Questions about Jewish education, also known as Chinuch.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

23
votes
3answers
1k views

Premature birth contradicting science

I am a teacher at a private all-girls Jewish high school. There are two science teachers in the school, and both of us are Christian. I was talking with my fellow science teacher recently, and she ...
21
votes
4answers
2k views

How does one explain God to little kids?

As I understand it, the ability to understand abstract concepts develops gradually in kids and is certainly not all there when they first start having conversations. This comes into play when kids ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Does a fathers obligation to teach his sons a parnassah extend to his daughters too?

A father has an obligation to teach his sons Torah, a parnassah and to swim. To what extent do these obligations extend to his daughters too? (edited to include my explanation from the comments) As ...
15
votes
2answers
255 views

Is participating on a Teacher rating site a violation of Lashon Hara?

There are websites out there (e.g. RateMyProfessors) where students can post information about teachers they had. Is reading the "reviews" on the site, or writing such a "review", a violation of ...
14
votes
5answers
970 views

High School Math in the Talmud

I'm currently tutoring someone in math that has an atitude of "what's the point of all this... why would I ever need this..." (which is typical of many high-schoolers). To try to pique his interest, I ...
14
votes
1answer
374 views

Putting Tefillin on Un-educated Jews

May one put tefillin on an uneducated Jew without first explaining to him the laws of keeping his body clean and conveying to him the seriousness of the sanctity of tefillin (is that even possible?)?
14
votes
3answers
254 views

May a Katan (minor) perform Melachah (“work”) on Shabbath?

In my experience, I've noticed that many people take for granted that if one needs a Melachah to be performed on Shabbath, one may have a minor, especially one under the age of 3, perform what is ...
14
votes
2answers
131 views

Announcements before אשרי

I am in high school and in the morning my principal makes announcements before אשרי at the end of שחרית. The announcements often have absolutely nothing to do with davening. For example, he will tell ...
13
votes
1answer
157 views

At what age should we start teaching the distinction between Midrash and Text?

At a very early age children learn the history of the world and the Jews through the enthralling stories found in many varied sources. They learn that the world was created in six days; that ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Why don't most American orthodox Jews send to public school?

Given the benefits of a public school education over private day school education, such as $0 tuition and technology and extra curriculars which many schools do not have, why don't most orthodox ...
12
votes
5answers
430 views

How do you motivate a teen who has no interest in Davening?

Recently I met a 13-year-old who simply has no interest in Davening (praying). What would be a way of motivating such a kid to Daven?
11
votes
2answers
609 views

Can too many decorations render a sukkah invalid?

I've seen some sukkahs (especially ones where they've had big "make sukkah decorations" kids' projects) where there are tons and tons and tons of decorations hanging down from the schach. At what ...
11
votes
2answers
482 views

What is the halacha regarding the expulsion of a student deemed a “nuisance student”?

Are there Halachic sources regarding the expulsion of a "nuisance student"? Or Halachic sources of not expelling a "nuisance student"? (Is this issue ever addressed as a real halachic issue?) Below ...
11
votes
3answers
321 views

Beginners' Seder Advice

I'm going to be at a seder this year with young children who are familiar with the basic structure of the haggadah. Some will likely have some of the classic divrei torah prepared for them to say. I'm ...
11
votes
1answer
201 views

How does Judaism regard homeschooling?

The title quite says it. I'm specifically more interested in unschooling.... It is said in Ktubot, 50:b, that: אמר רב יצחק באושא התקינו שיהא אדם מתגלגל עם בנו עד שתים עשרה שנה מכאן ואילך יורד ...
10
votes
2answers
284 views

Is this site for Children?

A father asked me if this site is appropriate for children considering the fact that oftentimes incorrect answers are being posted. Children are very impressionable and as Chazal tell us, Shabeshtah, ...
10
votes
1answer
351 views

Religiously sensitive guidance on when to tell your child about human reproduction

A boy in cheder who has no internet at home, no tv, etc, is not exposed to human reproduction in the way that others are. It's therefore up to the parents to explain to him how children are born. ...
10
votes
3answers
346 views

How do you explain tzniut to a little girl?

