MAILBAG: Parent In School Of Viral ‘Hair-Length’ Video Speaks Out

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Dear Readers, I am a parent in the school of which a controversial video was blasted out to social media yesterday. My daughter is in one of the higher grades in the school and has attended since her first year in school.

Throughout her years in elementary school, my daughter was a bright, personable and well-liked girl. Academics a weaker point, she tried and was encouraged by her parents to do well and perform. In fact, my daughter would spend many hours at night doing homework that took other girls only 20-30 minutes and she still struggled. There were many frustrating and tear-drenching nights where my daughter would throw up her hands and call it quits, but she pulled back together in order to keep up her performance level.

Upon getting wind of my daughter’s relentless investment of time and energy to perform, the school was the one to reach out to us and protest that she is working too hard and that they would like to find ways to make accommodations to enable her to perform in spite of her struggles to concentrate. They modified her tests, changed her seats, collaborated with us, and did everything to enable her to have a positive and fruitful elementary school experience.Today, after many years of school intervention her studying skills have improved tremendously and she is able to perform independently. This was due to the school’s perspective to see the broader picture and enable her to succeed in the long-term.

Aside from that, my daughter was given solos and important parts in school plays, in order to highlight her other important shining talents and make her feel important. The principal gave us time, met with us, reassured us and ensured that her needs were accommodated for.

The school in question raises happy, healthy and resilient girls. They are unique in that they stress a love for HaShem and a deep appreciation for Yiddishkeit and a true pride in being a “Yid.” My daughter has a group of stable, strong friends, who are all proud of what they stand for and who they are.

The short clip that went viral does, in fact, capture the shallow, short-sighted, and superficial (yet well-intended) preoccupation of the zeitgeist which places emphasis on external appearances rather than on introspection and connection. This is part of the general American influence and how it is manifest in today’s attempted spirituality. However, is is NOT reflective of the school’s overall gestalt or modus operandi.

With much gratitude to a school who made my daughter,

Name withheld upon request – Lakewood, N.J.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. I would certainly question the chinuch value of instituting a hair length requirement.

    That being said, was it really worth posting this video and all the lashon harah and motzei shem ra that it generated?

    Yeshiva World has a responsibility not to post articles, letters, videos etc. that can be michalel shem shomyim berabim

  2. I am sorry to say that I dont believe what the writer is stating , However I believe that the letter was written by the Hanhalla of the school to save face. ENOUGH WITH ALL THESE CHUMRAS. OUR CHILDREN ARE LEAVING THE FOLD AND R”L TAKING THEIR LIVES OVER THE POWER GRUBBING BIG SHOTS OF THE YESHIVAHS dictating nonsense. Instill in these children Yiras Shomayim and how to be an Erlicha Yid.

  3. I have to say, I take offense at people who keep calling this a chumra. It is not a chumra. I can’t speak for the chasidishe oilem, because I don’t know, but amongst the Yeshivish, Litvishe oilam It is not, and has never been accepted in halacha or mesorah.

  4. i agree with shloimy that it was the school who sent someone to post this letter & in reply tothis i say to the school “nice advertising in trying to save yourselves” & excuse yourselves from being over harsh on students going way overboard on innocent children who are still in elementary school & do not have long hair to be trendy but simply because they like longer versus shorter.

    yes you might be the owners of the school & can make your own rules but this is not communist russia, its a free country & there is still a limit to how far rules can go before its considered taking away peoples rites of freedom which if a parent wanted to they can sue you, trust me its not worth all the money it can cost the school including lawyers all for a few inches of hair

    HATZLACHA in your avodas hakodesh if done honestly

  5. I have moved from in-town to out-of-town and between my sons and daughters have sent my kids to 5 different elementary and high schools… In each, there are rules we loved and rules that make one scratch his head and wonder. No one school was “perfect,” yet all were “perfect” for us because we highlight the positive, i.e. that which induced you to want this school (and keep the kids there) and play down as “school rules” the aspects or rules (or shtick) that we appreciate less. Surely this school is the same and has lots of pluses. The video is just fodder for issue-laden haters who are perpetually on the lookout for things to point to and hate… work on your own yiras shamayim and stop looking for excuses to blame society!

