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

RabbiHorowitz.com
Please Use Our New Website
still under constructions
to purchase safety books and educational materials
https://thebrightbeginnings.com

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
iPod
touch
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.


Quit Stomping on Moderation
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
This article orignally appeared in The Jewish Press

  Rated by 22 users   |   Viewed 14215 times since 3/11/10   |   24 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

3/11/10

Digital images of the profoundly disturbing computer-smashing ceremony conducted by Rabbi Aaron Feinhandler have been viewed by countless thousands of Jews worldwide over the past few weeks.

Rabbi Feinhandler, who serves as the head of Yeshiva Machne Yisrael in Jerusalem, gathered a group of his students and delivered a short lecture about the evils of the Internet. He then proceeded to raise a laptop computer above his head, dash it to the ground, and he and his students took turns stomping on the laptop until it was totally destroyed.

The following day, Ezra Reichmann, a correspondent for the popular blog Vos Iz Neias, interviewed Rabbi Feinhandler to hear why he decided to publicize the computer-pulverizing event.

Rabbi Feinhandler said that he views the Internet as an existential threat to frum life and that “seventy percent of all youths who leave Yiddishkeit, do so because of the Internet or cell phones,” a figure he attributed to people who work with the at-risk youth population in Eretz Yisroel.

When asked if he has a computer in his yeshiva's office, he responded, “We have no computer in our yeshiva's office. How do we print letters? We send a handwritten letter to an office service by fax, and they return it printed, instead of by email. We pay them for the service. And we have plenty of office work; we have 75 bochurim in our yeshiva and 40 girls in our girls' division.”

He suggested that people reject jobs that require Internet use and said, “They need to work on the Internet for their parnossa? It's better to clean streets and dirty your body than to work on the Internet and dirty your soul.”

I see no need to comment on the ceremony itself other than to condemn it and the extremist and violent message it sends impressionable young people in the strongest of terms. We are not well served conducting ceremonies – especially in venues that will be spread worldwide in a matter of moments – that invoke images of book burnings and the like.

I would, however, like to address two core components of Rabbi Feinhandler’s message – that the Internet is the primary cause of our young people leaving Yiddishkeit, and its corollary, that sheltered folks unprepared for the overwhelming majority of decent jobs are more likely to remain frum.

Allow me to state the obvious; the Internet poses an enormous challenge for frum families looking to raise their sons and daughters in a Torah lifestyle. As such, parents have a sacred obligation to shield their children from the horribly destructive components of the Internet and postpone to the greatest extent possible their children’s are exposure to the Internet’s negative content.

Having said that, over the past fifteen years, I have dealt with thousands of teens (and adults) at-risk and I do not consider the very real dangers of the Internet to be one of the leading reasons people abandon Yiddishkeit.

Suggesting the Internet is the overriding cause of kids going off the derech is simplistic at best. It ignores the fact that a far greater percentage of frum people abandoned Yiddishkeit in the Lower East Side in the first part of the 20th Century and generations earlier in post-Haskala Europe – long before the Internet was ever imagined.

Moreover, it gives parents a false sense of security to think their children are shielded by the ever-growing insularity many members of our community are embarking on, while ignoring the real dangers to the Yiddishkeit of their children.

This single essay is not the forum for a sorely needed, broad-based and rational discussion of the real causes of kids leaving Yiddishkeit and what practical steps parents of young children ought to take to keep them on track.

Nonetheless, if I were asked al regel achas (“on one foot”) to list the Top Five causes of kids going off the derech, they would be, in order:

1. Child abuse/molestation/neglect

2. Lack of simchas ha’chayim/shalom bayis at home

3. Poor parenting or overbearing parents

4. Undiagnosed or unaddressed learning disabilities.

5. Extremism (lack of flexibility in raising children and forcing them into the same mold)

With that in mind, I suggest that following Rabbi Feinhandler’s dangerous advice of a) rejecting jobs for adults that require Internet use (read: almost any job that earns north of $30,000 annually) and b) allowing one’s children to be raised uneducated to the extent that they become “street cleaners,” will directly trigger at least 4 out of the 5 risk factors.

In my experience, poverty is by far the leading reason for the lack of simchas ha’chayim/shalom bayis at home. Furthermore, the extremism his approach engenders virtually guarantees that the misguided young men in his school will be overbearing, poor parents who will not be flexible in charting life-paths for their children. Finally, with approximately 20% of children having learning disabilities of one form or another; it takes real money to help a child with disabilities thrive and become a happy adult. Street cleaning may be an honest way to make a living, but is not a recipe for having the funds to pay for a tutor or special-ed program. And having the 75 bachurim and 40 young ladies in his school fax handwritten letters, is about as productive for their careers as it would be to teach them the craft of producing typewriter ribbons.

There are few things that erode one’s ability to parent children more than frustration and a lack of fulfillment in life. The searing shame so many bright and even brilliant adults in our community feel when they leave yeshiva, and their job opportunities are severely limited, due to the poor education they received in their formative years, does not lend itself to the serenity needed to parent children in these challenging times.

Our gedolim have issued clear and moderate guidelines for Internet use – balancing the need to safeguard ourselves and our children with the need to educate them to earn a livelihood. One need not look further than to follow their sage guidance.

The radical views like those espoused by Rabbi Feinhandler and illustrated by his actions are stomping on far more than a single laptop. They threaten to trample the future – and Yiddishkeit – of the families who follow them.

RECOMMENDED READING

Walmart is Coming

If and When

Rambam or Ra'avid

Egy, Kettö, Három -- Analyzing the Wisdom of Overly Sheltering Our Children

Educated Consumers

© 2010 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



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 22 users    (24 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 admin@RabbiHorowitz.com 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
email: email@kosherjewishparenting.com


Advertisements