August 8, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am #587986
jO jOMemberAugust 8, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am #713621
“Why use the precious time teaching them Tanach, when there is no long-term benefit to it?”
Of course, if taught properly, hashkafa and mussar can be elarned from Tanach too.August 8, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am #713622
jO jO, You make good points. Which means you ought to brace yourself from the onslaught you are about to experience from the “21st century” crowd!August 8, 2008 1:55 am at 1:55 am #713623
JoJo knows little of the history of the Bais Yaacov movement. Sara Schneirer started her school to combat growing ambivalence to Judaism among Jewish girls, who were given no Jewish eduction at all, but rather absorbed the bourgoise ethic of the day. These girls could recite Heine’s Lorelei from memory but were completely ignorant of “Chumah Bereishis.” The idea was never to turn Jewish girls into docile haus-frauen, but rather to instill within them pride in Judaism born of knowledge of it. I’m sure Rav Schach did not say what is attributed to him here. He was far too quick to excommunicate people he didn’t like (i.e. Nechama Liebowitz) but I’m sure he did not expect Jewish women to simply bake cookies. After all who did he believe would support the chevrei hakollel? Moreover, I’m sure his wife knew a good bit of Torah, and knew it well before he married her.August 8, 2008 3:27 am at 3:27 am #713624
I actually agree with canteresq one hundred percent! (I almost cant believe it) actually only until you started talking about Rav Shach. I also heard that story circulated a bit, and I dont know if it is true, but even if it was, I dont teitch up the story the way you did, that he didnt think it was important. There is a far deeper message in there. But maybe I’ll get back to that soon.
For your information Reb joJo, there are books out today, like “carry me in your heart” by Pearl Benisch, (and other sources too) that describe the lessons that Sara Shenirer taught. You would be shocked. What Bais Yaakov teaches today in lomdus does not come close! But your position is a widely held misconception.August 8, 2008 6:20 am at 6:20 am #713625
I personally think that women should know TaNaCh, since all of the Hashkafah & Mussar come from it (I also think some men should perhaps know TaNaCh better, but that’s another issue). I also agree with cantoresq that since women today have a higher-level secular education than in previous generations, it’s appropriate that their religious education is also on a higher level, so that they can really appreciate what Judaism is about.August 8, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am #713626
The Bais Yaakov system was the same 30 years ago as it is today.Intense learning in all areas of limudei kodesh, with difficult meforshim was very common always.
Its always good to know a little bit of everything !August 8, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am #713627
Az m’leibt, leibt men alles.August 8, 2008 2:07 pm at 2:07 pm #713628
Chanoch l’naar(a) al pe darcko(a?).
The problem is not teaching Nach, for those who wish to learn it, but not teaching Home Ec and Halchos Habayis at all. It is not REQUIRED for them to know “countless meforshim” (though there is always a “long term benefit” from Hashem’s Torah!), but it should be offered if they want to learn it. Forcing girls to memorize Nach who have no interest will only push them away. For those who want to learn, Kol Hakavod!
The idea was never to turn Jewish girls into docile haus-frauen, but rather to instill within them pride in Judaism born of knowledge of it.
100% true! But we should not force heavy anti-enlightenment learning on those who wish to be housewives, or who just want to learn how to be a good jewish wife!August 8, 2008 3:03 pm at 3:03 pm #713629
I always felt that all schools (both Bais Ya’akovs and standard yeshivos) should teach more practical life skills. I agree that there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to learning more and more meforshim on Tanach at the elementary/high school level. While I think that Nach is important (I think our girls’ schools overdo it and our boys’ schools grossly under-learn it) and while I also agree that Gemara should be the main focus of the boys’ programs, I think that there should be some additional lessons on basic life skills. High schoolers of both genders should learn how to balance a checkbook, understand how credit cards work and understand the difference between a stock and a bond, and what a mutual fund is. Both genders should be taught cooking (to different degrees — girls should probably have more advanced lessons, but I think that boys should be able to fend for themselves and make something more advanced than peanut butter & jelly in the kitchen in a pinch).
The WolfAugust 8, 2008 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #713630
While we’re on the subject, can someone explain please explain why all the “higher” learning the girls do is neccesary for life??
Triginometry, Chemistry, higher economics…will they need those. the upper math classes (like scientific math) is beyond many average students and it causes tremendous frustration to them. So if you want to argue that they are not taught more practical things, and instead waste time on unnecessary material, lets keep it two sided.
