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Risk Factors for At-Risk Teens 2
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: Chicago Community Kollel

  Rated by 15 users   |   Viewed 16664 times since 11/30/06   |   18 Comments
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11/30/06

Dear Readers:

Last week’s column evoked a flood of email responses and some posts on my website.

Due to the importance of this subject, I am suspending the Q&A component of this column for the next few weeks, as I amplify the themes raised – and eventually get to the question posed by Dovid last week – “What are the risk factors?”

Airing these subjects is not an easy thing to do, but it is a very necessary one. Please feel free to participate in the dialogue by posting your comments below the articles.

Phase Three

Mishkan, Teivah, and … Spacesuit???

At last year’s Agudath Israel Convention, I was chairing a Project YES session on chinuch-related matters and the featured speaker was my dear chaver, Rabbi Noach Orlewik s’hlita. Rabbi Orlewik, fresh off a plane from Eretz Yisroel, spoke brilliantly about chinuch, teens, and parenting matters. After his presentation, there was an extended Q&A segment with questions posed to any of the five people on the panel.

At one point in the session, Rabbi Orlewik and I were sharing the podium while responding to a series of hard-hitting questions. Then, someone got up and asked us to share our thoughts regarding the subject of the Internet (to-ban-or-not-to-ban?).

At that time, there was a great deal of discussion in the broader Orthodox community about how to respond to the challenge of the Internet, and an immediate hush passed through the audience. You could have heard a pin drop in the room as three hundred sets of eyes focused on Rabbi Orlewik and myself. Well, my mother didn’t raise a fool, so I boldly stepped forward, firmly grabbed the microphone ……… and passed it to Rabbi Orlewik.

Reb Noach and I are very close friends and we often kid each other about the fact that we seem to always finish each other’s sentences. So, I was very curious to hear how he would reply to that loaded question.

Rabbi Orlewik was quiet for a few very long moments. He then responded by posing a question. What if someone has diabetes, and plans on attending a fancy wedding where he will be surrounded with food that is terribly harmful to him? Reb Noach responded by noting that the only chance the diabetic individual has to resist the temptations he will inevitably be faced with at the wedding was to see to it that he had a full and satisfying meal before he left his home.

Rabbi Orlewik said that we must accept the fact that each generation throughout our glorious history had its challenges and that the explosion of temptations that our children – and we – face nowadays may very well be ours. More importantly, he pointed out that we must make peace with the fact that we simply cannot shelter our children beyond a certain age. (I would add that the age that we-can’t-shelter-our-children-anymore is getting younger and younger as time passes.)

Rabbi Orlewik hammered home the point over the next few minutes by pointing out that the only solution that we have as parents and educators is to see to it that our kids are ‘full’ when they reach their teen years. And full, he explained, means having an appreciation and genuine love for Torah and mitzvos, nurturing, safe and loving home environments, schools that are welcoming and that inspire children, and rebbeim/moros who develop deep and meaningful relationships with their children, in addition to teaching the timeless lessons of our Torah.

The Evolving Role of Yeshivos

More than a generation ago, Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner z’tl, the revered Rosh Yeshiva of Chaim Berlin, articulated the evolving mission of yeshivos in what was then modern-day America by comparing the mishkan (tabernacle used by the Jews during their sojourn in the desert) to the teivah of Noach (Noah’s ark). The mishkan, he said, was a place where Jews went to be inspired, to become closer to Hashem. Noach’s teivah, on the other hand, was the only haven available to avoid certain death and destruction.

Rabbi Hutner explained that in pre-war Europe, yeshivos were like the mishkan – places where spiritually elevated people went to grow in Torah and yiras shomayim. Those who did not attend yeshiva, however, were still able to remain committed Jews, raised in the nurturing environment of the pre-war shtetel.

