Principals Blog

Balanced Approach to Sports


Dear Parents, 

Balance is the key to healthy living. The Rambam presents balanced living as an ideal in Hilchos Deios, and our Rebbe deepened our commitment to balance in light of chassidus starting from the Baal Shemtov. 

A famous teaching of the Baal Shemtov, quoted in HaYom Yom of 28 Shevat, is his interpretation of the posuk כי תראה חמור שונאך… עזוב תעזוב עמו, we should partner with our bodies in serving Hashem rather than crush them. 

The Rebbe encouraged healthy eating, sleeping, exercise, and playing ball to balance care for our bodies and neshomos.  The Rebbe oft-quoted teaching of the Maggid to his son, Avrohom Hamalach: אז א קליינע לעכעלע אין גוף גורם א גרויסע לאך אין דער נשמה. Can we state the importance of leading a balanced life more clearly? 

In this light, the cheder promotes sports and playing ball. However, interest and involvement in professional sports directly oppose our values. The Rebbe spoke and wrote about the national attitude to sports on many occasions and developed many angles on which it is irrational and seeded in outlandish things.  The Rebbe referred to it as idol worship and spoke about how placing physical achievement over academic achievement and giving students a scholarship for performance in sports turns humanity on its very head. 

From the device and access given from which students gain entry to sports all the way to sitting in class writing players' stats as an escape, it is harmful in so many ways that it would be impossible to list them all. 

We recognize that some parents are avid sports fans and that it is hard to push back when kids pressure you. There is also the little voice that says that it seems like a ‘kosher’ outlet. It is to this group of parents to which we write the following message. 

Occasionally, students become interested in Professional Sports as a hobby and are excited by the hype it offers, which we accept. However, It is important to note that for some cheder families, involvement in professional sports is shunned, and their value must be respected. In the mix of values at cheder, we always aim up. 

For families for whom professional sports is a positive outlet, we respect your choice. However, we feel a responsibility to share with you an aspect of involvement in Sports that shows obsessive tendencies, and we encourage you to bring balance into your child’s engagement with sports as well. 

For some students, validation from their friends is critically important. The emotional impact of students with low self-esteem seeking validation often comes to the surface in the Fifth Grade. Such students may look to professional sports as a method of gaining validation, which may lead them to obsess with it. 

Here is a list of some ways this may manifest. If you notice these behaviors in your child, please help them navigate through seeking validation through secondary areas that distract them from being the great child, Yid, and chossid they genuinely are.  

  • They repeat a play they saw with excitement as they see it as a way to gain a position in the group to be shared as soon as they see them before anyone else mentions it 
  • Push persistently to go to games and participate in sporting events 
  • Spend hours writing lists of teams and players and memorizing athletes stats 
  • Build a fantasy sports team and take the success and failure of their players personally 
  • They are interested in little else
  • Their commitment to Sports interests drives them to establish strong arguments to free them of any other responsibility so that you stop asking them to do anything and give them unlimited access.
  • I.e., “I learn all day,” so I won’t learn with you at home, “Now is me time,” “I don't learn at home,” only in school, “This is what everyone does,” So stop setting limiting expectations, etc. 

Giving our children a healthy sense of self that doesn’t depend on validation from others is at the top of every parents’ list. We give it to our children by noticing and praising their growth and maturity. Fathers play a key role in building up their children by praising with intensity and correcting gently, giving children responsibility, considering their opinions, and giving them a place around the table as they grow older. 

BH, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to impart good values to our children. In the eleventh year, they begin asserting their values. This is a time when, rather than sit back in amazement and watch how they have grown, we should stand alongside and help guide them in the years just before they begin asserting their independence, the teen years. 

Wishing you much nachas

Rabbi Levi Kaplan



Fifth Grade Transition


Dear Fifth Grade Parents, 

As our children mature, we hone our chinuch to match their needs.  During the fifth-grade year, the children’s conscious personalities begin budding, taking initiative, and holding the reins of their life choices. 

