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

RabbiHorowitz.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.


Issue 141 - Exit Interviews
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: Mishpacha Magazine

  Rated by 15 users   |   Viewed 38456 times since 1/13/07   |   42 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

1/13/07

The last time that you cancelled a credit card, you probably received a phone call from a representative of the company within a week or so. The individual asked you why you took your business elsewhere and if there is anything he/she can do to encourage you to reconsider your decision to sever your ties with their company. This phone call is part of an overall ‘exit interview’ strategy, which serves a very important function in the effective execution of a company’s business plan. After all, if you decided to cancel your credit card due to poor customer service, excessive fees, or steep interest rates, it is safe to assume that many others will follow your lead.

Well, over the past twenty years, I conducted hundreds of terribly painful ‘exit interviews’ with children and adults who have abandoned Yiddishkeit. I can tell you in no uncertain terms what it is that they wanted – and why they took their business elsewhere. They were looking for respect and understanding. Acceptance. Safe and nurturing home lives. Hands-on parents who offer unconditional love along with their guidance. Caring educators who dealt with their admitted misdeeds gently and privately (firmly was OK). The ability to be a bit different without being labeled or judged. More time for hobbies and more recreational opportunities.

With this in mind, imagine that you live in a community where a few boys and girls have strayed from the path of Torah and engaged in at-risk behaviors (read: all communities). Parents and educators grow increasingly apprehensive and look for solutions. The question on everyone’s mind is how to address the concern that this may happen to their child(ren).

I would think that the frightened parents in the community ought to shorten the hours that their children are in school, offer more extra-curricular activities, clamor for more tolerance, invest in the educators of their children, and boycott the schools that dismiss children for misdeeds. The community leaders would do well to meet with the mental-health professionals and those who deal with the ‘at-risk’ teen population, perhaps even with the troubled kids themselves, and listen – really listen – to their advice. I would love to tell you that this is happening. It pains me to report that this is usually not the case. Those of us who deal with at-risk kids are consulted in firefighter mode by desperate parents and educators – but little time and energy is being spent in fire prevention. They are asking us what to do with the at-risk kids, but not what we think should be done for all our children.

In many communities, I’m sad to report, exactly the opposite is happening. School hours are getting longer and longer. Kids have less time and opportunity to engage in desperately needed recreational activities. In fact, in some communities, normal sports activities are frowned upon or outright banned – sometimes for children above the age of ten years old!! Schools that dismiss children are valued and pursued. Acceptance criterion for high schools is getting increasingly more challenging. On many occasions, I have clearly stated that in today’s climate I would probably not have been accepted to any ‘normal’ high school when I graduated eighth grade thirty-three years ago!!

Most peculiar is the reaction of parents who respond to their fears by striving mightily to place their children in the most rigorous programs. The thinking is that their children will be safe there, as the ‘chevrah’ will be better and the ‘at-risk’ children will be excluded from those elite schools. However, this thinking is terribly flawed. For there is no guarantee that their child – or one of their children some time in the future of their family life – will not be one of those children who will need some adjustment, tolerance, or understanding. So, in effect, the parents are raising the bar – and the ante of this very high-stakes gamble – by opting to send their child to a program that purports to produce a ‘metzuyan’ or ‘mitzuyenes’ (exemplary children). But at the same time, they are greatly increasing the odds that their child may find the train running away from him or her. And, in all my years of dealing with the at-risk teen population, I have not noticed that the elitist schools have any lower percentage of kids abandoning Yiddishkeit. All the more so if you include those who were asked to “find another school,” midway in their school experience.

I will close this column by quoting the words of my very wise grandmother a’h. She often would remark that, “ales mit a t’si toig nisht.” Loosely translated, that means that anything overdone is bound to backfire.

Her grandson’s advice mirrors that thought. If I may use a baseball analogy, when raising your children, don’t swing for the fences**. Just try to make contact and get on base. Trust me, you will score more runs that way. Keep in mind that most mighty swings result in strikeouts.

And, l’man Hashem, keep your eye on the ball.

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

** This is not by any means to suggest that we lower our standards or abandon our quest for excellence. More on this in future columns.



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


Related Articles:
Issue 149- Rolling out the Welcome Mat
Issue 139 - Proactively Addressing the Chinuch Challenges of Our Generation
Issue 143- It Doesn’t Start in Tenth Grade
Issue 145 - Training Wheels
Issue 147 - Pulling in the Gangplank


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 15 users    (42 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)

Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


1. On target     1/13/07 - 11:53 PM
tb

Thank you for saying what needs to be said. Now what are we going to do about it? I think that we need to have recorded round table discussions about the exact points you bring up and then we need to present these to the spiritual leaders of every community, every Rosh Yeshiva, every Rav and ask for Takanos. If you have a better L'Maaseh idea, please present it. Or even more practical albeit unlikely we can list revolutionary but necessary commitments to physical exercise, shortened learning time, teacher support and have leading Rabbanim sign off. Then those schools who sign up for these commitments can be given financial incentives by Gevirim who support this cause. B"H because of your clarity of thought and concern for others you've been talking about these problems for years now. What is the action plan? What is our exit strategy as a Klal from the mistakes being made in our Yeshiva system?


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


2. Schools     1/14/07 - 11:45 AM
Yoni

What I would like to see is a school that essentialy functions with the structure of a secular highschool. This means that the day is divided in to multiple "periods" (and these can function in a multiplicity of different styles). For each subject we find a very capable teacher, meaning for chumash someone who is very knowlagable in chumash, for nach someone very knowlageable in nach etc. We should set up the school so that there are required courses and then there are electives and allow the children to take courses that mean something to them, that way that can get more out of the regular school day. This also helps tremendously with children who are ADHD becuase it breaks the day in to smaller chunks and gives it more variety.

Also I would like to see that the schools should end substantialy earlier, as in the 4 oclock range, so that children can actualy have time after school to engage in hobbies and other personal persuits. I just really think that such a structure to the school could do alot for the sake of the children in the school. It would give alot of flexability to the individual classes that students take, and would give then a lot more ability to tailor what they learn to their own interests, because let's be honest, not everyone is cut out for gemorah.

(this is said as someone who has been both in the frum system and in non-jewish schools, but is mamesh an FFB.)


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


3. rings a bell     1/15/07 - 5:11 PM
M

Did I read this article before? It sounds familiar.

What sort of extra-curricular activities do you have in mind? Mechanchim are worried that with extra time, children will be on the internet or playing video/computer games or watching videos. None of these activities are the hobbies or healthy outlets you have in mind.

Extra-curricular activities implies they are voluntary. Who's paying for them? Who has the money for them? What about the kids who would rather go home and veg out with the computer? Are you referring to organized extra-curricular activities or siblings playing Monopoly or kids riding their bikes?

What do you consider a day that is too long and for what age? Are you talking about elementary school? high school? A shorter school day means parents need to be home for their children earlier in the day. Will they be there for them?

Are parents interested in a shorter day? When parents send toddlers (20 months old for example) to full-day programs (8:45-3:30) as one told me, well, what do you think they want for 10 year olds ...

