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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Discriminatory Policies

The folks over at AmericaBlog are up in arms over a Christian School that has denied admission to a student because she is being raised by a lesbian couple. They feel that it is inappropriate to take the parents' actions out on the child.

I wonder how they would feel about the Brooklyn schools who have been known to deny admission to students based on how much of her hair the applicant's mother covers, whether the applicant's household has a television, and in at least one case, whether the parents of the applicant have one nightable or two in their bedroom ( a "coded" question about whether the master beds are pushed together or apart). And of course we've all heard about the new trend in Yeshiva admission - Yeshivas that only admit students whose fathers are learning in Kollel full-time.

Though I abhor the narrow-minded, judgemental way in which these schools ask these questions, I have to admit that I am pretty comfortable with some Yeshivas choosing to try to keep a homogeneous student body. Even if a homogeneous student body is not a criteria I myself am looking for in choosing my children's places of education, I am well aware that there are those who do, and respect their right to do so. If anyone would like to try to convince me otherwise, feel free to attempt it in comments.

That being said, can anyone think of any crazy Yeshiva admissions criteria I've missed? Anyone hear of any other great examples of not-so-open admission policies in these Yeshivas?

28 Comments:

Blogger tuesdaywishes said...

That's one great thing about yichus; people are ashamed to ask you stupid questions.

11:30 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

LOL! Do you hand them your genealogy creds at the door of the interview? Do you have a handy-dandy laminated pocket-sized family tree to head the questioning off at the pass?
How does playing the yichus card work, exactly?

11:36 PM  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

This is as told to me by a good friend of many years:

His son was exluded from a particular yeshiva because his (the father's) car was not "a chasidishe color". HE SOLD THE CAR! They bumped him anyway.

(It turns out they needed the space in the crowded yeshiva for a "landsman".)
Moral of the story:
Learn to take a hint, and only send your kids where they are WANTED.

12:31 AM  
Blogger queeniesmom said...

It would appear the "new" issue is how mom dresses. seems there are many unwritten rule of what she can and can't wear. For some top of the "no list is denim, snoods and too long skirts". haven't quite figured out what constitutes too long, would have thought too short would be more of an issue but what do i know.

what worries me is that while a school is free to decide what their student body should look like, others start emulatting these schools. after all they must be right, look how frum they are!

soon we'll find ourselves with narrowminded bigoted schools that won't allow any free thought, questions and will be brainwashing our kids. the black hat ayatollahs will be taking over and we'll (the mothers)soon be covered from head to toe. black choudra (sp, sorry)anyone.

the other issue that seems to be swept under the carpet is midot. everyone is focusing on outward signs but no one is looking very carefully at what is really happening. if it looks ok - it must be ok, seems to be the prevailing attitude. let's all say the correct thing and dress correctly - don't worry if you cheat at business or aren't nice to your peers, so long as your mom's hair is covered in the correct manner. how have we let ourselves sink to this level? we should all be horrified.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

I agree. However, the line has to be drawn somewhere: schools should not be free to exclude children based on ethnicity or income no matter how strongly the school feels about the composition of the student body.

1:50 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

schools should not be free to exclude children based on ethnicity or income no matter how strongly the school feels about the composition of the student body.
I couldn't agree more.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

queeniesmom:

i remember hearing that hhareidiyot in Israel only wear skirts that are just lower to the knee, and stockings (or something like that) — in order to distinguish themselves from the datiyot le’umiyot who wear long flowy (hippy?) skirts that reach their ankles.

Also, for the Grammar Mom herself, just a reminder that it's children's, since the plural is already marked by -ren. Like women's. Or wymyn's, assumedly. ;-)

9:12 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

oops, sorry for the doublage. flaky internet connection.

9:17 AM  
Anonymous onionsoupmix said...

It is so nice that you, orthomom, are appreciative of people's rights to send their children to homogeneous schools. I would like to send my children to homogeneous schools too. To schools where children are not exposed to "evil" and "wicked" influences at home. The evil influences of racism and intolerance. More specifically, I would like to send them to schools in which the children's parents do not teach them that goyim are evil, that schvartzes are stupid and that any female who doesn't dress like their mommy is a zonah. Sadly, it seems that my choice of homogeneity is mutually exclusive with the homogeneity sought by most well regarded yeshivos.

And also maybe someone can explain how setting up a school just for the kollel kids is a wise financial move. I'd like to hear that.

9:22 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Also, for the Grammar Mom herself, just a reminder that it's children's, since the plural is already marked by -ren. Like women's. Or wymyn's, assumedly. ;-)
Oooh. Missed that. Thanks.

9:24 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I would like to send my children to homogeneous schools too. To schools where children are not exposed to "evil" and "wicked" influences at home. The evil influences of racism and intolerance. More specifically, I would like to send them to schools in which the children's parents do not teach them that goyim are evil, that schvartzes are stupid and that any female who doesn't dress like their mommy is a zonah. . Sadly, it seems that my choice of homogeneity is mutually exclusive with the homogeneity sought by most well regarded yeshivos.

Well said.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

Yeah Krum, I couldn't agree more either, especially about income. Anyone who can just do their part and pay 8-12K per child should be welcome, regardless of if they are rich or poor.

