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Is Everything a 10?
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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9/18/07

One of the techniques that I have found most helpful when mediating disputes between rebellious adolescents and their parents, is to give the teenager six or eight index cards and ask him (her) to jot down a request or concession that he would like his parents to grant on each of the cards. Then, I ask the teen to stack the index cards in priority order – with the most important request on top. Finally, I have him assign a value from 1 to 10 for each of those requests, with 10 denoting something that he would consider of paramount significance and 1 representing a matter that is not terribly important. I then hand a similar number of index cards to the parents of the adolescent and ask them to do the same. And while this exercise is certainly not a miraculous cure for friction between teens and their parents, it is often helpful in establishing healthy dialogue and effective problem-solving in a strained relationship.

With this in mind, I wish that someone would gather the Orthodox Knesset members who purportedly represent their observant constituents in Eretz Yisroel and ask them to assign a value from 1 to 10 regarding the importance of ‘changing the clocks’ from Daylight Savings Time weeks before the rest of the civilized world.

For those who live in the Diaspora and may not be familiar with the yearly tempest in a teapot, here is some background: Most countries in the Western world move their clocks back from Daylight Savings Time around the end of October. However, a number of years ago, religious Knesset members in Israel introduced legislation to implement the clock change a week or so before Yom Kippur in an effort to ‘shorten’ the fast day for Israelis. Not surprisingly, this issue provokes resentment among non-observant Israelis year after year as they complain about losing an hour of afternoon sunlight during the beautiful fall season. This is compounded by the fact that due to the brutal summertime heat in Israel, some of the nicest weather days are in the fall. These are now shortened by the clock change, with people around the country returning from their offices after dark in part of September and all of October.

So I ask our Orthodox Knesset members; is this matter really a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10? Is it even a 5? Don’t we have more pressing matters on our communal agenda than this one? Why are we adding yet another point of contention in our already strained relations with our secular brothers and sisters?

There are certainly other solutions to this ‘problem’ that do not require wholesale changes that affect the entire country for weeks on end. We could change the clocks in our shuls and homes if we should wish to do so for the day of Yom Kippur, just like sleep-away camps in America do during the summer months, when they operate on Eastern Standard Time to allow for night activities after dark and for the children to go to bed earlier. We could start prayers an hour later on Yom Kippur. Or we could simply not change anything and ‘deal with it’ as the kids say. My wife and I were vacationing in the Canadian Rockies this past summer and we fasted on Shiva Asar B’tamuz until nightfall, which was at 11:15 p.m. So, again I ask: why are we needlessly provoking enmity over this non-issue?

One need not be a secular Jew to resent the early onset of winter that the change of clock brings. Our youngest daughter is celebrating her Bas Mitzvah this coming Sunday, and to get a jump-start on the festivities, I surprised her by picking her up after school yesterday and taking her to dinner in a restaurant. After we ate, the two of us spent a glorious afternoon and evening in a local park. We were having such a wonderful time that we stayed long after sunset – until we could barely see where we were walking due to the darkness. Now, imagine how resentful I would have been had our day ended an hour earlier? (FYI; sunset in NYC was 7:02 p.m. yesterday, while it set at 5:42 p.m. in Yerushalayim).

What concerns me most is that this particular issue of the clock change is indicative of the ‘everything-is-a-10 mindset’ that some or many in our community maintain. Certain issues are indeed a 10; and we rely on the daas Torah of our gedolim to guide us as to which they are. But in all other non-essential matters, we should practice the concept of darchei noam, ‘paths of pleasantness,’ and be sensitive to the wants and needs of others outside our community. Keep in mind that no one was ever brought closer to Hashem by force. And even if we don’t practice tolerance for its own sake, we ought to do so strictly for pragmatic reasons. There is no doubt in my mind that sooner or later (probably sooner) there will be a colossal push-back from secular Israelis who are resentful at their growing perception that observant Jews are not only appropriately lobbying for the right to practice religion as they wish to, but are imposing their will on the broader community.

We went through this a few short years ago when Tommy Lapid and his Shinui party garnered 15 Knesset seats by tapping into anti-charedi feelings. Then, there were terribly painful cuts made to yeshiva and family subsidy support, some which have not been reversed to date. Well, just because Tommy bungled his mandate and slid off the political radar, the feelings of those who voted for him did not diminish over the course of time.

We would be well served to maintain our perspective on non-urgent communal issues and start acting as if we do not have a limitless number of cards in our deck to needlessly squander.

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



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1.     9/18/07 - 4:03 PM
M

You make a good point but I don't think it belongs on a chinuch forum (despite the chinuch intro) since it's about another topic entirely. As a chinuch article, I would want to see the issue of the clock in Israel used only as a mashal and then have you go back to the topic of chinuch. The way it is now, it's an article about Israeli politics and the chareidim vs. the irreligious, using your card technique as a mashal.

By the way, almost all Israelis fast on Yom Kippur, so the timing benefits everyone, but I agree, there are other ways of dealing with the time issue like changing the clock for the day.


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2. more practical stuff please     9/18/07 - 4:54 PM
tb

You know, the card idea interests me. Could you write about some of the reactions you get, some high priority cards for each side and what the stats are on what gets kept and what doesn't? Practical applications interest me and might be helpful to any family members, professionals, rabanim, or mechanchim who may come across these issues.


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3. it is important to talk about politics here     9/19/07 - 1:26 AM
Anonymous

We fool ourselves if we think that these attitudes don't affect the way we are mechaneich our children. If the knesset members who are guided by our leaders treat everything as a 10, we will naturally do the same in our homes with unreasonable expectations on our household members.


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4. Great article     9/19/07 - 3:33 AM
Nechama

Fantastic idea about grading things.

I think that the clock change is to benefit particularly the non-Frum Israelis who would like to keep Yom Kippur but would feel challenged if it lasted too long. It is also particularly helpful for older people.

Remember, eating on Yom Kippur is a Chayav Kares (carries the penalty of one's sould being forever cut off from K'lal Yisroel)


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5. Very dissapointing subject     9/19/07 - 3:16 PM
Mark

Rabbi Horowitz,

Before I begin to state my objection with your article I'd like to preface it by stating my appreciation for your efforts to raise awareness about the subject of Kids at risk. I may not always agree with your approach or opinion, but as one who has taken on the problem, you're to applauded for your efforts and may you go May'choil el Choil.

Having said that, I must say that precisely because I hold your Kids at risk work in such high esteem, I am deeply disappointed by this article and similar ones that you've posted on your site. When you first raised the subject of KAR, I recognized that you must have agonized deeply over the need to go public about this problem in out midst. You wrote about how you spoke to Gedolim and they supported your efforts although it would give the Charedi public a black eye. The costs of not doing so were too great and you had no choice. It was painful for me to accept but as a mechanech of sorts I understood the need and accepted it as I do a bitter medicine.

Over time you have used your forum and your standing in the community to raise awareness about other issues. Sometimes I agree, oftentimes I find myself disagreeing with you [the Israeli teen story - where my experience tells me otherwise etc.]. None of that is the issue, however. What is very troubling is the fact that you've now become the resident critic of Chareidi society. You write often about things that you don't like/agree with and rarely are you positioned to do much about it.

What we're left with is criticism that is not likely to elicit any meaningful change at all. Are you certain that you are justified in causing that? Is the price really too prohibitive if the issue is left unchecked? You may disagree, but I think you're definitely not giving the matter sufficient thought.

Put it this way - when you're referred to as the "favorite rabbi" of a blogger known as Dovbear who is a mocker of all things "Chareidi", that ought to give you pause. It should make you think twice about whether your words will be used to "build up" or "tear down." When Harry Marylis quotes you to further his smear campaign against Chareidim, you might want to stop and rethink your approach.

Please note - I'm not stating a position on the matter you discussed in this article - rather I'm questioning your approach. I hope you'll stay focused on Chinuch, an area in which you've done an immense amount of good and brought about great kiddush hashem.

Gmar Chasima Tova!


