Thursday, October 25, 2012

Modern Orthodox Dropouts – A Follow-Up

Guest Post by Paul Shaviv

Last Monday this blog carried a lengthy post headed ‘Modern Orthodox dropouts’, which was based on Rabbi Steven Pruzansky’s report of the results of a ‘survey’ of graduates of ‘Modern Orthodox High Schools’.  (A link was provided).  The survey results, as reported, were not particularly encouraging, and attracted nearly 200 comments.

I contacted Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, who was the source of the story (since picked up elsewhere as well).  I wanted to check who did the survey, how was it organized, how large was the sample, what were the questions – in short, how credible was it, and could I learn something from it?
Rabbi Pruzansky admitted that had never even seen or read the survey.  He was relying on an “oral report”, and declined to give any further details.

I don’t know who did this survey, or from whom the ‘oral report’ came.   It may or may not be credible.  It cannot be confidential, as significant purported ‘results’ have now been leaked. 
While respecting Rabbi Pruzansky (and thanking him for promptly responding to my enquiry), I believe it was irresponsible to publish these ‘figures’ without ever having seen the survey, and/or without being prepared to reveal the source. 

When and if the organization who commissioned the survey publish it, we will have something to discuss.  Until then, we don’t.

I do not want to ‘comment on the comments’.  But it could be noted that the constituencies of non-Haredi schools are much, much different than those of Haredi schools.  They are much more varied, and come from communities whose historical-sociological-religious backgrounds are much, much more varied and complex. In that context, simplistic comments, judgments or proffered solutions are probably best avoided.

Thanks to Harry for giving me this ‘Guest Space’.

Paul Shaviv,
Head of School. Ramaz / NY