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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Investigate before Jumping on This Ship

YWN reported that Aguda Rabbonim convened to discuss Chinuch Atzmai which is under more financial strain due to a fine imposed by the Israeli court of 5,000NIS per day the school does not comply with the ruling of the courts. The courts became involved in the Emanuel Bais Yaakov schools after accusations of segregation between segregation of Ashkenazim and Sephardim and discrimination against the latter. The gedolim have decried the involvement of the secular court system in Chareidi education and have supported the parents in their actions, rallying behind them. For links to all related stories see YWN here.

When I was the story about the Aguda meeting to discuss the financial strain I can't say my reaction was a nice one. But, not knowing the details of the case, I didn't want to jump to any conclusions either.

My friend Mom in Israel has details of a different case in Bet Shemesh and has kindly posted a transcript of tape in which the Bais Yaakov Principal's remarks to school parents in Bet Shemesh were recorded and later played on an Israeli radio program. What a lovely gem during the Omer. I have never heard such cruelty. There is no possible way that you can build an education on such a foundation. I know no one in the Agudah, but would be more than happy to place this excerpt as translated by Mom in Israel in envelopes to anyone who was at the American Agudah meeting asking them to do some further investigation before supporting Chinuch Atzmai in the Emanuel discrimination case and asking for money from an already struggling American community. This might not be the ship they want to jump on! I certainly wouldn't want to be on that ship.

If you have the home addresses of anyone who was present in the meeting, please send me an email at Orthonomics at gmail dot com. Excerpt follows from the Bet Shemesh principal. See all the links at Mom in Israel for more info.

You, as a mother, are insisting on sending her to a place where she’s not wanted . . . No child wants to sit next to her, no one will be friends with her, no one will go to her house to play, no child will lend her a notebook, no one will approach her at recess, everyone will know that this is the girl, that because of her, we all sat at home for so long.

How can you, as a mother, send your daughter to a place where she is clearly not wanted? not only by me, not only by the teachers, and not only by the rabbi of the neighborhood—all 280 students don’t want her.”

Your daughter will be socially isolated. No girl will sit next to her. No one will invite her over. She’s going to go into a class that has 26 girls, she’ll be number 27. The other class has 32—in either case the class will have an odd number. Your daughter will sit by herself. And in two months when the teacher changes the seating arrangements, your daughter will sit by herself, again.

280 girls are sitting at home. For many of them it’s very hard, the parents are working. No one knows when this will end, I also don’t know. But all of them (kuuulam), did it happily (besimcha). Now if that girl calls on the phone to play, and the mother asks who is on the phone, will she let her daughter play with the girl, that because of her they all stayed home?

She’ll be a museum exhibit. All the girls will look to see who this girl is who caused the commotion. When every [apartment] building has 50 girls living there, what mother would send her daughter to play with a girl that has a “baayah chinuchit” (educational or discipline problem) at home?”


mother in israel said...

Just to clarify--these are two separate towns, schools and strikes. The first is Emanuel, in the Shomron (West Bank) and the one I posted about is in Bet Shemesh.

Orthonomics said...

I updated my post to reflect that the comments are out of Bet Shemesh not Emanuel.

Nonetheless, I think that the Rabbonim here should do some investigations of their own and I'm happy to put stamps on envelopes before staff at the Agudah office puts stamps on envelopes although I'm sure they will go ahead and raise money for this school system.

I have never seen such cruelty. It is truly shocking.

LeahGG said...

It's the same issue, though - segregating sepharadi and ashkenazi children in schools. It is completely unacceptable.

mother in israel said...

LGG--yes, exactly the same issue. Who is entitled to learn in a school along with children from "good" families.

Nephtuli said...

I imagine this is exactly what parents of black children were told when the schools were forcibly desegregated.

Anonymous said...

Stories like this make me positively nauseous. Have we learned nothing about the evils of discrimination from 2,000 years of anti-semitism????????????

Anonymous said...

1) I just don't understand why sepharadim want to learn in schools in whioh the parents are racist

2) these racist chareidim (and i believe that most are not racist considering that they learn RAMBAM, RAMBAN, MECHABER, RIF, ETC.) are making a tremendous chilul Hashem.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:01: Perhaps the same reasons that Blacks in the U.S. wanted to be admitted to the same schools as Whites even if it meant their children had to be escorted by the National Guard. Perhaps the same reason that Jews in the U.S. wanted to be able to get into the same colleges as gentiles and be able to buy property in the same towns/neighborhoods as an other American.

Anonymous said...

