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Behalotcha: Education


Present and Future

Educate the youngster according to his way; then, even when he grows old, he shall not depart from it — Proverbs 22:6

Raise the flames; kindle them until the flames rise on their own — opening of this week’s Torah portion (Numbers 8:2)

Last week, at the First Annual Gershon Jacobson Lecture, former Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau made a powerful case for the critical role of education in guaranteeing a Jewish future.

Rabbi Lau offered the following fascinating statistic: Worldwide intermarriage is currently over 72%. In some places it has reached an astronomical 90%. Ten cities (outside of Israel) have a substantial lower rate of intermarriage: Manchester, Toronto, Baltimore, Melbourne, Sydney, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Antwerp, San Paulo and Monterey. One common denominator distinguishes these cities from all others: Over 75% of Jewish children receive a Jewish education. In New York by contrast, the largest Jewish city in the world, only 12.5% of the Jewish children attend a Jewish school. Only 6% of all Jewish children in the United States attend Jewish Day Schools.

The evidence is clear and conclusive: Education of the young is the key to preserving spiritual identity.

The audience was deeply moved by Rabbi Lau’s stirring talk. But the question on everyone’s mind was: How? How do we change the current state of education? What practical steps can we take? And who will lead the way?

The purpose of the annual Gershon Jacobson lecture, which we established in honor of my father, is to bring to the forefront vital issues of our time, in order to stimulate discussion and search for solutions to our contemporary challenges.

My father was known for his keen insight into international and domestic affairs and for his courageous, independent voice on behalf of moral, social and religious causes. The annual lecture – amongst other activities of the Gershon Jacobson Jewish Continuity Foundation we established in his memory – is committed to perpetuate his pioneering spirit in addressing critical issues of today and tomorrow, informed by the intimate experience of our rich past.

Newspapers at their best – as demonstrated in his time by Emile Zola’s J’accuse on the front page of the Paris daily, L’aurore – have the power to initiate movements and bring about change; serve as a voice of conscience, and bring to the forefront compelling, and often uncomfortable, issues; stand up for a cause and to serve as its courageous vanguard.

In this spirit, we will be creating a platform of discussion about various issues – social, religious and political – challenging us today with the objective of charting a course for a better future.

We begin this week with the stated topic of education, with an invitation to all who care about this issue (and even to those that don’t) to weigh in with their thoughts, comments, critiques, suggestions and plans. Obviously, it would be good to hear from educators, psychologists, community leaders and experts in the field of education. But in truth, much wisdom can be gleaned from laypeople, regular parents and common folk (if there is such a thing) – anyone who is not a so-called expert. Indeed, the “experts” may be part of the problem, and it is precisely the non-experts who can offer refreshing ideas and new perspectives which the existing establishments cannot see.

Half the cure of a problem is identifying it. Wise questions are half the solution.

Any unsuccessful institution – in our case, Jewish education which is failing our youth – is flawed in one or both of two ways: 1) The institution itself is not working. 2) The target audience it is trying to reach is not interested.

As a framework, let us break down the problem into several categories, which can actually be seen as a type of survey, questions that welcome your answers:

First the institutions:

1)     Is the problem with the institutions themselves? Are they not serving the needs of – or communicating their services effectively to – the wider population? Or are the existing institutions simply unequipped to serve the secular Jewish population?

2)     If so, what types of new institutions need to be created that will attract wider audiences?

Now to the target audience:

3)     Why do most parents not see Jewish education as a priority?

4)     How do we make it a major priority?

Which brings us finally to the education system itself: What exactly is wrong with our educational systems and methods that simply do not speak to the masses?

For one, many stereotypes, some fed by continuing attitudes, haunt Judaism. The prevailing opinion is that Judaism, and religion in general, is archaic, primitive – a throwback to the past. In one word: Irrelevant to contemporary life. Even those that feel a need for religion and faith do not find the need met in existing institutions.

The problem becomes infinitely compounded when you add into the equation the decelerating cycle of lack of education, and resulting ignorance and assimilation. In its ruins, we are left with a vicious cycle of symptoms feeding the root problem, and vice versa.

Here are some of the most common problems in – or attitudes to – the current educational system:

1)     Fear vs. love

Some argue that there is a lack of discipline in our educational institutions. Citing the verse, He who spares the rod hates his son, but one who loves him is careful to discipline him (Proverbs 13:24), they advocate the need to instill fear and respect in our children.