Due to the unraveling of the moral fabric of secular society in America, it was nearly impossible for a child to exist as a Torah observant Jew outside the walls of the yeshiva. American Yeshivos, maintained Rabbi Hutner, were more along the lines of the teivah – a structure that offered shelter and protection.

It is interesting to note that while Rav Hutner’s thoughts are often quoted, the context of his comments and their profound message is not as well known. Almost all the times that I heard this insightful quote, it was used to decry the state of today’s eroded moral values. But that is missing his main point!! Rav Hutner was saying how we must change the way that we view our yeshivos. He was suggesting that the holy yeshivos of Voloshin and Slabodka were primarily designed for a tiny percentage of the outstanding achievers in Torah, as the grinding poverty of pre-war Europe forced the vast majority of children above the age of thirteen to join the workforce. American yeshivos and Beis Yakov’s, Rav Hutner maintained, need to be geared for all children to find success and refuge.

Sadly, as I pointed out last week, exactly the opposite has been happening over the past ten-fifteen years. School hours have been getting longer and longer. Kids are offered less time and opportunity to engage in desperately needed recreational activities, all the while greater and greater demands are being made on children. Most shocking of all, is the fact that parents are clamoring to get their children – ready or not – into schools that have the most rigorous demands and who summarily dismiss children for infractions.

Phase Three

All the while, there are huge cultural changes occurring that have profound ramifications for the Torah observant community. I would like to suggest that we are in the midst of a third phase in the evolving role of yeshivos. With the advent of technology, I propose there simply is no teivah anymore. I think that we are deluding ourselves if we think that our children are protected by the fact that we screen what comes into our homes (as we most certainly ought to) and enroll our children in fine yeshivos.

More than seven years ago, I delivered a lecture at a public forum regarding the challenges presented to Torah families by rapidly evolving technology. An individual on the panel who preceded me spoke about the need to ‘circle the wagons’ – keep these influences away from our children. I followed his presentation by stating that I agreed wholeheartedly that parents must be very vigilant about what their children are exposed to, as I have repeatedly stated at virtually every parenting class that I conduct. But I also said that this will not nearly be sufficient, as within ten years, I predicted that our children will be able to go to the local candy store or 7-11 and purchase a disposable palm-size device for $25 (along the lines of a phone card) that will allow them to set up their own email account and go on-line without their parents knowing about it. (Update: We are almost there. One can already purchase an adult-oriented audio IPOD with limited memory for less than $20.) I then spoke about the need to effectively parent our children and see to it that they are in nurturing school and community environments.

I then quoted Rav Hutner’s thought regarding the teivah and I said that we are entering phase three, where parents and schools will need to provide our children with a “spacesuit,” a multi-layered moral compass that is gradually developed during a child’s formative years. Our children need to be prepared to be able to withstand the temptations that nearly all of them will face when they leave the shelter of our homes. Because there is no teivah anymore. There may be one for fifth graders, but there most certainly is no teivah for seventeen-year-olds. So we will need to create spiritual ‘spacesuits’ for our children in order to help their neshamos (souls) survive in the oxygen-deprived atmosphere that exists today.

This notion may be frightening and unsettling, but I think that it is true nonetheless. And we had better start preparing for the new reality.

I keep getting calls from concerned parents from very charedi and chassidish homes asking me how to respond to their teenage children’s requests for IPOD’s. These are sheltered children from heimishe homes. Their parents are rightfully terrified of what the implications are for saying yes to the request, but correctly realize that saying no to the request without a good reason will be counterproductive. They also fully understand that their children can buy it without their permission if they really want to.

What is also unsettling is the fact that many of these parents have no idea what an IPOD is. So there you have it. Kids speaking a language that their parents don’t understand. Children acclimating to a new environment while their parents are like … well, immigrants. The last time we had that experience was on the Lower East Side. Do you have any idea what percentage of the kids left Yiddishkeit in that generation?

Iceberg Ahead!

