Greeting and Blessing:

I duly received your letter, in which you write about the problem of Jewish education, especially in our day and age in the United States.

I believe that anyone who is familiar with the confusion and turmoil in our present-day society will recognize that the primary purpose of Jewish education in a Jewish day school is not merely to make the Jewish boy or girl more knowledgeable of Yiddishkeit and Jewish subjects, nor even to make them more closely attached to Jewish observance. But, in view of the prevailing climate of permissiveness, and the erosion of the moral and social foundations of the environment in which Jews are a small minority, it is simply a question of survival for the Jew as a Jew, and the only way to safeguard against complete assimilation and loss of the Jewish people, G‑d forbid.

It is difficult, indeed painful, to elaborate on this subject. But it is also unnecessary for one who lives in the USA and has open eyes for all that is happening to Jewish youth. To say that the situation is frightening is an understatement. Furthermore, one who is in contact with Jewish youth knows that those who are drifting, or being alienated from their Jewish source and identity, do not choose this way of life because of their antagonism to Yiddishkeit. In the vast majority of cases, it is only due to ignorance of what Yiddishkeit is, and what it means to be a Jew, and various other external factors into which we need not enter here.

It is a fact that under prevailing conditions in the USA, it is not so much the home, nor the parents, who mold the character of the child, but primarily the school and schoolmates, since it is in the school atmosphere and in the company of their schoolmates that a child spends the best and most hours of the day.

Moreover, it should be stressed that we are not merely concerned here with the religious question, but also with basic moral issues. Even among the best group of children, if there is one or two whose character and conduct are not all that is to be desired, it is certain that other children will be influenced, since moral disease is infectious.

In light of the above, it should be quite clear that by merely sending a child to a Sunday school or an afternoon Talmud Torah for several hours a week, one cannot provide the religious and moral fiber necessary to immunize the child against harmful influences and forces. It is an absolute necessity for a Jewish child to attend an all-day Jewish day school. To be sure, the danger is not completely eliminated even then, inasmuch as there are hours in the day which the child spends outside of school. However, this is at least the maximum that one can do to ensure the well-being of the Jewish child.

I am, of course, aware that even the day school is not perfect in every respect, but whatever shortcomings it may have are surely quite negligible in relation to its primary function of ensuring the future of the Jewish child as not only a good Jew, but also a good moral individual.

I need hardly add that it is not my intention to condemn the public school system as a whole, but only to point out that insofar as a Jewish child is concerned, the dangers to which he is exposed there are infinitely greater, and quite incomparable with the situation in the Jewish day school.

I trust that the above lines, though quite brief in relation to the subject matter, will serve to illuminate the problem of Jewish education in the present day and age, and how vital it is for a Jewish child to get his education in a Jewish day school. To summarize in a nutshell, the day school is not simply intended to make the Jewish boy or girl scholars in Yiddishkeit, or help them become the most strictly observant Jews, etc., but is the only way to ensure that they remain Jews, marry Jews, and remain within the Jewish fold, and provide a source of true Yiddish Nachat and happiness to their parents.

With blessing,