Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bais Yaakov of Sheker

Recently, Builder brought home an application for Giant Bais Yaakov.  The biggest one on Brooklyn, if not the US and/or the world.  And, true to form, I balked.  Then I read the application.  And I balked again.
First problem is what I call the "BT screen."  The application asks for information about where the parents attended elementary school, high school, and yeshiva or seminary.  The purpose, of course, is to weed out evil BTs like me who went to the dread public school.  And of course, none of the nine schools I attended were Jewish schools at all.  Builder wanted me to fudge my answers and list cities only.  I don't think so.
Then came the bottom of the application. "Do you have any of the following: VCR?  TV?  Internet?"  In the most technical sense, we're two for three, since the VCR has gone the way of the manual typewriter.  However, we do have the other two, and the Things have limited access to both. 
The solution, in the mind of Builder?  Lie.  All the other parents do it. 
Excuse me while I run out of the room screaming.
OK, back now.
So, let me get this straight.  In order to send one's children to an institution of Torah learning, you're going to lie.  You're going to violate the Torah so your kids can learn it.  That makes no bloody sense.  Either you believe in the Torah, and live it by example, and prioritize your children's Torah education, or you don't.  If you would violate a commandment etched in stone by the hand of G-d, why bother with the yeshiva?  The Torah your children learn will be an empty shell.


  1. People are probably reading your post wondering why you won't just lie... I think it's admirable to try to stick to being moral. Unfortunately, the Jewish community is one of spotless exteriors and hypocrisy, but hey, you knew that.... even before this incident.

  2. You are doing yourself a favor by not lying. You would be miserable with your kids in that school. You know it's not a once and done. If they go there it'll be years of lying, pretending, faking, kowtowing. It makes me unhappy just thinking about it.

  3. Why is there such a bias against BT? Why aren't such people considered even more special for chosing such a life? When someone converts, especially to Judaism where we don't proselytize, it's amazing, a wonderful thing when someone says, "Yes, what you have is good, so good I want to join."

    Maybe we're just comming from such different ends of the spectrum, but at my Reform temple over half the congregation is
    a. from a mixed marriage
    b. in a mixed marriage, with a partner who is
    1. converted
    2. in the process of converting, or
    3. not converted but still dedicated to raising Jewish chidren
    in a Jewish family.
    c. A JBC or JIT (Jew in training) just for themselves because they love Judaism and decided for themselves it's their spiritual home.

    They are some of the most amazing, wondeful, spiritual and dedicated Jews I know. They are welcomed with open arms here! My temple wouldn't probably exist if it insisted everybody have 4 halachically Jewish grandparents - I have 2, and Penny has 0 - but as it is we are a growing, thriving, and oy vey BUSY temple.

    Why is it a problem to have VCR and internet? VCR, really? What would they do with blu-ray or on-line streaming? But it's best not to lie from the start, since that would just snowball into an terrible net.

    And isn't there some mitzvah speaking against lying? Like, don't bear false witness . . . even against yourself.

    Sheesh. I hope you had a good Shabbat, and everything is going well preparing for Passover.


    1. And this is the difference between Orthodox and Reform. Reform is happy that you show up. Orthodox in Brooklyn has so many of us that we can afford to cherry-pick based on trivialities.


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