Private Jewish Schools: The Only Alternative

Copyright Rabbi Eli Hecht
No part of this arcticle may be used or reproduced in any form without written permission from the copyright holder, except for brief quotations in reviews.

Every once in awhile I have a discussion with parents about the importance of sending their children to a Jewish private school, Yeshiva. Sometimes I can score a few points, and then there are other times that I get nowhere quickly. However, recent news convinced me that there is an unbeatable case for the private Yeshiva.

I read the following story, "Students: Armed and Dangerous&As many as 90,000 school children carry guns to class every day and serious injuries are on the rise as campus violence spirals out of control." A reporter wrote of the terrible fright the students and teachers experience on a daily basis. The violence has penetrated the best and, not surprisingly, the worst schools in America. It seems that there are no answers to the problems. Administrators are at a loss as to what to do. It was really horrifying to read of the senseless killings taking place - a real national tragedy!

Then, as if things weren't bad enough, I read the local news, "Charges in Sex Case Dismissed." The jury had deadlocked on acquittal of a teacher at a Montebello school. The prosecution did not seek a retrial. The paper reported that charges against the teacher, accused of offering food and shelter for sex were dismissed. The teacher said that the jar containing severed male genitals found in his residence was a joke gift he received and that the collection of pornographic videos and magazines were private and personal. "I am entitled to my private life," he said. It seems to me that something is very amiss here. What more is needed to prosecute a person with such tendencies? Truly, why is he in the teaching system?

Then there was an article about a teacher charged with 36 counts of child molestation. The teacher was accused of performing lewd acts over the past three years on girls in his first grade. How he was able to get the job as a teacher and why it took so long to charge him are still a mystery to me. Every few months I receive a list of the latest crimes of teachers and their dismissals or court hearings from the California Board of Education.

I now ask parents to ask themselves some important questions: What kind of teachers are being offered to our children? What kind of examples are teachers setting for our children? How safe is the school that your child attends? To whom and to what does a teacher turn for inspiration? There is no question in my mind that what's really happening in the school may be a cause for sounding the alarm.

On the other side of the coin, let's look at the Yeshivas, the private Jewish day school's records. I have not seen reports that yeshivas are experiencing crimes of sex or violence. Teachers with problems of child molestation and/or drug use are unheard of! A religious school that teaches Torah, the Bible and traditions, will produce children that are the very best! The teachers are G‑d fearing and responsible to the ultimate boss - G‑d! Such teachers can be trusted with our most prized possessions - our children. Our tradition knows that every child is a builder of the world. Our children must be given the tools to be able to think and act in the same way a competent builder would. At this time I firmly believe that perhaps the Jewish private school is the only alternative for our children's sanity and safety.

If it's true that children of a nation are the generation of its future, then we must be ready to give them the safest and purest education possible. And that can be found at the private yeshiva day school. So, I rest my case.