Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

11 Nissan 5761 - April 4, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Observations: Mezuzas in Kibbutz Schools?
by M. Tzvi

At the Bikat Kinneret School at Kibbutz Beit Zera in the Jordan Valley, school officials have been wavering for the past two months over whether to accommodate a request by parents from Tiveriya to put mezuzas on classroom doorways. Reporter Dani Brenner writes that the school was founded by the (strongly anti-religious) Hashomer Hatzair Movement and is owned by Kibbutz Beit Zera and Kibbutz Sha'ar Hagolan.

Since the school's founding 52 years ago, mezuzas have yet to be affixed to classroom doorways. As long as the majority of students came from Jordan Valley kibbutzim, no one was perturbed by the absence of mezuzas. But due to the demographic crisis on the kibbutzim, as the number of kibbutz children continued to decrease, the school was compelled to open its doors to area residents, some of whom are shomrei masoret.

Currently fewer than 100 of the 380 students at the school come from kibbutzim. Most of the students live in Tiveriya or the Golan Heights and belong to the Na'ale youth movement for immigrants from the former Soviet Union or to Aliyat Hanoar. Some of the parents of these students want mezuzas in classroom doorways, and now a sharp debate is being waged at the school.

One teacher, a member of Kibbutz Beit Zera, says, "The mezuza has been a symbol of the Jewish home for generation after generation, and I think that the wishes of those who feel strongly in favor of mezuzas should be respected."

Meanwhile, other teachers maintain, "Those who come to our school for an education are supposed to take into account that this is a secular school."

Either way, the principal said a meeting would be held in the coming weeks to address the issue and the school council would make a final decision in the matter at its meeting at the end of the month. Those who have already eulogized the kibbutz movement can take heart in the fact that there are still people who are willing to dedicate themselves to a battle against fixing mezuzas in a kibbutz school.


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