Monday, November 28, 2005

Lakewood School sets the bar higher

Lakewood's elementary school Yeshiva Bais Hatorah, commonly known as the "Gaon's School", models itself after certain Israeli schools, and follows a very unconventional schooling approach.

The following letter (in part) was sent out to all parents:

General Chinuch Guidlines:

  • In compliance with the warnings of the gedolim about the dangers of the internet, it is prohibited to have internet in your home (even if you feel that you have safeguarded against access by children). In the event that internet access is a business necessity, the computer must have a password and be physically locked. Additionally, the Yeshiva must be told that you have internet in the home.
  • Non-Jewish magazines and periodicals are not permitted in the home.
  • Children should not listen to the radio. (It goes without saying that watching television, DVDs or videos is forbidden.)
  • Children may not visit the public library even with adult supervision.
  • Non-Jewish reading materials must be carefully screened by parents before being made available to talmidim.
  • Talmidim must refrain from following professional sports as it is not in the Torah spirit.
  • Talmidim should not play games on the computer or use a game boy.
  • Talmidim may not own palm pilots or cell phones.
  • Extreme caution must be exercised in relation to trips or visits to non-Jewish places.

In philosophy it may not at all be extreme- but in its mandatory approach?

posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 2:58 PM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know about the "Zilberman Cheder" in lakewood, but the Zilberman Cheder in the Old City is not at all fanatical - they are very normal, and just want to teach the children Torah. no need to sign any stupid documents about the internet...

The Vilna Gaon was pro-secular subjects himself, so it's very strange for a Yeshiva that models itself after him would try to ban anything secular.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Litvak said...

Maybe it's time to make another Yeshiva that will be more in the Zilberman spirit a la the previous posting.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rosh yeshiva of the zilberman school in lakewood was a rebbe in the zilberman yeshiva ketana for a while before moving to lakewood.

I don't know of any others at zilberman israel that want to move to the USA to start a new zilberman school -

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did I tell you? They're starting already; only they're going after game boys and computers before cell phones. Stay tuned!

And as I predicted, it's Gottlieb leading the charge. (For those who don't know, he's the principal of this school.)

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not extreme? It's very, very extreme!

No magazines or newspapers in the home. This is an extension of the idea - first brought to us in the internet "takanah" - that anything and everything that goes on in your home is the school's business. That's not extreme?

No game boy? What are they afraid of, that Mario will be a bad hashpa'ah? Please.

No sports. True, it's a bit of a waste of time, but to assur it? For some boys, it's an absolutely necessary, and generally harmless, outlet. Watch, next they'll forbid the kids to play sports; after all, that's goyish too.

These guys are seriously crazy, and I'm afraid that the wimps in charge of the other schools are going to be following in their footsteps. Let's hope not.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous daat y said...

way over the border.Can one still breathe without permission?

5:28 PM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

So I take it that non-Jewish publications that are necessary in some professions and recommended in other professions are assur. It seems that such schools do not want professional parents.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the next time the cheder and other lakewood yeshivas come schnooring, we'll let them know how way off the mark they are!!

6:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, this is the same school that was the only school to allow television reporters into their school to report on the internet ban. I understand that most other schools were approached by the media as well but refused to talk to them, no less allow them in.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

What good does it possibly do to let TV reporters in when nobody in your community has a TV? Is this their idea of Ohr L'Goyim or am I missing something?

10:30 PM  
Blogger Romach said...

They're dating themselves slightly...the Gameboy haven't been in for over a decade.

1:11 AM  
Blogger BrooklynWolf said...

Actually, Romach, the Gameboy is still in. Both of my sons have one.

The Wolf

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why everyone is "freaking out" about this. If you don't want to follow these rules, send your kid to another school! And don't say they can't get in. They can, it just may not be your first choice.

11:41 AM  
Blogger BrooklynWolf said...

Part of the problem, Anon is that they send out these rules in the middle of the school year, when it is too late to change schools.

The Lakewood Internet ban wasn't announced until after the school year started. I agree with you that if one cannot abide by the school's rules then one should not enroll their children in the schools - but the schools should not issue drastic rules-changes in mid-year either - especially those that carry the penalty of expulsion.

The Wolf

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not "freaking out" because I won't be able to send my kid to this school, since I wouldn't have sent him there anyway, for lots of very good reasons.

Rather, it's because I think this super-strict, extreme mehalech is absolutely nuts and is even dangerous to kids. Also, I'm afraid that the kanoim (of whom Gottlieb is a prime example) will push this idiotic agenda in other schools as well. After all, they have the ear of the powers-that-be, and have already used their access to ill effect in the internet "takanah." And finally, why would I need an excuse for freaking out when I see something stupid? It's a natural reaction!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I agree with you that if one cannot abide by the school's rules then one should not enroll their children in the schools"

Well, that just won't cut it. First of all, the question here is whether the rules are sensible or extreme. Secondly, the question is whether an extremist menahel should impose his extreme preferences on parents altogether. Even if the rules are announced at the beginning of the year, it's very difficult to change kids from one school to another, (a) because it's hard on the kids, and (b) because schools around here don't accept transfers easily. So what these rules amount to is a kind of blackmail: You have no good choices, so you'll just have to do what we say. But the school has no business making these kind of drastic, intrusive rules altogether, all the more so when the rules did not exist when the parent enrolled the kid to begin with. They pretended then that they were a normal, mainstream school; now they drop this brick on the parents' head. Bunch of jerks.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is particularly difficult to transfer your child from Bais Hatorah to another school because their teaching methods differ drastically from other yeshiva ketanas. The boy will have a hard time adjusting to another yeshiva, and in addition, I imagine the other yeshivas will be less likely to accept him for that same reason.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few years back, when my oldest son was ready for school, I was seriously considering Bais Hatorah. Two different parents in that school told me a big selling point for them was that "they focus just on learning Toira there, they believe hashkafa should be taught at home" and "it is a yeshiva for people who are not ba'aley shita".

That certainly has changed, and I am very thankful that I did not end up sending there.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and "it is a yeshiva for people who are not ba'aley shita".

What a joke. The principal is the one of the biggest (and certainly the most active) kanoim in Lakewood.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:31 AM  
Blogger anonymous said...

I am ashamed to belong to the same religion as these fanatics. Their views sum up dismayed feelings I have had about some of the religious community for years. They want everyone to conform to their Orwellian vision of what they think life should be like, a la "1984." I can only take comfort in my knowledge that these sick individuals do not represent Hashem and His Torah.

10:36 AM  
Blogger The other side of the story said...

their goal is to bring up the nitzrachim(beggars)of the next generation.. the gaon himself was learned in astronomy and mat and wrote a sefer on those topics. the rambam was a physcian as was the ramban the list goes on. its crippling people for life

12:37 AM  

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