Some Jewish schools have attire guidelines starting in first grade. What is the best way to explain the concept of tzniut to a very young (say first grade) girl without explaining sexuality? Please ...
10
votes
3answers
304 views

what are the “Mishnah” and “Gemara” referenced in Pirkei Avot 5?

At the end of Pirkei Avot 5, we have a statement (of either Ben Hei Hei or R. Yehuda ben Tema --- I have two siddurim with slightly different texts): He used to say: at five years of age, the ...
10
votes
1answer
399 views

Are there any Synagogues or Rabbis available in Pakistan?

There was once a very thriving Jewish community available in Pakistan. There was a Synagogue in the port city of Karachi as well till 1985. What is the current situation now? What if someone would ...
10
votes
2answers
221 views

How were girls educated during the Talmudic era?

According to the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood in History and Society's article on Judaism: Owing to the primacy of ritual in traditional Judaism, instruction of children focused on the ...
10
votes
1answer
281 views

Addressing mother as teacher

Children are not supposed to call their parents by their first name because it implies a casual rather than respectful relationship. My daughter attends the school where my wife is a teacher. The ...
10
votes
2answers
127 views

Should one make a bracha on food if only a child is eating?

I think it is common to make a bracha (blessing) when giving a small child food so that they learn the common brachot and learn to say "amen". Is this appropriate to do if you are not eating the food ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Hitting your child as a disciplinary/educational measure - modern opinions

Shemos Rabbah (Shemos parsha 1) and a gemara in Makos (8a) both seem to indicate that physically striking a child/student is a positive thing to do in terms of discipline/education. My question is: ...
8
votes
4answers
978 views

Kashrut in the Talmud

I've been speaking with someone about Judaism - what, how, why, etc. We came to the issue of kashrut, and she had a hard time understanding how we got these random laws from the Torah. I explained ...
8
votes
2answers
92 views

A child's tendency to skip words corrected/prompted by an instructor

When I am helping my young child say Birkat Hamazon or other prayers, I sometimes correct her pronunciation of a word or prompt her when she forgets what the next word is. In these situations, she ...
8
votes
3answers
106 views

Mitzvot for ketanim?

Are there any mitzvot that kids under bar/bat mitzvah are obligated to keep? (not including for "educational purposes")
8
votes
3answers
293 views

Explaining non-Jewish holidays to children?

How should one explain non-Jewish holidays and churches to young children?
8
votes
1answer
594 views

Did the Egyptians use whips on the Hebrew slaves? Why do we assume so?

It seems like every image I've ever seen drawn (or acted) of the Jews' slavery in Egypt involves them being whipped by Egyptians. The Torah says that the Jewish foremen were stricken as their ...
7
votes
3answers
103 views

Why do many boys begin learning Gemara with Elu Metzios?

There is a popular custom for boys to start their Gemara studies with Elu Metzios (the 2nd Perek in Bava Metzia). The Gemara (Bava Basra 175b) does say that financial laws are conducive to becoming ...
7
votes
1answer
112 views

Did Depression-era U.S. high-school boys attend Jewish schools?

I'm reading Chaim Potok's The Chosen and have come across (in chapter 1) the claim that, during the Great Depression, in Brooklyn, [e]very Orthodox Jew sent his male [high-school-age] children to ...
7
votes
3answers
611 views

How does an engaged person find a chosson/kallah (pre-marriage) class teacher?

How does an engaged person find a chosson/kallah (pre-marriage) class teacher? Preferably a good one? Is it "just ask around"? Ask a rabbi? Is there any good way to compare different people, or is ...
7
votes
1answer
162 views

Sources for Jewish Education system today

The western educational system (to the definition of western that includes Japan) today, especially in the United States, but also in other western industrialized countries is an adaptation of the ...
7
votes
2answers
326 views

Bracha on breastmilk?

