Saturday, March 25, 2023

I recently read a letter to the editor written by Rabbi Bob Mark (“Our Students Must Be Taught Basic Hebrew Reading Skills,” January 5, 2017) in which Rabbi Mark basically indicts schools, the Yavneh Academy in particular, for not teaching its students the basic skills “so that they can understand the words that they will be reading from the Torah.” Nothing can be further from the truth.

My wife and I have been to several bar mitzvahs in Bergen County this year in which Yavneh students read from the Torah, recited the Haftorah and served as Shliach Tzibur for Mussaf. In all cases, their Hebrew reading and comprehension was outstanding; in fact, as good as any of the “regulars” in our local shuls. My wife and I are proud to count these children as classmates and dear friends of our own seventh grader. We know that Yavneh has done an excellent job in educating both of our children, our seventh grader and our second grader, in Judaic and General studies. We are quite confident that our son has received the Hebrew skills necessary to do a beautiful job as well, later this year.

The timing of Rabbi Mark’s letter to the editor to coincide with last week’s parsha, Parshat Vayigash, was quite telling. The key reason for the long exile in Egypt was because the brothers engaged in Motzi Shem Ra with respect to the sale of Yosef into slavery in Egypt. It would really behoove the author to look at this week’s Parsha, in particular the profuse and tearful apology proffered by the brothers to Yosef at the end of the Parsha, after the death of Yaakov. The faculty, the administration and the students of Yavneh Academy deserve nothing less.

Eric Melzer


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