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Friday, October 07, 2005

More School Discrimination

A while back, I posted about an outrageous allegation in Haaretz that ultra-Orthodox Lakewood schools had begun to deny admission to students based on their Sephardi lineage. Now comes this. Apparently, ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi schools in Israel (evidently separating students by ethnicity is already the accepted norm over there), have been rejecting students of newly Orthodox parents.
In recent years, a new type of discrimination has emerged in Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox educational institutions. In addition to their discrimination against girls from Sephardi backgrounds, children whose parents found religion in adulthood are also being sidelined.
This discussion was broached by writer Avigail Meizlik, herself a Baalat Teshuva, in the Charedi weekly that she writes for, Mishpacha. She relates her personal experience, and questions the message that this practice sends to these newly religious families. She even goes so far as to suggest that these Charedi communities might be better off curtailing their efforts at bringing nonobservant people into the fold, as they then do not make enough of an effort to find a place for them.
"There are so many organizations and people devoting their lives to attracting people to a religious lifestyle," wrote Meizlik, "Why bother? Why convince them to make such a difficult, painful change? Why call upon them to come and live a Torah lifestyle if no one has any intention of giving them the opportunity to live such a lifestyle? Perhaps the time has come to stop investing in outreach and to redirect the immense energies of these organizations to the existing newly religious families."
Some of the responses she got were surprising in their exclusivity:
The following week's article was written by Yael Berg, who came out in defense of the discrimination. The newly observant, explained Berg, tend to meet with their non-religious relatives and the children are exposed to their relatives' culture, "their speech patterns, music, body language and concepts," she wrote.

Yael feels that this encounter with secular culture sometimes causes the children to backslide, and they are liable to negatively affect youths who have been ultra-Orthodox from birth.

"I feel that the pain of the girl who has not been accepted is preferable to the anguish of families whose daughters are affected by a girl who was erroneously accepted," wrote Berg.
I'm glad she feels that way, but who is she to rate one Jew's anguish against anothers? The editor of Mishpacha, Moshe Grylak, has a similar reaction to Berg's comments:
He also agrees that "the rejection unfortunately also stems from elitist arrogance - an evil sickness the causes apathy and hardheartedness toward the suffering of those we reject."
Another, similar opinion to Berg's, worded even less tactfully, was wriiten in a letter to the magazine:
Zippora Beit Levi, a teacher at the Beit Yaakov school system, wrote to Mishpacha that she feels the ultra-Orthodox community is having enough trouble with its own rebellious youth "without importing `trouble' from outside."
If the "trouble" already exists, who's to say that the solution is discriminating against a group of people who are giving up so much to try to be a part of her community?

One suggested solution to the impasse that seems to have gained traction in both camps, is the proposal for separate schools for the newly observant. However, as Meizlick states, the Ultra-orthodox offer this option from "on top of their high horses."

It is much easier for the "Frum From Birth" types to create a system where they don't have to worry about their children coming into contact with anyone not exactly like them, but does that really make their children stronger in their faith, or take into account their resposibilities to those in the community who may not be as "blessed" as their children were to be born into the right cradle?

(hat tip)

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess AVROHOM BEN TERACH would not be able to go to school with the children of these vile scum.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

This is sick... I remember fighting with my charedi cousins about their attitudes toward sefardim when I was there; but this is even more ironic, as it would exclude even myself, who although I grew up frum, my mother was Conservative. I wonder what they'll say to me now?

10:23 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

What exactly are BT "speech patterns"? Is their language linguistically encoded with kefirah? And "body language"? Do they belly-dance when they talk?

I think underneath all this there is a real issue about how to integrate a very, very different population into an insular community without overwhelming it. Outreach is of paramount importance and teaches FFB children invaluable lessons. But how do we do this in a manner that is least disruptive to the expectations of FFB parents?

1:22 AM  
Blogger Cosmic X said...

Dear fellow jbloggers,

Please, please, remember that Ha'aretz and Ynet as well as most of the Israeli MSM are not exactly religious-friendly. To say that they have an anti-religious bias would be an understatement. Unfortunately, I don't know of any news source that is unbiased. Arutz 7, for instance, has a definite agenda, and one should keep that in mind when reading it(although they are very faithful in reporting facts, and correcting themselves when necessary.)

