PAN fluctuates according to the whims of the 'governors’ admissions policy'. As the minutes of 27 October 2010 show the ‘Governors’ considered reducing the PAN from 80 to 70 or 60. The then Headteacher Mrs Pinter complained about the ‘strain on resources’ and the PAN was reduced to 60! Yet now they have set the PAN at 80 and must open a Middle School to deal with this supposed overcapacity. There is no explanation as to why it was lower in the past and why it has now been raised which leads one to suspect that they have artificially increased the PAN to justify the creation of a Middle School.

At present there are just over 305 students or roll, and the school is therefore operating at well below the PAN that was originally set. This puts the school in a vulnerable position both vis a vis funding and with regard to mid-year admissions.

This so called 'risk' of funding has not materialised in the last decade and no explanation is given as to why action is suddenly necessary. YHS itself on its school information pages states: “In 2016-17 the grant was £6610. It is expected that both grants will remain the same for next few years”

School funding is determined by  complicated formula and some information can be found here. However, the basic funding is based on a per-pupil basis and the size of the school plays no relevance in this. As to 'vulnerability' on mid-year admissions, this is non-existent. If there are places then admit the pupils. Besides, the admission numbers have been well below the PAN and the PAN has been well below capacity since the school was established and none of these supposed ‘vulnerabilities’ have materialised.

It is therefore the governors and trustees intention to increase the numbers through adding two additional year groups to the existing infrastructure and the creation of a cross-phase school which would comprise of two distinct element’s: A middle school for Y5 - Y7 and an upper school for Y8 – Y11.

This does not follow. As stated above, a far more reasonable solution to the 'problem' is bringing the 'sem' in as a 6th form. They are already on the premises and most secondary schools have linked to them a 6th form. As to this 'middle school' of 2 years it would be a huge waste of resources essentially creating a primary school for just two-year groups. In addition, it would deprive those years of the leadership skills that are often fostered in the older years at primary school because these pupils will be the ‘babies’ of the secondary school rather than the grown-ups of the primary school. As to Middle Schools generally, see Wikipedia on the subject how they are a rare type of schools and that 90% of such schools have closed in recent years.

Current and Potential Admissions

At the moment the vast intake at YHSGS, but not the sole intake, is from the Yesodey Hatorah Primary Girls School.

This is true though it is YHS that is to blame for this. Admittedly, as was explained above, there is generally a low transfer rate in the area from primary schools to secondary schools and so the demand was never likely to be overwhelming. However, YHS has done absolutely nothing to try and reverse this effect. To the contrary, it makes great efforts to keep non-YH primary girls away:

  • YHS NEVER advertises. Repeat NEVER. The YH nursery advertises its admissions as does the primary school for boys and for girls but not the secondary school.

YHS Open Day appointments

  • YHS holds NO OPEN DAY. The Hackney Learning Trust prospectus (see above) simply states that viewing can be arranged by appointment. By contrast, YH Primary pupils are provided with an open day when only they are invited and which is not otherwise publicised.
  • YHS publishes NO PROSPECTUS for local distribution. An application pack in English, Yiddish and Hebrew has been published by this site rather than by the school itself.

YHS contact

  • YHS doesn’t even publish a contact email address on the admissions pages (see above). Those that know the trepidation with which local parents take the step of moving their children’s schools will understand why arranging an appointment or even making a phone call may be a step too far for many of them.
  • Only recently and after a complaint did YHS publish admission procedures online but the web address is not publicised anywhere, not even on its stationery, and so no one would know to visit the site.
  • No assistance is offered to the wider community with applications whereas Yesodey Hatorah primary school parents are told to return the applications to YHS who deal with the application on their behalf

The Admissions Code expressly prohibits schools in the public sector from naming a fee-paying school as a feeder school yet this is exactly what YHS does in practice by restricting publicity and skewering the admission criteria to frighten away potential applicants.

Based on existing students numbers in the Primary school the expected intake from this source indicates that the Secondary school can expect to remain well below the expected PAN for the foreseeable future.

This is not simply disingenuous but positively deceptive. The expectation they speak of is non-existent and there is nothing to suggest that the numbers will remain 'well below' the expected PAN. Firstly, as stated above, the PAN itself keeps on changing and so it may fall in the future and no explanation is given as why it is now 80 when it has been 60 in the past.

More to the point, YHS full well knows that there is a primary school on their doorstep called Beis Yaakov whose students must apply to YHS since that is the only school where, subject to availability, they are entitled to be admitted. It is also in YHS’s hands to increase the numbers by simply advertising the school to the local community, holding an open day, making potential applicants feel welcome and assisting in the application process. All of this is non-existent at the moment and instead stories abound of potential applicants being lied to when making initial enquiries.

