Highschools with Secular Education

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    Why is it that there are very few Yeshivas who place adequate time towards Secular Studies, and can anyone recommend any?


    Lots of yeshivos provide good secular programs to balance their limudei torah…..are you looking for a yeshiva in EY or the U.S. …..if the latter, what part of the country??


    Because Yidden are focused on a Torah education. Secular Ed is done, at most, to fulfill governments mandates. Otherwise we’d spend even more time on Torah and less on secular.

    Johnny Picklesauce

    What’s the big deal? I go to school with ‘secullar education’. What else are they soposed to teach?! We learn Math, Science, History, Poetry, Grammar, Writing skills, Music Conceppt, Art, Food Concept, Kra Maga, And many more subjects. What does ‘Secullar Education’ mean?! There’s basically nothing else to teach!


    “Adequate” is a relative term. If the goal of a Yeshiva education is to best prepare children to enter higher education, then only left wing MO Co ed schools offer “adequate” time for secular studies, of course at the detriment of kodesh, where the average graduate doesn’t know which side of a daf gemara is Rashi and which is tosfos.

    Kodem kol: it is an undisputed halacha that secular studies bekevius as a study regimen is assur. That is, the pursuit of secular wisdom on a set schedule is unequivocally forbidden by halacha. That is stated in shu”a YD 246. It is an affront to kovod hatorah and it is also bittul Torah. The rishonim who were knowledgeable in these areas learned it be’akrai, here and there, or in the bathroom, as many achronim write.

    If so, how can a yeshiva facilitate secular studies as a seder?

    The answer is that it’s not leshem limud, for the sake of learning, but rather it is analogous to hiring a person to teach your son a trade – it’s actually a mitzvah!

    For some, adequate means enough to make it in business and worldly endeavors, which can be mon-thurs for an hour a day of math and English, stopping at bar mitzvah, with some places only providing English one or two days a week for an hour. That’s how lost chasidim hold

    For others it’s determined that a regents diploma is necessary as hishtadlus; this is the position of most non-lakewood litvishe mosdos.

    In Lakewood they have English until high school, everyday for a few hours.

    So there are 3 mainstream methods, all approved of by gedolei torah and all designed with the intention of limudei chol being a tool necessary on one level or another, but a tool to make parnosa and get along in the world around us. Ish al machanyhu ve’ish al diglo, all of these mahalchim are based beharerei kodesh.

    Then there are the maskilim. Those who believe in secular education as a value in it’s own sense. They believe that there is something of value besides what Hashem has given us. Something that must be cultured and grown. Something that is maaviro al daas kono.

    מניחים חיי עולם ועוסקים בחיי שעה. Woe is to the ears that behold such words; that greater emphasis should be placed on secular studies or that secular studies have a value in an of themselves to begin with. Chazal say on someone who is able to learn but doesn’t, that he is davar Hashem bazah – he has belittled the word of Hashem. This is the case for any capable young man who abandons the yeshiva for enlightenment elsewhere, casting aside the yoke of heaven for his own enjoyment and desires.

    This is but one of the פרי חטאת of modern orthodoxy.


    What I mean is schools who value secular education, and do not do it to merely fulfill government mandates, offering several different levels of math, etc.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    That’s how lost chasidim hold

    What do chasidim who have found themselves hold?


    Math and science, while widely considered “secular” actually are forms of Hochma that bring us closer to bore Olam. These subjects serve as foundations to higher learning and difficult concepts in Torah. History is also very important. Of course there is always pesolet with the ochel, which is ok. But sometimes topics within these subjects are taught that really aren’t shayach at all which could be problematic. People with yirat shamayim should at least be reviewing the curriculum. Saying that “Torah” itself is the only Hochma worth pursuing is not a middle ground hashkafa. People who are against learning subjects like math and science are usually also against learning Hebrew, or learning Torah subjects in Hebrew (as opposed to in English or Yiddish) for that matter, which makes absolutely no sense. My understanding is that the reason for the extremity is twofold, because this method will have a higher likelihood of continuity within Judaism (which of course is something every Jew wants), and secondly because they don’t value (or don’t recognize the value of) these topics as Hochma for the sake of Torah but rather view them as secular. Just my opinion…

    Reb Eliezer

    The Chasan Sofer taught us for the Regents.


