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Issue 153 - Kiruv for Our Children
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
This article orignally appeared in Mishpacha Magazine

  Rated by 12 users   |   Viewed 12802 times since 4/13/07   |   32 Comments
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4/13/07

Nearly eighteen months ago at an Agudath Israel National Convention, I was chairing a Project YES session where the featured speaker was my dear friend, Rabbi Noach Orlowek. Fresh off a plane from Eretz Yisrael, Reb Noach spoke brilliantly about chinuch, teens, and parenting matters. After his presentation, there was an extended Q&A segment with questions posed to any of the five people on the panel. At one point, Rabbi Orlowek and I were sharing the podium responding to a series of hard-hitting questions when someone got up and asked us to share with the assembled delegates our thoughts regarding how parents ought to respond to the challenges posed by the Internet. At that time, there was a great deal of discussion in the broader Orthodox community about this subject and an immediate hush passed through the audience as three hundred sets of eyes focused on Rabbi Orlowek and myself. I boldly stepped forward, firmly grabbed the microphone … and passed it to Rabbi Orlowek.

Well, Reb Noach and I are very close friends and we often kid each other about the fact that we seem to always finish each other’s sentences. So, I was very curious to hear how he would reply to that loaded question.

Rabbi Orlowek was quiet for a few very long moments. He then responded by posing a question. What if a diabetic is invited to a fancy wedding where he will be surrounded with food that is terribly harmful to him? Reb Noach responded by noting that the only chance this person has to resist the temptations he will inevitably be faced with at the wedding was to see to it that he had a full and satisfying meal before he left home. Rabbi Orlowek said that we must accept the fact that each generation throughout our glorious history had its challenges and that the explosion of technology-driven temptations that our children — and we — face nowadays may very well be ours. More importantly, he pointed out that we must make peace with the fact that as much as we would like to, we simply cannot shelter our children beyond a certain age. Therefore, the only solution that we have as parents and educators is to see to it that our kids are “full” when they reach their teen years. And “full,” he explained, means having an appreciation and genuine love for Torah and mitzvos; nurturing, safe, and loving home environments; schools that are welcoming and inspire children; and rebbeim/teachers who develop deep and meaningful relationships with their students, in addition to teaching the timeless lessons of our Torah.

Rabbi Orlowek emphatically stated that parents must be very vigilant in protecting their vulnerable children from the immoral content of the Internet and other media venues. However, this defensive strategy only represents one component in our quest to raise observant, Torah-committed children in these challenging times. Moreover, the shelf life of this defensive shield is limited to the time when our children are young and primarily in the confines of our homes. Once they leave the shelter of our Torah homes, they will be extremely vulnerable to the temptations they will face if we have not successfully ‘filled’ them with a deep love of Torah and mitzvos.

I think that in the broadest sense, we ought to be thinking about fundamentally altering our mindset as it relates to the chinuch of our precious children. Those involved in kiruv (outreach) work fully understand that they need to spend a great deal of energy and time marketing their great ‘product’ or their prospective ‘customer’ may not be engaged enough to ‘buy in.’ With our own children, it often seems like we are mistakenly taking for granted they are lifelong customers — and therefore not spending enough time in the critical arena of ‘customer relations.’ We invest an enormous amount of time filling their minds and not nearly enough energy inspiring them and engaging their hearts.

When you think of it, what we really need are kiruv schools for our own children and a kiruv mindset in our own homes. As a wise mother once told me regarding the school experience of her children, “Rabbi Horowitz, my children need salesmen, not policemen.” In today’s climate, however, with so much pressure on schools to “cover ground” and with the exponentially increasing acceptance standards in our high schools, it is nearly impossible for our dedicated educators to find the time to market our Torah effectively to our children.

Rabbi Orlowek was expressing a profound thought in his analogy with the diabetic individual. For when our beloved children enter our schools in their formative years, we are in complete control of their environment. We monitor the spiritual intake of their neshamos — as we well ought to. However, we must always keep in mind that these dynamics will rapidly change, as our children grow older. Like it or not, ready or not, they will be thrust into a very challenging environment where their palates will be tempted by all sorts of appealing — and harmful — products. All we can do is hope and pray that we prepared them well with filling and nourishing meals when that time comes.

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



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1.     4/15/07 - 9:00 AM
yoni

I think that it is good that rabbis are saying things like this.

But I want to say that in terms of the immoral content on the internet (which I'm assuming refers to not-tznius pictures, thats what I hear most obsessing about) I think that if we are to stop them from looking at it, there or anywhere else, we need to spend some active effort incalculating respect for other people in to our children. I think that if our children are conciously aware of the feelings/wants/needs of others, and that they are people who have a certain dignity, and that objectifying any person, male or female, is repulsive and just wrong, then perhaps they will be less likely to pay attention to such content.

I think that they are capable. I do not think that they would be so bad as to do something that they know would make others feel uncomfortable, even if that other person is not there to know.


