Jewish Schools, Pesach Programs Not Always Rushing To Return Money

So Jews who send their children to Jewish schools typically pay $20,000 a year and more. Now that these schools have shut down and are unlikely to re-open until the fall at the earliest, they are not rushing to return money. The schools argue that because they provide two hours a day of classes via zoom, they are entitled to keep their money as they retool for new times. Younger kids may get 30 minutes a day of Zoom instruction and the schools feel entitled to keep 100% of the tuition paid.

I expect that thousands of Orthodox parents will start homeschooling. A friend says: “The risk to the Jewish schools starts when enough families do it where it becomes normative, or more acceptable. Some Orthodox kids may start going to public schools. I remember in 1991 it was a BIG DEAL that Rabbi principal at Ramaz drove a Lexus. I imagine they all do now.”

This email is making the rounds in LA’s Orthodox community:

*Open Letter to the LA Orthodox Jewish Community.*

Dear all, I am a parent that sends my kids to … Now my wife is unemployed and we do not know when she will be getting back to work. [All] schools got together and wrote an email to all the parents why they cannot give parents a financial break during this school year. I will now quote parts of the email.

*”One of the ways that, unfortunately, we cannot assist with, is to grant mid-year discounts at this time.”*

*”Our challenges are exacerbated as we are continuing to employ and pay our teachers and staff, while our expenses are not expected to diminish in any material way.”*

These Rabbis have the audacity to openly say *”our expenses are not expected to diminish in any material way.”* While they continue to employ themselves and all the teachers, many of us parents have lost our jobs. Furthermore, many of these Rabbis on the list are getting paid huge salaries plus large benefits.

…Attached is the school tax return for [Maimonides] for the year 2017. Rabbi Wilk in 2017 brought in $372 thousand dollars plus benefits. This is not including his wife’s salary. Rabbi Kupfer’s salary and other administrators are also in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Why are these Rabbis and school administrators getting paid so much money? Why does Rabbi Wilk deserve such an exuberant amount of money that is coming directly from hard working families?

This doesn’t only go for Maimonides; this goes for Rabbi Einhorn at Yavneh who takes home $400k plus benefits. Rabbi Sufrin at YULA who takes home $300k plus benefits, Rabbi Siegel at Shalhevet and the Shalhevet administration are getting paid more than any other orthodox Jewish school in Los Angeles. Millions of dollars coming from hard working families and being distributed into the pockets of dozens of Rabbis and administrators, *some who don’t even have a proper college degree.*

These same Rabbis openly say they cannot provide families with any tuition cuts during a full blown pandemic that thousands of us are feeling financially. *SHAME ON THEM!!!* _Shame on the wealthy families who are supporting this broken system._

I will be the first to say, many of these Rabbis and administrators are hard working and have created a warm, loving and safe environment for our children. However, that doesn’t justify these salaries and large benefits that they are receiving. Jewish schools are *non-profit institutions,* funded by the community. These administrators are taking in CEO-level salaries, large benefits, with buy out contracts. These are NOT businesses that are raking in profits for goods and services that could justify these kinds of salaries.

Dear community members, the time has come, we must unite and bring change to this broken and corrupt system. It’s absolute ignorance and corruption that’s allowing the heads of these schools to take home such large salaries. Wealthy families must take this opportunity *NOW* on *STOPPING* full support for such a broken system. Jewish families are being robbed in the name of religion by allowing our schools to pay these Rabbis and administrators such large salaries.

Many will justify why they deserve hundreds of thousands of dollars. I heard all their bogus claims hundreds of times already. The heads of schools and administrators when we were all growing up lived modest lives with no demands from the community. This is not Loshon Hara as these Rabbis will claim. These are verifiable facts and all the tax returns are public knowledge. You can see some of the returns here:

…you can email your ideas at

yula boys 2018 tax return

yavneh 2018 tax return

yavneh 2014

ohr eliyahu 2011

maimonidies 2015

maimonides 2017 tax return

Administrators would respond that these parents don’t understand what it takes to run a business and that teachers and staff and administrators are working hard to switch over to online learning.

Pesach programs are all over the map in their refund policies. Some are refunding 100% and others are refunding 50%.

I’m told:

Pesach with Chef Flam 100%
Mendy Vim 100%
Aba Vacation Homes Orlando 100%
Vered Holidays 100%
Mountain Laurel Resort (Poconos) 100%
Le Voyage Travel 100%
Agudas Achim (Ohio)100%
Globekosher 100%
VIP Ram 100%
Split Croatia 100% minus 100 Euro per person
Pariente in Spain 80% (or 90% credit)
PKH 75%
Kosher Travelers 70% (+10% credit)
PGA 65% (or 100% next year)
Matza Fun Tours 65%
Perfect Pesach 60% (or 80% next year)
Elite Dimensions 55% (or 75% credit next year)
Diamond Club Cancun 50% (+20% credit next year)
Jeeves Management Co (80% travel credit)
Upscale Getaways San Diego 35% (+35% credit)
Destination Catskills
Leisure Time Tours
Alexander Hotel (Miami)
Pesach on the Mountain
Arizona Biltmore
Worldwide Kosher in South Carolina
Aryeh Tours
Pesach Time Tours
Pesach with Bordeaux
Majestic Retreats

From the Jewish Link NJ: “While some Passover programs are quickly refunding their customers who have canceled, other programs have yet to respond to customers, leaving them in the dark. Some programs are offering partial refunds and issuing a credit for next year’s Pesach. Other programs are trying to convert international vacations into domestic excursions within the United States instead. A majority of programs have yet to definitely say whether they will be canceling their program and, if they do, whether they will be issuing a full or partial refund.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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