The problem with this approach, of course, is considering that most Jewish children don’t go to Jewish educational institutions in the first place, more discipline will not solve the problem of low enrollment. Even if more discipline may be needed in the existing institutions, this will hardly help get more children into these schools.

Others therefore argue that the exact opposite is true. Judaism – and religious education – is plagued with a fear-driven approach, instead of one infused with love and sensitivity. Fear may work for the short term, but it does not imbue students with an internal commitment and yes, love for the tradition.

2)     Dogma vs. relevance

Religion is preached rather than taught. The perception is that religion is all about rules and rituals – logical or not – that must be accepted or else. Many feel programmed and imposed upon, reinforced by family, community and peer pressure that keeps people in line. Dogma also leads to condescension.

Religion often appears divorced from personal relevance, warm spirituality, psychological introspection and overall character refinement. Religious people are not necessarily seen as more sensitive, loving and caring. Which explains why 90% of Americans consider themselves somewhat spiritual, but only 40% identify with religion.

When you consider the millennia-old history of “religious” dominance and crusades imposing their authority on the masses, the distrust of religious dogma is quite understandable.

3)     Divisiveness vs. unity

Many people feel that religion creates divisiveness. True religion is all about creating unity in this universe. How then is it possible that religion be experienced as a divisive force? This too is a result of the profound distortion of religion appearing divorced of spirituality.

4)     Knowledge vs. tools

Are our children being taught facts and information? Or are they being empowered with methodology and tools to find happiness and meaning?

5)     Conformity vs. individuality

Does religious education help cultivate independence and self-actualization, or does it silence (or annihilate?) our individuality and induce conformity? Does it teach you to “rise on your own” or to always be dependent on others?

6)     Passivity vs. passion

For life to be lived to its fullest you need passion. For you to access your innermost resources, you need to feel driven and excited about your possibilities. Do our religious schools teach us how to find our passion, our mission – our vision of life?

This is just a beginning. I would deeply appreciate your comments and suggestions as to other issues and questions that can be added to this list. Together let us begin a revolution, by identifying the questions, analyzing the dilemma, and then inevitably we will begin to recognize the changes that are necessary to be made.

Provocation isn’t always wise. But when it comes to issues that desperately need attention and repair, to provoke is to evoke, to evoke a response and a will to create change.

The Hebrew word for education is “chinuch,” which means both “beginning” and “training.” Essentially, true education sets the tone for one’s entire life. How that beginning looks and what type of training we receive defines our entire life. The past is the past – and results are “in the pudding.” Look at your own life and you can trace its genesis to your education.

But how that beginning will look for our children and what type of training they will receive is not dependent on the past; it is up to us to create change and improve the entire standard of education.

Today, nothing less than a revolution is necessary in our education systems. The first step to initiate any change is: Awareness and the courage to confront our challenges.

This is what we hope to achieve with this open forum and discussion about education.


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David Gadish, Ph.D.

Free Jewish Education is a topic that our community should seriously consider. To find out more about this topic, and the poeple involved, please visit

Lee Shinefield

One of the greatest challenges for me in educating myself and my children in a Jewish way is right at home. Its one thing to experience assimilation and Anti-Semitism outside, however we dont have to go any further than immediate family. My brother became observant about 20 years ago. Since then, my Fathers emotions have ranged from annoyance to virtual rage. Its taken great courage for him to both practice his own faith and to educate his kids in Judaism. Some of my Dads issues are quite legitimate, however theyre surrounded by his own issues of fear and anger. In… Read more »


Dear Rabbi Jacobson, I was very interested in your recent email in which you raise questions about the various problems in Jewish education today. This is of course a very complex problem, whose solution requires a multi-pronged approach. My suggestions are thus limited to my background as a religious Jewish scientist. I have recently published the lead article on the topic of Torah and Science in the INTERCOM, the publication of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists. The article can be found at,%201.pdf. I have also lectured to students at Chabad of Penn State on the topic of Torah… Read more »

Marc Lerner

I feel the real beginning, as in the word educate has to start before thought and beliefs. Then as education proceeds, it is added on to vibrant real experience. When I read the Rabbi’s messages, I feel he is talking to the essence of being Jewish within me. If I listened only with my mind and intellect, I may understand what he is saying, but the real message he is sharing may be missed. In our society we educate to a superficial level and only stimulate understanding and agreements. Judaism requires us to realize the “beginning” and that is found… Read more »

