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Dec 27, 2016

yeshiva high schools in Bet Shemesh cause a storm

According to Kikar, there is shock in Bet Shemesh regarding the opening of a Yeshiva High School in the city.

According to the article, a yeshiva tichonit was opened in Bet Shemesh and the Haredi gedolim in the past have come out against such instititutions and a group of rabbonim, from the "entire spectrum" of the Haredi community - from the Eida all the way to the Litvishe rabbonim, have signed a letter against the opening of this yeshiva tichonit.

3 yeshivas are mentioned specifically -Arzei Levanon, Mesivta Bet Shemesh and Meorot.

There are a few aspects of this that pushed me to comment:
1. The pashkevil they post actually went up at least two weeks ago. This is old news. I would also note that while I saw a copy of the pashkevil posted a couple of weeks ago online, I could not find any in the usual places and nobody (at least those I asked) who posted it had seen the original.

2. no new yeshiva tichonit (that I know of) has opened in Bet Shemesh recently. Of the three listed, Meorot happens to be relatively old, around for many years. Mesivta Bet Shemesh has been open over 5 years. Arzei Levanon is now in its third year. I wonder why the protesters just woke up now about this, or if they were simply having a boring week and decided it was time to recycle this issue.

3. "storm" in the title of the Kikar article seems a bit strong, since besides for the pashkevil I haven't heard a word around town nor have I seen protests and rallies against it. Either it takes very little to shock people nowadays, "storm" means very little nowadays, or it is just hyperbole.

4. I feel bad for Arzei Levanon for being included in this. They are not even a yeshiva tichonit, though they offer a couple of classes as "chugim". As well, from what I understand, they asked rabbonim in advance and were told they'd be ok as long as they dont teach for bagrut and do the bit they wanted to do as chugim instead of actual obligated curriculum. At least one of the rabbonim signed on this pashkevi/letter is one of the rabbonim that said back then that he would not oppose them if they did that. Now they get "lumped" with the yeshiva high schools, and get attacked by one of the rabbonim who said he wouldn't, and they even lose all the boys who want a yeshiva high school because they don't provide that - they lose on all sides, when they just tried to have a niche market and keep the rabbonim happy.

5. for Mesivta and Meorot, this, unfortunately, is part of the game. They are schools that are against the official position of the Haredi community, so even though the schools are populated by a Haredi student body, meaning Haredim (of some sort) want these schools and send their kids to these schools, the Haredi askanim have to mobilize the rabbonim every now and then to publicly oppose such institutions. If they didn't some people might forget that the rabbis are supposed to be against them.

6. I am surprised some other rabbonim are not on the letter. Considering a recent letter to the editor in Mishpacha Magazine by a local [American expat Haredi] rav making it clear that he opposes such schools because the gedolim do, I would have expected this rav and his peers to also sign on the letter. Maybe he (and the others) simply was not asked.

7. perhaps it was the recent article in Mishpacha about the anglo-style of RBS, along with these types of yeshivas, and the letter to the editor, that prompted this. That can't be because the original pashkevil was out before the Mishpacha article. But maybe that prompted the article in Kikar

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  1. As far as I understand, the reason Arzei Halevanon was included, and attacked by that particular Rabbi, is that they recently introduced math among the chugim that they offer. Until now, it had been things like carpentry and guitar. But Rabbi Kornfeld is still backing them.

  2. as far as I know, Arzei Levanon has had math chugim since day 1. I looked at the yeshiva for a son of mine and went to an open house in both the year before they opened and in the next year as well. in both meetings math was discussed as an optional chug (they called it "life skills"). There was another but I dont remember what the topic was.
    the carpentry and music were separate from those.

  3. I think it's a shame that rabbonim who know very well how important a yeshiva like the Mesivta is for their own balebatim's sons, how matzliach they are there (and how unhappy they would be in a standard yeshiva ketana), are willing to risk embarrassing those same boys, by publicly saying negative things about the Mesivta. All that just to "prove" how truly Chareidi they are. Chaval.

  4. Research re Chareidi academic programsDecember 27, 2016 8:29 PM

    Rav Malinowitz wrote that he did a lot of research into options for boys who decide to study something later on. He claimed that it's no big deal to "catch up" without doing Bagruyot in high school. Here are links to some of my (contradictory) research: m.bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=101205 www.kikar.co.il/mobile/app/#news.213522 www.themarker.com/news/1.3019374 www.themarker.com/news/1.2925511 www.aguda-achat.org.il/articles/2459/ http://hamishmar.org.il/2014/02/27/hinuh2502144/
    There is loads more. For those who don't want to slog through it all, the main point is that while there are many programs out there, the number of men who start and don't make it through the mechina programs, plus those who don't make it through the course programs comes to around a 70% failure rate- as documented by the programs themselves. On top of that, there are thousands of others who don't even try to start a program because they know that they won't succeed due to various life circumstances. To try to convince people to send to yeshiva ketana by telling them it's not a problem AT ALL to "just do it later on" is more than just misleading- especially since all the above evidence to the contrary is very well known to anyone who cares to look.

  5. anybody paying attention over the past 5+ years will have seen the articles and the interviews with heads of these schools and be aware of the fact that there is a very high dropout rate in these programs. They are very good for those that succeed in them. They are very important. There are avreichim who are very talented and if/when they leave and go into business or join these programs they will and they do succeed and thrive. Unfortunately, not everyone is like that, and many struggle, many drop out completely. Many do not even start because they do not have the time or money for it at their age and lack of funds (which is why they left kollel only to discover they now have to spend a few years studying at upwards of 10,000nis per year with no income).. etc
    it is very disingenuous to say as a rule that people can go to one of these catch up programs and all will be good.

  6. As a chutznik, I wish you success in finding the proper yeshiva for your sons & applaud those that combine yeshiva studies with secular life skills (as we all do in USA).

    Keep in mind that verbal & written abuse/ posters / rallies & demos do not last forever. Stand tall & proud with a smile on your face knowing you are making a decision that works for you. kol hakavod!

  7. See Michtav M'Eliyahu chelek 3 page 355-360 to understand the perspective of the gedolim who oppose these schools. Quite an eye opener.

  8. If I remember correctly, Rav Dessler compared the chinuch in Germany and Lita. He said that in Germany those who went to torah im derech eretz schools mostly stayed frum, but few if any real gedolim were produced; whereas in the Litvish system there were some major gedolei yisrael, however it came at a terrible cost as evidenced by the huge number of bachurim who went totally off the derech beacuse the system was not appropriate for the masses. (Most of the haskala movement's founders came from the elite yeshivos). Nowadays, there are many hundreds of chashuve rabbonim,roshei yeshivos, dayanim, poskim and talmidei chachamim who are the product of yeshivos with limudei chol (both in chutz l'aretz and in Israel). The difference may be due to the fact that today secular studies are more clearly positioned as the tafel with gemara as the definite ikar in the yeshivos.


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