  6. SHLOIMY, I speak as a parent whose head is definitely not in the sand, when I maintain that despite what is a known recipe for spiritual disaster among our youth which is manifest among a large expanse of girls’ and boys’ Yeshiva policies, I will nevertheless uphold the halachos of shmiras halashon! It is clearly assur to “be mekabel” rechilus and lashon hara. I am pretty sure it is NOT assur to “be mekabel” a positive report about a person or a Yeshiva. IF you are cynical, that is your personal bias and you actually should think about transcending that, at least in terms of public statements. NO reason to doubt the origin of this letter (in which, in all fairness, this parent frankly criticized the shallow attention to hair length, which is agreed to be an unnecessary turn-off to girls.)

    Let us encourage change! Let us shout for change form the mountain tops! But I am not mekabel what you were not mekabel. Just for the record.

  7. I am a parent of the school as well and have the same sentiments as the writer. I also know that most parents in the school feel the same way. This is of the most amazing girls schools in Lakewood and everyone knows it! It’s fun to bash these things, and maybe had the school realized how this would be taken they would have done it very differently. They are not the kind of school that nit picks every little thing. They give the girls amazing self esteem and opportunities to grow in all areas! They are warm and loving and really go above and beyond!

  8. This whole hullabaloo over mamesh gornisht mit gornisht, is just another opportunity by the Torah haters with their eyen rah to bash and bash and continue to bash anything kadosh. These anonymous bloggers are just typical otd’s with an ax to grind. Hey, GET OVER IT! Move on with your lives. Everything these days is “insensitive” “abusive” “heartless” “callous” etc, etc… Oh poor baby. Run back to your Mommy and get a hug. I mean seriously.
    We dont agree with every single policy our childrens Yeshivos have. But we know they are in a good place. B”H they are growing and shteiging, and i wouldn’t want it any other way. Kol hakavod.

  9. So many people commenting here need to quit projecting there feelings of this onto the students and parent body. I’m sure that if the parents and student body of the school looked at what you were doing and how your were living your lives, they would find you repulsive as well.

  10. Hi,
    I am the author of this letter. The letter was my own spontaneous defense to a school that has been incredibly flexible and invested in my daughter’s success. If not for my daughter’s privacy I would have been happy to sign off with my full name. I am baffled by Shloimy and Jakob’s conviction that it was the school who wrote the letter. While anything is possible, it is equally as possible that a parent would write it, so how can you make such assertion?

    I am curious to know if you have done any research to compare satisfaction of girls in other schools versus in this particular school prior to unabashedly proclaiming your righteousness and their incompetence. I suspect that if you did a comparison the girls in this school would have a higher rate of satisfaction in their connectedness to Yiddishkeit and spirituality. I believe this because the school places great emphasis on connectedness, something that most Orthodox Jews fail to imbue in our youth. While this video certainly did not demonstrate same, the 20 second clip does not represent the school’s overall approach. If we analyze anyone we will find their idiosyncratic stupidities, but those things do not always encapsulate the entire person.

  11. Now that we’re at it, it is time to address the uniforms and jewelry chumras as well. Nowhere in halacha does it say that girls have to wear uniforms. This chumra is a result of a couple of uninformed, evil “pious” religious police. A girl needs jewelry for her self esteem. This will definitely have a bad affect on all the girls. Who are these “morality police” (there is actually such a force in iran), that can decide what’s acceptable! How dear them! They are ruining orthodox judaism! Waaa Waaa Waaa. who else can I bash? I’ll find one on the next video clip by a “low self esteem” claiming to mean only h-m and his kids good and for the sake of judaism.