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Letter: Girls Lack Chumash Foundation

Concerned that second graders in Beis Rivka are not being educated on the proper foundations of Chumash study, one parent and occupational therapist, Chani Klein, raised this concern with school administrators to no avail.

The following is an open letter she wrote to all Beis Rivkah parents:

To all Bais Rivkah parents, particularly those in second grade,

Bais Rivkah is, overall, a school who does its utmost to provide for our children’s spiritual and academic growth. It goes without saying, that I am proud that my children are students of Bais Rivkah. However, in any institution striving for excellence and success in Chinuch, there is always room for improvement.

There is something that recently came to my attention that is very concerning. The second grade students are starting to learn Chumash without first studying the basic Chumash skills: Shorashim prefixes, and suffixes. This is similar to teaching a child to read without having taught them the basic underlying skills of letter recognition and phonemic awareness. It is like trying to teach a new language by having the child read a book and memorize the meaning of the words, without learning about root words, verb tense and so on.

In essence, the children are memorizing the Chumash words and their translation. This method relies solely on one skill: visual memory. In addition, this current method is not effective at helping a child recognize the same root word in another form; in a different tense or with different prefixes or suffixes.

I spoke with Rabbi Neuman, and he insisted that the children will learn these concepts towards the end of the year, and he has seen success with this method. I explained that in the interim, until they learn the underlying skills, the children are not being given the basic foundation to build on. What could be a clear system of rules that children can master to work out each key word presented to them, becomes an overwhelming challenge of memorizing hundreds of words, that to them seem to be unrelated. Therefore, it will and has already affected their self-confidence in their ability to learn.

I also informed him that as an occupational therapist, I am in the academic arena, and I have the knowledge and expertise in breaking down any task to its basic underlying components that are necessary for learning. Unfortunately, my phone call to him and another principal made no impact.

I reached out to other educators who confirmed that these foundational skills are taught to their students before even opening the Chumash. In this manner, with effective teaching, the students are well prepared to delve into a Pasuk. They are provided with the skills that enable independence and mastery.

Bais Rivkah has only to turn to other principals to gain from their experience and education to improve upon their curriculum. In addition, the Zekelman Standards for teaching Chumash and other Judaic studies are readily available through the Menachem Education Foundation. The MEF draws from the best and most current educational models and resources available.

I don’t usually air my grievances in such a public manner; however, this impacts all of our children’s learning; current and future second graders. It affects their self-efficacy and the development of their self-esteem. I implore all parents to call Rabbi Neuman and Mrs. Feldman in the hope, that with our collective voice, we can effect change.

Chani Klein

79 Comments

  • 1. Thank you! wrote:

    I hope you see this post first before all the other backlash you for going about this in such a public manner. It is because of truly caring people like you that our children might get a chance at an education. I had to pull my child who is not learning disabled fr the lubavitch system because of the above.i am not the only parent who has resorted to this bit BH I can say that my child now has the skills and foundation of learning Chumas. Kudos to you for doing something!

  • 2. so happy to hear wrote:

    Totally agree with you This has been going on for way too long. Thanks for your letter. I hope it helps.

  • 3. A bit much... wrote:

    If this letter would have left out the grade level that we’re speaking about, you might have guessed that we’re considering the education of high school students. Let’s be realistic. We’re speaking about second graders here. Second grade! How much grammar do we realistically expect a second grader to absorb and then apply to their Chumash learning?

    I find it a bit much, especially since the principal said, “The children will learn these concepts towards the end of the year.” That’s a direct quote from Klein’s letter here. If we boil down her demand, it’s that she should get exactly what she wants from the school, when she wants it, otherwise she’s going to try to arouse a disgruntled group of parents to join her struggle. Pardon my strong language here. I don’t mean it to be offensive, but I honestly feel like the adult is throwing a tantrum while the second graders are trying to learn.

