The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
With the economy heading south, we are all looking for ways to cut back on our expenses. I guess that’s good news for Motel 6, pawnshops and “Dollar Stores,” but it’s a pretty lousy development for anyone running a nonprofit organization (like me) because practically everyone except bankruptcy attorneys earns less money in times like these. Less money means less charity giving. Gulp!
So recently, an idea grabbed hold of me: How about thinking outside the box (kind of easy for me to do, since that’s where I live), and searching for innovative, inexpensive ways to solve or improve the teens-at-risk crisis for all of klal Yisrael?
Thus, in the spirit of Chodesh Adar (and post-Purim), here are some ideas:
How about artificially aging all eighth-grade boys and girls who are not succeeding in our school system by making them look like they are in their early 20s? For a few hundred dollars per child, we can retain the services of professional makeup artists and instruct them to give the girls some laugh lines and add facial stubble and thinning hair for the boys. I think that would solve things for lots of the kids overnight at a tiny fraction of what we pay for tutors and tuition for at-risk schools. Why, you ask? Because let’s face it, some kids are just not cut out for a 12-14 hour school day. If restless adults in their 50s pace like caged tigers in shul with their reading glasses and arthritic knees after 30 or 15 or even 5 minutes of davening, why in the world would you expect their teenage counterparts with boundless energy to sit in a chair for a two-hour Gemara shiur? We all know that if these jumpy kids survive their miserable school experience, many of them utilize their vigor constructively and become amazing adults. So why not “get with the program” and just pronounce them grownups?
Come to think of it, this brainstorm might also help alleviate the shidduch crisis because there are more at-risk boys than girls. Making them virtual 22-year-olds would add far more young men to the shidduch pool. And these bachurim will be exempt from spending time in “the freezer,” so the benefits would be immediate. It would also save time and money. Think of how many more trees will remain standing now that parents and shadchanim will be printing and reviewing much shorter “shidduch resumes” for these kids.
To make sure this idea would fly, I decided to run it by some of the kids I work with. One of the teenage girls, though, was unimpressed and had some of her own ideas. They focused on losing the at-risk – and other – labels, declaring them outdated. She asked me if I would like to have myself or a loved one labeled.
I walked away thinking that she had a good point. Then it hit me. Why don’t we just cut out the labels altogether (you know, best bachur, metzuyan, at-risk), and go to a color-coded card scheme that kids can carry in the privacy of their wallets? This would be along the lines of homeland security colors (red is most at-risk, followed by orange, yellow you get the picture.) Better yet, let’s do white for best bachur all the way to black for highest risk. Or maybe the other way around, with black being the preferred color.
And speaking of labels, here is another idea. Why don’t we do a dual mentoring program? After all, we all know what happens in real life; all the “A” students become lawyers, accountants and comptrollers and wind up working for the millionaire “D” students who started businesses while the brainiacs were still in school.
So here’s the deal. We write a new type of Yissachar-Zevulun contract. Participating “A” students are matched with “D” students in 5th grade. The “A” students then tutor the “D” students and help them study for all tests throughout their school years. In return, the “D” students commit to supporting the “A” students while they are in kollel (I think one year of support for each year tutored is about fair), and then promise to give them training and a job when they leave kollel.
Talk about a win-win idea.
About the Author: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel's Project Y.E.S.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?
Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters
She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.
Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.
Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.
“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]
To what extent is your child displaying defiance?
This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.
Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.
“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.
Two weeks of intense learning in the classroom about Israel culminated with Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Students attended sessions with their teachers and learned about history, culture, military power, advocacy, slang, cooking, and more.
Those of us familiar with the do’s and don’ts of accepted practice in the mental health profession saw similar blaring warning lights in our minds, as should have occurred when the facts were made public regarding the accusations against Nehemia Weberman. This case may very well be our community’s most important abuse trial during our lifetimes. It is imperative that we have a huge turnout in support of the victim, a courageous young lady who, may she be gezunt andge’bentched, is determined to see this through to the end so others won’t suffer like she did.
These lines are written in loving memory of our dear father, Reb Shlomo Zev ben Reb Baruch Yehudah Nutovic, a”h, whose first yahrzeit is 7 Menachem Av. May the positive lessons learned from this essay be a zechus for his neshamah.
All responsible leaders in our community have roundly condemned the recent violence in Beit Shemesh and Meah Shearim.
A surefire way to gauge the generation in which a person was raised is to have him or her fill in the following sentence: Where were you when ?”
Baby Boomers would ask, “When President Kennedy was shot?” Thirtysomethings would respond, “When the space shuttle exploded?” Today’s teenagers would reply, “On 9/11?”
One week ago on my website I announced my intention to attend the next court appearance of a man who was arrested last year and is now standing trial on 10 felony charges of child abuse.
Dear Rabbi Horowitz:
We were taken aback when our 18-year-old son just called us from Eretz Yisrael (we live in Europe) and told us that he was coming home and wants to immediately go to work. He said that he is wasting his time in yeshiva, and just can’t take it anymore. He said that he will “run away from home” if we don’t allow him to go to work.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/at-risk-is-at-risk/2009/03/18/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: