To discuss issues relevant to the large and growing world of young Frum families and singles who are fully engaged in the Olam HaTorah and Olam HaZeh. You take your career, learning, family (or dating) and play seriously (not necessarily in that order.) You are nervous about the anti-intellectual trends that you see in your community while being proud of being part of the Torah renaissance in our generation.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

YU - Reconciling Institutional Divides

There is very interesting article in the new issue of YU's The Commentator .

It recaps a moderated discussion between Rav Herschel Schechter and a Dean of Yeshiva College, Dr. David Srolovitz. They clearly have very different views about what YU should be like - particularly its academic programs.

To deal with the divide, I have the following proposal. But first, a recap of the problem.

The University at YU wants to maintain an educational institution of the highest caliber. This will attract Jewish students who might otherwise go to Ivy League colleges. That is an admirable goal.

The Roshei Yeshiva at YU want to maintain a Yeshiva atmosphere of the highest levels of Yirat Shamayim and shmirat haMitzvot so that 'the best and brightest' across the Orthodox spectrum will feel comfortable learning at YU and all the bochurim will benefit in their Avodat Hashem. That too is an admirable goal.

To make everyone happy, maybe YU should start an evening program on campus which will be more 'parnasa-training' oriented, ala Touro. It would be a separate division, so its more limited (and censored) courses would not detract from YU's overall academic standings. For the 'serious' bochur who is more into "Torah u'Parnasa" (as RHS coined it) than "Torah u'Mada", they would be able to learn for two Sedarim (morning and afternoon) and take college courses and study at night. They would receive credits for their learning so that they could focus exclusively on their majors. This would be a similar program to what we had at Ner Yisroel (and still have.. just barely.. stay tuned to see if the new NIRC RY (Rav Aharon Feldman) shuts down the college option). Boys in the 'night college' program would be able to take a course or two in the day program on an exceptional case-by-case basis. The program should be open for summer school as well, to help the guys finish their degree in a reasonable time frame.

This idea would make everyone happy. The only danger would be in opening the schisms between the varied and diverse student body more than it already is. But from a relative of mine who attended YU recently it seems that the student body is already self-segregated along 'religious' lines.


  • At 9/14/2006 8:55 PM, Blogger SephardiLady said…

    Nearly every major public university at this point seems to have a night program. In that case, it is to accomodate those who need to work full time, but also want to pursue an education. I see no reason why this is not something YU should pursue.

  • At 9/15/2006 2:23 PM, Blogger J said…

    I would imagine that the economics would be favorable for such a program so it would be worth YU's while to pursue this.

  • At 12/20/2006 5:43 AM, Anonymous Eliyahu said…

    There is nothing "wrong" with YU having its own evening classes combined with an option for part time studies as many major universities already have.

    As to the economics of such a program: I don't know whether it is useful or generally beneficial to the community to compete with Touro.

  • At 12/20/2006 9:54 AM, Blogger J said…

    Competition is almost always both unsefull and benefitial to the community.

  • At 12/25/2006 8:36 AM, Blogger YoshevOhel said…

    Some of the YU roshei yeshiva have mentioned to me that they would like a similar program. It seems unlikely that they will ever do such a thing, however, because one of YU's big goals is to take the more serious learners and expose them to all sorts of goyish stuff - so the night school would attract all the learners and then they wouldn't be able to indoctrinate them with these very classes that the guys are trying to avoid. I know this sounds cynical, but from my dealings with the administration I find that this is their attitude.

  • At 12/25/2006 1:02 PM, Blogger J said…

    You make a very good and valid point. I would think that it might still be benefitial to YU as they can ameliorate the issue that you raise by making various courses required even for the 'night program' (e.g. the much reviled "Bible" classes in YP.)

  • At 3/13/2007 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't think it's YU's goal to 'indoctrinate', meaning corrupt, erliche buchrim. I think the author got it right- the idea is to provide an education that is beyond dispute in the secular world, which at times clashes with halacha, no doubt. That being said, I'm not sure YU should set a precedent of kowtowing to the increasingly extreme right wing element within orthodoxy and even within YU. The right wing of the YU Beis is a different kind of Yeshivish- and I would like to think this is because it truly attracts only the best and the brightest of the Yeshivish world. But, I was a Mada u' Torah kind of YU bochur, which has its mailas too. Bottom line- R' Shachter does not speak for modern orthodoxy and his place at YU is suspect.

  • At 3/13/2007 8:34 PM, Blogger J said…

    i understand your post - but i don't quite understand what it has to do with my proposal for YU setting up "Touro on the Upper East River" night program.

  • At 3/14/2007 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The following is listed in your profile:
    Favorite Movies
    Shawshank Redemption Family Man Jerry McGuire Traffic any Mafia movie

    How could someone who watches such movies mind not be corrupted(Jerry McGuire was R rated) and speak "frumtalk"?

  • At 3/14/2007 5:00 PM, Blogger J said…

    did u see these movies?
    there are plenty of frum people who watch and enjoy movies. Please be more specific re your complaint.

  • At 6/27/2007 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your idea would turn me off to sending my kids to YU. I didn't put all of this time and effort into providing them with a well rounded Torah and secular education,(obviously I realize that's an objective statement)only to have their accomplishments and talents belittled by a degree from a university that's know to produce a group of graduates that is not fully educated, but took some sort of back door through their education.

    Parents who send their kids to YU want them to get a good education and a competetive job on graduation. Changing the program to include those who are not cut out for secular studies (or who have some other aversion to them) will only result in a large number of families "settling" for sending their chldren to secular colleges.

    YU is not for everyone. A student should be strong in lamudei Chodesh, lamudei Chol, and Hashkafah in order to attend. Students who are looking for something different should attend Touro, but YU should now be made into another Touro.

  • At 7/06/2007 3:19 PM, Blogger J said…

    It wouldn't supplant the main program which would provide "the best of both worlds", but rather it would be a practical concession to atract a higher caliber of ben Torah who might not have considered coming to YU, to now consider it. This bolstering of the YP can only help the cause of spreading 'normal' Orthodox Judaism.


Post a Comment

<< Home