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2. yiras shomayim etc.     4/15/07 - 9:51 AM
M

overall, I agree with R' Orloweck

the Internet (and iPods, mp3's) are here to stay

I think there is a vital ingredient missing in the article though, and that is "yiras shomayim." "Fear" is not popular in our society. We like to hear about love, love for one another, love for G-d, and G-d's love for us. In tody's day-and-age, fear and awe are anachronisms. However, when it comes to yiddishkeit, if we lack yira and concentrate only on inculcating ahava, the bird will be lacking a wing (Zohar's imagery).

A child can grow up with a positive regard for yiddishkeit, with warm feelings for Shabbos, for Torah, for his parents and rebbeim, but if he or she lacks yiras shomayim, oy vey. Numerous Jews have warm fuzzy feelings towards yiddishkeit without observing Torah and mitzvos. They are "cardiac Jews." I'd like to read an article by R' Horowitz about yiras shomayim and how to develop this in our children. How many people would we describe as being yirei shomayim and what do we mean by that? Is anybody looking for yiras shomayim in a shidduch?

Another unpopular but vital component in our observance is kabbolas ol. We Americans are way too obsessed with explaining everything to our kids: why they need to wash their hands, eat, go to sleep now, wear their sweater, etc. Now, it's not a bad thing to understand why you're doing what you're doing. It can be quite positive actually. But when children's obedience is predicated on their understanding and [i]agreeing[/i] with your explanation, we're asking for trouble. How about an article on kabbolas ol?

final comment - I don't think "the salesmen not policemen" wording is apt. The word salesmen, to me, conjures up someone who may not necessarily believe his product is good but who does his darndest to sell it because he gets a commission. Salesmen have a repution of being slick, even underhanded at times.

Our children need teachers (and parents are teachers) to whom Yiddishkeit is life.


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3. You can approach what appears to be a cliff and not fall off...     4/15/07 - 3:47 PM
Yehudit - bell0954@sbcglobal.net

I am the mother of five, three of them being teenagers and I just wanted to go one step further because I felt that the article did Not address it's own point...too esoteric. I wanted to say that we as parents need to understand what our teens want from the internet. My kids are primarily interested in AIM (instant messaging) .My kids have shown me that it is a closed, secure conversation room that only registered friends can enter, and you decide who will go on your friends list. No strangers can come in to your conversation. It is completely private. Even "My Space" is a closed circuit allowing only your registered friends to comment or enter. No strangers can come in. I asked my most active teen to show me who he wanted on his "Guest list" and how he knows each one. I am comfortable with his friends and from time to time I peek in and see that communication is only through AIM. I also had him show me the "My Space" pages of his friends (he was happy that I was interested in his friends and willing to become educated about the modern communication of teens).We must not live in fear. We must become educated and communicate, make our homes the place where our teens' friends want to "hang out"...serve snacks, ask them about their lives etc. Hatzlacha to all of you parents raising teens, may Hashem help us succeed!


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4. to help ourselves and others     4/15/07 - 7:17 PM
Nechama

'We invest an enormous amount of time filling their minds and not nearly enough energy inspiring them and engaging their hearts'

Sometimes a willingness to put in time and energy to our children is not enough. Before we can show we are genuinely concerned about our children, we have to actually be genuinely concerned. Of course, all parents do care a lot about their children, but sometimes on a day to day level, our interactions are clouded by our own needs, our imaginations about their Shidduch options, our desire for control, and even more so, by resentment of the fact that as parents we have to often spend a lot of time with and/or on behalf of our children. So that's why I think wise parents would go to (Kosher) therapy, or do self therapy or just write a lot about their thoughts and feelings and just get to know ourselves.

We also have to familiarize ourselves with different methods and techniques that work with different types of children and in different types of situations. We have to learn how to be firm, for example, and not give in to children's whining, begging and pleading, and yet we have to also know how to listen for the signs that mean that a child is having a particularly hard time with this. And even then, the solution is not always to back down, but often to validate the child's feelings, and encourage the child to look for alternative solutions.

So although you said that we have to be prepared to put in the energy to engage the child's hearts, I want to add what you said orally in a Shiur in Eretz Yisroel - that there is a whole lot of parenting information out there, teaching different methods etc. It's up to us to find it and use it.

For this I wish someone would establish a website to which Frum users could go and share parenting information and useful self-help links. Especially for dealing with kids with ADHD, ADD and SID (sensory integration dysfuction), without squelching them.

Rabbi Horowitz - can you dedicate a section of your website to this?