    1. Does adequate mean adequate to pass the GED, which opens up applying for jobs (among the goyim) which require a high school diploma, or does adequate mean being able to apply to elite universities which de facto means completing multiple AP exams along with excellent scores on the SAT (while some schools aren’t asking for the SAT, that is to enable them to reject “deplorables”, which probably includes religious fanatics who dress funny, with high SATs in favor of those deemed worthy by WOKE standards). If you mean adequate to hold down a job within the frum community, the answer is that the yeshivos do that very well.

    2. How do you take into account the possibility of a student (presumably with parental support) studying on their own (or using online resources) to take the GED, CLEP or AP exams on their own?

    3. Do you realize that if you were attempting to match the level of studies in a good yeshiva as well as the level of attainment in a good secular school, e.g. a prep school or a good public high school, the student would probably need to work in excess of 24/7. This is why when the goyim, when adopting the “modern” school curriculum roughly 150 years ago, gave up their “classical” curriculum (faced with the same choice, most frum Jews try to do both, i.e, provide a traditional Torah education as well as a modern secular education).


    Ner Yisroel in Baltimore but I’ve heard it’s gotten more yeshivsh since I went there. My education outranked everyone when I went to college.


    That’s how MOST chassidim hold**


    Why is it that there are very few Yeshivas whose cooks can bake an adequate kokosh cake, and can anyone recommend any?

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Avirah – you claim to be a teacher. Please let me appeal to your teacher side. I will do my best to speak softly so I don’t trigger anything but please listen.

    It is obvious that you have a deep hatred for Modern Orthodoxy. It comes out loud and clear in some very harsh tirades. Here’s what I am asking of you. Boys like the OP have no clue what you are talking about. As you know, they are brought up to do what they are doing and many of them strive to be “proud Jews” in the manner they are taught expecting other frum people to be proud/impressed or at least accepting. The boys in these schools have no knowledge of all these haskala issues and background and unfortunately when their questions are met with vitriol it is a horrible sign of lack of personal acceptance and turn-off.

    I am not saying your information is wrong, but your approach is most certainly wrong if you approach a boy who may be doing his best to stay shomer mitzvos AS IT WAS TAUGHT TO HIM and you spew disrespect and contempt. If this boy takes your attitude and chooses to stay far away from yeshivas filled with “people like you”, then consider yourself to be responsible for the death of a soul. Because you never know what he could have learned, and who he could have become. Nobody walks into a place that feels that way about him and says, “Hey, maybe I’ll give it a try”. Please, be more observant of your surroundings, take note of your audience, be sensitive of the question behind the question. Please.


    The first few opening posts (and maybe many more I did not read) illustrate either an inadequate secular education or students who should of worked more at it. The spelling is aaaaaahhhhhtrocious. And yes, there is a mistake in my first sentence which illustrates a mistake I see secular teachers make.


    I don’t think there is one answer for everyone.

    First, there is an issue of teaching an honest trade (Kiddushin 30) as Avira is mentioning. Some may want to become plumbers and electricians and may not require a lot of time in high school. Other professions require more. As one Rav taught me – everyone needs to grow up a substitute in this world – a Rav needs to grow a Rav, a plumber – a plumber, a scientist – a scientist, as the world needs all.

    Second, there is an issue of appreciating science. Avira is against, but R Twersky is for learning, as an example, physiology to appreciate wonders of the world that Hashem created. Some tietch Borchi Nafshi that it includes appreciation of wonders/gadlus and vastness/rabot of Hashem’s creation. Maybe initial reluctance comes because initial effect of learning science (and as was presented by haskala) is decrease of wonders – hey, we can explain rainbow, seasons, aurora, viruses, etc. At the same time, more mature understanding of science leads first to more appreciation of vastness of Hashem’s creations – in the air, under the sea, on other plants, and at the next level of wonders – how atmosphere and earth orbit, and even gravity constant are such that makes the world and our lives possible.


