Regarding the education issue (“From the Editor: On Our Education Crisis,” January 4), I think you are missing one valid point: Choice. The issue is that parents are legally entitled to choose where they want to send their children, and what’s important for them to study. Lubavitcher parents can choose to send their sons to Oholei Torah where no secular studies are offered, and Satmar parents can opt to send to their yeshiva that teaches a minimum of basic skills.
A disgruntled young man like Naftuli Moster could blame his lack of success in life and take his parents to task (or perhaps even sue them) for not sending him to Yeshivah of Flatbush or a similar school. I am personally acquainted with many Chassidic yeshiva alumni who are very successful. Their businesses run the gamut from air conditioning installer to payroll processor to medical supplier to food wholesaler, all productive members of society who contribute to the community both by gainfully employing many people and through their charitable deeds.
A case in point is the well-known B&H Photo. Step into the main store in Manhattan and you will see a virtual United Nations of employees. Hershel Schreiber studied in the Satmar Yeshiva. He never went to high school, never took business courses; yet, with the skills he learned from his Gemara studies, he built up a world-renowned business, one highly rated even by such a prestigious magazine as Consumer Reports. I don’t think the public schools, with their crime, drugs, and dropout rate produce a larger percentage of successful citizens.
(a proud productive product of the yeshiva system)
Stand Together For Yeshivas
As I understand it, the State Education Department is not focusing on which yeshivas surpass public schools on state exams. What they want to do is decide which teachers should be allowed to teach in yeshivas and what curriculum they should teach. Of great importance to them is that yeshiva children, from kindergarten on, be taught about alternate lifestyles as equally acceptable. That Torah values are not absolute, but only one of many possible choices. This propaganda is what they want to teach our children.
By saying they don’t mean “us,” because our kids go to college, you are missing the point! It’s not the three Rs that bother them, but our commitment to a Torah lifestyle and Torah values. On this, all religious Jews must stand together and cannot compromise.
This is the threat — not the complaints about the quality of education yeshiva students receive. The threat to yeshiva education is real and should not be responded to with a “they don’t mean us” answer.
Mrs. E. Rosenblatt