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

RabbiHorowitz.com

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

Membership Benefits:

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

Raffle Rules:

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

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


Charedi Bashing or Cheshbon Hanefesh?
Some Questions from the “Favorite Rabbi of the Bloggers”
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 40 users   |   Viewed 23372 times since 10/11/07   |   49 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend
   

10/11/07

By: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

NOTE: I posted a poll (which is located on the left side of my homepage) asking readers to vote/comment about the level of dialogue in our community on matters of importance to our community. Please feel free to take the poll and comment. Y.H.

I recently posted a column on this site titled Is Everything a 10?, which discussed the role religious Knesset members played in ‘changing the clock back’ in Eretz Yisroel six weeks before the rest of the civilized world. In it, I made the case that we ought to be very selective in the use of our growing political clout and not needlessly irritate secular Jews on matters that are not of paramount importance to our community.

As my website is open to (unfiltered) comments, an individual named Mark wrote a few thoughtful and respectful comments on that thread, (an excerpt of which appear in italics below. Click here for his comments in entirety) taking me to task for publicly airing my thoughts on this matter in an area where, in his view, there was little chance of any positive ‘take-away’ from my article. Mark encouraged me to reflect on the how my writing adds wind to the sails of those who bash charedi society by noting that I have become the “Favorite Rabbi” of bloggers.

I have been extraordinarily preoccupied with a Yeshiva Darchei Noam project over the past months and never fully responded to Mark’s comments, aside from a few short posts on that thread.

But with the gift of the quiet time that two, 3-day Yomim Tovim provided, I have given a great deal of thought to what Mark wrote. I decided to respond in a more formal manner by writing a Mishpacha column or two on the subject of whether or not we ought to have ‘an open press’ in charedi society. Time permitting, the first essay should appear 2 weeks from this Wednesday, and according to my arrangement with Mishpacha, it will be posted on this website only after the issue hits the newsstands.



Here are excerpts from two of the comments that Mark posted in the past 3 weeks:

Rabbi Horowitz,

… 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 kids at-risk, 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 DB 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 HM quotes you to further his smear campaign against Chareidim, you might want to stop and rethink your approach.

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 ….

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]

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.

Gmar Tov!

Mark



In the meantime, I have devoted the ‘weekly poll’ on the homepage of my website to the topic of ‘free press’ (it is on the left side; please vote and post your comments). At the same time, I ask the following questions to our readers:

1. Do we have a ‘free press’ in our charedi community? Are issues that are of paramount importance to our community discussed freely in public forums, such as our newspapers?

2. Is a ‘free press’ permitted by the Torah?

3. Are discussions of matters that affect our community helpful even if they do not result in swift, obvious positive change?

4. How, for that matter, does effective change take place in the Torah community?

5. What percentage of the members in our community would feel “safe” to sign their name in a letter to the editor if they are writing about a subject that they feel passionately about?

6. Is Mark correct that earning the respect of the bloggers is a sign that I ought to ‘do teshuva’ or is it a sign that the “unspoken-for majority” respect charedim who have the courage to openly discuss the real issues we face. (UPDATE: For the record, please note that Mark in no way wrote or even implied that I needed to 'do teshuva'. His comments were all respectful and appropriate. I took his words 100% with the koved rosh that they were written. I wrote the quote 'do teshuva' tongue-in-cheek. Y.H.)

I would greatly appreciate your comments, as I feel that dialogue is very valuable. Quite a number of my friends sent me emails suggesting that I remove some of the negative comments posted on my website as it an insult to my kavod (honor) for me to leave them there. I respectfully disagree. I feel that we need far more straight talk – not less.

Yakov Horowitz

Monsey, New York



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


Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 40 users    (49 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)

Report this Post

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


1.     10/11/07 - 1:52 PM
Wolfish Musings - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

I think that there needs to be a distinction between the "New York Post" version of "free press" and what the Torah might expect a "free press" to consist of.

I think that a free press is vital to a functioning society - even a Torah society. Of course, freedom is a relative term and just as newspapers have limitations (libel, falsehoods, etc.), so should we. I don't think we need people's private affairs, even if they are sinning splattered across the page. But in areas of public policy, however, it is vital that there be a free and open expression of ideas. In areas where there is no preferred "Torah way" of doing things (such as with the Daylight Saving Time issue), matters absolutely must be discussed by the public. For even though R. Horowitz might not have made any change this year, perhaps next year or the year after, enough people will be conscious of the issue and a change may be effected.

Even in areas where there is a "Torah preferred" way of doing things, there *still* needs to be a public discussion. Not every policy is bound by something that is an issur d'oreissa. Sometimes, it's a matter of a minhag or a chumra which can be dispensed with in some situations. But without a public discussion, the chances of this happening is rather small.

The answer to the third question is contained above. Certainly discussion is needed, even in an area where change may not happen -- for even if change doesn't happen today, it may down the road. Do you think, for example, that the solution of the prozbul developed in a vacuum? Of course not -- it developed through public discussion (although on a much smaller scale than today, of course -- there being no mass media or Internet then) that began when people complained about not being able to borrow money close to the Shmitah year. And it's likely that the prozbul wasn't instituted when the first person complained -- public change doesn't happen that quickly. It probably happened after several Shmitah cycles.

Public changes in policy come from (IMHO) two places -- the minds of individuals in power who can bring their ideas to reality and public support which, in most cases, does not happen overnight, but is built up over time.

I don't know the answers to questions 5 and six, so I won't speculate on them.

As to question seven -- you must always be free to express your ideas and opinions. The fact that others may bash chareidim by using your ideas is not an issue that you must address. I don't engage in (or at least I like to think that I don't engage in) chareidi bashing on my blog, but if someone takes an idea that I express on my blog out of sincerity and uses it for some other purpose, it is not something that I need to address -- as long as I can comfortably stand by what I wrote in the first place. To take the analogy to an extreme level, the inventor of trains doesn't owe the Jews an apology because Hitler used them to transport people to the concentration camps.

The Wolf


Report this Post

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


2. Mark is Correct     10/11/07 - 2:49 PM
Srully Epstein - New York, NY - israelepstein@yahoo.com

I agree with Mark. He clearly is writing from a constructive and respectful point of view. You should take his advice.

As for your questions, 1. Outside of the often vindictive blog world, there is no free press. There is more discussion of issues (children at risk, abuse, etc.) than ever before, but I wouldn't consider the newspaper/magazine world a "free press." (Note how Gary Rosenblatt got smacked down by Mr. Tisch for having the audacity to print a satire - clearly marked "SATIRE" - in the Jewish Week.) The blogosphere is completely free; it is also a sewer.

2. No, the Torah does not condone a free press.

3. As Mark points out, discussions are helpful to the extent that they lead to change. Often those talking and those listening are not capable of making the changes. Often changes can't be made. Simple bellyaching is not helpful.

4. Usually at the grass roots level. Someone does something. That's how Hatzalah was started.

5. 72%

6. It can go both ways. I read, and respond to, DovBear and others like him. I believe many Chareidim read these blogs with varying degrees of vindication and disgust. So getting your voice in the mix may be a benefit. But to the extent that you have become a poster child (I am taking Mark's word for it; I haven't done any research on your standing in the anti-Chareidi world just yet) for Chareidi bashing, I would not be proud. I would take this as a sign that your comments have moved from the "mussar" side of the ledger to the "lashon hara" side of the ledger.


Report this Post

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


3.     10/11/07 - 3:05 PM
mark

WHY ARE YOU ASKING QUESTIONS THAT NEED DAAS TORAH, TO A BUNCH OF WELL MEANING BLOGGERS??!! YOU AN EMBARRASMENT TO THE WORLD OF CHINUCH THAT YOU HAVE NO REGARD TO WHAT NEEDS TO BE ASKED TO DAAS TORAH! WHY OH WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO REACH OUT TO BE PUBLICLY POPULAR WHILE IGNORING THE NEED TO DO WHAT THE GEDOLIM WANT. ASK THEM. WE WILL THINK HIGHER OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Report this Post

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


4. Great questions     10/11/07 - 3:33 PM
Neil Harris - Chicago, IL - neilsharris@hotmail.com

Rabbi Horowitz, These are great questions. While I agree with some of Mark's points, your site and your writing has been a positive change in how the Torah observant world is learning to deal with 'real' issues. Kol HaKavod!

Neil Harris uberdox.blogspot.com


Report this Post

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


5. charedi bashing/free press     10/11/07 - 3:41 PM
Anonymous - Brooklyn

Rabbi Horowitz:

Mark's comments about charedi bashing don't sway me. His principal error is in assuming that your columns don't do anything, that you are not in a position to make a change in the complained about behavior. Dead wrong! Thoughtful comments can create groundswells of public opinion that will have a impact on the leaders who make policies. Respectfully expressed opinions which could promote change in the attitudes of the charedi community provide less fodder for antagonism than do the actions complained of. High-handed actions which show intolerance for groups who do not have our needs generate much more ill will. If more of us thought and acted like you there might be fewer charedi bashers and you might have to share your status as favorite rabbi of the bloggers. Keep on writing and maybe your words will effect changes in behavior and result in a bigger kiddush Hashem.

Isaac


Report this Post

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


6.     10/11/07 - 3:55 PM
Anonymous

Mark, Why oh why do you think so many kids at risk won't talk to their neighbors? Perhaps not to you either? Could it be because every time they want to have a real conversation about something they really want to understand they are told to ask the Gedolim? Or we don't know, but that is what we must do... Would you prefer that we don't talk about this and watch a whole segment of the next disappear before our very eyes?


Report this Post

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


7. I disagree     10/11/07 - 4:03 PM
Eli - Upstate NY

mark, relax, if you cannot handle a frank and open discussion than go somewhere else. shouting Ad hominem remarks at Rabbi H. does no one any good. Rabbi H is airing his thoughts on his own forum, where he has every right to do so. (I am also assuming that you are NOT the original Mark from the article, you manners leave something to be desired, to say the least)


Report this Post

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


8. Please note that the MARK above is not the same Mark who wrote Rabbi H.     10/11/07 - 4:50 PM
Mark

As the original "Mark" [who clearly didn't make his mark yet] I wish to make the distinction between my words, sentiments and opinions which were constructively critical [and complimentary] of Rabbi Horowitz and the MARK who is outspokenly critical and expresses himself in a tone that I don't agree with at all.


Report this Post

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


9.     10/11/07 - 6:08 PM
Very Nervous Mommy

Dear Rabbi Horowitz and fellow responders til 120 I have read through the original article and the various responses that many have made. There seems to be many different opinions about varied topics that have been brought up. Trying just to focus on one issue is difficult, but I will make a go of it.

Regarding free speech, or as some might say "airing our laundry publicly", because this is what I percieive as the main issue at hand, is not up to debate. It MUST be done. I use this strong language because without a forum, no issues are resolved. I say forum, because there are many differnt forums in which to discuss things, and various ways to bring problems to light. From what I understand there is also a debate about the proper forums, but regardless of the forum it is only after issues and problems in our community are brought to light and recognized that solutions are sought and some resolution can be made.

I pose this dillemma to Mark: Your beloved daughter is married to a man who you later find out is abusing an terrorizing her. When she finally is able to escape his clutches he refuses to grant her a get and is blackmailing you and your family. He will not go to bais din or listen to rabbis who suggest he give a get. A family member suggests you demonstrate at his home or place of employment to exert pressure on him. This tactic has worked in other instances. Do you do it?

Another question for Mark. Do you propose shutting down services such as Shalom Task Force, Jacs, Ohel, etc.? All these services are saving lives and without people knowing about them they could not do so.

There must be public knowledge of these issues so we can deal with them in a responsible organized way. Having volunteered for years with many chesed organizations, I saw various programs created in response to need. Nothing happened overnight, sometimes months of disscusing the problem went by before a creative solution was found. These needs came to light through brave individuals who came forward and admitted they needed help. Now because of them the entire comunity reaps the benefits. These organizations are a true Kiddush Hashem for they are exemplary examples of "?? ????? ????? ?? ???" What works in the community can work in the home as well. The first step is recognizing the problem before you can fix it.


Report this Post

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


10. change     10/11/07 - 6:09 PM
M

How, for that matter, does effective change take place in the Torah community? Let's go through some examples and see. What changes have taken place in the last 60 years? Here are some examples:

1) vastly more chareidi young men opt to learn for several years in kollel after marriage

How did this change come about?

2) vastly more women are giving their babies and young children to others to raise and are working

How did this change come about?

3) rather than become secretaries and teachers, more and more girls are opting for professional training in fields such a physical, occupational, and speech therapy, special education, and social work

How this change come about?

4) it has become a given, among CERTAIN chareidi circles (generally not chasidish schools) that girls and boys go to Israel to learn after high school

how did this change come about?

5) In Torah circles, family size has increased greatly with 5-6 children being quite common, 7-9 children common, and quite a few with double digit numbers of children

how did this change come about?

6) there are very many books, tapes, and shiurim for the Torah community today which hardly existed even 30 years ago

how did this change come about?

Are these "effective" changes? What's an effective change?


Report this Post

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


11. Accountability is Required     10/12/07 - 7:54 AM
Nosson

One very important reason why a free press is required is ACCOUNTABILITY. In Chareid society, there is zero accountability. People in leadership positions can make gross errors of judgment and wield tremendous power without ever being accountable. This encourages irresponsible behavior. Public, polite critiques must be allowed.

But this whole topic is a joke, because a free press in the Charedi world will NEVER happen. If Rabbi Horowitz were to wish to write something too much at odds with popular charedi belief, Mishpacha would simply refuse to print it. If someone were to write a letter to Mishpachah that was critical of popular charedi belief, they would refuse to print it. A free charedi press is an oxymoron.


Report this Post

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


12. kol hakavod     10/12/07 - 10:31 AM
Ari Waldman - Ramat Beit Shemesh

I believe that this dialogue is not only new and refreshingly honest it's also vital to keep going .If you repeat a lie enough, people start believing it (see hitlers success in riling up germany againstus) To spread the emes it should definitely be effective! Slowly but surely people like Rabbi Horowitz are bringing change to chinuch and saving generations to come by spreading their vision through every means at their disposal.Rav Yisroel Salanter would often say "there's so much that needs to be done and no time to lose".


Report this Post

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


13. My two cents     10/12/07 - 11:12 AM
Meishiv K'halacha - Chicago

Although I do not read your blog and do not know of all the issues you cover, I would have to agree with mark on this one. The blog which I view does very often "criticize" the Chareidi world in a very obsessive compulsive kind of way, which leads to even stronger "criticisms" in the comment section. More than once, the author of that blog has used your words and point of view as a springboard for his rants which clearly violate the laws of lashon hara. The fact that it seems that there has never been any type of protest from you, is a bit disheartning. Your hashkafos and views might be supported by gedolim, but thier positions definitly are not (even a broken watch is correct twice a day), and for you to be associated with them without any word from you for the defense of kavod hatorah, it quite mindboggling, and puts a damper on all you do. I would suggest you do some research, see how your words are being used in the bloggosphere, and publish your thoughts. I was going to discuss this with you in shul on the shabbos you were in Chicago, but I did not have a chance.

Regarding free press, I am not sure what that is supposed to mean. There are halachos regarding what can and cannot be said, so in that sense it is not free.

Things must be disussed as well, but again the halachos pertaining to those must be followed as well.


Report this Post

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


14. Ideas for a Better Press     10/12/07 - 12:01 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"If someone were to write a letter to Mishpachah that was critical of popular charedi belief, they would refuse to print it. A free charedi press is an oxymoron."

Each community and newspaper/magazine will have it's own limits of "elu velu". An idea say, on Science and Torah which is not acceptable by it's vaad ruchani would not get printed. But within certain limits, one can try to have more tolerance; the idea is not to extend the limits of elu v'elu on core issues, but to find more tolerance within them on non-core issues(the problem becomes, of course, if every topic turns into a core issue).

Mishpocha, to its credit, targets readers to the Left of the charedi world as well as well as diverse groups within the Charedi world itself, and because of that, it indeed gets flack from those who are unhappy with some of its "openness"; there are a number of examples, but think back to the letter about the Rabbi Wein interview, as well as Rabbi Horowitz's "secular agenda".

Other Charedi papers/publications get flack from their own Right as well. I believe that these writers should express their opinions, but when it's done in a completely "black and white" way, and with the implied or stated threat not to by the magazine, then it creates an unhealthy pressure on the editorial board, who already consult with rabbonim.

The sad thing is that extreme letter writers are either ignored, or bring no kavod to the rebbeim whom they (claim to) represent; they could benefit from learning some tact, as well as appreciating that they are addressing a diverse audience.

It's really a legal, "Choshen Mishpat" issue, on how different groups "live" under one magazine "roof". Thankfully, the Hearts of Gold issue was resolved not be censoring the series, but by simply issuing a disclaimer. Shalom al Yisrael!

"I believe that this dialogue is not only new and refreshingly honest it's also vital to keep going ."

I second that. As long as the dialogue is respectful, it can only be beneficial; those who benefit from it should join the discussion, and those who don't, should ignore it.

It reminds me of a well known psychologist who writes that he was conducting a group session where someone refused to admit he was angry, when he clearly was very angry.

So he responded, "if you can not accept your anger, at least accept your refusal to accept that". But the man instead(very angrily) says , "I refuse to accept my anger, and I refuse to accept my refusal".

So the psychologist has him say(still very angrily), "I refuse to accept my anger, and my refusal to accept it, but I am willing to accept my refusal to accept my refusal". At which point he joins everyone in laughing.

In other words, one has to start somewhere, if not in facing reality, at least to face the resistance to face such reality(or the resistance to face the resistance, etc).

Perhaps there may be good reasons why some communities or press are not fully open; I believe in giving people a chance to explain themselves, and understanding their viewpoint, which may differ from mine. But if any lack of openness can be brought into the open for discussion (assuming it's done respectfully), that *itself* takes away some of the problem that existed when any lack of openness was a mysterious process. Appropriate openness diffuses the "shande" factor.

Which brings to my next point,(which I quote from in part from my blog posting). The key is to be as positive as possible, whether of the community, or it's leaders. Even when discussing a problem, one can do it in a way which is not totally negative. Besides protecting oneself from criticism which will detract from one's message, it is also a correct thing, in of itself.

R. Yisrael Salanter says that an individual needs to know his strengths, which are the means to accomplish in this world, and similarly, a community's strengths can help it overcome its weaknesses.


Report this Post

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


15. Finding the proper balance     10/12/07 - 12:18 PM
Yosef Blau - New York, New York - yblau@nyc.rr.com

The observant community has grown remarkably. Adherence to a united rabbinic leadership has played a critical role in this renewal. A price that has been played in building self respect for bnei Torah is not openly discussing weaknesses. There is a delicate balance between maintaining authority and accepting constructive criticism. When there is no clear mechanism for expressing concerns, frustration leads to anger. The question becomes whether the open airing of problems within the community is the sorce of chilul Hashem or is it the sense of coverup and denial that reduces respect for leadership. The rate of change is unpredictable which makes it difficult to evaluate whether a critique of current policies is productive. In a delicate area, where the approach adopted in the past did not protect victims, the public impression is that it is the intemperate bloggers who are responsible for the progress that has been made. Unless it can be demonstrated that there is a more responsible alternate way that will lead to confronting the problems that exist in every society more and more people will support what is apparently effective. Rabbi Horowitz should be appreciated for giving those who have lost respect for the rabbinate a model of a Rov who cares and is willing to openly speak up on behalf of those who do not feel they have a voice. If the Torah community is as strong as we claim then we can survive (and actually improve) through open self criticism. The approach of blaming the blogs for publicizing problems without acknowledging that there are real issues; of demanding total trust in the leadership without spelling out a concrete program will not enhance kavod hatorah. Yosef Blau


Report this Post

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


16. Just My Opinion     10/12/07 - 12:35 PM
Just My Opinion

Either RYH is being nice to the "blogging" community in order to better understand the workings of the distorted western mind in order to save the victims of the internet or he is truly distorted himself and in that case I agree 1000% with "mark". The mitzva of Dan L'kaf Zechus requires me to believe that RYH is merely using you people so he can help the victims of the anti-Torah ideology that comes from many of the blogs. The flip side is to pasul him.