(If you will tell me that it is so eventually they will be able to get a degree, that system also seems to be very flawed. Much of the material is retaught in college, and the rest they forget. The real reason why bais yaakovs teach it is because they have no choice! their girls need to be at least as educated as the public school kid. but the girls end up losing out because they are carrying a double workload.)August 8, 2008 6:06 pm at 6:06 pm #713631
Excellent point as usual, Think BIG.
The girls schools that I know into allow students electives so that they can choose what they would like to take for secular studies. (Cooking is an option, and so is useful stuff like computers).
If you want to stop frustration and double workload, the best way would be to teach that perfectionism is wrong, and getting a “B” is good too!
I also believe that there is no set curriculum outside NY & CA (where there are regents which are needed for a diploma), so in Lakewood and out of town this could be helpful. In town you are stuck with the “hard stuff”.August 8, 2008 7:26 pm at 7:26 pm #713632
gavra – ‘cooking is an elective, so is useful stuff life computers’
cooking is not useful?August 8, 2008 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #713633
Sure, some subjects are inherently difficult, and may cause frustration to students. But what message does it send to not teach them as a result? That if something is difficult and frustrating, it should be abandoned?
The better view is probably that the students should be pushed harder, and taught better, until they are at a level where they excel and are no longer frustrated. I’m sure reading is often frustrating for young children, but we don’t stop teaching that.
Even if much of the material is re-taught in college, having to deal with the material in high school not only teaches work ethic and forces better study habits and learning skills, but it also sinks in more than you think. I cannot tell you how many times in college I took a class that covered material substantially similar to that which I encountered in high school, and found that I remembered more than I thought. As much as you don’t realize, you absorb knowledge and information even though you think you’ve forgotten it all. It comes back out when you are again confronted with similar material.
I would agree that a “B” is a good grade – it is above average. However, I believe that there is no such thing as setting goals too high. Not to the point where a kid gets in trouble if he/she does not get an A or A+, but every child should feel that they can do better, and push themselves. That is the way you improve – not by accepting what you already have. I thank my wonderful parents constatly for always pushing me and telling me I can do even better than I was (and I was doing pretty well). I hated it at the time, but in the end, they were right and I would not have learned it if not for them. It should be mentioned that all of this is relevant equally, if not moreso, to limudei kodesh.August 8, 2008 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #713634
I learned cooking at home! Home cooking is much better than school cooking!August 8, 2008 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm #713635
Cooking is very useful. I think even boys should learn the basics of cooking. I’m not saying that they need to learn how to prepare a three course meal with deserts, but they should be able to spice and throw a chicken in the oven, or scramble some eggs, or prepare a steak. In other words, they should know enough that they won’t be forced to subsist on sandwiches and frozen waffles if they’re home alone for a few days.
(Full Disclosure: I might be a bit biased since I can cook.)August 8, 2008 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #713636
Triginometry, Chemistry, higher economics…will they need those.
You’d be surprised. I use algebra and geometry fairly regularly — and trig is starting to make a comeback in my life too.
While I haven’t used chemistry since college, I still everyone should have a *basic* understanding of science. Likewise, I think everyone should have a basic understanding of economics. I’m fairly convinced that a good part of the reason that people are in economic trouble today (Jews and non-Jews) is because they don’t have a basic understanding of economics. When people propose silly ideas such as boycotting the purchase of gas for one day, it only reveals that the general public really doesn’t know how money and economics works. I’m not saying that everyone has to become a financial analyst, but everyone *should* know the difference between a stock and a bond, between a mutual fund and an index, between a money-market account and a certificate of deposit. Likewise, I think that everyone today should know how to use a word processor and the basics of using a spreadsheet.
The WolfAugust 11, 2008 5:33 am at 5:33 am #713637
I think everyone on this blog has made good and valid points. (The only thing I think is unnecessary is learning to cook in school. Nowadays, anybody who can read should be able to cook. There is a plethora of kosher cookbooks that give step-by -step instructions. Many of my friends had no idea how to cook even scrambled eggs, and today they are gourmet cooks. Personally, I never cooked as a youngster- preffering to keep my nose in the books!–and today I host guests every Shabbos.)
I would like to comment on the discussion between gavra and illnio7 on being happy with a “B” vs. trying your best. I have a unique perspective because I actually teach in a Bais Yaakov, and I can tell you that there is no simple answer.
