Saturday, April 01, 2023

Regarding Sarah Felsenthal’s article, “Sunday School—An Idea Whose Time Has Come” (April 27, 2017), I believe that, although it is a noble idea and one that works for some families and some schools, there are other facts that need to be brought to light.

The writer states that it would be staffed “by volunteer educators.” I would like to have a survey taken of educators who, after teaching Monday-Friday, would “volunteer” to staff this initiative. (Nothing against those retired educators, but they’d need to be updated on what the children are learning, so as not to repeat, or not to present, material that is not in line with the school’s curriculum.)

Also of note—there is an expense to open up the school, provide security and incur the additional expense of utilities. Will parents, who are already paying tuition, pay for these additional expenses? Will parents who already carpool Monday-Friday, want to arrange another day of carpool?

Currently, most organized/league Sunday sports activities are in the morning, so the children gain their exercise there (and that would be a conflict with school on Sunday mornings). Other exercise programs, such as Motzei Shabbat gymnastics, provide additional choices for parents to provide exercise for their children.

If the writer is focusing on providing younger-grade students with additional “Torah education,” many shuls and schools provide other activities and venues—Shabbat afternoons, Motzei Shabbat and some weeknights, for learning—and many of them are tied into the child learning with their parent: Avot U’banim, Parent/Child Learning, Bnos etc.

As for the example of Dati Leumi schools in Israel that have school on Sunday: Whenever I visit Israel and meet those parents, they lament that there is school every Sunday. Like the working force of the country, who work on Sunday, there is a trend and a soon-to-be-implemented idea that there will not be work every Sunday. There will be a certain number of Sundays when work will not take place. That schedule should mirror the school-on-Sunday schedule. It is the only day (other than the week of Pesach, Sukkot and some weeks in the summer) when families can travel to visit family in other parts of the country, or have a family outing day.

Again, it is nice to offer choices, but it would not be practical to make school on Sunday a requirement.

William Hochman
Fair Lawn
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