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Running Out of Time
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

  Rated by 71 users   |   Viewed 108251 times since 10/18/07   |   148 Comments
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10/18/07

Dear Readers,

This week’s website is being dedicated by my wife Udi in loving memory of Dr. Jerome L. Finkelstein of blessed memory.

Three weeks ago, she got to know Dr. Finkelstein when she suffered a burn on her face while preparing for our daughter’s Bas Mitzvah. Her brother, Avrohom Berger, who is a Hatzolah member, sent us to the Staten Island Burn Center, which is under the leadership of Dr. Finkelstein a’h.

He treated her with supreme caring and dignity, calmed her fears – and refused any remuneration for his time and effort. He was everything a doctor should be; professional, competent and caring. During the time we were in the hospital, we noticed the dozens of plaques on his walls from grateful patients and organizations that benefited from his loving care. More telling, perhaps, was the reverence and love that Dr. Finkelstein was afforded by the entire staff and the patients at the hospital. He was a walking, talking Kiddush Hashem.

Dr. Finkelstein died suddenly this week at the age of 57. Though we hardly knew him, we feel a deep sense of loss that such an exceptional human being was taken from us.

May his memory be blessed forever.

With gratitude and sorrow.

Yakov and Udi Horowitz


I’m sorry to put a damper on things, but I just don’t know how to phrase this any other way. We are running out of time.

The challenges and issues that prompted me to write my first Mishpacha column are not going away. In fact, from my vantage point, the phenomenon that I wrote about in Seven, Eight, Nine, ... seems to be escalating at a frightening pace – like the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill; faster and faster, and growing larger by the minute.

I am getting a new wave of parents begging me to speak to their children. The profile is chillingly similar: 13-14 years old boys and girls. High achieving in school. No emotional problems; great, respectful kids from great homes. Well adjusted. They just don’t want to be frum. Period. They are eating on Yom Kippur, not keeping Shabbos, not keeping kosher; et al.

No anger, no drugs, no promiscuous activity. They are just not buying what we are selling. Some have decided to ‘go public’, while others are still ‘in the closet’. In some of the cases, their educators have no idea of what is really going on.

I personally got about 10 of these calls in the past 3-4 months – and our Project YES office got an additional 5 calls of this nature. Just do the math and try to figure out how many kids like that are in our school system. I can only tell you that in more than twenty-five years of dealing with at-risk kids, this is a brand new experience for me. I have some very strong thoughts on why this is happening, and plan to write about it. But this is very, very scary stuff.

The events of this past summer (Click here and here for the columns I wrote on that subject) were not isolated incidents. They are an indicator that we have many hundreds of our children who are disenfranchised and in serious trouble. Do you really think that these issues were addressed at all since then? Or is it just out-of-sight-out-of-mind?

My friends, I have no other way to say this other than “we are running out of time.” The kids are finding each other via cell phones, chat groups, Facebook and My Space. They are “making their own minyan.” Many minyanim in fact.

This phenomenon is also playing itself out in a similar manner among frum adults. Just look at the response on my website to Rabbi Becher’s excellent column, Adults at Risk.

May Hashem give us the wisdom and courage to make the changes that are necessary to reverse these frightening trends.

Yakov Horowitz



Update:

In response to the emails I received and comments on this thread asked for practical suggestions, I will offer some links to columns that I’ve written on these subjects.

I will try, time permitting, to address these matters in a more comprehensive manner in the weeks ahead.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Not Yet (Mishpacha) contains profound guidance from a member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah as to how a parent should respond when a child has ‘faith-based’ questions.
  • Kiruv for OUR Children (Mishpacha) discusses some broader themes of how we need to approach parenting and chinuch nowadays.

For the past year, I’ve been writing a Q&A parenting column on a range of subjects. (Click here for a full list of the 40+ columns.)

  • The first place I would tell parents to start with are their Shabbos tables. Make them enjoyable events, not classrooms. (here are 3 columns on this subject Shabbos #1,
  • Shabbos #2 and Shabbos #3
  • If your child is not connected to davening, here are some suggestions davening (there are 3 columns, the first links to the next 2)
  • Here are 2 columns on how to talk to your kids about evolution


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


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 Average Rating:              Rated by 71 users    (148 comments)
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1.     10/18/07 - 1:01 PM
I dont believe it

I dont believe it. 13 and 14 year old kids are still very much under their parents control. They might not be as frum as their parents might want them to be, but eating on Yom Kippur and being Mechalel Shabbos at home with their parents there? Personally I think that you are trying to scare up some business for yourself. Maybe get more speaking engagements or more people reading your column. Kids at that age are not bold enough to go against their parents.


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2. True faith     10/18/07 - 1:09 PM
David S - dsher999@hotmail.com

One of the key things I've noticed is that faith based upon certainty is a very brittle kind of faith. If you believe with metaphysical certitude that something you were taught is the absolute Emmes, the minute there is a crack in that "truth" the whole ediface can come crashing down so fast its shocking.

Faith that is strong is a questioning faith, an introspective faith that doesnt guarantee answers but that guarantees a community of like minded seekers, who treat each other with respect and love as the absolute children of God that we ALL are.


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3. I agree     10/18/07 - 1:10 PM
Anonymous

I agree with the first writer. Which kid of that age will rebel against their parents while living at home. I can understand an 18 years old rebelling, but at age 13 ? Come on thats ridiculous.


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4. I do believe it     10/18/07 - 1:16 PM
Anonymous

I am the parent of four teenagers - all baruch haShem surviving the system to one degree or another. Their hashkafos, for themost part, are in line with our home's and those of the yeshivas they attend (mainstream, BY and Yeshivos, both in Brooklyn and out-of-town). And I BELIEVE IT! The snippets of their day they share with me are scary. The exposure of these kids, the kids in their classes, neighborhoods and families, to the general culture, the material expectations, the lack of emphasis on yiddishkeit - it's all there. My kids are on the naive side, we keep most outside influences out of our homes, and baruch haShem they are by nature pretty temimusdik - but let that fool no one. Yiddishkeit is not central to many of our children's lives - it does not define who they are (we are?). It is the cultural background in which they live and can be shed. I wish it were not true, but the problem is probably bigger than what Rabbi Horowitz is describing. The momentum is growing and it is harder to combat - at least for me. I wish Rabbi Horowitz much hatzlocho with all his work for our kids and us the strength to accept the difficult things he says.


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5. #1, You're missing the point     10/18/07 - 1:17 PM
Wolfish Musings - Brooklyn, NY - wolfishmusings@gmail.com

To "I don't believe it,"

You're missing the point entirely. The issue isn't whether or not the parent can enforce observance of the mitzvos. For some teens, they can; for others probably not. But if you're at the point where you have to force observance, then you've lost a good portion of the battle.

The idea isn't to control our kids to keep Shabbos - it's to get them to *want* to keep Shabbos. And, as the parent of a 14 year old (and a 12 and 11 year old), I can tell you that teens *are* capable of thinking for themselves. They are searching for their own identity and will not follow your hashkafos and ideas simply because "daddy does it."

You might be able to control a 13 year old's actions, but you can't force him to follow your ideals... and getting them to follow your ideals is the real goal.

The Wolf

The Wolf


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6. #3... I'm guessing...     10/18/07 - 1:20 PM
Wolfish Musings - wolfishmusings@gmail.com

... that you don't have teenage kids. :)

The Wolf


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7. I can tell you first hand     10/18/07 - 1:25 PM
Anonymous

i would like to adress the first and third writer who can not possibly imagine a 13 year old rebelling to such an extent. i grew up in a frum family, went to a frum school, and had frum friends. and i myself, as well as my friends were doing these very things that rabbi horowitz describes. i have vivid memories on the first yom kippur after my barmitzvah going in to the closet in my shul and deinking soda and eating crackers. i would go in to my friends room on friday night and he would turn on his computer, or his bed lamp to read. i have sinse returned. i do believe it was nothing more then immature rebellion, but i assure you it exists, and it is scary


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8. i have seen it     10/18/07 - 1:27 PM
Anonymous - Lakewood, NJ

i have a teenage brother and sister who both "went off" in their young teens. my mother found my brother (14) listening to his headphones shabbos afternoon in bed. my sister works in an office for kids at risk. they are not rebelling, they simply don't care, don't beleive in it. they will turn on a light to find something on shabbos because it means nothing to them. they will listen to music. they will eat on yom kippur because they are hungry, and yom kippur doesn't mean anything to them. they are comletely apathetic towards anything jewish, which is the worst possible scenario, because at least when there is anger, there is feeling. and todays 13 and 14 year olds are like 17 year olds


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9. Believer     10/18/07 - 1:34 PM
Anonymous

I absolutely believe that there are 13-14 year olds in this situation. Look around your shul on Shabbos during davening or take a walk in the afternoon and you will see it. Those are the ones that are already acting out. Then there is the group that appear to be following along but are unfortunately rotting away from the inside.

Is it the norm? I hope not. But it exists. A lot of peer pressure and innocence lost.

The question that I have is why these "kids" have unsupervised access to cell phones, chat groups, Facebook and My Space at this tender age (perhaps some of these are inappropriate at any age)? I don't think that these are the breeding grounds for 'ehlichkeit'.


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10. I Have a Simple Solution     10/18/07 - 1:38 PM
Mikeskeptic

Let's ban INDOOR concerts too. That'll show the little creeps who's boss.


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11. This a very real problem...     10/18/07 - 1:59 PM
Anonymous

This a very real problem. Those who are in denial are either wearing blinders or are living in a very sheltered world. The problem exists across the board in varying degrees and nuances - in modern orthodox, yeshivish and chassdishe communities and kehilohs. Rabbi Horowitz has been at the forefront of publicizing this issue for many years, and yet very little has been done to combat this growing phenomenon. Our community leaders and our mosdos chinuch have by and large failed to recognize the extent of the problem and give it the urgent attention that it deserves. Rabbi Horowitz and others have offered many creative solutions, but it seems that no one is listening. One more point. There are dozens of successful mosdos, organizations and yeshivohs which are dedicated to kiruv rechokim. They have experienced and talented individuals who know how to explain and demonstrate the beauty and relevance of Yiddishkeit to secular yidden in our turbulent and troubled times. Why aren’t these same people involved with our troubled youth who are falling by the wayside? All their work in kiruv will be for nothing as long as we continue to lose our precious youth in growing numbers.


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12. The answer is right in front of your noses     10/18/07 - 2:05 PM
momof2 - Raanana

To those of you trying to perpetuate a completely closed charedi society: This is not shocking at all. If you think closing your kids off from the larger world will insure their complete commitment to frumkeit these kids your yelling their answer loud and clear: It ain't gonna work.

Until charedi society comes to grips with this fact, more and more children will be running to the close to eat crackers on Y'K, playing on the computer on Shabbos, generally throwing out all the frumkeit you're trying to shove down their throats.

Until you actually try to incorporate modernity into your lives instead of shunning it,these children are your future.


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13. Dealing with the Issues     10/18/07 - 2:14 PM
Steve Brizel

I think that it is very evident that this issue crosses all hashkafic boundaries and that rabbis, educators and parents have to realize that we have not done enough collectively and individually to show many children why they should want to lead a life of Torah and Mitzvos, as opposed to just expecting that they all magically will do so, merely because their rabbis, educators,parents and peers expect them to do so. That is the epitome of obsevance based upon conformity, as opposed to making a personal choice towards such a committment.


