Sunday, April 19, 2009

Chinuch Atzmai Part Two

I don't know how many of my readers actually read this post when I put it up a while back: The Chinuch Atzmai Situation, but according to the news recently, the classes will no longer be separate after Pesach. It seems that the situation went to a Bais Din, chosen by R' Nosson Tzvi Finkel, head of the Mir, and they made the decision to join the classes. It also seems that the 'Americans' who were upset by this removed funding from the school as well.

Over Pesach though, I had the opportunity to discuss with someone who has been in that neighborhood for 15 years. She mentioned to me several points. The actions and behaviors of some of the 'Americans' living in the community were a major problem. These 'Americans' were only sojourning in Israel, as a sort of fad, and as such, they felt they could bring America into Israel. So, these 'Americans' became rather cliquish, and as such, the Israelis felt that they had no wish to integrate into society, and thus the situation developed.

Problem was, they didn't ask them whether they would like a separate class, and they lumped all 'Americans' into one category- if you had a US passport, you were in the second class, whether you or your children were a bad influence or not. And, punishing the children for the parents' problem is not a solution.

But the other side was approached as well. Sometimes by an American living here for a while, they change via osmosis. One who might be extremely materialistic now may not be in 5 years. So giving these people the opportunity to change might be useful. 15 years ago, there were only a handful of 'Americans'- and now there are much more. Yet, they still might need the room to change.

I don't know how many of my readers will understand what I'm talking about in this. There is such a concept of growing in spirituality while living in Yerushalayim, in Israel. Those who have lived here long enough, raised children here- are more sensitive to that, and more protective of any influences that may change the delicate balance here.

How does one deal with those who are only sojourning in the land- not really interested in this sort of life, and are planning on moving back to the US soon? And, the repercussions and stereotypes reflect badly on those Americans, like myself, who want to integrate and remain in society. In the end- these people are here to stay, and the decision reflects as such.

I admire those who can maintain a high level of spirituality while living in Israel, but I, as all people who didn't grow up with it, need to merge slowly, and hope to be given the chance to change and grow. I hope one day to look back on the other side and say that I successfully integrated here, but there will be many hurdles, like this one, to overcome before that.


harry-er than them all said...

maybe if people thought they would be accepted they would be more willing to change their minds and stay....or if you make it difficult for people who want to stay, they won't.

nmf #7 said...

Harry-er- you've hit the nail on the head. If given time, maybe some of these would want to stay. But right now- they don't fit in to society, because they are new here. Either it's because they are new, or because they don't want to integrate.
But, it seems that most of these were not interested in integrating at all, no matter what, even if they would be accepted- they don't care, because in a few years they're heading back anyway.