Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman speaks out as haredi leadership concerned with proposed reforms to the education system.
By JEREMY SHARON
Spiritual leader of the haredi world Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman said Monday night that only those who fear God are fitting to be teachers, while education provided by anyone else is worthless.Shteinman was speaking to hundreds of haredi educators and rabbis at a conference in Bnei Brak called “In Defense of the Purity of Education.”The haredi leadership is extremely concerned with proposed reforms to the education system, including the revocation of funding for schools that do not teach core curriculum subjects, which most haredi schools do not.“Until today, we have known that the secret of education is that it be carried out by those who fear God,” said Shteinman.“They know how to educate children in the path of God, as they have received from their ancestors, while others don’t know what education is,” he continued.“They are full of anger; so what will they teach, anger? They are arrogant; so what will they teach, arrogance? What will they teach them, to be a person who lives a life of emptiness?” asked Shteinman.Also present at the conference was the Grand Rabbi of the Sanz hassidic dynasty, Zvi Elimelech Halberstam, who spoke at length of the high level of spiritual purity a teacher must maintain in order to be an effective educator.AdvertisementHe added that when there are people “who want to fight against the path of the Torah, it’s a clear sign that this is the correct path.“When the Satan fights against us, we know we’re on the good and right path,” the rabbi said.Last Friday, the Council of Torah Sages of the Agudat Yisrael movement, which represents the hassidic strain of Israel’s haredi population, issued a declaration calling on the government not to interfere in the haredi education system by enforcing the teaching of core curriculum subjects.The declaration forbade any changes in the content of studies at haredi elementary and high schools, prohibited the teaching of core curriculum subjects, and forbade students from working toward the state high-school diploma or toward academic degrees not approved by Agudat Yisrael’s Committee of Rabbis for Education.
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