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6.     9/19/07 - 3:20 PM
Anonymous

welcome to the rabbi horowitz political rant. rabbi what office r u running for??


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7. To Mark     9/19/07 - 4:16 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey NY

Mark:

Thanks for your thoughtful and respectful post. I appreciate your compliments -- and critique.

I cannot respond fully not due to time constraints, and I hope to later. But in the meantime ... al regel achas, I think this everything-is-a-10 mindset does not only pertain to daylight savings time or Israeli politics.

It applies to blurring the line between halacha and chumra, between spiritual wants (wearing white shirts) and needs (putting on tefilin). It applies to blanket bans and restrictions, to depriving children the ability to play sports; ... the list goes on and on.

And this is mindset is driving away hundreds if not thousands of our precious children.

The same feeling of internal terror and turmoil and got me to write those columns 11 years ago is eating at me far worse than it was then.

I don't know how else to say this -- I wrote it already a dozen different ways -- we are in danger of erasing all the gains we have made over the past 50 years!!!! if we do not reverse this everything-is-a-10 mindset.

More later.

Once again, my sincere thanks.

Yakov


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8. Rabbi H. - Thank you for your reply     9/19/07 - 4:52 PM
Mark

I appreciate your taking out the time to reply and I anxiously await the more detailed response as I have some points to make about this one but I'd rather wait for the full reply to do so.

Thank you


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9. Definitely a chinuch issue     9/19/07 - 5:02 PM
Miriam Shear - imahawk@aol.com

Rabbi Horowitz: This is very much a chinuch issue for the simple reason that how we adults behave and by what and how we choose to apply importance and value, posesses impact and influence on the chinuch of our children. Even adults, even if they are religious MKs are occasionally in need of some reeducation and a reminder of what is and is not important to argue about. If you see a need to raise the consciousness of our community and how its behavior affecs everything and everyone else, then not only are you permitted to use this or any other forum to do so, but I would even declare that you are most likely obligated to do so.


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10. Everything in your life is a 10 for me , Zero for you     9/19/07 - 5:03 PM
AK

Hi, I think the problem is not just everything is a 10 , but Everything in your life is a 10 for me , Zero for you. I find it very patronizing that Frum Jews can decide for others whether finishing a fast one hour less is good for them and worth giving up summer time. Why not ask them ? Parents may do the same with their kids , ' I know exactly what is good for you, I know what you really want ' it is a 10 for me , zero for the kid. Ri'tzono ze Ke'vodo , addressing a kids concerns, putting them on the table , taking his perspective , I would assume that a kid knows how he feels and what he wants, is respectful and shows strength , Alice Miller writes - disrespect is the weapon of the weak


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11.     9/19/07 - 5:21 PM
Anonymous

call this a chinuch issue all you want a chareidy basher you still are. you did not respond to those points that mark made. weather its posting the gay lifestyle letter or the tone of your stuff on career prep. you talk the talk and walk the walk of one who is a basher of the oilam hatorah


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12. ?     9/19/07 - 5:54 PM
Anonymous

which is the gay lifestyle letter?


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13. Importance of Open Discussion     9/19/07 - 6:31 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

I'll also wait for Rabbi Horowitz's own response, but these are my own thoughts which I'd like to see him address when he discusses the topic.

There is a very interesting and important article in the latest Jewish Observer by Rabbis Mordechai Becher and Chanon Gordon on "Adults at Risk". For some reason, the topic received less attention than Kiruv Rechokim or even "Kids at Risk". Yet, the phenomenon of blogs may be an indicator of what was always a festering problem. Without getting into the appropriateness of any specific blogs(I think each of them should constantly think about how to be as positive as possible, and I include my own blog), they raise important issues about both theoretical hashkafa issues and practical community policy topics.

I agree with Mark that having someone like Rabbi Horowitz focus attention on societal issues has a risk that it will be misused in a negative way. But the following would be why the issues should be discussed publicly:

1) Such criticism is already happening due to the internet, and there is no way to stop it. At least if it comes from an internal source, there is a chance of directing it in the best possible way. Regarding F. Margolese's book Rabbi Gluck wrote on this site, "Part of this process must include a no holds barred discussion, seeking answers to the critical question of why too many of our precious children are leaving yiddishkeit. If we, proud members of the yeshiva world, will not engage ourselves in this process, others will do it for us". Regarding speaking to the New York Times abut one of the bans(not an identical issue), Rabbi Adlerstein wrote on CC , "suffice it for the moment that many colleagues agree that it is always best to have an insider speak about a potentially damning issue, because unfriendly outsiders will certainly do far more damage."

2) One can show outsiders that the Charedi world is appropriately self-critical. It doesn't look good if we don't openly face our problems. Precisely because others are already are doing, the issues should be addressed directly and fearlessly.

Regarding a certain issue which caused chilul Hashem, someone was quoted(in April, 2004) in one of the secular papers as to why he addressed the issue in a non-Jewish forum, " If there were a forum for the open discussion of ideas in the haredi world, that’s the right place for [discussing] this idea. But there’s no place for it.”. Leaving aside the particular issue, and whether he was inded correct that "there’s no place for it", there is a perception that should be dealt with, ie, that there is(should be) an appropriate way of dealing with problems in a "no holds barred discussion", while being as positive as possible, and looking for the Charedi community's strengths that could help us correct the weaknesses(just as R. Yisrael Salanter says regarding an individual).

3) The above JO article about "Adults at Risk" mentioned that even FFB need to discuss openly haskafa or emunah issues, and should feel safe doing so. If that applies to ikkarie emunah, certainly it would apply to charedi policy issues. The question is merely if people should do it on a private, one- on-one basis , in vaadim, or in a more public forum, since it's already occurring. An important point is also how one frames an issue.

4) Discussion could generate additional constructive ideas that could be brought to gedolim and lay leaders for implementation.


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14. Tell Us Your Plan     9/19/07 - 7:21 PM
Anonymous

Some of us appear fearful that any open, frank discussion will give ammunition to enemies of Torah, so that open, frank discussion cannot be permitted to take place.

Let me throw the question back at them: What exactly would you have us do to fix our problems, or do you deny we have problems?


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15. OPEN DISCUSSION CREATES LESS CHILLUL HASHEM     9/19/07 - 9:38 PM
Miriam Shear - imahawk@aol.com

There are always pros and cons to bringing the "skeletons out of the closet". A few months ago I had to deal with this dilemma when attacked on a public non-Mehadrin bus in Yerushalyim that was mutinized by a group of men - all in the name of tznius. I anguished over giving fodder to our enemies vs. exposing an out-of-control escalating problem of violence in the religious community as a means to an end. After consulting with a world reknowned posek who is respected in all circles, I was advised to go public via a Jewish, albeit not frum, media as well as use the internet. While I cringed at the invasion of my privacy and having to endure the humiliation of having this ugly incident out there for the world to see, the price was worth it for the positive soul searching discussion that took place within the frum community. Ultimately, many rabbonim signed onto public kol korehs condeming the use of violence to promote "religious" agendas - most of which, incidentally, were not halacha but chumras. As this posek explained to me, while there may be inevitably some Chillul Hashem created as a result of such publicity, ultimately more Chillul Hashem will be avoided and eliminated by the unbridled and non-accountable culpability of these guilty parties. All this being said, I would strongly suggest that da'as Torah be sought before airing our dirty laundry and to keep in mind that the goal is to clean out our closets - not revenge or to paint any one particular group with an ugly color. At the end of the day, we will ALL be lumped together and judged collectively by shemayim.


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16. chinuch     9/19/07 - 10:29 PM
tb

Mark writes: "Please note - I'm not stating a position on the matter you discussed in this article - rather I'm questioning your approach. I hope you'll stay focused on Chinuch, an area in which you've done an immense amount of good and brought about great kiddush hashem."

The all or nothing approach that Chareidi (I hate this and all labels) society is being forcefed and forcefeeding its children is THE GREATEST THREAT TO THE CHINUCH OF OUR CHILDREN TODAY. The all or nothing approach manifests itself in, but is not restricted to, the following examples: 1. the approach to teaching Gemara 2. the theoretical and practical approach to the value of being Mefarnais your family 3. the approach to how much physical activity and creative outlets our children have 3. the complete blurring of all lines of Chumrah/Minhag/Halachah/trends 4. the approach to Kiruv, our relationships with Jews who are not Orthodox and those on the path to becoming Orthodox 5. how and--more importantly--where we choose to educate children and teens who are less motivated and/or more challenged in areas of learning 6. our interactions with non-Jews

Any Mechanech worth his salt knows that Chinuch is not just how the Gemara is taught, but also the heart and soul of the Rebbe, the drive, the initiative the Seviva, the Mahus of the classroom. What is the current Mahus of the Chareidi world? In what Seviva, what communal atmosphere are our children and teens learning? What are the values that are being imparted to them? What is important? This is elemental stuff. It goes way deeper than the obvious "Chinuch issues." It goes to the core of the Hashkafa our culture is imparting to its children which does take place in our Yeshivos/Mesivtos, Batei Medrash and Seminaries in addition to our homes. Nebach on this generation of frum children. Even on our "successes." For not all our "successes" are respectful of non-frum Jews and of the contributions of those that are not as "frum" as they. Not all our "successes" behave with Midos Tovos or ethics in business. Not all our "successes" adhere to the rule of Dina D'Malchusa Dina. Not all our "successes" inspire the respect of Non-Jews which is our responsibility. Not all our "successes" are supporting the concept of women mothering their own children and giving them the care their infants and young children need to thrive. Not all our "successes" are conveying to the next generation the importance of Simchas Hachaim and joy in Mitzvot, of the beauty of all of Torah, of the importance of good health and maintaining it. Not all our "successes" understand that if you make every hole round then the square pegs will never fit and then you are forced to carve square holes for them as opposed to making all the holes big enough to accommodate all shapes. Here's the kicker: the all or nothing approach is failing not just those who are failing, but those who are "succeeding."

And the blogs you refer to, the angry blogs, the cynical blogs are futile exercises in pain and anguish with a world that has no interest in even thinking about what its potential is and truly could be. The medium may be lame, but the anguish behind it is not.


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17. Medium and the Message     9/19/07 - 11:09 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"And the blogs you refer to, the angry blogs, the cynical blogs are futile exercises in pain and anguish with a world that has no interest in even thinking about what its potential is and truly could be. The medium may be lame, but the anguish behind it is not. "

First, there are different types of "negative" blogs and blog commenters, and not all of them are the same.

You could view negative blogs in two ways. Hella Winston once spoke on the Zev Brenner Show, and she mentioned long blog posting by Chasidic "rebels"; I remember her saying that it's poignant that they keep on writing as if to tell their community something, but no one seems to be listening to them. Others view negative blogging in a far less charitable way, but I agree that despite any lack of responsibility, "the anguish behind it is [valid]". People want to at least be understood, whether or not they are intellectually correct.

On the other hand, I have spoken to rabbonim outside of the Charedi world, and although they may have their disagreements with elements of Charedi hashkafa, it is interesting that they are much more positive than some of what goes on on some blog threads. Ideally, there should be someone to work with bloggers to help them express themselves in as a positive way as possible.

On a less-related note, but also on the subject of blogs, I have been thinking for some time that any speaker or writer needs to know the forum and adjust the message accordingly. Rabbi Horowitz is operating within the Charedi world, and is trusting posters to post without the time-lag of moderation. Accordingly, we probably all need to be sensitive to this dynamic even when critiquing and write with a certain positive bent, in order to allow the forum to continue to function as is.


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18. isn't it da'as torah?     9/20/07 - 1:29 AM
The Hedyot

> Certain issues are indeed a 10; and we rely on the daas Torah of our gedolim to guide us as to which they are.

I thought that the religious parties there were guided by the gedolim. That's what they always say, no? So that leaves two possibilities to my mind: Either the party is acting thusly because they do consider it a 10, based on what "da'as torah" says. Or the party is doing it contrary to "da'as torah", in which case we shouldn't trust them when they say they are merely shluchim of the gedolim.

Which is it?

If the first, well then, you would be implying that the gedolim aren't acting very sensibly (cha v'shalom!). If the second, it would mean that you feel that the gedolim are allowing people to falsely speak in their name and not setting the record straight (also chas v'shalom!).

Can you help me out here so my emunas chachomim somehow remains intact?


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19. Politics and Chinuch     9/20/07 - 6:29 AM
Yardena - Eretz Yisrael

Just a reminder: Here in Eretz Yisrael, politics are unavoidably a part of chinuch. I don't like it, but everything is politicized and kids hear a lot of politics in school, and the kids get very opinionated. I think it's appropriate for Rabbi Horowitz to mix it together.

The card idea is brilliant--for adults, too!

With regard to religious political parties and gedolei yisrael: In the book A Beacon of Light (p. 199), Rav Shach says: "If you ask me whether I know what goes on within the Agudas Yisroel party I will tell you that I do not know. But I can tell you with the utmost conviction that if they are told 'no', then 'no' it will be."

When you hear about religious MKs "exchanging insults" with other parties' MKs, or even just making provocative and inflammatory statements, you know that they are not infused with Torah to the depths of their being, but at least they don't DEFY the gedolim. That is why I vote for them myself.


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20.     9/20/07 - 8:06 AM
yoni

to miriam and others who make the highly erroneous assumption that something is not a chillul hashem if it never sees the light of day and is kept under wraps, perkei avos states clearly (and this is especially true for those who obsess about perkei avos admonishment not to speak excessively with women (which if you read the mefarshim they have a pretty consistant view of what they were worried about, as usualy) that we say "??? ????? ?? ????? ???? ?? ????? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ????" "rabbi yochanon ben baroka omer: all who descrate the name of heaven in secret his punnishment will be revealed"

perkei avos clearly here states that there is no difference with regard to desecrating the name in secret or in public, ie when non-jews or non-frum jews find out about it or not, it is already a chillul hashem, so making it public doesn't change things one iota. All that matters is that hashem knows that you shamed him through your actions or words, and that is enough.


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21. To Mark:     9/20/07 - 8:08 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

It does not seem like I will be able to write the (longer) response for some time.

So; feel free to post your comments.

Yakov


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22.     9/20/07 - 8:49 AM
Anonymous

we didn't expect that you would rabbi. you are a great dogger of critisizm.


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23. the function of this blog     9/20/07 - 12:30 PM
tb

Baruch Horowitz writes: "Accordingly, we probably all need to be sensitive to this dynamic even when critiquing and write with a certain positive bent, in order to allow the forum to continue to function as is."

With respect, this isn't high school. There are some things that need to be said. If they cannot be said in an open forum, then this forum is not "functioning." What is the function of this blog? Is it leading to proactive change within the Yeshivish Chareidi community? You see, the potential for practical change is there. This blog could serve as a way to brainstorm change and to publicize such efforts. I don't see that happening and it is very disappointing. I don't know of another blog that is addressing and engaging this type of audience in this manner on issues such as these. So until someone else is doing that, we need to prod this along a bit, don't we? Or we need someone in the field of education to begin another blog with this intent in mind. We do not--however--need to dance around the issues. We owe it to our children. And, please, Baruch Horowitz, please tell me what "function" we are impeding by commenting openly and not tempering the tone? What is the function of this blog? Polite banter about what is out there and why is empty talk. What are we doing about it?


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24. PUBLIC OR PRIVATE CHILLUL HASHEM - DOES IT MATTER?     9/20/07 - 12:35 PM
Miriam Shear - imahawk@aol.com

Yoni, I don't think there is disagreement as to whether Chillul Hashem occurs in a private or public venue - either way the definition applies. However, in order to correct a habitual Chillul Hashem - in this case the use of violence as a means to an end on matters that are not even halacha - going public might be the necessary and lesser of 2 evils in the long term. On this particular issue, the violence had manifested itself in many forms over a long period of time - the burning of a tznius clothing store; street bleaching of women dressed inappropriately; and then the #2 bus incident - and, as you correctly quote from Pirkei Avos, "the sin was revealed". So, I think you'll see that we are, in fact, in total agreement on this issue.