Thanks

Nechama


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5. The cliff may not be what you think it is     4/15/07 - 8:32 PM
tb

Yehudit, with respect, I think as I've mentioned before that parents need to realize that the dangers of the internet are not just the pornography and predators, but the disconnectedness that results from using technology too much and straying away from having real conversations and interactions with people. This is a problem that our entire society is facing and talking about, not just Frum people, not just our teenagers. Our teenagers need to learn Torah, exercise, do their work, read, hang out with their friends in person, engage in Chesed/community activities, spend time eating and talking with their family. If all those boxes are checked, then I think there is room for occasional computer games and videos(if you agree with that). IMing is not being engaged in life and people. It may be what is cool, but it is not without cost.


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6. How do you sell Yiddishkeit?     4/16/07 - 12:46 PM
Michelle

How do you go about selling Yiddishkeit? Rabbi Horowitz can you explain more?


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7. Not Just Project YES     4/16/07 - 1:33 PM
Eli

Excellent article, however these methods need to be applied to all mainstream yeshivos and not just to Project YES for "At-Risk Teens".


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8. communicating     4/16/07 - 5:12 PM
Anonymous

Why is IM'ing not communicating? I don't get it. One can communicate in person, on the phone, in letters (snail mail), email, and IM.

I have had deep, meaningful, enjoyable contact with people via email and IM. I have reconnected with people and made new friends.

The inane conversations that some teens have with one another via IM are similar when they meet in person. Conversely, people have become frum simply by contacting and emailing strangers.


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9. Oh Yeah... big yawn     4/18/07 - 2:09 PM
Yitzchok - Brooklyn, N.Y.

I actually remamber that performance. Wasn't that the the place where there was much exitement going in and finding a superb article by the head of P'tach, neatly placed on each chair in which the author wrote an incicive article for The Jewish observer outlining the pressing issues "of the day" regarding our "education" system along with detailed solutions at which point the murmur in the croud was really upbeat thinking wer'e FINALLY going to do it right, only to realize, that the article was written in JANUARY 1980 Wake me up in 25 years.


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10. By the way...     4/18/07 - 6:55 PM
Yitzchok - Brooklyn, N.Y.

Wasn't it Rabbi Orlowek who, in his opening remarks noted that "there are NO stigmas anymore regarding children with ADD/HD" I mention this not to disparage Rabbi O (his sense of wonder when he was corrected at the absurdity of these stigmas was actually touching) but rather to point out the disconnect that top Mechanchim have with the real culprits - RA BONIM who insist on retaining the power but are spineless when it comes to do the right thing by reforming our one size fits all educational system/joke. Thank You R Horowitz for not keeping them clueless as well, at least they won't have an excuse on the day of reckoning.


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11. Fear and Yoke Scares Me     4/19/07 - 12:52 AM
MG

to M:

ever wonder why yirah and ra'ah have the same shoresh -"to see". only through seeing hashem in your life - how He loves you and gets involved in every detail of it - as well as building a strong love for Hashem, will you come to fear Him. and about kabolas ol... Shema, which is the ultimate kabalah of ol malchus shamayim (shema backwards is its roshei teivos) is always preceded by ahava rabbah or ahavas olam. Wonder why? and what about the word v'ahavta (and you should love)that follows immediately after shema?

R' Horowitz, please let me know if you disagree but I believe, and I've heard from many people in the field, that the "at risk" problem would be solved if we'd start teaching our kids to love hashem and know how much he loves each one of us - rather than pumping fear into our children and reminding them about that really heavy "yoke" that we're carrying around. This halacha and that halacha and this mitzvah and that aveira and you have to do this and this and that. nobody wants to hear about yokes and responsibilities and punishments and fear.

Tell me about love and closeness and caring that Hashem has for me and maybe I'll love Him too and I'll do what he wants.

Also, most parents and rebbeim don't want kids asking them reasons for all the things we do because most of them don't know themselves.


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12. fear or responsibility     4/19/07 - 6:23 AM
Nechama

I don't think M intended that people should live in fear, be intimidated, or threatened.

I think she just meant that a person has to have a feeling of responsibility towards the Torah and Mitzvos so that they try their hardest to do them even when they *don't* feel like it. A person shouldn't get to a stage where they are permissive with themselves "I'm having a bad hair day, so nothing matters". Things *do* matter. That's not to say one shouldn't ask advice if it seems too hard, of course one must learn to get help. But underlying has to be a feeling that even if we don't see Hashem, He is there. Molecules and atoms are there too, although we don't see them.

We have to try to spend time building awareness that Hashem sees everything, that He created us, that He made a pact with our ancestors who agreed Na'aseh Venishma - a promise that all their children, us, would also be bound by the Mitzvos. Just because a person themself does not remember being at Har Sinai, as a Jew he is still bound to the agreement made there. For example, even if a boy is tired, this does not relieve him of the yoke of responsibility to say Krias Shema on time every morning. Even if all my kids are coming at me at once, this does not give me permission to lash out and hurt someone with words.

The way we deal with people, children, ourselves, who are not filling their responsibilities has to be a gentle one, as you said. This is because changing from doing the wrong thing to doing the right thing requires people to think, and consider, and make the decision to be honest and responsible.

