Educational conference discusses ways of revamping religious education in light of increasing trend of children leaving religious lifestyle.
Efrata College Academic Council Chair Professor Manny Koslovsky expects that a full fifth of Religious Zionist students will become irreligious.
Efrata is a religious teachers’ college in Jerusalem.
In an Efrata conference on education, Koslovsky said that the situation in the haredi community is also “complex,” with some researches showing that one out of every ten haredi children will become irreligious.
Among the newly irreligious, suicide rates have risen, Koslovsky said. He posits that this could be because of the loneliness they feel and the disappointments they find the secular world to hold.
College President Professor Shmuel Sandlar explained during the conference that “as a religious teacher training college, we have an obligation to deal with the trend of children becoming irreligious. As individuals, we must embrace these children, without compromising the values of religious education.”
The conference also discussed the connection between learning Talmud in yeshivas, and students becoming irreligious. Rabbi Dr. Dani Gutnamker explained how he would connect the Talmud to the students’ lives.
Yehuda Eliraz, who also deals with the topic, said high school yeshivas need to stop teaching so many hours of dry Talmud.
Eliraz said that the Talmud needs to be learned as a subject which develops analytical thinking, but it also needs to provide students with a religious and spiritual experience. When this does not happen, he explained, it can cause students to hate Talmud study.