    MO schools obviously have their own drawbacks: hashkafa (although, not all are left-wing) but most important – kid environment. Frankly also for those who pay close to full tuition, the prices are ridiculous because they are trying to provide all kind of options and entertainment. You are better of hiring a full-time PhD tutor for the tuition for 2-3 kids. Probably two part-timers, one for math, one for English

    Practically speaking, I think, it is possible to have quality general studies in a yeshivishe school. Your biggest challenge would be that many families are not interested, and so do principals. Try finding a couple of other families interested in higher quality studies, talk school into letting them do this extra program, or go home for those hours. Use online curriculum and old-fashioned books.

    Also there are several yeshivos and BYs that even successfully integrated online public schools into their day. I think, a yeshiva in LA sends kids to a separate floor where they have computers for general studies, and then they come back to a normal yeshiva floor. See Avi Chai foundation site – they sponsored several schools on doing this “blended” approach and have reports with all details.


    For less than $30,000/year (with tuition assistance), there are multiple MO yeshivos in the U.S. that offer an excellent secular education along with high quality limudei torah with rabbonim who are skilled in chinuch along with their daas torah. It really depends on whether you are looking to have your kids educated in secular studies to the minimal levels necessary to earn a parnassah and function in society to wanting them to have a more fully balanced education that will allow them to excel in a professional career should they decide to pursue that option. We need frum doctors, lawyers, engineers, computer scientists etc. and they will not magically appear from graduates of yeshivos who can only mimimally function in language, science and mathematical disciplines. Yes, there are a small percentage of self-taught yungerleit who manage to go on to graduate school and excel but the are a small percentage and definitely NOT the norm.

    Reb Eliezer

    Science helps us in understanding the Torah. Gresham’s Law in economics helps to the understand a mishna in Bava Metzia. הזהב קונה את הכסף, gold acquires silver because silver becomes the currency and gold a commodity. Why? Gresham’s Law says, bad money drives out good money from circulation. The bad money here is silver which becomes currency, being spent and gold will be horded and not spent becoming a commodity.


    @GH, “We need frum doctors, lawyers, engineers, computer scientists etc.” Need?? I always tell my kids there is a huge difference between need and want. We need clothing food and shelter, the rest is wants


    “And yes, there is a mistake in my first sentence which illustrates a mistake I see secular teachers make”

    Maybe those spelling mistakes are there to illustrate mistakes too?

    Excellent example of Ubiquitin’s law of the internet btw (Sometimes called Skitt’s law)


    Thank you very much Gadolhadorah and others. I am inquiring about yeshiva specifically offer programs like AP which can provide you with an opportunity to enter a good University. If anyone has any specific schools in mind, please let.me know. Ones that offer dorms would be even better.


    BY: What part of the country are you located and what minimum level of limudei torah are you seeking? As noted above, there are good yeshivos on the west coast, Boston, Florida, Chicago, Philadelphia etc. in addition to the more well-known names in the NYC/NJ metro area that offer excellent secular programs whose graduates go on to to Ivy league and other highly-rated colleges. They range from MO to more frum. What are YOU looking for??

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    GH – interesting that you ask him what minimum he wants.

    What good schools are in chicago?


    Really anywhere in the United States. I’m looking for ones that do not just strive for the minimum amount of time, but go beyond. Approx. half the day with Limudei Kodesh, maybe even if they start secular studies after mincha. Really any school that follows an orthodox/modern orthodox viewpoint, and not some blurry line conservative. None of that.
    Thanks again

    I have looked into the one in Chicago, know as Fasman Yeshiva Highschool, yet from what I know, they only spend 40min per class, and most teachers do not have time to cover the entire curriculum during the school year.


