Teachers at the Orthodox feeder schools have actively discouraged students from going to Shalhevet. Parents and students report of hearing a teacher at a day school call Shalhevet girls “sluts,” and of getting the heart-to-heart from concerned teachers when a student professes interest in Shalhevet. One parent said his daughter’s eighth-grade mentor refused to write a recommendation when she wanted to go to Shalhevet, and others report transcripts being withheld.
All of this has put Shalhevet constantly on the defensive, but more telling than the communal bad-mouthing is the fact that former Shalhevet supporters have defected. A number of younger siblings of Shalhevet students have gone instead to YULA, a more traditional Orthodox yeshiva and Shalhevet’s primary competition.
A member of a women's prayer group that Julie belongs to sent out a fiery email to all members claiming that Julie (in this article) had called her daughter a slut.
I think that the answer to Shalhevet's enrollment decline is to embrace its sluttiness and advertise it. Teenage boys with flexible Torah observance will flock to its institution.
The people I talk to say that almost all graduate of YULA (and unmarrieds from YU in New York)are virgins but only about half of Shalhevet kids are.
In the Mishna (the oral law transmitted from Sinai according to Jewish tradition), Rabbi Eliezer says that teaching Torah to one's daughter is like teaching her wantonness, while another Mishnaic rabbi, Ben Azzai, says one is required to teach Torah to a daughter (Talmud Bavli, Sotah 20-21).
Shalhevet is the only Orthodox high school in Los Angeles that is co-ed and teaches girls and boys an identical curriculum. That means girls get taught some Talmud, which is traditionally not a subject for the fairer sex (rather they get tales from the Bible and the rabbis as well as husband-pleasing classes and housekeeping instruction).
Hi Luke, as a former student of YULA and current sibling and friend to many inhabitants of Los Angeles Jewish private schools, I have to say
that the problem many people have with Shalhevet, is not that it gasp, teaches girls Talmud, but that it operates almost completely out of sync with reality, save for rampant grade inflation. I am not an eloquent man Mr. Ford, so this may come across as disjointed and I apologize. Shalhevet is a bastion of idiotic the child knows best
style teaching. It is possible to miss all your classes and still achieve an A. "Town Halls" etc etc. (It took THREE! town halls to decide about the wording of a flyer concerning personal items that had been stolen).