You are a menahel of an elementary school. What are your students' hours? What extra-curricular activities do you provide? How many students attend them? Or are they sent home early enough so they can do these activities at home?

You don't mention homework and the excessive amount that has become the in-thing lately. There's no time for anything else if after school there are hours of homework to do.

Depending on the misdeed, I might very well want a student dismissed from school. How about being specific? If a student is sleeping around or taking drugs, do they belong in a mainstream yeshiva or Bais Yaakov? If a student persists in breaking school rules, what should the consequence be?

I dare say that if children/young adults received respect and understanding at home, as well as acceptance and loving parents who are physically present and involved with their children, then even if teachers in schools weren't always the best, these kids would not likely go off the derech.

Home is where it's at.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


4. difficult trade-offs     1/15/07 - 8:04 PM
HJ - Monsey, NY

Your diagnosis is clearly correct, but the question is what to do about it. While we see the terrible cost of the children we lose, what is the cost of shortening the hours and lessening the workload in the elite yeshivos. Will we lose some degree of greatness in those boys who have the ability to achieve greatness in learning? Is that cost worth the benefit of losing fewer of our children to at-risk youth? These are questions that are, so to speak, above my pay grade, and really questions that the Gedolim need to answer for the Klal. and that each parent needs to answer for his or her own child.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


5. We need solid ideas, not a shortening of the learning day     1/16/07 - 2:47 AM
tzvi

Shortening the school hours radically (as was suggested above) for high-school students is a recipe for disaster. Today's students have money and access to things that can destroy their neshamos instantly. Give them some free time and you'll see a disaster that is worse than all of R' horowitz's scary predictions as of late. The ONLY way to counteract this rampant tumah is by having the boys steeped in amkus hatorah in a safe environment (the yeshiva building). Anyone who tells you otherwise is not in touch with reality. The newest ipod that will arrive this June (Hashem yishmiraynu) will not only play movies, but it will also be a telephone and it will be able to display full web pages. Daven for the yiddishe neshamos now so that they should'nt fall prey to the samach-mem who is now disguising himself in a little machine.

M - you read a large portion of this article two months ago at this link: http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/pyes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=142&ThisGroup_ID=261&Type=Article


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


6.     1/16/07 - 7:40 AM
tb

a) differentiate between elementary schools and high schools--different action plans are needed b) Physical exercise, physical exercise, physical exercise! In Yeshiva! Basketball, football, baseball! Organized sports with gym teachers. Start a training program for our high school and post high school age kids to become these gym teachers. Yes, allow high school kids to leave the Yeshiva on supervised outings to teach sports. Supervised! c) extra curriculars for junior high and high school boys-- woodworking, survival skills, advanced math/science, even technology and tech support skills (gasp). d) go back to once a week Mishmar in high school and let the parents parent. Tzvi, Hashem Yerachem, ipods are not the only danger to our kids. As of 14, someone decided in the last ten years that they should be raised in dorms across this country by other teenagers! The real risk to their Neshamas is that they are not learning Middos Tovos and their parents have minimal involvement in their daily life and struggles. If their parents can't handle it, then they need to cut down on the working and start allowing their teenagers to help at home, learn at home, do tutoring at home, do Chesed in the neighborhood (yes, even boys should do after-school Chesed--nursing homes, homebound elderly men), and yes throw the ball around with their younger siblings. e) restructure everything, get Haskamos, get Gvirim to support the changes. Leave a few of these new-fangled marathon learning Yeshivas for some who want to be there. Not every kid is shteiging. The solution to ipods is not haphazardly locking them away and it certainly isn't haphazardly sending them away.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


7. leaving children in school longer     1/16/07 - 8:39 AM
yoni

those who are suggesting that long hours even for highschools are, um, shall we say rather stupid and out of touch.

There are a number of issues at play here:

1: not every kid is able to stay in yeshiva for the entire day, and not every kid is able to learn the entire day. Those children who are not will leave school entirely if this is the only option, and there is absolutely no way around this. The numbers I have heard regarding male at risk youth are someone in the 30 percent range, clearly unacceptable.

2: Further our longer school hours will deny children of love from their perents and normal enviornment that they very desperately need. Rabbi Horrowitz has already spoken very nicely about the consequences of this.

3: Children who have no time to persue their own interests will inevidably rebel when they are told that they cannot persue them and must spend all of their time in school. Research seems to indicate that the best and smartest students will be the first to do so, so aranging school hours like this are besicaly entirely innefectual in helping them.

4: children do not, contrary to popular opinion, seek to go out and sin, and just because they are given time to themselves does not mean that they will not sin. Further those who do will not be stopped by longer school hours, and those who are rather ambivilent may be driven to rebel by being forced in to such a narrow hole. Sociological theory regarding deviance seems to indicate that after being labled as "at risk" the child will begin behaving like an "at risk" child, no matter how minor the infraction was that labled them as at risk in the first place. Clearly we do not benifite from defining deviance up, because we simply make problems worse than they where already. again Rabbi horrowitz has spoken extreemly eloquently about this.

Further, if I understand what you mean by "destroying childrens neshomos"; according to chazal the only way to prevent that is to marry them off at young ages, something that is clearly considered unnaceptable. Based on what I've seen in the shulchan aruch and gemorah chazal took it litteraly for granted that the children would be sinning, regularly, in this regard and therefore deterimined that male children must be married off prior to their 21st year, because at at age of 20 children become liable for their avairos and chazal had absolutely no faith in the ability of the bochurim to refrain under any circumstances what so ever. Thereofore they saw it as expediant to marry children prior to their being culpable for a lav that they would incapable of not transgressing unmarried that chazzal felt entirely helpless to stop.

Longer school hours are not the solution to that, and if I understand the sources right according the chazzal there is nothing you can do and it is essentialy pointless to even so much as try. IT was for this reason that the teshuva for that sin was not to be done untill one was actualy married because the rabbis believed there could be no true teshuva prior to that.

Further with regards to the insistance that the children be seperated entirely from girls this too is absolutel vanity and pointlessness. People have a certain tolerance for such stimuli and anything exceeding that tollerance will affect them and drive them to that kind of thing and anything below it will not. Exposure to such stimuli leads to tollerance, just as it does with drugs. Hence the less exposure the bochurim get to girls, the more incapable of controling themselves they will be upon inevitable accidental exposure. That does not mean that they should allways be exposed to them, but it certainly is something to think about.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


8. Yoni:     1/16/07 - 9:40 AM
M

I'd like to address your last paragraph Yoni. Apparently you don't realize that your view is not the Torah's view. There are halachos about not mingling, not gazing at women, not walking behind them, etc.

If people have a "tolerance level" for it, that's a danger signal. To take an extreme example - if males are ho-hum about females dressed for the beach because they see that regularly, that's a PROBLEM.

As a rabbi once noted - if you think that shaking a woman's hand is NOT an intimate act, uh oh for you. If teenaged boys and girls can do fun activities together or socialize and their maleness/femaleness are a non-issue, that's terrible! Something's wrong! They're either not normal or have been too exposed.