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25. Each to His Own     9/20/07 - 2:09 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"And, please, Baruch Horowitz, please tell me what "function" we are impeding by commenting openly and not tempering the tone? What is the function of this blog?"

It was just a thought, and I wasn't referring to you. Do what you like(and I guess what Rabbi Horowitz wants).

The nice thing about blogs is that anyone can make their own, and accordingly make their own rules. You are welcome to come to my blog, and even write a guest post, if you abide by my rules :)


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26.     9/20/07 - 2:47 PM
Mark

Rabbi Horowitz,

I understand that this is a busy time of year for year as it is for all of us and I hope you'll take the time to reply more fully when the opportunity presents itself because what I'm about to write is not nearly complete as it lacks the context of your promised response.

Nevertheless, because you've invited me to I'll share some of my thoughts on this.

1 - I couldn't agree with you more on the basic premise of your article that not everything is a Ten. In fact, it's a technique I've used for years and I'm sure you know, is not something that is new or "mechudishdig".

2 - However, that wasn't my point at all. My point was that you must be very careful with every word you write and utter because like it or not, your words can often be misconstrued and used to generate tremendous Chilul Hashem. "Not your problem" you say? That doesn't fly. "Echad Shogeg V'echad Meizid B'chilul Hashem." [See Meshech Chochmah on Haftorah of Shuvah Yisroel for some frightening analysis of this problem]

3 - Should it be "covered up" just because we don't want to expose our flaws for the world and act as if nothing is wrong in Chareidi society? Of course not. It should be dealt with in a responsible manner much as you dealt/deal with the KAR problem. You raised the issue to the public [in a responsible forum like the JO] and then set about creating an organization that actually deals with the problem on a regular basis. Your example is an inspiring model for how problems are to be dealt with.

4 - What troubles me is that lately you've taken on the role of the "town crier" which not only diminishes the effect of your earlier efforts in the area of Chinuch, but more importantly flies in the face of your earlier example. I have seen you write articles pointing out innumerable flaws in Chareidi society [not just those limited to the Ten problem] and of course, there is no follow up. There is no one to address the problems [assuming they're all as real as you believe.]

This is in my humble opinion irresponsible and disappointing. Rather than generate effective change [something that I'll be the first to admit takes hard work, patience, time, resources] many of your articles generate nothing more than a steady cacophony of Chilul Hashem and negativity toward the Charedi world, which for all its flaws, has many more positives than negatives. They're picked up by the many blogs dedicated to Charedi bashing [which whether or not they're "legitimate expressions of pain" is irrelevant as you must know because they do an incredible amount of harm] and your words and sentiments are taken well out of context.

I believe that you, more than anyone, are aware that societies don't just change overnight. Change is a slow process and more often, change is not indicated so much as improvement or modification. Articles that overly generalize [as many of your recent ones do] and cut across large swaths of Charedi society [you can't honestly think that all elements of Chareidi society are alike - every sect of Chassidus is different as are Charedim from EY and the US as are Mosney and Chicago etc...] are largely pointless as far as eliciting change.

That is why I requested, and continue to request that you limit your efforts to the area of chinuch which is an area in which you are poised to make a difference. You have an infrastructure that can generate meaningful results. Random sprinklings of criticisms can't and won't have that effect although they'll certainly gain you a fan-following from the "letzonei hador." I have noticed that you are on exceptionally good terms [or so you give the impression] with some of the more egregious offenders [think DB - and I allow for the fact that you may have considerations that I'm not aware of] but I'm sure you know that a typical Charedi who sees you venerated by a person such as DB and [by all appearances the good will extends in both directions] will not take your words to heart as much as they would if you appeared to be more aligned with their best interests.

I would add as well that empowering the letzonim does no small amount of damage to the cause you represent as well. I know of many in our community who are introduced to negativity by these blogs that they admitted to me having never entertained and now they have a hard time shaking. There are a few potential BT's who expressed to me their discomfort with joining a society that is so roundly condemned by "Orthodox" Jews, and no, they didn't become MO instead.

Many of the bloggers who are so fond of you, are guilty of the same crime you decry in the article. Poking fun of a minhag mentioned in the Rem'a about eating nuts on R"H is the equivalent of making a big deal of the extra hour on Y"K. It's a minhag and if someone takes issue with it that's not an indictment of Halachah. That distinction of course, is never made on those sites. Unfortunately, I did not notice your input on that comment thread, only on the subsequent ones where your honor was being discussed. I believe you should make it clear where you stand on that front as well if you're really sincere in taking up the battle.

I apologize for taking so long to make my point but I don't know of any other way to do so. I hope I've spoken respectfully and I know that I've tried to limit my criticism to areas of dispute and not Chas V'shalom to sound as a criticism of you personally, whom I hold in high regard. Gmar Tov!


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27.     9/20/07 - 3:14 PM
tb

Baruch Horowitz, thanks for the response, but I don't think you get it. Mark, ironically enough, I think you do. Gut Gezugt, Mark.


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28. What do You Mean ?     9/20/07 - 4:39 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"Baruch Horowitz, thanks for the response, but I don't think you get it"

If you are more specific I can respond.


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29. clarification, sort of     9/20/07 - 6:55 PM
tb

Less polite dialogue, more action, more practical brainstorming, more urgency to come up with practical ideas, PR of said ideas, networking. More urgency, more practical. I often supply the "urgency quotient" around here. I can't help with practicalities nor am I inclined to email anyone and identify myself until I hear about something worth committing to. I just think "positive" tones are not going to get us anywhere. Positive programming and changes will.


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30. Depends on the Forum     9/20/07 - 7:44 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"More urgency, more practical. I often supply the "urgency quotient" around here"

As I said, each to his own. I indeed argued, above, about the importance of open discussion.

However, I find that tact enables me to write more than what I would be able to write (read: "get away with") without it. To an extent, it depends on the medium; certainly those who want to offer constructive criticism in the mainstream Frum media need to keep this in mind, but on blogs, I agree that there is more leeway.

It's also a judgment call to an extent, but if you want to bring the same message into wider circles, you have to keep in mind whom you are addressing.

Gmar chasimag tovah to you, and everyone on this thread!


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31. I'm disappointed     9/21/07 - 3:28 AM
j

Rabbi Horowitz - Please take the following comment as constructive criticism.

You write that you're a talmid of Rav Pam z'tl. From my many dealings with Rav Pam , I saw that he was well aware of the many problems in the community. However, he NEVER took your "I foresee terrible things in our future" mehalech. Rather, he would always encourage people in a positive and uplifting manner.

I could imagine him reading your columns and cringing. Please rethink the way that you are trying to have an mpact on the Kllal. You're very talented and have great potential, but this "doom and gloom" approach is turning people off.

Have a Gmar Chasima Tova.


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32. censoring comments     9/23/07 - 8:35 AM
Anonymous

I did enjoy the article- you've made some interesting points. But I have a different point to make. I think that if you should be censoring the comments people post. In my humble opinion, if someone's grammar or spelling is atrocious, or more important- if they are being rude above and beyond normal behaviour (see post number 6 on 9/19/07 - 3:20 PM) their comment should not be posted. Keep on bringing up these thought-provoking articles!


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33. the practical, yet again     9/23/07 - 11:54 AM
tb

Baruch Horowitz, You didn't address my call to arms. Where is the positive programming? Where are the practical changes if at all that are stemming from these blog "conversations" and posts? When this happens and is then publicized here, then interested parties can find real life ways to reach out and to point out in the schools in which they teach or where their children attend. Project Yes and Areivim are doing great work. What else is coming down the pipe? What new initiatives are being brought to the fore in schools and communities to address the needs of our youth in 5768?