As this happens, our expectations for our children must shift from expecting obedience* to healthy and holy choices. Being an A student as a young child, shifts as they mature.  Some adjusted expectations become crucial for the bridge into the preteen years. 

A very young child may be dressed by their parents. When a young boy comes to school with clothing that isn’t in line with our values, it is likely a choice of his parents; it is the parent's choices being filtered down. A fifth grader begins to assert his identity and may ask his parents and even demand new items in his wardrobe. 

The overall awareness of where they fit in the social hierarchy of their class may begin to put pressure on them, and they may take on external behaviors in order to help them reposition themselves in the group.  While the healthy child isn’t dependent on others to provide him with a healthy sense of self, our parenting efforts include speaking to our children about emotional self-efficacy. 

One of the areas where social pressures come to the fore is with involvement in Professional Sports. It is important that we keep an eye on their involvement and make sure it isn’t over the top. While it may seem like no big deal, our experience shows that students begin replacing their learning with thinking about and discussing professional sports. 

Students may sit during class writing lists of professional teams or names of players and their stats. They may spend hours watching or listening to games, come to school exhausted, striving to present themselves among their friends as a sports buff. 

In addition to recognizing that Professional sports nowadays is riddled with debased messaging and values that are the antithesis of Yiddishkeit.  Our children’s motivation to place sports as the determination of their identity leads them to forget and push away their knowledge of Torah. Students may forget how to learn Mishnayos and Gemara faster than they learn new content. 

Imagine facing a deeply knowledgeable boy who mastered learning in lower grades suddenly becoming ignorant and alienated from Torah. This is a phenomenon that is becoming more and more prevalent and parents are often recruited by their children to advocate for a ‘kosher pastime without seeing the true impact is has on their children in the group. 

Please stay closely connected with your children’s social development, anticipate the changes, and help them lead emotionally healthy lives that are free to live out the vision of a chossid being a lamplighter and an influencer. As the Rebbe’s chassidim, we are raising our children to the Rebbe’s mandate that every chossid is a lamplighter and is charged with bringing light and positivity to his or her environment. 

Wishing you chassidishe nachas,

*The Torah places primacy on obedience as a path for a young child. The Frierdiker Rebbe describes this vividly in his own education when his father told him that 'why' isn't in our lexicon. 

Encouraging Homework in Sixth Grade


January 10, 17 Teves, 5783

Dear Sixth Grade Parent,

This letter is intended to inspire parents to encourage students to do homework.

In the development of children, there are age-specific stages. The uniqueness of the sixth-grade year is its combination of independence, intellectual growth, and free time.

To expand on this point, the logical skills of boys ages 11-12 develop greatly, their daily interactions begin to be experienced with elevated levels of emotional and psychological interpretation. In addition, individual identities begin to assert themselves.

The interests of our students at this stage of their life often informs their future. For many of our students, next year will be filled with bar mitzva preparation. The impact of the bar mitzva preparation remains for many weeks after the bar mitzva when they feel they need a break after the intense preparation. Once the pressures of bar mitzva preparation are over, they may reflect back on the interests of the sixth-grade year.

Many of our children's life-long interests are shaped during this year.  Learning should be a key interest and part of their identity. Your help is crucial in cultivating this interest. You should do everything you can to have your child learn at home. 

Learning at home can be defined as even a few minutes spent learning. Any area of Torah, in any language with or without a partner, over the phone, or listening to a shiur are all great ways to engage him in learning.  

The cheder asks you to make sure that your children spend a few minutes doing homework and effectively bringing Torah-learning into their lives, as the Torah is our life. כי הם חיינו.

Excuses to avoid learning at home after “a whole day of learning” should be dispensed. Find out just how much of the day was actually spent learning. 

Advocate for your child to integrate their personal life with their Torah life, the Cheder, and home. Help your child overcome the yetser horo of keeping learning out of his life when it is up to him. 

We cannot make decisions for what happens in your home. We can and do reward learning at home, and ask you to help get him there. 

