Gedolim who went to public school

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  • #1946481
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    I was reading the bio of Rav Sheiner Ztl. and saw he graduated From Peabody High School in Pittsburg, My Grandmother AH went to public school in the 1920/30s in NYC because there were no girl schools in those days.
    Just wondering what other gedolim came from the ranks of public school

    #1946529
    kollelman
    Participant

    I believe R Avigdor Miller might have gone to public school. He once mentioned how a certain teacher will have a portion in Olam Haba because besides teaching math, he spoke about G-d.

    #1946570
    The little I know
    Participant

    The Twerskis of Milwaukee all went to public school there. Some of the next generation did as well, mostly younger grades.

    I wonder about Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel who was later in yeshiva in Chicago. Does anyone here know that bit of history?

    #1946575
    Ben Levi
    Participant

    Rav Chaim Dov Keller went to public school

    #1946605
    bored guy
    Participant

    i guess we should send our kids to public school.

    #1946617
    Avram in MD
    Participant

    “i guess we should send our kids to public school”

    Survivor bias.

    #1946609
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @the little I know:
    Rav Finkel grew up as a “typical American Jewish boy” who enjoyed playing basketball and baseball. He was known as Nathan in school and Natie to his friends. He was one of the first students of the Central Park Hebrew Day School (later renamed Arie Crown Day School) and received after-school tutoring in Torah studies from Rabbi Yehoshua Levinson.

    #1946611
    trybepolite
    Participant

    i know this isnt public school but the Lubavitcher Rebbe went to university

    #1946636
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    A child is very impressionable and therefore, it is utmost to keep him currently out of public school.

    #1946640
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @trybe, The Boyaner Rebbe father was was a College Professor with a PhD and his brother is a Rocket scientist for NASA but they we are talking about public school not college.

    #1946645
    PinChasi
    Participant

    How about rav Pinchas Sheinberg z”l?

    #1946648
    ujm
    Participant

    The public schools of the 1930s didn’t teach the kefira, nivul peh, giliuy aroyos and worse (not to mention retzicha) that virtually every pubic school today includes in their curriculum.

    And then without the above, as Avram pointed out, we lost so many neshomos back in those decades. The ones we’re talking here are the few survivors out of the many lost.

    #1946663
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    I believe Rav Shlomo Wolbe ZT”L went to the early 20th century German equivalent of public school until he was old enough to go to Yeshiva.

    L’Havdil, Rav Malkiel Kotler SHLIT”A went to Betzalel, a non-frum Jewish school in Lakewood.

    Public schools back then did not teach the pritzus they do now. They were much worse. Most secular schools in the 20th century were very into Atheism and openly anti-Semitic. There was no accommodation for religious lifestyles and Jewish students were actively encouraged to discard their old fashioned dress and religion.

    #1946665
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Ultimately what is missing from this discussion is what going to public school shows. When frum people were sending their children to public school, they left Yiddishkeit in droves. It shows that public school had/has a detrimental effect on whether someone will choose to remain frum. The fact that several gedolim and Rabbonim went to public school and still became great tzaddikim is eidus to their greatness.

    #1946723
    huju
    Participant

    I know that one member of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s secretariat went to Boston Latin, a public school in Boston (!) for outstanding students. He said he could not have performed his job for the Rebbe if he had not attended that public school.

    #1946775
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @yseribus
    Shlomo (Wilhelm) Wolbe was born in Berlin to Eugen and Rosa Wolbe. He was raised in a secular Jewish home and received his education at the University of Berlin (1930–1933). During his university studies he became a baal teshuva through the efforts of the Orthodox Students Union V.A.D. (Vereinigung jüdischer Akademiker in Deutschland). After university he attended the Hildesheimer Rabbinical Seminary. He continued to study at Rabbi Boczko’s yeshiva in Montreux, Switzerland. He then attended the Mir yeshiva in Poland, where he became a student of the mashgiach ruchani, Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz, and, to a lesser extent of Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein.

    #1946803
    mom12
    Participant

    If public school would have been ideal, we would have stayed in that system.
    Obviously the gedolim found it necessary to open Jewish schools…

    Yes. My mother went to public school.. and No she’s not a baalas teshuva

    #1946804

    Just read about R Twerski’s mother going to talk to his teacher after he was included into a holiday play .. the teacher, I guess, realized and started apologizing, but Rebetzin did not see any problems “if after all education at home, he will be affected by a play, then _we_ have a problem”

    I agree that this changes with times .. From a dvar Torah, some Hasidishe Rav in Poland would not let his daughter out of his house. Didn’t want her to socialize with kids on his, hasidische shul, forget about public schools… This is pre-corona 1920s ….

    Still, I don’t think, we got logistics of getting kids educated both Jewishly and in general studies right.[Heard R Meir Twersky quoting R Soloveichik, when organizing Maimonides in Boston – “we are faced with a need to give dual education. It looks impossible, but we need to do that”. ] It is mostly a choice between under-funded school with limited education and mediocre Rebbes, or an over-priced school with lack of proper behavior.

    I see a path as elementary Jewish schools that focus on middos, and then switching to online semi-public schools and online colleges (can control/improve quality, affordable, and no effect of regular public schools) with offline Jewish subjects in small groups or formal schools. There are already several yeshivot (LA) and Beis Yaakovs (Denver, last time I checked) that outsourced general studies to state online schools.