Should a child old enough to make brachos who is not weaned be encouraged to make a bracha on breastmilk? If so which one? Are there any direct sources for this?
6
votes
4answers
237 views

How do you vet a day school?

How do you go about investigating whether a particular day school is best for your kids? I am most interested in the behavior and attitude of the students and the professionalism of the teachers and ...
6
votes
4answers
736 views

Explaining to children why we don't celebrate Halloween

Without delving into the Pagan origins of Halloween (or even discussing it altogether - as it may not be allowed l'halocho), how would you encourage Jewish children who've celebrated Halloween in the ...
6
votes
6answers
221 views

How to make Torah learning inspiring

How does one, as a teacher, make Torah learning inspiring for one's students? Advice on what material to teach is appreciated, but more importantly I want to know how to teach it in a way that ...
6
votes
3answers
212 views

Why not focus on halacha in elementary education?

From the Mishna B'rura's introduction to the rules of Shabas: …But by what means can we arrive at this level: that one keeps Shabas in all its details? The advice on this is that one urge himself ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

List of acceptable literature for religious schools

A while back I came across an article about an organization that compiled a list of acceptable literature (I believe fiction titles) for Jewish religious schools. Does anyone know where I can find ...
6
votes
3answers
234 views

Sources discussing paying for Torah education

I am looking for sources that discuss the idea of paying tuition money ("schar limud") towards obtaining a Torah education. Topics of interest include: The importance of paying tuition for Torah; ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

Where can I find the booklet “Structure of Debate”?

I was in a different shul this past Shabbos when I saw a very interesting booklet of more than 200 pages called "Structure of Debate" by Jonathan Bailey. It's a primer to learning gemara. I tried ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What size hex nut will properly fit a standard chanukah candle?

I have many a childhood memory of "helping" to make a chanukiyah out of a block of wood and eight hex nuts glued down to it (often with 2 more stacked in the center for shamash); each hex nut was ...
6
votes
1answer
55 views

What options are there for chanukiah lighting in southern latitudes?

What options are there for lighting chanukiyot in southern latitudes where younger children will be going to bed well before sunset? Adults may stay up for lighting chanukiyot but what options are ...
6
votes
1answer
104 views

Daddy, is this story true?

My daughter was reading a parsha book and came across a certain medrash which seemed unbelievable prompting her to ask me 'daddy, is this story real?' Being that she is only nine I took the cheap way ...
6
votes
1answer
71 views

How to teach tefilla to small children in a way that makes it meaningful?

Are there any schools of thought or practical methodologies for teaching tefilla to children under the age of 10 who are not native hebrew speakers in a way that is fun, engaging and makes the ...
6
votes
1answer
69 views

Teaching children to daven

Where does it say in Chazal that one doesn't have to teach their children how to daven until they are old enough to understand what they are saying? My basis that this is found in Chazal is because ...
6
votes
1answer
71 views

Can one practice saying Kaddish by oneself, for educational purposes? [duplicate]

If someone wants to get better at saying one of the Kaddishes (Kaddish d'Rabbanan, Kaddish Yatom [Mourners], etc.), is it permissible to say the Kaddish out loud by oneself? Kaddish is classified as ...
5
votes
4answers
545 views

Tefillin under Bar Mitzvah

Common practice is that a boy begins wearing Tefillin when he reaches Bar Mitzvah age, or perhaps a month (or three) prior. While there should be an obligation even earlier (under the rubric of ...
5
votes
3answers
247 views

Mathematics in Cheder

I recall reading that their is a pesak/teshuvah/report by a major posek, perhaps an early "later" Acharon, (Rabbi Akiva Eiger zt"l) which noted that at least elementary arithmatic or mathematics was ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

Does a child tear Kriyah at the Kosel?

Does a kid under Bar/Bas Mitzva have to tear Kriya when they go to the Kosel?