The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Asking the Right Questions:
Our 12-year-old son is not doing well in his 7th grade local yeshiva class.
We are considering moving him to another local yeshiva in mid-year, as things are rapidly deteriorating. We are not asking for specific advice, as you do not know him or us. But can you share with us what questions to ask and answers to give when making this difficult decision?
Rabbi Horowitz Responds
Note to readers: This subject requires a series of columns, due to the high-stakes nature of the school placement/change issue, and the large number of parents who are confronted with making these difficult decisions. How prevalent are these questions? Over the past decade, the percentage of calls to our Project YES office dealing with school placement issues has consistently hovered around 40 percent. This means that four of 10 callers were requesting assistance with school placements for their children.
I hope you find these columns helpful.
* * *
I like the way you framed the issue by asking me to provide you with a list of questions. This will help you make the call yourselves rather than having me make it for you. I believe it is healthiest for parents – and parents alone – to be making these types of da’as Torah decisions. Thus, in the end, it is your decision to make – as you alone will need to live with the consequences.
I always encourage parents to discuss substantive matters with da’as Torah. However, I have found that there is a great deal of confusion as to the difference between an eitzah (advice), a p’sak (Halachic ruling) and a brachah (blessing). (I encourage you to visit my website, www.rabbihorowitz.com, and read my “Answers About Questions” column for more details on this complex and often misunderstood issue.)
As per your request, here are some questions. I’ll add some suggestions afterward.
1. Which mechanech (educator) knows my child best?
2. Which rav knows our family best?
I think these are, by far, the most important questions for you to explore. Most parents in your predicament often look for high-profile individuals who do not know their children – such as leading roshei yeshiva, rabbanim or mechanchim – to help them decide whether or not to switch schools and which school to switch to if a change is to be made.
However, I have found that regardless of their wisdom, tzidkus (piety) or stature people who do not know your son and/or your family simply cannot and should not be asked to give you substantive advice regarding such a complex matter like changing your son’s school placement. That would be like going to a renowned heart surgeon and asking him for medical advice (whether to operate) without giving him your medical records.
If that individual has the time to do everything necessary to get the “medical records” of your son, by all means take advantage of the opportunity. But keep in mind that the higher the profile of the person you are going to, the more likely it is that there are incredible demands on his time. Trust me, you do not need an overworked, busy person right now. Remember that getting the “medical records” would mean receiving input from the current rebbe/teacher, inquiring about your child’s personality and current social interaction, reading any educational testing you’ve done, and reviewing report cards. You get the picture.
If you have access to a leading rosh yeshiva, rav or mechanech, you will be far better served doing all your homework first and then, armed with all relevant information, consulting with him as per your final decision.
With that in mind, I suggest that you look for one of the following: 1) a current or former rebbe; 2) the principal (if you are comfortable letting him know at this stage that you are considering a school change); 3) your son’s summer camp rebbe or learning director; 4) your shul’s rav; or 5) an educator who lives on your block.
Picture the concentric circles of a bull’s-eye, and think of your son as being in the middle of those circles. Whoever is in the center of his life is best suited to give you the help you need.
More questions in Part II.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and the founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S. To purchase Rabbi Horowitz’s D’var Torah sefer, “Growing With the Parsha,”or his popular parenting tapes and CDs (including his 2-CD set on “Raising your Adolescent Children”) please visit www.rabbihorowitz.com, e-mail email@example.com or call 845-352-7100 x 133.
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/changing-schools-part-i/2007/12/12/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: