When the Son is Not Told
The recent disclosure of the findings of an international survey of the educational abilities of pupils in 64 countries caused ruffles in the education circles in Israel. The relatively poor showing of Israeli youngsters raised doubts about the effectiveness of government schools. It also caused many people to wonder why the Education Ministry is making such a major effort to force religious schools to introduce secular subjects into their curriculum rather than solve the problems of student violence and poor academic achievement in government schools.
"And you shall tell your son on that day" is what we read in this week's Torah portion as the command to relate to our offspring the tale of the Exodus. For education to be successful it has to be built on tradition. When Jewish history begins only with the establishment of the State, it is inevitable that the lack of respect for what went before leads to failure in developing educational skills and absorbing the values of respecting teachers and parents.