New York, NY – A hard hitting editorial in today’s Hamodia highlights the plight of the many children who are currently without a yeshiva placement because they were either not accepted to any institution or they were asked not to return to their previous school.
The editorial titled ‘Did You Faint’, calls on the entire community to accept its obligation to educate not just their own offspring but all Jewish children so that every Jewish child, no matter what their situation, can receive the Torah education that they are entitled to.
Read full editorial below
Yom Kippur is almost here. The holy,unique day of kapparas avonos selichah and mechilah awaits us.
We notice that virtually all theprayers of this exalted day are in theplural — “we.”
It is as a nation that we plead with Hashem for forgiveness; it is as a nation that we beseech Him for mercy; each of us accepts responsibility for the greater community.
If that is the case, Yom Kippur is among other things, a day to ponder the plight of the children who sit at home because no yeshivah or school has yet taken them in.
In this week’s Inyan Magazine we address the painful problem of children without a school to go to. We explore all sides of the sad story. No blaming, no finger-pointing, just the hope that together we can find a way to solve a complex, painful problem.
Fact: Our schools and yeshivos are generally over-crowded and under fund-ed. Often when they claim that there isn’t room for another child they are telling the plain truth. But the fact that they’re not at fault doesn’t help the four-year-old child who sits at home with no school to go to. It will not pro-tect the young boy left to fend for him-self on the streets. It will not come to the aid of a learning-disabled teenage girl who cannot find a high school able to accommodate her. It won’t educate the third-grader who spends his days at his father’s workplace so that he will at least remain under the watchful eye of an adult.
And then, what about the distraught mother who received a letter in July stating that her daughters were not welcome to return to the school in which they had been registered? Or the parents of the boy asked not to come back in September? Whose “fault” — whose responsibility — is that?
As long as these vulnerable children are at home and not in school, we are all responsible. As long as we remain silent, we can’t declare “our hands didnot shed this blood.”
“What can I do about this?” you maybe wondering.
Hagaon Harav Elazar Menachem Shach, zt”l, told of the time that the Chofetz Chaim spoke to a Rav about the need to repair his city’s mikveh.
“Most of the residents are poor, and the rich aren’t interested,” the Rav responded sadly. “I myself have not received my salary for months, and the necessary repairs are very expensive. What can I do?”
“You can faint!” the Chofetz Chaim responded.
“If the Rav would have fainted,” RavShach concluded, “the people of his town would have found a way to repairthe mikveh.
“When it means enough to us we know how to unite, rally to a cause, and make a difference.
Each case has to be evaluated on its merits, and the right questions have to be asked.
Why is the child being rejected? Are the schools that are saying no truly unsuitable for the child? Does the school have a valid concern about the child or the family, or is it a case of unwarranted bias? Is there any way, for example, to explain or defend turning away a child solely because his parents are divorced? Or is there more to the story?
We realize that forcing a school to accept a child it is not equipped to educate will be counterproductive. Similarly, compelling a yeshivah to take in a child whose hashkafos are at odds with those of the student body will ultimately backfire.
However, every Jewish child has the right to learn Torah, and it is the community’s obligation to guarantee that he will. The cities with larger Jewish communities are blessed with a wide selection of schools. Each of us is obligated to ensure that no child is excluded.
This Kol Nidrei night we will implore Hashem, “Act for the sake of tinokosshel beis rabban — the children of the school room.”
Let us do everything possible to ensure that every Jewish child has a beis rabban — and in this merit may Hashem act with mercy towards all of us, His children.