The Matzav Shmoooze: Bash the Schools and Get Away With It


rainbow-loom-braceletsDear Editor,

I am a mechanech at a boys elementary school. Our school and several others in our locale chose to make a rule that the boys should not bring the popular rainbow loom bracelets to school. The schools didn’t “ban” them. They simply made a rule that they should not be brought to school, no different than a mosad making a rule that a boy should bring other distracting items with them to school. In this case, there was also a safety concern, as the bands were being shot like  slingshots at other students.

Fair enough?

It seems that some people don’t think so. In fact, my fellow rabbeim were surprised that the fundamental, important rule has become fodder for discussion online, on frum sites no less.

The simply rule was, of course, reported as a “ban.” Saying it is a “ban” always sounds worse than a simple school rule. Yeah, let’s call it a ban, they say to themselves as they pound away at their keyboard. Let’s make the schools look dumb. This way we can cause some hock, and then the anti-frum sites will pick up our story and say how foolish those Orthodox Jews are. And we’ll get lots of comments. Those are always good. Who cares about the mosdos anyway.

And then, of course, the topic is open for discussion so that people can mock and question a policy made by schools. One person asked, “Is this really such an issue?” Another wrote, “Now thats (sic) a huge issue. Ban ban ban.” Another: “cmon let these kids live! I personally think this is way better than the orbeez craze.” Another: “Was this ban approved by the mayor of NY city Mayor Michael Ban-berg?” And finally: “Who cares let these kids do what they want, its (sic) not like their sitting and playing video games. seriously people have to worry about important things NOT rubberbands…get a grip.”

There you go. You have it all. People who think they know better than the schools – and are allowed to say whatever they want online. They mock, they laugh, they say what they want, and it gets posted. No accountability. Nothing. Bash the schools. Bash the “ban.” Bash everyone and get away with it.

I wonder if the reporter of this story and these brilliant commenters send their children to school altogether. Maybe one of their children are in my class. Who knows. But they should know that by being motzie laaz on a school publicly, they are doing more damage to the chinuch of their children than they can imagine.

But they get away with defaming schools and everyone just sits on their hands. Disgraceful.

We, educators, are just trying to be mechanech your children with love, care, sensitivity and tact. Each and every day, we give our hearts and souls to instill in our students positive feelings about Yiddishkeit and about life. We try our best. It is a difficult job, but we embrace the challenge. Please, we beg you, don’t make it harder.

I sign on behalf of all my fellow mechanchim – rabbeim, menahalim, teachers, principals, and administrators – who are appalled.

A Rebbi

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  1. Thank you. As a parent, I would say 99% of parents agree with you, dear rebbi. Unfortunately, it is the 1% who make the most noise. If they don’t like it, they should keep silent.

  2. It is surprising that boys are also consumed in this bracelet craze. It may be creative, but the obsession is interfering with the classroom, so kol hakovod for putting the distraction at bay.

  3. I am all behind the rebbi. We have to support the schools and the people online who allow the bashing should have their kids thrown out of the schools and the communuty

  4. When you cannot make a rule in a school w/o answering to all, it is no wonder Yeshivos are super selective when choosing their clientele. You cannot have it your way ALWAYS, “sometimes” you just have to accept it. We live in a times where “EVERYTHING or NOTHING” is an acceptable attitude.

    Thanks for this opportunity.

  5. I fail to see why you’re taking umbrage at the word “ban.” If the school made a rule that they cannot be brought in, then it’s a ban on those items in school.

    The Wolf

  6. See Dibros Moshe at the beginning of Parshas Emor. He clearly states there that (already in his day) teaching is a thank-less frustrating job,, (specifically mentioning the ‘aggro’from parents and others) and the ONLY motivation for taking up a job in Chinuch can only be the love of the students and the Torah you are imparting.

  7. Public Schools doing it too. STOP THE YESHIVA BASHING!!!!!

    School bans Rainbow Loom bracelets

    An Upper West Side elementary-school principal is banning colorful rubber-band bracelets, claiming the jewelry-making fad is a classroom distraction that causes fights on the playground.
    “The children are playing with the bracelets during class without permission from teachers. [They] are playing with them at recess, and it is causing conflict between children,” PS 87 Principal Suzan Federici wrote in a letter announcing the ban.
    Modal Trigger
    (L to R) PS 87 students Cee Krell, Zoey Jefferson and Jada Jefferson show off their Rainbow Loom bracelets.
    Photo: Robert Miller
    “Therefore, starting immediately, your children are no longer allowed to bring any Rainbow Loom bracelets or the kits to school,” the letter notes.
    Under the new rule, any kid caught with one of the plastic- bracelet-making kits must surrender it to a teacher, Federici notes.

  8. Dear Rebbi, If you are signing on behalf of all your fellow mechanchim etc, then at least have the courage to sign your name. If you truly believe in hat you are saying, then put your name behind it. And the name of your school.

  9. Just because you’re a school means that no one can question you? Schools are always right no matter what? I’m not specifically saying this issue is right or wrong but what makes you infallible?

  10. I think what we have here is a catch 22. Most parents rely on the Yeshivos to take their kids off their hands and teach them to be Bnai Torah, while the parents do their own thing. Then when the Yeshivos infringe on their lifestyle the parents say ” who told you what’s good for my kid”. And around we go.

  11. Dear fellow colleague,

    I’m also a rebbi trying against the wind and waves of the generation to help parents in raising their children, the next dor.

    [Although I’m also dealing with that bracelet craze I’m glad my school didn’t make a rule or ban, yet. Certainly if it becomes a problem in a particular school they should deal with the problem.]

    If the school sees fit to enact a ban, that’s it! Parents must accept it! If parents don’t let the school do their job what do they wish the school to become? Too oftern they work tofor undermine the school and share it with their kids too! They should be involved but not when their involvement serves to underhandedly demean the efforts of the school. The yeshiva is charged with being mechanech the child, let them do that. If you know better, then for cryin out loud, open your own school.
    Thank you rebbi chaveir for posting your article!

  12. I don’t understand why boys should be wearing colorful bracelets that are worn by girls. It is probably a violation of lo silbash.

  13. Hellooooo! Boys and bracelets? What’s next? Should we allow them to wear jewelry too?

    Why are people so afraid to say “no” sometimes?

  14. Another problem with the rainbow bands is in what it means to the secular.
    We know how there is a lot of noise regarding allowing ‘alternative lifestyles’. Many athletes are starting to paint their nails in rainbow colors to promote these ‘rights’.
    Russia which does not allow the promotion of this behaviour (it doesn’t ban the behaviour but it doesn’t allow marches or advertising it) is having a big problem because of the Winter Olympics there next year. Many athletes are trying to promote this freedom by waving rainbow flags or painting their nails, in an effort to protest Russian Policy towards these people.

  15. I have no problem with my kids having the bracelets, but I also support the school if it decides not to allow it. They’re the ones I entrust with my children’s chinuch and I must back them regardless of how I feel on each particular issue.
    The geniuses who criticize their children’s rebbeim are always the one’s who scream when the same rebbeim are ineffective at reaching their precious lil’ dahlings.
    You create a monster when you speak negatively of your children’s rebbeim and teachers.

  16. Wolf,

    A bit disingenuous aren’t you? The commenters on those sites, as you well know, interpreted this as a complete ban. Not just in school.

    Not allowing children to bring certain objects to school is not a ban.

    But you knew that.

  17. I think it is a great activity for boys. the actual making of them requires fine motor skills that will benefit every boy. As one person said it is a fad and will pass. But it is ok for schools to say don’t bring it to school – the same with any toy or other thing.

  18. While it makes sense that certain items do not belong in school as being inappropriate I t should as disturbing that the boys seize on these bracelets capacity as weapons W

  19. my girls schools also sent home a note asking us not to send them in. Just from practical point; no toys or collections should be brought to school…

  20. The rebbi mentioned that the students are shooting the bracelets across the room, hopefully not at one another. How would the complainers feel if one of the projectiles c”v hit and injured their child? They’d be screaming bloody murder at the yeshiva for not preventing injuries by banning the bracelets.
    The yeshivos are responsible for the chinuch and safety of our children. If they choose to make a rule against something they feel is detrimental and undermines good order and discipline, they are entitled to do so. Parents who kvetch and moan about everything are doing more harm than good. They are teaching their children not to respect authority. Therefore, the respect due to rebbeim and menahalim will also suffer.

  21. As a teacher in a boys’ school, I would like to explore another facet of these rubber band bracelets ($1.99 for 1000 bands in Amazing).

    There have been some positive behaviors, a)everyone is involved, nebby non-athletic guy, bookworm and the popular kid. It has been a bonding time for the entire class. b) It is creative and does better hand-eye coordination for the boys than some of the OT exercises. c)It is not only a bracelet, you can make necklaces, key chains, book marks, etc. d)The bands are cheap to buy and thereby includes all soci-economic groups. e)In our class population there are jumpy, energetic boys who love to sit and make the bracelets.

    The only negative is that they are distracting. Our school has a rule, no making or playing with bands during classtime or they will be taken away… This has worked well so far!!! It’s a fad and by next year you will be begging for rubber band looms. (Who cares if Non-Jews make & wear them too? They also wear sneakers, watches and eyeglasses too)

  22. Why in the world are boys interested in that stuff? I thought only girls would be caught up in that craze. I would definitely never go around wearing those colorful bracelets.

  23. Dittos to # 28. Every day I bring home some rubber bands that I have confiscated and give them to my kids. I tell the boys upfront: Play with it in class, my kids will play with it at home. Works like a charm 80% of the time. and the other 20% would have been playing with some other toy instead. These are easier tho control than crazy bones. (Those are more expensive I can’t legit. keep them without devastating the child.)

  24. The one possible addition to the article and many good comments is:

    Good morning, It’s the end of 2013

    You’re all a long decade late

  25. The one possible addition to the article and many good comments is:

    Good morning, It’s the end of 2013

    You’re all a long decade late