Zohara Bernell

Thanks for illucidating what is clearly one of the great crisis of our generation. I just wanted to add one thought about why the situation is so dire and that is the cost of Jewish education. It is not only that people dont want to send their kids to a Jewish school, though that may be the biggest part of the problem. Additionally, private schools are astronomically expensive and many simply cannot afford to despite their will to educate their children in a Jewish environment. I know several couples in my neighborhood who are ivy league-educated and gainfully employed and… Read more »


Some ideas and comments: 1. My ex-husbands Jewish Schools ethics teacher was indicted, andsentenced for, tax evasion.2. Ive heard that children of certain parents (those who are moreprominent, distinguished, religious, or wealthy) are treated differently (i.e. with more respect, kindness, etc.).3. Children who do not behave with respect toward others, including theirteachers, should not be allowed to continue to disrupt learning.4. Teachers pay is below that of public school teachers. They dont havesecure pensions. They are at the mercy of school boards who have no respect for them and who try to screw them out of adequate health benefits, raises,… Read more »


I read the article,very nice but, whatever is traditionally used to get around the actual disecting of anything that is important but very very painful and probably makes either the educator and or parent feel they missed the boat, thruth be if the educational system would trluy be interested perhaps their would be something to talk,interesting my friend just came back from her daughters graduation and she made 2 interesting comments, the graduates spent more time giving thanks and apperciation than to the actual accomplishments of the well deserved harding kids (graduates), second most of the speeches of the graduates… Read more »


I am a late comer to Judaism. Like many people I had only a vague knowledge of a culture and way of life that is so rich in love and wisdom. I am an artist by profession and it was only due to an invitation to create a piece of ceremonial judaica that I came to read Torah. I mean really read it. I had to read the entire bible as research for the art I was making. When I did so, I realized the vast knowledge, advice, and source of inspiration that I had neglected to take advantage of… Read more »

Danielle Wanetick

I think the main problem with sending our children to Jewish schools is money. Most people I know dont send their children to Jewish schools because it is too expensive (and they feel their children will not get as good of a secular education as in a secular school). The answer to this is I think to ask people what is more important, spending money on fancy vacations or to good schools? Is it more important to get a BMW/Mercedes, or send your child to a good school? These are the questions that need to be address and presented to… Read more »

David Shabat

Your weekly Emails are cherished and read over many times. Thanks for the great job you and your staff are doing. However, I think, it will be worth to mention another aspect of the problem we are all facing now. Mainly, the financial part of the tuition for the education. My wife and I have immigrated here from the former USSR almost 15 years ago. We were introduced to each other about 14 years ago and married 12 years ago. Now days we have 2 great kids ages 11 and 7 who go to a public school and on Sundays… Read more »


One thing that you did not address in your very comprehensive article is $$$$. We, as Americans pay quite a bit of our tax dollars to support the failing public Educational system in this country. Bored of Education (oops I meant Board of Education) We in California tried to pass a bill to allow for school vouchers so that those of us who choose to send out children to private schools (Jewish Education) can benefit from the tax money we give to the Public schools we dont send our children to. Believe me it hurts us financially to have to… Read more »

Shirley Strulovic

Congratulations for assessing the problem. A few ideas:1. In the ghetto, before 1939, the main choice was Jewish education.2. It has always been a reaction, trying to be part of the big part of the cake, which leads as to assimilation: to live in Rome and not in Israel. 3. Definitely, once you are properly educated into Judaism/Torah, you know and understand that the torah is it. And obviously families should address… but I find that at the point we are now at, one way to help bring the youth into it, which would bring automatically these youngs’ families (and… Read more »


Making aliya as a 13 yr with my parents over 30 yrs ago I developed in Israel into a commited Jew and puzzled Israeli.

Reading the comments and realizing the three outstanding issues of cost intermarriage and quality of education I feel more like a committed Israeli and puzzled Jew.

