Shulamith Saga Grinds On

Staff Writer
Friday, October 23, 2009

Conflict continues at the embattled Shulamith School for Girls, the first Orthodox girls school in the nation, located in Brooklyn since 1930. Parents and the school, headed by Rabbi Moshe Zwick, have fought each other for more than a year over the school’s fate. Rabbi Zwick and the board hope to sell the Brooklyn building and use the profits to purchase a building for a new school, Bnot Shulamith, located in the Five Towns. But Brooklyn parents feel they are being lied to, and that the money they have invested in the Brooklyn building is being rerouted to Long Island, while the Brooklyn campus threatens to close. Additionally, the buyer is Joshua Guttman, who was a board member at Shulamith as recently as Jewish Theological Seminary 2008; his purchase would be in violation of self-dealing rules, according to Robert Tolchin, a lawyer filing suit on behalf of Shulamith parents. A hearing for a preliminary injunction, which would prohibit the school from selling the building or closing the school, is set for Sept. 9, according to Stuart Weichsel, another attorney and father at the school who is representing the parents in a lawsuit. Jacob Abilevitz, president of Derech HaTorah, Shulamith’s brother school in Brooklyn, has reportedly been appointed to also run the girls’ school for three years, after which the school’s future is unclear. Rabbi Zwick, according to sources, will move to the Long Island school. Tolchin said there have not been elections for the Brooklyn board in many years, but that the board and Rabbi Zwick, by canceling the annual dinner and refusing to recruit students, are trying to “maneuver the school in Brooklyn to a place where they can say it’s not viable. Reached at his office at Shulamith, Rabbi Zwick said he had “no comment about anything.”

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