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14. Knowledge is inevitable     10/18/07 - 2:27 PM
Baal Devarim - baaldevarim@gmail.com

I think it wold be a very precocious fourteen year old indeed who had given deep thought to the existential questions surrounding religion. But bump the age to sixteen or seventeen, and I'd think it would be more common.

The simple truth is this: a religion dependent on restricted access to information is increasingly untenable in our society. Information is practically free; any parent, educator, or community leader who thinks he can keep knowledge from the masses (even teenage masses) is in for a rude awakening.

How many educators are prepared to answer questions based on knowledge in an intellectually honest and forthright manner? Very few. Fewer still are willing (or able) to answer the following simple and rather unsophisticated question -- one I've asked my own educators back in the day -- in an honest way: Had you grown up a Christian, would you believe in Jesus? Had you grown up a Muslim, would you believe in Muhammad? The honest answer to that question is almost invariably, Yes. Given that, how can you be so absolutely sure that your religion is the right one?

The most honest answer I've ever gotten to that question was a variant on Pascal's wager (I didn't know it was Pascal's back then, of course); not very intellectually satisfying. The Kuzari (something I eventually found on my own) had me convinced for a while, but ultimately, it doesn't hold water.

All educators need to consider this: if you find a number of your knowledgeable and thoughtful charges are not buying what you're selling, perhaps what you're selling is not worth buying? And, if you're unwilling to even give that question the serious consideration it deserves, how do you expect others (even teenagers) to give what you're selling any serious thought?


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15. That horrible ripple effect     10/18/07 - 3:06 PM
har-avhag-aon

I once tutored a 14 year old boy who had no father and whose mother was slowly drifting away from Yiddishkeit. Wonderful kid...what a mensch, and so smart, but getting behind in subjects. As we got closer, he poured out his thoughts on being frum. What seemed to hit him the most was that other kids in his class who came from very frum, stable families (unlike him) also had questions and questions (and questions), and were "doing hidden things on Shabbos, and I know they are because they almost cry when they tell me." But he didn't cry when he confided in me that to him, Saturday is just the day after Friday. I took him places, spoke to him for hours (without being judgemental), and then I eventually had to bribe him to keep kosher, which he accepted, but I knew it wouldn't last. Eventually he told me about friends he met etc. etc. etc. Goodbye Shabbos. Those last words he said to me before I went to Israel still ring in my ears..."I know you are disappointed in me, but there's nothing there." Our relationship lasted two years, and I stupidly lost touch with him and will always regret it. He must be 23 now. But his main argument was always, "Those guys (from frum families) are leaving Yiddishkeit, what should that tell me?"


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16. what happened to ...     10/18/07 - 3:21 PM
Anonymous

"...and will not follow your hashkafos and ideas simply because "daddy does it.""

Why not? What happened to children identifying with their parents' values? What happened to children wanting to please their parents and not cause them tzaar? I don't think this is about philosophy and chakira. I think it's about raising children in a home where Yiddishkeit is life, where life is mostly joyful, where Shabbos and Yom Tov are geshmak, where kids love shmoozing and spending time with their parents.


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17. to momof2     10/18/07 - 3:23 PM
Anonymous

When you can show me that the Modern Orthodox, who actively and b'shitta incorporate modernity into their lives, are producing frum children with a minimal dropout rate, your point will be substantiated. Until then ...


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18. Stop treating the symptoms but concentrate on the     10/18/07 - 3:25 PM
Alex

Rabbi Horowitz, with all due respect, we need to stop treating the symptoms but concentrate on the disease...Orthodox Judaism has been stuck in the past for too long (200 years perhaps). Maybe the first step to keeping these kids would be to open up...Shed the 200 year old garments and idiology. There is no need to look like a polish goy from 200 years ago in 2007. Then allow yeshivas to concentrate on things that would really strengthen the emunah like questioning and critical thinking in things other than gemorrah but on why the mitzvos are actually relevent.

Lets bring everything into the debate forum and have open discussions maybe we will realize that many many things do not make sense anymore but yet maybe many do. This will allow many kids to really believe in what they are doing and not just going through the motions.

Perhaps it sounds to you something that is out of reform/conservative judaism, but it is not. I am just a practical person who thinks in practical ways. Orthodox Judaism will not survive in it's current isolationist form instead it will once again brake apart just as it did about 150 years ago.


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19. now what     10/18/07 - 3:28 PM
Anonymous

I chose the 2 star rating (titled Diappointing) since that what this artcile was for me. I Don't have a teen but I worry and daven like crazy for my children. I have no doubt that there is a problem out there but what I am feeling is lacking are ideas of what the average parent who has no power to change a school or society can do. I know each parent should be talking to their children and trying to impart in them the beauty and meaning in a Torah life on a regular basis and not depending on the school to do it for them, but each child is still facing the overwhelming pulls of peer pressure, wanting to fit in etc. Besides telling me the schools have to change admission policies or curricula tell me what I can do now to try and keep my DC on the path.


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20. betting     10/18/07 - 3:33 PM
M

"Had you grown up a Christian, would you believe in Jesus?"

Numerous converts among us would say no.

The question isn't quite valid since who is the "you" in the question, me as a Jew with a neshama who was raised as a Christian? Me as a gentile?

Tragically, we have many examples of Jews raised as Christians because of the war. I've read some of their stories. Some are faithful Christians. Some always felt something was wrong and didn't believe what they were taught. Some sought to convert only to find out that they were Jewish. The answer to your question isn't straightforward. My honest answer to that question is, "I don't know."

Pascal's wager - reminds me of the story of the yiddina who was on her deathbed. She was a pious woman and so when she asked for a cross, people were horrified. When asked why she wanted one, she said, "Just in case."

Not that long ago, and still living in our midst, are Holocaust survivors who had mesirus nefesh for many aspects of Yiddishkeit at the risk of their lives. Perhaps it would be a good idea for our children to be exposed to people like this, to hear what motivated them to risk their lives for a shofar, to put on tefillin, not to eat chometz on Pesach.


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21. They can think on their own...     10/18/07 - 3:33 PM
Wolfish Musings - Brooklyn, NY - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

Why not? What happened to children identifying with their parents' values? What happened to children wanting to please their parents and not cause them tzaar? I don't think this is about philosophy and chakira. I think it's about raising children in a home where Yiddishkeit is life, where life is mostly joyful, where Shabbos and Yom Tov are geshmak, where kids love shmoozing and spending time with their parents.

I agree with you that that's the point -- to raise children to *want* to perform the mitzvos -- if you see my latest blog entry, you'll see that I make that exact point.

But don't naively assume that your child will adopt the same hashkafos and world-view as you simply because you do. As they get older they will (hopefully) learn to think for themselves. The world they are growing up in is not the same world that you grew up in and their experiences will be different than yours. Just because you are set in your ways doesn't mean that they will follow because they don't see the world the same way as you do (just like you didn't see the world exactly the same way as your parents did). You can't just assume that they'll follow... if you want them to, you have to *show* them that your derech is the right way; and not by coercion, since at some point they will emerge from under your thumb.

The Wolf


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22. In respons to "what happended to" (comment #16)     10/18/07 - 3:34 PM
Holy Hyrax

Anonymous,

When a child, or lets say teenager suspects that Judaism is not true, values is not going to keep him in the fold. No child or teen wants to cause their parent tzaar, but they also don't want to live a lie. You can bring up your children in a home full of Yiddishkeit all you want, but if he finds something, some information that he sees has never been addressed by his teachers or parents, he WILL start suspecting something. And that suspicion only grows. Baal Dvarim is right (comment #14), a religion based on the restriction of information will not be able to survive


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23. Just my story.     10/18/07 - 3:44 PM
David - dave3754@yahoo.com

I'm not going to propose any kind of solution here, but I'll share with you what I went through. I, too, as a teenager had these questions and I went through a very difficult time, reconciling, for example, the age of the universe, evolution, etc. with the literalist approach insisted by some. Fortunately, I found peace of mind through lectures by Rabbi Mechanic and Rabbi Millstein, basically saying that an old universe or evolution are not incompatible with the Torah. Once I got past that main sticking point, it was easy diffrentiating between real proven science and the bombastic, agenda driven science of Dawkins, etc.


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24.     10/18/07 - 3:50 PM
Ike

Steve is right on with his comment.

Let's face it. Both the yeshivos and many of the parents are doing a terrible, terrible job motivating the next generation to love G-d and to love frumkeit. For many of these kids, all they see is the love of money. They see their parents trying to keep up with the Cohens, making sure the car, the house, and the weddings are up to par, so that their daughter shouldn't become the latest victim of the shidduch crisis. They see the yeshivos kissing up to the wealthy, often letting the rich kids get a free pass for their trouble. They see meaningless rules about white shirts and velvet yarmulkes, which are all about PR and making more money. They go to class and learn that Judaism is just a bunch of "don't"s, a bunch of burdensome restrictions, rather than being the source of meaning in our lives.

I believe the famous "es shver tzu zayn a yid" anecdote still holds true today. When there's no meaning or joy in yiddishkeit, it's all (pardon me) just a pain in the butt. And for some people, they've had enough of the pain.

Don't get me wrong - we need to teach kids halacha, and teach them to take it seriously. But if it's done without a proper grounding in ahavas hashem, ahavas torah, and other tenets of judaism, it isn't gonna work.


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25. to Baal Devarim     10/18/07 - 3:52 PM
Mrs M

I think you ought to attend a Discovery seminar. They discuss your very question, which is typically asked by any secular person on Day 1. In fact we just discussed this question last Shabbos when we hosted a Shabbaton. What I find astonishing in this thread and the thread on Adults at Risk is that people are not getting answers to basic hashkafic questions (what makes Judaism right, how can I know G-d exists, how do I know G-d wrote the Torah, why did He bother creating man etc etc), questions that any baal teshuva must have asked right off the bat. Any kiruv professional can answer them. I think the mainstream rabbeim do not answer them because the questions never occurred to them, they themselves have a more simple (as in temimusdik) approach to their avodas Hashem.

Certain kiruv Roshei Ha Yeshivos have been arguing to the wind that these concepts must be taught to all our children. That is why Project Chazon was created. It started out as a Discovery seminar for frum kids. Its success demonstrates how much more it is needed.

And one answer to the kid who cited other kids from stable families going off, might have been (I'm sure you probably said this anyway) "What about the baalei teshuva? They have experienced it all, found outrageous success in that world, and gave it up for Torah. Surely, they must be rational also!"

HAVING SAID ALL THAT, I don't think 13-14 year old kids go off because of theological questions. I posit that Shabbos is not special to them, for example, because it has not been made special! Kids/teens are a bundle of desires and emotions, and the desires will for sure win out unless they are getting more pleasure from a Torah life. Keeping away from girls/boys is hard! Fasting on Yom Kippur is hard! A kid must feel from his parents that he is a gibbur for fasting, that he should feel grown up, etc. He must feel good about it or he won't bother. One answer therefore is simchas ha chaim, and showing pleasure in Torah. Our gedolim have said this more than once.


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26. Response to Mrs. M     10/18/07 - 4:00 PM
Holy Hyrax

I am a Ba'al Tsuva. I went to the kiruv seminars. But something they did not tell you to do, was to go home and check their "facts." Well, I did. And now, i am on the way to leaving Judaism. I know of the kvetching that Discovery does and I can tell you that there are rabbanim that are against their methods. It does not take a genious to explore further and find out more. The problem is, most of these kiruv seminars feed to established familes and parents that really don't do any sort of investigation on their own. They just fall for it.

Those of us that have legitimate historical question all ready know of all the ad hoc kiruv explanations and bible codes theatrics.


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27. Chumras     10/18/07 - 4:15 PM
D O

As one who grew up in a modern orthodox environment, I believe one of the primary factors in this problem is the imposition of chumras on our children. The halacha is hard enough to follow on its own. Chumras are to be taken on only if the individual feels like he/she is on that spiritual level. For example, when yeshivas teach girls they must wear heavy black stocking in the summer, or you must cover your hair down to your eyebrows, or their yarmulkes must be this high and made of this material, and G-d forbid the stripe on your shirt be too wide, etc., all this does is alienate children. Instead of yehivas teaching "the Rambam holds this and the Ramban holds this and this is the accepted halacha", yeshivas impose the harshest chumras on our children trying to out-chumra the next yeshiva in a never ending contest to see who can be the frumest, without telling the children these are chumras and not halacha. When a child feels he/she can't live up to that strict standard, they decide Judaism isn't for them. If they understood that certain things are chumras and not halacha, they might feel like they are capable of meeting the halachic standard and not give up on frumkeit entirely.

As an example, a friend of mine's wife went to Kallah classes when she was engaged and asked her kallah teacher different halachas about leaving out a certain amount of hair. Instead of teaching the halacha, the kallah teacher replied, "You wouldn't want to be the type of girl who leaves any hair out." That was the end of the conversation and my friend's wife applied the strictest standards in covering her hair. Now it's a few years later and she struggles mightly with covering her hair and is very turned off to certain aspects of Judaism. She wishes she would have had more halachic information before making her decisions and she feels it is too late to do anything about it.

I would like to qualify this post by saying, unfortunately, my halachic knowledge is extremely limited and some of the specific issues I discussed in earlier may be halachically inaccurate. I was merely trying to get the point across.

I believe yeshivas should give the halachic facts and let children find their own way within those perameters. I think teaching chumras as halacha puts too much of a burden on our children. Keeping the halacha is hard enough; giving children the impression that they MUST go way above and beyond the letter of the law is a recipe for disaster.


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28. From the Site Administrator:     10/18/07 - 4:22 PM
Administrator - Brooklyn/NY - admin@rabbihorowitz.com

Re: Comments #1 and #3 On a whim, I checked the records of the 2 comments and found them to have been made from the same computer. So; in effect, you were dishonest and tried to present your sarcastic and unproductive thoughts as coming from 2 different people. I am under strict instructions from Rabbi Horowitz not to remove any comments unless they are disrespectful to our Torah or to (other) rabbinic figures. So; I will leave your comments up and not block you from posting on this site. But let the truth be told.


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29.     10/18/07 - 4:24 PM
Udi Horowitz - udi528@aol.com

In response to the blogger (Comment #1) who says that my husband is using scare tactics to drum up business for his speeches: (Actually, I wouldn't mind if he got less speaking engagements. Cruises and Pesach programs where his wife is invited, yes; other speeches, no.)

Since the inception of this site I have not found the need to respond to the posted comments, even those that do not discuss my husband in a favorable light. My husband is very capable of fending for himself.

However, regarding this particular comment, I feel the need to share my thoughts with his readers regarding the notion that there is no need for concern.

I am the one who takes the personal calls that come to our home. I listen to the frightened parents and do my best to be there for them.

The pattern that my husband wrote about is frightening – but true. (In fact, my husband has been telling me that he is concerned about this happening for some time now.)

Over the past several months, children -- and I mean children -- ranging from age 12-14 have come to my home seeking help and guidance. They cannot share their feelings with schools, siblings or even friends. They have been brought up in beautiful, frum homes (I do know two families personally). They have told us that all the usual suspects like boys/girls, molestation and the Internet are not the cause of their situation. They simply do not feel connected to Judaism in any way.

I wish the blogger was correct and there weren't children like this out there – but just wishing it doesn't make it so. I know the solutions are not simple, but to keep on doing what we're doing will only get us what we've been getting.

Udi Horowitz

For the record, my husband has never taken any compensation for the countless hours that he spends helping children and their parents.


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30. To Anonymous 3:23 PM     10/18/07 - 4:25 PM
momof2

Yes, it's always helpful to point fingers at MO when trying to solve your own problems.

A wise rebbe once said "Denial is not just a river in Egypt".


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31. where do we go from here (and now what?)     10/18/07 - 4:29 PM
Anonymous

Shemos 18:1 “Yayisham Yisro” see rashi there ??? ???? ????? ?? ... ??? ?? ?? ???? ???? ??? ????? ???? ???? (??"?) The Imrei Emes was once present at a Rabbinical conference in Warsaw called to discuss the burning issues of the day and to brainstorm possible solutions. However, there was one man present who seemed to take great pleasure in finding problems and poking holes in every single proposal which was mentioned. Eventually, the astute Imrei Emes approached the critic and said that because he seemed to be so good with questions, he would like to pose to him one of his own. In the beginning of our Parsha, Rashi writes that Yisro was known by seven different names. One of the names was Yeser, which refers to the fact that a portion of the Torah was added based on his suggestion to Moshe to establish a system of courts and judges. However, in naming the section which was added based on his proposal, Rashi quotes the verse (18:21) in which Yisro delineates his plan and enumerates the requirements for proper judges, but a cursory perusal of our Parsha will reveal that Yisro’s exchange with Moshe begins several verse earlier (21:17) when he advises Moshe that his current arrangement is flawed and unsatisfactory. The Imrei Emes turned to the cynic and asked him why Rashi seems to misquote the beginning of the portion of judges added by Yisro, to which he had no answer. The sagacious Rebbe proceeded to cleverly answer his own question by telling the detractor that without much effort, virtually anybody can find problems with the status quo or tear apart a new proposal, but rare is the individual who constructively offers an alternative plan of action. The cynic had taken pride in his ability to find flaws in every suggestion placed on the table, but Rashi teaches us that had Yisro only approached Moshe to criticize the current system as flawed without offering a viable alternative, he wouldn’t have merited the additional section of the Torah. It was only because his critique was a constructive introduction to a superior alternative did the Torah find it worthy of recording!


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32. Torah Hashem Temimah     10/18/07 - 4:53 PM
Joe

Having grown up in Monsey I have seen this as well.

As a young child I once played basketball with a friend who was pretty yeshivish. He forgot to remove the bobby pin that he placed in his velvet yarmulka while playing and when we returned to his home his father flew into a rage about how he was acting like a shaygetz and why didnt he remove the bobby pin.

Much later in life it hit me. Toras Hashem Temimah Meshivas Nafesh... If it aint Hashem's Torah, but some nutty perversion of Torah, then it isnt meshivas nafesh, it is oppressive and irritating.

The bans, the "community askanim" bullying communities and gedolim into narrower beliefs and behaviors. Cultural actions which once created warmth and identity in Yiddishkeit have become burdensome 'absolutes' which must be rigidly adhered to by all (e.g. teaching in yiddish, specific types of yarmulkas or other clothes, chumros..).

This type of thing is so pervasive in the larger frum communities where unless you dress an exact way and hold of a precise hashkafa you are a koifer. All other approaches to yiddishkeit are derided, but worst of all, this is combined with overt materialism which shows the emptiness and hypocrisy of it all.

I often say with no irony that if one is concerned for the chinuch of their children they need to move far away from the New York area and other such communities where this problem is only getting worse. G-d help us.


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33.     10/18/07 - 5:10 PM
David - dave3754@yahoo.com

Holy, Oh, please, if you want to hear kvetching, just listen to the atheists explain how the universe was formed with all the physical forces 'just so'. Their answer, 'no problem, there were infinite number of universe being formed and destroyed until ours came along'. Or listen to them explain how 'spontaneous generation' which I thought science disproved a while ago, apparently did happen and created all life and is not a myth after all.


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34.     10/18/07 - 5:13 PM
Former talmud of Rabbi H - Monsey

It's Ostrich syndrome to think kids wait till they are 18 to rebel. Rebellion starts at a much younger age-it may not manifest itself till later- but doesnt wait till 18. Personally I was helped at age 13 by Rabbi H


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35.     10/18/07 - 5:19 PM
Anonymous

my mother found my brother (14) listening to his headphones shabbos afternoon in bed.

Big deal. Find more chumros and they will break those also. I know many shomer Shabbos people who will listen to the radio on Shabbos. What a horrible crime against God. Listening to a battery powered radio. Did Hashem really tell us this or do we have some rabbis overactive imagination. Thats the way to be a good Jew be frummer then everybody else. And make sure that you get your food stamps even though you earn a fortune.


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36. Dave, forget Creation for a moment...     10/18/07 - 5:29 PM
Wolfish Musings - Brooklyn, NY - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

... you'll probably win far more points with HH if you can show him that a world-wide flood happened as literally described in Parshas Noach.

The Wolf


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37.     10/18/07 - 5:54 PM
David - dave3754@yahoo.com

Wolf, I'm not really sure what kind of 'proof' you're looking for for a clearly miraculous event, but if someone is bothered that they can't find geological proof for a world wide flood, (although not being a geologist, I have no idea what would constitute proof anyway) then I guess that person would be equally bothered that it's well known that the geological record does not support Darwinian evolution either (not that I personally have a problem with evolution, so don't bother going there).


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38. spontaneous generation true?     10/18/07 - 6:07 PM
Holy Hyrax - holyhyrax@gmail.com

"Or listen to them explain how 'spontaneous generation' which I thought science disproved a while ago, apparently did happen and created all life and is not a myth after all."

David, please supply me with a source regarding this. I woud love to read it.

What does the age of the universe or how it was created have anything to do with atheism?


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39. I don't want to turn this into a debate...     10/18/07 - 6:13 PM
Wolfish Musings - Brooklyn, NY - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

... on creation or the flood... this clearly isn't the place for it. As a parting remark, however, I would recommend that if you're going to do any reading on the subject of evolution, I suggest that you go a bit further afield than R. Avigdor Miller's (z"l) books.

To get back on track, however, the issue here is really why kids go off the derech, and while there may be some people that go off the derech due to issues of science and Torah, I'm willing to bet that the vast majority of those people are (like HH) adults and not teens.

For teens, I believe the issue is that we simply don't give them enough of a reason to follow in yiddishkeit. Simply telling them "God said so" will not work on most teens. We have to show them the beauty of keeping Shabbos for it's own sake, not simply because it says to in the Chumash. We have to show them that davening benefits them somehow -- not that it's because HaShem answers our tefillos (which He does), but that it is beneficial to *them* that they daven -- that it leads to spiritual fulfillment. We have to make children *want* to learn Torah on their own, not cram it down their throats. *That's* the real test -- making them want to do it on their own instead of enforcing observance from the outside.

The Wolf


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40. tomomof2:     10/18/07 - 6:34 PM
Anonymous

You proposed a solution, i.e. more modernity. Please demonstrate the effectiveness of this solution.


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41. Wolf is on the mark     10/18/07 - 6:37 PM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

Wolf is correct.

There are a percentage of adults -- and to a lesser extent children -- who are deep thinkers and unresolved emunah questions haunt them.

However, what I have found is that the majority of these kids (who came to me for direction) simply have not been given good enough reasons for embracing our beautiful mesorah.

We are not marketing enough. plain and simple.