Are the girls driving themselves too hard or not caring enough? Is the pressure coming from them or the teachers or the parents? Should so much emphasis be put on grades or should we focus more on their self-esteem? Should we teach them that they must work hard, because school work is life’s work, or should we let them enjoy their youth and bond more with their families? These are questions that every teacher, and every school-age parent grapples with at times.
I have found that it is different in every circumstance. Some students drive themselves crazy and study so much until they develope ulcers, while others sail through school barely putting in effort, not caring if they pass or fail. Sometimes the workload is physically overwhelming, especially if you consider the fact that these girls have other family, social and school-related obligations. I have had parents who complained that their daughters never have homework and have too much time on their hands as well. I have students that waste half the night on the computer but complain the next day that they didn’t have time to study. (work ethics?) I have met parents that encourage their children to focus on limudei chol only, and couldn’t care a whit about the kodesh subjects. (“they dont really matter as much as the chol, because she has to get into a good college!”) Tests and quizes every week, sometimes more than 5 a week can drive some students to distraction, while others handle it with aplomb.
No, I don’t think the students of Sara Schenirir had it this tough. Somehow, I envision a school where learning was a joy, studying was lishma, the friendships were real, the distractions were fewer and the gains were enormous.
I recently read about a forum among noted mechanchos and principals of BY schools in one of the chareidi publications. The general consensus was that they realize that the BY system should focus on the changing needs of this generation of young women. They talked about teaching them to view Yiddishkeit with pride , and learning should be a joy. There should be less stress (how??) and more emphasis on middos.
So, gavra, while we want to teach that perfectionism is wrong, some need to hear the message that they need to try to do the best they can. Others need to be told that for them, trying the best they can is too much.
Illnio, I agree that the subjects that are hard should not be abandoned, but it is my opinion that some subjects are beyond that of many students. (If it is difficult for you to be a rocket scientist, should you keep trying? It was not made for everyone!) and unfortunately for some , frustration is their constant companion throught their school years. Is that the only thing we want them to take out of those years?
I agree with you 100% that when you relearn the material in college, it is easier because you once learned it. But again, at what price? We need to take the whole picture into account and there is not one answer to every situation.
Wolf: I agree with your points about practical learning. Unfortunately, there is not enough time in the day to learn everything, and being that the girls carry a double workload, it makes things that much more difficult.
I am just attempting to give you all a bigger picture of what it’s like for the students today, and what the teachers and principals have to contend with. Unfortunately, I have no answers, just lots of questions.August 11, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am #713638
Think BIG: you make some very good points, and I largely defer to your experience as a teacher (you sound like a good one). There is obviously the right balance to be struck between pushing kids to do their best and acknowledging accomplishment but realizing that one might not ever excel in a certain area. I think we have grown a little too sensitive of self-esteem to the point where we inflate accomplishments so that nobody feels they are sub-par. Self-esteem is important, but take too far this can be dangerous and hinder improvement. Again, a balance that needs to be struck, and the ones teaching our kids are those who are put in the difficult situation of trying to strike that balance. Yishar koach.August 11, 2008 1:29 pm at 1:29 pm #713639
“So, gavra, while we want to teach that perfectionism is wrong, some need to hear the message that they need to try to do the best they can. Others need to be told that for them, trying the best they can is too much.”
Took the words out of my mouth.August 11, 2008 7:53 pm at 7:53 pm #713640
I am not sure I should get involved in this discussion lest I will be called (as Joseph intimates) part of the 21st century crowd….with all the supposed stigma it carries with it…But before giving an opinion, “jelamdenu rabbeinu”, did Devorah Haneviah bake cookies? Did Chana, from whom we learn our tefillos, bake cookies? Did Esther Hamalkah bake cookies? Did Beruriah eishes Rav Meir bake cookies?My point is not to give you a litany of many, many women in our history who were nevios, shoiftois, etc but to say again, that this emphasis on keeping women ignorant, because this is what JO Jo wants, was never a part of our history. We seem to be totally blinded in following a way of life that was not a part of our history and that only bacame so because we were in golus and abject poverty.
If you want to debate this matter, at least debate it on halachic grounds, whether teaching a woman Torah is permissible in in which way it is permissible. That is a valuable debate and ,at least , has some historical substance.
To keep women ignorant is not part of our tradition. (I won’t comment on Rav Shachs zz’l words.)August 12, 2008 3:07 am at 3:07 am #713641
Illnio and Gavra:
Thank you for your imput. The bottom line is that “chanoch l’naar al pi darco” applies in a school setting as well. It is not enough that teacher adopt a balanced approach, but also to try to tailor to the needs of the individual students. This is alot easier said than done, as sometimes, half the school year can go by before getting to the crux of the student’s issues.
