Seriously?

I’ve just finished reading through this post from Conversations in Klal and I have a few questions that I’m gonna need some New Yorkers to answer for me. Well, only one question – seriously? Is all this for real? We had rumors of spies in my high school but I don’t think any of it was true, and thats the furthest we got to school intrusion. I’ll quote some stuff from the post and comments for those not willing to read a novels worth of blog comments. I do recommend you read at least the original post. I agree with most of what she says.

Samples of the comments I found hard to believe are: (Each quote end means its from a different comment).

“Mothers were not allowed to come to pick up their children wearing any type of head covering but a sheitle. And they were not allowed to drive cars up to the school to pick up their children.”

“Here in Brooklyn, girls are not allowed to walk on Ave M. My daughter’s friend lives on Ave M and everytime she needs to leave her house she is petrified of being seen.”

“when you go to NJ to visit your uncle you need school’s permission. Otherwise, student will get a 3 day suspension.”

“My daughter’s friend got expelled from Prospect because she did not have a right look. That’s right she did wear right clothes and did behaive in the right manner, but she didn’t have a right look.”

“Now days they can’t even date until April of senior year, and those who are married are automatically expelled.”

“Shulamis is known for surprize inspections (to make sure that girl’s household is kosher, of course) and rejecting girls for having a large chest.”

“One school we applied to refused us admission because we were not going to be sending all our boys there. That they didn’t offer the special hearing and speech remediation that one of our sons needed then was not interesting to the school. They even had the nerve to ask us if he really needed those services or was this something we WANTED instead.”

“In the end they decided that we were not the type of parents they wanted in the school and our boys were not the “right” type of boys, all based on our decisions as parents for where our girls were going to go.”

22 Responses to “Seriously?”

  1. Hell yeh its real and thats why I don’t understand why people still choose to live in NY- its pathetic. All they do is complain about tuition crisis and community problems.

    http://frumsatire.net

  2. So how does it actually work? Who enforces girls not being on Ave M? How can you live on M and not be allowed on M? Why are girls not allowed on M?
    What is the right look? If you drive up in a tichel will they hold your child as hostage until you come back in a shaitel?

  3. I am not surprised by these restrictions, although they make me very sad. I don’t think the laws are “enforced” as much as if you don’t stick to them, you are talked about, looked down on, people don’t associate with you or whatever. I’ve lived in NY my whole life and try to limit the time I spend in Bklyn to once a year if that because I usually come home in tears. It’s like a different planet there.

  4. Hell is not in New Jersey. It’s in Brooklyn. Yes, I have heard of all of these rules, and they’re ridiculous. Religious Judaism has changed so much over the course of the last several years. People used to be human- now the ones who were always followers want the rest of us to become like them. It just saddens me that we let them.

  5. right on! e/o’s become so religious that they’re not being jewish anymore. they can’t see the forest for the trees (i hate that cliche but it fits in so well here) and then they wonder why they’re having so many problems with ‘teens at risk’ duh!

  6. Decided to share what I know:

    “Mothers were not allowed to come to pick up their children wearing any type of head covering but a sheitle. And they were not allowed to drive cars up to the school to pick up their children.”

    – Dunno if this is true, never heard such a thing, but if mom is seen without a hair covering at all, kid is screwed. Completely, even if the kid is a BT and e/o knows he’s frum, and parents arent!~

    “Here in Brooklyn, girls are not allowed to walk on Ave M. My daughter’s friend lives on Ave M and everytime she needs to leave her house she is petrified of being seen.”

    100% … my school was prob master at this rule!! They have spies..yup…spies. Sounds bizarre, but they have spies.

    My school banned concerts in 9th grade (all concerts), and that was like a week before some “popular” concert was happening. The school promised a refund for each student that came. They would exchange EACH ticket for the total value (out of schools pocket)!! So one girl raised her hand and asked “what will the school do with all the tickets?” and the principal was like “use a few and send teachers to go to make sure no one showed up!”

    THen, a friend of mine’s mom works as the BIO teacher at the school i went to. So when her family was going to Disney world, and she went to ask permissionto get off, and get her daughters to go, the principal told her “If you want, I’ll pay for your ticket if you spy to see who went there without the schools permission.”

    And…thats concerts and Florida…getting people to go there is not as easy. Half the frum people in Brooklyn live in the J/M area, getting them to leave their houses to “shop” is not that complicated a task for the school!