9:42 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Yeah Krum, I couldn't agree more either, especially about income. Anyone who can just do their part and pay 8-12K per child should be welcome, regardless of if they are rich or poor.
Weel, funny you should be sarcastic about that, RebelJew. If anything, a lot of the parents that are paying less that full tuition are really the prized parents in many of these schools, because most of the parents who need financial assistance are learning, or being Rebbes in these Yeshivas. Many full-tuition-paying parents complain that they feel that the schools are happy to have them, but only to subsidize the education of the students whose parents are really the yeshiva's "type", i.e. Kollel and Rebbe types. So the income discrimination may actually work in the reverse. For example, the largest boys' school in my community has a student body that is comprised of 60% of students on some sort of financial assistance.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH so many... I especially like (sic) the ones where the schooling of relatives (not necessarily siblings) is a factor to the admission of a different child in a different yeshiva. What camps the parents or siblings went to ten years before, and my biggest peeve, asking a kid in 10th grade why he switched schools in second grade as if he was acutely aware of the difference between MO and Yeshivish at the time...
The yeshiva admission questions are worse than the asinine shidduch questions. its all about image - and its not just brooklyn it is everyhwere,. no one gives a bleep about education, just image and money. There was one notoriously anal yeshivish high school principal, that insisted during interviews that the boys wear a black hat to and from yeshiva no matter what the weather was, cuz he was concerned that the ppl driving by on their way to work have nothing better on their minds than when they pass the boys waiting for the school bus on the corner to be able to differentiate between the MTA boys and the Boys from our yeshiva. (This is the same nut job who used to call kid into his office so he can whip out the razor blade and snip off little dockers patches from the rumps of their pants when they broke the cardinal rule of not wearing cotton pants to school).

10:51 AM  
Anonymous der blatt said...

you in those same brooklyn yeshivas, if the applicant has a swolan bank account all the those questions get answered and every thing is a ok

yep thats the world we are living in

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

would anyone be inclined to assume that an authority figure who razors labels off boys' backsides is a closet child molester? Such a 'punishment' strikes me as the realization of some kind of perverted fantasy.

5:18 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

I believe you left out the TV/no-TV class splits... great comment by OnionSoupMix says it best.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Moochy said...

Hi Mom,

In private schools I though they are allowed to have their rules , no?
Not that I am siding with them.

I know one that was not accepted in a certain yeshivah Because of the rules... but since he donated 3 air conditioners,, they made an official exception....

Now, if you stick to your rules its one thing, but if you are going to bend them that only shows corruption.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Essie said...

Parents who try to keep their kids so isolated and try to create a "homogeneous student body" in the schools will have kids who rebel. Why is tolerance and ahavat yisrael such a bad thing to teach your children?

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wouldnt know about that, but he was definitely OCD about the stupidest things that have nothing to do with education or chinuch.
Good Midos were never taught, but damn you to hell if passed through the school threshold with a label on your butt.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Akiva said...

There you go, beating up on the community again.

Having more than your 4 children in yeshiva at the moment, and having moved a few times, I have dealt with a number of yeshiva's directly. I am absolutely amazed at how screwed up the system is. I can't fathom the kind of stuff that happens there.

Maybe I'll write up my own family's yeshiva horror stories some time.

I don't think, in the vast majority of the cases, that it's not that they aren't sincere and trying their best. It's just that the skills of teaching and dealing with children are not the right ones for administering, dealing with money and communal education responsibilities. That leads to a lot of bad choices.

1:19 PM  
Blogger MDmom said...

moochy...

uhm, would those be the kind of airconditioners that cool the room, or the kind you can catch oprah on?

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whe I was a little kid over 50 years ago ,my father took me to register me at RJJ.Rabbi Hillel Weiss ZTL(the menahel)said to me .We have been waiting for you for six years.Too bad you people don't have the zchus to have people like this running the yeshivas.

7:01 PM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

How exactly do the yeshivot find about about your bedroom furniture? Does the Rosh Yeshiva come to the home for a self-guided tour? Is the question asked on the admission slip?

Nothing screams tzniut more than asking about the size of bed you use and how your beds are positioned.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are private schools and if you don't like it you have other choices. My son didn't wear a suit on his interview to his potential high school. The Rosh Hayeshiva said that the kid wasn't a mentsch.
we were late at that point and applied in another school to cover ourselves for the quickly approuching school year. We fought like hell to get into the orginal school and finally got in.
We accepted the conditions demanded by this school, we didn't agree but it isn't a right to go there. After reading some of the comments on this site I see there are a lot of disgruntled people and anti religious people making comments.
The Torah talks about the midos and actions of our forefathers in detail. Although people are focusing on the secondary things and making them primary. There is a reasonable demand to be sure the potentential spaouse is attractive and to inquire where they are heading in their futures are they going to be a earner or a learner or a combonation of both.
Is it moe shameful to ask about the religiosity of the parents than the "a" boys demanding an appartment in Israel as a precondition to marring the girl?
Is it fair? After all the girl wants that "a" boy, she can always look some more. We all know they don't last and if it costs Daddy a few bucksto get this prize then that is the decision they make, orthey can choose to walk away.

12:21 PM  
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