Rabbi of Berlin, :
You made a good point, but you misalign jojo unjustly. He was not advocating ignorance for woman. The difference between your take on this duiscussion and his is that you are viewing this as an idealist, and he is talking like a realist (or at least in more practical terms) Both aspects are valid and necessary in chinuch habanos.
I WOULD like to comment on the story about Harav Shach zt”l, as I feel that this is one of those stories which are often misunderstood or misconstrued. I personally feel that this story has an important message when viewed in the correct context. (not that i know for sure that my view is the only correct one.) But for those who have found this story bothersome, consider the following take on it:
Two girls in seminary have a problem in a difficult Ramban. They decide to present their question to Rav Shach, and wait for a long time in the waiting room, along with many others who have come to seek blessing or advice on crucial issues from the Tzaddik. Finally they are allowed in to the inner sanctum of the Gadol Hador.
And what do they ask him? A question on the Ramban! Don’t any of you see anything inappropriate in that? To me, it smacks of a lack of tznius, of a lack of propriety and maybe a bit of arrogance as well. When I think about what these girls did, I blush in shame at their utter foolishness. How many of you girls and woman out there reading this would consider doing such a thing? How many men would consent to their wives/daughters doing this?
I love to learn torah! I love to learn Ramban! But, girls, know your place!
As i undersatnd it, Rav Shach recognised this utter lack of apropriate behavior and gently rebuked them in his own inimitable way by asking if they can bake kugels. Not that that is women’s ultimate goal. But these girls took their learning out of context as well. For women, learning is not a goal in and of itself. Rather it is a means to a goal.
So, no, I don’t think Rav shach was trying to minimize the importance of Torah learning for women. His comment was addressed to these girls and should not be taken out of the context of the story in which it was said. His comment was completely appropriate and deserved!
According to the gemara, Learning Torah is the antidote for the yetzer hara, for men. For women, the antidote to the yetzer hara is tznius. The role of the woman is to use her Torah knowledge to know how to actualize her potential as a bas yisroel. These girls certainly did not behave in a tzanua fashion, displaying that they did not know their role.August 12, 2008 4:36 am at 4:36 am #713642
A person may not be “obligated” to do something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they “shouldn’t” do it. Learning is infinite. One should never stop learning (Torah, math, science, history, & etc.). Hashem has given us this Big Beautiful world with so much history and so much to discover. Why would anyone not want to expand their minds which have so much potential to gain great knowledge. Of course if you’re not obligated, and you don’t want to further your studies obviously it’s acceptable, no one can force you in doing something you don’t “have” to do. I think it’s great they teach as much as they can to these girls. People who complain about the “work load” being excessive have to understand that school is supposed to be challenging, plus all that homework and studying will keep your kids from having the extra time to get in to trouble. Most girls learn cooking and baking from their mother’s, so I don’t think the young ladies have a problem in that field. P.S. Keep learning people, it’ll keep your brain young and reduce the chances of alzheimer.August 12, 2008 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #713643
I am going to get into trouble again by thsi posting…Think Big- with the greatest respect to your very erudite message, your interpretation of Rav Shach’s story made its presentation worse. What does tznius have to do with asking a sheilah? I have seen countless of women going to many, many rebbes for advise and berochos (including roshei yeshiva,btw). No one has ever said that there was a lack of tznius when they entered the inner sanctum. Why would the fact that two girls have a genuine sheilah smack o “lack of znius,lack of propriety and a bit of arrogance…”. Arrogance????? Asking a question on a difficult part of Torah? LUDICROUS! The gemoro has some very revealing stories about asking questions from Sages, in situations that you surely would consider “inappropriate”.
Anyway, I ,specifically, did not want tc comment on this story. First, I want it confirmed because ,as said ad nauseum on this website, there are many “urban jewish stories” around. Secondly, Rav Shach zz’l was indeed the leader of the litvishe velt for a number of years. However, there were many other voices who did encourage women to learn (like the Lubavitcher rebbe zz’l)and so, rather than commenting upon a past Godol who is not here to answer any qestions, I will keep my mouth shut on this.August 12, 2008 8:31 pm at 8:31 pm #713644
To all those who never spent life in a Bais Yaakov education:
I am b”h very greatful to have gone threw 12 years if not more in a b.y. education, and have tremendous hakaras hatov for my principles and teachers, for the beautiful lessons they have given me.
however, the amount of mefarshim we learn is not normal. We can learn on one posuk in chumash over 7 mefarshim. we have in one day chumash, halacha, navi, mishlei, and tehillim. in high school we have around 9 hebrew lessons if not more. Again it is beautiful we learn all this but its really hard to keep all these lessons in our memory when there is so much to place in our brain.
a few chasidish schools dont focus on sefarim rather they focus on the home, including baking, cooking, mending…. When we get married we all the sudden are suppose to know everything, however we were never taught what to do.
so no, schools shouldnt stop with the learning, rather maybe bring more home economics into the curriculam.