In addition, problems cannot always be resolved with a direct approach : Try harder! (ask anyone with ADD). So education is key too. This refers to education about teaching methods, ways to motivate, learning styles, as well as education as to understand what the child was thinking, *why* he did what he did, and what else has been going on in his life. Not to make excuses for him because "there is always a reason" but in order to guide him properly.


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13. Is IMing communicating?     4/19/07 - 10:41 PM
tb

Anonymous, IMing is not communicating in the same way. Everyone knows that things we email or IM each other are not necessarily going to come out the same as how we may say them: inflection, concern, hesitation cannot be conveyed. It is not as personal and has its downsides because of it. That is precisely why some people prefer to use it at times when they really should just pick up a phone. Now, regarding our children: They are not adults yet, even the teens. They are still physically growing and their skills for school and in life are developing. This is not a time for fast forward. This is a time for slow motion. We need them to learn how to think, how to evaluate, how to process. These new instant forms of communication and entertainment torpedo these skills. They actually change brain function and ability. It is much harder to read, to sit and learn, to process emotions when hours of your day are spent seeing and sending quick images. Read the research. It's there.


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14. IM     4/20/07 - 9:49 AM
Anonymous

I'm not in favor of hours of computer communication. However, your description, " Everyone knows that things we email or IM each other are not necessarily going to come out the same as how we may say them: inflection, concern, hesitation cannot be conveyed. It is not as personal and has its downsides because of it" applies just the same to writing a letter. People communicated by letter for centuries and although nobody would say it's the same as talking in person, I don't recall any source that denigrates letter-writing. On the contrary.

For that matter, one can make your argument against phone usage. Speaking on the phone is just not the same as seeing a person's body language. So much is missed when not speaking in person. I imagine that when phones first become popular, that you would have written a letter (yes!) to the editor and explained why speaking for hours (or less) on the phone is detrimental etc. etc.


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15. MG:     4/20/07 - 9:57 AM
M

That fear and yoke scare you is a good thing! It should!

As for the Shema, yes, it is preceded by ahava rabbah or ahavas olam and in this tefilla it says, "unite our hearts to love and fear Your Name." Then, in the 2nd paragraph of Shema, there are scary consequences to turning away from Hashem.

It's the "Tell me about love and closeness and caring that Hashem has for me and maybe I'll love Him too and I'll do what he wants," that's the problem! Maybe?! If you feel like it? Men wear a yarmulke to constantly remind them that Hashem is above them. The word yarmulke is made up of the words yorei malka (fear of the king).

I understand that fear is not comfortable for us, but as I wrote earlier, if it's lacking, our Yiddishkeit and avodas Hashem will be sorely lacking. Omit it as your own risk and at-risk is what we're talking about ..


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16. To anonymous     4/23/07 - 8:00 PM
tb

Letter writing allows for editing and thought. It is a slow process. IMing by nature is not. Phone calls, again, allow for inflection, hesitation, etc. and more importantly HUMAN INTERACTION. I've mentioned here numerous times that I am a teacher. I've been teaching yeshiva/day school kids for almost 20 years. Today's kids are more disconnected than ever. It's a problem. You don't have to face it. I'll do it for you. And, by the way, leave yourself open to ideas. Don't mock people.


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17. where     4/24/07 - 8:02 PM
Anonymous

please quote what you think was mockery


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18. Re: mockery     4/25/07 - 6:46 AM
tb

"I imagine that when phones first become popular, that you would have written a letter (yes!) to the editor and explained why speaking for hours (or less) on the phone is detrimental etc. etc."

Don't imagine so much. Just state your case. "Etc. Etc."

Don't worry, I'll live. It's just that statements like those don't contribute to an intelligent debate. They just undermine the other party.

On a another note productive to this discussion: I just spoke with a school psychologist last night who works at a respected orthodox day school. She says that many parents don't have a real understanding of what their children and teens are doing with technology and that those that are more savvy are not following the rules that even they know are correct. Time and time again she sees distraught parents whose kids have gotten involved in either pornography, cyber bullying, excessive socializing on the net because the computer is not placed in a well-trafficed, common area of the home, the history is not checked regularly, etc. These parents only begin following the rules when bad things happen and sometimes not until the bad things happen more than once. She is so frustrated with this. Everyone understands that parents cannot control everything, especially with teenagers, but they must put their best efforts into it.


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19. quote     4/25/07 - 9:47 AM
Anonymous

Thank you for quoting so we can see what it is that you consider mockery. Perhaps, rather than assuming another person's evil intentions, you could consider that they were simply making their case. Disagreement is not synonymous with mockery and closemindedness. I am sorry to see that you think otherwise.


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20. move on     4/26/07 - 3:52 AM
tb

Your tone is mocking. Who got into whose head first? And please give it a rest already. Why don't you address what the school psychologist says?


