Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Highest Level of Spiritual Purity

A typical Charedi elementary school classroom
I have been informed by someone that was there that the story I was assured was an accurate description of events - did not quite happen the way it was described to me. Usually a very accurate source, this time he was not.

Here is what happened. There was a weekend event by Pirchei (Agudath Israel’s youth division) that celebrated a Siyum Mishnyos. Students from all the day schools in Chicago and beyond that participated in the study of the six orders of Mishnayos were invited to attend. 

Pirchei used a camp facility outside of Chicago to have this event. The Charedi schools and the Centrist schools ended up in separate buildings. Some of the rooms in the Charedi building were at some point early on trashed. There were accusations floating around that it was students from the Centrist school that were responsible. One of the Centrist students made an offhand comment that was interpreted by the Charedi students as admitting that they did it.

And that led to a huge flap where both sides did not behave in ways that students steeped in the values of the Torah should behave. This included some of the Charedi students accusing the Centrist students of not being religious enough in various ways. (Which is where I suppose the error about the cause of the fight was made.)  But there was plenty of bad behavior on both sides.

This was not a case of bullying at all.

So I have to retract this post as originally written. Although I do feel that as a general rule - telling your students how holy they are in comparison to everyone else is a bad policy that can result in some pretty bad behavior, this was not an incidence of that.

I know that a lot of parents are upset by what happened last weekend. And I'm sure that each side has its own version of exactly what happened. But the individual I spoke to moments ago was there and knows exactly what happened. There is enough blame to go around on both sides.

I apologize for reporting a story based on the word of one source. I tried to find other sources to tell me what really happened, and got nowhere. So I went with my trusted but (in this case) erroneous source. A source that is himself Charedi and had every reason to deny what happened. That's what gave him extra credibility and why I went with it.  Once again I truly apologize.