Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

12 Sivan 5769 - June 4, 2009 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Talmud Torah Principals Back HaRav Eliashiv's Call Not to Introduce Any Changes

By Yechiel Sever

The Torah-true world is standing firmly behind instructions Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv shlita reiterated Erev Shavuos not to accede to repeated financial enticements and other incentives used to persuade principals to introduce various changes in the way things have been run in the past. One of the recent goals of the government officials has been to persuade the schools to alter their status from "exempt" (pottur) to "recognized but unofficial" (mukkar she'eino rishmi).

"Recognized but unofficial" educational institutions include the Bais Yaakov schools, the Shas-sponsored Ma'ayan HaChinuch HaTorani, and Chinuch Atzmai schools. They get almost all of their funding from the government (the national Education Ministry and local authorities). Since they compete directly with the free government schools, they generally do not charge tuition, though they do raise funding from private donors. "Exempt" institutions include the talmud Torah chadorim for boys which get a lesser proportion (about half) of their budget from the government. They generally supplement their government income by charging tuition and fundraising. The traditional trade-off is that the exempt institutions received less funding in return for maintaining their pedagogical independence.

Maran's unambiguous statements regarding the obligation to preserve the traditional form of educational institutions were well received by principals and other institution heads. Rabbonim and public figures said the positive response, which began shortly before Chag Matan Torah, at time when Bnei Yisroel pledged "Boneinu areivim," heightened the obligation to uphold Jewish education in the age-old form handed down through the generations based on a recognition that "amoleinu eilu habonim," for our children are the guarantors of the ongoing existence of Am Yisroel and the preservation of the Torah in its unadulterated form since Har Sinai.

Speaking with heads of the Union of Exempt Institutions, HaRav Eliashiv said, "We have an obligation to preserve education in its pure form without introducing anything not transmitted to us from ancient times, and there is no dispensation to change the status of talmudei Torah from `exempt' to `recognized but unofficial.'"

In light of various efforts to foist change on the chareidi education system Maran found it necessary to reiterate the message he wrote in a letter in Sivan 5764 (1994) and a similar decision reached four months later by Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah.


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