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21. another beautiful exchange     7/2/07 - 3:48 PM
M

More sensitively worded comments from an experienced mechaneches.

Always an inspiration to see how other points of view are regarded with respect, even while you disagree. A model for us all to follow.


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22. ganged up against     7/3/07 - 4:24 AM
Nechama

M,

We have all had our turn on this list to be ganged up against, when someone else appeals to the list for support against our point of view. It's not kind.

Often, we too have tried to criticize what others are saying, in between making sensible comments for the betterment of our generation. In general, our criticism is against the other person's LIFE! They threaten us! Person A is successful even if they are Modern Orthodox! HORRORS! Person B is socially acceptable even though he/she doesn't care a wit for other people's feelings! TERRIBLE! Person C is in University and studying in a Goyshe mixed atmosphere - yet seems to be doing so well! CAN'T BE! SHOULDN'T BE!

The reason other people's words and lifestyles upset us so much is because we're not coming from a very strong confident place ourselves.

Don't deny, please, that your words were angry, and please acknowledge that you were hurt. We wouldn't be hurt by other people's lifestyles if we believed 100% that we were doing Rotzon Hashem. We would seek to help in the nicest way possible, as I am doing now (grin).

M, please think about yourself. I believe your email was a cry for help and I'm responding to you. You're a good woman, who seeks to do the best she can, always always always. I don't know you, so I can't write to you privately, but let me say it publicly, if you dont' mind:

Spend some time thinking if you like yourself. Can you say "I deeply and completely like myself?" Most of us cannot. But if not, we cannot like others. So think about why we don't feel very likeable. Because of specific incidents when we were kids, when our parents neglected us, shouted at us, our classmates showed we were not important, etc. Think about your life. Read about EFT (from a trained EFT master, or on www.emofree.com). Coming to terms with our past is the way forwards, going backwards into our own histories, and forwards towards the Geula. In Bein Hametzorim, forwards and backwards is the only way we can move.

I hope Moshiach will come this year.


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23. M.O. views     7/3/07 - 4:20 PM
M

You say,"The reason other people's words and lifestyles upset us so much is because we're not coming from a very strong confident place ourselves."

Do you think that is the ONLY reason why people protest other people's lifestyles and choices? When gedolim denounced Maskilim, Reform, Zionists etc. was it because of feelings of inferiority?

Rabbi Horowitz is chareidi/yeshivish/chasidish. His project YES is a project of Agudath Israel. He writes for the chareidi publications Jewish Observer and Mishpacha.

What place do Modern Orthodox views have on this blog?


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24.     7/4/07 - 12:46 AM
tb

Do you honestly think that Modern Orthodox Jews are the only ones that think the way I do? Do you have any idea how many black hat people are distressed with the current state of Shidduchim and push for all boys to learn and/or go into Chinuch without a viable plan to support a family??? I know 3 on my block alone and that doesn't count all the others I know. I wasn't raised MO. I respect my black hat family members and friends, many of whom agree with me. Everyone else, check out Average Jew and his commenters. He is one of many. He just happens to be respectful, articulate and new on the scene. Good luck, M. We fasted today for the same reason. We really are on the same team. I really want the dialogue to be about proactive means for change. It doesn't go in that direction on this blog, but that has nothing to do with you or me. This is not the place for proactive initiatives. When I hear about any, I will post. Take care.


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25.     7/4/07 - 7:28 AM
Nechama

Dear M,

You wrote:"Do you think that is the ONLY reason why people protest other people's lifestyles and choices? When gedolim denounced Maskilim, Reform, Zionists etc. was it because of feelings of inferiority?"

MO is an umbrella that embraces many types of people.

For some it just means that a husband should be able to support his family without being treated as a second class citizen.

For others it means the freedom from uniformity and constraints, like being allowed to wear a white Kippah instead of a formal black one, or wearing cheaper, more personalized and more flowing clothing (for women) than the formal and expensive outfits common to Charedi Americans.

For others it means taking liberties not acceptable to regular Rabbonim.

For still others, it is associated with extreme Zionism.

For others it means that they look down on Charedim as old fashioned and not in touch with reality.

As you can see, many people who claim to be MO are simply wonderful good Orthodox Jews, who have done tons behind the scenes to help Charedim and deserve our respect and friendship.

Now listen carefully without getting offended: I can't send my children to play in a house with a TV, not because I don't trust the mother to not show my kids the TV, I *can* trust her for that. The major problem with this house is that Rabonim have said NO TVs! They are a sewer in the living room! So even if this mother is using it properly, she should chuck it out. This is because the TV represents that the MO mother believes that you only have to listen to Rabbonim if you agree with their opinion of human nature.

Trusting in Rabonim blindly (when you know they have been provided with the true facts) is rather a basic in our faith. Through the ages, they have had the job of making a "syog" for the Torah, rules that were based on their beliefs in human nature.