Report this Post

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


17. oh please     10/12/07 - 1:15 PM
amshinover - monsey - amshinover@gmail.com

free press in our community:

had we had some 20 years ago

where would mondrowitz and kolko be today?

better yet where would there victims be?


Report this Post

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


18. My opinion     10/12/07 - 1:43 PM
Yehoshua

1. There is no free press. As a result, important issues are suppressed for very long periods of time.

2. A truly free press would be ossur. But there can be open discussions and respectful criticism of public events and people and certain anything conceptual.

3. Very helpful. Change takes time. Also this medium gives voice to a large number of Charedis who are afraid to be perceived, true or not, as rejecting the leadership by just asking questions or presenting differing views.

4. It can be top down, bottom up or haphazard spurred by crisis. There seems to be little strategic leadership at this point. I think most is a reaction to events that become "crisis". This is not such an effective way to do things.

5. Most would not sign. Look at all the aliases in the blogs. There is a lot of fear.

6. Your type of blog engenders respect from even the left-wing because it is not stereotypical charedi. It is a breath of fresh air and a kiddush Hashem.

Keep up the good work.


Report this Post

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


19. hamon am     10/12/07 - 2:24 PM
JR

"2. Is a ‘free press’ permitted by the Torah?"

How about making a poll of several rabbonim and posting their responses? Why are you asking the "hamon am"? ditto for "3. Are discussions of matters that affect our community helpful even if they do not result in swift, obvious positive change?"

Why are you asking the hamon am their opinion?

As for your doing teshuva - WHY ARE YOU ASKING THE HAMON AM AND NOT YOUR RAV?


Report this Post

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


20.     10/12/07 - 3:02 PM
Chaim

Rabbi Horowitz,

Please keep up your good work! When we as a community acknowledge our mistakes, that is the first step towards a solution. By pointing out practices of our community that are inappropriate that is definetly the first step to resolving the issue. As people read about these issues, they will be more conscious in their daily activities to improve their behavior. Also, a small action has a domino effect. Therefore, even criticizing the Chareidi Knesset actions can eventually change their behavior in the long term, as more and more people will discuss it and write about it, they will feel the pressure to change their actions.


Report this Post

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


21.     10/12/07 - 3:05 PM
Chaim

Rabbi Horowitz,

I just wanted you to know that I have heard from many people in our Chareidi community - that they are very supportive of the work that you do and greatly respect you for it.

Kol Tuv


Report this Post

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


22. Random Question     10/12/07 - 3:06 PM
Anonymous

I know this has nothing to do with any of the discussions but i was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a 20 year old guy in yeshiva and college to make some money.


Report this Post

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


23. Lashon Hara vs. Hashkafa     10/12/07 - 3:49 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"Is a ‘free press’ permitted by the Torah?" How about making a poll of several rabbonim and posting their responses? Why are you asking the "hamon am"?"

It is an halchic issue, but it's a good way of broaching related subjects.

There is an article from Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society titled "Journalism, Controversy, and Responsibility: halachic Analysis", regarding lashon hara issues, which I link. Of course, don't pasken from a halachic journal, but people can benefit from the author's discussion and mareh mekomos, l'hagdil Torah u'lahdirah.

However, when the issue of free-press is raised, it is relevant on different levels. Lashon Hara is one issue, but many other issues involve hashkafa. As I wrote above, the challenge for the Charedi media s that some people benefit from a "free press" in terms of certain hashkafa discussions, and others do not.

http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/english/journal/oppenheimer-1.htm


Report this Post

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


24. Nice Articled     10/12/07 - 5:37 PM
David S - New York - dsher999@hotmail.com

I have read a number of your articles primarily because they of the links that appear in the afore mentioned blogs. I myself do not come from an Orthodox background and have relatively little experience with religious tradition at all. However, when I read the things that you right, I can immediately see the power of Judaism as a force for good in the world.

Far from being a critic of your community, you are a person who is undoubtedly trying to make a difference for the better and to act for the sake of G-d. The way you write seems to be extremely respectful, erudite and full of heart. You take seriously the importance of correct speech and by that I mean truthful speech that neither shames nor slanders but sincerely works for Tikkun Olam.

Yasher Koach


Report this Post

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


25. Some questions for Rabbi Horowitz     10/13/07 - 2:15 PM
Anonymous

Since we are going to have this dialogue, out in the open, I thought it appropriate to bring some instances from HM's blog, and to ask Rabbi Horowitz to what degree he associates or disassociates from comments such as these, made by HM. I suspect that this is part of what Mark had in mind when he said: "It should make you think twice about whether your words will be used to "build up" or "tear down." When HM quotes you to further his smear campaign against Chareidim, you might want to stop and rethink your approach. "

Not that these are quotes from you, but that he feels he has legitimacy from your approach to express himself such:

Monday Oct. 8, ‘07 Yes he tried. He too did not think the ban was warranted… at least not in this instance… and fought for Hakafot Shniot in Kikar Shabbos initially. That he decided to accede to the will of the 'Gedolim' after being pressured to do so is certainly not a surprise. But the real news is that he actually had the courage to publicly defy them at first...

I personally hope this is a harbinger of things to come. One small thin little voice of protest short-lived though it was… may have an enduring impact on future edicts. At least I hope it does.

September 7, ‘07 that there are no Gedolim today in the sense of ‘leaders of our generation’.

August 28, ‘07 Is Rav Elyashiv a Gadol? The answer is yes... and no. He is a Gadol B’Torah, but not a Gadol B’Yisroel, the latter requiring leadership.

January 20, ‘07 This is maddening! Once again the rabbinic leadership in Israel has issued Taliban like decrees.

Thursday, May 11, 2006 Taliban Tznius... is it Good for the Jews? There was a story in the news a couple of days ago about two Israeli Rabbinic figures, the Gerrer Rebbe and Rav Aharon Leib Steinman, who purchased all first class tickets so that they would not have any women passengers and asked El Al to only post male stewards on flight so they do not have to see women on way to America.


Report this Post

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


26. to anon 3:06     10/14/07 - 8:57 AM
tb

You asked about making money during Yeshiva/college years. I know that my husband worked at group homes for frum men with disabilities while at college post Yeshiva. Some men work as Mashgichim at Shabatons and Yom Tov Hotel events. You could try contacting a caterer or Kiruv organization like Gateways about those. Good luck.

As for Rabbi Horowitz, good luck to you and all of us too.