    BY, you need to define what is a “good” university that you will want to attend and plan accordingly. Gadol seems to think that this got to be an Ivy. On many other places, you can get solid education as long as you are taking a harder version of each class in a non-fancy school.

    Are you are looking for a career path where you are super-employed full time at a law firm or a trader? Then, you probably need to go to an Ivy. Are you planning to learn a trade, like software developer or a nurse, or an engineer? Then, you can do well with a state school or an online school if you don’t want to dorm in a non-observant place. Also, take into account our family finances. If your parents work and are paid well, they better be prepared to pay a lot for luxury colleges like Ivy or Jewish ones, it would be more rational to go to a less fancy college. If your family is not well off and you get great grades, you can get a scholarship and plan to get to MIT or Columbia.


    Chicago has U of Chicago, Northwestern, nearby: Urbana, Indiana U/Purdue and Bloomington. Depends on the course: U Chicago is place of world-known economists, Purdue – engineering, Bloomington – business.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    those aren’t high schools


    Thanks, I’m looking for high-schools that offer the necessary level in order to have an Ivy Leauge University option available, although another University may be chosen after graduation. A place where a student can theoretically, with what the school offers, make it to Harvard or another University of that caliber.


    you first need to consider whether it is worth getting away from your parents. If you hopefully have good environment at home and your parent are supportive of your goals, you will achieve more while staying there. I heard it both from Mark Twain (“When I came back home from college, I saw how much smarter my father became!) to an O- Rabbi who spent years dealing with O- students at an OOT Hillel and penned an article calling parents to send kids to college close to home (undermining his own job). Kal vehomer for high school.

    So, then, find a high school in your area that is solid religiously and makes some moves towards college prep. Then, you or your parents should talk to them and see how to enhance it, or let you learn on your own for some classes. Maybe take some enhanced classes somewhere else, possibly in college.

    TS Baum

    “We need frum doctors, lawyers, engineers, computer scientists etc. and they will not magically appear from graduates of yeshivos who can only mimimally function in language, science and mathematical disciplines.”
    That’s funny, I’ve always been hearing and saying that there are enough frum doctors and lawyers, they need to get better jobs. Its funny how you think we need more. I don’t know which country you live in, but there are plenty.

    Reb Shlomo

    Many of you here on this forum are probably younger than me. I am 79 and attended yeshiva through high school in Borough Park. The Yeshiva that I went to was considered very frum by 1950 standards. In fact many Roshei Yeshivos in Lakewood & Brooklyn who are my age were my classmates. Limudei Kodesh was from 9 to 1. Mincha and lunch followed. Secular studies were from 2 to 6. There was no night seder except for Mishmor on Thursday night for 2 hours. We were well prepared for all Regents exams and yes, college as well. Those who became some of our gedolim today went on to full time Bais Medrash. I went to Brooklyn College for 4 years, a local college where I could live at home in a frum environment. From there I went into business while I went to a part time yeshiva half a day for 7 years to avoid being drafted to Viet Nam. One I was old enough for my draft classification to change I was able to devote full time to my business and get married. i did not have the proverbial rich father in law to put me through kollel for 10 years. By today’s standards I would probably be considered an apikores or worse. But that is how it was in the past.


    TS Baum,
    you don’t need to be something just because someone else is. My personal opinion is that it is preferable to do something that you find meaningful, enjoyable, and fits your skills. For many people, a job is a way to earn parnosa, and then, after work, his “real life” starts – family, friends, learning, mitzvos, whatever.

    This is OK if you have to, but you are throwing away 8 or more hours a day. It becomes a real nisayon then – do you need to work so many hours just to earn money for, say, vacations, schools, house, clothes. You literally paying with your life for any spending. You can still console yourself that you take care of negative commandments – not stealing, yuhud, kahsrus, etc but not much positive.

    At the same time, if you do something meaningful – being a teacher, a doctor, etc, then you are involved in mitzvos and helping people all day round. You can really enjoy that vacation (or choose to stay at work). These choices can be within a profession – you can write software for medical applications or for entertainment companies.

    And enjoying and matching skills will ensure that you are successful at your job.


    I am already dorming as our city does not have a Jewish secondary education, yet both me and my parents are frustrated by the lack of school in the orthodox world that actually care and place significant emphasis in trying to get their students into universities.

    Baum and others
    Some of you do not agree with my view towards the importance of secular education but you should know that regardless of how many snappy comebacks you put down, I value all education and my opinion on that matter will not budge, therefore leaving your ridiculing here useless.


    Regarding secular studies in high school, the only reasons it is allowed is either because education is mandated by State Law (in New York it is until age 17), or simply because if they did not have high school education in the Yeshivas, parents would simply send their kids to worse places to get it.

    But it is definitely looked upon not as a l’chatchilah, but rather as something that is annoyingly necessary in the current environment.

    Today, there are a number of High Schools in America – particularly in Lakewood – that do not teach English. Also, many Yeshivos do try to reduce the amount of secular studies as much as possible, through knocking out the last semester of English, and a number of kids are leaving HS early to enter Bais Medrash.

    Rav Chaim Segal ZT’L, the Menahel of the High School at Yeshiva Chaim Berlin was once told by Rav Shach ZT’L that if possible, he should not be teaching English studies. In Eretz Yisroel, almost all Chareidi Yeshivos do not have English at that age. Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L made some kind of commitment not to allow English studies on the HS level in Lakewood. The exact details, and if this was actually a Takanah or merely a preference, is not clear and depends who you ask. In any case, Rabbi Elya Svei, Rosh Yeshiva of Philadelphia and a student of Rav Aharon’s, was asked why he allows English in Philly if Rav Aharon was against it. What difference can there be between the town of Lakewood NJ and Philadelphia PA? Reb Elya answered that he has no choice, and that currently, the Baalei Batim would not send their kids to the Yeshiva except under these circumstances.

    Is any of this the ideal? No. It is not. Is it justified? The schools say it is, as they have no choice. But the point is not what the Jews do, its what Judaism wants. Everyone agrees that it would be a higher level, a preferable situation if we would indeed not learn English even at the HS level, at least not beyond what is necessary to survive. Nobody claims it is an ideal.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Reb Shlomo – thank you for popping in to contribute. I doubt you are an apikores but as I’m sure you know, you’re never too old to make changes! 😉


    TS Baum….I’ll perhaps agree with respect to lawyers, but we do need more professionals who approach their disciplines with a frum hashkafah. However, I just don’t recall ever hearing a frum mother kvelling about her son, the plumber or FedEx driver.

    Reb Eliezer

    Einstein’s Theory explains the creation from nothing i.e. not material but from energy. The Rash quotes the Pythagorean Theorem in Kilaim 5,5 in the name of Chachmei Hamidos.


    > Pythagorean Theorem in Kilaim 5,5 in the name of Chachmei Hamidos.

    a good call not quoting in the name of Reb Pythagoras – there is no proof that he actually is the author of the theorem.


    Check out the mesivta of greater Philadelphia

    Great rebbeim and secular education


    Ujm – i remember reading that when i was 17 on frumteens; it’s an exact quote.

    It should be noted that not all gedolim agreed to that. Rav yaakov kaminetzky held that a high school diploma was hishtadlus, as did my rebbe rav belsky. Rav belsky also, however, supported many outstanding bochurim who sincerely wanted to learn the entire day and drop out of English in HS, to the anger of many parents who failed to appreciate their sons’ love of learning…



    ujm, who are those evil Ballei Batim who pay for the school but have chutzpah to insist on secular studies? At this point, they are not recent arrivals from secular Poland, but most likely graduates of the same yeshivos. Somehow, the yeshivos did not manage to skip Kiddushin so they learned that they need to teach their kids professions. The question is, if your picture is correct, and schools provide general studies reluctantly – how good they are at that, or is it really waste of time to calm down the parents? I suggest test kids where they stand in their general studies and then maybe send them somewhere else to learn those in the afternoon if ujm’s theory is right.


    ujm > a preferable situation if we would indeed not learn English even at the HS level

    I’d love to see a pasuk that proves this. Also, who were those apikoiresim who served in Sanhedrin and knew 70 languages. Also. when Rabban Gamliel had same – 1000 – people studying Greek, as studying Torah. And how you call “non ideal” situation where we have tens of thousands boys and girls learning Torah, when 200 years ago, the only Yeshiva, Volozhin, had 400 students. (I am putting aside social issues related to assimilation, just purely focusing on learning per se).


