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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘haredi yeshivas’

Two Chassidic Yeshivas Capitulate, Will Teach Core Curriculum

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

An expose in Kikar Hashabbat today reveals that while the entire Haredi public, guided by the clear rulings of many of their leaders, is fighting against the attempts by Israel’s Education Ministry to interject core curriculum subjects, like Math and English, into the Haredi yeshivas, “it turns out that underground the dangerous retreat from the purely holy education has begun, causing a great anxiety and fear among the great men of the generation.”

According to the Haredi website, the first two institutions to surrender have been both Chassidic yeshivas, one, Chidushay HaRim, is run by Gur in Tel Aviv, the other by Nadvorna in B’nei B’rak. Both are in the process of letting the exterior subjects into their study plans.

Both yeshivas have capitulated before the ministry’s pressures, says the website, in order to receive the full, 100 percent funding, like every other Israeli high school.

“In this dangerous precedence, the yeshivas have turned into religious high schools,” warns Kikar Hashabbat.

The legal status of both institutions has been altered by the Education Ministry, from “culturally unique,” the term used for most Haredi yeshivas, to ” recognized but not officially,” the term used for the majority of high schools in Israel (only the first 9 grades in the Israeli educational system are officially sanctioned and fully budgeted.)

The folks at the Gur educational system have attempted to conceal the change, according to Kikar Hashabbat, by renaming their institution “Youth education School” (Beit hasefer chinuch la’no’ar), but its online contact information takes users back to the Chidushei HaRim yeshiva.

Recently, the Education Ministry—which is headed by Rabbi Shai Piron, who is himself a Rosh Yeshiva—has been aggressively promoting the teaching of core curriculum subjects, in order to provide underprivileged, Haredi and Arab students with the needed foundations to become successful later on in life.

The program promotes proficiency in Languages, Literature, Math, Science, Technology, and Physical Aptness. All of these are, obviously, perceived by the bulk of the Haredi leadership as an attack on Torah values.

Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, the most prominent Haredi posek in Israel today, is, understandably, the most vehement voice against the core curriculum plan. Pointing to the questionable achievements of secular Israeli education, Rabbi Shteinman urges his followers—the bulk of Haredi society, at least until the Kikar Hashabbat story came out—to stand as a fortified wall before the new decree and “not alter even by a hair’s breadth the educational path we received and passed on until today.”

Still, if the Haredi establishment fears an all out assault by the government, specifically Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, they’re not wrong. Shahar Ilan, VP of the Chidush, a left wing NGO dealing with issues of freedom and religion, checked out Lapid’s promises to cut severely in the funding for Haredi yeshivas, and, as Globes reported Thursday, discovered that the minister remained true to his words.

The overall budget for Haredi yeshivas and kolelim used to be in the billion shekel range (just under $300 million) annually. This budget cuts it down in the coming school year to 650 million shekel (just under $200 million), and in the following year down to 400 million shekel (just over $100 million).

That’s quite a haircut. Coupled with the severe cuts in child support to large families, it appears that the majority of the Haredi yeshivas will probably buckle under the economic pressure, sooner or later, and with a variety of inventive ways of concealing their shame.

Like every other political issue, the truth is somewhere between the Haredi leadership who refuses to consider even the knowledge of English and Math as information their youths could probably use – and the Yesh Atid brutal attack on the Haredi economy, which includes actually taking bread and milk away from babies.

IDF: Haredi Yeshiva Deans Cheat, Covering for No-Show Students

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Yesterday, during an in-camera session of the Knesset committee preparing the “equal burden” bill for its second reading before the plenum, the IDF representative at the meeting, Brigadier-Gen. Gadi Agmon, launched a vehement attack on the deans of Haredi yeshivas, accusing them of outright lying and covering up for students who are registered but do not show up for classes, Ma’ariv reported.

The legal arrangement between Israeli governments and Haredi yeshivas over the years, known as the “Torato umnuto” (his Torah study is his occupation) deal, recognized that young men whose only engagement was Torah scholarship would be absolved from enlisting in the army so long as they continue their studies. To be fair, the IDF has been giving similar deals to young men engaged in secular studies, but in many cases those deals involved attending students technical schools who went on to serve a longer stint, often using the skills they had learned.

The “Torato Umnuto” soon became a blanket covering the vast majority of Haredi young men, whether they were actually studying or not. It also turned out to be a two-edged sword, as those young men were barred from legal employment because of their military status, and so many were condemned to a life of dead-end jobs paid for illegaly.

This was the main purpose of the Tal Committee Law, which, back in 2002, was attempting to interject fairness and honesty into a seriously broken system. Many in the Haredi world have pointed to the steady stream of recruits, as well as the steadily rising numbers of Haredim both in the job market and in academic institutions as signs that the Tal law was working. But the Supreme Court, ever eager to equalize the country, was dissatisfied with what it considered lukewarm results and eventually killed the bill in the winter of 2012.

The new law, hammered out by the (Yesh Atid MK and Minister) Jacob Perry committee over the past six months, is a more sweeping version of the Tal law, calling for larger numbers of Haredi recruits in a shorter period of time. But while on paper the numbers might please the high court—in the Haredi world the Perry effort (which they usually pin on Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett’s back) is tantamount to at least the Russian Czar’s conscription of Jews, if not an outright holocaust.

This is the background of Brigadier-Gen. Agmon’s assault on the yeshiva deans, whom he sees as saboteurs of all the arrangements ever reached between the Zionist establishment and the Haredim, whether the Haredi representative were inside or outside the coalition government.

“It is inconceivable that deans of yeshivas would lie knowingly and sign for their students as if they’re present full time in the yeshivas, while in reality they’re not there,” Agmon, who serves as head of the Planning and Military Personnel Dept. in the IDF. “There are thousands who don’t study in the yeshivas [while stating that they are], but we don’t have the apparatus to enable us to identify them and enforce their enlistment,” he added.

Agmon’s appearance marked a distinct change in the IDF’s approach to the new draft legislation being cobbled in committee, this time headed by Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked. Until yesterday, the army stayed away from the discussion, essentially committing to carry out whatever the political echelon would decide. But the gloves were taken off yesterday, and all the spades were called out by the general.

MK Shaked decided to keep the session closed to the media, most likely to enable the Haredi committee members to speak frankly, away from their own newspapers which have been frothing at the mouth over the new bill for six months now. According to Ma’ariv, MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) and MK Ariel Atias (Shas) both agreed that a yeshiva boy who comes of age and is not attending classes should be drafted. Gafni went as far as to say that, should it be needed, those students should go to jail if they refuse to serve.

The problem is that that, too, is part of the Haredi parties’ kabuki theater, whereby they talk a good line, but when it comes to anyone actually encouraging those young men to inject a measure of honesty into their lives and go serve in the army – everybody is collaborating to keep them in the black garb, hat and all.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-yeshivas-cheat-covering-for-no-show-students/2013/08/06/

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