Report this Post

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


27.     10/14/07 - 5:11 PM
yoni

to deny someone is a gadol B'yisroel is not lashon hara in any sense of the term. To be a gadol b'yisroel is a tremendous thing, and even many people who are greatly learned in torah never ever even come close to this standard, nor do all generations have a gadol b'yisroel. To refuse to give him that appalation implies no outward criticism of him, other than he is not the sole authority some claim him to be.

(oh, and just FWY, at least according to the rishonim, daas torah is basicaly kafira, and entirely innapropriate. Ask a rabbi about halacha, ask him about hashkafa, do not ask him about medicine, to do so would be in denial of torah principles on the matter, likewise for many other issues.)


Report this Post

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


28.     10/15/07 - 12:52 PM
Yehuda

Rabbi Horowitz,

I agree with 'Mark' particularly in relation to point '6'.No matter how noble your intentions are, when your most outspoken base of support is coming from bloggers, some of whom are hostile to Avodas Hashem and they feel you are somewhat their ally it's time to rethink te message you are giving.


Report this Post

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


29.     10/15/07 - 4:50 PM
Anonymous

The only way to adress an issue is to talk about it, that doesn't mean it has no effect. The fact that people twist or beat drums to issues doesn't mean that they aren't there.


Report this Post

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


30. To the Ha'aretz editor     10/15/07 - 6:34 PM
N

Sir,

I am not in the habit of writing to newspapers, especially not the irreligious variety like yours, but when your perspectives seem to seep in without challenge to the greater religious population, I really must challenge your editorial and its presuppositions.

Firstly, some historical accuracy. The times for the changing of the clock as of last year has been fixed. The agreement hammered out in Knesset last year was that summer time begins at a time suited to the irreligious, and and it ends before Yom Kippur. The religious parties actually would have preferred that the first clock change be linked to Pesach for some reason I disremember, but it was not top on their priority list so they agreed to this comprimise. I just want to point this out because certain publications are implying that religious parties do not know how to comprimise, while this is actually a classic case of comprimise. Additionally, in most years, the second clock change is not so different from other countries, but due to this year being a leap year, the differences are much more noticeable. Perhaps this should have been taken into account before drafting the agreement, and perhaps in your editorial you should have pointed out that the clock change was decided last year. It would have given the issue a more neutral slant.

But speaking of neutral slants, I wonder how many people you actually interviewed when you determined that the relatively early clock change is detrimental to the citizens. Certainly for those involved in international business, it is significant, but how great a percentage of the population is actually involved in international business that the difference in hour makes such a substantial difference to them? Or are they weightedly more important because they are more - may I say it - affluent?

The reason I am enquiring is because perhaps your readership in America is unaware of three facets of Israeli life. Firstly, that school is out at 1:10. Secondly, that the sun since Pesach has been blazing hot that since Pesach we have been unable to take children outdoors until 4:30. And thirdly, that people live in very small apartments, many without even a balcony, and it is not conducive to dear friendships to have to stay indoors for so many long hours.

Therefore, the combination of the autumn sunshine being slightly less blazing, and allowing us to go out an hour earlier, plus the clock change, allowing families to go out a further hour earlier, is extremely welcome amongst the section of society that cares for children aged 0-10, across the whole religious/irreligious divide. So although in America it may be seen that the clock change doles out many lonely hours of darkness, in Israel it actually provides 3.5 hours to soak up fun and frienship before dark, and most children seem equally happy to play in the dark as well. So before applying the criticism, perhaps consider whether you are representing the majority opinion, or a young-rich-adult-male mindset.

In conclusion, although I understand that as an irreligious paper, you increase your readership be leveraging criticism about the religious party members, I nevertheless wonder why you do not leverage similar or rather much stronger criticism against the irreligious party members, who surely have less of the public good in mind, and more of their personal power, prestige, and money at heart. I am sure it would not be difficult to find instances in which irreligious politicians considered things "a ten", when other people wouldn't.

Yours, etc


Report this Post

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


31. To Anonymous #25     10/16/07 - 9:56 AM
Miriam Shear - imahawk@aol.com

The fact that Rabbi Horowitz has managed to capture the respect of those with whom he disagrees on many issues and vice versa, is a testament to his character and intellectual honesty. It does not matter if it's a Dov Bear or a Harry Maryles or even going so far as one's outright enemies. Wherever there is room to find common ground, this ground should be tilled and nurtured until we get results that bear healthy fruit. Weeds will always crop up - but the whole purpose of dialogue is to identify those weeds and remove them. That is why Rabbi Horowitz' courage and integrity in discussing the shortcomings of our community in a thought provoking manner is both instructive and necessary for adults who also need ongoing chinuch. While changes may not occur overnight and be readily apparent, it's a start and it's a start in the right direction. This should be applauded, not condemned. And - as I've said before on this blog and others - Torah guidelines in doing so should always guide and prevail over these discussions.


Report this Post

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


32. To Rabbi Horowitz     10/18/07 - 10:35 PM
Anonymous

I believe Mark is correct, and his thoughts have occured to me as well.

I would be more comfortable with the messages you give over (in speeches, articles, etc) if you would demonstrate better acceptance of the concepts outlined by Mark.


Report this Post

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


33. Rabbi Horowitz - am I correct in assuming that you will not     11/12/07 - 3:10 PM
Mark

responding to my comments in a substantive way?

Some time ago you wrote:

"I decided to respond in a more formal manner by writing a Mishpacha column or two on the subject of whether or not we ought to have ‘an open press’ in charedi society. Time permitting, the first essay should appear 2 weeks from this Wednesday, and according to my arrangement with Mishpacha, it will be posted on this website only after the issue hits the newsstands."

I'm not sure why my very detailed comments which you solicited went answered and couldn't merit a specific response given how nuanced my points were, but beggars can't be choosy and I chose to wait until the promised articles appeared. To date they haven't and it's been quite a while since they were promised.

Please try to respond when you are able to. I'm no less confused by your actions today than I was two months ago. If anything, I'm more confounded than before and have begun to wonder whether you operate independently or still follow the directives of Gedolim [and whom?]

Thank you!


Report this Post

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


34. to Mark     11/12/07 - 9:23 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

Mark:

I actually wrote the mishpacha column "finding our voices"

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=909&ThisGroup_ID=238&Type=Article&SID=2

with your comment in mind.

In your comments, you suggested that I was 'charedi bashing' by writing about the things I did.

In the column, (I tried to) make the case that dialogue about important communal matters is a key component of improving things and the fact that people are reluctant to express their views is a troubling sign. And that one who cares enough to address these matters is not 'bashing' but trying to improve things.

Thanks again for your comments and if that did not address what you wrote about, please inform me and I will try to clarify.

All the best

Yakov


Report this Post

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


35. Here's what I was looking for     11/17/07 - 10:27 PM
Mark

Gut Voch!

