Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Reverse Image-itis?

Recently, I received a newsletter from a serious Yeshiva that I had attended a while ago.

This place constantly preached staying in learning and not going to college. To their credit, I must say that they've been quite successful. Many of my friends came in thinking they would go for a year or two, then attend college. And now, they're "lifers"--- they're learning, and not going anywhere for a while.

Furthermore, this crowd has given the yeshiva a name as being quite a serious place. And for a while, they've used that to their advantage in developing an image as a place full of future long-term learners. 

Imagine my surprise when, in the "talmidim in focus" section, they talked about a kid's ambitions to go to school and become a radiologist! Most yeshivas today like to talk only about the learners they've produced; you know what I mean: the guy who's been one of the top in the Mir for the last 10 years. When the Israel yeshivas came to my high school, these were their "poster boys." But now, one place has decided to focus on a "future baal habos." What is going on?

When I was in this yeshiva a few years back, I overheard an interesting conversation. Someone was talking about a guy who wanted to go to this place, but his parents were very reluctant. After all, the place was developing a reputation for making guys stay in learning, and parents who want their kids to have a career were getting turned off. So instead of guys fighting with their parents to stay in the yeshiva (as opposed to going to college), you were having guys fighting to even attend the place to begin with.

Seems like the tables have turned. Some places are trying not to look too shtark or too serious. Sometimes, even in our society, people can "protest" and change things to go their way. Looks like that's what's happening here.


Blogger Steve Cohen said...

You must realize that from a fundraising perspective, this is an important point since it makes the yeshiva look like it does not tell everyone to stay in learning and maybe they can make a few bucks of the parents you describe. Of course in actuality, the guy who wants to be a radiologist is being pushed to stay in learning like the rest of them. This is the balance they have to strike between not turning off potential supporters but still attracting serious learners.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

Obviously, the yeshiva is pushing the guy to stay in learning. And of course, the yeshiva's advertising is all about image. I'm not denying that.

My point was (as referred to in the title) that instead of the yeshivos promoting the learning and the top learners of the yeshiva, things have changed.

Now, it seems that the future baal habatim are the ones the yeshiva is using to appeal to the parents and prospective students.

Is this a good thing, a bad thing, I don't know. My point was just that things are changing. That's all.

11:30 PM  

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