P hotos by G len n Triest
on the students' reading skills," Mrs. Kahn
said. "And it contradicts everything we're
trying to give them. We're trying to keep
out the very things you see all the time on
television — aggressiveness, violence, a
lack of respect."
Mrs. Kahn concedes that the rule is
"unique for the '90s" and said some parents
have opted not to send their children to
Darchei Torah because of it. Failing to -com-
ply with the television rule is also the only
reason prospective students have been
refused admittance to the school, Mrs. Kahn
Sue Faitler of Oak Park has two children
— a daughter, Chava Gittel, and a son,
"We send the students (to
the seniors' homes) because
we want them to feel they
are part of a community,"
Mrs. Kahn said "We want
them to see what they can
do for another Jew."
Yeshaya Dov — at Darchei Torah. Mrs.
Faitler is pleased with the school's policy
that students not watch television.
"It doesn't mean that our children live in
a bubble," said Mrs. Faitler, a social
worker. "They're exposed to lots of different
things. And we have family and friends
with televisions; we don't say to our kids,
`You can't talk to them.' "
What the rule does mean is that instead of
watching TV, her daughter, a second
grader, spends more time reading and stu-
dying, Mrs. Faitler said. "It's all a question
of what you want your children to appreci-
ate. Do you want them to have a love of
learning or do you want them to spend their
time in front of the TV?"
Mrs. Faitler heard about Darchei Torah
from friends. She decided to enroll her
daughter, then her only school-age child.
She was "very, very pleased" with the
results. When it was time for her son to go
to school, she also brought him to Darchei
One of the school's most important
features is teaching midot and ahavat
Yisrael, the love of the Jewish people, Mrs.
Faitler said. "I like the way it integrates
midot and learning in concrete ways and
the chesed projects, like trips to the old-age
Performing good deeds is an integral part
of the Darchei Torah curriculum. Before
Passover, pupils collect food for the Yad
Ezra food bank, and boys donate tzedakah
and deliver mishloach manot packages at
All students go for regular visits to senior
citizens' homes in the area. Mrs. Kahn de-
scribes the experience as almost holy.
"When the boys and girls enter a home
they understand they need to speak
louder," she said. "They also know to hug
and kiss the residents. And they will push
The children's visits to the elderly and 0
concern for the infirm are reflected in draw-
ings that hang throughout the school. One Teachers Rabbi David
collection showing stick figures and large Kahn (left),and Renee
blobs — clearly the work of younger Garbutt with first-
graders Moshe Nelder
students — includes captions.
"This is a person pushing another in a and Gabriel Nadel.
wheelchair," a boy wrote; "I'm helping an
old person walk to his home," said another.
A third drawing with large, green scribbles,
has written at the bottom, "The people are
smiling at the old person and taking him for
"We send the students (to the seniors'
homes) because we want them to feel they
are part of a community," Mrs. Kahn said.
"We want them to see what they can do for
"This is part of our developing their
character traits. When we speak about their
education, we're not just talking about
books; we're talking about the kind of peo-
ple they will be."
School parents hold Mrs. Kahn herself as
an example of impressive character traits.
She is polite and cordial to everyone: from
the janitor, to the authors and prominent
rabbis the school brings in for fund-raising
"You can't believe how she is with those
children," said UHS Hebrew teacher Nira
Lev. "And you've never seen kids acting
like that — so well behaved."
"I've never heard her utter a word of
loshon hora (gossip) about anyone," added a
Darchei Torah parent. "Even when she is at
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS