I recently met an old school friend from my days at Melbourne's Yeshiva College. We fell into conversation about the time we spent there from age three till graduating at eighteen.

He has nothing but good memories from the time he spent in Yeshivah. His family was not particularly religious, but he never felt excluded from the group, nor did he suffer from any associated stigma. Until today he retains friendships from all ends of the spectrum and, though he does not regularly pray or study Torah, is still proud of the skills and knowledge he gained while at school. He'd love to send his kids to yeshivah too.

Is it the ideal position for a Jew to be locked off from the world, isolated in a self-imposed ghetto? His wife, however, doesn't believe in the concept of Jewish schooling. From her perspective, an exclusive school, attended by children of one faith, is discriminatory and snobbish. She wants to send their kids to public schools where they'll rub shoulders with children of all colors and backgrounds and they'll learn to get along with everyone.

Personally, I disagree. It is a utopian fantasy to believe that just by hanging out together internecine conflict and differences of opinion will simply disappear. Assimilation didn't save the Jews of Germany.

However, doesn't she have a point? Is it the ideal position for a Jew to be locked off from the world, isolated in a self-imposed ghetto? We were tasked with being "a light unto the nations" and we can't do our job if we stay home and hibernate.

On the other hand, many will argue that it's not healthy to send one's child to a school where not all the student body are similarly inclined. Is not allowing our precious children to mix with friends who hail from non-religious (or non-Jewish) homes an unacceptable risk?

So who's right, the internationalists or the isolationists? Should we stay home and play with our own ball or accept the risks of playing in the game out there on the street?

I believe that the story of Noah and the Flood provides the answer to this question.

The Baal Shem Tov interpreted G‑d's command to Noah to "go into the ark" as an instruction for all ages. We should be prepared to turn our back on the world by retreating into an ark of Judaism. There is nothing to be ashamed of hanging out with your own tribe and protecting oneself from the flood of contemporary culture.

However the Lubavitcher Rebbe once pointed out that this was not the final instruction that Noah received. There comes a time when you have to be ready to "leave the ark." You've laid down reserves of knowledge and skill, you've spent your childhood years studying G‑dliness, now is the time to head off into the great wide world and share your gifts with others.

There comes a time when you have to be ready to "leave the ark"We have nothing to be ashamed of for wanting to protect ourselves behind walls of faith, but neither do we have a right to turn our back on those who come to learn. There is no excuse for ignoring or avoiding the world, but it is recommended that first you spend some time protecting yourself by acquiring knowledge.

Send your kids to a Jewish school. All Jews are made to feel welcome there and the sum of the parts make up a glorious whole. Let them stay there during their formative years, and you can be sure that when the time comes for them to head out and conquer the world they'll be all the better for the experience.