While potentially we could get additional applications from students from other local chareidi primary schools this has mainly not been the case in the past, and this is unlikely to change.

How do they know this if they have never tired? Rather than taking the highly unusual step of a two-year Middle School situated within a secondary school, they should do what most schools do and try and increase the number of applicants.

Even if the school was to experience an unprecedented 20% increase in applications from other schools we would still be below PAN.

A 20% increase would be 'unprecedented' only because of the active measures currently being taken to suppress applicant numbers and restrict them to YH Primary. By publicising the school and with the addition of Beis Yakov the numbers could easily be filled.

Yesodey Hatorah Primary Girls Schools and its Relationship to the Secondary School

Currently most of our students come from the Yesodey Hatorah Primary Girls School all considerations on what is required to create a cross-phase school has been based on information provided by this entity, and in consultation with the SLT at the school. This is to ensure a smooth transition and to enable the Secondary School to best meet the needs of the students.

This is unlawful because YHS is treating YH Primary as a feeder school in all but name. Again, no mention is made of the likelihood of an entire class of Beis Yakov joining YHS every year from now onwards. This is not mere conjecture as the current Year 6 of Beis Yaakov has already applied and so they can see the likelihood of Beis Yakov applications being made in future years. The idea of 'consultation with the [Seniors Leadership Team]' at the primary school is a joke. It is Pinter talking to himself or to his brother at best.

It is important to note that the Yesodey Hatorah Primary School (YHPS) part of the Yesodey Hatorah School is a totally distinct organisation to the secondary school, and is in the independent sector. The school is housed in a totally separate campus, has its own governance structure and independent staffing and leadership teams. They also maintain completely independent finances and admission procedures. In common, both schools have a shared ethos with a common goal to provide a well-rounded and comprehensive education to charedi girls in and cater to the same target audience.

To call YH Primary a 'totally distinct organisation' is as blatant a lie as you’ll get. They are joined at the hip, at the head and everywhere in between. The entire Yesodey Hatorah Schools network is run by the Pinter family who divide the positions between them, name buildings after their own and adorn the walls with pictures of their illustrious forebears.

YHS Trust is the charity which runs YHS and its contact address is at Pinter’s home. Pinter is also the Principal of YHS. Yet the same Rabbi A Pinter was until recently the registered Headteacher of Yesodey Hatorah School, which is the formal name of Yesodey Hatorah Primary (see below).

YH primary head, A Pinter

The primary boys’ and girls’ schools are legally a single school (of which more later on) but in fact each school is separately run and occupies an entirely separate buildings some distance from the other(though the grounds at the rear of each school are connected). The boys school is run by the Chaim Pinter (A's brother) branch of the family while the girls’ schools, primary and secondary, are run by Abraham and daughters.

As anyone who has had the misfortune to have a rejection from YH Primary will know, all communications and decisions are then with and by Abraham Pinter and no one else. In 2000 at the Din Torah referred to in Part 2 when admissions to the primary school was the issue it was Abraham who represented the primary school. Similarly when there was an appeal on admissions at YHS the same A Pinter turned up (see below).

Pinter, appeal, minutes

As to the 'independent finances and admission procedures', this is about admissions so I'll leave finances alone for now. But as was explained earlier, by restricting admissions to YH Primary the admissions procedure at YHS is almost just a formality as the primary school acts as a de facto feeder to the secondary school.

As a consequence of the recent ruling in the appeals court, YHPS is currently undertaking a major overhaul to meet Government legislation for schools that provide an education for both girls and boys. In order to ensure full compliance the process of registering the school into two distinct entities, each to provide a single sex education, is currently underway and aims to be completed in the near future. This makes it an opportune time for them to consider changes to which Year groups they cater for. We have consulted the trustees at the primary school, and they are willing to seriously consider reducing their age limit, and providing an education only for the lower school, namely students from Y1-Y4. Transferring their Y5 and Y6 classes to the secondary school would free up valuable classroom space in that building.

This is the devil quoting law for his purposes. The consultation, legislation, registration and consideration is just a smoke screen and padding for something that is no more than a paper exercise if that and with no implications for the day-to-day running of the schools.

As explained above, the boys’ and girls’ schools already occupy separate buildings and are to all intents and purposes completely separate schools with different curricula, teachers, head teachers, admin offices and admission procedures. Anyone who knows anything about Chareidim will know that a boys and girls school of any age could not be differently run. Therefore, to talk of 'that building' in the singular is misleading since they are already two separate buildings. The 'valuable classroom space' is also a red herring since no classroom space will be gained or lost by the supposed 'two distinct entities' as they are already entirely distinct in all but name and have been so for many years.

The Government legislation' they talk about is not any new law but the recent Court of Appeal judgement that segregated schools breach the Equalities Act. The case related to a publicly funded school whereas YH Primary, boys and girls, are independent fee-paying schools. The effects of that ruling are still being worked out and this is just hiding behind jargon and laws to conceal their true intentions.

As was revealed by a senior member of YH Primary girls, the reason for splitting the boys and girls schools is the recent Ofsted report of YH Primary when it was found to be overall ‘Inadequate’. Apparently, it was the boys' school, to which journalists and politicians are never invited, that dragged down the girls' school. It is to ensure that in future inspections the primary girls school is judged on its own merits rather than lumped together with the ‘Inadequate’ boys' school that the boys and girls primary school is being split. However, for the purpose of this consultation they have an interest in talking down the primary school with no distinction between boys and girls so as to make the case for a new supposedly improved Middle School.

With this cooperation, creating a cross-phase school would not negatively impact the primary school. This will allow for a smooth transition and benefit the students currently in Years 5 and 6.

Losing Year 5 and 6 could have a negative impact as the younger classes will be deprived of being in the company of older girls. Moreover, they are not entitled to consider the the impact on YH primary only and the impact on Beis Yakov and other secondary school age children in the entire community must also be considered.

Staffing and School Timetable

The school will be divided into two distinct divisions with Years 5, 6 and 7 being a Middle School and Years 8 through 11 an Upper School. We envisage that the both the Middle and Upper School will be one entity, with one Headteacher responsible for both elements of the school. This alleviates the expense of employing an additional head teacher which will lead to economies of scale and will also ensure that there is one person who has a strategic overview of the full school.

As a Headteacher has been mentioned, it is worth noting that YH Secondary had until recently both a Principal and Headteacher occupied by Abraham Pinter and his late wife respectively. Within months of the passing of his wife their daughter relocated from Israel with her family to be appointed Headteacher despite her lack of qualifications and experience. Unsurprisingly, this did not work out and she left the school within a couple of years. The Principal however has remained in place throughout and the above does not state what role the Principal will play in the proposed new set up.

There have been no advertisements for a new Headteacher since and the post of Headteacher is currently occupied by an Acting Headteacher. There is then a separate 'Menaheles' which is a Headteacher for religious studies.

The question is whether a school which is incapable of hiring a truly independent Headteacher should be allowed an entirely new and unusual 'Middle School' and whether it will be capable of meeting the challenges. The price for the so called 'economies of scale', assuming they exist, may well be borne by the students who are being used as pawns in the rearranging of the Pinter decks.

Deputy Headteachers will be focussed and responsible for a specific division. They will also be the lead person on safeguarding issues with their designated division.

The Middle School will require a Key Stage Lead who has experience of primary schools, younger children, their curriculum etc. The Key Stage Leader will serve as the line manager for the class teachers, of which there will be one per class. It is anticipated that most of the Y5 and Y6 teachers will apply to the Secondary School for teaching positions and in most cases be offered positions in the Middle School. The staffing structure for the Upper School will remain much the same as the existing infrastructure, including different teachers for different subject.

The Middle School will have a different daily infrastructure to the Upper School, with the day split up into fewer lessons, and a different start and finish time for the school day. This will be more in line with the needs of Primary aged students, and the school day will end at 4.00pm. Break time and Lunch will take place at different times to the Upper School. The daily infrastructure in the Upper School will remain similar to the existing system.

Assemblies for each division will be held independently, although on occasion there will be whole school activities.

SLT will be expected to undertake continuous professional development (CPD) training in how to deal with primary aged students, with a specific emphasis on safeguarding and social and emotional development of younger pupils. In addition it will widen the career prospects for the staff and create more opportunities for areas of responsibility etc. The main advantage of this will be to the aid in retention of staff.

This would suggest that the 'economies of scale' they mention earlier is just a mirage as all of the above will need to be created from scratch and for which there is no current need in the existing YH Secondary school.

Meeting the Educational Needs of All Students

We are conscious that we do not have the existing provision to provide an education for Primary Students, and we have carefully researched how we will be able to deliver an excellent education to these students as well as maintaining excellent standards in the existing Secondary classes.

The Key Stage 2 Lead will be expected to attend LA Primary School meetings and CPD training on how to meet the Primary School national curriculum so that they can ensure that students are receiving an excellent education in their subject. The KS2 lead will also liaise with Heads of Department to ensure that students are able to transition smoothly from the Middle to Upper School.

