Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Shevat 5762 - January 30, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Gedolei Yisroel Express Firm Opposition to Proposed Changes in Bais Yaakov Seminaries
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

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 bnos Yisroel.

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' Seminaries.

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 them.

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 generations.

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.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.