The Time My Principal Hit the Ceiling — But Then Apologized For It

This is a great story because it features a Bais Yaakov principal acting like a stereotypical Bais Yaakov principal… but then doing teshuva for it. It warms my heart. Story from Kaylie. 

Our school had the rule that you could only wear a school sweater or school sweatshirt. One day the principal came in to talk to us, because we weren’t really following the rules.

One student was wearing a simple, solid-colored crew-necked sweater. When the principal was done explaining the importance of wearing an official, sanctioned sweater, she raised her hand and asked, “If it’s a non-school sweater but with no words, crew-necked,  like this one, is it okay?”

The principal said “I think that’s fine.”

So we all went out and bought crew-necks.

A few weeks later our principal saw us all in our crew-necks and admonished us for still not following the rules.

“But you said a crew-neck sweater is okay!” we protested. It got a little heated on our end. Our principal got heated as well. She actually got really angry — and yelled like we had never heard her yell before.

We were all furious as well, because we’d only bought those sweaters since she’d said they were okay.

A few days later she came back and apologized for yelling. But the rule still stayed the same.

The Time My Principal Hit the Ceiling — But Then Apologized For It

The Time My Teacher Explained Why Mashiach Isn’t Here

This story left me scratching my head. It illustrates how far people will go to rationalize that their derech is the only one, in spite of any evidence to the contrary. With some drive-by theodicy thrown in for good measure. This story from NS:


I went to a school that was officially not chassidish, but 50% of the students and teachers were chassidish (the other 50% being Yeshivish or Sephardi), so we got our fair share of Chassidish and Yeshivish lessons.

We had a teacher once who claimed that Hashem especially coordinated it that the Baal Shem Tov never met the Vilna Goan because had they met, the Vilna Goan would have instantly become Chassidish and brought all the jews with him, and so all jews would have become chassidish. (Im confused as to what she thought would have happened to the sephardi jews. Or maybe she just didnt think they were real Jews)
Anyway, her point was that in a world where all Jews are chassidish, Hashem would have had to bring Moshiach, whether or not He wanted to. And He didnt want to at that time, so He arranged that the Baal Shem Tov and the Vilna Goan never met. (She claimed they had tried meeting a few times)
Needless to say I never listened to a word this teacher said again.
She wasnt a regular teacher but a special guest teacher that they kept bringing in for special occasions. And she is a really respected member of the community.


The Time My Teacher Explained Why Mashiach Isn’t Here

The Time the Teacher Refused to Use My Name

I get it. I have an exotic name, and people have loved giving me trouble over it. “That’s not a name. It must be [insert similar but not the same name here].” Because I don’t know my own name, obviously. So I feel the pain of the people with these stories:

This first one is a seminary stereotype. Except in happened in Brooklyn. Granted, the teacher was probably just back from seminary, and teaching second grade — possibly as an assistant teacher.

I had a teacher who insisted that I spell my name with a kuf and a hyphen because “Elisheva” contains shem Hashem in Hebrew.

And this one:

OMG the same thing! My first name is Gabby and my second is Chava but I went by Gabby. My teacher decided my name wasn’t yeshivish enough. So the next day she came in and announced to the class that I’d be called Gabby Chava. The reason she gave to the class is that a bas Yisroel should have such a goyish name like Gabriella.

And this one, which is weird because this name is very clearly in Bireishis:

In seminary, one of my teachers decided my first name was too modern sounding (“Eden is such an unusual name. i don’t understand, why did your parents give u such a name?”)
Hence she would only call me by my second name. (Sarah).


The Time the Teacher Refused to Use My Name

The Time My Teacher Really Cared

This story is from A.M. And it basically explains why every year my principal would complain about putting on a school play and how she really wants to just cancel it, but they have to have t so that even non-academic girls have a chance to shine, but oh the disruption to our studies… 


I attended an out-of-town bais ya’akov with a mix of teachers, from all different hashkafos. All of the kodesh teachers were yeshivish or chassidishe, but we had slightly more modern teachers for our English studies.

This story is about my ivrit teacher and how she taught me to care.

I was in tenth grade and our school play was in full swing. In my school, the play is our pride and joy. The actual performance is in March, but we can start tryouts and callbacks as early as November or even September. Two weeks before the play, we have practice every night until ten o’clock. We’re up late, perfecting dances and stage directions, altering costumes and painting scenery. Then we stumbled home, attempted (or not) to do our homework and fell into bed, just to do it again tomorrow.

I was bone tired. I couldn’t handle the workload of school and the intensity of the practices. Like everyone else in my school, we found whatever time we could to nap. Anytime, anywhere.

I dragged myself to my Ivrit classroom an put my head down to rest before class started. When I heard my teacher’s voice, I looked up. Everyone was walking out of the room. The entire period had passed.

I glanced at my teacher, totally embarrassed.

“Mrs. Kurtz, I’m so sorry-”

“Don’t be.” She cut me off with a smile. “You’re tired, you needed rest. I’m a mother, I understand.” With that, she winked at me and left the room to prepare for her next class.

I don’t remember what dikduk Mrs. Kurtz taught me, or many of the milim she tried to drill in our brains. But there is one lesson that stuck with me: what it means to care for others.

The Time My Teacher Really Cared

Things My Teacher Said About Tznius

Every once in a while I need to run a new post on this subject, because there’s an endless supply of insane things that Bais Yaakov teachers say on the subject of tznius:

“…that I need to zip my sweater all the way up. Leaving it all the way open looks sloppy, and halfway zipped will attract male attention.”


“I had a chassidish teacher in 7th grade who was waaaay too extreme for the girls in my school. Once she was at our class melave malka and was horrified to see that we were all wearing nude tights. She gave us a whole mussar speech about how terrible nude tights are (although most other teachers wore them). She ended with a fiery “Only bulletproof tights are fireproof — from the fires of gehenom!’ We were like “Waaaat?” Then a girl raised her hand and said, “But Mrs.  Principal wears nude tights too. Are you going to tell her this too?”


“I was told that my jean skirt is the cause of the churban.”

“Like, retroactively?”

“No, for each generation the Bais Hamikdash is not rebuilt, it’s like we destroyed it, and in our generation, it was my skirt that did it.”


“I was told that my jean skirt is the cause of the churban.”

“Like, retroactively?”

“No, for each generation the Bais Hamikdash is not rebuilt, it’s like we destroyed it, and in our generation, it was my skirt that did it.”


I was wearing knee  socks that slipped down, revealing an inch of knee. My teacher said, “I’m not used to seeing that much leg.”

Things My Teacher Said About Tznius

The Time My Teacher Threw a Bentcher in the Garbage

This story submitted by Elana

My seminary teacher was a… fanatic. She once told us that girls dressing up on Purim was like eating pork on Yom Kippur.

One of her admirers… went to her house a lot to help her with all her many kids.

One day our teacher made this student a sandwich before she went back to seminary. After she finished eating, the student took out a bencher from her handbag and started to bentch. The bentcher happened to be from YU and had the YU logo on it.

The teacher looked at the bentcher, grabbed it, and threw it into the trash.

The student looked at her in shock.

“YU is treif!” the teacher exclaimed. “Their memorabilia belongs in the garbage!”

“But mommy,” her daughter protested, “It’s sheimos. How can you throw it in the garbage?”

“I promise you, anything that says the word ‘Torah U’Madah’ on the cover isn’t sheimos. Ask Totty when he comes home, you’ll see that he agrees with me.”

The Time My Teacher Threw a Bentcher in the Garbage