    The argument that she’s somehow in a position to dictate how the school should educate its students because she’s an occupational therapist is laughable and ludicrous. Should every parent who is “in the academic arena” feel a similar sense of entitlement to rule the hanhala? How many cooks are supposed to add salt to this soup until it ends up inedible!? (And the school has to deal with this negativity going into 19 Kislev!? Unbelievable…)

    • 4. Big red wrote:

      How could you confuse learning the basics i.e. שורשים etc with a high school grade. If Children aren’t taught the basics properly they will always be playing catch up

    • 5. Mommy to Boys in Oholei Torah wrote:

      My Boys are in Oholei Torah. They are learning chumash beautifully in Yiddish. They didnt learn Yiddish at home, but are learning it in conjunction with the learning Chumash. The shoroshim method first has enabled my kids to attempt to speak in Loshon Kodesh as well! When a child learns chumash with a proper foundation, he has a chance of excelling in incredible ways. Unfortunately the school is set in their antiquated ways and that makes our children lose out. Kudos Chani Klein for making your voice heard. Perhaps Bais Rivkah Faculty can remember who will benefit when they take their egos out of the equation.

    • 7. You need a foundation to build an edifice. wrote:

      You wouldn’t build a house and then dig the foundation under it. Yes, maybe the girls will learn the basics at the end of the year. If they haven’t lost confidence by then.
      But even so, all that they are struggling with now will crumble because they have no clue what they are learning.
      Let’s stop doing things backwards.

  • 8. Chinuch vs. Education wrote:

    I, and my children, all learned things “the old way”, and we turned out okay. Unless there is a specific child who has special needs, why tamper with the system?

    • 9. Insider wrote:

      While your’s may have turned out okay, there are lots of children who aren’t as lucky. The lack of basic chumash amongst our kids is staggering. Of course the schools hush to deny this epidemic poor grades – just claim these kids are “special.”

      But this is not what’s really going on.

      I’ve spoken with quite a few Occupational Therapists and a school psychologist here in CH who are finding that as school administrations are pressing evaluators to diagnose children in order to make them eligible for government funding to the school, evaluation of IQ, psycho-motor, and other thorogh tests reveal otherwise. When IQ evaluations turn up results well within the bell curve, we find it strange how examination of acquired knowledge are consistently unsatisfactory.

      So if these children are okay, are not found to have any signs of Down’s Syndrome etc., than howcome are the knowledge test results inadequate? Are teachers doing what they are supposed to? Does the school have a competent curriculum in place? These are the real questions therapists finding. And we finally have one OT who’s brave enough to speak out.

  • 10. Mushky wrote:

    Agreed! And there’s more…Can you post a number so we can talk?
    PS There is no phonemic awareness as they don’t learn the sounds of the aleph bais.

  • 13. Contact info please wrote:

    Can you please post your contact info for people like myself that would like to discuss this with you. Thanks.

  • 14. chanie wrote:

    Agree! Bais Rivka girls come out of high school not knowing how to learn a chumash and rashi on their own. They don’t know yiddish or hebrew because they were never taught to begin with. Most high school girls have no idea what they are davening every day. How sad. It’s time to change the system. This has to begin in kindergarten and follow all the way through.

  • 15. all schools and yiddish wrote:

    all schools need to either take yiddish teitch out
    or
    teach the kids yiddish as a language-
    kids are not learning properly and are being made to feel that they are not on par,
    imply because they dont speak yiddish and therfore dont understand the chumash-
    understanding the chumash is more important than teitching it in yidish
    the same goes for the divrei torah they bring home erev shabbos and dont understand what they are reading

  • 17. you are an OT, not an educator wrote:

    You need to spell correctly. It is Rabbi NEWMAN – a fine educator and caring principal. My granddaughters have learned Chumash very well in Beis Rivkah, as did their mothers. You may be right in your assessment of an educational misstep, but this is not the way to achieve the desired result, especially as you do not have the academic credentials. You should apologize for attacking the school and principals.

    • 18. Rude wrote:

      The OP is not attacking the principals and educators, she is merely stating her concern as a PARENT, which she has every right to.
      Get your facts straight while you are at it–OT’s are PART of the educational system within a school, so yes, she does have the academic credentials.

    • 19. Oh please! wrote:

      Ever heard of a typo?
      The writer said she tried discussing the issue with the hanhala with no success. I too have tried. My children have tried. It doesn’t help.
      Maybe this will help.
      And yes, an OT is not a principal, but she’s not a car mechanic either. You have to learn about educating a child as part of the OT curriculum.

  • 20. Nice wrote:

    Chani , I give you a lot of credit for writing an op ed that is not anonymous… comment 1, of course there’ll be a baclash…. everyone’s entitled to their opinion…

    But I do agree with another commentator… every other person today has a degree, it does not make you a rocket scientist who can come and redo our system …

    And to another person who wrote that we all learned that way and we’re fine ? Maybe you are… many struggled and we’re neglected … so to say we all survived is not an answer either.

  • 21. I completely agree wrote:

    In addition, the Yiddish translating interferes with the girls picking up any of that on their own. When they first do the Hebrew passuk, then the yiddish (which to 95% of the students are just foreign words) and THEN the english, they are not able to even make connections between the passuk words and the English translations. It becomes a jumble of frustrated memorizing. the amount of smart kids I have seen reduced to tears over this is too many. I can’t even imagine how rough it is on the weaker students.

    • 22. CH Homeowner wrote:

      I agree with you. At a PTA years ago, when my 25+ yo daughters were in BR elementary, I told a teacher that the content of the pasuk gets lost in the time it takes for the student to go from the Hebrew to the Yiddish and finally, to the English. She basically shrugged and said, This is the teaching method the Rebbe wanted.
      I want my children to learn. If Yiddish is interfering with their learning, then it’s a mistake to use it just because that was the way it was done in der Heim.

  • 23. Citizen Berel wrote:

    Wow. We are generation precious. So basically the method doesn’t change to conform to the pedagogical view informed by the occupational therapist’s “ knowledge and expertise in breaking down any task to its basic underlying components that are necessary for learning,” and said therapist goes all Patrick Henry on Beis Rivka – obscene.

    I almost want to leave it at that and refrain from addressing the actual issue, because right or wrong, when it comes to good faith approaches there is very little direct from Sinai, and even MEF sanctioned methodologies do not represent the end all be all of successful pedagogy – we know more about education than ever now (or so is commonly believed) but education has never been worse.

    Generation precious needs to be a bit more humble. You don’t read a few text books and become correct ipso facto.

    To the point:

    Claim: “The second grade students are starting to learn Chumash without first studying the basic Chumash skills: Shorashim prefixes, and suffixes. This is similar to teaching a child to read without having taught them the basic underlying skills of letter recognition and phonemic awareness.”

    That’s not correct at all. Do you know what actually *would* be similar to teaching chumash without first teaching them how to read? …um, that would be teaching them chumash without first teaching them how to read.

    But that isn’t what’s happening here.

    A correctional therapist breaks “down any task to its basic underlying components that are necessary for learning,” and brings the patient step by step by step to a given goal. So it’s just easy shmeezy, right?
    Fantasy: That isn’t how the human being learns: You don’t go from one syllable to two to three then to four, it’s far more fluid than that. Language assimilation isn’t linear at all, we actually don’t at all understand how language acquisition really works, it’s a fundamental question of linguistics theory, a question that defies resolution.

    Even processes that can indeed be described linearly, say, like learning to walk, aren’t actually learned linearly by human beings. Take for instance this past week’s Jem story, where that child went from standstill to walking across the room without even a crawl in between.

    Occupational therapists (at best) remedy pathological learning situations. They should not reduce ‘learning’ itself to their very focused and narrow methods.

    All this calls for humility. It’s one thing to have an opinion but quite another to go nuclear on the school when they have a different one.

    Finally, the suggested method, namely, “first studying the basic Chumash skills: Shorashim prefixes, and suffixes” is wrong headed in my opinion. Introducing grammar in the abstract to second graders is a bad idea, even many adults have difficulty with that body of knowledge. But, on the other hand, after a few months of chanting pesukim with teich, you tell a second grader that a mem prefix means from, they have a context within which to relate to that and presented properly and reinforced, it’s easy.

    You can teach more material in less time in the proper time, then you can in more time prematurely.

    Ask the baalei teshuva who learned in the specialized yeshivas how they picked it up. I’ve seen a few of those in my time.

    Let me tell you: very few study Hebrew grammar at the outset, it’s just too overwhelming, only after a few months (or more) of memorizing teich and assimilating some of the stuff naturally, does reading the grammar books become profitable.

    All this calls for humility. Humility good. Nuclear bad.

