May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Mr. Robert Lebowitz wrote a letter to the editor in the April 4 edition saying he is “baffled” at the lack of classes about God and emunah in our day schools and yeshivas.

I would like to “un-baffle” him.

There are only so many hours/minutes in the school day as mandated by law. Not one minute more. This time is not all instructional time. Take out lunchtime, physical education time, music time, minutes moving between classes, and in yeshiva, davening times. Add in an assembly for this and that, a fire drill required two times a month, and security drills, and the time dwindles. But you are still required and responsible to cover X material whether it’s math or chumash.

Many years prior to my retirement as an elementary school teacher with 45 years of classroom experience, I remember a group of parents came to one of PTA meetings with a list of subjects they wanted the school/teachers to cover. There were two that I remember:

financial awareness — how to save, write out checks, what a mortgage was, etc., and

social issues — how to make friends, be a friend, learning to compromise, etc.

These are worthwhile subjects. And my principal asked, “What subjects or areas of our curriculum should be eliminated to put these in? Should we remove adding unlike fractions? Should we remove a core curriculum subject in science or social studies or how to write a solid essay with a good beginning and end?”

While there is wonderful merit in having children be exposed to courses in God and emunah, I believe to some extent a good Judaic studies teacher will touch upon these areas in his teaching somewhere in the course of the year.

Perhaps the boys you spoke to are freshmen or sophomores and will be exposed to the topics you mentioned when they are juniors or seniors.

I have full faith in our local yeshiva days schools that the teachers are “on top of this subject” in their own way during their teaching and don’t necessarily need a separate course.

Esther Simon
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