The crisis in Jewish Education in the 21st century | Rabbi Dovid Abenson

In over three decades in the field of Jewish education, saving thousands of students from around the world aging from 3 years to 89, children, boys/girls, students, FFB, BT, and upgrading rebbeim, maggidei shiur, Menahelim, and Roshei Yeshiva. I have decided to publish two seforim on this important subject-The Jewish educational system.

The purpose of the seforim is to raise awareness for institutions and parents that there is hope, real hope, and never despair with your child in Torah learning. Enclosing testimonials from around the world from parents, students, rebbes, and even from non-Jewish professionals attesting to the success of the program. The first Sefer is called “Struggling with Hebrew reading and frustrated in Torah learning” Shaar Hatalmud 2021 Latest – booklet powered by Fleepit or contact me to receive a free copy and the second Sefer soon-to-be-published called” I can’t read and learn”.

My goal is that both seforim becomes an invaluable source for every Jewish home, as there is almost no family not untouched by the current educational crisis.

When a child (even if gifted) is struggling in their institution whether in regards to Hebrew reading or understanding the gemara shiur, the first thing the institution does, it calls the parents in for a meeting to discuss the “problem” which they are having with their son. It is normally a one-sided conversation. If the parents do not listen or voice their opinion their names circulate mysteriously that they don’t support the school and it becomes harder for their son to be in the institution.

In most cases, medicating these types of children by the Jewish institutions is the first step. Parents have no choice. They have to accept what they tell them, otherwise, they will be told to find another place. Some Menahelim even go so far as to force the parents to sign a document agreeing to medicate their child; if not, their son would not be allowed back into school. A senior Rosh Yeshiva told me that in his community of 1000 of students, 30% are on medication. This has been going on for the past three decades.

The institutions most times blame the parents and the child for the issue they are having with him, rarely blaming themselves. This unfortunate trend is the norm and accepted practice today in most establishments.

This approach is contrary to the Torah view as one will read in my seforim. The main reason why students are not performing well in school/Yeshiva is that the foundation skills have not been fully addressed or not taught at all. It makes no difference which group one is affiliated with. Please note there are other factors as to why students are not performing well in school. The student has been sexually abused at home or in school by the rebbe, divorce issues, bullying, and or drugs. Although these are issues, it is only with the minority of students the institution has to face. However, the main reason why so many students are not performing well in school is solely due to the lack of foundation skills which accounts for most of the students.

What is the first step which must be taken?

All institutions must stop being in denial and stop blaming the parents and child first, but rather use my checklist which is included in my sefer. From there one can determine if the child requires an evaluation to see if he is lacking foundation skills or if the rebbe needs to be upgraded or removed from his position.

The evaluation must be done by a professional who’s trained in pinpointing the student’s undeveloped skills that are hampering him in his Torah learning. If the institution does not have such a person, they must hire somebody or be trained. Please contact me if you need assistance with this.

I would just like to mention that during the pandemic last year when all the institutions were shut down throughout the world, the institutions were scrambling to teach their students. Hashem suspended every Rebbe and Rosh yeshiva for a whole year from their jobs in teaching. However, regarding my teaching, I was busier than ever before during that time. I did not lose my job but rather saved many more students as opposed to all the other rebbeim from around the world who had no job or “one can say suspended from their position”.

What was Hashem telling me? “Carry on, you are doing a great job for the Jewish people”.

That is why I have decided to write these two seforim to save the Jewish people. To explain how this crisis started in the first place. Suggestions on how to fix the crisis in the Jewish Education system and that parents should know that there is hope, real hope for their child who is struggling in the system – don’t despair!! Never give up!!

Let us all merit to restore the Torah learning like in the days of חזקיהו המלך as it states Sanhedrin 94b
בדקו מדן ועד באר שבע ולא מצאו עם הארץ מגבת ועד אנטיפרס ולא מצאו תינוק ותינוקת איש ואשה שלא היו בקיאין בהלכות טומאה וטהרה They searched from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, and did not find an ignoramus. They searched from Gevat to Antipatris and did not find a male child, or a female child, or a man, or a woman who was not expert even in the complex halakhot of ritual purity and impurity.

חזקיהו המלך made sure that even the child knew all the Torah, not just for the elite.

Hopefully, my seforim will pave the way so that every Jew will have the ability and have the proper skills to learn by themselves and enjoy Torah learning and even translate a verse in the Chumash correctly, not like what is happening today. Recently my new frum student aged 15- translated the following verse וַיְהִ֥י רָעָ֖ב בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיֵּ֨רֶד אַבְרָ֤ם מִצְרַ֨יְמָה֙ לָג֣וּר שָׁ֔ם כִּֽי־כָבֵ֥ד הָֽרָעָ֖ב בָּאָֽרֶץAnd there was a famine in the land, and Abram descended to Egypt to sojourn there because the famine was severe in the land. He translated as follows: A lot of people in the land Abraham went to Egypt he was a stranger there the majority of people honorable or how about this 65-year-old religious Yid, very successful in real estate translated the word וְהַכְּנַֽעֲנִ֖י אָ֥ז בָּאָֽרֶץ Abraham was in the land. For 52 years he felt he was right because the verse is speaking about Abraham. He had not been learning Torah clearly for 52 years. I have many more stories which are written in both of my seforim.

This should never happen again.

To see over 30 haskomos from Gedolim/Dayanim/Mechanchim and recommendations from parents/ students look at my website shaarhatulmud.com

To contact me or sponsor my seforim please contact my office at Tel. 15147393629. Cell/Whatsapp 15149935300. Email: [email protected]

Rabbi Dovid Abenson is the founder and director of ShaarHatalmud.com, a unique yeshivah-based online program, which incorporates learning all Kodesh subjects, from Kriah up to learning Gemara, Rishonim, and Shulchan Aruch. He also conducts evaluations, remediation, and training, and consults with Menahelim to improve students’ underdeveloped skills

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5 COMMENTS

  1. The arrogance in this piece is astonishing. Hashem suspended every Rebbe and teacher and you were busier than ever?

    1. Every newspaper from Hamodia to the 5towns, FJJ and more had photos of Rabbeim learning with children outdoors or delivering Chumashim, Mishnayos, Gemaros, treats etc one on one to their talmidim. Not only were they NOT suspended, they worked overtime maintaining a kesher with each and every student and the Morohs did as well, all while trying to run their households as well.

    2. If all of them were suspended and are the cause of all evil, younshould have seen less children than ever.

    I assume you mean well but this article is disgusting and blatant lashon hara abt a rabbm. You owe a public apology to all the devoted Rabbeim and Morohs out there. They don’t need it but you will have a major din cheshbon to gove leasid lavo.

    TLS, why are you publshing this?

  2. This article is the epitome of raising oneself up by knocking others. By all means, if you believe that you can do it better, open your own Yeshiva and show us how to do it. Don’t just teach from behind a computer screen and pretend that you’re covering all the needs of talmidim.

  3. Not sure why the need for the repetition. Every single article is the same thing: All mechanchim are terrible and I am the savior.
    יהללך זר ולא פיך, unless of course you can’t find anyone else to.
    TLS, I understand that this is a paid advertisement, but still…

  4. I agreed strongly with this article (forcing medication, not dealing with underlying issues) until I read that ‘every Rebbe and Rosh Yeshiva’ was suspended from teaching. Teachers and parents had to come up with new ways to keep kids involved. My daughter’s teacher was in touch with us to make sure she was doing well, and to ask what can be done to help.

    And this guy talks about how he is saving people where others have no job? I’m no longer interested in what he is trying to teach when he is so quick to put others down.

Comments are closed.