Married and Navigating Jewish Life

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Parenting 101: Why are parents paying for their children’s lives after marriage? Our experience so far in apt hunting

with 15 comments

We are looking to move, as are several of our friends. We have outgrown our small but nice apartment and have been looking for a nice 2 or 3 bedroom to look into. We both have decent jobs, our parents do not support us and many of our friends do not have that luxury where their parents can help them even when they started off their marriage. Though we can be truthful in stating that the majority of our friends are not in Kollel so maybe that is why they aren’t being supported.

So as we have been to several apartments and really…we are kind of shocked. We didn’t go to many 2 bedrooms (they were too small) so we really looked heavily and went out of our way to check out 3 bedroom ones. When we got there we had been told that they had several people already looking at their apt (not surprising, 3 bedrooms are at a premium in Flatbush in the 1600 – 1800 dollar range) and that they were learning towards the following types of people…..drumroll…chasson and kallahs.

And not just chasson and kallahs, ones whose husbands were primarily in Kollel.

So – basically, we were looking at apartments for our growing family, have a nice steady income, can easily pay the rent – and we were being beaten out by Chasson and Kallahs who were living off of Kollel incomes and were going to take a 3 bedroom now.

Now, we don’t mind if you can afford a 3 bedroom in the beginning and choose to get it. It’s the next comments from these many landlords that got us upset.

‘Parents have come with them or when they have called parents they have been given assurances that the rent will be paid by them because they are helping their children’

Now – that is upsetting. Why?

In the state of the current economy and with people needing to realize that the current Kollel System is unable to function effectively due to the economy and that parents are being pressured more and more to support their children in a kollel lifestyle…it used to be a Kollel Lifestyle meant you did without and you made what you had work. It didn’t mean that Emma and Abba were able to hand you money every month to cover your expenses.

Ten to twenty years ago Kollel Life was very different. Back them people realized you need to save money, that your parents shouldnt be forced to support you. Now? It’s expected. And it’s disgusting.

How are these parents training their kids for the future? That they can rely on an unending support financial? That’s insane because it will end sometime in the future. Eventually these families will have to depend only on their income and then what? How will they pay the bills? Tuition? Rent? Food? Government assistance can only do so much people.

Doesn’t it make more sense to take a smaller apartment and save the money? Put it into high yield CD accounts? Start saving up for those large tuitions and to buy a house in the future?


Written by frombrooklyn

August 20, 2008 at 5:26 PM

15 Responses

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  1. I’m sorry, but as a kollel guy I have to say you got it wrong. Parents either give a sum of about 1000 dollars a month, or (if they have the financial capability) fully support the young couple. In those cases it’s the WORKING parents, not the kollel couple who make those major decisions. While in theory you are right, these couples don’t get the money to do with less and invest the rest. Most parents have money put away in investments for those children for the future. Furthermore, while you are correct about brooklyn where it is only a small percentage of higher end kollel couples with higher rents, here in lakewood, 95% of kollel couples live in one to two bedroom basement apartments with rents running from 700 to 825 with utilities included. So a post about kollel couples in general is not one about those who live in brooklyn.


    August 22, 2008 at 1:33 PM

  2. Um, yeah. I’m sorry ‘Yeshivish’ but that isn’t the case. We have been to Lakewood. We know people who live there. We know people who move there. The majority of the kollel couples do not live in basements.

    Also, no one forced these people to get married. You have a brain and you should make your own decisions. Allowing your parents to make them for you IS WRONG. The Gemara states that parents should not interfere with their child’s marriage. I count telling your children what to do, who to marry, and where to live as interference and its plain wrong.

    While ‘Working Parents’ might be okay with supporting their children IT IS NOT RIGHT. When you get married you should be able to support yourself. Getting help on occasion is one thing but being actively supported by your parents is too much.