I wrote about this in "KIruv for our Children" (Link above)

Yakov Horowitz


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42. kids' explanation     10/18/07 - 6:43 PM
Anonymous

I'd like to turn the tables for a change and instead of the rabbis, teachers, and parents being told they need to defend and explain and convince kids that Judaism is true and good and allow kids to question and challenge, let's have the kids who drop Yiddishkeit defend, explain and convince us of the truth and goodness of their chosen way of life.

Our explanations as to the purpose of the world is not persuasive? Okay, so what's the kids' explanation of the purpose of the world? They think Judaism is a lie or much of it makes no sense, let's hear how their chosen lifestyle makes sense!

The point? I'm not convinced that what we need to do is turn our bais yaakovs and yeshivos into ohr somayach and neve type schools. I don't think the 13 and 18 year olds are dropping out because of genuine religious angst. I don't think most of them are struggling to understand Judaism, have spoken to learned people, or have researched their questions in sefarim or online. I don't think they are dropping out because of sock-color or yarmulka-type restrictions.

They are just, as someone mentioned earlier, apathetic, not turned-on. Someone who is indifferent does not need a discussion about Intelligent Design.


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43. marketing     10/18/07 - 6:46 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, "marketing" sounds sleasy or greedy. Like a used car salesman or someone studying for an MBA. Not a word I want to see used in connection with Yiddishkeit though I understand what you mean.


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44. When did it start, and how?     10/18/07 - 7:56 PM
Nechama

Skeptics, Heretics, and Friends,

Would you please say:

1) When did your disenchantment with Yiddishkeit begin. Did it suddenly happen at age 13, or was it just building up slowly? Were you ever enchanted with Yiddishkeit?

2) Before you did your first aveirah, did you love your parents? Did you feel that they understood you in other areas, and were they trying to meet your needs?

3) This may sound funny, but did you have any specific trauma recently, eg an accident or death of a friend/family member? Was a teacher or parent particularly rude or intimidating or unfair?

4) Did you ever sleep away from home as a very young child (and felt abandoned)?

thank you in advance,

Nechama


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45. Here’s the deal     10/18/07 - 8:59 PM
Benzion Twerski

Many of the comments here have merit, some more than others, imho. Our entire community has the need to adapt to the times, not by modifying mitzvos, chas veshalom, but by addressing the factors needed to motivate the younger generation (not necessarily excluding the older generations) to live as the Torah wants us to live. There are fingers pointed in every direction, parents, schools, etc. All have valid messages. What we seriously lack is the leadership needed to pilot our communities through the current environments of hi-tech, increased access of all the world’s challenges to morality, and the desperate need to capture the interest of the youth.

It has been stated in many of these threads of comments – it is not only necessary to worry about the youth that we identify as being “at-risk”, but it also involves everyone else. The most normal youngster, with excellent grades, never an incident of disciplinary challenge, can take an exit from Torah life. We then seek to attribute the situation to some incident of trauma that occurred after the observed time of “normalcy”. I have heard from countless adults who took such departure from Torah life that they were able to manage to keep their issues inside, complying with everything expected of them, and gave up the masquerade later. Do we relate to our “normal” children and talmidim/talmidos in a way that we can sense some underlying unhappiness? This essentially confronts each of us to question our approach to chinuch and child rearing.

I am also not quite afraid of the word marketing (not being from the world of commerce, it does not have the same connotations for me). In marketing, the effort is to convince the buyer that some product or service is needed and that the seller is the best one to patronize. We need to convince the buyers (children) that the Yiddishkeit we are seeking to transmit to them is the best bet for their lives. Perhaps there is some flaw in the seller aspect of the analogy (we try to offer HKB”H as the seller – we’re just the agents). As in any service or product that is sold or bought, there is much to gain from “servicing the product”, being available to respond to questions, and to follow up on the use or application of the purchase. (Yes, Torah is a “kinyan”.)

While the ultimate answers are harder to find, there have been many ideas and suggestions advanced in many public forums, including this website. Few, if any, of the suggestions have been accepted. I have personally addressed chinuch many times, and the resistance to any modifications, regardless of how Torah based they are, and often without regard to the one presenting them (including gedolim) is extreme. The seforim on chinuch quote gedolim from litvishe, chassidishe, and yeshivishe (I’m not sure of the distinctions, but my point is the spectrum of our leaders) that present chinuch quite different from what we observe. Their positions have remained rather stuck to the pages. Implementation is quite rare.

Changing parenting styles does not fare much better. We do not have role models for the way to parent. We should be able to observe our gedolim doing this, not just dancing and getting kibudim at simchas or performing mitzvos of burning chomets, shaking lulav, wearing talis and tefillin, or putting money into a pushka.

There is a bigger picture to change, and we need powerful leaders to guide us.


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46. Something for Everyone     10/18/07 - 9:24 PM
Baruch Horowitz - Brooklyn, NY - borhowitz@yahoo.com

"The most normal youngster, with excellent grades, never an incident of disciplinary challenge, can take an exit from Torah life... Do we relate to our “normal” children and talmidim/talmidos in a way that we can sense some underlying unhappiness?"

I think this ties into the questiong aspect as well. I don't remember the exact point, but IIRC, in the Birchas Shmuel's famous response to R S Schwab, he mentions about people who had a certain experience, such as limud haTorah when they were young, which ignited them their whole life.

Just as BT had something which attracted them to Yiddishkeit, so too FFB have to have some experience(eg, enjoyable Shabbos Table as RYH mentions), or combination of different types of experiences, especially when young, which touches them deeply, and the experience should continue through their life. That can make the difference between those who successfully resolve/deal with/make peace with questions and/or any other non-intellectual type of issue, and those that don't, and it could also determine the degree of success.


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47. Teacher of teenagers     10/18/07 - 9:33 PM
Anonymous

If you read the N.Y. Times on Wed.10/17/07 you would know that there are 73 prisoners in the U.S. sentenced to life in prison for crimes they committed when they were 13 or 14 years old. Teenagers are capable of thinking and doing anything.I've been working with them for twenty-eight years and they are still capable of shocking me.

I think most of the kids who are violating Torah law just want to have fun and if being frum is not fun they will look elsewhere. Give then a safe place to hang out,provide games, nosh, and other fun activities that they can help create, and they will keep halacha on Shabbos and Yom Tov.Encourage them to contribute to the community by visiting nursing homes,laining in shul(one or two alios),running Shabbos groups for children, setting up chairs or food for a kiddish, etc.They will not want to leave a shul or a community that need them and that they have helped.Metoch Lo Lishma Ba Lishma.As the hormones calm down and the brain grows they will be more capable of becoming spiritual people.Children at this age want to be with their friends,and if they have frum friends we have won half the battle. Does this generation of teenagers need more time to learn the whys of our religion? Absolutely, because it's quite easy for them to find out about all the fun experiences that you can have if you're not frum.

I also wonder if some of the thirteen year old children that Rabbi Horowitz mentioned are depressed.If I were the parent of one of these children I would have the child screened by a professional


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48. The table may turn full circle (to #42)     10/18/07 - 10:07 PM
Anonymous

I'd like to turn the tables for a change and instead of the rabbis, teachers, and parents being told they need to defend and explain and convince kids that Judaism is true and good and allow kids to question and challenge, let's have the kids who drop Yiddishkeit defend, explain and convince us of the truth and goodness of their chosen way of life.

If they're thoughtful, they might not look for words to defend and explain. They'd simply say, "I'm not trying to convince you. You do your thing and I'll do mine." Then what do you say?


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49. convincing     10/18/07 - 10:19 PM
Anonymous

If they're thoughtful, they might not look for words to defend and explain. They'd simply say, "I'm not trying to convince you. You do your thing and I'll do mine." Then what do you say?

If they're thoughtful, then I can say, "Why then, do you want me to try and convince you? You're an intelligent person who thinks about things. The questions you raise are important enough to be discussed by the greatest scholars throughout the centuries. In order to make an informed decision about how you will be leading the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to learn what they say.


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50. followup to previous     10/18/07 - 10:27 PM
Anonymous

The point of "turning the tables" is that I don't think we need to be on the defensive.

The idea would be (and I haven't tried it with real live kids, I'm just thinking out loud) to get kids to confront themselves and why they're doing what they're doing. If they think their rabbis' lives are shallow, benighted, no fun, they should be made to think whether their own choices are any less shallow, enlightened or fun. Supposedly kids abhor hypocrisy.

We do not have role models for the way to parent. We should be able to observe our gedolim doing this, not just dancing and getting kibudim at simchas or performing mitzvos of burning chomets, shaking lulav, wearing talis and tefillin, or putting money into a pushka.

I think they should allow webcams to be placed in their homes ... ;)

Were your parents not role models for how to parent? I think mine were good, not perfect but good. What happened to all the parents out there? Their parents were no good? When did this start?


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51.     10/18/07 - 10:32 PM
Anonymous

To #49

Your point is good ... "The questions you raise are important enough to be discussed by the greatest scholars throughout the centuries."

So, why isn't THAT being taught in our schools? (If someone says it is being taught, then it seems to be missing some of the students.)


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52. "Marketing"...On the Contrary     10/18/07 - 10:48 PM
WolfishMusings - Brooklyn, NY - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

Rabbi Horowitz, "marketing" sounds sleasy or greedy. Like a used car salesman or someone studying for an MBA. Not a word I want to see used in connection with Yiddishkeit though I understand what you mean.

On the contrary, one of the best summations that I saw on parenting came from Faranak Mangolese's book "Off The Derech" (a must read). In it she said that many parents have problems because they don't realize that as their kids become teens and older, their job changes from management to sales.

The Wolf


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53. Rabbi Horowitz is 1000% right     10/18/07 - 10:53 PM
Gary

First off, let me say that I have tremendous respect for you, Rabbi Horowitz, and may Hashem give you the strength to keep up this great and holy work.

That said, it is a problem with materialism, and I believe it comes from the home. As a previous commenter pointed out, take a look at what's going on in the world. Materialism is out of control, and the rabbis are sitting on their hands. Money has become to new avoda zara, and the parents are either bowing down to the almighty dollar, or not being assertive enough in communicating to their children that what's going on out there is a meshugas.

Kids see the rabbis in the yeshivos and shuls kissing up to the rich baal habatim, and it contradicts the ideals that they preach, that Torah is the most important thing. Once they see their parents and rabbis as a bunch of liars, phonies, and hypocrites, there's no credibility left. So all their teaching flies out the window.

I say the rabbis have to fix the problem. The wedding takanos were a good idea, but they didn't follow through. That would have been a great start, and perhaps would have led to a trickle down effect.