Wishing you much hatzlocho in continuing to reach your child,

Rabbi Kaplan

One Dismissal on Transportation Days


Memo Regarding Transportation Days With One Dismissal

On rare occasions, all grades are dismissed at 4:10 on a day when transportation is provided. (While the Cheder submits our request for early dismissal along with the Cheder calendar, deviations from the daily routine aren’t accommodated. 

Here is list of days when all grades are dismissed at 4:10:

  • Yud Tes Kislev
  • Chanuka (not including zos Chanukah)
  • 10 Shevat
  • Lag Ba'omer 
  • On rare occasions, this may happen on other days.

When you receive a notification that all grades will be dismissed at 4:10 it should be understood that Cheder staff will try to place the older boys on the buss routes of the younger division. We are able to place almost all the older students on these routes. 

Carpooling students and students who don’t have a stop near their homes should arrange for early pickup. 

We do our best not to surprise you with an unexpected pickup. We ask that on the rare occasions when we do ask you to go out of your way, you make an arrangement for your child, even if it means having him go home with a friend where you can pick him up at a later time. 

Services and Agencies

The Cheder partners with various agencies to provide support and counseling for our students.  The impact of these services cannot be fully expressed.  The agencies and service providers have become more familiar with the cheder culture and with improved communication with the Rebbies, Teachers and the principles, the impact on the students has been revolutionary.


We provide three agencies the opportunity to work at cheder and collaborate closely with them. They offer a variety of services including: Play Therapy, Speech therapy, Talk Therapy, ABA and other supportive therapies. They are BAPS, Achieve, and Kids First. Each agency has a unique approach and their therapists.


Their contact information is: 

BAPS - 845-596-2271

Achieve Behavioral Health Intake Department

845-425-5252 ext. 330

Kids First - 845-425-2299


We encourage you to reach out to them if you feel your child is struggling emotionally, socially or with areas of executive function. 

Please reach out to these agencies to discuss the area of your concern and insurances they accept. We recommend keeping it in mind and bringing it up when meeting with your son’s Rebbi and/or teacher at PTC. 


Launch of Programs

Dear Parents,

The Cheder is pleased to share with you information about the following programs.

Tzivos Hashem registration is open. Registering your son in TH will provide him the opportunity to get credit for the ongoing missions, rise in rank and win prizes.

Our Tzivos Hashem program corresponds with many activities run throughout the year.  Sign up now for the early bird discount. When signing up chose Cheder Chabad Monsey Boys as your school. The sign-up link is provided here.

Chidon Grades Four and up can register for chidon. Go to Login into your account and click on the the blue Chidon Enroll button.

Mishnah Beyodi is a program that encourages talmidim to gain fluency and be competitive in select masechtos mishnayos. This program is for Grades 3-8 with two tracks. Mishnah beyodi also has a chidon

Cheder talmidim won the top levels last year in the National Program. Register Now! Last year was a success, and we have no doubt that this year will be even bigger and better!

Once you register, you will receive updates throughout the year, as well as FREE program materials.


Rabbi Kaplan
Rabbi Goldberg

Grade 8 Mesivtah Prep, Rebbies and ELA Program


28 Av, 5782

Dear Eighth Grade Parents,

We are in the final stages of setting up a successful year for our Eighth Graders. Kita Ches is a pivotal year in it being one side of the transition and connection to mesivtah.  The research stage for the mesivtos involves reaching out to cheder to find out about the talmidim and the cheder will be an important resource for you in making your decision and putting in place a plan A and Plan B for mesivtah

Eighth Grade is also a key year academically.  Mesivtah is a place where the dominant approach to learning is independent learning. The modal of the yeshiva takes shape in mesivtah. Talmidim spend many hours learning with a chavrusa in a beis medrash and are expected to come in with the skills, interest and motivation to learn on their own. 

Now that the boys are all bar mitzvah they can focus their learning exclusively on the goals of a yeshiva bochur; every talmid should strive to be able to successfully prepare Gemoro on their own (make a laining), to learn Chumash Rashi independently as well as mishnayos.

Rabbi Shimon Dubinksy will be teaching the grade all day with the exception of the 1:45-3:00 pm slot. During that time, the talmdim will daven minchah and we divided into groups to learn a sichah, Tanya and improve their ELA by writing essays on the Tanya they are learning. 