So do MO people have a place on this blog? Some people would be offended even by the question - I mean, it is ridiculous, because cyberspace is not *owned* by anyone. But what I think you meant is that the blog seems to be dedicated to improving the Chinuch system of Charedi children, so it should be only open to Charedi parents and Charedi teachers.

I don't think you are correct. Tb openly points out that she is MO, and I think that most readers are mature enough to decide whether she represents the Charedi majority. She is her own voice, and she has some good ideas. Actually, I personally believe that most of her views are very much in line with our goals for Charedi Chinuch, and are very valuable.

Not only that, but Tb doesn't promote MO to anybody. She is very clear that after a very bruised youth, it was just about the only option left to her, being that it was top priority to her to remain Frum. I wonder how she feels now, after what you wrote. Perhaps whe feels that she can't even bear to keep any Mitzvos anymore (since Torah learning can produce such insensitive people)?

What I mean by this, is that I know Tb will stay Frum, and continue doing the Mitzvos. But if every Mitzvah she does is filled with Sadness, Anger, Rejection, and Self Loathing, then, you, M, will be responsible for that. All those beautiful jewels in Hashem's crown will be scratched and muddy, because of YOU.

So that's why I said that when it comes from a place of wanting to do Rotzon Hashem, we must care about other Frum Yidden's feelings as well. If we want to make Hashem proud, we must re-iterate that He surely wants us to help His other Frum Yidden to be doing Mitzvos happily too.

With regard to inferioriy, the Rabonim used a firm and rejective manner when discussing Reform etc. They felt superior, convinced, and protective of the population that were still Frum. They rejected first and foremost the bad opinions and the crazy self-centered attitude involved, and in the process they also attacked the people who were trying to convince others to be like them. There was no place for compassion, there was a fire burning.

But first of all, you are not a Rov. You do not represent Rabbonim attacking wicked forces. You are simply a Frum lady hurting another Frum woman. Secondly, if you think she is dangerous, then do effective things to stop her. You phone Rabbi Horowitz and ask him to stop her comments. Or you could learn computer hacking, and block her comments yourself. Or be like Anonymous and write all these nasty comments so that normal people won't come to this site any longer (grin). Or, better yet, be more convincing to Tb of your views. Maybe she will be interested in changing.

When someone forgets to be effective, and is just sarcastic, one tends to believe that they have forgotten about Rotzon Hashem and sees the other person as a personal threat. I don't mean that you feel inferior, but rather that it seems that you are not confident in your position. That if you continue to engage in friendly debate, she might discover that your stand has holes in it, or that Chas Vesholom one's kids would copy her, because of the invisible consequences of the dialogue. But if you are sure that you are right, you wouldn't mind to discuss, when you have the time for it. We'd go deeper into why's and how's, and somehow make the world better for everyone.

You might still feel that if you debate with someone MO they might introduce into you thoughts that lead you astray. I really don't think that Tb has any such agenda, so I don't think that this is a problem. She, like you, just wants to get to the truth.

The world is not burning anymore, it's like we are at Ground Zero on September 12th, or by the Beis Hamikdash on 10 Av. Tremendous, tremendous grief. The towers, or the Beis Hamikdash is still flaming, and no-one can prevent it any more. The people who were going to die are gone. We have to plan for the future, how to not let it happen again, but there is something more urgent than that. We just have to put our arm around each other's shoulders and share each other's pain, and support each other.

We recognize where each other really are, we accept them and their perspectives - we don't adopt their perspectives but we believe that it is how they see things. Perhaps, as you believe, everyone should force themselves to behave IRRESPECTIVE of how they feel, but you and I know that if a person feels loved and accepted they will go a million times as far. They have the strength, courage and creativity to break down barriers, to sail across seas, and to fly to Heaven. All for Kovod Shomayim.

Truly love you,

Nechama


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26. do I have any idea ...     7/4/07 - 8:12 PM
M

You ask: "Do you have any idea how many black hat people are distressed with the current state of Shidduchim and push for all boys to learn and/or go into Chinuch without a viable plan to support a family??? "

I don't think this issue is a M.O. issue either. On that we agree.

I think there have been many misunderstandings on this blog of where people (or at least myself) are coming from, what they "hold", etc. with quite a few wrong assumptions. Could very well be I am guilty of this too. I can only speak for myself and say that many of your comments were off the mark as far as understanding who I am, where I am coming from and what I think. This question of yours, with which I began this comment, is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

Apparently you thought I think it's a M.O. point of view. That means you are misreading me and what I write.

I have been told that I am clear and articulate but, for some reason, on this blog, you have consistently misread me. A pity, since there are some crucial things we have agreed upon. I can only hope that Rabbi Horowitz, who is soliciting our comments, finds something of value in what I have to say.

Nechama - you sound like you mean well though I will say I think that many of your personal comments and analyses are presumptuous and downright wrong.