Everywhere I go, people ask me how things are doing these days regarding the teen-at-risk crisis. I usually nod my head and mumble sweet nothings, as the settings these questions are presented in are generally not conducive to serious discussions. And to be perfectly honest, I have found that most people don’t want to hear the stark reality as I see things.

But if you really want to know my thoughts on this subject, pull up a chair and read these columns for the next few weeks.

For I am terrified of what I see coming. Flat out terrified. I have been feeling this way for a few years now, but the feeling is growing as time goes on. I think that the conditions are ripe for a huge, exponential increase in the number and percentages of our children who will r’l abandon Yiddishkeit – like nothing we have ever seen in our lifetimes – if we don’t dramatically transform the way we parent and educate our children.

We have the ability to make the changes necessary to avoid this catastrophe. We just need to honestly confront the reality at hand and proactively prepare for the future.

© 2006 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



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Related Articles:
Risk Factors for At-Risk Teens 1


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1.     11/30/06 - 8:31 PM
Anonymous

Like it or not, this is reality. We can face it and put in place programs geared to raising a generation of multitudes of Baalei Batim that are Shomrei Torah uMitzvos and a fortunate select group of Torah giants and Roshei Yeshiva. On the other hand, we can ignore it and continue today's worrisome path where the multitudes are put on a Rosh Yeshiva track that only few can successfully complete and the Shomeir Torah uMitzvos Baal haBayis is looked down upon and respected only at the annual dinners.


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2.     11/30/06 - 8:48 PM
Tova - Los Angeles

We cannot shelter children completely from the outside world, but the problem as I see it that we don't prepare them for it either.

I completely agree that schools are very overwhelming for kids. Frum schools make you feel like if you are not preparing your son to be "talmid chacham" than you don't belong in this school. There is only one problem with it. When your child is 3 years old you still don't know what his strengths and weeknesses are. These schools feel like a factory. They are oriented on particular kind of kid and if your child doesn't fit into the mold then 10 years later he'll find himself neither "talmid chacham" nor prepared to be any kind of professional because all efforts were put into making him something he is not. So these kids fall between chairs. There is only one proper Orthodox school in LA that understands that not everybody is born a Torah scholar; that we have to develop other skills too, that kids need to be active and to run around.

I don't think that you can succeed if you establish a school where we take 3 year olds and plan to make doctors out of all of them by the age of 20. Same with Torah learning, you can't fit all kids into one mold because there will always be some that don't fit into it and these will be the ones to go off the derech since our schools from the beginning treat them as second class Jews.


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3.     11/30/06 - 8:51 PM
anonymous

So well written, and all so true.


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4.     12/1/06 - 4:56 AM
Anonymous

I enjoyed your article about teens nowadays and agree with you wholeheartedly about teens at risk. I have unfortunately one niece and two nephews at risk. One lives in Yerushalayim and has wonderful/yeshivish/open minded parents, while the two others are siblings who live in America, 'out of town' with wonderful/yeshivish, but not-as-open minded parents. Since the family situations are so different and they are from two different sides of my family- unrelated to each other (one has a large family while the other a relatively small family, plus the financial situations are different in each) I realized it cannot be blamed on one thing or another and they are all very intelligent children.

The stories my nephews and niece have related to me about their friends at risk are terrifying- drugs, attempted suicides, driving drunk...

I'm glad you are going to address the issue.

Hatzlocha.


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5. Custom Designed Spacesuits     12/1/06 - 1:11 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

I have mixed feelings on the subject. The subject of bans, in general, is a painful one for me. Sometimes, when Torah leaders issue a ban on a particular thing, they are making a rule for the community as a whole, as opposed to judging the cases as it affects the individual, and referring people to their individual Rav and local leaders. The Sefer Hachinuch writes that were each individual to follow his understanding, that would lead to disunity and disruption of religion and nationhood. There are however, different communities who have different ultimate authorities, and especially if one is caught in between two different communities, a personal Rav or mentor is important.

