Friday, October 07, 2005

On Feeling Validated

As you know, I've had a couple of posts recently about the fact that my son wants to be something other than a Rosh Yeshiva.

Well, imagine my surprise when I opened up my copy of The Jewish Press this week, to find an article by Chananya Weissman (of EndTheMadness fame) about problems in our Yeshiva systems today. Toward the end of the article, he writes (bolding mine):

And shouldn’t we recognize that the goal of Jewish education should not be to churn out roshei yeshiva, that impressing parents with a rigorous curriculum often comes at the sacrifice of all but the most brilliant? Is it really a surprise that so many kids are turned off to Torah and Judaism? What do they really learn about either of the two?

At least I know that my voice isn't the only one out there. It's nice to know that there are others out there besides some of my blog readers (and who knows if he reads my blog?) that agree with me.

The Wolf


Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

Many people agree with that sentiment.

The truth is though that the goal of the yeshivish yeshiva is not to "churn out roshei yeshiva" but to produce the one in a thousand who will be a godol. At least that was the goal according to R. Eliyahu Dessler (d. 1953).

BrooklynWolf said...

Maybe so, but it also shouldn't forget that the other 999 need to be educated and cared for as well and not simply ignored to focus on the one.

The Wolf

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

In fairness, modern yeshivas do not fully implement R. Dessler's description of the Litvish yeshiva system. After all, they do have resource room hellp, caring rabbeim, education symposiums and workshops for the teachers etc.

But don't kid yourself--there is some vestige of that goal remaining in today's yeshivish yeshivas.

Anonymous said...

I thought the goal of yeshivahs today was to produce pale-skinned, atrophied-limbed young men who know little of the outside world and even less about the history of Judaism, who are semi-literate but know enough English and math to beat the system.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say it is much more than a vestige.It is said openly.
You are talking about elementary school yeshivas.

Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

>You are talking about elementary school yeshivas.

In some places it is worse than others, granted.

PsychoToddler said...

Wolf, I wrote something about this last year here. It was more on a personal level between me and my son. I am the product of a YU education who is sending his sons to Chofetz Chaim, and I wanted to make it clear that whatever he does with his life, Rebbe or Lawyer or Artist, he needs to be a good provider for his family. I'm concerned that we're producing a generation of young men with no work ethic and an entitlement mentality, and there will be no infrastructure to support them when providers like me are gone. It is counter productive.

Anonymous said...

I don't generally pay much attention to blogs, but I came across your comments. I appreciate your support of my article, and you have some thoughtful posts here in general.

One of the previous commenters wrote the following: "I was so excited when I saw that article today! Woo hoo, now other people might respond in the letters section, or op ed, or something, in the widespread Jewish Press instead of our little blogs, and maybe something good will finally happen."

I find these remarks very troubling, and fear that they are indicative of a common mindset. Sitting back and waiting for others to write letters to the editor, articles in the newspaper, and take subsequent action is not going to get it done. YOU need to write a letter to the editor. YOU need to write the article for the paper (if you feel so strongly about the issues, why did you have to wait for me to write an article?)

Most of all, YOU need to make your opinions known to school administrators and community leaders. If everyone maintains this lemmings mentality and waits for someone else to do something braver than posting an anonymous message on a blog, nothing will ever change. I'm doing what I can -- making strong public remarks and infiltrating the chinuch system -- but those who are sympathetic need to translate words into decisive action.

Chananya Weissman

Anonymous said...


Miss S. said...

Yes I also read that article; it was very good.