    • 24. Milhouse wrote:

      Thank you Berel. I don’t remember when I first heard of a shoresh, but it was long after second grade, and long after I had already figured out many of the words in davening.

  • 25. totally disagree wrote:

    I don’t know what your agenda is (maybe its personal….) but let me just say this. I know Rabbi Neuman personly, I’ve brought to his attention over the last few years quite a few points regarding the BR educational system. Everytime and everything he said something to me (even though it took time to realize) it turned out to be truer than true.

    I don’t know who the writer is but I’m sure she doesn’t have more experience than Rabbi Neuman.

    1 piece of advice for the novice, leave it to the pros and let them handle it.

    • 26. Oh please! wrote:

      Check out all the O.T.D. former BR girls before you say leave it to the pros. Hundreds – yes RL HUNDREDS of our girls don’t embrace yiddishkeit anymore, and I don’t believe it’s because pic a wonderful, effective educational system We need change. Or rather a return to “komatz alef oh”, and shoes with laces.

  • 27. .................. wrote:

    הצלחה רבה
    You have the old-fashioned teachers who just make you memorize and memorize. You might remember some stuff, but it’s basically worthless. In other words, sorry to say it so bluntly, but these teachers are…………..
    Then you have the real educators that teach you how to learn on your own, that teach you learning skills for the rest of your life. These kind of teachers are precious and rare diamonds.
    Lucky are those students that have such a teacher!
    The problems unfortunately are not only in Bais Rivkah. They are in Oholei Torah, and in Lubavitcher Yeshiva as well.
    Hashem should give you energy and strength to reach your goals.
    The one that wrote, we turned out ok.
    The smart kids learn despite the teacher.
    We are talking about the ordinary, and average child who could shine and produce so much more, if given the proper tools and education.

  • 28. daughter's school?! wrote:

    You may be right about the skills but Chinuch is also about Mentchlichkiet. What example are you setting for your daughter by shaming her school and Dean in public? perhaps these are also “skills and standards ” to be taught??

  • 30. No one teaches correctly????? wrote:

    I am wondering what evidence the writer can provide to back up her bashful claims?!
    Our daughters all graduated BR. Some were easier learners and some nit so easy. They ALL acquired the necessary skills!!! I know of teachers in BR that teach the proper skills as guided by the hanholo.
    It became a popular lune to throw at our schools – no skills! No one really came up with a detailed per grade lust of skills. Including the zekelman standards! While, very professionally written out, it is still very much incomplete and very abstract to be applied.
    You know why?
    Maybe the reason is that when learning Toras ‘H we should build upon the ways it was always taught, and not wipe it all off with the assumption that it’s all wrong and reinvent a new movement and method r”l! ננס על גבי ענק is applicable in our chinych as well.
    Yes, the knowledge and understanding today is unprecedented, but it should be used to build and develop our massores hachinuch and nit ch”v to destroy it.
    A lit can be improved in our misdos chunuch but the way to conduct a dialog is not by public bashing.

  • 31. agree with u no. 10 wrote:

    i work in a classroom for the last 20 years with teachers who are BR graduates…THey cannot spell simple hebrew works properly , They do not speak Hebrew or Yiddish. They do not know simple halochos and minhagim And I”m not talking about one teacher…Many… So something is wrong….Here is someone who wants to fix it Kol Hokovod…AND yes they cannot open a chumash and read a rashi and understand it…….I pray something good comes out of this…This is not about bad , mouthing the school. It’s about how to make it better. Who could be against that??

  • 32. A first grade Teacher wrote:

    # 16 is spot on.
    I have been teaching Chumash for a number of years, teaching the independent skills of Chumash is important but NOT the same as teaching Chumash itself. Learning Chumash is everything but linear learning!
    We are learning life lessons. We are not (just) teaching a language!
    I have had the privilege of talking much with Rabbi Newman on this topic and he knows very well what he is doing. He not just a principal, he himself taught Chumash for many years in a classroom.
    MEF does NOT have a curriculum, they have standards. Note the difference.
    You make it sound as though other schools have it all worked out. Perhaps you need to teach Chumash in a classroom before you air your confused thoughts.

