Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Chaptzem Exclusive - A heartfelt plea from the Viener Yeshivah fifth grade teacher

Dear Parent,

As I am sure you are already aware I have been dismissed from my job for the action of posting a video of the class on the internet. As I tried to explain in the letter I sent out previously, this action was done with the intention of sending it to a close personal friend. The question rises for what business did I have sending a video of the class to a friend? I can only give one answer for this. I CARE. Many teachers take a teaching job for a set amount of hours and that’s work for them. I see teachers who care more about their job security than they are charged with educating. Worse, I even hear about teachers who physically abuse children and I hear about the teachers who go out of their way to limit the time they have with the kids. This is not me. I have made many personal sacrifices in order to live on the earnings I receive for being a 3 hour-per-day teacher and would do it again and again. Working with Tinokos Shel Bais Rabon is a very big privilege to me. A privilege that I have thanked the abeshter every day for bestowing upon me – even the difficult students.

Although I am not teaching mishnayos or gemara I have nachas as I see your son grow every day even in math skills and other similar subjects. In fact in some ways I feel responsible for the growth of each student as if he were my own son. I really care about these boys and receive a lot of pride and joy from each and every one of them. It is for that reason that I wanted to share with some close friends - a video of the kids – the kids that I work with every day. The kids that I just like you, the parents, receive nachas from their accomplishments. Kids that I care about with all my heart; Kids that I have invested so much time in energy over the past few months. On countless occasions I have taken large amounts of money out of my small pay check to make the education which these kids receive that much better… All this for one reason – because I CARE.

I realize that I made a big mistake by putting a video in a place which could potentially become public as it did through the unexpected malicious actions of a certain party. This was a major mistake on my part and I assure you it will never happen again! However, am I not entitled to a make an innocent error? Didn’t everyone make mistakes when they first began working that they are embarrassed about even to this day? Am I not human just like you? One of the biggest ideas in torah is that of Teshuva – to forgive. This is something that we teach in yeshiva to our children over and over again. So I ask you if Hashem can accept teshuva why is it so hard for a Yeshiva which teaches the same Torah which comes from Hashem to accept my teshuva. No harm was caused to the children, B”H.

I posted the video in a hard to find personal area on You Tube thinking it would be secure and only viewed by those I wanted to see it. I was never given a school policy manual or every told by anyone at the school that I could not take pictures. I took some pictures with the Principal watching me. If taking pictures during the break period was improper, I should have been told at the time or in before then rather than be dismissed after the fact.

Unfortunately because of the self-serving and malicious actions of a fellow Jew who didn’t care about the consequences to you, me or your children that this personal non-harmful video was found and made open to the public. If the internet website that made this whole incident public was so concerned about the video and protecting your privacy; why did it put the link to the video and why didn’t he make reference to all the other videos of yeshivas at recess, in class, etc. etc?

Instead of doing what is right by contacting the necessary people to correct the matter, he chose not only to embarrass me but also degrade the Yeshiva. As controversy built around this issue and it was publicly announced that I had been terminated, a number of people contacted me to let me know that this person has a history of using his web site to make problems for people so that his publicity will rise. One person sent me this note about the website where the story first appeared: “He (the web site creator) gets a kick out of messing with people’s lives. He sets his own rules, and refuses to answer to anyone. He lies and claims he has Rabbonim backing his website, it is completely not true he does not ask shailos about what he posts.” Another person wrote this comment: “(t)his posting of private videos is typical of that supposedly yeshivise blog He has ruined more innocent peoples lives with his blog, than uoj. He modus operandi is to "accidentally" allow a story/comment and then apologize about after many people have seen it. He at times will ignore pleas to remove something, and then claim he didn't see his email, and "someone else" moderates the comment. ALL LIES. Don't believe his claim everything he does is "al daas torah and consultation with halacha", nothing can be further from the truth.” Fortunately, there was one person who could see the forest through all the trees. This person wrote: “THE ONE THATS WRONG HERE IS ALL THE WEB SITES THAT POSTED THIS STORY WITH OUT CONTACTING THE YESHIVA FIRST.”

I want to share one last comment with you which was sent and posted on another website because the person referenced above could not except criticism and censored it from appearing on his web site. The commenter writes:
“The “xxxx” moderator does not let this response be posted, so I'm posting it here.
1) If the blogger (web site owner) would've handled this behind the scenes the yeshiva would not have been pressured to fire the teacher and this (matter) would've (gone) away quietly.
2) The videos can only be removed by the poster (referring to the teacher – me), why doesn't he thank the teacher for "cleaning up his mess", why does he pretend that somehow they are being removed on their own.
3) The action taken by the yeshiva should only be commended, if they were the right thing, obvious this blogger thinks firing the teacher was the right thing. Looks like this blogger has an agenda.”

If you choose to read some of the Jewish internet news web sites that opened this story up for public comment, you’ll find that the overwhelming majority of “blog” writers felt that it was improper for the Yeshiva to fire me (especially since I am a secular studies teacher and I was never given a policy manual or told that I couldn’t take pictures). While there are individuals who felt that the Yeshiva took the right action, a careful reading of these few comments indicates that they didn’t realize that the video of the kids at recess only became available to the public because the person involved with that website went into my private web area of You Tube and opened it for everyone in the world to see. I am sorry this occurred and never thought that anyone, especially a fellow yid, would do this to another Jew.

I ask you from the bottom of my heart – are you willing to allow this person to take advantage of my innocent mistake and ruin your child’s year? The children will lose more than anyone; they will have to start again with a new teacher (which every educator agrees is a terrible thing). I remembered how difficult it was when I was in school at that age when a teacher change occurred. Are you going to permit a teacher who has spent countless hours over the past few months completely devoted to your children’s education to just be thrown out the door without trying to do something to stop it?

If you fell that in any way I had a positive effect on your son over the past few months to please, Please, PLEASE take a few moments out of your busy life and contact the Yeshiva and/or the people who are on the Yeshiva board and tell them to reinstate me. I want to continue teaching your children and plead to you to convince the Yeshiva to accept my Teshuva and allow me to continue teaching your children. Let’s turn this unfortunate incident into a positive experience for your children and put into practice the middos you want them to learn from their Yeshiva years.


The Teacher

I can only have an opinion if I can see the video or someone can explain what's on that video.


I say, Give Him A Break!!


i have boy in the class. teacher is liked good by all students. he apologised he evn wrote his hole name he had enouf bishes. the school should take him back why should the kids suffer from a nother teacher who cant teach and doesnt care nothing.


to Anonymous : December 18, 2007 6:48 PM

i secnd that and maybe we should ALL contact the yeshiva via phone email or fax?




Again, no judgment about the situation, but as a secular studies teacher I would expect you to not write "could not except criticism" when the proper word would be "could not ACCEPT criticism".


The phone number to the Viener Yeshiva is 718-851-6462 please call and have the yeshiva reinstate the teacher, and let them give him a second chance.


no second chances when it comes to our kids in these times. This will be the lesson for everybody out there especially the teachers who have the tremendous job of nurturing the next generation of Klal Yisroel. THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU DO SOMETHING. YOU ARE A TEACHER OR A REBBI AND ONE STRIKE AND YOUR OUT.yes you must be perfect or close to it, or else get a job wwhere your mistake wont possibly impact little jewish children




especially for Teacher!!!!!!!!!!
GO "hi my name is ........!!!!!!!


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