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54. Food for thought     10/18/07 - 11:43 PM
The Hedyot - daashedyot@gmail.com

Here’s an idea for you all to think about: Maybe the reason so many people are leaving these days is because Torah has taken over such an inordinately large part of who they are? Whereas a decade or two ago, people were frum but still allowed themselves to live a life aside from their frumkeit, today everything about a frum person’s life is dominated by what’s permitted by halacha and their frum community. The things you read, listen to, watch, people you speak to, experiences you engage in, leisure activities, relationships you form, professional paths you pursue, community you live in, people you can associate with, goals you should have, hobbies, etc. Every aspect of a frum person’s life is dominated by religious dictates and the norms of the community (which are ostensibly reflected in Torah). Now, on the one hand, I know many people will say that that’s a wonderful thing and the true way a Torah Jew should be. But on the other hand, what this means is that when a person feels that frumkeit just doesn’t cut it anymore, then he pretty much has to change his whole life, since frumkeit has so thoroughly permeated every detail of who he is. Contrast this with someone who is frum, and considers it important, but doesn’t define that as his main characteristic. If he feels that frumkeit isn’t quite working for him anymore, he may just say, “Well, it‘s just a relatively minor aspect of my life. It doesn’t really matter that much if I still deal with it, even though it’s not that meaningful.” And so he will still retain it (albeit not in a very committed fashion) and not step outside the community. Since frumkeit for him doesn’t touch on so much of who he is, it’s not difficult to ignore the problem. In fact, the very fact that it isn’t such a dominating aspect of their life will make it even less likely for it to feel burdensome or unpleasant in the first place. Kind of like the difference between having a rash just on your lower leg vs. an outbreak which covers your entire body. They both are problems but one can be lived with easier than the other. I think this way of approaching frumkeit is how many frum people in the 80’s and earlier approached it. No doubt there were people then who had many of the issues people today have, but the circumstances allowed for different reactions. But today, thanks to the growth of the Torah True(TM) way where frumkeit has become what it has, a moderate daily intake of Torah living is no longer feasible. Like they taught me in yeshiva: You need to drink it, eat it, breath it, soak in it, think it, sleep it, live it, and dream it. Shivisi Hashem L’Negdi Tamid! Now, combine this notion of the all encompassing encroachment of torah ideas with the increasing trend of overly strict chumras becoming more and more common and it’s not so surprising that a backlash is being felt. (By the way, I think this theory can apply to both the issues raised in this article and the one about the adults.)


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55. Sorry about the formatting     10/18/07 - 11:45 PM
The Hedyot - daashedyot@gmail.com

Sorry it all got jumbled together into one paragraph. I had line breaks in there, but they seemed to have gone the way of my emunah.


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56. This is a very real problem that should be addressed     10/19/07 - 12:36 AM
Anonymous

I disagree that making the shabbos table nicer would make a difference. That just prepetuates the "fairy tail" in their mind. They want to know that had they been born muslim, they would be a muslim - so now they are borm jewish - so they are jewish - I do think there is theolgical problem (in their mind of course) -

Their questions have to be answered - Just saying that The rambam or whohever says you should not think about it is not going to fly for these kids - why? who would enter a 10 million dollar business deal where the investor says they should not think about it - dont ask questions - would you? I would not - they need to be answered wisely and with truth


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57. challenging them back is not a good tactic     10/19/07 - 1:07 AM
The Hedyot - daashedyot@gmail.com

> ...let's have the kids who drop Yiddishkeit defend, explain and convince us of the truth and goodness of their chosen way of life.

Bad move. Really bad move. Just because a person can’t articulate his feelings and positions doesn’t make them any less valid. When a teen expresses a desire to do something rebellious, challenging him to defend his position is not going to win you any points, nor win back the person himself.

Firstly, the simple fact is that a person doesn’t need to find THE right path in order to realize that the one he is on may be a failing one. If I know something is not working for me, I’ll stop doing it and worry about trying to find an alternative later. Just because I can’t prove that what I’m doing now is better than what I was doing prior, doesn’t mean I should go back to what I know was a dismal failure.

Secondly, of course a teen won’t be able to convincingly persuade you of his decision. Any half-decent Rabbi will be able to run circles around most theological, philosophical, or ideological issues that a teen will raise. They probably aren’t even fully aware of their emotional and intellectual motivations themselves (one needs to be quite self-aware to honestly understand oneself). But just because they can’t successfully defend it, doesn’t mean it’s any less substantive. Your suggestion is basically to pit the puny intellect of the average teenager against the vast experience of a learned rabbi. Wow, how fair and generous of you!

I remember when I was in Yeshiva, and there were some things that just didn’t seem to me to be quite right (not necessarily about big ikkar-level things, but just general torah ideas that were being taught in shiur). I wasn’t such a great student and definitely not smart enough to express (or even understand myself) what was bothering me about it. The best I could muster up was a halfhearted objection to the idea being presented. Inevitably, the response from the rebbe would demonstrate to me that really everything was good and right and that I simply didn’t understand things like they were meant to be.

I trusted him and believed what he told me. I probably didn’t understand things like I was supposed to. But deep inside I also knew that what was troubling me wasn’t ever really properly answered. And even though he seemed to have proven himself right, inside, I wasn’t the least bit convinced.


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58. Jewish, Christian, or Muslim     10/19/07 - 5:57 AM
Nechama

I don't think that it is true that if I would have been born Christian or Muslim (chas Vesholom), that I would have continued in those religions our of conviction of the truth.

First of all, with regard to questioning, any teen with a question about Judaism is a thousand times more likely to find an answer than if he had a question from within Muslimhood, where I believe, questioning is discouraged.

Judaism provides a community structure, in which, hopefully, there is room for expansion, room for different types of people. With Muslim there is NO SUCH RANGE. You are a believer or an infidel. (Based on what I've seen in hospitals, I think there is a growing third group who pay token adherrance to the Muslim religion while dressing like 'real goyim'. For now, they seem to be fully accepted in the Muslim community). The reason one stays Muslim is because one is afraid to break away (afraid of being murdered, that is), or because one has been bullied since birth with racial and religious doctrines in a very inhumane way. So yes, Muslims tend to keep their Muslim faith, and perpetuate mental illness from generation to generation.

With regard to Christianity, remember that for many generation, it dominated the world religions. It was in all the literature and lifestyle, and conversations, and way of life. So much so, that a person born into this religion would not realize to challenge or ask questions. This was in the past.

Now, in the Information Age, and the Generation in which one can Ask Questions, and differentiate between Truths and Givens, one can realize that Enid Blyton's description of a mother not only doesn't match your mother but also not any mother on the planet. Similarly Christianity has sort of fallen into disuse, because it was all just a set of "givens", no truth to speak of. Interestingly, the last vestiges of Christianity nowadays include the Pope apologizing for the Holocaust and previous Jewish Genocides, as well as the Christians being the most benevolent supporters of the State of Israel. So it seems that the only real Truth to Christianity is to try to support peace and people who live moral lives, and since all the "Givens" has dropped, these are all that remain. For example, it used to be a 'given' that Jews are bad. However, this was never a truth, so Christianity as a religion seems to have dropped it. Now, if one hates Jews it is a personal matter, you can't do it because you are a Christian, because Christianity in the age of truth does not support this.

So back to Muslims - the other side of the coin to separating Truth from Givens is that you can now have a new ideology that defines itself in terms of Truth, even though it calls itself a Religion. The Truth is that these Muslims absolutely hate Jews, have a blinding desire to control the world, and are out of touch with mercy, care for others (even their own family). Just like Shinui was a party whose sole agenda was to hurt religious Jews, so many Muslims have a sole agenda to hurt, kill, and control Jews, and also others who believe in not being controlled, like Americans.

So back to the original question. If I would be born a Christian would I remain one? Well, if I did remain one, I would be the primary non-Jewish supporter of the JEWS. If I did enough research and found out I could actually become one, I do not see why I shouldn't convert. All other Christian principles have been proven to be completely perverted concepts and trickery to the masses.

If I would be born a Muslim would I remain one? If I was not so bullied as to need to hurt innocent people in retaliation, I hope as a thinker I would realize that they don't even claim to have a single guiding principle for living life harmoniously.

If I would nebach be born into a family of just stam people who don't believe in G-d's existance, would I start to believe in this? In the age of Truth in which we live, I think Skepticsm is an unnamed religion, and as powerful as the Muslims, in which you are only accepted to the club in you DO NOT ask questions about G-d's existance. YOU JUST MUST BELIEVE THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER IF HE EXISTS OR NOT. So again, the pull of wanting to belong to this religion is very great. It is the primary religion of the world nowadays. It is at war with the Muslim concept of: OF COURSE MY VERSION OF G-D IS TRUE, AND I WILL FORCE IT DOWN YOUR THROAT.

If I would be born a Jew would I remain one? If I had the good fortune to be born a Jew, I would be very grateful to G-d for choosing me. I would try to avoid the doctrines of the other two religions:

Opposite to Muslim: True caring for myself, my needs, and others' needs, including physical, and emotional needs.

Opposite to Skepticism: Take the time and courage to find out whether G-d exists and what types of relationships are possible. What He expects of me right now. And what I expect of Him.


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59. It is scary,and must be dealt with,not ignored     10/19/07 - 8:15 AM
Raphael Moeller - Washington Heights, NYC - dagim41@yahoo.com

Very important to discuss this


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60. I dont think your being honest with yourself     10/19/07 - 8:16 AM
Anonymous

I would like to think if I had been born a muslim I would convert - I dont think I wouldve


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61. born a Muslim     10/19/07 - 9:00 AM
Nechama

You said you are not sure you would want to convert if born a Muslin. Why wouldn't you want to leave? Is it:

a) Because you would be convinced that Muslim is correct? Would you be allowed to have any doubt? Are questions allowed (like how come the Koran is very ungrammatical)? Like how can mass-murder be the goal, rewarded by 7 virgins in Heaven for the perpetrator. What is the point of this, and why is the reward never offered in this world? Why do I have to take it all on trust? Why did G-d create people of other religions if their whole goal is to be killed? Why did He bother giving these doomed people feelings, if they are doomed to die for the jihadist Muslim to get his reward, why does it have to hurt the others so much? Are any logical answers offered?

b) Because you are scared to consider any other options?

c) Because you are too bullied and/or neglected that you need to live a life centered around bullying?

d) Because people tend to believe what they are taught and shown by their parents, and what their parents think of as correct? - What if the parents are convinced that there can be only one way, but you've seen in the outside world - on the internet, or via a friend that's gone "off"(!) that other options do actually exist. Would you necessarily follow your parents as a Muslim TODAY? Wouldn't you start to think: this movement benefits the leaders nicely, but what's in it for me?


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62. Nothing New     10/19/07 - 9:00 AM
Anonymous

Children (and adults) have been going off the Derech for centuries. Heard of the Haskallah? Reform Judaism in Germany? Early Zionist movements in Europe?

Thousands of children and adults were lost.

It is better to speak coherently and honestly about this age-old problem, instead of hysterics over this "new" problem.

It is so easy to fault the system, the frum adults, the Rabbis...I guess we haven't been doing anything right for centuries.

Think of good solutions, absolutely. But don't waggle your finger at frum society, especially our hard working and underpaid mechanchim and dedicated, underappreciated Rabbis all over. It is false, and severely compromises credibility.

I am a professional who gives less than full efforts to my profession in order to invest countless hours of unpaid volunteer work with teens at risk. I know the scoop, and I know the system. Not to downplay difficult problems within our system, but no, that is not the answer to our angst.

Perhaps when we stop fingerpointing and looking for simplistic answers that make us feel we are "DOING something", we will actually be able to address the current wave of children leaving the fold, with respect and a desire to work together with people who are intelligent, utterly dedicated to our children, and may have insight we haven't thought of yet.

I don't believe the internet is the medium for honest change; we need to work at the grassroots level, and put our efforts where it counts, not where it will be counted.


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63. concerned     10/19/07 - 9:39 AM
Anonymous

Does anybody think that the articles in the frum world about anorexia helped stem the tide of new cases because we became "aware"?

Does anybody think that the articles and lectures about ADD/ADHD in the frum world reduced the number of children being diagnosed as having this condition?