  • 33. Ungrateful mother wrote:

    I couldn’t finish the article. Im amazed that you think this is okay? I have girls in bais rivka now and I have had them there for years and the education there is outstanding in all areas. And they are constantly looking to improve and creating curriculum to suit the needs of the changing generations. How dare you speak badly about bais rivka or put down our dear rabbi newman who cares for every single child in the school smiling at them and greeting them. He is our connection to what the rebbe wants bais rivka to be.

    Aside from everything learning by heart is a great achievement and holds them in good stead for the future and has always been the jewish way. ANd just because they learn by heart does not mean they don’t get age appropriate amounts of skills.

    Parents who think they can do a better job should homeschool for a year or two. Or think about supplementing the curriculum.

    Good yom tov.

  • 34. oy wrote:

    Try talking to anyone in authority in Bais Rivkah its like talking to a brick wall at least your not writing about bullying walk in my shoes nothing gets done with bullying no matter how much i call them

  • 35. Get real wrote:

    Generations of kitah bais maidlach, myself included, learned Chumash this way. We can all learn Chitas, and we do, daily. Personally I became a second grade limudei Kodesh teacher, and we learned shoroshim as we went along. When we met a new word we incorporated the shoresh. And of course we taitched in Yiddish, explained in English.
    Many of these girls went on to teach themselves.

    These little girls are probably marrying off their first children by now. I haven’t heard that the method we taught Chumash by hindered their yiras shomayim or learning abilities.
    My granddaughter is in Bais Rivka’s kita gimmel, never heard a complaint about her Chumash skills (and while the family speaks Yiddish at home, the parents are fluent in Hebrew from childhood.)

  • 36. ridiculous wrote:

    Why is everyone going off the tangent, and mixing in mentchlichkeit,getting personal,and all kinds of idiotic things,that have nothing to do with the topic that is being discussed.
    Obviously these parents are so out to lunch, ignorant,and clueless beyond, as to what is happening in their children’s classrooms, that the only thing they know how to do,is lash out at someone that pinpointed one of the biggest problems so painfully well!

    • 37. Tell me about it wrote:

      I was thinking the same things,, Moms that are disagreeing with the courageous Chani Klein time to take your heads out of the sand, and face reality,, when the kids dont learn how to learn properly because the teachers insist on a broken system, “because thats the way it was done years ago” (Should we mention that teachers got away with all sorts of abuse years ago as well) we end up with kids with horrendous self esteem (I would think I am stupid too if I couldnt make out a posuk in 9th grade when learning chumash for so long,, but lacking the basics) and that only spirals downward from there.

  • 39. mother wrote:

    you can’t expect that whatever you say right away should be listened to and adhered to and changed.

  • 40. mother wrote:

    my daughter joined beis rivkah in 7th grade coming from a very secular school and has been caught up excellent! beis rivkah staff and adminstration are the best! my daughter had very little knowledge of chumash and now knows tons of shorashim and can translate a pasuk and rashi beautifully! and has never had prior proper instruction! kudos to morah mathless of 7th grade beis rivkah!

  • 41. Chani wrote:

    All of you should be ashamed of yourselves for speaking so disrespectfully.
    I’m an 11 year old girl that lives out of town and i wish i could go to beis rivka to learn Chumash and other Jewish stuff with a lot of people who are frum, instead of secular students and teachers, their are only a few Lubavitchers.
    Who cares how you learn as long as you are learning, they are just starting Chumash, give it a chance!
    Next time think before you speak and be happy with what you have!

    • 42. eleven year olds dont belong in an adult conversation wrote:

      Your mom has work to do. 11 year old LITTLE GIRLS have no place in such a conversation.. sweetie you should be ashamed of yourself butting in where you dont belong with such a chutzpadike mouth. Thankfully you are not my kid…

  • 43. Chana wrote:

    When children feel we criticize the Hanhalah.its chas veshalom beginning of
    trouble for their chinuch!
    Mn

  • 44. masters in special ed wrote:

    I am amazed at the comments posted here! Wow! So, I guess only if you are in education can you have an opinion? You are assuming that the general population has no common sense? Those writing the nasty comments apparently have none!
    I have gone to Rabbi Newman and Mrs. Altein and was dismissed, but I persevered until finally I was told,”Well, what can we do? The school has no money to hire good teachers who will stay!”
    My daughter in eighth grade has NO CHUMASH SKILLS! Her teacher is appalled at their actual grade level (3rd) and is struggling mightily now to bring them up to par with what is considered an eighth grade level. Rabbi Newman is very behind the times of what is considered “chinuch”. Lots of girls in EIGHTH GRADE CAN’T READ PROPERLY! Hmmmm…. I wonder why…..