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34. the practical, yet again     9/23/07 - 11:54 AM
tb

Baruch Horowitz, You didn't address my call to arms. Where is the positive programming? Where are the practical changes if at all that are stemming from these blog "conversations" and posts? When this happens and is then publicized here, then interested parties can find real life ways to reach out and to point out in the schools in which they teach or where their children attend. Project Yes and Areivim are doing great work. What else is coming down the pipe? What new initiatives are being brought to the fore in schools and communities to address the needs of our youth in 5768?


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35. RE: the practical, yet again     9/23/07 - 6:56 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"Baruch Horowitz, You didn't address my call to arms. Where is the positive programming?"

I have no problem with your "call to arms". I just made the point that by having a positive component in one's critique, one's message is more likely to be heard, especially among a varied audience. I have no problem if you continue to create awareness in terms of advocacy for very practical and well-defined change, and it's your judgment on how to do that.


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36. How to Criticize in Tishrie     9/23/07 - 7:35 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

The title of this comment is based on a recent Cross Current's commentary on Rabbi Teitelbaum's essay, but the ideas(like all comments above)are my own.

Mark writes that "change is a slow process and more often, change is not indicated so much as improvement or modification", and that "rather than generate effective change [something that I'll be the first to admit takes hard work, patience, time, resources] many of your articles generate nothing more than a steady cacophony of Chilul Hashem and negativity toward the Charedi world, which for all its flaws, has many more positives than negatives".

I recognize that is a valid issue, but I wrote, above, about the drawbacks about not addressing problems publicly. I think that the truth lies at a point of balance somewhere in between what I'm saying and what Mark is saying.

I wish to emphasize that I am not telling Rabbi Horowitz what to write(I have enough trouble worrying about what I write!), but rather making the case for those who benefit from open discussion of issues, such as the current essay that Rabbi Horowitz wrote.

I received chizuk, inspiration, from reading and hearing Rabbi Dr. Aron Hirsch Fried and Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum's essays and public interview's --both the original and the(elsewhere) censored version of the latter's essay. I think that those, to one extent or another, showed that it's possible to remain in the Charedi world, yet openly and intellectually honestly, publicly face a problem, and admit to shortcomings for the purpose of improvement(even minor and gradual) in the long or the short-term.

There were balancing statements in both R Fried and R Teitelbaum's essays, and when posting them on my blog, I tried to imagine the context in which they would want to be quoted. As far as Rabbi Horowitz's essays(eg this one and "The Pierced Teen"), I think that they were balanced and were positive even as discussing areas for improvement, and would be part of the genre of what Rabbi Adlerstien recently called "criticizing with yiras shomayim". I can't speak for other blogs, but it is honest writing to quote someone in context, and any blog should be sensitive to that.

As far as concerns of turning off potential Balie Teshuva, I think the open approach is best, to sell a product based on it's strengths but to have people from within the charedi community, itself, recognize its weaknesses; the Balie Teshuva should indeed see an alternative to some of what's on blogs in the form of public, constructive criticism coming from the Charedi world,itself, on sensitive matters(we should indeed acknowledge the extent that the latter does exist, even if one feels that there should be more of it).

I, personally, respect a person or a community more when there is openness, and to the contrary, it is a lack of openness that causes any problems in my emunas chachmim(or at least as far as emunah in the "system"). One can respect a system or a community for it's strengths, if one feels that the discussion of the system is an intellectually honest one, as opposed to merely a defensive one.

The only other option, so as to avoid "empowering the letzonim" would be to discuss things privately with Rabbonim, or create some type of private, closed discussion group. From personal experience, I can tell you that what Rabbi Horowitz wrote would definitely not be considered, in any way, inappropriate, if someone brought it up in private with a Rav. I indeed tell people whom I sense might be unhappy with any lack of openness on the public level of charedi media, to discuss things privately with Rabbonim in the charedi world, and they might be pleasantly surprised to find that there is merit, at least in part, to what they think, and that they therefore fit in better than they think to the charedi world.

As above, perhaps there is some way to write even publicly in a balanced way that would not "empower letzonim", but that is the decision of Rabbi Horowitz(and any other Charedi writer) in consultation with their rabbonim/gedolim. I would be happy(actually, elated) if such a balance could be found as far as writing on the public level.


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37. Not a New Point     9/23/07 - 8:31 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

One additional point:

There was already an article published in the Jewish Observer following the Tommy Lapid victory(by a different Charedi writer) that made the exact same point of "not everthing being a 10".

The example given was that Charedi politicians, should perhaps not be advocating for funds for summer camps at the expense of other needs of secular Israelis. I don't have the article currently, as far as to compare, exactly, which tone was stronger, more positive, etc., but the essential point was the same as the current post. As above, I think that there is a way to at least minimize Mark's concerns, and finding such a balance is an art that obviously can only be done by the authors of the various articles themselves.


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38.     9/23/07 - 9:11 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

Mark, j:

First of all, thanks for your candid and respectful comments. This is the season for reflection, and I am taking your remarks with the koved rosh that they were written.   Having said that, here are 2 questions for starters:   1) Do you think I was right for publishing my 2 columns re the goings-on in the catskills this summer?

2) If you were in my shoes and knew that there are still similar goings-on in an establishment right the heart of Brooklyn involving drugs and worse, would you write about it?


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39. regarding your last question, Rabbi Horowitz     9/23/07 - 10:53 PM
tb

I know you addressed Mark, but forgive me. Here's the problem. Right now at this time of night or perhaps a bit later in my neighborhood, chances are there are a few kids--teens, maybe early 20's--hanging out and getting high at a local gas station. Recently, a Rabbi and I discussed this phenomenon and how best to kind of try to bring them in somehow or at least make some connection. I am tired. I have kids. I work. So who is going down to the gas station? Who is going physically to meet these kids? Why would your writing about it help?


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40.     9/24/07 - 10:41 AM
Mark

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am pressed for time so I'll comment in brief - and I intend to respond to Rabbi Horowitz in detail over the next day or so time permitting.

Boruch - your point about the closed discussion group or something along those lines where the emphasis is on raising a problem with intent to follow up on it is a wonderful idea and precisely the type of idea that almost anyone would agree to. It's the open-ended shooting from the hip that I protest. Only a blind fool would pretend that there are no problems in our community and avoiding discussing them is not an answer, nor do I know anyone who advocates that. So on this point, we're in agreement.

As far as "openness" goes regarding kiruv, please let me know when you actually have tried kiruv and then we can have a serious conversation. Until then, it's pretty pointless because your approach is unrealistic in the real world. To point out every chisaron and problem in how some Jews go about their lives [remember - it's not Torah that's flawed - it's how it's sometimes applied and many times it's unrelated to Torah] to people who know nothing about it and are skeptical to begin with, is patently ridiculous. There's more to say on this matter, but as I said, I can't discuss something with which I'm intimately familiar with someone who lacks rudimentary knowledge. Please understand that I don't mean this harshly or critically. I just mean to say that I don't see any point in arguing something this basic.

Boruch - this is what I'm saying. A mekarev doesn't "sell" Torah based on the fact that it leads to problem free lifestyle. It's "sold" based on the fact that it's the ratzon Hashem. Whatever problems the society that practices it has [and believe me - they're not nearly as great for the most part as what else is our there] is not a reason to avoid it just as its benefits are not a reason to join it. It's the truth that one must be after and that's where the focus in kiruv should be [and I dare say - for the most part is]. Thus, negative depictions of frum life should not be part of the process [nor for that matter should positive depictions - the focus must remain on the truth itself - the Torah.]

Chag Kosher V'Sameach!


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41. Rabbi H. My last post     9/24/07 - 10:43 AM
Mark

was intended to respond to Boruch H. As I wrote, I intend to respond to you as my schedule allows. Gut Yom Tov!


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42. The Kiruv Aspect     9/24/07 - 2:22 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"As far as "openness" goes regarding kiruv, please let me know when you actually have tried kiruv and then we can have a serious conversation. Until then, it's pretty pointless because your approach is unrealistic in the real world."