This unique approach was successfully launched last year and was very matzliach.  Last year, the students wrote essays on the first 11 perokim of Tanya. They were given instructions on how to write an essay, and the essays were graded. Talmidim enjoyed the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas on the Tanya and present the Alter Rebbe’s themes in a compelling way. 

More information about the groups will be shared IYH end of next week. Rabbi Dubinksy will be teaching the talmdim until 2:00PM on Wednesday and Thursday of this coming week. 

Orientation and First Week

Orientation - Date and Dress Code

Tuesday, 3 Elul, August 30 10 AM - 12 PM
Rebbies of first through eighth grades will be in their classrooms to greet your son and settle him in his desk and cubby. 
Pre-1-A orientation will take place on Wednesday, 4 Elul, August 31.

Timings for Pre-1-A are as follows:
Last names:
A-K 9:00-9:30
L-P 9:45-10:15
S-Z 10:30-11:00

Students are required to wear shoes that are inline with the Cheder dress code. Beyond the shoes or sneakers, students aren’t required to wear the Cheder uniform to orientation. See Cheder dress code

First week - dismissal times
Cheder will end at 2:00PM on Wednesday & Thursday, August 31 & September 1.
Friday, September 2nd, Cheder ends at 12:00PM.
Sunday, September 4th, 1:30 PM
Monday, 9 Elul, September 5, Cheder ends 4:10 PM for the younger grades and at 5:00 PM for grades 6-8. General Studies begins on Monday, Labor Day. 

Back to School Night - Save the Date
Back to school night for the Boys' Cheder will take place Tuesday, 10 Elul, Sep 6, 2022 at 7:30 PM. A detailed breakdown of the scheduling will be provided in the days leading up to BTSN.

Principals and Cheder Faculty Update

Update on Departments and Principals

As we prepare for the coming school year, we are expanding our infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of students ka”h. Towards this end, the principalship of the divisions is being restructured.
Rabbi Itkin’s primary focus will be the older grades 6-8, and Rabbi Kaplan’s primary area of focus will be Grades 1-5. 

Rabbi Silverstein and Rabbi Ezagui lead dismissal daily. 
We would also like to remind you about the ongoing support staff who are working with your children day to day:
Rabbi Simpson- bochen and Gemoro support 
Rabbi Kessler assesses all younger students individually on their kria skills. He also works with the Rebbies to help students learning Gemoro build their skills. 

Mendy Spater - Sports Coach and Recess Monitor
Now in his second year, we are planning a more robust approach to recess supervision and guided sports which will be announced to the talmidim in the first few weeks of cheder. 

Strengthening Sundays


Chazal instructs us to fortify areas of perceived weakness, i.e. applying stricter muktza rules on yom tov than on Shabbos. This guides us to strengthen and raise, rather than lower expectations in areas of weakness. 

At cheder chabad, our Sundays are exclusive to limmudei kodesh learning. Keeping in mind that some parents have Sundays off and would like to spend it with their children, cheder ends earlier accommodating this valuable connection. The cheder recognizes this connection between parents and children and contributing to children’s well-being thereby improving students’ ability to succeed in learning. 

Our experience is that parents being home and other factors, lead to weakened Sunday attendance. Weak attendance on one day reduces the value of learning in the students eyes and shifts the students' mindset from learning to babysitting, thus hindering the cheder’s overall ability to lead in education. 

A Rebbi sitting in a half empty classroom, reflecting on what to teach the disgruntled half remains in a jeopardized state going forward. 

Consider what it is like for a student to sit in a half empty classroom reflecting on his friends who must be out having fun, and thinking that whatever is learned today, will be repeated tomorrow. Is what they are learning a filler rather than learning a key part of the ongoing subjects.  

Our Rebbis structures their week in a way that Sundays are a critical part of the week, a key part that if missed is difficult to make up. Sundays are filled with special programming, tests, new beginnings in added tefilos, rules of dikduk, Chumash, Mishnayos and Gemoro. 

