Sunday, July 27, 2008

Deliberate undereducation is a form of child neglect

From this post by SephardiLady, of Orthonomics:

Shira Salamone said...
"The real solution needs to be a situation in which a man is expected to spend 1-2 years post high school in yeshiva full-time (on *his* parents' dime or on scholarship) sans wife/kids, and then marry and have a career and schedule study around the career."

An excellent idea, though, if college or other higher education or career training comes afterward, he'll still have to count pennies and/or depend on parents for a while. Still, that's a vast improvement over being dependent for life.

"Shira - Even if they WANT to go out to work, most have very little by way of marketable skills" I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that the Torah requires a father to teach his son a trade (and how to swim). When did it become even mutar (permissible in accordance with halachah/Jewish religious law), much less a given in certain segments of the right-wing Orthodox community, for parents to deliberately deprive their children of the education and/or training necessary to make a living?

June 24, 2008 6:28 PM
Shira Salamone said...
I'm posting this as a separate comment in case SephardiLady chooses to delete it, as I suppose that some folks may find it offensive.

It is my sincere opinion that any school, no matter from what sources it receives its funding, that does not, at an absolute minimum, teach its students 1) to speak, read, and write in the native language of the country in which they live, and 2) to do at least basic arithmatic should be illegal. To deprive any child of the ability to make a living before that child is old enough to make such a decision for himself or herself is, in my opinion, a form of child neglect.
June 24, 2008 6:53 PM

Elitzur said...
Shira - you are referring to the mishna at the end of the first perek of Kiddushin. However, there seems to be a contradictory statement at the end of Kiddushin from R' Nahorai who says, "I will leave all worldly pursuits and teach my son only Torah." This boils down into an arguement between Maharsha (and others) and Meiri. The Meiri says that one who teaches his son Torah does not have to teach him a trade.

I don't like it but one has to be honest with the sources...
June 25, 2008 10:38 AM

Shira Salamone said...
Elitzur, thanks for the information.

I was not aware that there was a contrary opinion. I suppose that I would pose the same question to the Meiri, if I could: How do you expect your son to survive if his education and/or training does not enable him to make a living?
June 25, 2008 10:49 AM

SephardiLady said...
I would argue that the statement in Pirkei Avot (one who does not teach his child a trade teaches him to steal) is the accepted opinion. Unfortunately, we see a lot of fraud and the emet is being demonstrated.
June 25, 2008 11:01 AM

[emet = truth]

The above reminded me of a post that upset me. The upsetting post concerned a blogger's decision to send his/her children to a right-wing-Orthodox school that teaches children to read and write in Yiddish only, and teaches only basic arithmetic. The school system run by that particularly group has a curriculum that does not meet New York State standards, and the children who graduate from that group's high school(s?) are not eligible for official New York State high school diplomas ("Regents'" diplomas).

I can understand, more or less, parents who chose to send their children to local Orthodox schools to ensure that their children are accepted in the neighborhood, whether or not those schools offer exactly the education that they would prefer their children to receive. Parents can supplement an education that does not include such "extras" as music classes, or obtain additional Jewish-studies tutoring (such as Gemara lessons for a girl whose school doesn't teach Gemara to girls) to compensate for differences in hashkafah/religious viewpoint. But to send a child to a school that will leave him and/or her totally unprepared to earn a living outside of her/his own community, thereby creating an adult who's a virtual prisoner of that community, is another matter altogether. On some level, all Jews should be Jews by choice.


Blogger katrina said...

I totally agree with what you said, Shira. Children need to be taught to read and write in the language of their countries and to do enough math to balance a checkbook, run a simple business, file taxes, etc. I can't believe this is even up for debate. I'm not saying you are saying it's up for debate. The state should be stepping in here, in my opinion, whether it's in Israel or in the US.

Sun Jul 27, 08:41:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

I am in agreement. Parents have an obligation to teach their children how to function in society.

This school and these parents are falling short.

Sun Jul 27, 09:15:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Eliyahu said...

we should insist that all students learn enough to blog...that should cover the basics! free publicity in the press could count for extra credit....

Sun Jul 27, 11:23:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Eliyahu, you're another wiseguy heard from. :)

"The state should be stepping in here, in my opinion, whether it's in Israel or in the US." Katrina, I agree. Any government has a vested interest in ensuring that its residents are able to make a living, since anyone who can't is likely to end up needing assistance of some kind from the government.

Mon Jul 28, 10:29:00 AM 2008  
Blogger rivkayael said...

To my knowledge, we don't pasken by minority opinions unless there is a need to. The Rambam (at least) says that it is an obligation to learn a trade. In Kiddushin 29a, there is an opinion that one that does not teach his son a trade is teaching him highway robbery. This opinion is also repeated in the tosefta (he is like an unguarded pit--metaphor for danger to society?).

So if one believes in the kollel lifestyle, one can sponge off the community for a livelihood. Fine. But to benefit from other Jews' sin (if one thinks that exposure to the outside world is sin, or licentiousness, or whatever term you call it) seems halachically problematic to me. I mean, for a community that will not buy chametz from Jewish owned businesses that owned it over pesach (ie. did not sell it), kind of problematic to be taking 'tainted money' gained from working, no?

Lastly--it actually seems that openly observant Jews should be working harder and performing better than non-Jews, if only to not cast aspersions on the number of holidays we take off. Because the kippah or whatever does reflect on all Jews, like it or not. And this should be reflected in our education system.

Mon Jul 28, 11:04:00 AM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Received by e-mail:

I agree with you 100%. Even someone who is going to be a Torah scholar full time needs to know about the world, and be able to interact with it.


Fri Aug 01, 12:13:00 AM 2008  

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