What’s My Kid Doing in This School

Gershom Gorenberg

While the outrageously dedicated volunteers of Limmud – the grassroots Jewish study festival – bounce me around South Africa, Ha’aretz has gotten around to publishing my article on the dilemma that moderate religious families face in Israel as they seek an education for their children (Hebrew original here, English translation here):

At the gates of the state religious schools, in many places in Israel, two cultures meet. One, religious and modern, turns over its sons and daughters to the other, more insular, to educate them in its stead. The parents live with their children alongside secular families in mixed neighborhoods. A quick glance at a list of the teachers’ phone numbers reveals that many live in settlements or in neighborhoods known as Haredi or Hardali – religiously ultra-Orthodox, politically ultra-nationalist.

The geographic gap reflects a rift in attitudes toward religion and toward the wider world. It expresses itself in how each side relates to secular culture, to non-Jews, to the limits of rabbinic authority, and to the manner of thinking about politics…

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