Rather than the word "tolerance" that you use, a more apt word would be "numbness."

I wonder why you bring up boy-girl issues anyway.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


9. down with vagueness/different approach     1/16/07 - 10:18 AM
M

Thanks tzvi for the link, I knew I read this before!

I agree with you - high school aged boys need to be steeped in amkus ha'Torah. Those who are not intellectually inclined need to be steeped in Torah too. Every person has his place in Torah. It may not be R' Chaim's for all, but Torah yes!

The line, "my son is not cut out to learn" should be amended to, "my son presently does not enjoy/understand Gemara. He needs teachers who are capable of teaching him what he didn't master in earlier years, i.e. how to learn Gemara and enjoy it too! He also needs other kinds of Torah learning: Tanach, Mishnayos, Shulchan Aruch."

tb - I agree with the need for mandatory, supervised, and organized physical activity for elementary school and high school. I'm not so sure about the woodworking, advanced math and science and other secular pursuits.

How about extra curricular activities such as safrus, mastering leining (beyond memorizing one's bar mitva parsha/haftorah), a course in kashrus (to cultivate future mashgichim and to create knowledgeable consumers), organized outreach and chesed activities.

I agree with you tb about the ridiculous notion that 13-16 year olds should be sent away to dorms (except in circumstances where there is no local yeshiva high school and why are the parents living there? better be a good reason!)

and clarity is needed here, not vague ideas presented with words like "clamor" and "boycott" that make people say, 'yeah! right on'

Where are the specifics:

What hours do you think are desirable for grades 1-3, 4-8, 9-12? Should those hours be different for boys and girls? Extra-curricular activities where - home or school? Acceptance of what? lack of tznius? lack of derech eretz? Is there any reason why we shouldn't have yeshivos for metzuyanim when this was common practice in Europe? To get into Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin you had to learn 250 or was it 500, daf Gemara by heart. You either made the grade or you didn't. There were other yeshivos to go to that did not have such a demanding entrance requirement. We in America have such a cockeyed mentality. We think that the gvir and the lower-income person should make the same kind of simchas because this is a democracy and it's not "fair" that the wealthier person can make a fancier simcha. What foolishness! In Europe, people knew their place! If you were the town parnas, you made a certain kind of simcha and if you were an orphan, r'l, you didn't expect a wedding like the gvir's son!

Likewise with learning - a metzuyan is not average (no kidding). Why do so many people (including R' Horowitz, so it seems) think that it's not "right" for a metzuyan to receive the education he requires! In the name of "fairness" we are seeking to dumb down our schools, so G-d forbid, nobody's esteem should be impinged upon when they are not accepted at yeshiva X. What damage is being done when the above-average and brilliant students are not being properly challenged? Nothing wrong, in my opinion, in yeshivos for metzuyanim.

I think that meeting with most of the mental health professionals is a bad idea since many of them are the cause of our problems, not the solution. What do you expect from people educated secularly in ideas that go counter to Torah? And I don't care if these therapists have beards and are kovei'a itim l'Torah and have a rav they consult with (or wear a sheitel). They are, by and large, tainted by their anti-Torah education and it's time to say the Emperor Has No Clothes and (to use your terminology) clamor and demand Torah-true guidance counselors.

This is a digression, I know. How about having rabbonim and rebbetzins, who are not secularly educated but are successful in providing wise counsel for those who seek their help, training young men and women?

Rather than article after article trying to convince frum people to overcome the stigma of seeking the help of mental health professionals, how about a new approach - one in which secularly mental health professionals are avoided and qualified rabbis and rebbetzins are recommended?

I bet there are rabbis and rebbetzins out there who could design a curriculum and training program to initiate young people into the helping professions without the secular garbage.

By the way, back on track - I think our high school aged boys and girls need courses, as part of the curriculum, which teach them ideas such as Rabbi Pliskin, Rabbi A. Miller z'l, and others teach about how to train one's mind, how to have an "attitude of gratitude", how to avoid bad moods and negative thinking and and get into positive states, how to acquire bitachon with a class on Shaar Ha'Bitachon, how to avoid anger (instead of the secular "anger management" approach).


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


10. M     1/16/07 - 10:35 AM
yoni

I'm sorry M, but you have completely missed the point.

Yes torah has certain laws concerning the interactions of boys and girls, and I am extremely familiar with those laws. I am also familiar with what those laws do not say. They do not say that we should have mechitzas everywhere we go, not on busses, and not on sidewalks, not in stores, and not in resturaunts. The reason for this is that it is an impractical attitude towards life that renders someone incapable of functioning outside of a secluded community, something that torah never intended that we require. Yes torah prohibits touching for affection and there are good reasons for that. Yes torah tells boys not to gaze at women for the sake of taking pleasure in the sight of them, but it does not prohibit looking at them totaly, because at times that is necessary (especialy when you have to speak to them). The mishna which says "don't speak excessively with the woman" doesn't say, "never speak with a woman" it explicitly states "excessively" which means that we should keep our conversation to the minimum necessary because the reality of our lives is that this must happen from time to time.

These laws are necessary and good. However extending your self beyond these laws impairs your ability to function in everyday life because the reality is that you will be unavoidably exposed to these things. What the shulchan aruch chose to leave out on this subject it left out quite intentionaly, mostly because these approaches where utterly unrealistic. Besides, from a halachic perspective most of the stuff that is cited for "not mingling" is both modern and totaly ahalachic and I'm suggesting absolute shtus. Sometimes the shulchan aruch left out things for a reason, so lets not second guess it. The idea that a man should refrain from holding open a door on behalf of a strange woman who is toting 3 children and a stroller is rather sinfull, as are similar ideas.

Moderation is the key in this and all similar things. We should be able to have to interact with the secretary at the local doctor's office without getting bad ideas in our heads. Under the system that has become popular that is becoming increasingly unlikely.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


11. digression?     1/16/07 - 12:18 PM
M

yoni: why did you bring up this topic in a discussion about schools and kids?

I have not heard of mechitzos on sidewalks or in restaurants, have you? Where?

I have heard of a few stores in a few locations that have a few hours for men only, in the evening. I have heard of mechitzos on buses on which men daven. Otherwise, no. But what does this have to do with kids and Rabbi Horowitz's article?!

I have never heard the idea espoused,"that a man should refrain from holding open a door on behalf of a strange woman who is toting 3 children and a stroller." Never. Who advocates this behavior? Which rav?


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


12.     1/16/07 - 12:54 PM
Anonymous

it was only intended to be a minor point in regard to the larger issue of long school days. M dragged the issue in to a tangent.

The point in it's relevance to schools is that longer school days in order to "protect" kids from the vices available don't help, at least when brought beyond a certain point. They actualy hurt the issue.

along with many others.

correct me if i'm mistaken but one of the arguments of longer school days is so that the boys will not have time to find and talk to girls right?


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


13.     1/16/07 - 3:58 PM
M

M" dragged the issue in to a tangent."

