Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

At-Risk is At Risk
A Purim Column
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 6 users   |   Viewed 13549 times since 3/11/09   |   6 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend


At-Risk is At Risk

A Purim Column

With the economy heading south, we are all looking for ways to cut back on our expenses. I guess that’s good news for Motel 6, pawn shops and “Dollar Stores,” but it’s a pretty lousy development for anyone running a non-profit organization (like me, for example) because practically everyone except bankruptcy attorneys earns less money in times like these. Less money means less charity giving. Gulp.

So, recently, with Purim in the air, an idea grabbed hold of me: How about thinking outside the box (kinda easy for me to do – that’s where I live), and search for innovative, inexpensive ways to solve or improve the teens-at-risk crisis for all of Klal Yisroel?

So; in the spirit of Chodesh Adar, here are some ideas:

How about artificially aging all eighth-grade boys and girls who are not succeeding in our school system by making them look like they are in their early twenties? For a few hundred dollars per child, we can retain the services of professional make-up artists and instruct them to give the girls some laugh lines, and add facial stubble and thinning hair for the boys. I think that would solve things for lots of the kids overnight, at a tiny fraction of what we pay for tutors and tuition for at-risk schools. Why you ask? Because, let’s face it. Some kids – no; some people – are just not cut out for a 12-14 hour school day. If restless adults in their fifties pace like caged tigers in shul with their reading glasses and arthritic knees after 30 (15? ...5?) minutes of davening, why in the world would you expect their teenage counterparts with boundless energy to sit in a chair for a 2-hour gemara shiur? Look; we all know that if these jumpy kids survive their miserable school experience, many of them utilize their vigor constructively and become amazing adults. So why not ‘get with the program’ and just pronounce them grown-ups?

Hey; come to think of it, this brainstorm might also help alleviate the shidduch crisis, due to the fact that there are more at-risk boys than girls. Making them virtual twenty-two-year-olds would add far more young men to the shidduch pool. And these bachurim will be exempt from spending time in “the freezer,” so the benefits would be immediate. It would also save time and money. Think of how many more trees will remain standing now that parents and shadchanim will be printing and reviewing much shorter “shidduch resumes” for these kids.

To make sure this idea would fly, I decided to run it by some of the kids I work with. One of the teenage girls, though, was unimpressed and had some ideas of her own. “Ra-bbi, nt; bt u really nd 2 lose this at-risk label. First of all, it’s, like, so yes-ter-day. Whteva! And, like, soz, bt wd u want to b called an at-risk something? If ur wife kept breaking pl8s in the kitchen, wd she like to b called an at-risk balabusta? And B4 u ask me 2 activ8 the alarm clock in ur bbry, remember that I’ll call u an at-risk techie or just wake-up challenged. lol. cas. rofl. tty l8r and wb2me.

I walked away thinking that she had a good point. Then, it hit me! Why don’t we just cut out the labels altogether (you know, best bachur, metzuyan, at risk), and go to a color-coded-card scheme that kids can carry in the privacy of their wallets, along the lines of homeland security colors (red is most at-risk, followed by orange, yellow … you get the picture). Better yet, let’s do white for best bachur all the way to black for highest risk. Or maybe the other way around, with black being the preferred color. Whatever.

And speaking of labels, here is another idea. Why don’t we do a dual mentoring program? After all, we all know what happens in real life – all the ‘A’ students become lawyers, accountants and comptrollers and wind up working for the millionaire ‘D’ students who started businesses while the braniacs were still in school. So; here is the deal. We write a new type of Yissachar-Zevulun contract. Participating A students are matched with D students in 5th grade. Then, the A students tutor the D students and help them study for all tests throughout their school years. In return, the D students commit to supporting the A students while they are in kollel (I think one year of support for each year tutored is about fair), and then promise to give them training and a job when they leave kollel.

Talk about a win-win idea.

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 6 users    (6 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593