March 23, 2007

by Reb Yudel
A different approach to telling the Schechter story

The New Jersey Jewish Standard weighs in on Schechter, in a straight-forward piece by Lois Goldrich.

The significant change is that this piece is from the perspective of the administration -- principal Rhonda Rosenheck and board president Mary Sanders. You may recall that neither made themselves available to the Jewish Week. It seems they learned Media Relations 101 the hard way.

What I would really like to know is how the Schechter students who reacted strongly (and rather impressively, on the whole) to my blog posts -- and to the Jewish Week article -- respond to this piece.


This is how an article should be written.

Posted by: a nj student at March 23, 2007 5:05 PM

I think your style of "blogging" is a mere misrepresentation of the facts. As you find blame in what you hear from your unamed New Jersey child, which I will not name and neather have you, you cast this shadow of evil in the New York students. You should the amount of sucess the New York school and its former students have had. Yes, their school is gone, because of unforseen problems, but they had an amazing school and I was glad to be in it.

Posted by: Proud to be New York Student at March 23, 2007 5:30 PM

Quite frankly, having looked at the article written in the Jewish Week over and over, and OVER again, I can honestly say that whatever "shadow of evil" that the New York students are cast in was instigated by a cheap shot by the New York parents against the New Jersey students, parents, and administration.

And, on the subject of the New York parents, let me just throw this in-it doesn't matter if it was one parent, two parents, three parents, or twenty parents; those who criticized the way Regional was, and the way the students and administration were, represented the New York school. If they didn't represent the New York school, I'm sure that in some way, someone's voice would've been heard that disagreed with what was said.

The problems that the New York school had weren't "unforeseen," by the way. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize the cost of owning an apartment, let alone an entire floor, in New York City. Not everyone can afford everything, and that includes Mary Sanders and her family.

Schechter Regional was, in all honesty, an amazing school too. We were something new. The students looked at Regional like our baby. We took care of it. We watched it grow. We put in effort to make sure that for the four years we were there, it would be the best of what we could make of it. To watch it get torn apart like it is is completely devastating. It's as if one were to take a painting, a masterpiece, and have someone else tear it up.

On that note, let me end with this one: I'm tired of hearing the bitching and moaning from repetitive, drone-like broken records that say that New Jersey sucks, that New Jersey kids are stupid, and that Regional was a horrible school. The stupid sounding, redundant bitching and moaning just can't continue.

We get it; this isn't SSHSNY. But you know what? Fuck all if this isn't Regional either. Get over it already, and make it work.

Posted by: Guy Fawkes at March 23, 2007 11:39 PM

And by the way, Mr. Reb Yudel, I actually think this article is alright. It's very neutral, if anything else it's positive. Nicely written, as well, and it doesn't involve anyone being attacked or criticized. Good work on the Standard's part.

Posted by: Guy Fawkes at March 23, 2007 11:47 PM

Re: The Standard article: The article is clearly a response to the Jewish Week article, which it should have referenced, because without understanding what went on in the pages of the JW you have no real way to know what the people quoted here are talking about. You need a decoder ring to figure out exactly what news they are reporting. In the spot where the lede would normally go, we are told that:

"it is also time for the school, challenged both by funding and limitations on space, "to hone in on the school’s vision." "

Educators' speak for something, I don't know what. Or maybe the news is this:

["The school]is re-examining criteria for admissions and "is very likely to contract""

Does that mean it is too big, or that they accepted children they should not have in the past? Standard doesn't say. "You can’t be all things to all people," said board president Mary Sanders -- which hints -- only hints -- that someone is disgruntled. If you didn't read the Jewish Week article before this, would you have a clue what was being spoken about here?

It's only about halfway down that we learn from Rosenheck that "it’s been a painful year" and said that "many people have experienced grief and loss." That's probably the lede, although the terms of this grief and loss are not spelled out.

Combining two other paragraphs you could also piece together a good opening for the article, which would identify the grief and loss on the part of the NJ families [loss of intimacy and physical space] and NY families [loss of old school, adjustment to suburban commute].

This is everything I hate about Jewish journalism: A "sensitive" story that only hints at the real issues, and leaves the reader to do all the work -- which, like any good Rorschach test or Pravda article, means the reader can read into it anything at all.

Posted by: TJR at March 27, 2007 4:29 PM
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