(a friend of mine got married and didnt even know how to sew a button, her husband told her its very nice you know all these Rambans however i need my button sewed on!)August 13, 2008 3:26 am at 3:26 am #713646
Rabbi of belin:
I am not sure how you manage to do this on a continual basis, especially when i thought i was being so clear, but you obviously misunderstood my point.
On the outset, let me state clearly, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH A WOMAN ASKING A GADOL A SHEILA! There is absolutely no lack of tznius in entering his inner sanctum. The problem here is that they were not asking a sheila in halacha, or advice on a life issue, or even requesting a brocha, (the examples ypu mentioned) all of which would have been perfectly wonderful . In the story given, they were askng on a difficult Ramban.
If you don’t see the difference, you may want to read the rest of the post about learning for women being a means to a goal, rather than the goal itself. I believe it will be clear to you then.
And if you still don’t get it, perhaps it is because you are a man? I don’t know but I am not an “extremist” when it comes to these things, but its clear to me that any woman would understand that asking a question on the meaning of a Ramban to the gadol hador is just totally not appropriate.
About the veracity of this story, I did wonder about is, but I have heard it so much, that I feel it needs to be adressed in any case because of the ambiguous message it implies. I do not believe that Rav Shach was opposed, in principle or action, to woman learning at all.August 13, 2008 2:05 pm at 2:05 pm #713647
A question about your newly married friend: who sewed her husband’s shirts before he was married?
Regarding the teaching of life skills, I think all men and women should know how to cook basic meals, wash clothes, iron, and perform basic mending tasks. These tasks should be taught at home but can also be learned from a book.August 13, 2008 2:37 pm at 2:37 pm #713648
I’m a guy (as the name says) and would not have dared to ask R’ Shach a question on a Ramban (or Tosfos) if I would of had a chance to meet him! How about a Bracha that you should have children who are Yarai Shmayim (let alone get married)! Asking a question of that nature is for a personal Rebbe, and R’Shach was the GADOL HADOR.
It is a general problem (as JO JO pointed out in the post on kiddashim) of Penay Hador K’Penay HaKelev. The Gedolim are people who we stand in AWE from, not talk to them ask equals or even only one step above us.
(I would not blame the girls in this case as their “teacher” (probably the sort who says that you are eating Traife if you don’t have two sinks) told them this was the right thing to do, instead of the teacher asking her Rebbe or husband.)August 13, 2008 3:48 pm at 3:48 pm #713649
I am the mother of 4 beautiful children, 3 of those are girls, one went to a co ed orhodox yeshiva and two went to Bais Yaakov. All 3 girls had mefarshim, and torah learning with navi. The bais yaakov education always was respectful to the girls, what i liked best about bais yaakov is the balance. Always Bais Yaakov put the wonders of being female and the positives of being female forward. They do have home economics and balancing a check book in math class and not as electives. The other school i was involved with my oldest daughter did not, they baked cookies.
Women are not just home in the household raising children. Have you seen those tuitions lately!! There is no way that that can be. At the same time women are intelligent and beautiful people as are men and are entitled to the same education and benefits. Those Bais Yaakov girls are the future rebbetzeins that you respect, teachers of boys and girls for future generations, not to mention bread winners of the family if a husband wants to learn. We must allow women to advance in the Jewish community. I myself am a regisitered nurse and due to my circumstances I am a single mother, affording 3 days school tuitions in addition to a mortgage and all that comes. Without my education into chemistry, biology, and algebra I would not have been able to accomplish this. Also when a child enters school do we know if she will be a future fire leitenent (see pikesville fire department first orthodox woman- who is a pediatric social worker as well), doctor or nurse. So why limit in the beginning.