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27. who should speak about what? who is frum...?     7/4/07 - 9:24 PM
tb

M, I appreciate your comment. I feel like it is part of a dialogue, a conversation of sorts. I don't feel threatened or attacked. Thanks. You know how we frum Jews tend to categorize which I hate, by the way. So I think there are some categories we need to clarify. There is Chareidi/Yeshivish who believe that as many people in Kollel as possible, as much as we can to promote that and that Hashem will provide is the best way. Most of those in this category do not send their kids to college, many don't send their kids to even a same-sex college like Touro, some do send to Touro and won't send their boys, some send their boys to Touro. Then there are the Chareidi/Yeshivish who are ok with college and would be proud if their son chose Kollel and would help support him, but would be ok if he went to Touro or even secular college as long as he was Kovea Itim and Ehrlich. Then there are Yeshivish (I don't know if you would call them Chareidi as I don't even know what Chareidi really is. It started as a term used in Israel and then over the last 10 years it surfaced here in America) who would rather their boys go to college and be Koveah Itim and would rather they not learn in Kollel. They are black hatters, but they are living their lives like the black hatters of 30 years ago. All of those mentioned so far as a rule consult Rabanim and respect the Yeshivish Gedolei Hador. There are individuals who don't exactly fit the mold, but these are the Rov. Now in a completely different category are the Modern Orthodox. Among the MO are those who are Halachic MO and those who are not. There are those among the black hat category who are not Halachic. They may dress a certain way, but do not follow the rules all the time. That is the minority and I am not one of those who overemphasizes their existence in order to devalue the black hat or chasidish communities. I just wanted to mention it because many times people assume that if a person wears a Kipa Seruga and his wife wears short socks, they must not follow Halacha as stringently as those in the black hat category. This is not true. Halachic Modern Orthodox category spend a lot of time learning, Y.U. Semicha candidates are extremely learned in Torah and Gemara, and the wives cover all their hair--usually in hats. You won't see an alluring Shaitel among them. Many Halachic MO women will leave a Tefach of hair out on all sides, but many cover all. the Tefach is a Halachic Pesak by their Rabanim. The reason this is important to write about is that when I was growing up in the Yeshivish world I knew nothing of Halachic Modern Orthodox people. Many Chareidim today do not either and they lump all MO together into one pile as "less than." Halachic MO people follow Rabanim and have their own Rashei Yeshiva whom they respect. They are Zionist and they can explain Religious Zionism to you if you give them the chance. They follow the Y.U. approach of Torah U'Madah. So they will be more supportive of their boys going to college and being Koveah Itim than the Chareidim. Again, this is with Rabbinic approval. They do have their own Kollelim and those who are Koveah Itim learn regularly. There are many MO males learning at high levels regularly. This is something many Chareidim do not know and it is very important that they do. The Halachic MO know a lot about the Chareidim, but it is not reciprocated because the Chareidim are afraid of another category which is the nonHalachic Modern Orthodox. The non-halachic modern othodox don't follow Halacha. They don't set aside a lot of time for learning. They do keep Shabbos, Kashrus, and Taharas Hamishpacha--which are big commitments, but their Halachic observance is not of the same level of Halachic MO people. One important thing about this category--they are frum. I have heard Yeshivish people refer to them as frei when in reality they keep Shabbos, Kashrus and Taharas Hamishpacha carefully. They learn these Halachos in MO day schools. I see it taught there every day. Now back to the Halachic MO: There are thousands of Halachic MO men and women living in America and Israel. Many Chareidim do not understand the difference between them and those who are less stringent with Halacha. Like I said before, there are those--although a minority--in the Yeshivish/Chasidish communities who are less stringent with Halacha, but they are more accepted if they dress a certain way outwardly and if they send their children to certain Yeshivos. The reason I am writing all this is because there is a misconception that a "modern Orthodox Jew" is rebelling or "less than." This is not necessarily true. There are unique challenges to the MO lifestyle and there are unique challenges to the Chareidi/Yeshivish lifestyle. Here in this blog, we were addressing the challenges in educating frum children today. Children in MO Yeshivos also learn Torah and Gemara, more than many Chareidim realize. Children in MO homes are frum children too. While most have TV's, there are some who do not and many Halachic MO parents monitor what their children see. Many black hat homes today have TV's or computers and do not monitor closely what their children see or what they rent on DVD. Many of the first category of Chareidi/Yeshivish are not exposed to media at all, but have other Nisyonos that should be addressed. The Kollel issue is an issue mainly for Chareidim because most MO do not have Kollel children, although there are hundreds who do learn in Kollel. Nechama, I appreciate your sensitivity, but I want to clarify that I am not angry or sad. I am happy and growing as a MO Jew. I also can understand my Black Hat family members and friends, but I must say that most of them send their children to college and are trying to set up plans so their boys can be self sufficient. I can speak without malice about this issue because I see real problems with the Chinuch of our children (your children are mine, you know, we are part of a family here of frum people). I speak just as openly on other blogs about the challenges of the MO lifestyle. I can be very sharp in my comments about technology in the home, feminism, all issues that the MO world are facing. So, I guess we owe it to each other to get to know each other better and to be open to respectful suggestions. If you don't want your children to play at my home because I have a TV--I know other MO families who do not--I am equally suspect of my children playing in homes where the parents rent movies that are inappropriate (I am talking Disney here) and where a lot of Loshon Hara is spoken. I also refuse to allow my sons to play with boys who are Mechutzafim no matter whether MO or Yeshivish. If there is Chutzpah, we look elsewhere for playdates. I wasn't going to do this anymore, but M gave me a Pesach Shel Machat and I just went with it. The Chareidi lifestyle may not work for me, but I can still speak about it respectfully because I am very connected to it through my line of work and my family. I am not rebellious. Most MO are not. My rebellious days ended about 20 years ago. There are Yeshivish people who other Yeshivish people call "modern" because they don't follow Halacha stringently. Please don't confuse all Modern Orthodox Jews with them.


