On Ynet, Yael Mishali writes about first meeting the parents at her son’s seventh-grade class at the yeshiva high school Nechalim. One mother asked that the yeshiva officially oppose mixed dancing at bar mitzvah celebrations, so that the boys can avoid temptation. The mother asserted that mixed dancing is not in the “spirit of the yeshiva.”
Tolerance in the Religious Zionist Community
September 11, 2008 By
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Mishali dislikes the mother’s superior tone, and goes on to describe ways that parents send the message that families less stringent in Jewish law are inferior and should not be associated with. This could be because the mother doesn’t cover her hair, the kids watch Power Rangers, or even that the family waits “only” three hours between meat and dairy. She has watched as parents set up “torani” ganim (kindergartens) and schools, requiring strict levels of kashrut certification and more religious studies (she mentions requiring learning parshat shavua (weekly Torah portion) with Rashi’s commentary — in gan).
Mishali writes that she chose this yeshiva because it did not require a stringent dress code for parents. So she suggests that the mother in question teach her child to avoid temptation instead of expecting others to accommodate him, because he’ll be meeting these challenges in the real world. Temptations of all types abound even in the most stringent yeshiva environment.
It’s distressing to see our community focus on subtle differences and use them to exclude others. In one elementary school interview, a neighbor’s suitability was questioned because the husband studied in Yeshivat Har Etzion (considered the left of the political/religious spectrum). Do we need different (elementary!) schools for children of parents who want their children to attend Har Etzion, and those who aspire toward Merkaz Harav?