No idea what that means.

"correct me if i'm mistaken but one of the arguments of longer school days is so that the boys will not have time to find and talk to girls right?"

I don't think Chaim Berlin and Bobov and Yeshiva of Brooklyn and the Mir have longer days because they don't want boys and girls to socialize.

That reminds me, another point of vagueness in these articles about kids is WHICH kids are we talking about? Are all the points made about frum kids valid for Modern Orthodox kids as well as Vizhnitzer bachurim? Are all ideas to improve our schools equally relevant when talking about Satmar schools and day schools? New York yeshivos and B.Yaakovs and out-of-town schools?

Back to the longer school day. There is a striving to compete. Just as the age for beginning Gemara has dropped lower in our American schools and a yeshiva is more highly regarded if they start Gemara earlier, so too, the more mishmar nights there are, the better yeshiva is, or so parents think. Not because it keeps their kids away from evil ("sur mei'ra") but because it raises the level of achievement, or so they hope.

Even with longer school days, with cell phones and text messaging, kids can socialize with the opposite sex quite easily if they are so inclined.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


14. Long hours for LITTLE kids     1/16/07 - 4:17 PM
Anonymous

On my block there is a fifth grader who comes home at almost SIX O'CLOCK!! That is not called protecting a child from outsiding into accoune influences or challenging a gifted child or keeping him away from girls. That is called overpressuring a youngster. This same kid started learning Gemarah in THIRD grade. The school calls Mishnayos a SUMMER topic. That is called plain idiocy! R'Horowitz is not talking about sensible hours for appropriate ages. He is talking about schools pressuring kids at earlier and earlier ages for the stupidest reasons. A young child, say fifth grade, should be coming home at a sane hour, say no later than five o'clock (taking into account transportation) to unwind, have his mother greeting him at a home with a smile and hug, play LEGO with his brother, eat supper with his family, do some homework, learn with his father, shower and relax with a book and go to bed at a NORMAL hour so that he can be relaxed and refreshed for the next day. THAT is what R' Horowitz is talking about!


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


15. sorry typo cont.     1/16/07 - 4:19 PM
Anonymous

It should read "Rabbi Horowitz is talking about sensible hours for appropriate ages!"


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


16. problems start when kids are young     1/16/07 - 4:40 PM
a knowing mom

The issues that R' Horowitz are pointing are issues that start when kids are little. Kids at Risk develop when little kids don't come home at an hour that kids should come home, when little kids don't get to play like kids should do, when kids are pressured to a point that is not healthy for little kids. When kids don't get to be kids they develop into teenagers at risk. Changing school hours for teenagers, offering recreational activities for teenagers is too little too late. The problems start when they are young!


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


17. Let's do it!!     1/16/07 - 5:46 PM
tb

M, the whole Metzuyanim thing--that's true, that's the way it was. That's fine as long as the child entering high school measures up and wants that rigorous curriculum. Only some kids. Yoni--I'm with you, I get it. So does Rabbi Horowitz. It's stuff that the average sheltered and well-meaning Yeshive person doesn't and won't get. No offense to M or anyone else. They also don't get how the caging in can cause the boy/girl stuff. It's all related. Knowing mother--It starts young hence cut the hours and allow for gym and gym teachers, but a two-front attack is necessary. Don't say "too late." Save the high school kids. Save them with Chesed and organized sports (by the way sports doesn't necessarily mean collecting and trading baseball cards), music, and yes woodworking, advanced math/science, computer tech support classes, car mechanic courses, survival skills. We can save people. And for goodness sake, let these kids have a vacation that's more than a day and half long!!!!There's still room for some Yeshivos at high school level for Metzuyanim as it once was, but not everybody. Ready people? We have to get the Rabanim to help us because the others like M (who I respect) will not go along with it. Then we have to get the money people to make it more viable and pallatable for the Menahalim to do it. Carrot and stick.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


18.     1/16/07 - 9:20 PM
yoni

when the boys are unable to get love from their family, and are not allowed to have time with their family, who is suprised when they look for it in a woman's arms? What does rashi say regarding rivkah, that a wife can comfort a missing mothers love?

the same goes for the girls too. When they're blamed for having interests and questions, rejected from school and perents throw their hands up at them and dispair (and hence don't show anything but exasperation), is it surprising that they are seeking the love and validation they crave in the arms of boys?

Some of them don't go that far, I've known a number of them personaly, but yes thats one of the reactions they have.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


19. THAT I agree with, yoni :)     1/17/07 - 9:38 AM
M

Because that gets back to what I wrote in my comments to the first article - what about the HOME! And MOST of the problems that lead to kids dropping out, have to do with the PARENTS, not the school, in my opinion and in the opinion of counselors and therapists who work with these kids (though it's not p.c. to say this).

If the PARENTS send babies and toddlers for HOURS away from home where they are raised institutional-style, if the PARENTS are either not physically present when their kids come home or they are not emotionally/mentally present, fully focused on their children NO MATTER when they come from school, if Shabbos is a time for quick meals and naps for the PARENTS as their kids are sent out (yet again) to be with others, if kids are shipped off to camp for 4-8 weeks from age 6, 7 and 8 (hey, how about asking us to boycott the camps that allow children younger than 9 to attend?), then it's no surprise that the bond with their parents is weak and the natural desire to emulate one's parents is attenuated, resentment grows and the children drop out.

What makes the son of a rosh yeshiva drive by his father's house, very obviously, on Shabbos?

No, it's not because his school day was too long or because he didn't have woodworking or gym. It's because his relationship with his father is one of hate and he wants to hurt him and embarrass him.

The technicalities are definitely important - how long the school day should be etc. but they are not the crux of the matter.

It's far easier to focus on things like length of school day, what grade to start Gemara, how many times a week to have gym, how much homework each grade should have, and MUCH HARDER to tell parents: BE PARENTS! Don't abdicate your responsiblity! You brought these kids into the world, NOW, RAISE THEM RIGHT!


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


20. Where's the inspiration?     1/17/07 - 2:14 PM
Anonymous

I'd like to bring up a different angle for discussion by looking at different eras:

1) Yeshiva bachurim in Europe were utterly committed to sitting and learning, otherwise, they wouldn't be there. Most teenaged boys worked and married. Only the iluyim and those who yearned to study Torah went to yeshiva. A yeshiva life was extremely difficult. There were no distractions and not much gashmius.

2) Yeshiva bachurim in Communist Russia studied Torah at the risk of their lives. At any moment the KGB could burst in and arrest them. Those who studied Torah felt it was their mission to preserve Judaism which the communists were doing their best to stamp out.

3) Students of Sarah Schenirer were inspired by her purity and devotion to provide Jewish girls with a Jewish education. She implanted yiras shomayim and love for Hashem in her students and they were galvanized by her spirit to go out, even as 14-15 year olds, and teach. They had a sense of mission.

4) Many Yeshiva and B.Y. students in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s felt inspired, knowing they were the new, postwar generation, the children of survivors in many cases. Even the children of American parents knew they were special because they were the few who attended yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs and most Jewish children unfortunately did not attend fulltime Jewish schools.