    August 22, 2008 at 2:43 PM

  3. I can think of two dirrefent ways to be “dan l’kaf z’chus” a situation where a parent supports a kollel child. (I am not in kollel and I do not have children in kollel.):

    1. In the past I have given ma’aser money to help kollel couples who are “poor” (in halachic terms). I would expect that the money a parent uses to help support a child learning in kollel (assuming tat they are “poor” halachicly) can come from their ma’aser money. They have to give ma’aser anyway and we know (as the the Rambam writes) that one should first give tzedaka to relatives before giving to strangers.

    2. Similarly, why can’t we think of the p”parent supporting their child in kollel” as an ideal “Yissachar Zevulun” situation?


    August 22, 2008 at 2:55 PM

  4. [Oops, sorry that several typos (e.g., dirrefent, tat, p”parent) slipped through. I will try to do better next time.]


    August 22, 2008 at 2:57 PM

  5. It isn’t when they cannot support them forever.

    In the instance of Yissachar and Zevulun as long as the learning continued the financial support would. One tribe would support the other tribe. It was not dependent on one person or family to carry the load for another person or a family. It was a group effort.

    With these parents, many of them are having to work well beyond normal retirement age to be able to support their children like this. Many parents see others doing this and feel they have to live up to it. I know several parents who say they want their children to go into Kollel but know that they aren’t sure how long they can afford to help their children but they cannot say no because this is how they have been raised by themselves and the Yeshiva system.

    Just like the Ravs have supposedly banned expensive weddings, a ban against more than a certain amount a month being given to the children from the parents should be done.


    August 22, 2008 at 3:04 PM

  6. I don’t understand why you didn’t understand what I wrote. Simply put, almost all newly married couples in lakewood live in basements. Ask anyone who LIVES here and not someone who’s “been to” here… I’ll continue my response after shabbos…


    August 22, 2008 at 11:10 PM

  7. Actually, since we know of three couples who recently just got married and have moved to Lakewood they are not living in basements but living in houses.

    We didnt misunderstand you, we just know of facts that apparently you are not aware of, such as those 3 newly married couples that we know.


    August 24, 2008 at 2:04 AM

  8. Just curious, are these run-of-the mill kollel people who are gonna learn long term (meaning 10 years and up)?


    August 24, 2008 at 1:44 PM

  9. That is what they plan on doing. Wife works and the Husband learns.

    In either case, Lakewood isn’t the only kollel place. Many Kollel families live in NYC proper. Many of them are being given assistance to pay for their bills instead of having to figure how to live off what they make themselves.

    We know of families who have to borrow money from others every year. B”H Jews cannot charge Jews for borrowing money or else they would be in worse shape. Having to constantly juggle borrowed money and paying it back, tuition, bills, etc is horrible. And these are couples who were from the previous generation! We cannot imagine what will happen with the current crop when they lose their assistance from their parents.


    August 24, 2008 at 2:38 PM

  10. Well, those landlords that prefer kollelnicks over working people are idiots.

    Jacob da Jew

    August 25, 2008 at 1:04 AM

  11. Well we agree with that :). Hopefully we’ll find a nice apartment to shift into before Rosh Hashana.


    August 25, 2008 at 5:26 AM

  12. Yeshivish is correct, although I know of exceptions like your friends (such as myself).


    August 28, 2008 at 3:06 PM

  13. It’s more than exceptions, just people don’t speak about it. People who have the connections or the money or have the families or just the pure dumb luck get by easier over there in terms of housing.


    August 28, 2008 at 11:17 PM

  14. It makes sense to rent a 2+ bedroom apt right away. Many of these couples get pregnant right away. This way they dont have to have the pain and the expense of moving. so the extra amount of money they’re spending is actually a worthwhile investment!


    September 21, 2008 at 2:09 AM

  15. Hey! just discovered the blog — thought I’d comment on this.

    You know, it’s not just kollel couples for whom this is true — I have friends in the more MO community who get married while in college and their parents support them for quite some time as well. It’s not about whether or not the kollel lifestyle requires outside support, it’s also partially a generation gap! I know a lot of marriage-age people who expect parental support, kollelnicks or not.

    plonit almonit

    December 11, 2008 at 10:24 PM

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