SALUTE TO THE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES OF 2017

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Dear Jido,

Our son is getting ready to go off to college in late August. Although he feels ready, we don't. In particular, we are concerned about his Jewish identity and whether he will maintain the values and traditions that are so important to our family. Still, we cannot prevent him from pursuing a college education, as he is financially self-sufficient and has a scholarship due to his remarkable grades in school. Our number one priority is maintaining a close relationship with him and we are concerned that if we say or do the wrong thing he will distance himself from us altogether. Any words of advice would be greatly appreciated.

Signed,

Not ready for college

Dear Not Ready,

I myself am a college graduate who highly values education. When I graduated many years ago,Jews represented more than 25% of the faculty and more than 25% of the enrollment at all of the Ivy League colleges. Today, those same professors have become part of the academic elite that scorns Israel, and the students are the backbone of today’s liberal Jewish platform.

Last August, the Washington Post published an article entitled “So You’re a Jew and You’re Starting College?” The article goes on to warn the Jewish student to “be prepared for the various forms of anti-Israel sentiment and maybe even anti-Semitism you’re likely to encounter on your new college campus.” The colleges in question are not just UCLA, McGill, and Brandeis. Today, there are even anti-Israel demonstrations at our own Brooklyn College. This is in addition to BDS and other left-wing influences.

We live, thank Gd, in a rather insular community and our children are relatively sheltered from the negative sentiments of the world around us. Sending them out into the “cold, cruel world” can sometimes be a serious shock if they are unprepared. Still, a college education today can be beneficial. Our grandparents managed with minimal education and fought tooth and nail to provide a living for our parents. Not so today.

Your son must be made aware of what might be facing him when he begins college. Fortunately, we have community representation on some local campuses through the organization Kesher. There is also Aish on Campus and other Chabad rabbis at the larger colleges. (Some other “Jewish” organizations have a marked Reform/Conservative leaning and should be avoided).

You would be well-advised to encourage your son to continue his education at a local college and live at home. If he insists on an out-of-town college, he must know the potential dangers, while being assured of your guidance, encouragement, and love.

Jido