What do we have now? Boruch Hashem, the frum world has experienced a population explosion. There are scores of yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs across the country. We have our kosher pizza stores and restaurants, lots of Jewish music and books, and summer camps galore. Where is the sense of mission? The sense of uniqueness, of carrying the torch?

True, millions of children still do not get a proper Jewish chinuch, but for the most part, the sense of mission is lost. A girl may well think, if I don’t teach, so what, others will. A boy may very well think, so I’m bachur #457 in the Mir or #784 in Lakewood, so what? Will I be missed if I’m not there? What is my role? How do I leave my mark? They tell us that each of us is special, but how is that true? What do I have to offer that others aren’t already offering? The same is true in their secular studies – so a girl will be the umpteenth social worker or speech therapist and a boy will be yet another frum accountant. Ho hum.

Those who taught in the underground yeshivos in communist Russia didn’t have to think about the length of the school day or extra-curricular activities. These details were irrelevant. Preserving Judaism was all important and superseded all else.

I’m not saying that details like homework and physical exercise are unimportant. They need to be addressed. But I think they are distracting us from the real issues. What’s to inspire today’s youth?


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


21. To Anonymous 1/17/07 - 2:14 PM     1/17/07 - 3:09 PM
Veganovich

--- Those who taught in the underground yeshivos in communist Russia didn’t have to think about the length of the school day or extra-curricular activities. These details were irrelevant. Preserving Judaism was all important and superseded all else. --- The amount of people that stayed frum throughout the communist years was miniscule. I am not sure what exactly was preserved. There were few if any “inspired youths” to use your term. In the prewar period, there were people stayed frum in spite of the government, but that is simply because their formative years were prior to the revolution. A miniscule percentage actually had children or grandchildren that went to “underground yeshivos” or even stayed frum.

I realize that the point of the post is not to debate religious history during the Soviet period, but I felt compelled to respond, because the above statements are a myth.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


22. response to previous comment     1/17/07 - 4:27 PM
Anonymous

Of course the numbers of people who remained frum were miniscule! But those who REMAINED frum, those who WERE in yeshiva, DESPITE the danger, were spiritually "on fire," and utterly dedicated to Yiddishkeit.

What is setting our boys and girls TODAY on fire, spiritually?

[What was preserved is a whole other issue and not relevant here. In brief, the few who remained frum provided brissin, mikvaos, shechita, matzos, etc. for Russian Jewry. Even ardent communists, who observed nothing, would sometimes have a bris performed on their sons, thanks to the very few who preserved Judaism. It was those few Jews who preserved the spark who enabled Yiddishkeit to flourish once again years later.]


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


23. Great discussion here     1/17/07 - 7:29 PM
tb

M, you're right that the dwindling role of parents in the lives of their children wins the top prize at the "At-Risk Youth Fair," but the lack of gym, long hours, and Chesed activities win second prize and if we can't fix number 1, we should go after number 2, no? Anonymous, inspiration these days could come from Chesed and Kiruv, two things that are hardly a part of the average Yeshiva kid's life. He doesn't have time. When I was in high school, a right wing school, we were taken out of school during the day--with adult supervision--to do Kiruv at the local public school. I know of a local modern orthodox yeshiva that takes it's students to the cemetery to help clean it up, another one offers a tutoring program between Yeshiva high school children and elementary children during school time. Today's youth can save others in many ways if people will just give them the time and the opportunity.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


24. What's it for?     1/18/07 - 10:01 AM
Anonymous

"inspiration these days could come from Chesed and Kiruv, two things that are hardly a part of the average Yeshiva kid's life."

But then, what would motivate a boy or girl WHILE IN SCHOOL ALL DAY?

In other words, many (most?) of the yeshiva bachurim back in Europe eventually became rabbonim, dayanim, and roshei yeshiva who served Klal Yisrael. The girls in Sarah Schenirer's seminary became teachers. Their learning had a goal.

What about today's students? With all frum boys getting a yeshiva education way beyond cheder, but most of those boys NOT becoming the next crop of rabbonim, dayanim, or even mechanchim, why is the average high school boy sitting there for hours learning Gemara? Does he know? Is he inspired to do so?

Why are girls in high school spending hours on meforshim on Chumash and the rest of the curriculum? Do they know why? Most won't be teaching. So what's it all about? Torah lishma for girls?


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


25. What is Ruchniyus?     1/18/07 - 1:08 PM
tb

I thought the boys are learning for learning sake and then as Beis Medrash Bochurim to support the rest of the world with their Torah and the girls, it just became a thing to do to keep pushing them to learn more, probably to keep them out of trouble. And I am one of them. I happen to love to learn and did so through seminary, but I also had outlets at my high school and seminary. Why is it so objectionable and if not objectionable unimportant to the average Yeshivish person/Chareidi to involve their kids in their community? We have Pirchei here and no one wants to lead it. You know why? Because they themselves grew up without it and do not value it and they say they have to sleep a whole shabbos because of their vigorous high school schedule. Why are the Bikur Cholims begging people to visit the homebound? I know a lot of high school girls do this, but what about our boys? Why is Chesed fifth tier if on the list at all? Why are we only looking inward to the inside of the Yeshiva walls to make improvements in the Ruchnius of our children? What is Ruchnius? Only elevated and inspired learning? Is the Shabbos table only about the quality of the Dvar Torah, or is it about the singing, the guests, the Kiruv? Please someone tell me what Ruchnius means to you today? It was never just about the quality of learning. It just became about the Yeshiva. Maybe those who do not naturally feel inspired by their intense Limudim need to prepare for Parnasa and go into Parnasa as it was in Europe. The Iluyim that have been mentioned will be inspired anyway.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


26. Talmud Torah k'nedged kulam     1/18/07 - 7:33 PM
Anonymous

---"Why is it so objectionable and if not objectionable unimportant to the average Yeshivish person/Chareidi to involve their kids in their community?"

If "Talmud Torah k'neged kulam" then if there are other people who can get involved in the community, you don't leave your learning to do so.

They don't want to to lead Pirchei because they grew up without it - why did they grow up without it? Maybe because Pirchei wasn't enjoyable. Maybe they don't want to lead a bunch of rowdy, chutzpadike kids. I don't blame them. The Bnos leaders have it tough too. Why should they bother?

---"Why are the Bikur Cholims begging people to visit the homebound? I know a lot of high school girls do this, but what about our boys? Why is Chesed fifth tier if on the list at all?"

Like I said before - because Torah is top priority and there are laws about bittul Torah.

---"Why are we only looking inward to the inside of the Yeshiva walls to make improvements in the Ruchnius of our children?"

First of all, looking to improve the homes is one way to improve matters outside the yeshiva. Second, it's because the children spend morning to night in yeshiva/school and therefore the experience should be optimal.

---"The Iluyim that have been mentioned will be inspired anyway."

Not necessarily since their special needs usually go unfulfilled. Just because one is a genius, does not mean you are inspired!


