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Monday, September 10, 2007


Cure is worse than the disease

I have cousins.

Almost everybody does, I'd imagine, but I have some particularly good and sweet and generous and devoted and amazing cousins. The kind anybody'd be lucky to have. You've never met more erliche girls. Really.

The ones I'm writing about today are sisters: a sophomore and senior, respectively, in a Beis Yaakov high school that is known for at least attempting to provide a decent secular education (as compared to other Beis Yaakov schools).

The other night, these two cousins were babysitting my children, so we could go out and attend some important function. Nothing relaxing and recreational for us. Especially not in Elul!

As I'm driving my cousins home, one asks me whether I know of any current news stories in the science fields. She has to write up a summary of a current item for her science class. Great!

"Of course," I said. "Just the other day, I saw a story about advances in prosthetics. I'll e-mail you the link..."

"Umm. Yeah. We can't use the Internet."

"What?" I asked, incredulously.

"We can't use the Internet. If we get the article from the Internet, we need to have a parent do the search, and we cannot be in the room, and then print out the article. Then we need to bring in a note from the parent saying that we weren't in the room when the article was downloaded and printed."

Now, I know a lot of ink has been spilled about the inefficacy of bans, and the silliness of issuing blanket issurim on things people don't even know enough about. Monsey is full of pundits who draw a direct line between opening an Internet Explorer window and abandonment of Yiddishkeit, if not an actual spontaneous metamorphosis into a horned, slavering monster, as depicted in one cautionary drawing.

But this really shocked me. Because this is supposed to be a decent school, and this is the policy they have in place for SENIORS. They're telling bright, inquisitive, capable girls to NOT learn. To NOT research. To close their eyes and pretend the most important knowledge tool of the last century doesn't exist.

These girls are old enough to drive. They're old enough to vote. They're old enough to start thinking about the shidduch parsha. But the Internet?! Not without a note from Mommy or Totty that you weren't in the room. I don't get it.

Don't we want them to gain skills they can use in the marketplace, so as to support kollel husbands? Don't we want to produce mature, confident bnos Torah, instead of 17- and 18-year-old girls who aren't ALLOWED to think for themselves? In the name of frumkeit?!

Can anyone explain this?!

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