Regarding the internet specifically, I agree that shielding one's self and family does not solve the underling problem. There will always be new technologies and challenges. Nevertheless, one can argue that one should still distinguish between home and outside regarding internet usage. On Motzoie Shabbos at the Agudah convention, one of the speakers stated that we should not give up and say that we are forced to bring the internet into our homes.

Regarding Rabbi Horowitz's point that "there is no Teivah", I agree. I also think that one can still make use in part of the Teivah concept, especially when one is young, even if the Teivah is not perfect. Besides the analogy of the "spacesuit", one can use the example of inoculation(R. Elchanon uses this analogy in a different context), or Yaakov's learning by Shem V'ever, although the latter wasn't permanent, and he had to deal with Lavan. There is also a joke about a father who shields his chassidshe son so he will never see a woman. When he finally walks in the street one day and sees a woman, his father tells him its duck. The son then says "Tatty, I want a katcka"! Obviously it would be a logical fallacy to use this story as a reason for bringing the net into one's home, but it illustrates that that there is no complete teivah.

I also recognize that I grew up before the internet age and benefited from somewhat of a minimum level of exposure to the various forms of secular culture and media. The gemera (BK 92b) finds a Torah source for what was then a saying, "Into the well from which you drank water, do not throw stones"(it also found its way into English idiom). So I understand why people would want to give that opportunity to today's children as well.


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6. Disaster-Schools are getting more selective     12/1/06 - 1:16 PM
Anonymous

As schools are getting more selective and weeding out more and more kids they are being sent from the Yeshiva of Torah to the Yeshiva of the Streets. It reaches the stage when parents just hope for survival all other dreams are gone. The reason principal who take the attitude of "my way orthe highway' or those who even openly state "I don't care what happens to the kid-I'm a running a schooL" Rabbi Horowitz is on point-in a certain community there was a "mechanech" who was running a HS with no feeder elementary schools-he used to get rid of many kids during 9th grade. Less than amile away there was a HS part of z N-12 complex whoich followed the attitude of "chanoch lenaar al pi darcho". what happened school N-12 hires Mechanech from HS to put on his "my way or the hiughway" approach Kids either kicked out after more than a decade, or encouraged to leave in the best Corleone ways. Example less advanced kids were excused form some classes for counselling and tutoring for years-new guy cames in they have to follow standard curriculum. He even took away gym from some of those kids-the only thiong they excelled at. So my way or the highway who might have saved soles in a previous incarnation has caused a mini spiritual holocaust for those kids. No problem just raising the bar. Results-disasterous to those kids-forget Shabbos and Kashrut for the moment-I hope they can be around to be reached-telling someone that a school doesnt want you after a decade means Yahadus doesn't want them and why are you surprised that they leave us..


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7. scary but true     12/2/06 - 7:45 PM
MB - NY

If what happened to my husband is happening to teenagers, and I know it is, then it is no surprise we are heading into bigger and bigger trouble. My husband was in kollel for over SEVEN years, and due to finances, went to work. He is part of a chabura, learns daily, listens to shiurim while commuting, learns Friday nite and Shabbos afternoon etc.. You get the idea. An ehrliche Ben Torah who supports his family. You can't imagine the way he is treated by people in Yeshiva. He left Yeshiva so he is a "balabus" and not worthy of their respect. We're talking about a man who sat in kollel for many years! If children in school can't keep to incredibly high standards, imagine how they are made to feel! If they can't succeed in the intense learning, then they are not worth teaching or respecting. Believe me, I know. I have a relative who is academically weak and was tossed from yeshiva to yeshiva because he couldn't keep up. Well, he stopped keeping Shabbos. No surprise. We either change our approach or it will turn into a tidal wave.


