So the year 12 Results are out

As expected, there is the usual back slapping and congratulating students on their results. I understand that. A year or so ago we had Yesodei HaTorah listing the names of the Yeshivas their students were admitted to  (not that I know any of them) and then a nondescript line about their results void of statistics. Not exactly “Torah Im Derech Eretz”, but some modern Litvak way of saying what’s important and what is not.

As usual, the Jewish News were more interested in the advertising dollar, and simply published the carefully crafted statistics each school put out.

It’s a pity the Jewish News couldn’t give guidelines as to which bands and statistics were to be supplied. Even things like Class sizes are never mentioned, making it nigh on impossible to make one to one comparisons for those who like to do so.

I don’t know what sorts of projects our “Roof Bodies” do, but one which I think I’d like to see each year is the “6 years hence” statistics. Each Orthodox Shule, or Reform/Conservative Temple, or Shira Chadasha? would have a record of marriages. Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see under each School’s name, the percentage of those who are known to be married within the faith? I’d be fascinated.

Imagine getting 50 for text and tradition and then marrying out. Would today’s parent accept that? No names, of course, but the trends would also become visible and we would see for the first? time what it means to be a JEWISH School and pay the fees. Yes, I know the home is critical, but the home has assigned the school this aspect in the main.

Are we impressed that someone gets 50 for Ivrit or Yiddish and marries out?

Yes, marrying out is the end game. Schools are halachically the agents of parents for these critical years. The students need to build an identity that can confidently answer and resist the many isms, they will confront in life.

We correctly pull up a School if they have been involved in something not right. Let’s see our “Roof Bodies” … the great unelected, hire demographers to follow these statistics.

Yes, I am aware that an argument can be put forward that some students in some schools are not technically Jewish in the first place. Let’s see if they marry such untechnically Jews later as well. Those are the statistics I’d like to see.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

2 thoughts on “So the year 12 Results are out”

  1. You’ve spoken about freing out and assimilation without suggesting some possible reasons. I find it interesting that e.g. South Africans are traditional and go religiously to shule every Shabbos. Some of our kids who have been affected by sadistic teachers, bullying and nasty teachers and hypocritical teachers, not to mention paedophile teachers, frei out and will never go to shule again in their lives. And we pay the school heaps for the privilege.


    1. First thing you need to note is the absence of Reform in South Africa. They were strong Litvaks, and then Lubavitchers who “made” South Africa after WW1 and then WW2. It is and was a very different landscape to Melbourne. They did not have the survivors who provided everything material that they could muster to their children and were often too busy making a buck, and were religiously challenged. One of the most famous Bundists in Melbourne who passed away recently would never attend Shule. If he had to go to a Simcha, he’d just sit there. One year, recently, someone in his family “forced” him to come to Kol Nidrei. Already older, he said okay, but he wasn’t going to participate. He sat through the entire Kol Nidrei sobbing uncontrollably. Melbourne Jewry was certainly a very challenged one post the war.

      I don’t like your lines about the “worst” type of teachers. Apart from being just a statement, they aren’t statistically supported, and if anything, one could argue that the vast majority were totally dedicated teachers who gave everything. I remember one of my teachers was a Shochet. He was up most of the night Shechting for Melbourne. He arrived each day at School, having davened and had some breakfast. He was absolutely exhausted, and occasionally dozed off. As kids, we thought it was funny. As adults, looking back, he taught a lesson of dedication that you don’t get in any Grad Dip or Masters.

      I understand fully that the community is sensitised as we move into hopefully the last stage of the historical pedophilia incidents. None of us can be brave enough to predict that there will never be another pedophile teacher or someone in a position of power, but if we look at things soberly now, there have been great upheavals and systems are in place, education is in place, and (yes, it didn’t occur only on Yeshiva amongst Jewish Schools, but I’m not going there) the future is one where a parent can feel confident that every School (I can’t speak of Adass, but I’d hope they have the same attitude; many I’ve spoken to are broken over the damage Malka Leifer caused to multiple lives and marriages) will be vigilant and follow the law immediately when there is an indication of an incident. Students will also be more aware rather than be clueless about these dangers and what they mean.

      There probably is a concept of “communal post traumatic stress” and the Royal Commission undoubtedly brought it out. Yes, we can take no joy out of the fact that that we didn’t have known institutionalised crime as per some other non Jewish Schools and places of worship.

      But my post wasn’t about that. I say that gently. I do not think, nor do I think you do, that when we look at the range of Schools and their fantastic results in VCE, that the subsequent assimilation rates are due to criminal or nasty or bullying teachers. Sure there are some in each School, but these days, they don’t last long. Step back. What I wanted in my blog post is for our “Roof Body” to have proper demographers who are able to see on a per School basis, how many marry out of the faith, as a likely precursor to assimilation. Do you not think that this would be a useful statistic to see? I believe it is the sleeping giant in Melbourne, and the sooner we see these statistics and act on them, the better. [Yes, more talented teachers are part of the solution]


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