Link: Jewish Press Op Ed – How Bais Yaakov Almost Ruined My Life

Here is a Jewish Press article on growing up a curly redhead in bais yaakov.

It started when I was in first grade. I was an active kid with bright orange curls, and I’d never sit in one place long enough for my mother to even attempt to brush my hair. I was six years old, the youngest in my class, when my teacher called me to the front of the room. “This”, she informed the rest of the class, “is what a Bas Yisrael does NOT look like.” She then proceeded to braid my hair in front of everyone else as I did my best to hold back my tears.

To be fair, it is not policy in bais Yaakov to humiliate sloppy students. I can vouch for this, because I didn’t brush my hair between 3rd and 5th grade. I had curly hair and I had no clue how to take care of it.

So I didn’t.

I looked like an utter mess, but no teacher ever mentioned it.

That said, the emphasis on defining what a bas Yisroel looks like (hint: it’s a pretty narrow mold and you probably don’t fit) can be harmful, especially when taken to extremes like the teacher in this story.


Link: Jewish Press Op Ed – How Bais Yaakov Almost Ruined My Life

2 thoughts on “Link: Jewish Press Op Ed – How Bais Yaakov Almost Ruined My Life

  1. Anon says:

    I don’t like or agree with this article. I had severe ADHD and drove my teachers crazy and got kicked out of class, but I was never publicly humiliated. In fact, my teachers saw my struggle and tried to accommodate my needs as much as possible.

    The author could have had an equally damaging experience in a public school, only she’d be embarrassed for different things.


    1. Bad4Shidduchim says:

      Well, one difference is that public school teachers usually have a masters degree in education, which means they’re less likely to use 18th-century shaming techniques in teaching. But otherwise, I agree: many of the problems are teacher-specific. Unfortunately, there are fewer qualifications for bais yaakov teachers, and as a result, lots of rotten apples get access to our children.


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