Currently we maintain an excellent working relationship with the Primary School and have a good understanding of their curriculum and how it affects students’ learning once they transition to the Secondary School. In addition, our current Acting Headteacher was previously a Headteacher in a Primary School and she is well placed to assist on overseeing quality in education and to ensure that students at KS2 receive an appropriate and well-rounded education which is age appropriate.

Over the years we have been concerned that students are entering Secondary School without the necessary skills needed to achieve as well as we would expect.

Once again they resort to the trick of talking down their own primary school. If it is the case that YH Primary school girls are below par it would make a strong case for seeking students from other schools which may have better prepared them for secondary school.

The Secondary School has very high expectations of all its students. This is borne out by the standards reached at GCSE. This year analysis of our results gave us a P8 0.75 and A8 5.6 well above national averages of 0 and 4.5 respectively. These values put us in the top 5% according to progress and top 9% for attainment in the country.

The primary school’s SAT results show that the school is clearly underachieving in English. This is not unusual for independent schools in the borough, particularly when taking into consideration the fact that many students speak English as a second language. As the Primary School is privately funded there is little room for specialised teaching.

And yet more talking down of the primary school. They conveniently point to the primary school’s SAT’s result without disclosing the results for the distinct boys and girls schools within the primary school. The girls have good results and it is the boys who drag down the primary school’s results overall.

In the Secondary School most staff within the English department are either qualified with degrees in English or are working toward gaining the relevant qualifications.

A large number if not most of the teachers at YHS are teenagers who have no more qualifications than a few A-levels, if that. They leave school, attend sem for 2 years and are back teaching the girls with whom they shared a playground 2 years earlier. What are the ‘relevant qualifications’ they talk about? Finding a shidduch?

We therefore feel confident that should pupils transfer from the Primary School to the new Middle School they would receive specialist teaching in English which would result in better grades at KS2. Research has shown that how well students achieve at KS2 has an impact on their future grades and eventually career prospects.

Overall we are confident that that we can provide the same standard of education for the Middle School that we are currently providing for all of our students at YHSGHS.

‘Career prospects’ is a nice word for a school whose Principal has said on “Our experience is that the better educated girls turn out to be the most successful mothers. For us, that’s the most important role a woman plays”. But then they will say anything to suit any particular moment.

SEN & Safeguarding Provision

We have excellent SEN department that works closely with our middle leaders and senior staff to ensure that all students regardless of their ability are able to achieve. The earlier any interventions take place the more likely students will be able to achieve at KS2 and at GCSE.

The SEN department will be responsible for both the Middle and Upper Schools and will expand their number of staff. They will employ those with experience in primary education to meet the needs of a Middle School and the increased number of children on roll.

Staff that will be working with the younger children will be given dedicated training on meeting the differing social and emotional needs of younger students.

Yet more employment further bellying their claim to ‘economy of scale’.

Recreational Space, Building Capacity

The school has large play areas, and students in both divisions will have suitable access to recreational areas both indoors and outdoors.

Our current building is considered suitable for use by 450 students, and we do not expect to exceed this number. This means that we will not have to undertake any building works to absorb the additional students.

As any visitor to YHS will tell you, despite being granted a site free of charge and receiving a £5m grant for the impressive modern building they currently occupy, the grounds have been defaced almost from the start and continue to be with portacabins, extensions and huts. This is despite the school running at significant under capacity which is the supposed reason for the proposals in this consultation. Since the grounds have been reduced and in view of the additional grounds required for the younger pupils it is questionable whether the grounds are indeed suited for the proposed numbers and for the younger ages particularly with some of the building being occupied by Be’er Miriam.

Effect on other Schools

It is not anticipated that the merger would have any effect on any of the local schools, aside from Yesodey Hatorah Primary School. Yesodey Hatorah Girls Primary School will no longer have a Year 5 and Year 6. Discharging the school of two year groups will allow YHPS release value space and possibly give the school the opportunity to re-furbish some of their accommodation.

This is the most disgraceful and shameful lie of the lot. This will have an ENORMOUS EFFECT on Beis Yaakov as those girls will not have a secondary school to accept them at the end of their primary school because by then YH Middle/Secondary will be full. Even if it is argued that there will still be an admissions process to YHS, they could easily declare the Middle School as a feeder school thus giving the Middle School students priority. Alternatively, it could hold another ‘consultation’ in the future to convert into one large school.

The practical effect on Beis Yaakov is that their girls may be forced to apply to be admitted for Year 5 of the new YH Middle School as otherwise they stand no chance of a place at YHS at all. Beis Yakov will therefore have to close Years 5 and 6 as all the girls will by then have left. This in turn may lead to the school with only 4 years not being viable and closing. It will suit Pinter as he will have knocked out a competitor and an indirect challenger to his state-funded hegemony. But where does it leave the growing number of families without schools for their children because the community has decided to wash their hands of them? That this should be done with public funds is scandalous and shameful.