Let me preface by wishing you G-ds blessing of hatzlacha rabba in helping the light of yiddishkeit illumine the world. After reading your email Education, Present and Future, two initial thoughts come to mind.. When you ask: 3) Why do most parents not see Jewish education as a priority? 4) How do we make it a major priority? …my thought is: Clearly, this comes from a frame of mind that understands Jewish education is good and desirable, and that it should be a priority, and that the consequence of lack of a Jewish education (assimilation, intermarriage, etc.. Chas vshalom) is… Read more »


Your article is insightful and thought provoking however I think you have left out a very important factor and that is the cost of Jewish day schools. I live in Montreal Canada which I understand has one of the lowest cost of Jewish day schools at around $6,000 year. Other cities like Toronto, average $11,000 year. In my opinion this makes it an very important consideration for middle income earners. While assistance is available from the community, you need to be practically at the subsistance level of income to be eligible. While we have sent both our children to Jewish… Read more »

Hadassah Aber

I am very interested in the topic of education. I think most of our existing institutions of Jewish learning are doing a wonderful job of educating our youth and providing a strong Jewish identity, which is why in those cities where the majority of kids attend Jewish schools there is little intermarriage. The problem lies more with those non committed Jews who dont value the education and dont find it problematic that there is intermarriage. I have been a teacher for over 30 years. For the past 14 years I have worked at a Chabad school in Southern California. Our… Read more »


Thank you for the thoughtful message regarding the changes in the Jewish interfaith marriages and in the wish for a better education of our youth. It is my humble and perhaps unpopular view that the way we have interpreted the scriptures, a homogenousness that has perhaps caused a sense of egoism, our tendency for attachment to the material over the spiritual, without a deeper understanding of our own psychic we have also been somewhat blind to the configuration of the psychic of others. Personally, I was deeply affected as a youth in Jerwish youth group towards a sense of community… Read more »


My opinion is that it is a matter of money. If a parent feels that the Jewish education is too expensive or not as important as other items that cost money the kid will never get to the Jewish school door or will only be there for a few years before taken out. The overiding need is to make Jewish education free irrepective of the parents financial situation. And for that we have to be creative and not put up false barriers such as the seperation of church and state. Other countries with official state religions have no problem insuring… Read more »


Thank you for having the courage to bring up this topic. I am a BT born and bred a long way from America who has been struggling with a number of these issues. It is refreshing to read acknowledgement of problems in the system rather than an almost blinded dogmatic insistence that everything in Yiddishkeit is perfect and if only we could do thing the way they have always been done all problems would be solved. Today is different from past generations for a number of reasons that educators of children and adults need to take into account if they… Read more »

Michele Amber

I firmly believe in a Jewish education. I have given and am giving all my children a proper BH Jewish education. The system has treated them all the same and they are not all the same. Intellectual prowess is revered and action and work are looked down upon untill after Yeshiva and a person goes on Shlichus. Not every child can sit for 14 hours a day and learn gemora. What is wrong with a work/study program? Kosher working. Working for Shluchim. Doing accounting and outreach (public speaking)and secretarial work and arranging programs. What is wrong implementing this kind of… Read more »


Im glad to hear that education has been pinpointed as the essential issue. I see that a lot of the problem is with the institutions themselves. They are, with few exceptions, unable to serve those with any kind of special need (meaning below or above the average). Ive known many kids who started out in Jewish schools only to transfer to public or to drop out all together because they werent given the individual chinuch they needed. My own parents decided against Jewish schools for us after one bad experience with my older brother. Additionally, the level of tolerance for… Read more »

Richard Gayzur

This is a tough one – perhaps, the tough one. I can remember having more than one conversation on this very topic three years ago, as the total self-identified Jewish population of the US edged downward toward the five million mark. A we saud then, it would be nice to assume that some major event of religious significance will invariably come along to re-ignite the Jewishness of, at least, titular Jews in this country and others. But the twentieth century contains litanies of such events, and the twenty-first would be hard pressed to equal or surpass most of them. None… Read more »

Gerry D.

Years ago, I remember reading about education in the inner cities and how some 75% of what is taught in the school is lost in the home. Sounds as if they were describing the Rap culture of today as B. Cosby is always complaining about. So perhaps the sins of the father sets the teeth of the child on edge? Or to put it another way, the parents are a greater influence on the child than the school. Just a thought! – – If I may add to my previous comments: Women married to circumcised males have a lower incidence… Read more »


Some points about Jewish schools in Rio de Janeiro/Brasil: They are more expensive. There are few schools, if not near the transport it´s also expensive. Teachers often not committed to Jewish values (or only ignorant), more so the Jewish teachers. Mix of rich children and distorted values can hurt the not so rich children. Lack of kosher food and religious values (what if only the children could say the Shema every day, know about the Shabbat, tefilin , …). I think a great effort should be done to get all the young children (from the tender ages til 7 or… Read more »

