April 7, 2013 8:01 pm at 8:01 pm #608883
This might make it easier for people to find the topic in the future.
“I’ve never gone to graduate school, but i would imagine everything is relative to what the student is studying?
As in, if the student is getting a phD in middle easter studies, clearly they will have ideas pushed on them..”
You will likely be expected to follow the methodology of the senior faculty. But to some extent this is self-selected. The students of the late Prof. Edward Said will think differently from the students of Prof. Bernard Lewis. And this would be expected, as Said was a humanities professor and Lewis a history professor. They naturally use different methodologies and any decent history professor will be chained to empirical data.
“But what about an MS in accounting, an MBA, a ST/OT/PT degree…
Those are school experiences where you just go to class, learn, study, graduate and get a job. no outside ideas.”
There are ideas and ideologies in those fields. For example, in accounting you will be expected to absorb the idea that the accounting profession has a mission to promote transparency and honesty in financial accounts. In an MBA program you will learn how racial or religious discrimination is bad for business and needs to be stamped out. In any medical or allied health program you will learn a lot of non-tzniut material (and you would not want to go to a practicioner who did not know that material!).
However, these are not controversial although they may come as a shock to someone who may have heard, for example, rationalizations from Jews who pretend to be frum that it might be ok to hide income from the government!
Also not controversial are the people who insist that cigarette smoking does not cause lung cancer, that HIV does not cause AIDS, that vaccines cause autism, that science says that evolution does not occur or that the earth is literally six thousand years old, or that the holocaust never happened. These folks placed themselves beyond the boundaries of acceptance in academia.
The kinds of fads I’m talking about are in economics where if you are a Keynesian in an Chicago-school economics department (which describes most such departments in the US) you will find it difficult to graduate and you will never get tenure. Another example is the takeover of most humanities departments by postmodernists; good luck if you just want to write good literary analyses of great writers whose works have received insufficient attention. A third example, alluded to in earlier comments, is the political bias found in many Area Studies departments; lack of empirical data (or inconvenient empirical data) often leads to ideological purity.
A unique case is that of Prof. Noam Chomsky. He is every bit as brilliant in his field, linguistics (which he completely transformed), as he is off the wall in his politics.
As an empirical scientist I have been spared all of this, Baruch HaShem. I just analyze data and try to be conservative in my conclusions.
As an example of how parts of academia have left this planet, I would recommend a Google search for the “Sokal hoax”: A physics professor, Alan Sokal, spoofed a postmodernist humanities journal with a bogus paper on a purported relationship between quantum gravity and left wing politics. (A decade and a half later, I still have trouble keeping a straight face while writing this. For the record, Prof. Sokal was a teaching assistant for a physics course I took as an undergraduate.)
Charliehall, this one reason I ended up studying a quantitative field. I would rather be pressured in theoretical issues than in moral issues. Maybe I feel this more intensely as a girl, since it is important for my happiness to get along with people around me as much as possible. In today’s academic world, I felt that it was impossible for me to do this and remain in my place of frumkeit in a non-quantitative or empirical field.
I’m sure some people can deal with it, but I have never met anyone who stayed as frum as they were in the beginning after a real graduate degree.April 7, 2013 9:03 pm at 9:03 pm #943330VogueMember
I think it would depend on how you look at it.April 7, 2013 9:13 pm at 9:13 pm #943331
“I have never met anyone who stayed as frum as they were in the beginning after a real graduate degree.”
There are actually a lot of gedolim who have earned graduate degrees from universities. Here is just a few examples from the past:
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Marcus Adler z’tz’l
Rabbi Dr. Ezriel Hildesheimer z’tz’l
Rabbi Dr. Yitzchak Herzog z’tz’l
Rabbi Dr. Joseph Soloveitchik z’tz’l
But not all of us are like these gedolim. Educational directions should be discussed with ones rav.
“remain in my place of frumkeit in a non-quantitative or empirical field”
I find Rambam’s encouragement that as one learns more about the natural world, the more one should appreciate our Creator, to be inspiring and as a result my own frumkeit is deepened with every new scientific discovery. But as I mentioned in an earlier comment, Rambam’s approach is not for everyone.April 7, 2013 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #943332SaysMeMember
i wonder though, if someone asked a rav or gadol who went through the current university system, if they’d say they were unaffected, and hadn’t lost any part of their frumkeit, sensitivity, strength, through their years there. It would surprise me if they said it hadn’t affected them at all.April 7, 2013 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm #943333
Charliehall: They are all “modern” Gedolim. Poor choice of words, but you know what I mean.