I already turf questions about religious women being subserviant in an orthodox home to their husbands or the men, from fellow jews! as well as non jews. The Jewish community needs to be highlighted in a positive towards our men and women of today. As the rabbi mentioned earlier, these benefits seemed to be given to women of our past, as demonstrated by devorah, chana, and esther. these women needed to be strong and educated in order to be the ones to have made a differance in our lives. Without Esther’s knowledge do you think she would have shined above others and been picked to save the jews?? If we all hung, we would not be having this blog.
As for my background I did grow up in a leaning orthodox home. I went to public school while my brothers went to yeshiva (Long Beach, NY), because my “jewish education was not as important as the boy’s”. I went to talmud torah to learn hebrew and chumash. I did not have mefarshim and other topics that bais yaakov teaches. You would not want me for your son’s wife not because I am not frum enough but because I don’t know enough. I do keep a jewish home, keep shabbos as much as I can, and give my children a jewish education all that my ketubah says i have to. But I do wish I was given that Bais Yaakov education.
I learnt later on that jewish women should be prideful of who they are. I learnt later on that women are the foundation of a jewish home, and most of all I learnt and know that being a girl/female/woman in a jewish home is NOT subserveant.
The one thing I wish Bais Yaakov and other frumkites would learn and model is not to be derogatory. Kids listen. Hearing the words goyim and shvaltz in no different than using kike or nigger. it has become a derogitory use of words. My children being in a secular neighborhood can tell you there are still many righteous gentiles out there. I wish the school and community members would be more sensitive to the choice of words they use. I know we are the chosen people to carry on Hashem’s torah and teachings, many gentiles do too. I have more gentiles with more respect for me for being an observant jew. This I convey to my girls and son.
Education is important for both girl and boy and both should have a balance. We must live in a Jewish world, and we must live in a secular world harmoniously.August 13, 2008 6:58 pm at 6:58 pm #713650
anon for this
i dont know maybe his mother, why?August 14, 2008 1:40 am at 1:40 am #713651
gavra at work:
In regards to the issue of the story of R’ Shach zt”l, I was thinking that even for a man to ask a question in learning (out of the beis medrash) would be a bit funny, but I decided to stick to the specific case, (I didn’t want to get myself into trouble here). But thanks for making the point I didn’t, so kal vechomer, it is inapropriate for girls!
but your last point, “(I would not blame the girls in this case as their “teacher” (probably the sort who says that you are eating Traife if you don’t have two sinks) told them this was the right thing to do, instead of the teacher asking her Rebbe or husband.)” I think is neither here nor there. you have no reason or basis to make such an assumption. In all probability, it was NOT their teacher who told them to do this, at least I hope not. why do you assume a teacher advise them to do such a foolish thing?August 14, 2008 3:22 am at 3:22 am #713652
Your letter was very beautiful and sensitive. Thank you.
I wish you much hatzlacha in raising your children along the proper derech.
I would just like to point out to you that the words “goyim” and “shvartze” actually are not negative words, like kike and nigger.
“Shvartze” actually just means black. That is their skin color, and unless you hava an issue with “black” (as opposed to the politically more correct usage, African American) you should have no issue with black. If I can be called white, why cannot they be called black? In the normal usage, it is not derogatory.
Same with goyim. Goy literally means nation. The jewish nation is also in some places in the torah called a “goy” (in birchos bilaam, “ubagoyim lo yischashov”…goy echad ba’aretz). Goyim usually refers to gentiles. It is not negative to say one is a gentile, or a non-jew. And in no way does that imply that all goyim are bad and evil. I don’t know why you are sensitive about it, but often-times if one knows that the person who used the word intended nothing bad by it, it helps in not being offended by it.August 14, 2008 4:03 am at 4:03 am #713653
I asked about who mended his shirts because I think most men can & should learn how to sew on a button. So should most women, though, so you are right that his wife should have known how to also.
The term “colored” & the n-word were also originally descriptive terms. Nevertheless, because of how these terms were used over the years, they are considered racial epiphets today. Similarly, given that African-Americans may have unpleasant associations with the term “shvartze” (though not to the same degree), I’d avoid using it as well. In general, I consider it appropriate to use the most neutral (meaning connotation-free) terms possible when referring to someone of another racial/ ethnic/ religious group.
Practically, it makes sense to folow these rules in private as well, because it avoids bad habits. And obviously if one has young children this is especially important.August 14, 2008 4:34 am at 4:34 am #713654
okay, I hear your point, anon. I just never considered the word to have any negative connotations, just as a descriptive word. But I guess it assaults some ppls sensibilities. thank youAugust 14, 2008 6:25 am at 6:25 am #713655
Dear Think Big,
Thank you for your kind words.
