Societal Values

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12 Responses

  1. DMZ says:

    So explain how this jives with the sudden “women can’t go to college” thing in Israel?

  2. alfie says:

    I don’t understand. Are you suggesting we give our money to Jewish schools in Israel because American values are bad?

  3. Barry says:

    And yet . . . as a Jewish community here in the United States we tend to pay our teachers poorly. There are of course exceptions, but as a generally rule teachers in our supplementary community or synagogue schools, or in the day schools are not paid remarkably well. Pay for teachers in schools in Israel may be even worse. This is not to say that remarkable men and women do not often do extraordinary jobs with our kids, but merely that we don’t emphasize their value in one concrete method where it counts.

  4. Lumpy Rutherford says:

    And yet . . . as a Jewish community here in the United States we tend to pay our teachers poorly.

    At my daughter’s school, the limudei kodesh teachers do not have college degrees and they only work a half day. I’m all for paying more, but I want highly educated teachers who work full-time.

    / donning asbestos suit
    // for the impending flaming

  5. Dina says:

    Yes, and yet…there is a streak of anti-education, or anti-intellectualism, in some sectors of the frum community, and I am referring to the aversion to secular learning, even where the content conforms to Torah ideals. Where I will support anyone’s assertion that learning Torah far outweighs the importance of secular knowledge, IMHO this does not mean that the study of science, history, the ability to express oneself and understand how people and societies function, has little to no value, which is the message that is transmitted to many of our youth in yeshivos ketana and mesivta. To my naive mind, this anti-education trend is just self-destructive. Ironically, it is most often the frum individuals with advanced degrees, such as in social work, psychology, etc., who are busy everyday helping to fix the victims of our society who are the products of social dysfunction of some sort or another.

  6. Nachum Lamm says:

    Is there any evidence that most Jewish kids enjoy being in school (and would ask for, say, uniforms over iPods) any more than any other kids?

  7. adam says:

    The other issue was every single girl that Oprah picked were dark
    skinned and black. Not one white girl was picked even though there are poor white girls in South Africa.

  8. FKM says:

    This week’s Hamodia Magazine actually decries the attitude of scorn and condescension to the secular subjects taught in said yeshiva ketanos and mesivta.
    It looks like the old UO stereotypes are slowly being replaced by the mainstream Chareidi’s own media. The times they are’a changin’.

  9. francine marino says:

    #7: that is incorrect. There were white girls selected. The reason that the overwhelming majority were black was the a pre-requisite that the applicants’ parents’ income be US$700 or less. Most of the impoverished in South Africa happen to be black.
    #3: In Israel teachers are currently the absolute lowest paid professionals of all. (there was a time when social workers enjoyed that dubious honor but no more.)

  10. Isaac says:

    The modest level of salaries for religious studies teachers in yeshivos is probably less a function of the value of religious studies in the community than it is the artificially enormous supply of religious studies teachers in relation to the demand that the yeshiva system churns out.

  11. Jacob Haller says:

    Adam, how do you know Oprah selected non-white students exclusively?

    Nachum, perhaps comparing dropout rates and conversely participation in academic-style extra-curricular activity indicates that there’s a wide gap between social/economic groups regarding the PRIORITIZATION of school over ephemeral and fleeting pleasures such as iPods and fashion. Measuring “enjoyment” is way too vague and nebulous but statistics can aid in indicating how a group accepts the responsibility of academic requirements and achievement.

    Dina’s comment how worldly/secular knowledge “has little to no value, which is the message that is transmitted to many of our youth in yeshivos ketana and mesivta”. My oldest is 7 and I’m a BT so I can’t comment either way from personal experience.

    Even if this comment is 100% accurate and covers all situations, I’m personally less stung over this issue since a personal experience which in this instance I’m able to comment on taught that perhaps the yeshivas are not necessarily less or more indoctrinating than other (l’havdil) educational facilities.

    My university experience indicated that what we “learn” is often at the discretion of the professor and the curriculum boards and it’s naive to assume that they are free of personal agendas and that as tenured professors are solely dedicated to facilitating a student’s ability to develop.

    Although the topic of South Africa was only peripherally related to this article, I’m reminded of a senior-level course in South African history where the professor did a remarkable job of presenting Winnie Mandela as an outright “Tsadeikes” when contemporaneously there was information indicating her involvement with gangsters, kidnapping, child abuse and a plethora of other various unmentionables.

    A point here is that while acknowledging that there are caveats with Charedi institutions regarding secular studies, one should take pause before going too far extolling the virtues of such material since it ultimately depends on the discretion of who’s controlling the flow of information.

    This made me appreciate reading much more AFTER finishing college since I was no longer compelled to process the information into something the professor wanted to hear to satisfy their ego or else say kaddish over the idea of getting into grad school with resulting dismal grades.

    BTW, the Shulchan Aruch 307 delves into the topic of studying history (when not engaged in learning sedarim) to achieve greater understanding of the world.

    I supposed there’s a personal angle to this post as well since as a BT there wasn’t a pre-arranged hashkafic path to travel and the decision of what kind of community to join meant literally years of weighing balancing a seemingly endless number of factors, variables and nuances before realizing that life is not a lab experiment in a controlled environment and that actual decisions have to made taking in the ideal with the real. While this is only anecdotal, I was reassured when I witnessed a well-known Mechanech from Lakewood encourage his young son to learn about the varieties of fauna and flora to gain an appreciation of the natural world and also listening to Flatbush askan discuss with his Bais Medrash – aged son on what to read over Bein HaZmanim such as which Greek philosophy book could provide the best overview of the subject since time was limited.

  12. francine marino says:

    1. A number of commenters have raised the question of whether Oprah only accepted non-white applicants. the fact is that she definitely did include whites in the school’s roster. I saw at least one such girl being interviewed, along with a future black class-mate, by a reporter at the well-publicized opening ceremony. That the overwhelming majority of the students are black should surprise nobody. One of Oprah’s requirements for acceptance was that the student’s family have an income of US$700 or less. It is no secret that most of south Africa’s poor are black.
    2. Commenter #3 writes “pay for teachers in schools in Israel may even be worse.” Actually, pay for Israeli teachers is much worse. They are the lowest paid professionals in the country, a dubious honor that was held at one time by our social workers.

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