    • 45. Watch your words wrote:

      Before you bash Rabbi Newman, maybe thank him for the tremendous amount of work he puts in everyday without any recognition!

    • 46. Me to #44 wrote:

      Not sure I’ve been a worker in bais rivkah for 10 years I find that the reason rabbi Newman was brought back after his years of absence was to help with getting rid of some older teachers and principles.
      Yes he did receive specific instructions on how to teach, from rabbonim. However, we can also incorporate some
      Newer ways of teaching, not everything is trief!!!

  • 48. shocked wrote:

    my daughters don’t go to br
    but for parents to shamelessly bash their kids school like this….make ur own private meeting or whatsapp with ur fellow second grade parents…this way to go is absurd….and embarassing

  • 49. 2nd grade in Ohelie torah! wrote:

    Rabbi Vaisfish who teacher in Ohelei Torah is amazing for chumash! He first teaches shoroshim, prefixes, suffixes… you would be amazed how the kids can learn on their own, yes is his goal in 2nd grade already! while he does most of his speaking and teaching in Yiddish the kids do the chumash in both Yissish and English but the focus is that they understand not spit back yisddish words!!!!! maybe he can give them some workshops on how to remedy this issue.

  • 50. Teacher wrote:

    It’s unbelievable what happened here , from a parent discussing a way something is taught to bashing the teachers ??!!!! U all should be ashamed of yourselves , this job is so important and so under appreciated , then u want to know why the children are going off the derech . If the job of the teacher is not number one then there is not future !!! Maybe before bashing the teachers think what can I do to help that they get paid on time and appreciated !!!!!!! Thank god every day that they didn’t leave the school yet and leave your child with no one !!!! Yes there is a system in place of how things r taught and for all those complained Chumash is not taught in Yiddish anymore get your facts straight before criticizing

  • 51. Teacher wrote:

    As a teacher in a Lubavitch Day School for over 25 years I have had much more success teaching Chumash wit the Lhavin U lhaskil Chumash curriculum. The skills taught with the program are systematic with a plethora of excercizes to help the students reinforce the Chumash skills covered based on the Possukim being learned at that point of the lesson. Some Kanoim might dismiss it that it’s not Chabad but I haven’t seen a better all encompassing program.

  • 53. ch mother wrote:

    What happened to the girl and woman’s faces. Is this website turning fanatical?

    • 54. Other wrote:

      It is for illustration purposes only. I am sure the woman and girl appreciate not having their ‘faces’ associated with such an article… No matter how righteous it is.

  • 55. anonymous wrote:

    i dont understand this. chani is trying to do whats best for her daughter and yours too and you are all criticizing her. i agree 100% with her. all shes doing is being a great mother who cares about her children and their education. you should all be ashamd of yourselves and think before you speak such hard words.

  • 56. no 19 said it all wrote:

    yes there are students who made it despite everything….But that is exact;y the point Some who made it despite everything…..chinuch is for all our children…..No child should be left behind….But they are…and something has to be done….Why are some of you putting on your rose colored glasses and closing your eyes and ears and proclaiming all is good. It is not….Our children are not being educated…My neighbor recently had her child in grade one and did not have a teacher for over a month….when she complained one of the principals said to her ” How should we have teachers,,,we dont pay our teachers” That from the mouth of one of the principals….Shameful

    • 58. No! wrote:

      My BR elementary child gets wonderful marks for Kriah. But she can’t read properly. She had a photographic memory so she can fool the teacher. But show her texts that she hasn’t seen before and she’s clueless.

