The entire chareidi community in Eretz Hakodesh is unanimous
in its firm opposition to any change in the pure character of
the Bais Yaakov seminaries. It is determined in its struggle
to fend off proposed attempts to disrupt the Bais Yaakov
system. The opposition is in accordance with the directives
of maranan verabonon the gedolei Yisroel,
headed by Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, who totally and
unequivocally objects to any such changes that would bring
about the destruction of the quality and chinuch of
Deputy Education Minister Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz told a
Yated Ne'eman reporter that he would make every
effort, in accordance with the directives of maranan
verabonon the gedolei Yisroel, to thwart all
attempts to undermine the Bais Yaakov Teachers'
He described the developments of the affair, saying that
officials in the Ministry of Education (who he surmised may
be envious of the outstanding education we give our
daughters) are demanding that we offer a more "academic"
curriculum, corresponding more closely to a university
education. They have stipulated that the condition for
founding new Bais Yaakov schools is that we expand our
current two-year post high school programs to three years,
threatening that no teaching certificates will be granted to
students after two years. Thus they hope to force our
students to study an additional year.
"A number of Bais Yaakov elementary schools currently want to
start four-year high schools, with the goal of establishing
two-year seminaries afterwards, as is now the case. Some high
schools for girls also want to establish two- year teachers'
seminaries. The Education Ministry told them that it will not
approve these new seminaries."
It is also feared that in the wake of the Education
Ministry's new initiatives, new regulations affecting the
Bais Yaakov curriculum will be issued. At this point, the
Ministry has not spoken about interfering in the content of
the studies, but the danger that this might occur in the
future is great.
The addition of one more year of study will also undermine
the establishment of Jewish homes. Studying until the age of
21 will seriously hamper our daughters' timely plans to
establish their homes, as is customary in the chareidi
community. The gedolei Yisroel foresee these future
dangers and say that we should make every attempt to thwart
Rabbi Ravitz declared that as long as he is Deputy Education
Minister, he will fight all the attempts of the officials in
the Education and Finance Ministries to issue new decrees
against the chareidi education system.
"This is a mammoth and superior network, which for
generations has produced vast numbers of students in the
traditional Torah way. Graduates of the Bais Yaakov
seminaries are known for their high qualifications and
extensive knowledge, and no one can tell us to change this
framework. Our teachers can compete with any other teacher as
far as level of professionalism and knowledge are concerned.
The head of the Pedagogical Department of the Education
Ministry, Ms. Sara Ziv, must understand that we won't let any
changes take place in our seminaries, even though she wants
us to compete with those universities that have teacher's
training frameworks. The Finance Ministry must understand
that an additional year will cost the State many additional
millions of shekels, at a time when the Ministry is looking
for ways to cut the budget. We will continue to fight and
won't let anyone undermine our chinuch. This issue is
not up for negotiation or compromise, as maranan verabonon
headed by Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv have
declared," Rabbi Ravitz said.
At the end of the week of shiva of Maran HaRav Eliezer
Menachem Shach, ztk"l, a his'orerus gathering
was held for students and teachers of all Bais Yaakov
seminaries in Jerusalem. At the gathering, HaRav Yosef Efrati
conveyed a message from Maran HaRav Eliashiv, calling upon
both students and teachers to strengthen themselves in light
of the attempts to bring about changes in the system. HaRav
Eliashiv said that this is in line with the guidelines
transmitted to us by Maran the Rosh Hayeshiva, who made
untold efforts to prevent changes in the mesorah we
have received from past gedolei Yisroel, especially
concerning issues of the chinuch of future
Recently, HaRav Eliashiv stated that no power on earth can
compel us to undermine the sacred pikadon of Bais
Yaakov, the underpinning of our Torah homes and the
chinuch of our offspring in the derech
transmitted to us from generation to generation.
A meeting of distinguished rabbonim and prominent
mechanchim was held recently in Bnei Brak. At the
meeting, resolute decisions to take measures to thwart those
new aims were made. The rabbonim were acting in accordance
with the directives of Maran HaRav Eliashiv and all the
gedolei haTorah. HaRav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro sent a
special letter to the meeting. All of the gedolei
Yisroel stated their opposition to the new plans. HaRav
Aharon Leib Steinman, HaRav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, and
HaRav Shmuel Auerbach asserted that one must sternly oppose
all change in the Bais Yaakov system.
On Sunday, 7 Shevat, a conference was held in the home of
Maran HaRav Eliashiv. It was attended by delegates of the
abovementioned meeting in Bnei Brak: HaRav Tzvi Rottenberg,
rosh yeshiva of Beis Meir; HaRav Yehuda Aryeh
Hirshler, one of the roshei yeshiva of Beis
Mattisyahu; HaRav Eliyahu Raful, the rosh yeshiva of
Neveh Eretz and HaRav Efraim Gafni, a ram in the
Slobodka yeshiva. At the meeting, HaRav Eliashiv stressed the
obligation to staunchly oppose all changes.
It was decided that rabbonim of the delegation will establish
a special Vaad Rabbonim for curtailing the dangerous schemes.
Joining them will be HaRav Yosef Chaim Kopschitz, rosh
yeshiva of Porat Yosef, and HaRav Moshe Chaim Schlanger,
the mashgiach of Porat Yosef, as well as other
prominent rabbonim from all sectors of chareidi Jewry. HaRav
Tzvi Cohen, who has been dedicated to this issue for a long
time, was appointed committee coordinator.