How about the secular press - have the numbers gone down since the publicity? Obviously not. Millions of children (and adults) were not declared sick and put on medication prior to the publicity. So was is it a tremendous public service that we were provided? Thank G-d we are now aware, and can do something about it?

I think not. I think that we were doing much better before anorexia and ADD were trumpeted everywhere you look. I think we are becoming more and more of a mess, as a society, as frum society, because of it. Yes, I know, this is not a popular view. So be it. It's mine.

So it concerns me to have articles like this one published. I am absolutely not minimizing your concern, R' Horowitz's. You got those phone calls and it's truly disturbing, even horrifying. My concern is that bringing these phone calls to the public's attention creates a climate in which you will get more of these phone calls.

An inexact mashal would be the story told about the Chofetz Chaim who moved to a certain town/city and left after two weeks. Why did he leave? Because the first Shabbos, when he witnessed chilul Shabbos, he was horrified. The second Shabbos, when he witnessed chilul Shabbos, he realized that he wasn't quite as horrified.

I think that when this information, that 13 year olds from "beautiful, frum homes" are eating on Yom Kipur and being mechalel Shabbos, is read and discussed, even as we, frum people, may be horrified by it, our sensitivity level goes down. A line was crossed. Before this, I (we) didn't think frum children from good homes were doing this. Now we know they do In droves. This is not just about a boy shmoozing with a girl (not minimizing that and certainly not where that can lead). This is about kareis and chayavei sekila.

It's not necessarily that a 14 year old, hearing or reading about this, will consciously say - oh, so other kids are doing what I was thinking of doing, I'll join them, though that might be true. It lowers the sensitivity of us all, including the kids themselves.

I'd be interested in knowing whether you consult with anybody before printing articles such as these. Did you ever discuss this with Rabbi Pam? I'd love to know what he thought of this point.


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64.     10/19/07 - 9:41 AM
yoni

the one who said that staying frum is dependant on early experiences rings very true.

In my own personal experience at least.

let me say that I do not come from what, ultimately, was the most stable family. For berevity's sake i'll not go into details, but suffice it to say that of the 5 boys in my family, only I and my mother are still frum. I have gone to public schools since 1st grade, although I returned to yeshiva in highschool, and some post highschool. It had been a lifelong dream for me to go back. I had harped on it everysingle day for many, many years.

Why did It stay dispite overwhelming influences to the contrary, a broken an shattered home where I never ever saw the only other frum member of my family because she was in medical school? Because of my teacher in preschool and kindergarten. I do not remember how, but she demonstrated a love for yiddishkeit, as well as taught me things, in a way that really clicked and touched me. I spent the rest of my life craving torah.

Now I am in secular college various pains in my life connected with yiddishkeit threaten to pull me away, but the cords my teacher made that bound me to yiddishkeit still hold fairly strong.

Recently she, at her sisters suggestion discovered an age old truth that she had been practicing in her teaching already for almost 2 decades: that in the elementery school level there is only one real purpose to jewish education, which is to infuse the children with an attachment to yiddishkeit, because honestly you do not know what will become of them later in life. You need to teach them that yiddishkiet loves them, cares for them, and will do what ever possible to meet their needs and to take care of them, and that it is a good place to be.

Actual learning will come later, much later. For now the purpose is mearly to secure their desire for a seat in yiddishkeit, and that will keep them for the rest of their lives.

So no, I do not think that trying to sell them yiddishkeit in their teens is going to work. The roots of these problems have already grown very strong by then. If we are to keep these children we have to sow the seeds when they are young, seeds that tell them that yiddishkeit is a happy, loving place to be, and then they will hold on to it when they are older.

I will say that factualy, as someone above said, teenagers are still cognitively immature. Generaly they are at the mercy of their emotions, and most objections and issues are expressions of things that happened to them very young in life. Their arguments are primarily emotional and will continue to be so until about 25 years of age or so. You CANNOT convince them intelectualy, because they lack the intelectual faculties necessary to be receptive to such discussion.

(and as has been pointed out before, I am 23 (just had my birthday) years old, and I am still saying this. I see it clearly every day at school, when speaking to kids my age, and have seen it ever since I was about 14, whether we be speaking about secular kids or religious kids. These children do things simply because they feel good, and if you have not rooted their yiddishkeit in good feelings, no amount of intelectual discussion in their teens will ever get you anywhere. I say this from personal observation and experience. When I finaly went to yeshiva it was to one of the only at-risk highschool yeshivot at the time, and I have seen plenty of exactly this kind of teenager.

Again, if you are having to convince kids when they are thirteen and fourteen, you have already failed. You have to deal with these issues and set the roots at a much younger age than this.


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65. Running right on time     10/19/07 - 10:22 AM
Magid Ha-emes

Reb Yakov Horowitz,

What's all this panic about "running out of time" with regard to the spate of yingelehs questioning and leaving frumkeit? This is a siman of imminent bias moshiach, zoll zein kimmen. It says in seforim kedoyshim and in zohar that right before the kaytz ha-yumim there will be a pirud between avoys and bunim concerning shmiras ha-mitzvoys. This will happen in order for Eliyahu Ha-nuvi to be mekayem zein the pusik "v'haysheev lev avoys al bunim, v'lev bunim al avoysam." So not to worry, let's keep doing what we as frumme yidden should, because things are running right on time.

Gitten shabbes!


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66. yoni     10/19/07 - 10:22 AM
Anonymous

Yoni,

I've disagreed (silently- no posted comments) with some of your previous comments, but your last one above is right on the mark.

The points expressed in your comment are powerful, and need to be better disseminated to those in a position to impact future outcomes.

Your ideas are not new to me, and yet I myself gained from your clarity of presentation. Thank you.


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67.     10/19/07 - 10:25 AM
Anonymous

>So it concerns me to have articles like this one published.


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68. Too much emphasis on Gemara     10/19/07 - 10:27 AM
Parents Who Question the "System" - Brooklyn

Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz for allowing this open forum. What a valuable service!

Obviously, every situation is different and children can feel disenfranchised from frum life for different reasons.

We have a 14 year old son who is B"H doing nicely in yeshiva. He is smart and he is motivated to do well in most of his subjects. He likes his rebbeim, his principal, has friends, etc. We know we are extremely fortunate. Our son and his yeshiva are a good match, so far.

BUT, the day is incredibly long. He has to be up and out by 7:30 for Minyan, spends hours learning Gemara, then switches to studying English subjects, and by the time most adults are winding down their day he is at "mishmar" learning, you guessed it, more Gemara. And this is in a "regular" yeshiva, not even a super duper yeshivish one. It's a mainstream, Brooklyn high school.

Is the average 14 year old boy cut out for this? Our son manages because everything else in his life is running smoothly, B"H. He is smart enough to follow the shiur & has patience to sit through it & he concentrates because he likes his rebbeim & wants to please them. We pay a small fortune for someone to review with him in the evening so that the Gemara should be clear to him and he should not "get lost". We are fortunate that we can afford this, and we know it.

But what happens when just ONE of these factors goes awry? A boy who is not capable of sitting for so long? A boy who can't concentrate endlessly on Gemara, finding it too boring or too complicated? A boy who is just not smart to enough to grasp the endless intricacies of Gemara for hours on end?

How would you feel if you were trapped in this system of learning for hours and hours every day? And the subject matter was too hard, or too complicated to hold your interest? Trapped, maybe? Bored? Frustrated? Angry? Depressed? Some combination of these?

The system is not geared to the average boy. It is geared to a very smart, very motivated boy. Everyone else ends up feeling left out because this way of learning is not realistic for them. They sit in class, but feel that this is all boring and meaningless. They certainly don't feel successful.

Any wonder that kids don't feel connected? Maybe the top learners do, but what about the other 90% ?

The yeshivas need to give the boys other avenues to success. A boy who does not enjoy Gemara or finds it too complicated could cope with it if wasn't the only subject. Halacha, Navi, Chumash, Mussar...there are lots of other subjects a yeshiva could teach to give everyone a chance of finding something interesting and enjoyable. Why this enormous emphasis on Gemara? For the "top" boys, fine, they can be happy learning Gemara all day. Maybe.

But why should yeshivas be geared to teaching only the smartest and most motivated? What about the other 90% of our boys? No wonder those kids feel disconnected. Yeshiva does not "turn them on", and that's at least 10 hours of their day. They try, they cooperate, they sleep in shiur, but they want out.

And some leave when they get the chance.


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69. True faith?     10/19/07 - 10:32 AM
Magid Ha-emes

David S,

We are mechuyev zein to believe that whatever our rabbunim ha-kedoyshim teach us is absolute emes. Any cracks that crash the ganzteh edifice will happen because of a "questioning faith" like what you suggest.

Know why the christians and muslims aren't going thru the crisis that Reb Horowitz writes about? Because they believe with mamesh emuneh shlaymah whatever they're taught. They have the temimuskeit that we yidden once had and should have. Oy, a busheh un a chlimah!

Gitten shabbes!


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70. to Yoni     10/19/07 - 10:33 AM
M

Yoni: that was a touching comment and your point is excellent

reminds me of the story that is told about the parent who asked a rav (put in the gadol of your choice) when to start being mechanech his child. How old was the child? 2 years old. That's two years too late, said the rav.

Others would say that it goes back even further, to pre-conception of the child, the child's conception (which spiritually, has a great effect on how the child will turn out), and pregnancy.


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71. Not missing the point     10/19/07 - 10:43 AM
Magid Ha-emes

The Wolf,

We know from the beginning of our own history that mitzvoys and halucheh must be forced b'ahaveh, just like what Hashem did at har sinai "kufuh alayhem har ke-gigis." Frumme parents must do likewise. No negotiations, no discussions. No compromises. The freie yidden and the goyim don't force their kids to believe in Hashem, and look at the results. Our yingelehs will do mitzvoys and halucheh so long as their parents are willing to enforce it without slack.

Gitten shabbes!


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72. Keep your nose clean     10/19/07 - 10:53 AM
Magid Ha-emes

Momof2,

Maybe in Raanana you cannot sustain a completely insulated chareidi society, but those of us in shechunos chareidiyos like Har Nof can and do just that. Modernity is a sakuneh to the yiddisheh neshumeh. We must avoid it at all costs, just like the devout christians and muslims do. Their teenagers don't act up in church on sunday or eat snacks during ramadan.

Gitten shabbes!


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73. what went wrong     10/19/07 - 10:59 AM
Anonymous

I recently read a heartbreaking story of a woman from a frum home who dropped way down, went off to seminary but hung out with boys and had terrible experiences. She has since stablized and married, boruch Hashem.

In her words:

What went wrong? I grew up with prctically no friends, my computer and tv were my only companions. And my parents worked full time, like until midnight. So the first time someone said Hello to me I jumped at the chance to have some attention.


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74. parents - Hashem     10/19/07 - 11:09 AM
anon#43

they don't realize that as their kids become teens and older, their job changes from management to sales.

Management, sales, marketing when speaking about chinuch and Yiddishkeit? I find it utterly crass and counterproductive. G-d didn't market the Torah to us. We accepted it sight unseen and said naaseh v'nishma. If all parents were doing until their kids became teens was "management," then no wonder we're having the problems R' Horowitz describes. Go reread Yoni's beautiful comment and tell me whether his yiddishkeit is thanks to "marketing" and "management" in his preschool years.