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


27. illuyim     1/18/07 - 8:01 PM
yoni

I'm sorry anonymous. I've met too many of the real illuyim from our schools to agree that our institutions are doing anything to protect them at all. Those true geniuses who chap the gemorah the second they so much as look at it and begin to quote at you the mefarshim from the back with out looking at them based solely on the content of the gemorah it's self (and yes they do exist, I should know because I happen to know them,) leave our schools in droves. Virtualy all of the best and brightest in any of our schools flee the moment they can.

Our schools only serve the mediocre. They don't even touch the real illuyim, who basicaly leave as "at risk kids" because they are not chalanged what so ever, and are entirely bored with there classes and nothing changes. Just a tidbit of reality.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


28. Chesed activities     1/18/07 - 8:18 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

I had the great zechus of hearing the Friday divrei Torah of our great rebbi, Rav Avrohom Pam z'tl.

He told us -- early and often -- to donate 10% of our time to chesed.

I often think that the reason that so many Torah Vodaas talmidim are involved in chinuch and askonus is a direct result of Rebbi z'tl implanting these notions in our minds with such passion.

YH


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


29. Yoni - I agree     1/19/07 - 9:57 AM
Anonymous

Yoni: without quote boxes it's hard sometimes to notice who said what.

If you go back and read my previous comment you will see that you are disagreeing with tb, not with me. Our schools serve the average to above average with a lot of attention being given lately to learning problems, and the really bright ones go unchallenged. I don't agree that they're leaving in droves for this reason though.

As for Rabbi Pam - how many other roshei yeshiva espouse that view?

I'm certainly not disagreeing with Rabbi Pam. Just noting that apparently most other roshei yeshiva and menahalim don't see it that way since they don't impart this view to their talmidim - mesivta and beis medrash.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


30.     1/19/07 - 11:06 AM
yoni

concerning this I think that we really need both. We need average schools that cater to a wide variety of interests and ability levels, within the same school (like I mentioned with period type structure, thus allowing the child to persue subjects that interest him). I also think that the chessed and other types of activities are an absolute must for everyone, bright and not so bright alike.

We also need schools that cater to the gifted. Not schools that limit themselves to one particular hashkafa, but that include a broad base of hashkafos. By in large the gifted kids will keep the bad behavior out of the school on their own initiative. However those schools need to be clearly labeled as gifted, and have the appropriate restrictions on who gets in, IQ tests and other relavent measures of real potential. It can't be something that parents can just send their kid to. it also needs teachers and rebbeim who are qualified in gifted education and are extremely knowledgable in their subject matter. People who are preferably themselves gifted.

we need both, and we need to emphesize that the normal schools are not in anyway second tier. They should provide a variety of educational opertunities and allow children to succeed in the manner thal allows them the most personal growth.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


31. Why our youth are not inspired     1/21/07 - 12:11 AM
SZ

I want to add some thoughts about why many of our youth are not as on fire as in past generations: As for prewar, all written accounts that I have seen, as well as survivors from that period that I have spoken to will tell you that the interwar (between the two world wars) generation was a very unique one.

Twelve and thirteen year olds were passionately involved in "changing the world," and in quite a sophisticated way. This was not a "cute" or naive activity, as resisters of all types proved during the war, when years of preparation turned into mighty deeds.

Young people in Eastern Europe had an enormous sense of purpose, if only because conditions were so desperate. Every movement, from the many flavored Zionist groups to the Bund, to the Agudah and Bais Yaakov (l'havdil) saw themselves as actively changing the world they knew. And there was plenty to change. The poverty, discrimination, anti-Semitism etc.

One of the zikney Agudas Yisroel who is still with us B"H told me not long ago that much of this zeal came from people simply wanting to find a way, any way to get out of Poland. Hence you had even frum hachsharot. The Agudath Israel archives have photos of young Jews from Agudath Israel working on farms to prepare for aliyah, posing with photos of their leaders, such as Rav Meir Shapiro zt"l, as was the custom of each group at the time, to pose with photos of their leaders. This was not simply something engaged in by secular groups or the religious Mizrachi. Agudah youth, he told me, were fired up to make a change and bring some hope to their lives.

I cannot comment on the postwar decades. But I can add a thing or two for our time.

When I was in mesivta we did do chesed work in nursing homes and elsewhere. It was hard to deny the great effect we were having when we heard elderly Jews thanking us with tears in their eyes, telling us they never see their secular children, and that we were the only personal link they had outside their nursing care.

Then there was an additional outlet for those who dared to do so. There was the great effort to free Soviet Jewry, with letter writings and rallys; including the marches of over two hundred thousand Jews yearly, etc. What an experience! There was a sense you were contributing in some way to a problem of the klal. I must admit that our Roshei Mesivta did not advocate for this but neither did they stop our involvement.

I vividly recall that in 1975 the Agudah had an impressive deligation outside the UN when Arafat, ys"h, came in his infamous handgun appearance to speak before the world. There was a mechitza and we frum Jews were represented, seen in significant numbers.

Today, one hears a call for any such klal action only occasionally; even then it is outside the larger community efforts. To be sure there are understandable concerns. But it nevertheless sends a message.

I recall (though I do not have the source) that Rav Moshe, zt"l, said in the 70's that a yeshiva bochur ought to donate 10% of his time to kiruv in the public schools, as has been noted in the name of Rav Pam, zt"l. This made an impression on me and spurred my activity with local kids in our shul who were willing to learn but had no Jewish educaiton. Perhaps someone here knows better than I if and when Rav Moshe said that.

The Torah that we teach today is usually not focused in the arena of klal affairs; it is frequently divorced in any meaningful way from issues that might excite our youth. What, l'maaseh to do?

With all that took place just a short six months ago, with one million Jews hiding in underground bunkers, how many of our youth have heard a talk from their rebbeim about that? How about writing to boys or girls to get a sense of what they went through and what they would want from us here, today, in the way of assistance?

I recall reading a newspaper story of Rav Horowitz' talmidim pairing with a school in Eretz Yisrael, sending valuable items to kids who were displaced during the Gush Katif disengagement.

How about even just a week of learning the sources in Gemara and Halacha about Bikkur Cholim before a visit to a chessed facility?

How about the learning issues of pikuach nefesh or pidyon sh'vuyim before and after we are in touch with yidden in Eretz Yisrael who underwent the terror of a half a year ago? (Are our students even aware that three Israeli soldiers, yidden by any definition are still captive and their families are suffering daily)?

If we say (as we no doubt do) that we care about Acheynu Kol Bais Yisroel these are ways to show our students that we mean it. But we have to at least talk about it and sensitize them to issues that they contribute to, beginning with daily tefillos. We have to at least place it on their radar.

There are real issues available for learning and discussion. I do not doubt that at least some would be interested in being involved.

