A Ramaz Student’s Take on the Hasidic School NYT Article

If there is one thing that I’ve learned about the New York Times, it’s that they certainly know how to hire writers with an Anti-Jewish bias. I, myself, adore reading and writing opinion articles, so long as they are well-researched and supported. That is only the first puzzle piece in writing a good article.

One article, released in mid-September, made many comments on the Hasidic school system and castigated it for its high funding and “poor quality of education”. Inside the schools, the boys thrive with their incredible Judaic studies teachers and courses. However, after about a dozen Hasidic schools agreed to give the students general studies tests, every single boy failed. They simply were not educated well enough in terms of math, English, and science. This is where I draw the line.

Children, simply put, must be educated. Case closed. Students in specialized schools still receive general education, and these Hasidic schools do not deserve special treatment. The boys can – and should – still learn secular studies to allow themselves to live a well-rounded life. All studentsneed to know how to do simple – and not so simple – math, as well as how to read books and the newspaper.

Jewish learning is the basis of education styles. Throughout history, Jews would ban together against anti semitism to learn Torah. The style of a Beit Midrash is still used today, and the concepts learned from it are extremely valuable e. But at the end of the day, children need to receive aneducation that will allow them to  thrive outside of the classroom as well.

These Hasidic schools are sheltering the children from the secular world and indulging them in the same three classes all day. As important as it is for young Jews to learn Talmud, Tanakh, and Hebrew, they need to know how to do basic math, reading, and writing as well. These children cannot be hidden from the world, from books, or from secularism. Even in the Hasidic world, people need basic skills, therefore, these schools are doing an atrocious job at properly secularizing the students. Maybe it isn’t the most important thing to do with the boys, but it is vital for them to learn basic life skills.

Look at Ramaz: Hundreds of brilliant students indulge themselves in secular and Judaic studies daily. Ramaz students do an exceptional job balancing all of their classes, and almost all alumni are successful, righteous, and very very Jewish. For the first time ever, I am in fact agreeing with this New York Times article, because I believe that everyone is entitled to a proper education. As important as Tanakh, Talmud, and other Judaic classes are, secular studies courses give students general knowledge that will be important in years to come. So yes, Hasidic schools need to do a better job of preparing their boys for the real world, as well as giving girls the opportunity to learn. But that is another article for another time.