  • 59. Beth Rivkah parent wrote:

    I did not read any of the comments and I just wanted to say how upset I am of this article and of this parent.
    As a parent of 2 girls in Beth Rivkah I can say that BR is as good as any school out there and – like us all – can always be improved. But this conversation has nothing to do with the chinuch of our children and how chumash is being taught to them, to me, this is about how a mother -a therapist – is ready to bash her daughter’s school and everyone in the school, on a website that her daughter or my daughter or any girl in BR will read.
    How can you – a therapist – not see a problem with a mother bashing her daughter’s school in public??? is that the chinuch you show your daughter????? That it’s ok to put your daughter’s school down in public??? Is this how you plan on fixing things? and even if yes, do we fix things with terror? articles on public websites for all our kids to read????
    Shame on you. I’d love to know who crowned you as a therapist. Embarrassing.
    There are smarter ways to fix your child’s chinuch. It’s starts from home, by example.

  • 61. to everyone bashing author for not speaking to school wrote:

    let me tell you, she writes she has spoken to school, and personally I can say that I have spoken to the school about several issues with no results, so it’s not so simple at all-
    schools need to be willing to listen to parents in a real way and be open to change-
    of course al taharas hakoidesh,
    but
    THE KIDS MUST MUST MUST FEEL THAT THEY CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE LEARNING AND BE ABLE TO GRASP THE SKILLS NEEDED-
    yet this is often not the case and instead the parenst are told that the kids needs tutoring

    • 62. Totally agree wrote:

      Whether we agree with these methods or not- we are definitely sending a very destructive message to our kids as we go along with our ‘riteous protest’

  • 63. Frustrated old time mom wrote:

    Unfortunately the way Chumish is taught today is not the way it was taught when we were young. The words are translated into English only. When we went to school we knew no Yiddish from home yet we all picked it up beautifully. I can speak and understand Yiddish only from learning Chumish in school. Today I am more comfortable translating into Yiddish then English. My children are not being given this opportunity. They are being spoon fed the Chumish, no one is learning skills to learn a posuk on their own. They are covering ground but not learning any skills. When I went to speak to the principal about this issue, primarily the lack of Yiddish translation I was told that no one else wants it. These children are not being to taught to eventually learn on their own. Oholei Torah on the other hand is covering much more ground, teaching skills and in Yiddish.

  • 65. Esther wrote:

    I am not sure whether this was intended or not, there is an aggressive and disrespectful tone to this letter. You have to be very careful when you put things in writing, especially when you are naming people.

  • 66. to #60-I wish it were as you say wrote:

    but there are tons and tons of kids who do not really know the chumash properly nor the other stuff they bring home, because it’s in Yiddish-
    I am so happy for your children that tehy can pick it up just from chumash teitchen, but there are many ,many more children who are struggling in a major way-
    ask the kids to translate their Yiddish divrei Torah-most of them can’t properly at all-
    it is much, much, much more important that the kids understand what tehy are learning and connect to it than to have yiddish
    if they want it they need to teach yiddish as a language from a young age already

  • 67. this should not be taken as bashing school or teachers wrote:

    it does not take away from all the amazing things that they do, and all the wonderful things that the children learn
    THANK YOU!!!!!!
    yet at the same time, there is a very big need for change in certain areas-
    it is true a public website is not the best way to go about it, but I can understand the author’s frustration,
    (which should have nothing to do with her degree, I agree with that)
    -the school often does not implement change where/when needed when approached-
    there are many children struggling-
    do you guys realize how often parents are told, your kids needs special ed, she/he needs services, she/he needs a para, she/he needs a tutor, she/he can’t be in the class….
    yes, B”H that we have these options, but many times there is no real effort on the school’s part to self evaluate to see if there is something that can be changed, adjusted or implemented in the classroom that would enable many more children to reach success without all the extra services the school recommends they start exploring.
    again, this is an issue that exists, it does not mean that no one appreciates what the schools do.
    Facts are facts and the fact is that there are many kids that can’t open a passuk chumash by themselves and understand….
    so yes, we should re-evaluate and see how we can do better, and that will actually be one of the greatest life lessons that we can give to our kids: the fact that we are not and don’t have to be perfect or always right, but that we do need to be willing to look at ourselves honestly and see what needs to change and then actually work on implementing that change.
    THANK YOU AGAIN TO ALL THOSE INVOLVED IN OUR CHILDREN’S CHINUCH!!!!!
    MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES BE BENTCHED WITH ALL THE BROCHOS IN THE WORD :-)

  • 68. BUT WAIT! wrote:

    Are they not able to pay, hire, or keep teachers?
    Weren’t those financial problems solved less than 3 months ago, when they raised over MILLION DOLLARS, with a successful Charidy campaign?