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28. Make noise--Achdus     7/4/07 - 10:39 PM
tb

Please,please read this moving post called: "Make Noise, A Heroine's Cry." It is about Sderot, but it is really about perspective. You can find it at Ezzie's blog. We are all so beyond these categories. I know many of you worry about Hashpaah Raah, but we need to love each other more than that. If people can trust Hashem enough to go to a Makom Sakana to help our brothers, perhaps we should trust Hashem more with regards to our Neshamas too. Perhaps spending more time with other frum Jews and listening more to what they have to say and allowing our children to get to know them is not going to backfire on us, perhaps Hashem will protect your children's Neshamas most of the time just as he protects your children's bodies most of the time. Our enemies do not differentiate between us, do not care at all about our little categories. Is it so hard to live our lives B'Achdus? Are the dividing lines so absolutely necessary? Our kids should play with other nice kids. Period. Our kids should get to know each other. Am Yisrael Chai. We should support each other in all areas more than we do. And with honesty and respect, even in constructive criticism. Please read the post even if you don't share my views.


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29. previous comments     7/8/07 - 11:54 AM
M

just to say that I read the previous two comments you posted

our comments here are on an article called "Kiruv for OUR children". It begins with a reference to the Agudath Israel convention. Seems to me that R'Horowitz is addressing the yeshivish world on this blog.


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30.     7/8/07 - 5:05 PM
tb

M, was I addressing the Modern Orthodox world in any of my statements? When I clarify what MO is it is because there are grand misconceptions about it and because the "Yeshivish" world of 30 years ago is very close to the Halachic Modern Orthodoxy of today. If the current trends in "Yeshivish" Chinuch and lifestyle (i.e. mothers working, one size fits all Chinuch) is causing widespread problems in our community ("our" includes me and you because we are all frum and I am a part of your community) then, we need to address them and stop making the dividing lines so thick that we cannot see proactive ideas for change. By the way, I was Mechanech children in Agudah type schools for over 10 years. Part of that time I taught them Limudei Kodesh. I currently tutor children and teenagers who attend these schools in Hebrew and Secular Studies. I do volunteer work for the Agudah and work in Kiruv with "Yeshivish" people so, I think I can be permitted to speak to "their" issues.


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31. re M.O.     7/8/07 - 6:52 PM
M

perhaps to clear up (another) misconception:

my previous comment wasn't a commentary on your ability to contribute to this blog

It was meant to say that R' Horowitz has a particular audience in mind when he writes (which I verified with him) and the audience he has in mind is not M.O. although what he has to say could be very useful to all sorts of people.

I honestly don't know what you mean by your question, "was I addressing the Modern Orthodox world in any of my statements?"

I really don't want to get into a discussion and analysis of M.O. since this is a blog about chinuch.


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32. moving on again, i think for the last time b"n     7/8/07 - 11:04 PM
tb

I don't have the time and I'm sure you don't either, but if you reread the posts, you will see why MO came up and you will see why I responded the way I did. This is not a question and answer panel discussion. This is a conversation. That's what blogs are. I haven't strayed from the topics at hand. I'm going to sleep now. Your unwavering determination to control and steer this conversation on different threads is interesting to me. I had hoped we could converse openly about some of the bombs you drop here, but that is not to be. By bombs, I just mean strongly worded comments. Good luck, M. I believe I am now officially for the upteenth time giving up on having a positive back and forth with you. I do feel comfortable, though, with the idea that others reading this may not be misled at times by comments made by some on this blog regarding the MO, and I am not necessarily talking about you. Most importantly and most relevant to Rabbi Horowitz' blog is that at risk youth need a way to connect to Yiddishkeit. What that has to do with this particular path of dialogue that we are on is understood by others if not you. Take care again.

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