Yeshivat Ohel Torah - A Hidden Jewel in the Heart of Brooklyn
To Arm or Not to Arm
I’m glad that you had the courage to print an article about the lack of safety in our yeshivas. Most of our yeshivas definitely need more protection. Yes, it’s true that everything is from Hashem, but we need to do our hishtadlut [effort].
I have a neighbor who sends his children to a school outside of our area. Their school has six armed security guards posted in front of the school as well as additional guards inside the entrance. The security guards know all the kids as well as the parents. They can spot in a second someone who is a new face, like a new teacher, substitute, or someone who has evil intentions, and they take care of the situation before the person is IN the building.
By contrast, the lack of security in the yeshivas where my kids go is very obvious. In the yeshiva my daughter attends there are glass doors that require you to be buzzed in after the person at the front desk looks at you, but that person is a very sweet old lady who has to be in her upper 70s or low 80s. She is no match for an armed person who can get through the glass doors in a second. The yeshiva that my son attends has an unarmed elderly man at the front desk. He is in no way a threat or a deterrent to a young and strong criminal.
One point that should be made is that my neighbor’s school requires each family to pay an additional $500 per child to compensate for the armed guards. This is in addition to tuition and registration and book fees. I doubt anyone minds paying these extra fees to provide safety and peace of mind to the kids, parents, and the teachers. I think that we should definitely have armed guards in all of our schools – and we should do it now, before, has veshalom, a tragedy strikes.
I do not like the idea of having armed guards at our schools and shuls. Don’t get me wrong – I am concerned about school/shul safety – but I don’t believe adding guns is the solution. History shows that having guns at our disposal usually leads to more accidents to innocent victims. In my school, we have a security guard who is always visible on the grounds and is very well respected. This guard is never armed, but is still able to defuse situations and keep the school grounds safe. There is no reason to have armed guards as long as you have experienced security personnel who have knowledge of how to handle emergency situations. I’m concerned that adding guns in our schools and shuls will only lead to more violence.
The Secret Life of Plants
Last month’s article about the intelligence of plants was truly remarkable. My mother always told me how smart plants were and that they had the ability to hear and perceive, but I never took her seriously (I should have known better).
My family and I really appreciate the new material in your magazine. My children gobble it up the second they get it and they constantly read it over and over again. They love to read books about nature and science, and it is difficult to satisfy their interests with the few books that follow proper Torah hashkafah (outlook). The articles are not only entertaining and informative, but also, and more importantly, promoting yirat Shamayim. Your publication is the perfect thing, as it is great reading for both me and my kids. Thank you so much!
E-Cigarettes Less Harmful
I wanted to share some thoughts in light of the article on E-Cigarettes [in the May 2013 issue]. Certainly, young people should not be using any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes. But the information in your article was misleading, at best.
An article by Michael Siegel, a Boston University professor, states, “The Pennsylvania Department of Health, with all of its scientific expertise, is not sure that smoking cigarettes – which kills more than 400,000 Americans each year – is any more hazardous than using non-tobacco e-cigarettes, which have not been reported to ever have killed a single person… This position of the Pennsylvania Department of Health is shameful. If the Department of Health is not sure that a non-tobacco product which merely heats propylene glycol and nicotine is any safer than cigarettes, which burn tobacco and emit thousands of chemicals and scores of carcinogens, then it needs to review some basic biology and chemistry textbooks.”
If the article in Community Magazine discourages cigarette smokers – adults or teens – from switching to the dramatically less harmful E-cigarettes, you will be doing your readers a grave disservice.
Please clarify the issue to benefit the health of your readership.