Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Yechiel Spero Wants Women Back in the Kitchen

A Guest Post By E. Fink

This item was sent to me by Dag and apparently he sent it to some other bloggers as well (see Orthonomics for her take).

The Yated Chinuch Roundtable is one of the more interesting parts of the paper. I have particular interest as my father is one of the members of the roundtable (his is the voice of reason).

Last week the question was:
As the mother of, B"H, a nice sized family with teenage girls, I would like to ask for the opinion of the chosheve panelists as we begin a new year, with its demanding schedule.

We are not a chassidishe family, but I have noticed something about the way many of the chassidishe girls schools run their curriculum and schedule that we might well learn from. Their school week runs from Sunday through Thursday. Because Friday is erev Shabbos Kodesh, the girls stay home and help prepare for Shabbos. Last year, I 
received a letter from my daughter's principal stating that school is 6 days a week and that my daughter had missed 3 Fridays, and was likely to be penalized for too many absences. I spoke to teacher and explained my position, that I need my daughter's help on erev Shabbos Kodesh. I suggested that they poll other mothers and assured them that many feel as I do, that they would prefer to have their daughters at home on Friday. 

The teacher told me that this only the practice in chassidishe schools. but I wonder why we stress academics so much and are not spending more time teaching our girls how to run a Yiddishe home. Pardon me for using this expression but I think you will understand me when I say that when our daughters get married there should not be 'baptism by fire'; they need to know how to prepare for Shabbos.
Spero took this as an opportunity to remind us all that women belong in the kitchen. Short version: The only thing a girl needs to know is how to bake a cake. The need for girls school as an eis laasos lahashem - why? not because they need jobs or stimulation, rather, because otherwise they would be lured by shopping. The money quote: "Ideally girls should learn how to be housewives".

Perhaps I would have offered my response for this blog post but I think my father did a good job answering the question. Shorter version: The programs offered to our girls need to be academically ambitious, intellectually stimulating and made relevant to their lives. Also if you have kollel then you need to have women working, if they are working they need an education. And, having school on Friday has not compromised the next generation's ability to take care of a home.

Personally, I find it offensive that the "get back in the kitchen" movement still has legs. Not only is it wrong, it is self contradictory within the prevalent kollel system. If the wife is baking and the husband is learning who is providing? You can't have both.

An anecdote: My aunt is a psychiatrist. She went to school in the early 80's when there were far fewer Orthodox Jewish women professionals. (Not including my grandmother who is a psychologist.) Before she went, she asked R' Yaakov Weinberg (Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel) what he thought. He replied that there will certainly be a need for frum, female psychiatrists and that she was doing a great chesed to the community by going to school.

Link to scan of article: Here

Search for more information about women who know how to bake cakes at 4torah.com.

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