‘Yeshiva Heads: You Hold Lives in Your Hands’
Religious leaders and educators have issued a call for caution following the suggestion that a brutal slaying in Bnei Brak last month was linked to the victim’s expulsion from yeshiva.
The weekend edition of the Hebrew-language daily Yediot Aharonot included a letter from the victim’s aunt in which she stated that she had appealed to the head of his yeshiva to give him a second chance – but was turned down.
The aunt reportedly sent a letter to the yeshiva head urging him to accept her nephew as a student a second time, after he had been expelled, and warning that in the absence of yeshiva studies he was increasingly involved in “at risk” behavior.
She was quoted as having written, “When a person decides to establish a yeshiva or Talmud Torah [Torah school for boys – ed.], he should not be thinking only of the large sums of money he could earn from the business.”
Regarding problems with students, she wrote, “Don’t try to solve the problem by expelling the child from the institution. You know that thousands of former yeshiva students are going around with nothing to do.”
The aunt said that her nephew had “begged for a second chance, but the yeshiva principal did not agree.”
Hareidi-religious educators who spoke to Arutz Sheva said that if the report is true, it indicates a serious transgression.
“Yeshiva heads need to understand that they are dealing with people’s lives. Human souls are in their hands – no less,” they said.
The educators noted that venerated hareidi leader Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman “has been quoted so many times begging [yeshivas] not to throw young men out of yeshiva without doing all they can to keep them there, so that they don’t end up in an even worse situation.”
They said they seen many cases in recent years that indicate that many yeshiva heads are “light on the trigger.”
“Think one step forward,” they urged. “This isn’t child’s play, you’re playing with souls.”