Friday, June 13, 2008

Influence of non-Jewish maids and teachers on our children

Jersey Girl wrote "New Argentine Orthodox Jewish leader denies favori...":


A website for Christians looking for opportunities to evangelize Jews recommends South American Jews as prime targets for conversion to Christianity because:

"In South America, Jewish executives have been extremely successful. However, the more successful the Jewish executive in South America becomes, the greater tendency he may have to be assimilated into the Christian European society."

Perhaps this is true due to the tendency for wealthier people to hire servants to work in their homes. Chazal admonished us to be careful about the laws of Bishul Akum because transgressing these leads to intermarriage.

Shulchan Aruch 165 says that we should not let our children be taught by non-Jewish teachers to prevent our children being affected & influenced by them, and from being steered away from Torah ch"v.

Some try to justify the practice of hiring Christian teachers in yeshivas by quoting the Rama that Christians are not Idolators for this halacha, (it has been said that the Rama was forced to say this because he lived in a Christian society and did not want to upset the balance there).

How much more so are children influenced when their primary caregivers (maids) from birth are Christians?

I was sitting in a pizza shop in Boro Park a few years back and heard a three year old boy with peyos to his chest singing a perfect rendition of "Jesus es la Luz del Mundo" from John 8:1-30).

I went over to the little boy who was sitting with his mother and older siblings and conversed with him in Spanish. The mother was surprised that he spoke so animatedly with me because she said that at home he barely speaks(in Yiddish).

I asked her if she knew the song he was singing and she answered that "it was a lullaby the maid sings to him". I explained to her what he was singing.

I have repeated similar incidents many times over the years. When I meet frum children who I know have been cared for by maids, I converse with them in Spanish (in front of and with the permission of their parents). More often than not, when the young child is spoken to in Spanish, he will repeat parts of the Catechism etc.

I used to expect that frum parents would be horrified by this, but I have learned over the years that most families feel their children are immune to these influences in their homes because the children receive a yeshiva education.

In the face of rising numbers of frum kids going OTD, perhaps it is time to rethink the issue of Christian maids in our homes and the hiring of Christian secular studies teachers in yeshivas.


  1. One time the wife of a prominent Rosh Yeshivah stopped by my house for a few minutes to give something to my wife, and her husband came along.

    At the time, I was learning some Halacha and was specifically learning from the Shulchan Aruch about the prohibition against having idolators teaching in the schools.

    We discussed Christianity and he 100% agreed it's idolatry "of course." So when I pressed him about why he had so many Christian teachers in the school, pointing to chapter and verse in the Shulchan Aruch, he replied with "Nobody actually holds by's just an ideal, a guidepost. Besides, no Jew will work for the money a Christian will."

  2. one thing to note, I'm not sure the maids/care givers really understand what they are doing re christian songs and the like. to them, its just what they do. It be no different if it was some jewish russian old lady who was your care giver, her background would have an influence.

    l'havdil, it's similar to the story about RYBS, where he was a young child at a family gathering, and Rav Chaim took him on his knee and asked him if he knew different things, and he was No, finally, he asked him "so, what do you know?", and he started reciting Tanya to him, as Rav Moshe was a rav of a lubavitch town.

  3. One Shavuos several years back I had a knock at my door at 10AM and standing there were two grinning missionaries. I pointed out the Mezuzah on the doorpost and told them they should not go to houses that had those on them, because they would be wasting their time.

    They strongly disagreed, and said this was their main target. I followed them up my street, which was a 100% frum street. They stopped at each house where there was a maid with Jewish children and were let into each one. They gave candy to the kids, played games, and taught them Christian songs and ideas. My street had 10 houses and I saw them go into 6. The children knew them.

    I informed the parents. I received 2 "thank you"s, 2 "mind your own business" and 2 "you're nuts."

    The 2 "thank you"s replaced their mads.....with new maids who continued to let missionaries in while hte parents were in shul.


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