Question and Answer with Dixie Yid

As a parent who didn’t go through the days school/yeshiva system who has children currently in the system, have there been things that they have learned that suprised you in a postivie way?

The first thing that surprises me about them is the simple fact of the things that they know at a much younger age than I knew it. When I was starting to open a Chumash for the first time at 17 years old, it would take me a minute to break my teeth over pronouncing a two syllable Hebrew word. But my fourth grader has been saying all of bentching almost by heart for a year or two already. At 17, I only knew the really famous Bible stories and had never studied Parsha. My first grader mentioned at the Shabbos table that Rivka was from Charan, which is in Padan Aram!!! Gevalt!

This year, the kids are doing a program called “Derech,” short for “Derech Eretz Kadma LaTorah,” “Proper character traits are a pre-requisite to learning Torah.” They studied the concept of Tzelem Elokim, understanding that we must act and treat others in way that reflects consciousness of the fact that we are all created b’tzelem Elokim, in the image of G-d. This past week, they learned about making a Kiddush Hashem. The kids really get into the stories and the discussions about these things. They are a really good influence on them and it really gets their heads in the right place.

Although there are sometimes issues in the upper grades, my younger kids are just so much better off and live a much more wholesome life than outside of a nice yeshiva setting. They are truly fortunate to have such an upbringing today. We are very fortunate that we and our children’s friends don’t have televisions in the home. It is truly a bracha to be able to raise our children in such a way and be at less risk for all of the bad things that are considered normal outside the frum community.

I am surprised and amazed by how much the kids know at such a young age. They can read and understand so much Chumash, halacha, and Hebrew at such a young age. It’s beautiful to see how much a human being is capable of. Ashreinu u’matov chelkeinu, fortunate are we and how great our portion that we are able to send our children to such great schools, even when we were not able to have that kind of education!

Neil, I’d be interested to hear your answer to this question as well!

5 thoughts on “Question and Answer with Dixie Yid

  1. Neil Harris

    DY, thanks for a great answer.
    Similar to you, I didn’t start learning Chumah with Rashi until I was 18. My son (a 3rd grader) started w/ Rashi this year. After the first two days of school this year he was totally reading Rashi script and had learned the numerical value of the alef-bes.
    I am constanly amazed by how much imformation my children are taught in their day school. On Monday, my son told me that his rebbe spent part of class discussing Jewish history from Adam until the second Beis Hamikdash and showed them a timeline on the SmartBoard in class. While I figured that eventually he would learn history, I was thrilled that it was starting so early. My son’s rebbe (as well as last years rebbe) are often quoting their own rebbe, thus teaching the importance of Mesorah. Often I hear stories of Gedolim that were told over in class.

    My 1st grade daughter explained to me that Eisav “even when he was a baby in his mother’s belly” didn’t like to daven to Hashem”. She has also explained to me that closing your eyes when saying Shema isn’t “good enough because you can peek. That’s why we need to use our hands, too. This way we will think only about Hashem”.

    Our school is know to put great emphasis on Middos Tovos and also has a Middos program that highlights a particular trait that is taught each month. There have a been a few things that has suprised me and put a smile on my face recently. My son, for example, asked me if I was familiar with “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland? With a smile I told him that after we study Chumash, I’d put on an Aaron Copland CD.

  2. DixieYid (جنوب يهودي)


    Thanks. yeah, it is amazing how much that kids can learn. As to the general education, one thing I was surprised about (since it’d been four years since the school did this), they had a big program about elections and the American system of government. They leanrned all about the candidates, voting, they used Time magazine materials designed for children about the candidates, and they had a mock election. For a couple of weeks before the election, my girls came home from school with questions and opinons about the election and the candidates. I was happy that the school was getting them involved with the political system!

    -Dixie Yid

  3. yehudis

    Just to add another dimension here, how about those of us who had MO day-school educations but who have placed our children into the Israeli or American chareidi systems?
    Big, big difference!
    One thing that impresses me is not only the range and depth of knowledge that the children are receiving, but the different nature of the relationship between the children and their teachers.
    My day school was (probably still is) lauded for academic achievement, but in terms of Yiddishkeit, it left me absolutely cold. In my children’s schools, the varemkeit for Judaism is profound, and the teachers are clearly in it for more than career interests. (This being Israel, being a Rebbi or a Morah isn’t exactly the path to career nirvana. Which I guess is just as true in the States, unfortunately, in more frum schools.)
    There are a million other differences, but those are the two that really stand out for me.


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