Sunday, January 20, 2008

Keeping Jewish Girls in the Dark

Rafi has a fascinating post up at Life in Israel about a recent statement from the Israeli Rabbanim that condemns a Bais Yaakov school that is preparing its students for the Bagrut (the college entrance examinations).
The fear, apparently, is that girls who can pass a Bagrut exam will go on to (gasp!) university, and then on to the non-Hareidi workforce, where they would be exposed to ideas that are different from those that they grew up with.
This makes my blood boil like nothing else. I am incensed when the leaders of a society, any society, try to use their power to keep others down by denying them access to a good education.
There is something inherently wrong with a religious system that is so afraid to lose their children to the secular world that they hold on to those children by employing draconian methods of thought control. Is the beauty and attraction of Judaism really so weak that exposing girls to math, science, history, and languages would cause them to abandon their Yahadut and become secularized? This type of insular, backward, Taliban-type thinking is an insult to our children and an insult to our religion. Jewish men and women have historically been among the most educated members of nearly any Diaspora society that they have been a part of, and have still held on to their beliefs and traditions. I (and many, many women like me) have attended multiple universities, hold a bachelors and 2 advanced degrees, and am still maintaining a halachically observant household. How insulting it is to imply that good Jewish girls would bolt at the first taste of the "outside world"!
These rabbis need to learn to trust the members of their own communities a bit more.


muse said...

Many people here who consider themselves "Chareidi" are studying, frequently in special frameworks, accademic professions. They have to support their large families and their children's.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post. It is so sad that many rabbonim seem to try to keep the flocks inside by closing the shutters and telling how bad the outside world is, in stead of showing how beautiful our tradition is. Sure, secular society lures and it does happen too often that students walk off the derech, but denying them an education won't make things better.

dd said...

are u upset that others disagree with ur world view and view secular ed as inherently bad

what is wrong with you that u can't accept that others disagree with you and have a different world view than you nothing to do with keeping girls uneducated and in the dark

SuperRaizy said...

Thank you for visiting.
Actually, I think it is normal and healthy for people within a community to disagree with each other sometimes about important issues. Disagreement and discussion are necessary to help societies consider the possibilities and choose the best options for themselves.
It is when a society's leaders forbid this type of disagreement and discussion that I get upset. Declaring that Bais Yaakov girls should not be prepared for Bagrut exams takes the choice away from these girls and their families, who rely on their neighborhood Bais Yaakov schools to educate their daughters. So, even parents who would like their daughters to go on to university and learn a profession (so that they can support their families while their husbands sit in kollel all day long), will not have that option. By imposing all these chumras on the community, the Rabbanim are taking away people's right to choose their own paths and follow their own beliefs. And yes, I have a problem with that.
And BTW, this chumra does indeed aim to keep girls uneducated and in the dark.

Lvnsm27 said...

I think we just need to give people a strong fondation and pray that they will be okay. They might make mistakes, but with a strong fondation, they will hopefully stay on track.