Rabbi Craig Wyckoff

Rabbi – You start your article by saying that there is a 90% secularity rate in some places worldwide. The children of these parents have to be taught in a special way. I currently teach a youth group of kids from interfaith marriages. They range in age from 5 to 12. I have been successful in creating a concern and care for the Jewish religion by relating it to them on a personal basis. I talk to them like adults and as we learn about each person in Jewish history I ask the kids to put themselves in the situation… Read more »

Cheryl Holbrook

I wonder if the Jewish community has ever considered utilizing home education as a means of educating and instilling the Jewish way of life in our young people. It lends itself perfectly to the Jewish philosophy of education.

Fear vs Love Blessed is our G-d, who has given us a gift…the Torah. It is a Tree of Life, strengthening and comforting the Jewish People for more than 2500 years. As David teaches us with Proverb 1, it is a source from which we acquire wisdom, discipline, understanding and discernment, at the same time teaching us the essence essential for success, righteousness, justice and equity. The Torah has been created to endow the simple with the shrewdness and the young with knowledge and foresight. The words of Torah give wisdom to the wise and discernment to the discerning –… Read more »


With regard to the target audience that is already religious – the lack seems to be largely with the institutions and educators – unaware or unnaccepting of the fact that students will no longer just buy into what their teachers are preaching. They are the first to sense hypocrisy on any level. Also their emotional need for love, understanding and acceptance (which does not equal tolerance for unnacteptable behaviour)is not being met, which is ultimately the core of their spiritual breakdown. Although these children are not necessarily the ones that are susceptible to assimilation, their dwaning interest in Judaism is… Read more »


My opinion: there are so many mixed marriages…gentile and Jew… but there are very few rabbis who will marry them, and therefore they feel excluded from the group, and don’t want to raise their children with a Jewish background. It is not friendly and inviting on the whole. It doesn’t begin in the school, it begins when the young people marry and start their families. Also, Jewish men don’t really like to marry Jewish women… they prefer gentiles or Asians. Believe me, I know, I have a gorgeous 36 year old daughter living in NYC and I know what she… Read more »


What this discussion lacks is acknowledgement of the amazing success of most orthodox day schools and yeshivas in stemming the tide of assimilation.

Lets call a spade a spade, and admit that the failure of education is really the abysmal failure of the non-orthodox leadership to foster and support real chinuch.


Your column this week was particularly pertinent, dealing as it does with an issue close to my heart. The issue of intermarriage. While you and your scholarly colleagues are discussing and looking at this issue of intermarriage from the big picture (the statistics), I have long viewed the matter from the small picture (an individual Jewish female). When I was a young, single woman I set out to find (or be found by) a Jewish man who wanted to make a beautiful Jewish family. That seemed that ideal was not happen for me, however. Many years went by with lots… Read more »

Fred Stone

The over-all financial cost of being actively Jewish is enormous in terms of, among others, housing, food, memberships in congregations and Jewish centers, and school tuition. If the community as a whole could find a way to more fully subsidize tuition, perhaps day school enrollments could be increased.


Thank you for your insight. I think that one of the biggest issues is the cost of Jewish education. Once the price is subsidised by vouchers or the like, people will be influenced towards Jewish education. Most people who send their children to public schools recognize and are frightened by the social and dark environment their children are exposed to. – – I just got off the phone with the principal of a local Jewish day school. I found the answer to your question as to why there is a break down in education. I have a preschool which is… Read more »


Nothing mentioned about the high cost of this education. Its almost prohibitive when you have many children.


I think the biggest problem with Jewish education is cost. Additionally the masses dont want to send to a Jewish school because they see it as non-woldly non-diverse, limiting their child to be able to function properly in the world.

There should also be Jewish institutions set up which teach only secular studies, but only allowing Jewish students. This will accustom Jewish people to associate with other Jews.