Rabbi Horowitz,

The article "Finding Our Voices" may have been written with me in mind, but, with all due respect, I believe that it hardly addressed the larger points I made in a satisfactory manner. You spoke of the need to be more candid and have open dialogue about problems in our community. I couldn't agree with you more. I never argued that I was important to address issues - even painful ones that weren't flattering on our community. Your article completely sidestepped my basic points which I'll review here once again so that you can respond more specifically.

1 - While "open dialogue" is an important piece of the puzzle to finding solutions, it must be done responsibly. I pointed out how careful you were in addressing the KAR issue, because you recognized the dangers inherent in hashing it out in the public. At least, you used a responsible medium for conducting the conversation. The JO is a medium in which matters can be discussed intelligently and where the necessary precautions are taken to ensure that the discussion remains largely productive.

Sadly, while the potential for it to be so is enormous, the internet has not yet proven to be that responsible a medium. Your own site allows unfiltered comments and many of them are objectionable for a variety of reasons. You seem to believe that it should be used as a sort of "support group" in which anyone can air their views and experience catharsis's. Problem is, it's lacking the closed environment of such a group and the exposure does a lot of harm to others.

Furthermore, very few of the discussions here are productive for the simple reason that the people who comment here [and elsewhere] are not the activists. They move from blog to blog spouting opinions, but rarely doing anything beyond that. A problem in a chinuch matter needs to be taken up with people in a position to help, not hamon am and certainly not Letzonim. Unfortunately, by and large, those are the people reading your forum.

Since the info you provide is often critical, and the discussions rarely productive in a meaningful way [and I attach only a minimum of meaning to a comment along the lines of "Rabbi Horowitz thank you - it's so good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks all is not well in hareidi society!"] what you're left with is a great potential for Chillul Hashem that I don't believe the positive results can truly justify.

Perhaps you believe otherwise, but I'd love to hear an explanation of why, and since I know you claim to follow the advice of Gedolei Torah, exactly who it is that supports these measures? Certainly, whoever it is doesn't want to remain anonymous so I can't imagine there's any problem sharing their names.

2 - Another point I raised was that many of your articles cut across large swaths of Hareidi society which is not only unfair, but inaccurate. You can't equate Chassidim with Misnagdim, Chitznik's with EY'ers and so on and so forth.

3 - Your article mentioned nothing about the fact that you are perceived as the "Bloggers favorite rabbi" and you've done nothing to disassociate yourself from that group of Letzonim. To the contrary, you've expressed yourself to them in very flattering ways and on more than one occasion. As someone who cares deeply about problems in Hareidi society, you must believe that these individuals can't be helpful or empowering. Many of them state openly that their goal is to expose EVERY flaw [real or imagined] in Hareidi society and they're not lishmah either.

Why would you not take pains to point out to your loyal following that you do not sanction or approve of their use of your materials and that although sometimes your message may cross paths, your intentions never do. Instead, the impression you leave your readers is that somehow you are very much in agreement with these individuals. As a person who seeks to help Hareidi society, you can't believe that by allying with their most vocal critics, you're enhancing your ability to preach to them, can you? I'm certain many of your readers would appreciate a clarification on this point as well.

Please pardon my frank talk - I endeavored to be as respectful as possible but this is the fourth time you've asked me to spell out my points clearly so that you could respond. I await your response [hopefully more detailed] anxiously.


Report this Post

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


36. Yeitzar Hara     11/18/07 - 3:47 AM
Ak

Mark, I find your post full of assumptions and pretty condescending. If you don't like what happens here , you are free to leave. You will find here many parents , even teenagers who are involved in chinuch in the home and interfacing with educational institutions , the more informed we are , the more we can have a paradigm shift , the more we can influence ourselves , families and schools. I assume you are American and familar with I think ( I am not ) the 5th Amendment - freedom of speech , it is your choice how to respond or be bothered by the letzonim, if they bother you , don't read them. They are getting a reaction out of you and succeeding. eg of your assumptions and condescension 'Furthermore, very few of the discussions here are productive . A problem in a chinuch matter needs to be taken up with people in a position to help, not hamon am and certainly not Letzonim. Unfortunately, by and large, those are the people reading your forum. '

'the discussions rarely productive in a meaningful way ' what you're left with is a great potential for Chillul Hashem that I don't believe the positive results can truly justify. - that's your perception and judgement

Names of Gedolim - As Mrs Shear wrote , we need people of courage and conviction who feel secure in their Yiddishkeit to make a stand , to take up issues. If these issues are not burning inside of you , if you are in doubt whether this medium is productive , names of Gedolim won't help you. If rabbi Twerski can post here , Dr Sorotzkin and others contribute with their articles and stimulate discussion , it is good enough for me.

2 - Another point I raised was that many of your articles cut across large swaths of Hareidi society which is unfair Again your opinion - parenting and educational issues are shared by everyone maybe on different levels , what you feel does not apply to your community , you can ignore or comment here

3 - Your article mentioned nothing about the fact that you are perceived as the "Bloggers favorite rabbi" and you've done nothing to disassociate yourself from that group of Letzonim. - The fact that Rabbi Horowitz's life is an eg of misurus nefesh to chinuch issues automatically disassociates himself with leitzonim , there has never been any association , it is in your mind.

One of the problems in Chareidi society was that any criticism was dismissed as the leitzonim speaking , instead of dealing with the issues.

I read a post on another forum and the goyishe lady ended - Do not pray for an easier life but pray to become stronger. It is not easy with Leitzonim around , but it is the yeitzer hara speaking , a clever way to make sure we don't deal with issues , because we are giving ammunition to the leitzonim. Life is not black and white , but shades of grey. IMHO Rav Horowitz has adequately answered your questions and if not , that is your problem. I don;t like nitpicking , it is not my style but if you feel the discussions here are unproductive , that we are just the hamon am , you are free to leave.


Report this Post

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


37. Response to Mark I     11/18/07 - 7:41 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

Mark:

Thanks for writing and for your patience. And I truly appreciate your comments.

With your permission, I will respond a point or two at a time; time permitting, as properly addressing all of them at once may need to wait too long (again).

Here goes:

“While "open dialogue" is an important piece of the puzzle to finding solutions, it must be done responsibly. I pointed out how careful you were in addressing the KAR issue, because you recognized the dangers inherent in hashing it out in the public. At least, you used a responsible medium for conducting the conversation. The JO is a medium in which matters can be discussed intelligently and where the necessary precautions are taken to ensure that the discussion remains largely productive.”

I still publish my columns in ‘responsible publications.’ And BTW; as you surely know, many of the publications serving the charedi world draw the line as to what can be discussed in their pages. Which is precisely why people in our community are turning to … the Internet

Sadly, while the potential for it to be so is enormous, the internet has not yet proven to be that responsible a medium. Your own site allows unfiltered comments and many of them are objectionable for a variety of reasons. You seem to believe that it should be used as a sort of "support group" in which anyone can air their views and experience catharsis's. Problem is, it's lacking the closed environment of such a group and the exposure does a lot of harm to others."

