Speaking To Your Kids About Personal Safety

July 25, 2011

We are all devastated by the horrible murder of Leiby Kletzky. Slowly but surely, the suspicion is growing that Leiby knew his attacker. Indeed, most children who are abused or abducted suffer at the hand of people they knew, not complete strangers. Abusers may come from the circle of family and friends, or they may be strangers who have slowly groomed the kids, and even their families, to trust them.

Hence, to protect our children, it is not enough to teach them not to talk to strangers, tough that remains important, as ever. It is instead important to empower our children to seek protection even from people who may be close to them, and it is the parents’ responsibility to empower their kids, by talking to them about these matters.

However, parents who try to raise their kids in a wholesome, innocent environment stand before a dilemma, as they try to warn their kids without prematurely explaining the nature of sexuality and sexual abuse to them. In the following 30 minute video, the noted educater, R’ Yakov Horowitz shows how to go about developing this aspect of the parent-child relationship and how to protect both the integrity of the child’s body and soul. [Hat tip CF]
Read the rest of this entry »

An Anglo Jewish High School in Israel

June 24, 2010

Growing up in Antwerp, where, at the time, it was an uphill fight to have a Orthodox high school, my friends and I had to continue our education either in a yeshiva without secular studies, or go abroad. Those classmates who wanted to finish their university matriculation ended up studying in Israel, the United States or England.

Living in Switzerland, I see the same phenomenon, there is areal lack of Jewish high schools out there.

Without outright endorsing it (frankly, I know very little about this place, beyond what they provide on their web site), I salute the existence of a new American Yeshiva High School in Israel, with a program for boys and a program for girls (in two different locations). The best part is that besides following the Bagrut standards of the Israeli education ministry, the school, being fully subsidized by the Israeli government, is free. That’s right, it’s free, and they even give the students some pocket money.

The program isn’t for everyone, but it’s surely worth checking out. Plus, it reminds us of another good reason to live in Israel: Jewish education is subsidized by the government, as should be in the Jewish state.

For decades American parents have been aware of the wonderful transformative power post High School programs in Israel have on their children. Now, through the YBA-Naale Yeshiva High School program in Israel, your children need not wait so long in order to take advantage of this special confluence of the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel in the Land of Israel.

While it’s true that the program fees amount to only a fraction of a typical American Yeshiva High School (thanks to Israeli government funding through Naale), that in itself should not be the main motivating factor in choosing this program for your son or daughter. Our program offers a first-rate Jewish and general education with the added spiritual and experiential dimension that only a program in Israel can provide.

If you know more about this program, please post a comment.

Educating Children About the Evil of Nazism

September 11, 2009

EnglishSurvivors of the Churban of Europe, have fought successfully to make Holocaust education an integral part elementary and high school curricula. Major human right activists indeed keep on referring to the Holocaust to argue for the need to prevent another genocide and thus (rightly or wrongly) to take particular sides in certain contemporary conflicts.

Education professor Brenda M. Trofanenko questions the wisdom of teaching about the Holocaust in elementary school (which, since she is an American, includes in her parlance grades 1-8): “I’ve heard of children as young as grade three are being taught about the Holocaust,” she said. “That’s far too young, to my mind.”

Why does she think so, and is her attitude, in fact, well founded?

I believe that her attitude bases itself on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of Holocaust education, and that she is, in fact, wrong. Read the rest of this entry »