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8.     12/2/06 - 9:18 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey, NY

Same with Torah learning, you can't fit all kids into one mold because there will always be some that don't fit into it and these will be the ones to go off the derech since our schools from the beginning treat them as second class Jews.

tova:

All we need to do is to look at the parshiyos of these weeks -- and how yaakov avinu treated his children as the individuals that they were

---------------------------- The stories my nephews and niece have related to me about their friends at risk are terrifying- drugs, attempted suicides, driving drunk...

i wrote quite a few articles on drugs and drinking. feel free to review them on the website.

yakov


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9.     12/3/06 - 12:53 PM
Anonymous - cyberspace

comment deleted


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10. Terrific- As Usual     12/3/06 - 7:15 PM
sarah Kohn - NY

Rabbi Horowitz, as usual you're on target- which is wonderful and FRUSTRATING. It's obviously great cuz you're addressing a situation in a fantastic way. However, what's frustrating is that the general public is still not getting it. What will it take for them to open their eyes (and hearts!)? Why is it that you, Rabbi Horowitz, are still a minority?!


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11. We must be careful while discussing this.     12/3/06 - 11:13 PM
Tzvi - NY

I was linked to this teriffic article by another website. However, that website was using this article to prove that our Yeshiva system is flawed. What I am concerned about is when these discussions take place in front of children.

To quote Rav Aharon Pollack "no school or teacher can do as much harm to a child as can the conflict between parents and school (or a teacher)". When parents criticize the school in a child's presence, this harms the child much more than any inefficiency of the school. He adds that "it not only undermines the authority of the school or of the teacher, it also undermines the child's future relationships with people in positions of authority (Rabbonim, employers etc.)".

Also, children pick up their parent's attitudes, even when parents do not express their opinions to their children openly. Parents who have a negative attitude to their child's school (or r'l the entire Yeshiva system) will pass this onto their children.

I will conclude with the words of R' M. Salomon "I would plead - stop IMMEDIATELY from speaking against even a single teacher in a school or a single Rav of a Kehilla, because you are ROBBING your children, and maybe I'll use the word even MURDERING them."


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12. Delicate Balance     12/4/06 - 4:30 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"When parents criticize the school in a child's presence, this harms the child much more than any inefficiency of the school. He adds that "it not only undermines the authority of the school or of the teacher, it also undermines the child's future relationships with people in positions of authority (Rabbonim, employers etc.)"

I agree with you in general. For example, if a father doesn't like the hashkafos or anything else of his Rav, from a chinuch point of view, it would probably be better for him to daven in a different schul than to have the child hear him disrespect the Rav.

But when it comes to a child's teacher or rebbe, it is crucial to listen to the child's complaints, even if you think that the kid is just "kvetching"; otherwise the child "keeps it in" and it could damage him, depending upon how serious the issue is. There needs to be a balance between respecting rebbeim/teachers and hearing out the child. Maybe Rabbi Horowitz has previously written about this point in practical terms.


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13. illuminating     12/4/06 - 11:24 PM
Tzippy Zager - Brooklyn

Rabbi Horowitz, Your article is so painfully true. I have a suggestion regarding helping your child to create "spacesuits." At the Agudah Convention last week, at the symposium for child parent relationships, Dr. Wikler stressed how important it is for a family to eat supper together as a whole as often as possible and that it would avoid many problems for their children later, socially (sharing their day), acedemically (discussing studies), spiritually (interpreting events of the day hashkafically) and physically (eating disorders avoided etc...). Children need a wholesome family life and it starts at the supper table. I think that the dinner hour would really help your children develop that "spacesuit." My husband, when in kollel, used to come home quite late, but now that he works, we eat supper as a family almost every singe night and I can confirm that there is a 100% impact on all my kids from my baby to my tween son. I have relatives in kollelim where the father comes home from second seder after 8:00, when supper is long over, homework is nearly done, and the kids are in bed or nearly there. How can a kollelman/father achieve Dr. Wikler's suggestion and nurture his children both at the supper table and at other times?