Mark,

I don't have your kiruv experience, but I understood exactly your point, and more about Kiruv, than you(or I) implied. I prepared a fuller response, but I'm not sure if I should post it here, so I edited it further; if you wish, e mail me, and I'll send to you the original. I also have another link to an article in Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, supporing my idea of "openess" as far as communication of charedi policy(which was my main point), which I will e-mail to anyone.

In short, I wasn't referring to having a lawyer argue agianst Torah/emunah or frum lifestyle(two very different topics) at an *initial* kiruv situation, but only to having a medium at *some point* in the process where people --BT or FFB-- can have a more fuller discussion than what goes on in the standard, censored, RW media(and there are understandble reasons why such is done). I know a BT who is going through the process of realizing that the Frum community, for all it's strengths(which he acknowledges) is not perfect, and he's a bit cynical. In his case, he became Frum by seeing the strengths, but he could benefit by a frank discussion of the weakneses in the frum community at a later stage(he'd probably benefit from Beyond BT or CC, which have more than one goal).

You agreed to the ideal, closed discussion group, but I think that certainly some issues, such as issues of of charedi policy, would not be harmed by a more rigorous and "open" discussion on the public, secular level, more than one finds in standard RW publications.

Note the last sentence in the 2/27/07 post on Cross Currents: "When we started up Cross-Currents, we sought the advice of major figures within the Torah community regarding what to publish and what not to publish. Basically, we were told that publishing critical remarks was fine, as long as the substantive part of the criticism would be effectively answered within the blog. Usually, this has worked well. As long as comments did not use attack language or directly assault key principles of faith, we allowed them, and sat back and watched as other readers did a good job at least presenting another point of view. ***Many of our readers never look at the comments; those who do would see an Orthodoxy that is not afraid to ask hard questions about itself, and open to the challenge of providing answers".***


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43. mark     9/24/07 - 3:48 PM
yoni

Mark, as someone who, while I am FFB, comes from a backround with two gerim for parents, I will tell you that I benefit greatly from finding discussion about the problems in orthodox and cheredi society.

have you thought about what would happen if your view of things should be followed? have you thought about what would happen if we hid the festering sores in orthodox jewish and cheredi society from new BTs and didn't let them get discouraged if they would? Let me explore with you for a moment the likely reactions.

Firstly, those who are entirely turned away such that not even the shabbos table can bring them back, are likely to run away anyway at the point where they become aware of the flaws in the community, because those individuals are looking for a fantasy of a perfect world. They will not settle down untill they find it (which they wont) and then they'll pick one (likely were they grew up) and settle down there. Now, most BTs I've heard about generaly end up getting married before too long, so imagine their starry eye BT phase is wearing off, and they leave their rose colored glasses behind, and they start to see problems in the community. They will become horribly unhappy, and can you imagine what they will do to their marriage? How would you feel if you suddenly had an at risk adult as a husband, especialy if you are not quite so stable your self? It will either tear the marriage apart (which is horrible), it might drag the spouse with them (which is also horrible) or, they may keep the marriage intact outwardly, but I will tell you now that emotionaly that marriage will be in taters, and it will do damage to its children, and they will leave orthodoxy entirely and ensure that noone they know ever approaches it.

Have you actualy thought about that? it is far better for everyone if we weed out those who are looking for a fantasy in the first place.

Now what about the others, because yes, likely they will not come as close to judaism as quickly, what about them? If they are really a good fit with orthodox judaism likely they will not be able to find peace anywhere else, and while it may take a little bit longer, eventualy they will come home, sooner or later.

and then you have the people like me, who actualy prefer walking in with my eyes wide open, and being able to make the choice to accept the community, warts and all, because that makes it my willing choice. That means that I've reached the point where judaism is the most important thing to me. This additude is doubtlessly related to the similar additude that in shidduchim we should hide any minor imperfection in our child for the sake of making them look "ideal", which likely is responsible for the rising divorce rate in cheredi society, see what your ideology is bringing you. Because they hide the real characteristics if the children they are marrying, they are incapable of making sure that the children are emotionaly compatible, and thus are playing a nasty and irresponsible game of russain rulet with their childrens very lives and happiness.

and you want to know something? Given that I had to go to public school as a child because of lack of sufficient funds, not only am I frum from birth with most everything that entails, but I am also intimately familiar with secular mindset and value systems, and one thing that they value that jews regretably do not, is honesty. When they see problems discussed in an honest and mature maner, that makes them MORE likely to join that community, because it is trying to sort out it's problems. When they see people facing their problems head on, they account that as bravery and it makes them more likely to join that community to be privileged to be a part of that bravery.

This is why certain to remain unamed commenters here who are constantly trying to diminish problems are actualy sending people away, because they lack the maturity to own up to and deal with a problem, at least in the eyes of the average jewish youth. This contributes to bringing in BTs that are not emotionaly balanced, and instead bringing in BT's who have problems and are looking to be fixed.


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44. shame     9/24/07 - 4:00 PM
M

I am also intimately familiar with secular mindset and value systems, and one thing that they value that jews regretably do not, is honesty

That is an outrageous remark. Shame on you for deprecating your people that way.


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45. honesty     9/24/07 - 4:33 PM
yoni

A society that could produce out of such a good and functional system something and preverse and inefficient as the current incarnation of the shidduch system does not and cannot value honesty.

The modern shidduch system is founded on dishonesty and deceit.

and it is revolting.


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46. Pros and Cons of Openness     9/24/07 - 4:48 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"When they see problems discussed in an honest and mature maner, that makes them MORE likely to join that community, because it is trying to sort out it's problems. When they see people facing their problems head on, they account that as bravery and it makes them more likely to join that community to be privileged to be a part of that bravery. "

I absolutely and completely agree, as I've been arguing above, and this post by Rabbi Horowitz, is for me, a breath of fresh air(even though as I've said, the essential point was already made in the Jewish Observer).

I think everyone agrees that many people benefit from open discussion, but my guess is that the problem is that there is a risk in doing that publicly in that (1) blogs or the mainstream media might quote such discussions out of context, (2) there might be some people who need to be very sheltered from community issues(Rambam in preface to Cheilek speaks of chazal addressing people with different intellectual needs; same idea by the Four Sons in Haggadah),(3) or that there are indeed people who see the criticism differently(eg, Jonathan Rosenblum needed to defend his Mispacha article of "Burning Down Our Neighborhoods"), and object to such discussions.

How do you satisfy all of these concerns? That is the crux of the issue, and accounts for any hesitancy to be fully open. If you could guarantee a readership without the above three concerns, I think that there would be far more openness to discuss problems.

Someone also mentioned to me that it's not "all or nothing",ie, that there is already degree of openeness in the media, just not the degree that many people would like to see(I can support this last point).


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47. Boruch - Yoni etc.     9/24/07 - 5:51 PM
Mark

I appreciate your comments but perhaps I haven't made myself clear. I didn't say [or mean to say] that all problems must be concealed and swept under the rug. All I've asked for is that they be discussed responsibly and continuously writing about problems in a generic sort of way is not responsible.

Yoni - If you're part of the Chareidi world, I doubt you needed the internet to alert you to the fact that there's problems out there. Furthermore, just because you find solace in discussing them, that doesn't mean it's not irresponsible if it will harm others and believe me, the way these discussions are used by some elements on the web, they're very damaging. Please don't tell me that people will be attracted to Torah anyhow. Some may, the majority won't.

Boruch - Please note once again - I didn't ask for muzzles. I asked Rabbi Horowitz to focus on the area that he has done a vast amount of good. The other stuff is unproductive.


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48.     9/24/07 - 6:20 PM
yoni

mark, you do not understand the secular mindset at all. To them, writing about it as rabbi horowitz does here IS doing some good.

I really feel bad for you if you're in kiruv and so don't understand the secular mindset, you could be doing a whole lot better.


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49. Yoni     9/24/07 - 10:01 PM
Mark

"I really feel bad for you if you're in kiruv and so don't understand the secular mindset, you could be doing a whole lot better."

