I was the only teacher who arrived before the bell and waited, and waited and waited for all the kids to enter. The others, after hearing the bell, would begin gathering their books, bags and papers and then calmly saunter to the classroom.
The custom, I discovered, was for the kids to wait for the teacher and rise when he/she entered. That was a sign of respect. Then they had the lesson and as soon as the bell rang, they were out like a flash.
I don't remember this in the very early years of the school, when the classes were various caravans, shacks and other prefabricated structures. But by the time we had a real building, the kids couldn't wait to leave.
When I was a kid in New York City, we didn't have all those breaks. And nobody would dare run around the school building screaming.
Now, why am I reminded of the anarchy?
Yesterday, my friend's daughter drove me from their apartment to the corner of French Hill, Ramat Eshkol and the road to Mt. Scopus. We traveled on "Kvish Echad," Jerusalem's Highway #1, which borders a chareidi Jewish neighborhood and an Arab one. Traffic was all snarled on the side going to the Old City and the Jerusalem Municipality. Chareidim were out protesting.
They were in "pre-riot" mode. The rioters were further in the neighborhood, destroying and burning public property. Jerusalem's Mayor Nir Barkat decided that they shouldn't get any repairs, any services. He's right.
It doesn't matter how Hadassa Hospital and the police may have miss-handled the business with the mother who may be abusing her child, but burning garbage cans is not the way to react. Aren't there Halachot, Jewish Laws regulating how one is to treat public property? I have no doubt that those rioters are sinners. There's no excuse for such destructive behavior.
No, I don't live in a Chareidi community, nor is my school in that "stream."
But just like I wondered, when I'd see the kids running around all hyper, why aren't they playing organized games? They could use up energy, but they won't lose control. After a good game it would be easier to concentrate in class.
In the same way, I feel that there's excess energy in those rioting chareidim which gets out in negative behvior. Not all in that community participate in the riots. And not all the men who are registered to sit in the Beit Medrash (Study Hall) full-time are suited for such an occupation.
G-d made us all with different talents and different needs.
Chareidi leadership should take a good look at their society and find useful and productive ways to utilize their potential energies.