Questions All Yeshiva High Schools Should Ask
If you want to get into a Yeshiva, you should have to answer these.
At this time of year, high school yeshivas begin the long, arduous and often eventful process of fielding, reviewing and ruling on applications from prospective freshmen. It is a difficult task that schools try to handle with the utmost care and compassion as they endeavor to make sensible decisions that are in the best interests of both the students and the institutions. Ideally, the goal is to find the perfect fit for each student so that each child can thrive in high school and develop into the most menschy scholar possible.
Since the application process can sometimes be an unenviable, thankless and downright unpleasant ordeal, below is a solution to streamline the process so that the applicants and the yeshivas can more readily ascertain whether a particular student will be the type of child who (i) is a good fit or who will throw a fit, (ii) is beyond reproach or is not someone you want to approach or (iii) likes to be tested or to be testy.
Accordingly, the following fool-proof questionnaire that will expertly and instantly dissect each applicant so that no stone is left unturned, the cream of the crop is identified and all rotten apples are weeded out. To ensure accuracy, the questionnaire should be completed with the utmost honesty, candor and sincerity about each child. In other words, do not let the grandparents provide the answers because it doesn’t help to know that each child is “so very wonderful.”
Question No. 1: Is your child on the nudnik spectrum? If yes, on which part of the nudnik spectrum do they fall: (i) schmegegge, (ii) shlemiel, (iii) schmendrik or (iv) a complete and total nudnik?
Question No. 2: Is your child a genius? If yes, is your child a good genius or an evil genius?
Question No. 3: Is your child a moron? For example, does your child ask how a school can host an “open house” when a house cannot host a “back-to-school“ event? (Obviously, this is a trick question because no parent should ever, publicly or privately, describe their child as a moron, even if it’s true. If you answered “yes” to the moron question, you may soon be receiving a visit from social services.)
Question No. 4: How menschy is your child? For example, if your child stole the answers to an upcoming test, would your child be menschy enough to share the answers with classmates? If your child sees another child being bullied, would your child join the bullying as a show of support and solidarity for the bully? If your child hits a game winning shot against an arch-rival, would your child be menschy enough to shake hands with the other team before calling them a bunch of losers behind their backs? (If you answered “yes” to any of these trick questions, you need not continue with this questionnaire. Instead, have your child take a good long look in the mirror until they find their soul.)
Question No. 5: How does your child pray? Does your child fake speed-read just to impress others and without ever actually saying the words? Does your child spend more time schmoozing than praying? Does your child pray for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple solely because your child believes that such rebuilding will put an end to daily davening?
Question No. 6: Does your child participate in extracurricular activities? For instance, is your child on the cross-country schlepping team? Is your child on the debate team and, if yes, does your child participate in the annual debate tournament known as “Machloket Argument Madness”? Is your child a member of the gossip club, the yenta team or the narishkeit society?
Question No. 7: Does your child enjoy pop quizzes, term papers, homework and finals? If yes, is your child a goody-two-shoes or just a glutton for punishment?
Question No. 8: Does your child respect authority? If yes, what type of authority? School authority? The Port Authority? Sports Authority?
Question No. 9: What is your child’s primary motivation for performing a mitzvah: (i) notoriety, (ii) bragging rights, (iii) leverage or (iv) guilt? (This is another trick question because these are terrible reasons for performing a mitzvah. Hopefully, your child performs a mitzvah . . . simply because it’s a mitzvah.)
Question No. 10: Is your child able to discern wrong from right? For example, does your child know that excluding others is wrong but excluding those at the extreme end of the nudik spectrum is perfectly understandable?
Final thought: The word “school” contains the word “cool“ and the word “principal” contains the word “pal“ but that does not necessarily mean that the school principal is cool or your pal.