Of course, we have to first get the Roshei Mesivta and Roshei Yeshiva to support the effort and cause, to place the issues before our talmidim as deserving of their attention, perhaps even inviting a Jew from Eretz Yisroel to speak at an agreed upon time to our students and impress upon them how Jews are living and what we can do in a concrete way to make a difference, beyond buying a raffle ticket, as laudable as that is.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


32. leaders?     1/21/07 - 7:01 PM
Anonymous

SZ – to add to what you wrote (and you gave some good ideas of how kids can get involved and make a difference), I remember reading about an illustrious woman who lived in Europe who said that at age 14 her peers were passionately involved in all sorts of causes, how idealistic they were! What are today's kids passionate about - the latest ipod?

The frum idealistic kids of today who are passionate about a cause are much harder to find. You sometimes read about them in their lonely fight against the Israeli government which seeks to squelch them with KGB type methods. And sometimes, when encountering those sweet Lubavitcher children offering Chanuka kits or Shabbos candles, it’s quite moving.

But what about the rest of frum Jewry – where’s the passion? The feeling that the time spent in yeshiva is so vital?

Just a thought about your final paragraph SZ. Seems mighty strange to say that we “have to get” our leaders to do anything. If they’re the leaders, is it naïve of me to expect them to lead?


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


33.     1/21/07 - 11:57 PM
SZ

If we teach our children those sections and parts of Torah (broadly speaking; Tanach, Mussar and Midrash as well as Gemara and broader sections of Halacha that interest them) that speak to their concerns; that will reach their real needs as yidden as well as human beings.

I believe they will then see that our Torah speaks to their generation as it did to every generation of Klal Yisroel, to kids raised B"H in our times of comfort and security.

Then, together with caring rebbeim who listen to their questions (even if they cannot answer all the questions) we will win their hearts and commitment to our mesorah, including those parts that they did not find interesting at age 15 or even 17.

I fear that much of what we teach today does not speak to them, to the needs of our boys (or girls?), who are after all teenagers. Even if we insist on leaving Tanach out of the boys' curriculum (which I believe is a serious mistake) in 7th-12th grades, we can still add to the Gemaras and Halachos that we do teach; picking those that really speak to young hearts as well as to their minds.

I was not a Gemara enthusiast until I was 17 years old. Until that time I grasped on to those sugyos that related to me. I asked the hanhala that the mesivta somehow pick other sugyos like those which were actually interesting to us as 14, 15 and 16 year olds (didn't always work but sometimes it did); those sugyos that showed me Chazal cared for my needs, and had something to say to me as a teenager.

B"H I held on long enough until my interest level rose and the particular mesechta was no longer an issue. What I learned from this was that people need a "key" into learning Torah, what the Rambam calls "mah shelibo chafetz."

Our job is to fashion more keys.

We need to keep those yeshivas that cater to the metzuyanim. There are obviously boys who flourish in the rarified environment of excellence that they provide. What we need are keys for the much larger number that fit in the middle. We need to meet their needs for ruchniyos by a different choice of sugyos and halachos, or Sifrei Kodesh, additional to (or instead of) what is currently practiced.

Europe's famed yeshivos (and their careful choice of gemaras) were for the metzuyanim, for those whose minds deserved and needed them. It was almost always those metzuyanim who learned there in the first place. Small wonder we hear of "the illuy" from this town or "the illuy" from that town. We know the examples. Many were our manhigim until we recently lost them, r"l.

The vast majority of boys in Europe were out the door and in the work place by thirteen. It was never anticipated that they would be learning, as an earlier writer pointed out.

It was never anticipated that they would be shteiging over a Ktzoys or even a Tosfos or Maharsho at age fourteen. There is a reason there were so many Chevra Tehillim in Europe; so many boys and men did not learn gemara in the first place.

Today, we have raised the bar for boys that would never have made it to a Slutzk or Baranowich, a Mir, Telz or a Grodno. It is hard to explain how we are making any sense when there is so much of Torah they can be learning and loving and making their own, take to their hearts, mah shelibam chofetz.

As for the leaders, we who love Torah and Am Yisroel can speak to manhigim who we are close to, as well as to gevirim who generously support Torah; to encourage them to support the efforts of those like Rav Horowitz, Shlita, so that he will not be a lone voice in the wilderness.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


34. Wrong Focus     1/22/07 - 9:03 AM
T Zager - Brooklyn

One thing that really struck regarding what we focus on in Yeshivos is what happened a few weeks ago by my son's PTA. When I sat down with my husband in front of the Rebbe, the very first thing he said to us was, "He is not the smartest or quickest in the class. He has to put in a little more effort than some of the others, but then he understands the Gemoroh very well." Please understand that my son IS putting in the effort and IS doing well. I said to the Rebbe that there were plenty of Gedolei Hador who did not start off being renowned for their brilliance, but with effort and Hasmadah achieved far more than their "brilliant" peers. The Rebbe agreed with me. I then asked him about my son's Midos and Derech Eretz to which he responded that my son was exemplary in those areas and that he is a wonderful child in that respect B"H. Rabbosai, this is a child who is ALWAYS on time to Minyan, puts in the effort to understand the Gemoroh, learns with my husband every night, has beautiful midos and derech eretz and all the Rebbe could begin with was "He isn't THE smartest or THE quickest!" In our home, effort and midos are the barometer by which we measure our children's progress which is why my children's esteem are not destroyed yet. If absolute perfection in learning and THE best learner is the only thing that matters to Yeshivos then it is no wonder that children are falling on the wayside.

One word with regards to Chesed - this is one area which I feel is unfair to pin only on Yeshivos. Parents are fully capable and should be responsible to inculcate children with regards to Chesed and the Klal. I take my children during vacation to a homebound lady we have "adopted." I get them involved in Kiruv and Hachnosas Orchim on Shabbos. We choose toys for the Chai Lifeline drive. They help me prepare Box Tops for the Yeshiva fundraising. They made cards and letters and prepared toys for the children of Eretz Yisroel this summer. There are so many little ways to show them that thinking of others and doing for others makes them a vital part of Klal Yisroel. And it is not only the job of the Yeshiva. Chinuch is the job for PARENTS first.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


35. Parents need to set an example     1/22/07 - 10:51 AM
Anonymous

If PARENTS set an example of involvement in the klal (in a way that doesn't adversely affect children's homelife), then children will come to appreciate their responsibility to the klal. My children see me volunteering for their Yeshiva and Bais Yakov, going weekly to Tehillim groups, joining Partners in Torah, visiting the homebound, organizing meals for new mothers and doing kiruv and hachnosas orchim at the shabbos table. I make sure that it doesn't take away from their time with me, they always have supper waiting to eat with me and I am always home to put them to bed, so they don't feel resentful towards the chesed. THAT example, more than any shiur from a rebbe, shows them how to be involved and make a difference!


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


36. comments     1/22/07 - 2:06 PM
Anonymous

sorry, this comment is not on the topic

I would like to know whether Rabbi Horowitz reads new comments made to old articles.

Do you notice them?


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


37. How to hit a grand slam!     1/24/07 - 10:40 AM
Anonymous - devorahw@gmail.com

Exit interviews was a grand slam! Your baseball analogy says it all - make contact and get on base - that's what a relationship is all about! "They were looking for respect and understanding, acceptance, safe and nurturing home lives, hands-on parents who offer unconditional love........."

