(photo credit: Courtesy)
Either one fits
Sir, – Regarding the letter from reader Yossi Blasbalg (“Not
segregation,” December 21), the dictionary definition of “segregate” is 1. to
set apart from the rest or from each other; 2. to separate along racial, sexual
or religious lines.
The word originates from the Latin segregare, or
separate from the flock.
As I see it, the situation of haredi women on
these buses fits either definition. SALLY SHAW
Sir, – I heartily
disagree with Yossi Blasbalg. Why does he think separation fits what haredi men
are doing? Nobody asks the women. Is this what they want – to sit at the back of
the bus like second-class citizens? JUDY GOLDIN
Kiryat Ono Party’s over
The phenomenon of gap-year yeshivot for modern Orthodox American teens is long
overdue for scrutiny and reevaluation (“An unorthodox bid,” December
While several of these programs are adjuncts to real yeshivot with
serious learning, the majority are private businesses run by haredi opportunists
who cash in on warehousing immature adolescents for princely sums while
delivering little in return. The curriculum and academic expectations are dumbed
down to keep the children happy, and supervision off-campus is non-existent. The
kids are cast adrift on weekends and holidays.
Worst of all, the owners
of these yeshivot are mostly non-Zionist; hence they do not teach their students
to appreciate Israel and respect Israeli peers who are in uniform and putting
their lives on the line.
American parents should keep their $25,000 and
have their children enlist in the IDF for the 14-month Machal program. Not only
would they save a bundle, but their child would return home with a maturity,
self-respect and seriousness of purpose that none of these questionable
academies can ever nurture.J.J. GROSS
Sir, – Anna Wexler
predicts the likely “unhappy” reaction of Orthodox parents to her film’s
portrayal of gap year teens, a seeming “Jerusalem-on-the-Jersey Shore”
description of “nightly debauchery” and “pounding back beers and smoking tobacco
in nargilas (and other substances) into the wee hours.”
As a student
currently studying in a yeshiva in Israel, I am not going to deny what everyone
knows happens on Thursday nights in the holy city.
But it would be false
to assume there is something inherently more rebellious in American Orthodox
teens who find themselves suddenly able to use their (legitimate) IDs to legally
purchase alcohol and rebel against whatever values their parents have attempted
to instill. The same phenomenon, if not worse, occurs with college freshmen.
This happens to nearly any teenager living on his or her own for the first
I would argue that instead of fulfilling Wexler’s prediction, our
parents should be thankful that we are in a structure and culture that revolves
around Torah and should support us for the first time we live alone and assert
our independence. Once the novelty of independence and legal status wears off –
and trust me, it does – these “yeshiva boys gone wild” stay in on Thursday
nights to learn Torah into the wee hours.
Orthodox teens studying in
Israel are like all other teenagers. So were their parents when they lived alone
for the first time in Israel or college.
So please, Mom and Dad, don’t
freak out.JOSHUA PITKOFF
The writer is a student at Yeshivat Ma’ale
Gilboa More Hoffman
Sir, – I have been remiss in not writing sooner to
compliment Gil Hoffman on his insightful, logical and immensely readable
articles. My only complaint is that there aren’t more of them.RIVKA