I myself am a ba'al teshuvah, and my daughters learned in what is perhaps the most prestigious Beis Ya'akov in Jerusalem. What's more, I don't wear a black hat and a black frock! And even worse, my son's learn in a "Zionist" Yeshivah. So everything is not "black and white" with regards to this issue.

7:59 AM  
Anonymous onionsoupmix said...

Much of the in-fighting in chareidi communities can likely be correlated with the degree of "plastic bubble insulation" that they expect from the schools. If everyone who goes to my school talks, looks and speaks just like me and I never have to deal with diversity, then any other sect of ultra-orthodoxy is automatically inferior too. It comes back to bite you in the bum.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Out of Step in Kfar Saba said...

It gets worse. In the haredi town Qiryat Sefer there are the following kindergartens, in ascending order of "prestige":
1. For children of father's that work
2. For children of father's who teach Torah in yeshivot.
3. For children of father's who learn in kollel all day.

9:08 AM  
Blogger bluke said...

I posted about this a while ago here A Baal Teshuva's fate in the Charedi world.

This was printed in Mishpaacha which is a charedi magazine.

9:55 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

So everything is not "black and white" with regards to this issue.

Is anything ever "black and white"? This allegation aired in a chareidi publication, which leads me to doubt that the phenomenon is not widespread, if it is actually being owned up to in such a forum.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a little mystified at the assumption that it is halachically muttar to cause people anguish because someone prefers insularity. In general, one may not commit to a course of action or a lifestyle that inevitably leads to an aveirah, and that's quite clearly what's happening here.

- Moishe Potemkin, full of disgust

10:19 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

not only is it not halachicly muttar it's an avaira of very very high severity. we are told not to opress the "ger" for we where strangers in the land of egypt. the ironic thing is, that if any of the people who are touting this stuff where using their brains they'd toss themselves out of their elitist schools.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kids learn all the really crazy stuff from the yeshivish-family kids.

People are just stupid.

Greg - http://presence.baltiblogs.com

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fault lies less with the charedim wanting to keep themselves removed from outside influences (to a degree I find unwise, but not offensive), than with the pr-oriented, sell-sell-sell Kiruvism mentality that has arisen to replace Judaism.

They sweep people in by selling a vision of a Judaism that does not exist...

8:09 PM  
Blogger Rahel said...

I can still remember a friend of mine (we became BT at approximately the same time) asking me not to tell anyone she was a BT because she wanted a good shiddukh ... which, eventually, she got.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Zeh Sefer Toldot Adam said...

Why would a school chose to do this? It seems to me that it has become increasingly important in the Ashkenazi UO world to put as number one priority the saving of one's own soul. The worst thing would be to risk being exposed to anything non-frum which could then corrupt you. So, they protect themselves from anything tainted with non-frum-ness: which for sure includes baalei teshuva.

I am not sure when preserving the priority of one's personal saintliness became a priority over the idea of knesset yisrael but the attitude seems pretty wide-spread. I recently heard the excuse given for not doing army service, even in the Nachal Haredi - was because one could be exposed to dangerous non-frum elements.

Selfishness (i.e. caring for oneself only) is now a religious doctrine.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Akiva said...

When the yetzar ha'ra (the evil inclination) comes to the FFB (frum from birth), he doesn't say eat treif.

He says, DISCORD, NON-ACCEPTANCE, SINAT CHINAM, LASHON HARA, INTERNAL JEWISH SEGREGATION, PROTECT FROM THE OTHER, THE OTHER JEW IS BAD (twisting staying away from the actual treif to the different kosher).

Unfortunately, he (or she) is really really good at the job.

3:01 PM  
Blogger LikeADeer said...

I have lived in Israel for a while and I know of school which will not except studetns whos aprents work for a living.
CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS BULL! I guess Rashi wouldnt be excepted or the rambams kids.
I know of a 5 year old kid who was kicked out of school for good because his father was seen bringing out the garbage in his "wife-beaters".
I think that God is not happy!
Any thoughts?

5:54 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

I think this is not fair because all students are in their right to learn, we can't private them to reach their goals because it's like a sacrifice.

1:53 PM  
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12:33 AM  

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