    Gadol > For less than $30,000/year

    Others called you on too many lawyers, but I’d like to question this fantastic number. How did we get there? For even a family of 3-4 kids, that is $100K a year – post-tax. So, for many people this means two parents working hard full time just to stay even and spend 3x time of college for 12 years of school while still facing semi-observant classmates and other problems. I know kids are priceless, but l’maaseh this means stressed unhappy families teaching kids the same.


    @ujm. I disagree with you. I believe it is right to balance spirituality with an worldly profession, as I believe God does not want us to stay secluded, but rather interact and engage with the outside world, provided it is done in a kosher manner.   edited  rather adopt the view of Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchick. Differences aside, I appreciate the help from Always Ask… and Reb Shlomo. If anyone has any other suggestions for specific school, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Pirkei Avos 2:2:
    Rabban Gamaliel the son of Rabbi Judah Hanasi said: excellent is the study of the Torah when combined with a worldly occupation, for toil in them both keeps sin out of one’s mind; But [study of the] Torah which is not combined with a worldly occupation, in the end comes to be neglected and becomes the cause of sin. And all who labor with the community, should labor with them for the sake Heaven, for the merit of their forefathers sustains them (the community), and their (the forefather’s) righteousness endures for ever; And as for you, [God in such case says] I credit you with a rich reward, as if you [yourselves] had [actually] accomplished [it all].


    Bochurim can take correspondence courses during bein hazmanim


    Secular education is also a Torah mandate, at least enough to have a trade and earn a living.


    BY, I see where you are now – already away from home and looking for an Ivy.

    I think your choices are
    – large MO school – NY, Atlanta, Boston, LA. Each of them have strong communities and kollels where you may find a family that will help you stay strong.
    – small yeshivos in same type of cities. They are often started by people who want same as you. In those places, they would know what quality secular education is and somewhat compete with those MO schools
    – go back home and together with your parents organize your own education – possibly Jewish one in one place and general in another. Be creative – find partners for each of them. Say, one semester/year in a yeshiva, and one semester/year in general studies, plus summer. Tutors. Summer schools in colleges. One resource that I am using for my kids – online state schools. My older kids did this for just two last years and went to a mid-tier (online) college, having 4+ GPA and access to AP classes. Maybe more than 2 years would be needed. If your parents have time to engage with you, you can achieve a lot. My kids are saying that they are 2x more efficient when they don’t need to treck to school a t a certain time, can skip or repeat classes as they need. They are having less fun, but I don’t think that is what you are looking for.


    Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L denounced college in a Teshuva, and in a famous speech delivered to his students, published under the title “The Counsel of the Wicked” (Vaad LeHaromas Keren HaTorah, New York, 1978). There he reiterates that everyone has an obligation to become great in Torah, we should not care so much about Cadillac’s (yes, this was said in the “olden days”), and that learning Torah is what we should be pursuing, not secular stuff. He says in America you do not need college to make a Parnassa, and we should be willing to live on little, not a lot, for the sake of Torah, and that R. Nehuray’s statement of abandoning all skills in favor of Torah applies all that more today that we live in a country where you can make a parnassa without college, with no miracles needed.

    There is a tape available in many Seforim stores called “The prohibition to learn in Colleges” (Yiddish), which contains addresses by Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT’L and Rav Aharon Kotler ZT’L condemning college.

    Shimon Nodel

    Darchei Torah in Far Rockaway. Several alumni were accepted to Harvard. You might not want to go to Harvard after learning there..

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