web analytics
April 25, 2015 / 6 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Modern Orthodox Educational Experience

Respler-070414

Dear Dr. Yael:

I am writing both in response to the letter from An Avid Reader (For Torah U’madda, June 6) and regarding an unfortunate trend that I have noticed.

When I read Avid Reader’s words, “They simply told me to try a modern yeshiva and, suffice to say, I wasn’t very happy,” it reminded me of a past letter that appeared in The Jewish Press. That letter was also written by a frustrated mother whose son had been rejected from a few yeshivot for various reasons, including cell phone usage and being seen speaking with female relatives. Her son ultimately switched to a yeshiva she described as “quite modern.” However, she said that her son was uncomfortable there. I found this confusing, as it sounded like the yeshiva was a perfect fit. I wondered whether, perhaps, it was the mother who was uncomfortable, afraid of being labeled as “modern.”

Avid Reader’s letter seems even stranger to me than the one I just described. It most certainly does not suffice for this mother to say that she was unhappy with the suggestion of a modern yeshiva.

I attended a self-described Modern Orthodox yeshiva high school, and have friends who attended other Modern Orthodox schools. My school addressed nearly all of the letter writer’s concerns, and other modern schools operate similarly. Let’s start with a parent’s first step through the front door.

When a school’s student body is not limited those who dress in black and white, you need not be as concerned with whether you look like you’ll fit in. In my experience, modern schools tend to be more open-minded toward other flavors of Judaism than the other way around, virtually eliminating the pressure to tell them what they want to hear. For example, my school employs rebbeim from varied backgrounds, offers a class in chassidus, and generally encourages students to explore their unique relationship with Hashem. Similarly, they are very accepting of ba’alei teshuvah and might even arrange special help for their children. I am always shocked to hear about ba’alei teshuvah being given a hard time by their fellow Jews, as in my community I am used to seeing them treated with the respect they deserve.

Additionally, my school already implements many of the mother’s ideas:

A) The school day begins and ends with Judaic studies, including Tanach and extra time for Gemara. Rebbeim and Hebrew teachers are often available throughout the day to provide added assistance. All can be contacted via e-mail.

B) It is recognized by an accreditation agency accepted by the United States Department of Education. Teachers are qualified; some even have doctorates. The school successfully manages the difficult balancing act between Judaic studies and general studies.

C) Physical education class takes place at least once a week, and students have use of the gym during their free time. Students are required to take classes in art and music appreciation as well.

D) The school day runs from about 7:40 a.m.-5:30 p.m., with an optional night seder program. While this is somewhat longer than the letter writer’s ideal 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. schedule, one must understand that a quality dual curriculum requires commitment.

E) The administration is open to hearing students’ thoughts, though I acknowledge that this is something that all schools must work on.

My overall message: Schools that define themselves as “modern” must not be dismissed a priori.

I look forward to the day when parents do not deny their children a quality education that matches the student’s needs solely due to social pressure.

Sincerely,

Modern Orthodox and Proud
 

Dear Modern Orthodox and Proud:

With the knowledge that problems exist with every school situation, I spoke with teachers at high-caliber, excellent Modern Orthodox schools. As in all types of schools, I found positives and negatives. Here are some thoughts expressed by the teachers with whom I spoke:

About the Author: Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887.


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 Modern Orthodox Educational Experience”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Car - A-Tor
Updated: Three Injured in Jerusalem Terror Attack, Ambulances and Mayor’s Car also Attacked
Latest Sections Stories
Food-Talk---Eller-logo

“People who never buy cookbooks are getting this one,” said Victoria. “They read it cover to cover and find it so interesting.”

South-Florida-logo

We have recently witnessed how other minorities deal with even perceived danger aimed at their brothers and sisters. They respond in great numbers.

South-Florida-logo

The Hebrew Academy students took part in all categories and used successful and innovative techniques to achieve their goals.

“The objective behind establishing small communities as places for relocation was a remedy for the excessive cost of housing and education in the large New York metropolitan market,” Mr. Savitsky explained.

Jewish Democrats did not entirely trust the son of Joseph Kennedy, a man broadly considered to be both anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi.

The teenage years are not about surviving. They are about thriving.

Every moment was a gift. I held each one, savoring.

We arrived in Auschwitz on Thursday, January 30, 2014. My seminary was taking us to see where the prisoners were kept. When we got there, I stepped off the bus in complete and total silence. I was in the back, and when we got to the gate I hesitated and started shaking uncontrollably. I couldn’t […]

From the moment Israel was declared a Jewish state, it has been the subject of controversy and struggle.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

During the Second World War, a million and a half Jewish soldiers fought in the Allied armies, the Partisan units in Eastern Europe, and the anti-fascist underground movements in Western Europe and North Africa. These Jewish fighters won over 200,000 medals and citations. The Museum of the Jewish Soldier in World War II in Latrun, […]

The 2-day real estate event will take place in Brooklyn on April 26 and 27.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-041715

It is very natural for kids to want attention and to be jealous of each other, especially when there is a new baby.

Respler-040315

How can you expect people who go through such gehenom to even know how to give warmth and love?

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

I believe that Hashem will only bring Moshiach when we finally achieve achdus.

I love my husband dearly and I do everything to make him happy.

Men and women have different roles to play in marriages and as parents.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/the-modern-orthodox-educational-experience/2014/07/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: