Religion Magazine

Cutting off Peyos... to Get into Yeshiva

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
While discrimination in religious schools is nothing new (neither is discrimination in non-religious schools), the particular form I was just made aware of was particularly shocking to me.
Normally the discrimination I hear of is Sephardi or Ethiopian kids not getting accepted into an ashkenazi school. It is way more common than it should be, but there is nothing new or particularly shocking about it.
This particular case, at least to me, was particularly shocking. A young man (whom we know through various channels), is of Yemenite descent. He has the classic "Yemenite" peyos and appearance. This young man is, as far as I can tell, smart and a mensch and comes from a good family.
This fellow is looking for a yeshiva to learn in. Having been told that his appearance, and specifically his peyos, might present a problem, he decided to go to the gedolim and ask if he should perhaps cut them off so they will not be an impediment to getting accepted into yeshiva. He went to a couple of gedolim (irony of ironies, he went to Ashkenazi gedolim), and was told to not remove his peyos, and he would succeed at getting accepted into a good yeshiva.
He went for his entrance exams to the yeshiva of his choice, and did reportedly well. Unfortunately, his application was rejected anyway because he refused to cut off his peyos. The rosh yeshiva told him that in this yeshiva we don't have peyos, and if he was not willing to get rid of them it would not be a good fit.
I guess there is what to be said for uniformity, that's why many schools have school uniforms, but it was particularly shocking for me to hear that a yeshiva was insisting on a young man cutting off his peyos. It makes no sense. the Torah says not to cut one's peyos - different people take that to mean different specific forms, Briskers have one type, different hassidic groups leave their peyos different styles and lengths, different yeshivas encourage various lengths.. but to insist on the peyos being cut off rather than left to the individual taste even if different than the standard? That was shocking.
cutting off peyos... to get into yeshiva
Peyos being cut off is something the non-Zionists and especially the anti-Zionists have always accused the early-State secular Zionists of doing to religious childrne, and Yemenite children, upon arrival in the Land of Israel (pre-State as well as after the formation of the State). Even nowadays some accuse the army of almost forcibly changing religious kids to not-frum, and specifically have pointed to some unscientific pronouncement of the number of boys who go into the army with defined peyos relative to the number that come out with peyos still intact.
When I hear about forcibly cutting off peyos, that is what I think of. Are the Ashkenazi yeshivas guilty of the same? Could it be? Is uniformity really that important that they wish, nay - deserve, to be associated with the anti-religious secular Zionists of old who forced kids to cut off their peyos? It didn't just happen 60 years ago, but it still happening today?
This young man will have to simply find a yeshiva to learn in that is not so anti-Torah...
------------------------------------------------------ Reach thousands of readers with your ad by advertising on Life in Israel ------------------------------------------------------

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog