Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Days Three And Four...

Sorry, I've been sick for the past few days...

Day Three's assignment was to write about something good happening in one's community. Recently, the high school branch of my old school in Cleveland brought in a brand new kollel.

Originally, I was skeptical, if not apprehensive about this new endeavor, due to several reasons. From what I had heard, the official mission statement of this new program was to make the high school more "yeshivish", which usually raises my hackles. What exactly is "yeshivish" anyway? To me, thgat word usually has negative connotations, choosing to focus on more superficial things like appearance and attitude than anything else.

So far, the high school has done rather well, with their boys. In some ways, I wish that the high school had begun a year earlier, so that I could've attended. I know that the guys who went through the system have become excellent people, earnest in every facet of their lives. I was worried that with the influx of kollel people from out of town (i.e. New York) might damage certain points of integrity to the school, because they would teach the guys that they have to wear black hats in order to be considered frum, but they wouldn't teach them anything else.

Thankfully, my fears were allayed. I happen to know several of the new Kollel guys personally, from around the Tri-State area, and I know that these guys are very sincere. I have confidence that they won't just focus on the outer things that make people seem to be frum, but rather they will take pains to ensure that the boys understand what is really important about being a true Torah Jew.

I wish them all the best, and that they have a lot of luck.

With that said, we can segue into today's topic: If I would have $30 Million to spend over the course of three months, how would I use it to help the world?

Well, several points: 1) I may sound naive, but I really don't have a grasp on what $30 Million is. It's just beyond my imagination. 2) Is it just me getting this amount of money, or does everybody?

In any event, I think that rather than focus on the world at large, I would focus on my community first, following the rule that you have to help the needy in your own city before anyone else.

Since the Jewish nation's future is always reliant on the children, I'd focus on the educational system. Unlike many places, Cleveland still has a school that will take in anybody who is Jewish, and wants to recieve a real Torah education. However, with many monetary problems, it can be hard for a school to take care of everything, so that would be the first step. I'd tell the administration to take whatever they need in order to get such affairs in order. Bills, supplies, etc.

I would make it a requirement for every member of the faculty (especially the Rebbes) to take a course in education, in order to make sure they know how to teach, and be an educator (just because one is a learned man, or a scholar, that doesn't mean he fills the criteria of being a teacher that molds young minds).

Then, I'd institute a mandatory session with every single student, from youngest to oldest, with a guidance counselor/educational director ( one who is hired with the money exclusively for this job). This way, we'd be able to determine the strengths, qualities and needs of each and every child, knowing what s/he needs in order to be successful.

Along those lines, based on the information recieved, I'd try to implement a smaller classroom policy. This entails hiring more teachers, but thankfully, that doesn't seem to be an issue. Smaller classes, where the student/teacher ratio is lessened seems to work better, as it gives more of each teacher's attention to each child. A close relationship is very important. This also has the advantage in terms of disciplinary actions...

I'm sure there's a lot of change left after this, but it's still a start...

8 comments:

karma dude said...

"I'm sure there's a lot of change left after this, but it's still a start..."- You would be surprised. 30 Mil, while still alot of change, don't get you half as far as it did 10 years ago.

Ezzie said...

I like how you used the $30m!

The Dreamer said...

it's amazing how your posts mainly focus on the educational system.
It must mean a lot to you...

G said...

"the high school branch... brought in a brand new kollel."

I guess it's true, live long enough and you'll see everything. Never thought I'd see this at the old alma mater.
Then again, I never thought I'd see the day when a D would need to create his own minyan outside his own building.

jewmaican20 said...

Karma Dude - You're probably right about that...

Ezzie - Thanks. How would you use it?

Dreamer - I think I'll make a lengthier post focusing on that someday...

G - Not sure what you're referring to. Do I know you, by the way? Shoot me an e mail...

G said...

There is a thought that part of the motive behind starting this kollel is to also create a setting for a new minyan/shul.

There has been and will continue to be an "aliyah" of sorts into the area of movers and shakers who will require/want their own minyan. Oddly enough the most sensible location for this group to set themselves up in (HAC on Green) is already occupied by a different shul, one that is attended by other movers and shakers that it might be unwise to shall we say "inconveniance".

Shlomo said...

Hey,
Its nice to see you would use your 30 mil on the education system. That is definitely a good place to start. I am not sure if you got the issue of Rebbeim not necessarily being good educators from me but this is something I have been talking about for a few years and consider to be one of the biggest problems in the jewish community. Just one thing, dont be so quick to make the classes smaller. There are many studies and many experts in the field that feel a 20 student classroom is the best size. Bigger and the children get lost but smaller causes other issues. Next time you stop by i can explain these if you want. Just know that a 10 student classroom is not always better (Unless we are talking about children with learning disabilities).

come running said...

I wish someone would give you the $30 million and then I would try like hell to move to Cleveland with DB