    “when you go to NJ to visit your uncle you need school’s permission. Otherwise, student will get a 3 day suspension.”

    Didn’t hear about NJ, but “other” states, i heard.

    “My daughter’s friend got expelled from Prospect because she did not have a right look. That’s right she did wear right clothes and did behaive in the right manner, but she didn’t have a right look.”

    I know the girl, close friend of mine. SOOO true… when she told me the story i was cracking up. The Principal was like “I like to put my students in a box, and you just don’t quite fit” …mind you, this girl was a BT, with no other school to go to at the time. Imagine how sucky that was!~ Cuz she was tall and gorgues… literaly that was her only flaw.

    “Now days they can’t even date until April of senior year, and those who are married are automatically expelled.”

    Yup…my school enforced that and my sisters school too. However, if you wanted to date before hand, you had to ask your parents to call the school. Then u risk the embarrassment of your principal playing shadchan.

    100% true.

    “Shulamis is known for surprize inspections (to make sure that girl’s household is kosher, of course) and rejecting girls for having a large chest.”

    Yup…people in my shul the “typical” shulamis type say (random inspections) is true. I don’t have any close friends from their so i do not know. I can only go by word of the few families with girls in my shul who go to Shulamis. The chest thing I heard from my dad’s friend who is a teacher at an elemtary school. He said he was asked for references and saw that on the application. I started laughing, didn’t beleieve him…he said it was true. Still don’t know. I mean, I don’t know too many shulamis girls, the ones I do don’t have “large chests” but I think its more genetic then the selectiveness of Shulamis… lol.

    “One school we applied to refused us admission because we were not going to be sending all our boys there. That they didn’t offer the special hearing and speech remediation that one of our sons needed then was not interesting to the school. They even had the nerve to ask us if he really needed those services or was this something we WANTED instead.”

    Dunno. probably true. Based on tHe stupid things they ask on the HS applications, anything is possible.

    “In the end they decided that we were not the type of parents they wanted in the school and our boys were not the “right” type of boys, all based on our decisions as parents for where our girls were going to go.”

    Same as above.

  7. My school referred to pizza as “machol eisaz”.

    NY schools,- especially girls- need to be shut down and started over, frankly there’s no other option.

    I could probably write a book about things my school tried to enforce or get us to believe, such as: getting a drivers license will lead to go off the derech.
    wearing a skirt with a slit -even a covered one- will cause guys to look at you and sin, thus causing them to go off the derech. and of course listening to non jewish music will poison your soul. no way around that one.(and make you go off the derech)

    My personal favorites were the racist undertones of everything we learnt from bio to navi.

  8. I don’t know about other schools but I can tell you FOR SURE that the comments about Shulamith School are absolutely not true. I have been involved in Shulamith for over 35 years (never as an employee) and these stories about home inspections, etc. are absolutely untrue. Shulamith is not perfect, but it does have girls of many different religious backgrounds in attendance.

  9. […] this what you call Judaism? Posted on May 14, 2008 by tamaraeden If this is what much of Orthodox Judaism has come to, I’m even prouder I follow Conservative Judaism. I mean, I was glad before, but this is just […]

  10. Raizy: Like I mentioned, I do not know about random inspections on kashrus of the house, but I do know, that when I applied to Shulamis, they didnt’ even consider taking me in, they had a check in their hand when my mom and I came for the interview.

    My Rabbi spooke to them BIG time, so its not like I was just some random idiot from public school trying to get into Private school to avoid Juvie…

    They told me that they cannot accept me into the school because the girls I will make friends with may not know that my house isn’t kosher (wasn’t at the time) and they wouldn’t know not to eat there!

    BS… I had INCREDIBLE grades. A’s, most of the classes i took in 8th grade were HS level… I was obviously on the way to koshering the house (they spoke to my rabi, they knew that), and my hebrew was not that bad. I learned Rashi for a Yeshiva of Flatbush interview- in one weekend- Yes ONE. I drove myself nuts.

    That school is full of it. I wouldnt be surprised if they DID make random inspections of girls they had no other excuses for kicking out.

  11. Anita — impressive on the rashi thing. I still can barely read rashi (no joke).

  12. Sad, sad… Unfortunately, the beauty of orthodox judaism is often hidden by scandals such as the recent conversion scandal or stories such as these.