  • 69. CH schools... wrote:

    This article is like writing to the NY Post about your Shul cholent!

    Why don’t you go directly to the teacher – DONT tell her what she is doing wrong – give her a curriculum suggestion, work with her, not against.

    Or contact all the parents of seconds grade girls – this directly impacts them – and I’m sure as a united group of parents you can find a solution.

    Hatzlacha!

  • 70. Evaluate wrote:

    Looking for constructive ideas. All classes of a grade need to meet standards levels of learning before they can move onto the next grade. Teachers need to be aware of the required end of year learning goal. Principals need to see and evaluate the teachers weekly lesson plans to determine if the classes are reaching grade appropriate goals. Classes or student falling behind will be identified and appropriate intervention made. Summer school or workbooks may be need to be completed for students to graduate to next grade. Eg all grade 2 students are starting more or less at same level. Teachers are all on same page at start of year and can exchange ideas-etc.

  • 72. They ARE trying their best wrote:

    BR is a large school ka”h who has to accept everyone in the community . They are dealing with all kinds of kids with issues despite not paying well. Lets express gratitude for what we have and see how we can help.

    The author is raising a valid concern that cannot be easily solved.

  • 73. Yitzchok Teitelbaum wrote:

    I have been teaching for about fifty years to thousands of students of all ages in various schools. Reading all of the above; there is not one fix it all. It is not just a question of shorashim prefixes and suffixes. An entire book would have to be written to solve all that has been discussed above. Every school has to be evaluated etc. and many children have special needs etc. Hazlacha rabah and good yom tov!

  • 75. They ARE trying their best wrote:

    #68 you make it sound as if it’s so simple. Do you know how much work that takes and the training that is needed?

  • 76. old timer wrote:

    There is power in numbers. (continuing on #67)
    Work at the solution by getting a LARGE group of sincerely concerned mothers. put the concern in writing. Have EVERYONE sign. Then request a meeting. TOGETHER. There will be positive results.
    THIS METHOD was suggested to a mother, by Rabbi Hodakovs, A”H to remedy a situation in one of our Moisdois. It worked.

  • 77. Grow up and listen wrote:

    I am not a parent of any children in Beis Rivka I am not even living in America but I will tell you that where I come from our girls are learning shoroshim, prefixes and suffixes in the first grade never mind the second grade. If children do not have the foundation they cannot build skills and I agree with Chani that you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. I find that most of the comments are arrogant and are from people who know it all or think they know it all. Take your heads out of the sand and listen to what is being said. What is the point in learning chumash if you don’t have the basics. I find that Americans are arrogant people and especially those of you who live in Crown Heights. Grow up the world does not revolve around all of you. Most of you are to afraid to speak up in case you rock the boat. Well done to Chani for rocking the boat and wanting something better for her daughter. I hope that the Hanhola makes the necessary changes and actually listens to what parents are saying before more children are lost in the system. I have been exposed to many girls who have come to my country to learn and they don’t have the basics to open up a sefer and learn properly. These are the future generation who cannot read simple text and break it down. What does that say for Beis Rivka’s education system.

  • 78. Makes sense wrote:

    This is so spot on!
    When I was in school, I didn’t get what hit me, the teachers just decide u know Yiddish and start making decipher Simchas with a chavrusa. It was always so frustrating for me- I never learnt Yiddish in school and now I’m expected to just know what the whole sicha is saying. I thought that if I just kept reading it- it would come to me- how foolish of me. I also would just hope that I was paired with a smarty and she would translate it for me- which kinda made me feel dumb- which I’m not!
    And the way we learned Chumash was definitely pathetic- all that memorizing of “silly words” was for nothing- i had no idea what I was saying, or how it connected to the next word.
    Please Beis Rivkah, you have so much going for you, please change this method!

  • 79. to #77 wrote:

    it is an arrogant thing to say, don’t you think, that YOU find OTHERS arrogant?
    how interesting to bash a community with that accusation, yet come to their place of living and expect to be welcomed
    Surely, you should think please about what you said-it is a bit hypocritical and very sad that such words come out of one’s mouth, especially the generalizing that you do
    May Hashem bentch all the Yidden in revealed ways now!

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