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Sep 3, 2007

the pot calls the kettle black

A small school of 20 students had to shut its doors for good. 19 of the children found other schools to go to. 1 student, a child of 4 years old, has not yet found a school to attend.

The parents brought the child to a school and applied. The school rejected the child, supposedly saying that the reason was because 1 grandparent of the child was sefardi. This despite the fact that the parents are both ashkenazi and only 1 grandparent was sefardi (not that it really matters, but that's the story). The child looks ashkenazi and speaks yiddish and is completely ashkenazi.

The school in question is in Bet Shemesh and the principal insists on keeping his school with "certain standards" and he cannot take "damaged goods".

Now, on the one hand, the story is horrible. This is the way Nazi's determined who was Jewish and deserving of persecution. They declared that anybody with one Jewish grandparent was considered jewish. It did not matter how intermarried the children were. One Jewish grandparent was enough to taint the blood.

This principal is applying the same rule and saying this child is tainted because he had one sefardi grandparent.

This is a horrible way of selecting students. You can say the child is academically not at the same level (after testing him), or various other excuses to convince them to find a more appropriate school for their child. But simply because 1 grandparent was sefardi?

This is a scandalous situation that happens all too frequently. Schools have quotas limiting how many children of sefardic descent they will accept. Other schools do not accept any. The girls schools every year have a similar problem with upwards of 150 girls reportedly not having a school to go to. This is just because they did not have the right "connections" and "protexia" or because they are sefardi.

On the other hand, I do not understand why these people insist on going only to the specific school in question. In truth, they are just as bad as the principal. There are dozens of wonderful schools to choose from. Why did they choose this one? Because they consider it the top school. They think because this school got itself a reputation as being the best (I might add they probably got that reputation because they keep out sefardim so in peoples mind they are pure) it must be so and their child must go there and be part of the discrimination against other children, so their child can be "the best".

The mother does not argue how evil it is to discriminate against the child because a grandfather was sefardi. She does not argue how evil it is to discriminate against sefardim in general. She practically justifies it. All her argument is is that "my child" should not be discriminated against because he looks and acts ashkenazi.

She is part of the problem. If it was up to her the school would continue discriminating, just not against her kid. Her kid should get in and then they should continue their policy of not letting tainted kids in so they do not ruin her kid.

The pot is calling the kettle black.

She should be complaining about all discrimination. Not just the discrimination against her. Otherwise this stuff will just keep happening. Right now, I feel bad for the kid who is stuck with no school, but the mother is as much to blame as the principal.

This story has been confirmed to be true. It happened in RBS B. I have not yet found out the name of the school but people who are familiar with the story firsthand have confirmed it for me.

9 comments:

  1. I would be very careful to not blame the victim here. She is not the person with the power, and therefor is simply playing within the framework laid out by the school. Claiming her son looks and acts ashkeNAZI doesn't make her bad. There could be a variety of reasons the school is good for the family, maybe it is the closest school, or all of his friends will be attending it. Futhermore, even if she wanted to send her son to school there b/c it is an ashkenaz school, so her kid would not be around sephardim, I would still be careful about the blame.

    Individuals react on the actions of institutions, institutions simply act. We shouldn't tolerate this type of discrimination, and if any Torah observant rabbi were to decide on it, they would recognize the connection between all JEWISH souls, and not the various distinctions provided to us by being forced into diaspora.

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  2. She should find another school for her kid. Period.
    That school does not accept him. Big deal.
    I would not send my kid to that school even if I had the choice. Sounds like a weird institution.

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  3. If the basic premise of the story
    "The school rejected the child, supposedly saying that the reason was because 1 grandparent of the child was Sephardi." is true I find this story quite disturbing.

    I don't know the school in question, but the common practice in elite schools of vetting intake, and expelling poor performers, may raise the measured level of a schools final academic success, but surely the real measure of a school is what is achieved with the coarser clay?
    A school that can motivate and help all of its students to aspire to greater things and becoming better Jews, no matter their original intellectual potential is a measure I would be more interested in.

    Mr Bagel

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  4. Ben,I disagree. THe parents perpetuate the system, by wanting their kids to attend schools who accept students according to ethnicity. What often happens is that the older children in a family attend a particular school, and when a younger child is not accepted because of, say, ADHD, the parents are all upset. But they were fine about other children with behavior problems being rejected.

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  5. Ben - I understand your point and to a certain extent I think you are correct. Parents just want to get their kids into a good school (based on whatever criteria they use - education level, proximity, friends, educators etc.) and the other issues - they don't care about them as long as they are not affected.

    But aside from that, such discrimination goes on because the society condones, and even supports, it. The schools get away with it, to a certain extent at least, because that is what the parents want.

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  6. I am absolutely speechless.

    I agree completely with rebel. I would not want my child going to school with attitudes like this.

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  7. It happens all over Jerusalem. Were I Queen of Israel for a day, all schools would have "blind" applications and you would be accepted on merit, not by name or ancestry....

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  8. Its not just the schools. villages (kiryat?) also take in a quota of Sephardim at a time.

    Its too weird. I'd like to understand it but I don't think there is anythin g to understand. (sigh)

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  9. ben, you missed rafi's point. she would discriminate too against someone else who didn't look as ashkenazic as her son. that's the flaw against the mom here.

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