To all, Yes I can sew on a button and so can my daughters. Bas yaakov did teach them as did I, they even can knit. I was taught by my mother to sew on a button (it really isn’t hard and you can figure it out) and home economics in public school (years ago). The smart alick in me says take it to the dry cleaner and have them sew it on. (I see lots of men/women take white shirts to the dry cleaner on sunday after shabbos in my frum neighborhood).
Anon, thank you for your support as you seem to have gotten my intent towards “derogitory” terms.
What I was trying to express is my 2 bais yaakov girls, teenagers, find exception to the 2 words goyim and shvatz. I am aware of the meanings of the worse as Big mentioned. I have taught my girls the meanings of the words and have told them it is not meant to be mean or cruel (One is almost 16 and the other is 14, they are 9th and 10th graders).
THEY are the ones that go to Bais Yaakov and have expressed that the terms bother them. They see it as demeaning.
I can agree the words are meant to be discriptive terms and not meant to be hurtful or harmful. But if you “thing big” can it be possible that our future generation may see it is harmful? This new generation is more sensitive to things that may not have bothered us and visa versa.
Again times are changing. What was acceptable for us long ago, is different for our future and our children including education.August 14, 2008 1:45 pm at 1:45 pm #713656
They way I read the story was that the teachers told them to ask. Re-reading it, I see it does not say the teachers told them to do it, so they may have done it on their own.August 14, 2008 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #713657
“did Devorah Haneviah bake cookies? Did Chana, from whom we learn our tefillos, bake cookies? Did Esther Hamalkah bake cookies? Did Beruriah eishes Rav Meir bake cookies?”
i dont know if they had cookies then, but CERTAINLY they cooked and baked and cleaned and diapered. they were Holy Woman doing Holy work! you think baking cookies is something lowly? then yes, you are heavily influenced by the 21st century crowd. the work, physical and spiritual that a woman does in her home, if l’shaim shamaim, is as holy as the Kohanim bringing KorbonosAugust 14, 2008 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #713658
While I agree with you that Bais Yaakov’s have lost the vision somewhat, firstly, the doros changed, and with that the vision has to change as well somewhat. Every school has daas torah that they consult and try their best.
Yes, we should’ve been taught more on how to manage the home. However, many feel that this is something we’ll pick up anyway and is sort of a waste to teach.
Bottom line is, if you want your daughters to learn less, send them to a chassidish school, where the emphasis is definitely diff than the Bais Yaakov’s.
Proud to be a BY girl!August 14, 2008 5:24 pm at 5:24 pm #713659
you think baking cookies is something lowly? then yes, you are heavily influenced by the 21st century crowd.
Wow! I didn’t know that when I bake, it’s holy! 🙂
The Wolf (who loves to cook and bake)August 14, 2008 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #713660
If I were to be able to create a curriculum , I would NOT add more “home ec” skills. I knew nothing in that department, and I managed just fine. That is something a mother can easily teach her child (sewing on a button, a hem, etc. ) Many years ago, it was more common to sew your own clothes, so there was apoint in learning to sew. Today, clothing is so cheap, that those who sew their kids clothes do not do it for economic reasons, just for hobby. Cooking also is something so easily learned. When i was in school we had a “baking class” once in a while. It was basically a free period for anyone who wasnt interested in making rice krispy treats.
What I would think is important is more emphasis on human relationships and healthy communication skills. Those are the things that really matter in life. How to treat parents, friends, siblings, how to compromise, etc. Yet, we expect them to pick up on these things through osmosis, and sadly, it works all too well!
As a teacher, I try to emphasize whatever mussar I can, but it isnt always easy if you need to cover ground and follow a text. If the subject can be something like, middos, through the prism of the Torah, that would be something…
(and btw, I believe that on the side of the boys chinuch, this is greatly lacking as well)August 15, 2008 3:16 am at 3:16 am #713661
when a holy Jewish woman bakes for her family with the right intention it is most Holy.
when Avrohom brought the three Malachim into his home, who did he tell to prepare the food? Eliezer his servant? NO, Sorah Emeinu, a prophetess!
Food is the most tangible of all the Chasadim that Hashem created the world for to provide. If you dont understand this then you dont know how to make a Brocha over food properly.
Why was there a Shulchan with bread on it in the Bais HaMikdosh?
When a Jewish mother becomes a Partner with the Boreh in providing food to his holy children, when she realizes this, then according to Rabbi Avigdor Miller, ztl, it is MORE Holy than a Kohen bringing a Korbon.