Quite separately, YH Primary is a private school and there is no reason why public funds should be used to cater for a handpicked number of families which have been hand-selected by Pinter to be admitted to the primary school. If the primary school requires space and refurbishment let them apply to become state-aided and raise their standards to the level this consultation is so eager for them to achieve.

Budget

Current data from Hackney would give an income of £5000 per primary student. With an intake of 130 students minimum this would generate an income of £650 000. The major costs will be staffing namely for six teachers, a Key Stage Leader, admin and SEN staff.

Note how this is the first times we are given actual numbers. Nowhere have we been told how many applicants they are actually receiving on average over the years, the likely numbers from the YH primary school in future years, the average number of applicants from other schools or the implications of the Beis Yaakov applicants. But now to show the numbers they will be drawing to the Middle School we are told 130 students.

They also appear to accept that the 'economies of scale' they mention earlier is non-existent as a whole new staff must be hired.

The other main outlay would be set-up costs, however it is expected that much of the furniture and resources would come from the primary school.

They have accidentally let their mask slip here. Earlier we were told “Yesodey Hatorah Primary School (YHPS) part of the Yesodey Hatorah School is a totally distinct organisation to the secondary school.” If that was true, on what basis is YHPS giving away furniture for 130 students to YHS? As they themselves shoe it is all one big pot and the entire consultation exercise and proposal are quite literally just rearranging the furniture.

An allowance has also been given for SEN as it is highly likely that there will be some pupils who will need extra support and that we will have to employ somebody with primary experience.

Yet more so called 'economies of scale'.

As the main infrastructure is well established there will be little additional costs to the day to day running of the school as the additional numbers will not impact the maintenance or administrative costs.

Any capital funds which the school may incur will be funded by the trustees.

Presumably to mean diverting money from the big black hole called the 'wedding hall'.

Alternative Proposals

The Governors and Trustees appreciate that they have to work with the PAN that has been set by Hackney.

No. It was set by the Trustees and advertised by Abraham Pinter himself as shown above and has fluctuated between 60 and 90. At that time it suited them to hike the numbers up and now it suits them to hike the numbers down to create space for a ‘Middle School’.

Consideration has been given to increasing the PAN through extending the age range at the upper end of the school through creating a sixth form with a Y12 and Y13. This option was not pursued as there appears to be little demand for such a 6th form within the community. There are already sufficient seminaries that presently meet the community’s needs for this age group.

Yet another blatant and shameful lie. There is a seminary in the very YHS building under the trusteeship of Abraham Pinter himself where of course he wields absolute indiscriminate power on admissions. As shown in the minutes above it was created for the very reason of over-capacity so why not turn that into a voluntary-aided 6th form? The answer is because Y12 is a key transfer stage between school and sem and the competition for admission from other schools would be such that he would not hold the keys. It would also not resolve the lurking 'danger' of Beis Yakov hordes trampling through 'his' school as of right rather than by his grace. To ‘remedy’ this an unheard of Middle School must be created to maintain his powerbase and exclude an entire school in the process.

Admission Arrangements 2019/20

A separate consultation is being conducted by Hackney Learning Trust in regards to admission arrangements for 2019-20. Details available on the following link https://www.learningtrust.co.uk/admissions/Pages/AdmissionsConsultation.aspx and also from the school office at 6 Egerton Road N16 6UA.

This will reflect the proposed age and PAN changes and the different entry points into the school.

Consultation Timetable Consultation period starts

Wednesday 20th December 2017

Consultation period ends

Wednesday 31st January 2018

NOTE THE DEADLINE!!!

Governors’ review of responses

Wednesday 14th February 2018

Governors final decision

Tuesday 13th March 2018

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Rav Schlesinger opposes rally

schlesinger asife

Hurrah for common sense! Finally someone is prepared to say what many are thinking and saying in shuls and mikves up and down the square mile that the event is an ego trip of our dear Rov and Rosh Hakohol and the expense, the invitees, the leaflets and the venue are simply to show that we can do everything that NY can. Except of course that NY has an eiruv.

It may be for the wrong reasons but how refreshing to see a contrarian view in these mad times. Reb Elyokum may also be concerned only with children, teens and koilel yungeleit rather than the event as a whole but then one must be mad to want to bring kids along in the first place. Incidentally, the Schlesingers are also the ones who won’t hold their events in YHS which suggests they know a lot more than we do.

Reb Elyokum: we’re all Briskers for a day!