When conversations deteriorate into childish insults it's a sure sign that the conversation is not worth having. Please direct further comments at others because I won't bother to respond to you any longer.


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50. awareness     9/24/07 - 10:27 PM
M

1) Do you think I was right for publishing my 2 columns re the goings-on in the catskills this summer?

If I can respond - how would we know if you were right for publishing them?

I don't know the results, good or bad. I read that some rabbi took some action. Was that because he read the article? Was there another way he could have been told about the problem? Was there any benefit in everybody reading about it? If so, what?

2) If you were in my shoes and knew that there are still similar goings-on in an establishment right the heart of Brooklyn involving drugs and worse, would you write about it?

Okay, can we hear what the goal would be? Can this goal be achieved in other ways? What would be the benefit in doing it via an article? via other ways? How will we know if writing it was a good move?

p.s. if the answer is that it is important that people be aware of what is going on, even if the vast majority don't do anything about it, my questions are: 1) why is it important that people be aware of it - what purpose does it serve 2) are they are any negative ramifications to making people aware of it?

For example, is it possible that the more aware we are of problems that we (the vast majority) are going to do nothing about, the more this pulls us down, as a society?

Is it possible that the more widespread people think a)doing drugs b) living with girlfriends/boyfriends c) pregnant unwed girls there are d) pornography is e) eating disorders there are, that the more it will be done? Many scoff at the idea and think awareness is a goal in itself. I am skeptical.

another thought - would it be an idea for you to write some articles highlighting all sorts of terrific kids who are giving their parents and teachers nachas in different ways (not just excellence academically but that too)?


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51. Rabbi Horowitz - In response to your two questions     10/2/07 - 3:27 PM
Mark

A Gut Mo'ed!

You wrote:

"This is the season for reflection, and I am taking your remarks with the koved rosh that they were written."

Thank you! How about a fuller response when you have the time as well? I know it's a busy time of year but I'd appreciate it if you could make time for that so I know that my words are being taken seriously and not just avoided. If you feel that my criticism is unwarranted or you just don't agree and have no interest in debating the points, please let me know and I'll say no more.

"1) Do you think I was right for publishing my 2 columns re the goings-on in the catskills this summer?"

Not being in your shoes, it's a bit tough for me to offer an opinion on that. I spent the first thirty years of my life in the Catskills in the summer and I was frankly surprised that you found the information revealing or surprising. It is old news as far as I know. It's never been a secret that the drop-outs or near drop-outs tend to engage in this sort of behavior in the summer months...

I would have thought that the appropriate avenue for addressing this sort of problem is via a meeting with Camp Directors, Askanim, Mechanchim or serious Baalei Batim who could lend material, financial and practical support toward resolving the problem. Why you chose to spread it all over the internet instead [or maybe in addition to?] I'm not sure but perhaps you felt that alerting parents to the problem was an important step in the right direction. If that is the case and you followed up with the aforementioned people then I have no problem whatsoever with your decision to publish them.

"2) If you were in my shoes and knew that there are still similar goings-on in an establishment right the heart of Brooklyn involving drugs and worse, would you write about it?"

Same response as above. I'd prefer to see you deal with the problem with those capable of dealing with it rather than writing articles about it. Perhaps you did, but I have no way of knowing that.

Regardless, this wasn't my point at all in my initial comments to you and I hope you can appreciate that. My point was and has been that in the area of Chinuch HaBonim your writing, while often painful to face up to, is dedicated to providing a solution and you have a framework through which you do so. IOW - it is painful but constructive.

It is when you write about matters unrelated to chinuch [as you did in this article] that you do no/little good and a large amount of harm. I know that this article was built around a chinuch concept but the bulk of it was spent criticizing Chareidim in EY and served very little useful purpose. You could have made the same point in a myriad of ways without criticizing the Chareidim yet again in an unconstructive manner. As I wrote, I've personally used this idea in the past many times without criticizing specific groups or individuals.

As I wrote earlier, I greatly appreciate your efforts in the area of At Risk Teens and I wish there were many more people stepping up to the plate as you do. I only wrote my comments in an effort to help you see what I, and others, perceive as an area in which you are tarnishing your own good work.

I anxiously await your response.


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52. ENOUGH!!!     10/9/07 - 1:03 AM
Tzvi

Once again Rabbi Horowitz showed his true colors in the above article he is a charedi basher and wont miss an oppurtunity to critisize and bash the frum.If the issue with moving the clock is such a strain on the secular israelis dont you think they could have made a big tumult about it in israel? do you think the frum Chavrei Knesset do things on their own and not consult with the gedolim?(by the way many secular israelis fast on yom kippur im sure they appreciate the fast ending an hour earlier) your looking for anythig that you could come up with or that you get from your Modern orthodox peers who you suck up to as the enlightened yeshivish rabbi to bash and bashmutz the frummeh. STOP IT NOW... your feeding blood to sharks,with all your charedi bashing and critisizing the system ,ppl who dont know who you are think that you are representing all orthodox jewry you could kill more with a pen then a sword.


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53. Insecure in your Yiddishkeit     10/9/07 - 3:19 AM
AK

Hi, Instead of bashing Rabbi Horowitz , why not deal with the issues. Kiruv Kerovim is a far greater obligation than kiruv rechokim , so this site is doing a great service. From an Israeli as far as the ' summer time goes', the decision was mainly politcal , as the interior ministery has the right to set the clock as it seems fit and being run by Shas , the frum had the opportunity to get the secular to do what the secular do not want , irrespective the pros and cons. It is pure politics and incredible patronizing to think that the secular appreciate and want ' winter time ' in our summer heat. In one sense it is an issue for a frum Jew , because IMHO we are living a lie - the secular think , that there is some religious reason and are reluctantly willing to give the frum something and the frum know it is mainly politics.


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54.     10/9/07 - 12:07 PM
Anonymous - Beit Shemesh

It so happens to be that this psychological tool of changing the clock before Yom Kippur to "shorten" the fast is a sleight of hand, since the fast will always be about 25 hours long, give or take a few minutes.

The truth is, that for many in the frum community the early clock change causes people to miss z'man krias shma and tefillah, since they're used to it having been an hour earlier. Especially hard hit are those who daven Vasikin, since the netz at that time of year hovers around 5:00 AM, and selichos winds up starting close to 4:00, as opposed to the end of October, when the netz is approximately 5:50-6:00 AM.

Chol Ha'Moed also gets hit hard, as the day is cut short, and by the time you've turned around, it's already time for Mincha-Ma'ariv.

Just some food for thought.


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55. Lies!!!     10/9/07 - 3:47 PM
Tzvi

FYI here is the haaretz article about the issue of daylight savings time

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/904583.html

Rabbi horowitz blamed the frum members of knesset for passing this bill while if you read the article you will see that the writer blames MK's from meretz and labor...."Those responsible for this distortion are former interior minister Ophir Pines-Paz ?(Labor?) and MK Chaim Oron ?(Meretz?). Neither of them could withstand the pressure, and neither of them represented the interests of the majority. They decided on a short, strange daylight savings time period, unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Even the Palestinian Authority was smart enough to adopt the European standard, although Muslims face a similar problem during the Ramadan fast."

Rabbi H. just blasts and bashes the frum even if its a total lie.


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56. in context     10/9/07 - 4:08 PM
Anonymous

Tzvi:

How could you possible have read that entire article and come away with the notion that secular Jews are not resentful about this matter?

This article proves Rabbi Horowitz's point, not negates it.


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57. Distortion     10/9/07 - 4:12 PM
AK

Tzvi, Thanks for sharing , but your logic is difficult to follow.


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58. Cont from #56     10/9/07 - 4:14 PM
Anonymous

Tzvi:

Some charedi Knesset members do consult with gedolim. Others don't. And we keep reading in the papers how frum Knesset members call secular ones Nazi's and hurl other insults.

Do they consult with their gedolim each time before they speak?