As for your second point, that’s exactly what I’m trying to say. In an empirical, provable field, it’s much easier to have a religious perspective.April 8, 2013 2:55 am at 2:55 am #943334
“if someone asked a rav or gadol who went through the current university system, if they’d say they were unaffected, and hadn’t lost any part of their frumkeit, sensitivity, strength, through their years there”
Rav Soloveitchik z’tz’l clearly saw it as a positive. His wife, son, both daughters, and both sons-in-law all earned doctorates as well. One son-in-law was a Harvard professor (and Rambam expert!) Prof. Twersky, and the other, Rav Lichtenstein, uses his ability as a master of English literature to make Torah points on a regular basis. (It is actually worth it to read Milton and Blake in order to fully understand Rav Lichtenstein’s Torah!) Rav Hirsch explicitly states that secular education such as that which he received at the University of Bonn is a good thing.
Today in America most rabbis with university educations have gone to Yeshiva College or maybe Touro (much newer). So their experience may not be applicable to, say, Columbia or Queens College.
Nevertheless you make an interesting point. I’ve listed many university-educated gedolim. I once asked a very prominent rav, who himself has a doctorate, what they had written about their university experiences (as opposed to the benefits after university). I had hoped that they might offer some insights as to the challenges a frum Jew might face both inside the classroom (where ideologies inconsistent with Torah do appear) and outside (where licentiousness and hedonism has been common for hundreds of years). To my surprise I found that none had written anything about the matter. 🙁April 8, 2013 3:02 am at 3:02 am #943335
‘They are all “modern” Gedolim.’
Modern in the sense that they lived after 1800. But all were products of a very traditional Torah education. R’Adler learned with his father and received semicha from Rabbi Abraham Bing. R’Hildesheimer was a talmid of R’Yaakov Ettlinger and R’Yitzchak Bernays. R’Herzog and R’Soloveitchik received most of their early education from their fathers.April 8, 2013 3:28 am at 3:28 am #943336
On the topic of people being modern having gone to college, I believe that Dr. Bruria Hutner-David went to several elite colleges and went on to found perhaps the most yeshivish institution in the world.April 8, 2013 3:49 am at 3:49 am #943337RooskieMember
And given her understanding of the system, she is opposed to her talmidos attending university.April 8, 2013 4:27 am at 4:27 am #943338monseeyidParticipant
Our son attends a university, getting his graduate degree solely for parnassah. We keep very close contact, never a day goes by without speaking with him and his three chevrusa’s keep an equal vigil… If you turn away for one moment the possibility increases 100 fold that he could be swept away. If you send them its imperative to walk with them.
Nothing wrong with education. How strong is your child’s bond with Yiddishkite and how dedicated you are to them while they walk through the influences of yavan… Will determine the outcome.
Having said that, HaKodesh Barachu runs the world, what happens is His will…seek counsel from your Rav before you send them, remember you are the guardian Hashem chose for this child… Each child and situation is different.April 8, 2013 9:58 am at 9:58 am #943339
Charliehall: I didn’t mean modern as in recent, but rather, are generally not followed by the more yeshivish/chassidish crowd. Certainly Rabbi Soloveitchik would qualify being MO.
VM: She is the best example. But Rebbetzin David went in her 20’s and is definitely a unique case. I know of no one like her.April 8, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm #943340
I know a guy who learned for many years in yeshiva, and then went to a college or university “solely for parnassah reasons” and now spends most of his day chatting with girls on the internet.April 8, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm #943341
T613T, I can’t believe you would ignore her proper title in favor of some random honorific based on her husband’s position. She earned a doctorate; she deserves to be called Doctor.April 8, 2013 1:48 pm at 1:48 pm #943342abiecabParticipant
VM: She goes exclusively by the title T613T mentioned. She entirely eschews and does not use the title of Dr.April 8, 2013 1:48 pm at 1:48 pm #943343
T613T, I can’t believe you would ignore her proper title in favor of some random honorific based on her husband’s position.
yah, she’s not called rebetzin because of her husband’s position; she’s called rebetzin because of her own position. In a weird cultural dynamic where we in fact do have female rabbis but we call them rebetzin.April 8, 2013 2:15 pm at 2:15 pm #943344sw33tMember
“In an MBA program you will learn how racial or religious discrimination is bad for business and needs to be stamped out. “
Are you saying that people believe in being transparent in accounting, and not discriminating against religion, purely do so because they are brainwashed to believe so?