Make letzonos about baking if you wish, another sign of the intense darkness before Moshiach.August 15, 2008 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #713662
Baking is holy, especially Donuts and Bagels! 🙂
C”V Avraham Avinu would have thought to serve the Malachim Bishul Akum!
BTW Yishmael prepared the calves, so barbeque is still the sole possesion of Men. (who else would stand in smoke for an hour to eat charred meat!)August 15, 2008 6:53 pm at 6:53 pm #713663
when a holy Jewish woman bakes for her family with the right intention it is most Holy.
Is it only holy when a woman cooks? What about when I cook for my family? Is that holy too?
The WolfAugust 15, 2008 8:44 pm at 8:44 pm #713664
First thing- gavra_at_work–ONLY NY has regents. CA does not, but does have mandatory classes that must be taken. For example each child must have so and so many years of math, English, Social Studies, Science ect.
Second: why should women just learn how to bake cookies? Are men any better that women cannot learn academics? What about those girls who will excel in studies but happen to burn cookies. So they buy them!!!! Some people just cannot bake! Why cant a lady do anything else besides clean, cook, bake and sew? I can do all of these but I would sometimes rather delve into a science textbook! And what is wrong with learning tanach? memorizing is missing the point, but what about learning? Mussar and Hashkafa is best learned through texts as the children see a basis for it and “not their teacher making it up”!!!August 18, 2008 2:37 am at 2:37 am #713665
I am a mom who feels that my work in caring for my family is very holy. Having said that, considering WHO it is (for the most part) who is home with the children, helping them with their homework, studying with them for their tests in limudei kodesh, those mothers had BETTER know their chumash and navi. Most fathers are NOT as involved with their children in this regard, whether because of work hours or hours spent in the Beis Medrash after work. It is a really good thing that the mothers are well-educated, so that at least one parent is helping them.August 19, 2008 5:48 am at 5:48 am #713666
In 21 years of marriage bli ayin hara, I have never asked my wife to say over a posuk in Tanach. My daughter is being driven crazy by having to memorize every single commentary on every posuk. Isn’t it enough to just know the story and maybe one perush? All the sweetness of learning is removed by this silly method of “learning.” This method of teaching makes Torah into a burden unfortunately. Instead of memorizing every single persush on every posuk, focus on the beauty of the message.August 20, 2008 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #713667
dont b stupidMember
I’m sorry to those who will apose but I feel that it is important for girls to learn tanach. maybe they shoulnt memorise it, but when a girl sits and spends the time studying tanach it becomes engraved into her and it creates yiras shamayim. so you’ll ask how is that? well since tanach is our history there is so much mussur and halacha that can be learned from there and there are many teachers who know how to tie it together so well, and when you see it inside it leaves a much greater impact.
when someone points out a halachah to me i always ask them to show it to me inside.
anyway I dont see whats wrong with teaching girls tanach, they are just as jewish as the boys and so yes they should know theyre history and were they stand. I would feel very sad for a girl who doesnt know anything about david hamelech or shlomo or even the bais hamikdash, yes they should know all the details why should they have to feel lost when the topic comes up or when moshiach comes they wont know anything abt. everything.August 20, 2008 9:12 pm at 9:12 pm #713668
confession: I did not read most of the posts here so if I am repeating what was writtrn, please forgive me.
TaNaCH needs to be taught to our daughters. An understanding of the lessons and the infussion of emunah within is proper. The question is, do they need to be teste in these areas. I think that the tests and the pressure that it puts on them is a bit too much. I do not know why everything needs to be graded. I am not against testing and perhaps grammer and skills testing is sufficient.
re: Home economics (cooking, mending, baking, budgeting etc.) is needed.
ok, here is where I will probably get blasted: secular subjects – the basics: math, reading, writing and whatever else is needed for a secular diploma should be taught and tested and graded because there are many young ladies that may want to continue with a teaching degree or a thearpy degree.August 21, 2008 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #713669
I find it interesting that I didn’t get an answer to my last question… which was asked in all seriousness. To wit:
when a holy Jewish woman bakes for her family with the right intention it is most Holy.
Is it only holy when a woman cooks? What about when I cook for my family? Is that holy too?
The WolfAugust 21, 2008 7:55 pm at 7:55 pm #713670
Anytime you do something with the right intentions it can be holy. Eating and sleeping can be holy. If you realize that you’re eating to give you strength to serve Hashem, and make a proper brachah on the food, your eating is holy.
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