We are proud of the parents who go the extra mile and make sure their children attend every Sunday despite living far away and despite having Sunday school programming which makes it an extra hectic day. We encourage every parent to make this commitment and strengthen the Torah learning for all our students.  Your commitment will benefit your child on a daily basis, instilling in them the value and critical importance of every day. 

A day of absence is a missing building block in the wall that we erect for Hashem.  The Midrash in Shir Hashirim 8:9 explains: “אני חומה” – the Yidden say to Hashem “We will stand firm in mitzvot and good deeds like a wall”.

Eighth Grade Extracurricular Areas


The Eighth Grade Year at Cheder Chabad is truly a special year. Guided by the saying of chazal הכל הולך אחר החיתום, we strive to provide our talmidim with the greatest experience possible.

Extracurricular Learning

Minchas Chinuch shiur 

When it comes to learning Torah, we want to open horizons in Torah for our talmidim beyond the basic curriculum provided in chadorim and yeshivas. 

A weekly shiur in minchas chinuch, presenting a window into chakiro, investigation and the depth of pilpul, is now entering its third year. 

The shiur is given by the Rosh mesivtah, Rabbi Lustig shlita, who has a gift of presenting deep and complex ideas in an organized and clear way. Refreshments are served and the shiur is followed by Maariv. 

Chavrusa Program 

A unique opportunity is available to select talmidim of grades 7-8 to learn one on one with a kollel yungerman at Kollel Beis Levi Yitzchok funded by Cheder. There are certain conditions that must be met in order to be approved. A talmid must commit to learning at least twice a week and the learning must consist of an area of hosofoh. Students may not use the time to review cheder subjects.  Please contact Rabbi Kaplan if you are interested in hearing more about this program and if you would like your son to join. 

Programs and Speakers 

Throughout the year we bring mashpiim, bochurim shluchim and Rabbonim to farbreng, farher and give shiurim to the talmidim. These events may be connected to a special day on the Chabad calendar or with a milestone connected to the learning goals of the class.

Learning Chassidus 

The Eighth grade is the year when talmidim begin learning Tanya as a text based part of their curriculum and truly initiates their engagement with texts of chassidus. The goal for the year is to learn the first eleven perakim of Tanya. Talmidim are provided with a list of topics in each perek on which they are required to write an essay. Talmidim are instructed on various aspects of essay writing. The papers will be graded based on the instructors guidance and set expectations. 

Mesivtah Preparation

We encourage parents to begin actively looking into a mesivta for your son right after Chanuka.  Mesivta registration is unique in that every year is vastly different. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that no mesivta opens registration before Chanuka. 

When thinking about a mesivta keep in mind your child's social, academic, spiritual and material needs. Also keep in mind that you may not end up with your first choice and it is important to be open to other possibilities and not to stubbornly pursue a yeshiva in which he won’t be accepted.  We therefore encourage you to register your son in more than one mesivta. 

The application process may include documentation, an interview, written references from the Rebbi and principal as well as self assessments of your child. 

It is worthy to take a look at what mesivta applications ask so that you have a good understanding of what is expected from a Lubavticher bochur graduating Eighth Grade in the area of chitas, Rambam, Mikveh, shnaiim mikro, mivtzoim, and more


The funds for the graduation trip are raised by the students. All plans and trips must be done with the guidance and permission of the Rebbi. The cheder does not run the graduation trip. The principal will spend time with the class discussing various lessons learned from past experiences and suggesting how to share the responsibilities in the class so that things are organized and responsibilities shared and they don’t put too much on one student. 

It is common for students to express frustration at the pressure of what they need to get done. Please be empathetic, reassure them that everything will be okay, and send them back to their Rebbi and Principal in order to resolve their frustrations. Please do not get involved in planning or in serving in any role, treasure, accountant, travel agent, etc. in place of your son. 


The Eighth Graders fundraise towards their end of year trip. More will

Be shared about this after Tishri.


The graduation takes place on a Tuesday evening, in the week following the last day of school.  The class mothers enhance the event with some design, colors or balloons.  