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14. Responses     12/5/06 - 6:57 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey, NY

Tzvi and Sarah Kohn:

It is interesting that your back-to-back comments make the case for continued discussion of these matters.

Tzvi, you make a valid point that discussions like the ones we are having have negative consequences. However, Sarah asks why these issues are not receiving more attention.

To quote what a leading Rosh Yeshiva stated in a recent public forum, “We can’t keep brushing problems under the carpet. It is so lumpy that it is difficult to walk.”

Baruch; I agree with you wholeheartedly that we 1) ought to carefully listen to our children, and that 2) we should not criticize our children’s educators in their presence. I have written and spoken about this subject on many occasions.

Mrs. Zager: you are right on the money re spending time with your children. One of these Q&A columns

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/pyes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=116&ThisGroup_ID=261&Type=Article

discusses this, and provides a number of links to studies that support that concept.

I also discuss preparing your children for the time when they will no longer be in your home and the nosyonos they will face.

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/pyes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=106&ThisGroup_ID=261&Type=Article

and

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/pyes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=107&ThisGroup_ID=261&Type=Article

Finally, Mrs. Zager, I have been advocating for a change of schedule for kollelim for nearly ten years now. I think kollelim, especially in America where so many wives work, should start early, run to 3:15 or so with only a short break, and have the yungerleit home with their children until after dinnertime, when they would return for night seder. I am actually preparing an article on this subject. I dare say that you will find that one of interest.

YH


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15. Thanks for the response!     12/5/06 - 9:52 AM
Tzippy Zager

I must make a comment here regarding open discussion with our children. When I was in high school, the weeks of Parshas Braishis/Noach, my principal Rabbi Oelbaum came into each class in the school to give a talk of "Dah Ma L'hashiv." He gave many reasons in that class regarding the questions of the age of the world and evolution. I have remembered that class and used the information later on with my work in kiruv. Yes, Emunah has its place in kiruv but in Chinuch we must also show our children that we are not afraid of open discussion.


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16.     12/7/06 - 8:38 PM
Tova - Los Angeles

Rabbi Horowitz,

I understand that all we need to do is to look into Torah and how wonderful our forefathers and foremothers were. The problem as I see it is that now people look into Torah for mere academic learning. If our schools were treating kids like Yaakov aveinu, as individuals that they are, I wouldn't be so worried.

I have two kids (actually almost three). My son started school (nursery) this year. Before that I had no doubt how and where I want to educate my kids. It wasn't even a question in my mind. I wanted proper "black and white" school where my son will get proper Torah education.

When we started enrollment process I was in for a shock. I was told right away that this school is only for the boys on kolel track. And again I'm talking about a THREE YEAR OLD BOY who is just forming as an individual. They expect me to predict NOW whether he'll be a Torah scholar or a dentist.

When I had first encounters with school personal I was shocked by the lack of BASIC "derech eretz". The staff there responded to my every question as if they were doing me a favor and with annoyance that I interrupted their "rechilut".

I'm baalat-tshuva; for me growth in Yiddishkeit didn't come easy but I was really willing and eager to learn and grow. Then at the beginning of school I got rebuked for not wearing stockings (my dress was just covering knees) to school when I stopped by to drop off something. And I was told that if I don't feel that I can "fit into the mold" then probably we should look for another school.

That put an end to my eagerness with regard to Yiddishkeit. I didn't go off the derech but with regard to mitzvot I was just going through the motions without the fire that I had before. I know in my heart that Torah way is the right way to raise kids, to live by. I try not to judge Yiddishkeit by Jews.

However, now I really don't know which school I should send my kids to. Should it be "black & white" school where my kids won't be able to spend time with their father even on Sunday(he is "baal habais" and works very hard) , or to Modern Orthodox which is not my first choice. One will give them proper Torah learning skills and nothing else, another one will give them versatile education but won't give proper Torah education and it is also way too lax on moral issues (for my taste).