Mark: what probably changed most since I published my first column in 1996 is precisely the Internet. The opinions and thoughts are discussed there already – mostly in anonymous forums. I don’t think that is the way to go.

I struggle with my policy of allowing unfiltered comments. But the vast majority of readers and posters on this site bring value and reflection to the process. If you look at the threads, the occasional nasty comment is ignored and people either ask that it be taken down or just get back to the topic. Please read my “Quality Control” post here for more thoughts on that subject.

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=769&ThisGroup_ID=238&Type=Article

More later.

FYI; If you or any of our readers are interested, I am speaking on the subject of “Building Self-Esteem in our Daughters” at 11 am this morning in TAG High School in Far Rockaway, sponsored by Shalom Task Force. It is open to the public.


Report this Post

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


38. Dealing with Bloggers     11/18/07 - 8:32 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

Mark,

I will first say, parenthetically, that I like exchanging views with you(elsewhere, last week, for example).

As far as "Leitzonim", I believe in many cases, "negative bloggers" can be reached. Sometimes, they are correct in part, and based on my experience, if you acknowledge a point, that lessens their opposition(basic principle of psychology). Full disclosure: I am a semi-participant in the blog-world, hopefully, not a Leitz :)

I would like to hear the rest of Rabbi Horowitz's comments, but this is my thought.


Report this Post

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


39.     11/19/07 - 6:49 AM
Yakov - Monsey/NY - yhdarchei@aol.com

Mark:

You wrote,

“Furthermore, very few of the discussions here are productive for the simple reason that the people who comment here [and elsewhere] are not the activists. They move from blog to blog spouting opinions, but rarely doing anything beyond that. A problem in a chinuch matter needs to be taken up with people in a position to help, not hamon am and certainly not Letzonim. Unfortunately, by and large, those are the people reading your forum.

Since the info you provide is often critical, and the discussions rarely productive in a meaningful way [and I attach only a minimum of meaning to a comment along the lines of "Rabbi Horowitz thank you - it's so good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks all is not well in hareidi society!"] what you're left with is a great potential for Chillul Hashem that I don't believe the positive results can truly justify.”

A few points if I may:

a) I disagree about your point re ‘activists’ and ‘letzonim.’ Firstly, I think our readers are thoughtful and take their roles as community members seriously. Do you this that only ‘activists’ are entitled to be heard? Your attitude puzzling in that regard, and I would appreciate some clarification. b) Secondly, look at the numbers, and you will see that those who read without posting a comment outnumber those who post comments by a scale of 20:1, sometimes 50:1. Are we to assume that they, too, are ‘letzonim?’ I find that offensive to them and to me. c) I am constantly approached by frum people I do not (yet) know in public venues who thank me for raising these issues that are going unaddressed in our community. They are anything but letzonim. d) As for being ‘critical’; that is why people write columns; to probe and explore policies. Should we only write “Uncle Moishe” articles, where every story has a happy ending? Mark; I’ll forward my home phone calls to your number for 12 hours, and ask you if we need more or less candor in our press.

I look forward to reading your response.

Yakov


Report this Post

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


40. Honest reporting, healthy responses     11/19/07 - 3:34 PM
Nechama

Mark,

This website is basically the only site I visit (besides work-related). I also spend a good deal of time posting what I hope are helpful responses.

Why? Because my impression is that the people here - are some of the biggest Mevakshei Ha'emes who exist today.

What makes change happen? I believe it takes one resolute individual to change something within himself. Perhaps a few people, all working on the same Midda. Suddenly the forces of evil around all collapse, their strength fades and their power rots. Like the end to the Communist empire. It just crumbled. It's true we must fight on the front, by encouraging activists, but the main part of the battle is being won in people's normal lives. Like the message of Chanuka


Report this Post

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


41. Responses     11/19/07 - 5:51 PM
Mark

Rabbi Horowitz,

Thank you for responding. I have a number of thoughts that I hope to post after you've completed your responses. I'll only point out that I think you may have misunderstood my use of the term "Letzonim". It was not Chas V'shalom used to refer to the commenters. It was used in reference to the bloggers [DB, HM, FM etc.] who quote you.

Baruch,

Thank you. The respect is mutual. I'm waiting for three years to see a dulling of the venom on the part of the three bloggers referred to above. So far, it's only gotten worse.

AK,

In the real world I follow a simple rule when deciding with whom to hold discussions with. If the person can conduct themselves in a mentchlich manner, I give them all the time in the world even if I disagree. If the person fails that basic litmus test, I end the conversation immediately. Your tone and continued insistence that I "feel free to leave" when I'm having a perfectly civil discussion with Rabbi Horowitz, demonstrates that you're still grappling with elementary menchlichkeit and that conversation isn't going to be uplifting. I'll take your advice and leave your comments unresponded to. Please feel free to do the same to mine.


Report this Post

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


42. Clarification     11/19/07 - 5:53 PM
Mark

Rabbi H.

I just reread my earlier comment and realized that my words were indeed misleading. Please see the comment above this for clarification on what I meant.

Thank you.


Report this Post

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


43. Apology     11/20/07 - 1:17 AM
AK

Mark, I suggest you read your post again. It was offensive and condescending and full of generalizations. To describe posters here as Hamon Am , their comments not really up to much and unproductive , let alone leitzonim won't pass a litmus test of menschlighkeit. It seems Rabbi Horowitz took my lead and brought you into line. Your response was that WE did not understand what was written and later you admitted that your words were misleading , but where was the apology. Discussions here , even if there are 2 main players are for every one's learning here and your comments were not very civil. And then in your defence you counter attack and say I am not the mensch. It is your choice to ignore me and get on with your life , maybe you should do the same with the other leitzonim.


Report this Post

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


44. AK if you read my response     11/20/07 - 4:50 PM
Mark

to Rabbi Horowitz, I clearly indicated that I had not made myself clear enough, so obviously your overall critique was not what troubled me. It was your tone and insistence that "I feel free to leave" etc. that I found distasteful. Rabbi Horowitz may have felt similar to you but he found a far more civil way to express it. That has been the nature of our dialogue since it began and I intend to keep it that way.


Report this Post

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


45. Mark - Feel free to leave     11/21/07 - 2:40 AM
Ak

When some one says the following - the discussions rarely productive in a meaningful way [and I attach only a minimum of meaning to a comment along the lines of "Rabbi Horowitz thank you - it's so good to know that I'm not the only one who thinks all is not well in hareidi society!"], I say if the discussions of hamon ha'am don't stimulate , give you ideas, not really meaningful in any way , the eg you bring is really complimentary !! so I say you are free to leave. When one is unclear and you come out as being offensive , clarify but don;t stop there, apologize , not to me , to the rest here and Rabbi Horowitz. We all make mistakes , not very clear , apologize and go forward.