And, there IS pressure brought to bear from frum members on the time change issue. The papers report on it year after year.

Is this worth it?


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59. Cont. from #56     10/9/07 - 4:24 PM
Anonymous

Tzvi:

Read this Haaretz Editorial

The sun shines on us all By Haaretz Editorial

It was not only the secular public that felt something unnatural took place this week, when in mid-summer, the day suddenly became shorter by an hour, as the clocks were turned back on September 16. Since the same sun shines on us all, religious and secular alike, it is doubtful whether anyone fails to sense the absurdity. In July, Rabbi Naftali Rotenberg of Har Adar termed this a stupidity stemming from poor judgment and called on religious MKs to amend the law so that Daylight Savings Time (DST) would last until the end of October.

The argument that ending DST early is a victory for the religious is bizarre. After all, the religious, too, and perhaps especially, want Fridays to last as long as possible so that they can manage to get more done before the Sabbath. Religious people also want to be able to go to the beach with their children during the daytime that remains after a day's work. It is doubtful that the religious want to increase electricity consumption, both personal and national, by having night fall so much earlier, and they presumably do not want their Sabbath rest to be shortened by an hour.

The date on which DST ends has become a matter of controversy between religious and secular - even though it does not affect any substantive religious issue like conversion, marriage and divorce, kashrut or Sabbath observance. The debate is an example of a particularly degraded type of political activity, in which politicians from the religious camp try to show their constituents that they achieved something. But the result of victory is division.

There is no basis to the claim that altering the clock is meant to make it easier on the religious during the period of Slichot, the days of penitence preceding Yom Kippur. In any case, DST ends whens the Slichot period is already close to completion. All that remains is the argument that the Yom Kippur fast is easier if it ends at 6 P.M. rather than 7 P.M. - an excuse more from the realm of psychology than religion. The battle over the clock is therefore about power: Each year, the religious are happy to discover that they are still powerful.

The secular have always wanted to embed DST in legislation, as is the custom throughout the world, while the religious parties have wanted to keep the debate alive. In 2005, the Knesset passed a DST law proposed by then interior minister Ophir Pines-Paz, and this gave legal force to a distorted compromise that serves neither the religious nor the secular. After a great deal of arm twisting, it was decided that DST would end on the eve of Yom Kippur. Over a matter that is one of neither principle nor religion, involving a concession that is meaningless even to the religious - since on every day except Yom Kippur, they would benefit from a longer day just like everyone else - the Knesset decided to capitulate to a bizarre political caprice, whose economic cost is high and which undermines the quality of life.

In order to put an end to this farce, there is a need for someone from the ultra-Orthodox camp to tell the truth. The fight has nothing to do with religion. It does not benefit the religious, neither in practical terms nor in terms of the impression it creates. It also does not really benefit those fasting on Yom Kippur, because in the end, 25 hours, which is the length of the fast, are still 25 hours - no matter how you count them.


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60. #56; Another one     10/9/07 - 4:32 PM
Anonymous

Tzvi:

Any coments to these?

chicagotribune.com LETTER FROM JERUSALEM Israelis fall back, springing a quarrel Secular and religious debate daylight saving, writes the Tribune's Joel Greenberg Joel Greenberg is the Tribune's chief Mideast correspondent September 21, 2007 Daytime temperatures are still reaching the high 80s in Israel's lingering summer, but a change of the clock has suddenly brought winterlike early darkness to this sunny country on the Mediterranean.

The reason: the Yom Kippur fast, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, which falls this Saturday.

A law passed in parliament two years ago as a compromise between religious and secular legislators set the end of daylight-saving time on the Sunday before Yom Kippur, which can come as early as mid-September.

That means that sunset at the conclusion of Yom Kippur will come at 5:38 p.m., instead of an hour later, giving people a chance to break their fast sooner.

But the change, designed to ease the fast, also means that millions of Israelis are leaving for work when the sun is higher and coming home in the dark, deprived of an extra hour of light to spend at the park with their children or at the beach. Lights are going on earlier in homes, factories and on the streets, costing the economy millions of dollars.

"The darkness is depressing," said Shira Cohen-Elias as she left a playground early with her 2-year-old son, Adar, in the gathering dusk. "It's really a shame, and it makes your mood worse."

Israel's departure from daylight-saving time comes well ahead of Europe, where the clock is set back in late October, and the United States, where standard time resumes in early November.

The debate here over the clock, which continues to simmer despite the compromise law, has become another front in the struggle between religious and secular Israelis over the role of religion in public life.

Critics of the time change argue that it is an example of how the needs of Israel's religiously observant minority are cramping the lifestyle of the majority of secular Israelis.

"It's absurd that one hour on Yom Kippur should cause such a change," said Hamutal Levin, whose 3-year-old daughter was playing under lights at the darkened playground.

Nehemia Shtrasler, who writes on economic affairs for the liberal Haaretz newspaper, lambasted the change in a column on Tuesday, accusing the secular majority of lawmakers of preferring to "kowtow to the religious and ultra-Orthodox, instead of representing the interests of their constituents".

"In Brooklyn and Antwerp, Jews fast according to daylight-saving time, without driving a whole country crazy," Shtrasler wrote. "Here, however, they managed to bring winter a month and a half early, in defiance of any logic."

Rabbi Naftali Rothenberg, an Orthodox Jew and senior research fellow at the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, has written to members of parliament, arguing that the early time change actually hurts observant Jews, forcing them to start the Yom Kippur fast earlier and shortening daylight on the subsequent Sukkot holiday, when many take family vacations.

Figures released by the Israeli Manufacturers Association showed that the Israeli economy saved close to $20 million over the 170-day period of daylight-saving time, which according to the law starts on the last Friday before April 2. About half of the saving came from reduced power consumption for lighting and air conditioning. There were also fewer traffic accidents and higher worker productivity, according to the data.

But Rabbi Avraham Ravitz, a legislator from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, said that the cost of setting back the clock early was a reasonable sacrifice to affirm Israel's Jewish character and ease the Yom Kippur fast not only for religious Jews, but for the many secular Israelis who also fast on the holy day.

"We pay a price for our insistence on belonging to the Jewish people," Ravitz said. "The majority can show consideration for the minority. The most important thing in a society is knowing how to live with and respect others, even if it means paying a price."


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61.     10/9/07 - 5:10 PM
Tzvi

All theese articles prove that rabbi horowitz counts on the secular haaretz newspaper which is the left of the left in its hatred for charedim to support his bashing of the ultra orthodox as he looks there for marerial to constantly come up with new faults and critisism of the charedim. maybe he should join them on their editorial bored.


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62. Tzvi - Brain power ?     10/10/07 - 2:26 AM
Ak

Tzvi, One does not need any newspapers to understand the distorted thinking and politics surrounding the ' summer time issue ' , but if you think it is a secular plot and Rabbi 'H' has a anti- charadei agenda , that's OK with me.


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63. Good article.     10/12/07 - 11:07 AM
Anonymous

Thats the problem with Modern State Israel and especially the frummers taking part in the Knesset. In Chutz Loaretz we (try to) consentrate on the important problems within our very own communities and let the Queen run the country!!!


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64. Response to R' Horowitz     10/24/07 - 11:39 PM
J

First of all, thanks for your candid and respectful comments. This is the season for reflection, and I am taking your remarks with the koved rosh that they were written. Having said that, here are 2 questions for starters: 1) Do you think I was right for publishing my 2 columns re the goings-on in the catskills this summer?

2) If you were in my shoes and knew that there are still similar goings-on in an establishment right the heart of Brooklyn involving drugs and worse, would you write about it?

I am all for informing the Klall of what needs to be done. What irked me were comments like the following:

For I am terrified of what I see coming. Flat out terrified. I have been feeling this way for a few years now, but the feeling is growing as time goes on. I think that the conditions are ripe for a huge, exponential increase in the number and percentages of our children who will r’l abandon Yiddishkeit – like nothing we have ever seen in our lifetimes – if we don’t dramatically transform the way we parent and educate our children.

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