web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


The Disposable Student

Front-Page-122713

We Jews wandered the four corners of the earth for so many centuries, never having a home where we could feel completely safe. Our experience from Egypt to the galut taught us to respect the dignity of the stranger and to reach out to the needy.

When we were vulnerable, the voices of our sages cried for the downtrodden and the lonely. When “not fitting in” was intrinsic to our experience, our teachers taught us to care about others who felt the same way.

But now? Now, when Jerusalem is ours? Now, when Orthodox Judaism has never been in a stronger position? Now, when in America there are communities where observant Jews can choose between three or four full-sized kosher supermarkets with thousands of kosher products; communities dotted with shtiebels and shuls and beautiful synagogues; communities with tens of day schools and yeshivas to educate our youngsters, where public school districts provide buses to take students to the day school and yeshiva of their parents’ choosing?

We are blessed to be living at such a time, a time when politicians are genuinely concerned with “Jewish issues.” At the local and national levels, policy makers are truly supportive of the needs of the Jewish community and of Israel.

Yes, we are indeed blessed.

And yet… and yet with all these blessings, so many of the leaders of our schools and our communities seemingly act cold and hard rather than with openness and understanding.

The irony is damning. No place has this been more apparent than in the way yeshivot treat and “manage” their so-called difficult students, those students whose needs and behaviors often cry out for attention.

The “riches” of having more students than they can fit in their classrooms has made educators and administrators greedy and more than willing to simply weed out any student who does not hew perfectly to strict and rigid rules.

After all, what could be easier than to simply remove a student who, for whatever reason, needs or demands more time or attention, and replace him or her with some other student who will be more compliant, better behaved?

Easier? Perhaps. But right?

* * * * *

Rav Ovadia Yosef, zt”l, leader of Sephardic Jewry, asked, “Whom are you throwing out? A rock? Some accumulated trash?” He was not blind to the challenge of teaching “difficult” students. But when he confronted a rowdy, disruptive, or uncooperative student in a class, he did not view the student as the enemy but rather as the unique being God intended him to be and embraced him as such. What an upside-down world we have created when Rav Ovadia’s approach strikes us as refreshing and encouraging instead of the norm.

In making this point, I do not mean to minimize the importance of rules and decorum. I do not mean to downplay the challenge of the “difficult” student nor do I mean to suggest it is never appropriate to remove a student from a particular learning situation.

There are always extenuating circumstances when an individual student cannot remain in a school, for his sake and the sake of his classmates. However, even when it is determined that a young person must be removed from a school, that decision should never be made lightly or judgmentally. It should be made in consultation with experts including gedolim, school psychologists, social workers and certainly the parents.

And then, if the consensus is that it would be best for the student not to remain in a particular school, only half the job is done. The other half is the crucial matter of where the student goes next. What is the alternative?

About the Author: Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran is an educator, author and lecturer. He can be reached at e1948s@aol.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Disposable Student”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many of the Bibicotters
Want to Tell the BibiCotters What You Think? Here’s How You Can.
Latest Indepth Stories
Hur and Aharon holding up Moshe's hands as Joshua battled Amalek.

“Remember what Amalek did to you on your journey after you left Egypt-how undeterred by fear of G-d”

Illustration is by Israeli artist Hanalisa Omer

Stalin’s plan for the Soviet’s “final solution of the Jewish question” was totally assimilating them

Bibi and Obama: Head to Head

Many Jews oppose the speech fearing it will further erode relations between Israel & US. I disagree.

UGANorthCampusSign

The University of Georgia Student Government Association called for more investment in Israel.

Without an alliance comparable to ISIS, Al Qaida & Iran, militant Islam will conquer the Middle East

Ultimately, Esther, Netanyahu, and we, the Jewish people, must and will rely on the true King, God, for our salvation from this genocidal threat.

Netanyahu addresses a clear, present & lethal threat to the US/Israel/WORLD; NOT political bickering

Buried in the tax-returns of the JCF is millions of dollars funneled to NIF in the last few years.

Bibi’s speech to Congress will bring respect and honor to the Jewish Nation from the US & the world

Obama & Putin have handwriting/signature clues indicating differences between public & private life

It’s time for a new Jewish policy regarding Ramallah, NOT just because of the yarmulke incident

“GETT’s” being screened for Israeli Rabbinical Court judges at their annual convention.

If Jackson were alive he’d denounce Democratic party’s silence towards virulent anti-Semitism

Victim of Palestinian Arab terrorism, a victor in NY federal court, after years of being ignored by Justice Dept.

March 2013: Arabs hurled stones hitting the Biton’s car; Adele’s mother swerved the car-into a truck

More Articles from Rabbi Eliyahu Safran
Safran-021315

Jews cover the head not as ID but because wearing it makes concrete to ourselves our devotion to God

Rabbi Eliyahu Safran

It’s easier to take Jews out of galus than to take galus out of Jews – Chassidic master

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

It is difficult to remain faithful in galut, the ultimate Rorschach test for all Jewish generations

Racheli Frankel: “I didn’t think they were thrown just anywhere. The tears of Hebron embraced them”

Yes, God judges, but His judgment is that of a loving father who longs for his child’s quick return.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/the-disposable-student/2013/12/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: