An Open letter From Rebbetzin Leah Kolodestky

Dear principals, mechanchos and educational staff teaching our daughters, shetichyu,

I am very hesitant to write these things to such a chashuve and well-educated group, but I feel that I must because of the recent situation affecting boys and girls of all ages, ranging from the very young until they graduate or get married. Parents are coming to me in tears with children who are literally shaking and suffering from mental disorders—and these aren’t isolated incidents, as it is reaching epidemic proportions, lo aleinu. It is affecting talented boys from excellent families and the best yeshivos. Gifted, beautiful girls who are tzadikos and tzenuos are suffering. It’s unbelievable. Suddenly, they can’t sleep at night. They don’t have an appetite and they have terrible phobias. They can’t daven or learn or concentrate. All they want to do is sleep all day. They say that they want to commit suicide. What has happened to our generation?!

I believe that this is the result of extreme social pressure: pressure from studies, the huge amount of homework being assigned, and unduly difficult tests. The mothers work and come home from their jobs exhausted, and instead of their daughters helping them in the afternoons or at least allowing them to rest a little, the girls must review their lessons and study for tests, aside from being involved in various campaigns and going on trips. There is no doubt that girls need things to make them happy, but I think it has reached exaggerated proportions of late. Children from the age of kindergarten and up must do their homework (which of course, ends up becoming the mother’s homework), or else they have to go to their friends to help them study or vice versa. Instead of the parents enjoying their children, interacting with them and pampering them in the afternoons, the children are subjected to constant pressure.

Our daughters are bnos melachim, princesses, but nowadays everyone is sensitive, weak in mind and body. In this generation, the generation of the coming of Moshiach, there is pressure in virtually every home. Illnesses, lo aleinu. Problems with shalom bayis. Difficulties with parnasah and shidduchim. Many homes have several older children who aren’t married yet, and I needn’t explain how that only increases the tension. Everyone is looking into suggestions, replying to the various shidduchim, dating. All of this has an effect on the entire family.

Something must be done before it’s too late, chas v’shalom. [That is why I am offering the following suggestions]:

The pressure of having to do homework should be reduced. Perhaps the last period of the day in school can be utilized for this purpose.

Likewise, the pressure of test-taking should also be lessened. Review questions can be given out, and the test questions can be taken from there. This will make it easier on both the parents and students.

The tests themselves should be easy so that everyone can be successful.
Children should be given good grades, and teachers should write considerate and encouraging comments, and be as complimentary as possible towards the weaker students.


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