Do you have any suggestions for me?


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17. truth     1/11/07 - 9:26 PM
caring mother

Modern orthodox day schools can and often do give great Torah educations. Many who grow up Chareidi (I hate that term) and many Baalei Teshuva who turn Chareidi are not knowledgable about the Modern Orthodox approach. Torah learning is valued and sometimes conveyed better due to the allowance for gym and other important outlets. Many wonderful, committed, sincere, Gemara-learning, Halacha-adherent Jews go through the Modern Orthodox day school system and then Y.U./Stern. That said, out of the New York area there is a higher percentage of Jews from non-frum homes in the modern orthodox day schools, but most of the time this does not adversely derail the long term goals of the frum students. Spend time in the modern orthodox schools, sit in on classes, and ask the Hanhala to refer you to parents who lean more to the right so you can hear about the challenges and whether they felt it was worth it. Do what you feel is right in your gut just like everything else. Black hat elementary schools nowadays are usually not cut out for the individual which you seem to be. Good luck.


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18. truth     1/11/07 - 9:26 PM
caring mother

Modern orthodox day schools can and often do give great Torah educations. Many who grow up Chareidi (I hate that term) and many Baalei Teshuva who turn Chareidi are not knowledgable about the Modern Orthodox approach. Torah learning is valued and sometimes conveyed better due to the allowance for gym and other important outlets. Many wonderful, committed, sincere, Gemara-learning, Halacha-adherent Jews go through the Modern Orthodox day school system and then Y.U./Stern. That said, out of the New York area there is a higher percentage of Jews from non-frum homes in the modern orthodox day schools, but most of the time this does not adversely derail the long term goals of the frum students. Spend time in the modern orthodox schools, sit in on classes, and ask the Hanhala to refer you to parents who lean more to the right so you can hear about the challenges and whether they felt it was worth it. Do what you feel is right in your gut just like everything else. Black hat elementary schools nowadays are usually not cut out for the individual which you seem to be. Good luck.


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19. truth     1/11/07 - 9:30 PM
caring mother

Modern orthodox day schools can and often do give great Torah educations. Many who grow up Chareidi (I hate that term) and many Baalei Teshuva who turn Chareidi are not knowledgable about the Modern Orthodox approach. Torah learning is valued and sometimes conveyed better due to the allowance for gym and other important outlets. Many wonderful, committed, sincere, Gemara-learning, Halacha-adherent Jews go through the Modern Orthodox day school system and then Y.U./Stern. That said, out of the New York area there is a higher percentage of Jews from non-frum homes in the modern orthodox day schools, but most of the time this does not adversely derail the long term goals of the frum students. Spend time in the modern orthodox schools, sit in on classes, and ask the Hanhala to refer you to parents who lean more to the right so you can hear about the challenges and whether they felt it was worth it. Do what you feel is right in your gut just like everything else. Black hat elementary schools nowadays are usually not cut out for the individual which you seem to be. Good luck.


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20. truth     1/11/07 - 9:30 PM
caring mother

Modern orthodox day schools can and often do give great Torah educations. Many who grow up Chareidi (I hate that term) and many Baalei Teshuva who turn Chareidi are not knowledgable about the Modern Orthodox approach. Torah learning is valued and sometimes conveyed better due to the allowance for gym and other important outlets. Many wonderful, committed, sincere, Gemara-learning, Halacha-adherent Jews go through the Modern Orthodox day school system and then Y.U./Stern. That said, out of the New York area there is a higher percentage of Jews from non-frum homes in the modern orthodox day schools, but most of the time this does not adversely derail the long term goals of the frum students. Spend time in the modern orthodox schools, sit in on classes, and ask the Hanhala to refer you to parents who lean more to the right so you can hear about the challenges and whether they felt it was worth it. Do what you feel is right in your gut just like everything else. Black hat elementary schools nowadays are usually not cut out for the individual which you seem to be. Good luck.

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