A major reason we're still in Galus is the idea that "our (community, school, shul..) is too (advanced, pure...) for the likes of (those born into some unfavored Jewish, even Orthodox, group)."

ora said...

It's not "just" racism, it's all "undesirables."

Here's a clip of Rav Shteinman when rabbis (also from Beit Shemesh IIRC) came to him to ask about students who were "not appropriate" for the school they wanted to attend:

Unfortunately it's only in Hebrew... but again you can kind of get the point. Basically, Rav Shteinman gets upset and says that the people who think they can decide which children are or aren't appropriate are "ba'al gaiva."

He should have a talk with the lady from this clip.

Anonymous said...

If I were a mother in this school, I would davka encourage my daughter to befriend the Sephardi girl. I would insist on including her and inviting her. At least I hope I would have that kind of heart. I look forward to listening to this tirade in Ivrit.

Anonymous said...

longtime reader here.
completely OT in relation to this post, but about the favorite topic of dayschool/yeshiva financing. I just saw this article and thought it would be of interest to you, sephardilady. I don't really know what to make of this...

Lion of Zion said...


assuming it works (i'm not a numbers cruncher), it sounds great for my great-grandkids in 2065.
yet, while i don't want to sound selflish and myopic, my son's tuition went up 35% this year. how does this plan help me now?

megapixel said...

never having been to israel, my knowledge of the country is based on articles like this one and the other one about the ice cream store and others in the Mishpacha magazine, I have to say the culture sounds screwed up.

mother in israel said...

If I based my opinion of American Orthodox culture on the subjects discussed in this blog and others, I would probably come to a similar conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Dear Orthonomics:

Didn't know how to email you.

I found this "tzedakah" request on a local yahoo board:

"If anyone has 3-4 Mets/Yankees tickets that they can donate to give strength to
a poor family please contact me. thank you very much"

Thought you would appreciate this.


megapixel said...

mother- okay, prob true. "chain hamakom al yoshveha"
the things that bug me about israei society:
-working for a living looked down upon.
-racism toward fellow jews
-radical nut jobs calling the shots and the move toward "fundamentalist" Judaism
-holier than thou types looking down upon those less frum than they
-ridiculous requirement for marriage is purchasing apartment for the couple despite the fact that almost nobody could afford it.
-wildness, readiness to protest and burn trash cans, etc.

anyway, you are going to say that some of these exist here in usa and i will answer that- maybe but only in small pockets and not all in one place and not to such a degree.

ps good story: a guy I know is extremely wealthy, therefore on the map for collectors of all types. Some Israelis were giving him the sob story, and he asked - what about going and getting a job?
and the answer-- ARBET? Dus is far Chayos!"
translation: work? that is for animals.

LeahGG said...

MegaPixel: sure, that's all true of Bnei Brak and Meah Shearim... Come to Modiin, and I'll show you a place where
- almost everyone works,
- schools are fully integrated (ashkenazi/sfaradi-wise)
- the radicals (on both sides) have been run out of politics, my shul ranges from men in black hats to men in kippot srugot, polos, and nice jeans, and from women in wigs to women who wear wide headbands in shul and no headcovering outside of shul - and we all pretty much get along - and the differences certainly don't cut along religious lines.
-lots of us have mortgages and some of us even *gasp* rent.
-and I've never seen a trash can burnt, though the kids will burn pretty much anything they can get their hands on come lag baomer... so anything's possible...

There was one protest with burning tires regarding an extremely dangerous intersection when the city refused to remove planters that blocked visibility and people got very angry that lives were at risk and the municipality refused to act... about 8 years ago.

So no, it's not Israel. It's certain sub-cultures in Israel.

-ridiculous requirement for marriage is purchasing apartment for the couple despite the fact that almost nobody could afford it.
-wildness, readiness to protest and burn trash cans, etc.

mother in israel said...

Megapixel, the things you are talking about relate to different subcultures in haredi society. The exception is the racism, which is prevalent (to a lesser degree) in the religious Zionist community as well. Leah, I hope you're right but I'm not sure Modiin is a good example, because it's fairly homogeneous, socio-economically.

Anonymous said...


Let me tell you a personal story.I was away from both the US and Israel for a while but still followed what was going on by reading blogs.Not Loshen Hora blogs(if there is really such a thing as a no LH blog devoted to social issues),but "Chinuch & Hsakofah" blogs.I then had to come back to the US.I was really shocked when I walked down Ocean Parkway late at night and didn't encounter mass drug use, Chilul Shabbos and anti social behavior.