Mort Horowitz

Three years ago I had gone to a book signing event in Philadelphia, 60 Days written by you, Rabbi. I was inspired to purchase the book because I had read your book, Toward a Meaningful Life. It has been been my compass in life. Although I am not a religious man, I seek meaning in my life wherever I can find it and Judaism seems to have the best program around! However, having never been bar mitzvahed and having rarely gone to synagogue, except for special occasions, its difficult for me to become involved; I guess that I just dont… Read more »

Michael Kass

The answer is kiruv, kiruv and more kiruv. Why would an assimilated or strongly secular-minded Jewish parent WANT to have their children learn Torah and be taught to lead a lifestyle different than theirs? If Torah is not relevant to the parents, what makes us think they will want to make it relevant to their children? The war on assimilation has to be fought on all fronts — reaching out to all ages of yiddin. We have to work to help Jews connect with their true selves and their natural desire to do mitzvos. Fortunately, the frum world is waking… Read more »

Robin Blumenthal

I would submit that the first step is to educate the parents, who themselves lack the awareness of our proud heritage and all that our religion has to offer, in all areas of life. Reach the parents, and you will light a fire that spreads to the children.

George Pugh

Lets be honest: most people have no education but are trained like dogs. Religious training gives us a tie to culture and literature which is available no other way.

I would be sad, but people do love their ignorance which is the tool they use to hide from G-ds Glory.


While I agree with alot in the article there are other parts to this very complex issue. I work in a Jewish Day School in Sydney, a place that is seen in the artcle as having a good success rate. From what I see we also need to find the balance in: 1. Cost – high cost for high service provided but this makes JS schools out of reach. 2. Real JS education – not just zionism & ivrit but real, relevant JS education. 3. Quality of JS teachers – while private schools can get the best quality secular staff… Read more »


Another issue is that many Jews who are looking for a meaningful spiritual experience have turned to Eastern religions, Buddhism in particular. As someone who is more of a baby boomer than of the younger generation, I personally found myself seeking out Zen when I was looking for a spiritual practice, mainly because Judaism didnt seem to offer answers to any of the bigger questions; it seemed dry and barren. The only thing that has brought me back into Judaism at all has been Chassidus, particularly Breslov. However, I still find that there are some problematic areas within Judaism. One… Read more »

Jeffrey S. Schuller, Esq.

Dear Rabbi, As a father of five, with three, and next year four, children in Jewish day school in southern California, I know I am not alone in saying that you missed a huge point: Money and cost of tuition. I would guarantee a 20-30% boost in Jewish school enrollment if it were free. Like most parents sending their kids to private school, my wife and I sacrifice a lot to do so. For those on the bubble of doing it, the money issue pushes those in the wrong direction. It is only through our faith in Hashem that we… Read more »

Sheena Goldblatt

You might get some very insightful information if you knew how many adult graduates of Day schools sent their own children to the same type of schools. Also how many non-orthodox Jews with Jewish educations have chosen to intermarry? You may find that the more educated someone is in the day schools and Sunday schools, the more likely they are to turn their back on Judaism.

Jeff Goodman

In response to your thoughts on education: Dogma vs relevance – Heschel made the same points if im not mistaken. The main reason im writing is this: Although it is true that the Diaspora is a constant feature of Jewish life, even in ancient times, and its true that there are severe problems of Jewish identity within Israel itself – I came back from my short visit to the states totally bewildered as to how any committed Jew could continue living outside Israel and thus deny the viability and turn his back on the challenge which Israel presents us –… Read more »


It would be too far fetched to work towards convincing unafiliated Jews to send their children to Jewish Schools. But there is a vast segment of Jews who send their children to Jewish preschools that are only preschools. After that the children are enrolled in public schools or private secular schools. Once a child is starting kindergarden somewhere chances are he will continue there. There is much work to be done at the level of the preschool when long ranging decisions are made. It is necessary to educate the preschool principals and the parents. I have seen at our local… Read more »


Heres one way to dramatically increase enrollment at Jewish Day Schools:

Dramatically improve the quality of the education they provide.

Jewish parents do not want to give their children a second-rate education in the disciplines of math, literature, science, history, writing, etc.

At least in our city, the Jewish day schools do not compare favorably with the secular day schools in the secular academic disciplines.

Irving Newman

The problem in our peoples religious orientation, as I see it, is not unlike the problem we are experiencing politically. The active members are bunched around the poles of the the religious spectrum. The orthodox allow no flexibility and the leniant avoid the appearance of inflexibility at any cost. As in most problems confronting human groups, the middle path is usually the road out of a dilema. We need a unifying force; a Jew is a Jew and our institutions should reflect this.