Thursday, February 7, 2008
Some of you may have seen this Yiddish game mentioned on Blog In DM, and also elsewhere. Most of the hullabaloo was about the fact that the game is a rip-off of Monopoly, and that the Yiddish is very cute to see on a board game. Some also mentioned the approach to teaching kids Torah values, namely to make them feel like worthless pieces of garbage for very small infractions. OK, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but you get my drift. Then again; that was always the way things were done in those circles, so it really shouldn't surprise me. I guess if that's the way you're going to raise children start early and make it educational and fun... Infractions like laughing on the street or ven Mener Hubben GeHert, Reden English Tzvishen Zich, or Geholfen Di Tziyunistishe Medinah are way up on top of the list of Aveiros Chamuros and send you straight to Gehenom! To be fair, infractions such as "OopGenart a Goy" are also listed there, not so much for the Etzem Zach, but more so for the Chilul Hashem that may come out. Sort of like the Chilul Lubavitch reason some things are done in Chabad; basically "Ma Yomru HaBriyos."
There are many ways to raise children - Yiddishe children - and this is a manner that is still used by many today; Myself included sometimes. What can I say? Old habits die hard, and it takes many years of hard work to knock that out of your head. My cheder education was not as extreme, but still along those lines. Part of keeping old traditions is maintaining their methods, and never deviating from even the worst of practices, be they Melamdim beating kids for minor distractions during class or berating them for being children. The fact that they used this method in Williamsburg should surprise nobody, it's no different than maintaining dress codes or other Takonos, and just like they're kept to so too are the education methods. Whole books are published, and major meetings are called for in Willy when a cheder changes things like saying Kometz Aleph OOH and begins to teach the kids "OOH BOOH GOOH" instead, (If you don't get what I'm saying skip it.) so you can imagine what happens when they're told that the way they've been educating thousands of kids is wrong or needs to be changed. I just wish they'd see that educating with threats and Petsh and the whole "Gei MiChutz LaMachne!" approach is detrimental to everything they're trying to do, which is raise nice, good Yiddishe Kinder. But hey, it's their lives, right?
Then there's the issue of the musician author of the Blog in Dm being paranoid and believing those silly stories he heard as a kid. Here's what he says: This is a board game called "Handel Ehrlekh". It's hard to translate the title accurately. Idiomatically, it means "Dealing Ethically", but "handel" often has somewhat of a negative connotation as well, as in financial wheeling and dealing, or "bargaining down". Mr. DM, you need to stop believing that nonsense, it's not very becoming of an educated member of the musical elite to believe hearsay like that. Yes, you may ocassionally hear stories from that neck of the woods that conjure up images of unscrupulous Jews taking advantage of the less fortunate, but Ad K'dei Kach? to think that they LeKatchilloh educate their kids to bargain and be dishonest? That's a stretch, don't you think? the good people of Williamsburg deserve to be judged better by yourself. Besides, it was one guy who made the game, not an official production.