Snapshot: How ‘Mein Platz” Helps Every Child Find Their Place
Rabbi Duvid Aaron Frankel is approaching his tenth year of transforming lives. What began as a small initiative in his Monsey basement has become a phenomenon where so many parents want to send their children for after-school recreation and fun—and, most importantly, a place of safety, self-expression, and belonging.
Rockland Daily sat with Rabbi Frankel to hear about his journey, the difference he has made in so many lives, his passion for what he does, and his plans for the future.
Duvid Aaron Frankel was a Bobover child and bucher from Boro Park who “was thankfully given an extremely positive childhood, filled with opportunity for expression and fun,” he relates. “Mein Platz is the vehicle for me to bring these opportunities for the children of the next generation.”
“I had wonderful parents, Rebbeim, mashgichim, and maggidei shiurim,” he remembers, “and I also attended art and music classes that boosted me so much. I got married and moved to Monsey, and one day I returned home to see a neighbor banging nails into a piece of wood—and this set the wheels in my head spinning.”
In a short time, Rabbi Frankel began hosting small groups of children for recreational activities—but getting the word out to the right clientele proved a challenge. “For better or for worse, people today assume that every program is geared to special needs children, and when we began advertising the program, most of the calls we got were from special needs families. Regular boys need fun and stimulating extracurricular programming too!”
But slowly the word got out, and we began growing. “My wife made it clear that our basement could not host the program for much longer,” Reb Duvid laughs. “This turned out to be for the best, because we found a wonderful location on Edwin Place. After outgrowing that space, the program moved to the “Vibes” gym, where it continues to thrive.
Classes and programs are offered at Mein Platz—in art, music, woodworking, exercise, sports, swimming, and more—truly enabling the boys to find their unique and individual place of contentment and belonging. Rabbi Frankel illustrates this through a story that took place earlier that very day.
“During the day, I am a mentor for young bachurim, and I was sitting with a thirteen-year-old boy who is currently out of yeshiva. Were looking for ways to get him to go back. I said to him, ‘what do you do all day now that you’re not in yeshiva?’ He said, ‘I went to Mein Plotz, and I learned to play the guitar. This keeps me occupied and stimulated the entire day.’ The boy said.
“So, here’s a boy who is obviously struggling in this moment—but the skill that he acquired by us will quite possibly save his future,” Rabbi Frankel says. “But, again, a boy doesn’t need to be in crisis in order to deserve a positive, uplifting environment. One of Monsey’s most prominent school psychologists told me that we accomplish things in our programs that he cannot do in his practice—it’s simply a very powerful infusion for these children at a crucial point in their development.”
“Today, we have graduates who are getting married—establishing beautiful Torah’dig homes… When they meet me, they are so effusive in their thanks for the experience that we gave them during their childhood. We have parents who report that the entire atmosphere at home has changed since their son began attending Mein Plotz—and this is how we know that we are successful in our mission.”