Brooklyn, NY – A well known and respected voice in the world of at risk behavior is calling for a drastic change to the religious education system, observing that the one-size-fits-all approach taken by many yeshivos is failing a substantial number of students.
In an 18 minute video, Avi Fishoff of TWiSTED PARENTiNG noted that in the post-war years, the educational system focused on producing students who could reinvigorate the Torah world by building yeshivos and other communal institutions.
Having successfully created that infrastructure, Fishoff said that the time has come to prioritize maximizing the potential of each child instead of encouraging every student to become a long term learner, a goal that leaves many feeling like failures.
“Otherwise we will have a majority of our children leaving the yeshiva world feeling like they are not a success, the hatzlacha that they were meant to be, which is false, and the result of that can be disastrous,” said Fishoff.
Drawing on his own educational career in a highly regarded yeshiva, Fishoff recalled that he was well aware as a child that he was not a top student and that the school staff looked down on him because of his performance. The idea of every student being able to learn for 10 to 12 hours every day is as unrealistic as expecting graduate to become a lawyer, said Fishoff.
“People who go to work to support themselves should not feel bad that that’s ‘nebuch’ the life that they have,” said Fishoff. “Like in the yeshiva where I grew up they said ‘grubbe balabatim,’ grubbe balabatim they called us. 85 percent of those who graduated, maybe more, ended up being balabatim and we all felt that we are not ehrliche yidden.”
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