Growing Up with Choices
I was raised in a Modern Orthodox Jewish family. This term is rather new in the development of the Jewish religion. Many Jews prefer the term “Modern Orthodoxy,” because its rules allow those who practice the ability to connect to the Jewish traditions, but also offers a lifestyle that is more palatable with Western society.
From nursery through college, I attended Jewish schools. They included: Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy (SAR) in the Bronx, The Ramaz School in Manhattan, and Yeshiva University in Manhattan, as well. My education consisted of two cores; all of these schools obligated students to take two curriculums. We had secular studies, which consisted of all of the courses that you would find in any other New York school (math, biology, history, music, art, chemistry, and English). We also had Jewish studies. Those included: Old Testament, Talmud Laws, Jewish history and Jewish philosophy. We started school each day with morning prayers that lasted around forty-five minutes. By the time I was in high school, I was in school until 5:00 pm, and would get home at around 6:00 pm. In college, classes could go on until 10:00 at night.
The aforementioned schedule was grueling. Many times, school seemed to be a miserable place because of the workload. However, part of the advantage to the dual-curriculum is that many of the secular subjects are mastered using logic, memory, and deductive analysis. These same skills are encouraged when one engages in the Divine Law that is taught in Jewish courses. When one studies legal and ethical issues in Jewish literature, there is a recognition that intellectual honesty is needed. By building that skill, tackling tricky math questions, or any technical skill taught in school is better seen on one’s horizon.
Modern Orthodox Jewish education has been a great tool for me, because it eased me along in the professional decision process. Having the option to weigh what subjects I have interest in over others has enabled me to see how slow the world really moves even amongst these fast-paced technologies. Regardless of how successful I will ever be, the importance of variety of choice when it comes to life decisions means a lot to me and I learned that by applying my skills I could better decide which way to go. #