Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blog Roundup: Some Worthwhile Reading

I am an avid reader of Dr. Marvin Schick's column's on Jewish education and other communal issues. His recent article "He Who Destroys a Single Jewish Life" takes a look at the at-risk phenomenon and some of the things that feed into it. This is a "must read" for all parents, educators, and community members.

Harry Maryles has a post inspired by Dr. Schick's article where he looks at Jewish education currently and Jewish education in the past. Jewish Education: Chinuch Al Taharas HaKodseh is a worthwhile read, and

Harry Maryles also wrote a post called The Crisis in Jewish Education: Show Me the Money. He serves on a tuition and scholarship committee and is very familiar with the struggle that parents are facing. He believes that the future looks bleak and has some ideas, but like all of us who are brainstorming, he has little to hang his hat on. This too is a worthwhile read.

Orthomom posted a letter from her children's school that reminds parents to include their children in the Pesach cleaning preparations. I personally think that it is sad that in today's busy society that we need to remind parents to include their children in the preparation for Pesach. But, I'm glad to see that the reminder was there since it is very, very necessary.

The letter mentions that helping is important in building self-esteem in children. I would say that on top of self-esteem, participating in running the home builds ownership, responsibility, and character. I'm sure that as soon as Pesach is over, there will be numerous letters to (various Rebbitzens) from Bubbes spanning the globe complaining that their (entitled) children treated their home as a hotel for the holidays and used them and other siblings for free babysitting, never pitching in a helping hand.

I'd take this letters advice seriously all year round, not just Pesach, and get your children to participate in the household and take ownership in it, rather than consider their, sometimes sub-par help, as a nuisance. You don't want your kids to view your house as a hotel, complete with maid service (yours or your cleaning lady's services). It may make things harder, but you will reap the benefits later.


Orthonomics said...

Welcome batia.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the comments on Beyond BT. It is hard to believe ( and I consider it a tragedy)that on the eve of the Seder that Jewish education is being discussed as if a Torah education is a private school education with some Torah content thrown in for good measure or a training ground for the "elite of the Torah world" as opposed to a place for all Jewish children to receive a decent Jewish and secular education.Although much talk is expended on the communal nature of the mitzah of chinuch, I think that a historical survey will show that many changes in the mitzvah ranging from the inclusion of some Chasidus, Musar, womens' education and education for learning disabled kids, etc were all grass-roots changes, as opposed to being instituted by the educational establishment.

How many Leon Twerskys and worse cases of anti social behavior should we tolerate in the maintenance of a system that needs to focus on serving its constituents as opposed to being a nepostistic bureaucracy?

It is amazing that the CI who considers expulsion an action that requires the decision-making of a shealah involving Pikuach Nefesh is essentially being discarded.

Orthonomics said...

Steve, See my comments on Beyond BT and Harry's sight. I find the current thinking to be short sighted and inflexible.

There are those who basically say, "if you can't afford is [tuition and all the bells and whistles], we don't want you." And, there are those who say, "my way or the highway."

Both attitudes are killing Jewish education. Jewish Education should be a communal institution, not a luxury that is quickly becoming unavailable to many. And, we cannot afford to push out those who don't fit nicely into he box. We are all suffering from these attitudes.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your view as well as Harry's. As Dr Schick has pointed out, the twin goals of enhancing Jewish literacy and observance while providing a decent secular education have been thrown to the wayside. We now have two sets of extremes-All APs, all day, all night and similar bells and whistles with either some or a lot of Limudei Kodesh or "Gadol training" with almost no meaningful secular education. Both are a distortion of the original goals of the day school movement.