Maybe it's because parents think that all young children need is "management" that they are having others raise their infants, babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. A babysitter can "manage" a child as well as or better than the mother.

No coincidence that 13 year olds are disconnected from Yiddishkeit when they are disconnected from their parents. Kibud av va'eim is on the right side of the luchos, along with the other bein adam l'makom dibros. The parent-child relationship mirrors the G-d-Yid relationship. If we are abdicating our role as parents, no wonder that our children are abdicating their role as ovdei Hashem.


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75. Dear Maggid,     10/19/07 - 11:10 AM
Wolfish Musings - Brooklyn, NY - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

I've been reading your posts and I'm convinced that you are either a parody of a "super-frum" person or else you simply have no idea what you're talking about. I haven't decided which yet.

Firstly, you suggest that we let matters stand "as is" because that's how things should be for Moshiach to come. Should we also then try to start a war in the Mideast to hasten the Gog/Magog war?

Next, you take people to task for not simply believing everything that they told at face value like good Christians and Muslims (are you even aware of some of the big problems that those religions face -- much like the ones we face?). Of course, that's just wishing for everyone to turn off their brains. It isn't going to happen.

Then you suggest that we should force our children to keep the mitzvos. Obviously, you didn't read or chose to ignore everything I said in my post. Go back and read it again.

Lastly, you suggest that in some communities you can remain completely isolated, and yet, here you are on the Internet.

Upon further reflection, I'm convinced you're a parody.

The Wolf


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76. You may find the term "marketing" crass...     10/19/07 - 11:12 AM
Wolfish Musings - Brooklyn, NY - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

... but the analogy still applies very well.

The Wolf


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77. to hedyot re comments 54 and 57     10/19/07 - 11:20 AM
Anonymous

I think it's just the opposite. It's those who have been fully immersed in Yiddishkeit, to whom Yiddishkeit (not just Gemara learning) is life, who stayed the course and did so with mesirus nefesh.

Those who are not fully "given over" to G-d, those who are part-time employees of His, are the ones who sometimes figure they're no longer interested in the salary and perks, and leave.

As to your comment about feelings - I agree, sometimes we cannot articulate why we feel the way we do about something, but I think that when a young adult makes a serious life decision, they should be able to explain it. If the feeling is that fuzzy and indistinct, then an intellectually honest person won't jettison his entire heritage and that of all his ancestors back to Sinai. He will hold off, do research, speak to people, read, and reserve judgment.

I don't think the kid eating in the closet on Yom Kippur did so after thinking it through, exploring the options, assessing the rationales behind each one, and arriving at a decision. Something went very wrong in that child's chinuch early on.


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78.     10/19/07 - 11:33 AM
The Hedyot - daashedyot@gmail.com

> but I think that when a young adult makes a serious life decision, they should be able to explain it.

What about the decision to stay frum which also was not done with much forethought? Do you think that also should be stopped because most young people can't intellectually defend very well why they're doing it? Maybe we should "hold off" young people and recommend them that they "reserve judgment" on being frum before they "do research, speak to people, read about it"?

> I don't think the kid eating in the closet on Yom Kippur did so after thinking it through, exploring the options, assessing the rationales behind each one, and arriving at a decision.

I agree. But neither has the kid who unquestioningly goes to shul, puts on tefillin, opens his gemara, says his brachos, and washes negel vasser.


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79. Very hard to convince them     10/19/07 - 12:04 PM
har-avhag-aon

We live in an age where it is extraordinarily difficult to convince young people of the beauty of Shabbos, the purpose of Torah, and the value of being frum. The alternatives are overwhelming, and have saturated our homes (like tracking thick mud from the sidewalk). What we are up against is an enormous mountain of artificialism...fun, feeling good, being accepted, being "normal". Yes, the feelings are real, but there's no foundation whatsoever. It serves the purpose of biding time in this world. We are truly and totally at the mercy of the One above.


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80. We're all smart     10/19/07 - 12:09 PM
Too long in Galus

The problem I have with the above comment concerning the 90% of talmidim that are not "smart" enough to be top learners, is the underlying assumption that "if the others were smart enough, they would also be good learners of gemara". My contention is that each student has the ability to excel in areas that HKB"H endowed them--learning gemara cannot be the only standard. The talmidim should not be seen as pitiful failures of the system who have to be shown a way to be successful. But we, their mentors, have to put aside our own gaiva, and find out what the student's talents are, which Hashem gave to them. And we have to value the diversity of talents--and not only count gemara learning as "smartness".


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81.     10/19/07 - 12:09 PM
David - dave3754@yahoo.com

There is a very interesting article in this week's Yated (American edition) entitled along the lines of Asking for your child to be a Godol Hador is not a brachah. Basically the article quoted Rav Aaron Leib Shteinman saying this to a father who came with his son to him for a Brachah. The basic thrust of the article was a conversation between Rav Shteinman and Rav Gershon Edelstein saying that parents have to realistically recognize their child's abilities, and go for a goal of the child being an Ish Shalem in Torah and Middos instead of being the next Gadol Hador. Anybody else see the article?


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82. Dave...     10/19/07 - 12:17 PM
Wolfish Musings - Brooklyn, NY - wolf@wolfishmusings.com

... I actually blogged about this (with regard to my oldest) back in September 2005.

http://wolfishmusings.blogspot.com/2005/09/on-childrens-aspirations.html

The Wolf


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83. Do Believe vs. Don't Believe     10/19/07 - 12:21 PM
Andy - Wesley Hills, NY

This is a very necessary article. It's a shame that people "can't" believe things related by reputable people such as Rabbi Horowitz. It's understandable, too. It's hard to believe that such horrible things have moved from being mere phenomena and turned into trends.

I personally know of 4 FFB girls from our local BY that get together each shabbos, in one of their respective homes. One of the parents have related to me that one of the girls comes each shabbos with her cell phone and that she observes that the lights are turned on and off throughout the afternoon. This is a coffee-clutch of girls still in school, still at home, still outwardly observent - sometimes.


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84. nebach     10/19/07 - 1:42 PM
Joe

The commenter(s) above who mentioned the 'one size only' chinuch system and how unless a kid is in the top tier they are a failure, are absolutely correct.

What is worse, a normal 14 kid needs some outlets. If you think about it, in Frum society, the person who has the least opportunity for fun & relaxation in their schedule is the teen boy. His schedule goes from early morning to late evening and not only that, but most forms of relaxation and entertainment are off limits even when they do have free time. TV, movies, following sports, are all out (in some cases understandably). But even if bowling or playing sports are ok, the bachur knows that if he were a really good bachur he wouldnt even be doing that...

How many people are cut out for such monastic lifestyle? What insane person thinks that it makes sense to put every single child regardless of their nature through this system? It is a guarantee for numerous failures and resentful kids.


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85. The Hedyot , #78     10/19/07 - 2:04 PM
anonymous613

"But neither has the kid who unquestioningly goes to shul, etc...."

And nor has the kid questioned brushing his/her teeth, looking both ways before s/he crosses the street, etc.

Good Shabbos,


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86. Aish Tamid of Los Angeles/"Off The Desech" by Faranak Margolese     10/19/07 - 2:18 PM
Yehudit - LA, Ca.

I have only Hakaras Hatov for the work Rabbi Horowitz is doing in many areas but here especially in just raising awareness. We are very fortunate in the LA area to have a school like Aish Tamid, an alternative program for boys who don't fit the yeshiva mold. They have a beautiful website www.aishtamid.org. As well, let's not reinvent the wheel, please read "Off the Derech: Why Observant Jews leave Judaism;How to Respond to the Challenge" by Faranak Margolese. She personally interviewed hundereds of formerly observant Jews as well as educators, Rabbaim, administerators...Let's not get frustrated, let's get informed, spread the word, and raise awareness, one conversation or e-mail at a time..Hatzlacha


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87. Aish Tamid/Off The Derech     10/19/07 - 2:38 PM
Steve Brizel

I agree with the last poster. Unless you are involved on a day to day basis with this issue or have read the book Off The Derech cover to cover, then, IMO, one simply cannot begin to understand its causes and depth.


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88. not a comparison     10/19/07 - 3:28 PM
Anonymous

I read Off the Derech cover to cover and made extensive notes as I did so, noting the many inaccuracies, faulty logic, and numerous problems with it. That being said, she gives much food for thought and it was a good attempt at the subject matter. I just would not consider her book the 'bible' on the subject.

hedyot: re the decision to remain frum

first, if a child has reached the point where he/she is deciding whether or not to remain frum, something went seriously wrong in their chinuch

second, being frum when growing up in a frum home which is part of a chain of religious homes since the revelation at Sinai (or even within a BT home where a generation or two was skipped but before that, went back to Sinai) is quite reasonable. I don't think it needs to be defended intellectually beyond that.

(That's not to say it can't be investigated further).


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89. Dear Wolf     10/19/07 - 3:45 PM
Magid Ha-emes

What you decide and what convinces you is just your opinion. You're only a man. You're not ha-kudush barechu, who says and then makes mamesh fact. Try to remember that, when you're not so busy blogging and reflecting your opinion.

All I said was that the pirud between avoys and bunim that Reb Horowitz writes about is supposed to happen, according to mekubalim kedoyshim. We must have emuneh shlaymeh that Hashem will send Eliyhahu to be maysheev zein all the "lost" yingelehs. For sure we ourselves can't do it.

Chas v'shulem there should be another war here in the middle east. We've had enough wars and terrorism. I do know of some tzioynim in gush emunim that wish set off such a war for the gog-magog reason you suggest.

I did read what you wrote. Maybe you should read again what I wrote. When we believed without question what the chachumim ha-kedoyshim told us, we were oyseem retzoyno shel makom, and everything went well. The trouble begins when we think we know as much as our rabbunim (or even better).

The christians and muslims learned emuneh and bitachoyn from us, but now they have it and we don't. You know from their problems? How? You go into their churches and mosks and talk with them? And you say that their religions are, lehavdil elef havduloys, like ours because they have similar problems?

I never said to turn off our brains, just that we should use the brains Hashem gave us to learn kol torah kuleh, both shebiksav and shebalpeh. Pay no attention to anything else. No other religions. No secluarisms. No philosophies. No sciences. Only what Hashem, neviim, and chazal ha-kedoyshim tell us.

Yes, here I am on the internet. So what? Chazal tell us to go where the yidden are in order to bring them back to Hashem and torah. In earlier times, it was in theaters, bathhouses, and bars. Rav Yitzchok Duvid Grossman, tzadik yesoyd oylem, went into israeli discos. Reb Tuvia Singer, zoll zein gezint, went to the colleges.

Gitten shabbes, Wolf!

Magid Ha-emes


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90. Thank you to Rabbi and Mrs. Horowitz     10/19/07 - 4:08 PM
SG - Providence RI

Thank you for telling the truth, for sounding the warning bell, and for selflessly taking care of the children who need your help.


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91. improving and preventing     10/20/07 - 6:45 PM
Nechama

The following link explains what "Floortime" is. I have studied this topic at length, and have seen that a lot of children have not mastered basic skills that they need for life.

Dr Greenspan's method of Floortime is used by many special-ed schools world wide and it is very successful. Children who have autism, for example, benefit a lot, because they are naturally very focused on their own thoughts and ideas. With Floortime, the skilled parent and/or helps the child be able to entertain other opinions and perspectives.