The class appoints representatives who work closely with the menahel planning the program, speakers, presenters and features of the program. 

Students are encouraged but not compelled to speak 

It is appropriate to thank the Rebbies and teachers and to recognize unique, school related, achievements. 

Graduation Trips

Information will be forthcoming after yom Tom. 


A yearbook is a great way for the students to compile and retain positive memories about cheder and help them keep up their cheder friendships as they part ways and go to different mesivtos.  

The yearbook also provides the opportunities to families and friends to offer well-wishes to the graduating students in the form of print ads. 

The cheder website features a link that can be shared with family and friends where they can post and pay for their ads. 

The ad money is held in the Cheder account until the money is needed for the graduation trip.

Improved Communication - Blog

Communication Summer 2022

We hope you and your families are enjoying your summer and are gathering fresh koichos for an improved upcoming cheder year.   At cheder, we are reflecting, improvising, planning and preparing for an outstanding year. 

Last year’s updates and improvements were primarily in the area of learning, we added a curriculum update to our newsletter, implemented smaller learning groups in some grades, augmented our kria and ksiva resource room capacity, in depth classes by a visiting Rebbi, and added more assessments for more skills throughout the year. 

While we focus on one area, we don’t lose focus on the others and we continue raising the bar in all areas.

An area of focus this coming year will be on strengthening our chassidishe environment.  Creating an atmosphere requires focused and deliberate efforts that keep in mind an impact beyond the individual. We are looking forward to sharing these programs, events and programs with you. 

Good communication between the school and the parents is important to us.  Open communication between Cheder and the parents creates an optimal environment for our children to learn and grow.  Our experience has shown that when a child knows that the school and his parents are in close contact it brings out the best in them. Bringing out the best in our children is our goal. 

In improving our communication, we are adding two features to our website, a blog with messages and articles from the principals about the cheder’s goals and a contact form in which you can post a question to the principals which will be directed to the correct department head. 

Setting Up a Win Win


Dear Esteemed Parent Body,

I’d like to address a recurring issue that has come to my attention. I will preface by expressing the desire of the Cheder, on behalf of the melamdim, hanhala and faculty as a whole, to work together in partnership with you to better the chinuch and overall experiences of your children.  Our goal is, unequivocally, to educate and nurture each child collectively and individually, according to his ways, and to provide a safe and enriching Torah environment for your son to beezras Hashem flourish in.  I write this letter with the certainty that our goals are mutual.  We work for you, but in order for us to be mechanech your son in the most appropriate and effective way, we need your dedication, your partnership and most importantly your trust.

Throughout my time serving as menahel, I have seen the manner in which parents approach the school when an issue arises.  The parent often cleaves to their child’s perspective and fiercely leaps to their defense, without delving further into the issue.  This is a “lose-lose” for several reasons.  If the parent gets a concession from the school, the child learns to see the school as an adversary.  The school is also put in a hard place as it damages our relationship with our parent body, who we value and respect very much. If the parent does not get a concession from the school, the child sees them as having failed to protect them or meet their requests.

A child is not considered a kosher witness in front of a Beis Din for a reason.  Their stories sometimes become skewed and their perception is naturally colored by their own feelings and experiences.  This is a natural part of childhood.  Children should certainly be listened to, respected, and validated. There is no end to how often or how thoroughly we should hear and respect all of the thoughts, feelings and words of our children.. The point I am trying to make is that it is absolutely crucial to look deeper and gather more information pertinent to the situation.  Part of a productive working relationship between the Cheder and the parent body means working together as team mates and partners, and recognizing that we are on the same side, bound by a mutual goal.

We welcome your questions and very much appreciate open discussion.  The concerns of a child should be investigated, and problem solving is an important part of growth and propels us forward.  The issue arises when parents approach us on the offensive, seemingly uninterested in gathering more information, and placing full blame on a Rebbe or the school.  Let us work together as a school and parent body to present a unified front to our precious children.  It is to their benefit as well as ours.  Together, we can work together to improve your child’s experience.


Cheder Chabad Monsey


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