    BTW, had the person that was mekarev your parents been Dutch, you would have had to wait only 1 hour for B&J ;-P

  13. Jessica: with the amount of adrenaline i had running through me, I probably would have found the cure for cancer – if that was what I was working on ofcourse-

    Seriously…it was like March/April of 8th grade, all my friends from PS already knew which schools they were going too, and i had no idea. I was so nervous, I literally had a high heart-rate (tested on one of those heart machines in those annual check-ups)

  14. What comes to my mind is a series of articles written several years ago by various BY principals spanning locations across North America on exclusivism vs. inclusion in the student body. Most of the articles weren’t very impressive or even very well written, but one– actually written by the principal of my high school once upon a time (well, he’s still there; it’s just been a while since I have!)–made some really good points about the positives of being inclusive. Funnily enough but not surprising the principals arguing for the need to be more exclusive were mostly from the NY area, IIRC.
    (This is way back when the JO actually tackled issues of substance whether or not you agreed with them. Now it’s just fluffed out with biographies and Israeli politics.)

  15. FYI– forgot to mention that these articles were published in the Jewish Observer.

  16. By my school they had the rule that if you get engaged then you can no longer come to school. One girl in 10th grade got engaged and then never came back.

    But actually my elementary principal told my mother at PTA that she was almost done cleaning out the school. As if she expected my mother to be impressed by it. What she meant by cleaning out was to get rid of the girls that didn’t fit with her perception of nice Frum Jewish girl.

    But other than that I haven’t heard of any spying going on from my school staff. Although they did have a rule that you can’t leave the school block to go for lunch or anything.

    But I did hear that boys schools didn’t let the boys go to Ave. J and the pizza shops and they would spy on them.

    I did hear about the hair covering one. I know a specific school where mothers tend to come with slippers without socks and snoods and then the school calls up the mother and asks them not to.

    FrumSkeptic: my elementary principal actually told us that one time many years ago there was a concert and they sent out staff to make sure that no girls came, and she was one of them that went to make sure no girls came and when the girls came it was her job to send them back.

  17. No longer a Brooklyn Resident Says:

    Yes, some of this stuff was true even when I went to high school eons ago……there is a new book by Rabbi Marc Angel, called the “Search committee”–where people are called in to search for a new boys yeshiva principal…its a work of fiction however it sounds like many things I hve heard from others…..

  18. wow. just, wow. judaism says what? I love my religion, but I’m not a fan of what some people do in their perception of its practice.

  19. Babysitter: ISn’t it pathetic that these people are proud of the fact that they would go to a concert and send girls away?? Its not the schools business who goes to concerts and who doesnt. If the parents are ok with it, than the school should be happy with it. A school is a place for EDUCATION not for parenting. which reminds me of something my idiot principal said:

    we used to have a class called “workshop” exclusively for 9th graders, the principal gave it so that the 9th graders could get to know each other and the school policies and get comfy with the school. SO anyway, one day in workshop the girls were complaining about all the rules and the principal said “your mothers do not know what it means to be a teenage girl these days, and they don’t have the time to find out, so they send you to my school and trust in my ability to make the decisions on where you can(not) go.”

    I came home, told my mom that, apparently she said the same thing at the parent conference thing. My mom was really ticked. But what was she supposed to do? We just became frum, we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into!

  20. bankman Says:

    Side point: I think that men should not teach nor principal a frum girls school.

    My sister-in-law went to pick her son up from yeshiva, and was weraing a shaitle – but it looked like real hair – she got called by the school to please cover her hair when doing carpool or her son would get kicked out. She was wearing a wig!!! So silly – the whole wig thing is worthy of a “tear it down and start over” like someone mentioned above about these retarted schools.

  21. […] than God? FrumPunk writes about stringincy that leaves me wondering what is left when the letter of the law supercedes […]

  22. Shuvu elementary school was founded by Rabbi Pam o”h with no religious rules. High School girls that were expelled from the Beis Yakov or not accpted are accepted to Bet Chava the continuation of Shuvu.

    The girls of non religious families of Bet Chava are teaching the Beis Yakov girls yiddishkeit. All they grew up with were rules but very little love of yiddishkeit. You can email me at aryeackerman@gmail.com

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