Also, I dont put eco on the same bar as acct/fin. Economics is theoretical and therefore subjected to opinions and ideas. Acct/fin is the application of formulas that are mathematically proven- much more objective.April 8, 2013 2:22 pm at 2:22 pm #943345DaMosheParticipant
popa: Yes, we know that you went to college “for parnassah”, and now chat with women here on the CR. Just get off the site already!
Many gedolim went to college even if they didn’t get graduate degrees. R’ Dovid Bender zt”l had a degree in accounting, and passed his CPA exams.
The Novominsker Rebbe shlita, who now heads Agudas Yisroel, graduated from Brooklyn College.
R’ Hutner zt”l went to university in Berlin not to get a degree, but just to study philosophy, to gain the knowledge, without any thought for parnassah.
Ramchal attended university in Italy.April 8, 2013 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #943346Yserbius123Participant
Most people I know have a graduate degree. I’m not certain what your metric of frumkeit is but the only one I can point out who is less frum is the guy who gave in to his hashkafic issues and went off the derech entirely.
I find what you said to be more offensive than much of the anti-Semitism that I’ve read online. That’s not to say I’m offended. I’m not. I just find it offensive that people are so ignorant that they automatically classify college grads (like myself) as less frum.April 8, 2013 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #943347SaysMeMember
yserbius- i’m not sure how i feel about post-graduation. Though there has usually been enough exposure to have lessened people’s sensitivity to things, which is a loss. I feel more that people IN a non-Jewish college/university fall/struggle while there, though many do therefore strengthen themselves either when they realize or after the fact.April 8, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm #943348
PBA: Did he think that would ever happen when he started?
Veltz: That’s what she’s called. There is no doubt that she values her Rebbetzin status way more than her doctorate.
DaMoshe: You left out the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Yserbius: I find what you said to be more offensive than much of the anti-Semitism that I’ve read online. That’s not to say I’m offended. I’m not. I just find it offensive that people are so ignorant that they automatically classify college grads (like myself) as less frum.
I’m a college graduate, too. Sorry if you find it offensive. I didn’t say we’re less frum, but that we’re less frum than when we began. I would say the same about people working outside the Jewish community. Would that make you feel less offended?April 8, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm #943349benignumanParticipant
A lot of this depends on how you define “frumkeit.” While in graduate school and afterward I certainly learned less and was more maikel in some areas out of necessity. On other hand, I grew to appreciate the time I did have to learn much more, and made much more efficient use of my learning time.April 9, 2013 1:47 am at 1:47 am #943350
I could never respect a gadol who went to Brooklyn College. At least Dr. Hutner-David went to Columbia. And PBA, that’s what it means to not have female rabbis – she can be the smartest person in the world, but because she’s a woman, she is lower on the totem pole than someone who went to Brooklyn College.April 9, 2013 2:28 am at 2:28 am #943351VogueMember
What if Hillary Clinton became president of the United States? What about Golda Meir? They were clearly better than any guy who went to brooklyn college! That is extremely sexist and I can’t believe that the mods approved that post.April 9, 2013 2:36 am at 2:36 am #943352
Veltz: I could never respect a person who judged others based on what college they attended.
I don’t know what totem pole you’re looking at, but in my opinion she’s the most powerful Jewish woman today.April 9, 2013 2:39 am at 2:39 am #943353siperMember
VM: Higher intelligence does not make a person higher on the totem pole than someone of a lesser intelligence. Furthermore, S”A is pretty clear that a man has precedence over a woman when saving two people. Does that make her lower on the “totem pole”? Whatever you describe it, that is the law.April 9, 2013 2:43 am at 2:43 am #943354
Siper: That, I disagree with. Higher intelligence is correlated with higher achievement. Just not with which college you go to, beyond a certain baseline.April 9, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am #943355squeakParticipant
Torah… perhaps not the most powerful, but second only to popa.April 9, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm #943356DaMosheParticipant
Veltz: So you have no respect for the Novominsker Rebbe?April 9, 2013 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #943357benignumanParticipant
Veltz was being facetious.April 9, 2013 1:52 pm at 1:52 pm #943358
benign: Maybe in part.April 9, 2013 2:00 pm at 2:00 pm #943359
And PBA, that’s what it means to not have female rabbis – she can be the smartest person in the world, but because she’s a woman, she is lower on the totem pole than someone who went to Brooklyn College.
I’m not sure I have the same totem pole as you. But yes, I am explicitly willing to accept that my ideology means that men will not be interested in listening to women’s scholarship and that overall it will be less respected.
I think it still more respected than you make out. I think at least the frum women respect Dr./Rebbetzin David’s scholarship. And many men I know also so–that is, the one’s that are aware of it.
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