How do you do satisfy a teens need for respect, understanding etc?

All the work I do with parents is based on the following: A) giving up control - criticism, blame, nagging, threatening, punishing, bribing,etc and B) replacing control with specific skills and tools which let in love, compassion, understanding and happiness by: respecting, listening, understanding, supporting, encouraging, appreciating.....

To get on base and score runs parents can ask themselves the following 2 questions: "Is what I'm going to say or do bring me closer (more connected) or push me farther away (disconnected) to the child with whom I want to have a meaningful relationship?" "Is it better to be right or to be connected?" Powerful questions indeed.

Learning choice theory and relationship building skills is a winning combo. THe more you give up direct control, the more you gain indirect control throught the power of a close and loving relationship. Yasher koach Rabbi Horowitz! Indeed the more you get on base with your teenager, the more runs you will score in the end and eventually you will all win the game - and celebrate with tremendous nachas and achdus.

Is your parent/teen relationship @ risk - connected or disconnected - IT'S YOUR CHOICE! Parents who choose to connect with their teen may lose a few games (battles) , but WIN THE WORLD SERIES (War) in the end.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


38. Al shlosha Devarim Haolam Omaid, Al HaTorah, V'al Havodah, V'al Gemilus Chasadim!     1/24/07 - 8:15 PM
tb

Yasher Koach, SZ. I appreciate so much what you have written. You put it so eloquently and respectfully. Anonymous 1/18, 7:33: SZ has some great answers for you. I think you seem to see the value in what he is saying. But regarding your disturbing comment: "They don't want to to lead Pirchei because they grew up without it - why did they grow up without it? Maybe because Pirchei wasn't enjoyable. Maybe they don't want to lead a bunch of rowdy, chutzpadike kids. I don't blame them. The Bnos leaders have it tough too. Why should they bother?" It is connected with what T. Zager said regarding her son. Many of our children, more than you may realize if you are not in Chinuch, are Mechutzafim. Emphasis is on the learning not the Mentch. I know you are Machsiv Torah learning above all else, but this comment of yours seems to insinuate that you have given up and accepted the fact that our children are not Mentschen. We must never accept that. And while this lack of Mentsclechkeit usually comes from the home, you must realize that the Mentsclechkeit is not valued or highlighted in the Yeshiva system that we have currently painted ourselves into a corner with, Middos contests notwithstanding. Treat the Talmid as a Mentch first. Mold the whole person. I believe this is what SZ is saying.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


39. tb you are so right     4/28/07 - 8:28 PM
Nechama

TB you are so right about the Mentchlichkeit. It is not a given, despite the Middos contests. We have to address the whole person. We can't even just aim to help them be good scholars and have a good school experience, it's just a part of the picture. We need to help each child become a good real whole person, and allow them to make mistakes as they explore who they really are, what they really want, and how to really grow. Yet to discuss mistakes and values and help them to expand their horizons and enable their visions - and to our suprise we find that most kids want to be good. Best wishes.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


40. Lets face the reality of life today.     5/6/10 - 5:19 PM
Pinchos Woolstone - Brooklyn - pwoolstone@gmail.com

There are children who thrive in a regular Yeshiva/Bais Yaakov/Beis Rivka/Beis Ruchel atmosphere, and there are those that do not. The frum communities need to provide alternatives types of education in every major neighborhood, it is no longer sufficient to have the odd school here and there offering chinuch to children who do not fit in to the above mentioned framework. The problems are too numerous and are growing.

Not every talmid is going to sit and learn his whole life, some are not full time learner material and other just do not want to.

These young men need a trade and/or a profession or they can become depressed and just drop out.

It has nothing to do with the intelligence of the individual, more their personality.

The issue of higher education will need to be addressed, a blanket ban on such training is no longer sustainable and one year courses i.e. COPE do not provide enough training for many professions.

We want all our children to have a high self worth.

With regard to our daughters the same principle holds,many will be satisfied in bringing up there children only working outside the home for purely financial reasons, other will want to be lawyers, doctors and psychologists, such a desire needs to be nurtured.

Why is it ok for the non-religious to have an excellent profession but not our frummer daughters.

The old approach of limited higher education no longer works , many of our children are voting with their feet.

We must be there for them, a truly frum individual with a top flight profession bring happiness to themselves, their family and creates a Kiddush HaShem.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


41. Derech Eretz and Torah     8/25/10 - 4:20 AM
Hana Levine - Jerusalem Israel - hlevine@012.net.il

Torah teaches us to educate our children according to their individual personality and abilities. Each one 'b'darcho'. Each of Hashem's children is unique and deserves to be acknowledged for his unique qualities. Even the weakest student is strong in something.

By supporting and acknowledging those strong points and educating toward the strength, the student will be able to use the strength for good. If, however, the child's strengths are not given value - this makes little of him. Anyone with a smidgen of self-worth would look for another way, another 'derech'. Likewise the stronger students who see the way the system is working - if they are the ones on the pedestal and they are modest people - they would have a hard time being in the spotlight especially when it is obvious that their position is at the loss of others.

Our children learn more from the ways of the teachers then from the material being taught in the class. A teacher who supports the weaker students in the room by creating chevruta between stronger and weaker students will be teaching a stronger life lesson to the stronger students then by teaching to the academic "cream of the crop". Are we not 'am ehad'?

Why do we allow these one aspect, academic grades of acheivement to muddle our thoughts when it comes to our children? The Jewish schools make a mistake by modeling on the goyish model - what are these grades about? All our children are mitzuyanim. This is how they were born. We are in real trouble when we judge our children according to the grades they bring home - and when we agree to a system which would have them think that learning the words of torah is more valuable then the ma'ashe coming from learning those words. We learn from the midrash that we received the Torah on the basis of our willingness to do: 'naaseh ve'nishma'.

I was brought to tears by the idea put forth by a reader that chesed work could is to be considered bitul torah. Hello? How does that jive with the torah "veasita et ha-yashar ve'ha-tov b'eini h'shem"?

The High Holidays are approaching - do we not all want to be heard and judged by our merits? We can do for our children what we want KBH to do for us. Each one of us and our children are all on a derech. And only in the next world will we perhaps understand which was the correct path. In this world we can do the best we can for our children. This may mean dropping some prejudices and listening without judgement? Our children are our greatest teachers, we should thank them and afford them the respect they are due as such.


Report this Post

Thank you.
Your report has been submitted.
You may not see immediate results on your browser, but rest assured, the offensive or inappropriate comment will be dealt with automatically.
You can only report a comment once.


42. Dropouts     8/26/10 - 4:30 PM
Binumin

My friend in shul has a daughter who is 14 years old and he can't find a school who wants to accept her...Who will be blamed for this child's failure.? The father cannot afford $14,000 tuition. His job brings in $32,000 a year and his wife works full time to help support the rest of the family...

Drop out rate will get higher as the years keep on going...We all hide in the closet as long its NOT my child...

  Rate & Write a 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