Jews Resist Secular Education. Who can blame them?!

This video from Fox News is part of a series on “insular enclaves of the ultra-Orthodox Jews” (Hasidic Jews), and “the struggles they face and the controversies that follow them”.

See the video here if the embedded video isn’t loading above

Apparently the education system in Hasidic communities is too “ultra-orthodox” and not secular enough and it has some people concerned; namely Naftuli Master, founder of Yaffed, a nonprofit that works to improve the secular education in the Hasidic communities.

Education is important, and a lack of education goes hand in hand with poverty, and consequently a greater reliance on the government and welfare system.  Giving Hasidic children a good, complete, well-rounded education (Notice I resist using the term “secular” education) is vital not only to their survival and the survival of their families, it’s also necessary to their dignity and to advance their personal excellence. God didn’t make us to be simple minded. A complete, well rounded education brings us closer to what God intended for us, and created us to be.

But while God didn’t create us to be simple minded, he does want us to be simple.  He forbade Adam and Even to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, he forbade man to participate in the occult (from the Latin Occultus, which means hidden [knowledge]), and His son told us to be like children—childlike, but not childish.  It is not for mankind, or for individual persons to know all things.  There is some knowledge that we should not have. There is some knowledge that is not empowering, but is corruptive. There is some knowledge that is not bad in and of itself, but is beyond our ability to leverage, and so possessing it is dangerous.

Case in point, I immediately had a problem with the opening of this video

“Hasidic Jews learn that beyond their communities lies a depraved world, fraught with evil and destructive temptations, bereft of noble values and hungry for immediate gratification.”

Ummmm…yeah!  The world is depraved, fraught with evil and destructive temptations. The world may not be completely bereft of noble values, but it is increasingly devoid of them.  And no one can deny that the world is hungry for immediate gratification.  All of that is true. So how can anyone criticize the Hasidic community for wanting to protect their children, in the most important years of their formation as persons, from the influences of the secular world?

I’m not saying that denying children—any children—of a well rounded education is good or prudent. But if what we’re saying is that a “secular education” is the standard to meet, I’d much rather the Jews stick to the Hasidic model, for their own sake.  A secular education these days usually includes sex education devoid of religious values or ethics, and often devoid of rudimentary sense. A secular education these days increasingly involves gender theory, and confused ideas about tolerance.  A secular education is responsible for a great deal of institutionalized rebellion against God—sometimes explicitly if not implicitly.  Why the hell would any God fearing mother or father want to subject their children to that? I wouldn’t.

Do I think the Hasidic model is ideal? No. I think Jewish children can have a well rounded education that empowers them and aids in their personal development while also protecting their persons and their minds from the evils of the secular system.  That would be ideal, and it wouldn’t even be novel.  We did it in the Catholic education system for hundreds of years. Today many Catholic schools have become the puppets and obedient subjects of the government’s Common Core program, but that is slowly starting to turn around.  More Catholics schools, seeing the errors and evils of a secularized Catholic educational platform, are returning to the classical system that was responsible for Catholic schools’ legendary reputation in the past.

The current Hasidic model isn’t best for Jewish children, but I think when anyone says that kids need a more secular education, they’re playing with fire. It may start out with the best of intentions, but when you’re trying to make anything more secular, good intentions fail to stand against the poisons inherent to secular influence.HR>

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