Report this Post

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


46. How come no response to the reader we've been concerned about?     11/23/07 - 1:17 AM
Ellen

Interesting that no one responded to David S. (#24), who identified himself as non-religious, yet found Rabbi Horowitz's truthful and non-slanderous articles as a means for "tikkun olam", and demonstrates "the power of Judaism as a force for good in the world." Rather than focus on the DB's of the blogosphere who are just preaching to the choir of anti-chareidiniks, shouldn't we feel encouraged that the David S.'s of the blogosphere have found some chareidim refreshingly honest and open, instead of the holier-than-thou impression that we tend to leave? In fact, I would wager that it's not Rabbi Horowitz that gives grist to the DB mill, but rather our holier-than-thou-ness that feeds the animosity of the anti-chareidi world.


Report this Post

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


47. Why we should speak out and not remain silent     11/29/07 - 11:30 AM
Ak

Hi, When I read this article I thought of Rabbi Horowitz's contribution to our Jewish world

Inappropriate Silence is no Different to Inappropriate Speech In Memory of Harav HaGaon Reb Azriel Goldfein ztz"l

Parshat Vayeshev 5768 Zohar (3:46b):

© Rabbi David Lapin, 2007

This week a dark tragedy befell the Jewish community of South Africa: it lost its beloved and revered Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Azriel Goldfein ztz"l, originally from Minnesota, USA. He was a man of gigantic Torah stature by any international standard. But his egoless humility, his love of people and adoration of the Torah, his fanatical pursuit of shalom, and his almost fanatical insistence on normality, nobility of character and balance set him apart in a regal class of his own. The community lost a leader, his Yeshiva lost a Rebbe and father, and I lost a mentor and beloved friend.

At the Shiva House, his Rebbetzin (may G-d bless her with many healthy years) told me that R. Azriel said recently that he was not afraid of Hashem asking him why he did not learn more Torah than he did. He knew that he learnt and taught Torah at every moment that was available to him. He only feared G-d asking him why he did not speak out enough against distortions of truth, deviations from mesorah (authentic tradition), the fermentation of machlokes (strife), the incubation of sin'at chinam (ungrounded hatred) and the drift towards an emphasis on externalisms to the detriment of authentic and intrinsic nobility.

Most people ought to worry about Hashem holding them to account for the things they say, not for the things they do not say. Not so R. Azriel: He never spoke lashon harah (slander); he never spoke about people at all. He never judged people, gossiped about them or interfered in their business. In his quest for shalom he often held his tongue even when he himself was under attack for refusing to buy in to communal separatism, religious exhibitionism and politics. When he saw trends, movements, actions and attitudes of which, based on the purity of his Torah and the authenticity of his mesorah, he disapproved, he would at most make a comment to his talmidim in order to guide them. But he would never comment outside the walls of his Yeshiva. The only words he ever uttered in public were words of Torah and Chessed (human kindness).

So why, if when he chose not to speak it was always for such pure intent, would he worry about what he did not say?

There is a staggering comment in the Zohar (3:46b): "Just the same consequence that applies to a person who spoke lashon harah, applies for the unspoken good word that he could have uttered and did not..how much more so when the community follows a wrong direction and he could mentor them but remains silent".

The Shem Mishmuel (Vayeishev 5677) uses that Zohar to explain why the torah criticizes Yosef for speaking lashon harah to his father about his brothers. Why, asks the Shem Mishmuel, would the saintly Yosef do that? And surely if he did, it was for no reason other than that his father should mentor them and correct their ways? The Shem Mishmuel answers, that Yosef ought to have confronted his brothers directly. They might then have explained themselves in a way that Yosef may not have understood before hand, and that would have averted suspicion, mistrust and hatred. Alternatively they would have acknowledged their wrongdoing and, grateful to Yosef for bringing it to their attention, correct their ways. Instead, Yosef, too humble to confront his great brothers directly, takes his report to their father. He is criticized for not speaking up in the moment at the times he ought to have. It is for that reason that the words he did not say to them but instead said to his father are considered lashon harah. Just as there is no excuse for lashon harah, so there is no excuse for silence when it is appropriate to speak. Inappropriate speech is lashon harah; inappropriate silence is lashon harah too.

In many societies, especially in the United States, there is an implied social contract: You do not judge me and I will not judge you. That is a fine arrangement between individuals who do not want others to challenge their attitudes and actions. It is an arrangement that encourages harmony but inhibits growth. However when it comes to communal leadership such an arrangement is immoral and undermines the very essence of leadership. Judging people is inappropriate; judging their actions is not. Gossip and slander is inappropriate, but silence in the face of injustice, deceit, and corruption is even more inappropriate.

Rabbi Goldfein ztz"l was not concerned about inappropriate talk. He was concerned about inappropriate silence. I know why he was silent. His silence was not born out of fear; he feared no one. It was not out of apathy, he was the epitome of empathy. He was silent because in his humility he feared that his quiet, wise voice of normality, balance and reason would be lost in a world enamored with extremism. Unheard, his words would be interpreted as having mal-intent, they would fracture trust and shatter peace. That was a risk he would not take, ready instead to face his Creator with pride and confidence. He will not need to defend himself: his tongue, his hands and his mind are pure. But I do pray that in Heaven he will be silent no more, that he will speak out in our defense and implore Hashem to save His world, and deliver His People.


Report this Post

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


48. Tribute Website for R' Azriel C. Goldfein, z"l     1/13/08 - 3:27 AM
Robert - Johannesburg

There is now an official tribute website for R' Azriel C. Goldfein, z"l:

www.tributetorabbigoldfein.co.za

where you will find audio and video hespeidim from the levaya and shloshim, as well as written hespeidim.


Report this Post

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


49. My Humble Opinion     1/13/08 - 3:02 PM
Anonymous

As one who is very grateful to Rav Horowitz LOY"T for the very helpful advice he offers at this Web site, let me suggest the following:

Very difficult Shealos are being posed here. I respectfully recommend that Rav Horowitz discuss them with Gedolai Yisrael before arriving at a final decision. When I had an opportunity to go online, the advice given me by "Internet-knowledgable" Gedolim was very valuable.

Side comment: One Web site (that occasionally quotes Rav Horowitz) is loaded with Lashon HaRa, Sinat Chinam, etc. Without consulting anyone and based on "Hochaiach ToChiach" I tried several times to post comments urging them to "tone down the rhetoric." Every such Tochachah has been censored. I've learned that they are in the category of "Al Tochiach Leitz." Accordingly, the admonition "UVeMoshav Leitzim Lo Yashav" may be applicable to them.

  Rate & Write a Comment!
Dear Readers:

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

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

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



Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

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


Advertisements