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FAMILY IN PAIN

Dear Editor:

I’ve been crying all week about the Azan family. Is it just me, but I feel that since Rubashkin’s sentence has been commuted all people seem to be talking about is Rubashkin and people are forgetting the Azan family.

Shamshie Freed

Editor’s Note: You make a good point. However, part of Klal Yisroel’s long lasting ability to survive is its ability to be switch gears. The pain and suffering of the Azan family has not gone away. May Moshiach come soon to bring yeshuos to all.

 

CELEBRATING RUBASHKIN

Dear Editor:
I understand that the Rubashkin commuting of sentence is a tremendous simcha. However I do not understand why people are treating R’ Shlomo Mordechai like he is Moshiach. Can you please explain?

Devorah Shames

Editor’s Note: I do not think they are treating him like Moshiach. Klal Yisroel is truly elated that he is out of jail.

 

CELEBRATING RUBASHKIN

Dear Editor:
I feel we are over doing it with the celebrations for Rubashkin’s release. It is a great simcha and very exciting but I feel that it can cause more harm than good for future. We need to tone it down.

Alarmed in Brooklyn

Editor’s Note: You may be right, however, there must be gedolim who disagree with you since they are joining in the celebrations. Let us not put a damper on this great simcha. You may not realize that Rubashkin is reaching out to everyone as an act of hakaras hatov for all of those who were supportive of him during his trying time. May we never be tested.

 

WASTE OF TIME

Dear Editor:

I don’t think PTA is worth it. Parents waste their whole night waiting on long lines for a few seconds to speak with their child’s teacher. The teacher himself has to give up a whole night and has no time to think between parents. I think PTA should be done over the phone.

Tzorti P

Editor’s Note: Instead of being cynical and negative about PTA meetings, perhaps parents should count their blessings that they have children who need their time and attention. What a brocha that is! May all those waiting for children have this problem.

 

TAX BILL

Dear Editor:

I don’t like the Trump new tax bill. People will give less charity. If there are less people itemizing then there is less of an incentive to give tzedakka. The Corporations will give less tzedaka as they have cheap taxes.

Yankel D

Editor’s Note: Those who give charity will give without it. Those who don’t, will continue doing what they’ve done in the past. I don’t believe the tax bill will determine your tzedaka’s incoming donations. Hashem determines that.

 

YESHIVA MADNESS

Dear Editor: 

In recent weeks, the distortions and misinformation about the education our yeshivas provide to our students has grown exponentially. The absurdity hit a new high two weeks ago, when David Bloomfield argued here that Mayor de Blasio and other elected officials could face arrest over the issue. 

Two years ago, a former yeshiva student sent a short letter to the City’s Department of Education alleging that some thirty yeshivas did not offer any secular studies or any instruction in English. This, he said, ran afoul of a state requirement that private schools provide “substantially equivalency of instruction” to its students.  

Yeshivas are religious schools whose goals and philosophy differs from public schools – and from one another. Bloomfield has spent much of his career at public institutions, so it is not surprising that he has some fundamental misunderstanding of yeshivas. There are more than 275 yeshivas in this city and they are as different from one another as they are similar. 

Our yeshivas educate more than 110,000 students annually, and so it is also not surprising that some graduates are disaffected critics. But if Bloomfield is to be taken seriously, he can’t analyze by anecdote or use his lack of knowledge about our schools to spread innuendo. 

Bloomfield probably teaches no more than several dozen students a year, yet I’m sure he wouldn’t think it fair to be judged by those who thought his class was a waste of time. Yet Bloomfield has no problem judging a system of 275 independent schools with more than 100,000 students by a handful of dissatisfied alumni.  

The report’s distortions were insulting to the thousands of families who send their children to yeshivas each day. We are enormously proud of the education our yeshivas provide. Our students attend school for 12 hours every day – a strikingly longer school day than that required by most other districts. Yes, much of the day is devoted to study of Jewish law, consistent with a tradition stretching back a century. But our classrooms are filled with intellectual debate and academic rigor more common to colleges than middle schools. Our students are taught to analyze facts, debate ideas, challenge assumptions and think critically. Our attendance and graduation rates exceed those of the public schools. Our graduates are integral to the fabric of our city’s economic life.

 

Yeshivas can surely improve, but ultimately parents must have the right to choose how their children are educated. Every year, thousands of parents choose to send their children to yeshivas both for their unique curriculum and to avoid the failures of a public school system about which they have no desire to be “substantially equivalent” to. 

It is far easier to criticize than to understand. If critics want to be taken seriously by the institutions they hope to impact, they need to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the values that have helped yeshivas thrive, and they must refrain from defining a multi-faceted system of 275 schools and 100,000 students by what they perceive to be the weakest few schools and students.

Avi Greenstein

Editor’s Note: You bring up excellent points. However, there are yeshivos that do not provide a proper secular education. It would be proper for those yeshivos to address the issue themselves. Involving the board of education is a recipe for disaster. They will make more problems than they fix.

 

NORTH KOREA

Dear Editor:

North Korea seems to be ready for war. They keep on claiming that the Sanctions are an act of war. I am extremely worried of having a nuclear war. What can I do?

Shiffy N.

Editor’s Note: Daven to Hashem.