    If there would be a critical mass of families going this way, so that kids could do Jewish subject together and socialize, this might become a path forward.

    #1946816
    Avi K
    Participant

    Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg went to public school at first and later went to a yeshiva full-time. Back then that was what there was.

    #1946881
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @ujm, the public schools from the 1880s-1960s whole focus was the melting pot to blending in as Americans not the “gorgeous mosaic” or multiculturalism, not just for the Jews but all groups.

    @always ask questions, the topic of this thread is the Gedolim who attended public schools and went on to torah greatness not to push for your agenda of education.

    #1946913
    smerel
    Participant

    <i>L’Havdil, Rav Malkiel Kotler SHLIT”A went to Betzalel, a non-frum Jewish school in Lakewood.

    Public schools back then did not teach the pritzus they do now. They were much worse. Most secular schools in the 20th century were very into Atheism and openly anti-Semitic. </i>

    This isn’t true Betzlal was a(co ed) frum school. When RMK went there many of the teachers were from the BNG Kollel community.

    Public schools were not very into atheism back then (colleges were)

    Firstly they were more focused on teaching the “R”s so in general they taught much fewer controversial topics . Secondly every account of frum people who in public school back then talks the axiomatic belief in Christianity . No one mentions atheism being pushed.

    It is true that they wanted people to be English speaking Americans and value the then prevailing culture but that had nothing to do with religion per se

    #1946920

    on a related note – school ran by Rabban Gamliel had 2 tracks – Torah and Greek. Which one had more students and why?

    #1946922

    >> When frum people were sending their children to public school, they left Yiddishkeit in droves.

    So, we have undeniable both positive and negative effects of American education on Jews. I listened with kids to Ellis Island audio interviews and several Jews there said that they could not believe that it is possible to go to a free high school and also did not discriminate against Jews.
    On the other hand, it lead to tremendous assimilation, it is no doubt that yeshiva/BY education saved a lot of people, but is not preparing them for modern life and for earning an honest living outside of teaching in the same yeshivos, which obviously can not accommodate everyone without an external source of funds.

    #1946948
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @Kollelman:
    Rabbi Avigdor Miller was born Victor Miller in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a kohen. Although he attended public school, only Yiddish was spoken at home. After school, he went to learn in an afternoon Talmud Torah.
    At age 14, Rabbi Miller went to New York City to attend Yeshivas Rabbenu Yitzchok Elchonon, at the time the only American high school offering high-level Jewish learning.

    #1946981
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I think the focus needs to be on the opposite — not why some people went to public school and became gedolim, but why some people who went to yeshiva turn out to be horrible people and embarrassments to the Jewish community.

    The Wolf

    #1947064
    PinChasi
    Participant

    A note.

    I heard, Rav Ch. Pinchos Sheinberg said, as a child he was a Dodgers or Yankee fan… That it took him 50 years to completely misgabeir and mevatel taivoh for this sport…

    #1947107
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Wolf,

    You can start a new topic if you want

    #1947112
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    Wolf, maybe, there is a bigger yetzer hara for yeshiva boys and too much emphasis is placed on learning torah and not enough for sensivity and empathy and that is why we wear masks and require social distancing to minimize our interaction with each other.

    #1947257
    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Wolf,

    Gratuitous, inane remark. Was it really necessary?

    #1947332
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Gratuitous, inane remark. Was it really necessary?

    Care to explain why it was gratuitous and/or inane? I think it’s a valid point.

    You may disagree, of course, but that disagreement does not make it gratuitous or inane.

    The Wolf

    #1947336
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    Rav Moshe Zvi Aryeh Bick (1911-1990). Born in Medzbosz (Mezhbizh), Ukraine, but grew up in New York, he is recognized as one of the first gedolim to be raised on American soil. He studied under R’ Moshe Soloveitchik at the Yeshiva Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor and attended New York City public schools at night.

    #1947348
    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    Wolf,

    It is gratuitous because is assumes the reason is because they went to a Yeshiva. There are always people who do bad things. In spite of the best Yeshiva education. Look at Nick Molester as an example. His failures and evil acts are in spite of Yeshiva not because of Yeshiva.

    The purpose of this thread is to highlight those who excelled in Torah despite getting a later start that their peers may have. And it’s recognition of their prodigious efforts.

    That is why your comment is inane and gratuitous.

    #1947365
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    It is gratuitous because is assumes the reason is because they went to a Yeshiva. There are always people who do bad things. In spite of the best Yeshiva education.

    Then I was less than clear. I did not mean to imply that they failed because of Yeshiva. What I meant to imply was the question that you did — why, despite going to Yeshiva, do some people (like myself) turn out horrible, despite the yeshiva education they received.

    The Wolf

    #1947400
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @wolf, so start a new thread with that topic

    #1947533
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    Mordechai Gifter was born in Portsmouth, Virginia to Yisrael and Matla (May) Gifter. He was raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where his father owned a grocery He attended the Baltimore City Public Schools, at the time being known as Max, and received his religious education in after-school programs. He had a younger brother and sister, and both predeceased him.

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