May 4, 2006

by Reb Yudel
Something Creepy This Way Opines

Courtesy of the Jewish Week, Steven Bayme masticates my kids' school:

“School is critical for the future of the Conservative movement,” Bayme said. “Kids need their high school years to explore intellectually. This is critical to forming a Conservative constituency.”

I suppose Bayme's meaningless (and for him, quite harmless) bloviating wouldn't seem quite so creepy if the article about the Schechter High School merger actually examined some of the issues, such as whether any kids will transfer out to New Jersey, whether other Manhattan schools are willing to take in transfer students, and why is Heschel High apparently thriving while Schechter New York is not?

Credit at least goes to Marvin Shick, who was able to state the obvious for the Week:

“In a way, they’re going out of business,” said Marvin Schick, senior advisor to the Avi Chai Foundation, of the Manhattan-based school, adding that he anticipated that some families would not be willing to make the move to Teaneck, especially those already traveling from the outer boroughs.

“The Schechter movement is somewhat in trouble, schools are closing or becoming trans-denominational. But the question is, down the road, will kids from New York go to New Jersey?”

Now all we need is for someone to tell us why this is happening.


Is it possible that Shechters are just not that good? Maybe it's time to examine whether JTS is graduating Rabbi's and teachers with enough substance to keep kids really engaged.
Compare Shechter NY's faculty to Heschel's.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch at May 5, 2006 12:07 AM

It would be an interesting comparison -- which I can't make, not knowing either faculties. Can you?

Certainly, the Teaneck high school has at least one outstanding JTS-trained teacher -- Mollie Karp (sp?), who combines demanding homework with exciting in-class discussions. By making the students spend an hour each night answering a page full of minute questions on the next day's perek or prakim, the kids enter the class prepared for discussion, rather than tutoring. But it's not clear that other parents appreciate the kids' serious bkiut in Vayikra.

Posted by: Reb Yudel at May 5, 2006 12:15 AM
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