Most of the children who choose to stop keeping Mitzvos do not have a mental illness. Yet very often they have missed an important developmental milestone, without which their futher learning is hazy at best. This applies particularly if they were not properly parented, but can also happen just because they have the type of brain that doesn't progress from milestone to milestone naturally, without outside help.

Floortime can particularly help kids who have difficulty seeing other people's point of view, long term ramifications, seem to be very selfish, limit themselves to a narrow range of interests (not that this in itself is bad, but it often reflects that a child is unable to go beyond a comfort zone), difficulty accepting others' good intentions, and a whole host of other situations.

The web address for this section is: http://www.floortime.org/ft.php?page=Six%20Developmental%20Milestones Follow the red headings on the left.

There is also a tremendous amount of helpful knowledge in the transcripts of the web radio shows he gives, on the same site. The comprehensive book teaching about Floortime, that I read is: The Child with Special Needs. It is very long. There may be shorter alternatives.

A quote from Dr Greenspan about children with ASD (Autistic spectrum Disorders): "Prevailing wisdom regarding the potential of children with these disorders is deeply pessimistic. The widely used behavioral approach to treatment teaches rote skills with the main goal of changing behaviors, the assumption being that these children’s difficulties in the areas of reading emotional cues, empathy, and creative thinking represent permanent limitations that can not be treated.

"But they can. Children originally diagnosed with ASD can learn to relate, love others very deeply, and many can learn to communicate and think creatively and logically. In contrast to the older model, the new approach recognizes that each child has a unique path to the disorder, and therefore each child’s path to improvement must also be unique. In addition to overcoming symptoms, the goal of treatment in this new model is to help the child master the healthy emotional milestones that were missed in his early development and that we now know are critical to learning. Building these foundations helps children overcome their symptoms more effectively than simply trying to change the symptoms alone."

The reason I bring this quote is to show that also for many normal healthy children, there are still concrete steps that can be learned and taken by parents to help their child to express himslf, to absorb from them, to increase his abilities to love and laugh and become an integrated person.


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92. re "nothing new"     10/20/07 - 8:11 PM
Anonymous

Children (and adults) have been going off the Derech for centuries. Heard of the Haskallah? Reform Judaism in Germany? Early Zionist movements in Europe?

Big difference between then and now. Those who went off because of haskala, zionism, and socialism did so for ideological reasons and went on to lead movements and pursue higher education. They were misguided but they were driven. Many were passionate in their beliefs in communism etc. and sacrificed for these beliefs.

The 13-14 year old kids going off today are not ideologically driven. They party, hang-out, surf the web, do drugs, listen to garage music and sleep.


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93. To Anonymous 10/20/07 - 8:11 PM (re re nothing new)     10/20/07 - 8:24 PM
Anonymous

Excellent observation. Which is exactly why those who think children are going off because of unanswered questions are so widely off the mark.

They aren't going off because of mechanchim who aren't "answering", the slide out of observance mirrors the rest of the slide of Western culture.

The yetzer haras of decadency, immoral lust, etc have never been so strong, with the street openly inviting new converts to "Me"ism. So the silly finger waving to Rebbes who are not holding ideological discussions in the classroom is the whimper of those who are not quite getting it.

It's been a long time since young adults (or any adults, for that matter) have had ideological questions that compelled them to seek out other movements. Today, emotions rule. Ideological considerations and arguments come AFTERwards.


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94. not all questions are philosophical     10/20/07 - 9:42 PM
The Hedyot - daashedyot@gmail.com

I'd agree that most teens are not too bothered by deep philosophical quandaries. However, I do know that most teens have a pretty good nose for BS, and questions like "I know this isn't really halacha, so why should I keep it?", "Why do I have to follow this derech if there are other less burdensome ones?", "These so-called gedolim don't seem that great to me. Why should I hold them in such esteem?", "Why should I go along with all this stuff anyway? I'd much rather be doing other things." are all questions that most normal kids are thinking that no one is substantively or satisfactorily addressing.


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95. The Hedyot     10/20/07 - 11:04 PM
Anonymous

Again, the questions you mention may arise, but only AFTER temptation has already led these individuals astray to some degree or another.(However, " I'd much rather be doing other things" is an important one that can be classified as a 'primary question'...)

I have been involved with many, many discussions regarding ideological issues, and am glad to help in these varied matters that do figure prominently in the aftermath of a break from tradition, often as a way to subconsciously justify the embracement of all manner of immorality and aveiros; the vast majority of teens will readily own up (if they truly trust you, confide in you, and feel you are their advocate and friend- this takes unlimited and unconditional love, honesty, and an ability to engage in difficult discussion) that it was not ideology that precipitated the break. You might not get this level of honesty from someone who has been "off" for many years, as timelines blur, but more recent "rejectors" have clarity regarding this.

In general, they discuss real emotional pain regarding family issues, social issues (not over frumkeit, but difficult and painful social problems that are found in all societies, and culminate in socially unacceptable behavior even in gentile societies), and/or the opening of a door into the yetzer haras of the street, either by a friend or other means, which proved too alluring, often in an addictive manner- inappropriate internet sites, inappropriate interaction with the opposite gender, movies with inappropriate content- these are excruciatingly difficult for some to stay away from after one has had that first bite. Many of our teens (or adults) are not equipped with the sort of willpower that will allow them to say "never again" after that first look.


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96. what do you consider temptation?     10/20/07 - 11:26 PM
The Hedyot - daashedyot@gmail.com

Only one of those example involved "other things" that you claim must come from some outside temptation. There are plenty of question that can cause a teen to question the appropriateness of a derech (as the other examples show, but there are still plenty others).

And even that one question of preferring to do other things doesn't have anything to do with "outside temptations". It's perfectly normal for a teen to rather play ball, games, read stuff that interests him, not have to put up with the strict demands of halacha, etc. than to want to sit in the beis medrash and chazer shiur all the time. Outside influences have nothing to do with it. It's called being a normal kid.

Lastly, even if outside temptations are a factor, so what? This is the reality. You aren't living in the midbar or the shtetl, no matter how much you pretend you are. Wake up and realize what century you're living in and deal with it appropriately. Stop treating every deviancy from the pure sacred path as something atypical. What you call improper "temptation" is part of growing up as a normal person in today's world.


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97. The Hedyot     10/21/07 - 12:40 AM
Anonymous

"Only one of those example involved "other things" that you claim must come from some outside temptation."

That is correct. Radical rejection of observance (not slight deviations such as change in derech etc, but eating on YK, forbidden physical relations, etc) is usually the result of pain from familial or social factors, AND/OR normal immoral tempations of the "outside" world.

"There are plenty of question that can cause a teen to question the appropriateness of a derech (as the other examples show, but there are still plenty others)."

You and I must have different experiences with teens who have gone off the derech (past risk :) That's OK, we don't need to agree.

"And even that one question of preferring to do other things doesn't have anything to do with "outside temptations". It's perfectly normal for a teen to rather play ball, games, read stuff that interests him, not have to put up with the strict demands of halacha, etc. than to want to sit in the beis medrash and chazer shiur all the time. Outside influences have nothing to do with it. It's called being a normal kid."

Correct on all points. Normal teens would rather play ball etc. All that you mention is perfectly normal. Adults who expect teens to behave like serious 50-year old talmidei chachomim are more than seriously misguided. I hardly call those "temptations"- why shouldn't a normal kid play ball? Read? Play games with their friends? Not everyone is the world's Masmid. These children generally (unless they are severely repressed- but that is another big problem!) do NOT throw off a Torah life, eat on YK, have forbidden physical relations, eat at McDonalds. I'm not sure why you are lumping these kids together.

"Lastly, even if outside temptations are a factor, so what? This is the reality. You aren't living in the midbar or the shtetl, no matter how much you pretend you are. Wake up and realize what century you're living in and deal with it appropriately. Stop treating every deviancy from the pure sacred path as something atypical."

I'm not sure the reason for the nasty attitude, but you seem to be assuming something for which you have no supportive facts. You assume I am living in another century? You assume I treat every "deviancy" as something atypical? (You are correct, if you feel the activities I listed above are not atypical- I think they are. That is why responsible adults are worried. If you are not worried about eating on YK, forbidden physical relationships, drugs, cheeseburgers, etc, then I am not sure why you bother commenting on this blog to begin with).

The teens that I speak with seem to feel I am pretty normal, and know that I won't blink an eye when they relate their escapades. That is because they know I care, and have respect for them as human beings.

"What you call improper "temptation" is part of growing up as a normal person in today's world."

I think you are having a bit of a misconception regarding what concerned individuals (such as Rabbis Becher/Gordon/Horowitz, as well as many commentors on this blog view as temptations. Minor deviations are not the subject of this article. Neither are playing ball, reading, and playing games- all healthy activities!

I am not sure if you are confused because either you yourself have had a difficult experience with being repressed as a teen, and view all problems in that single light, or you have only minimal experience and relationships with teens who have gone off the derech.

A teen I am currently involved with would love to set you straight! One of her pet peeves is with others thinking she has only deviated "a little", and she feels like proclaiming to one and all, "I don't keep Shabbos, kosher, or the laws regarding relationships. Now can you stop ignoring my actions as minor and really pay attention??"

Understanding which category of "deviancies" we are talking about is a prerequisite to a coherent discussion. Being respectful is also nice, but of course not required...


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98. miscomunication     10/21/07 - 12:57 AM
The Hedyot

We're getting mixed up. It's obvious that we're not understanding each other, as I agree with the basic idea of what you're saying now. But I also think that the normal tendencies and frustrations of a typical frum teen are too often not allowed to be expressed healthily and consequently not addressed, which can turn into outright violations.


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99.     10/21/07 - 1:16 AM
Anonymous

I agree- we agree more than we disagree.

I do maintain that in my (not all encompassing) experience, serious rejection of "Torah" does not typically follow even intense frustration, although it does engender many serious problems with long term impact.

To totally reject the basics of Torah that one learned at their mother's knee, the individual usually has experienced something more hard hitting (although rote observance sapped of all joy because of misguided adults is another, but different, tragic issue).


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100. How can we help....     10/21/07 - 7:19 AM
MS - RBS

Reb Yaakov, Once again Yeshar Koach for identifying and broadcasting this urgent issue. It seems from the number of responses that people are ripe to accept the fact that this is an issue and even act on it. Maybe the time has come to run seminars and train more people to dealwith these issues. Every community should arrange programs to deal with this. The topic of the next Aguda Covention should be how to combat this and some solid suggestions should be made by the Gedolim to this end. Curriculums for kids of 8+ years should include serious discussions on Core Yiddishkeit issues and teachers should have special training (Aish Hatorah style)to be able st satisfactorily answer all questions with love and patience until the child feels good about the subject. Focus in schools should change from "hespek" (how many mishanyos and daf gemorra we can do this year) to teaching the kids sefer hachinuch, ahavas Hashem, building a relationship with Hashem etc... There is too much pull from the street. It looks like such fun to be out there partying! Our kids only see the falishing lights. Unfortunately (or fortunately) they do not see the that all the party goers resort to drugs because their lives are empty withoyt any meaning. We have to find a way to make their schooling more fun and much more meaningful. If they get through the teen years happy and fulfilled they will IYH go on to learn many more daf gemora and finish shas! But if they are burned out and feel that the learning took away from their fun then they will look for the fun when they are older Hashem Yerachem. Let's stop the "school factories" and begin some "CHINUCH!!!"


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101.     10/21/07 - 7:32 AM
Anonymous

im going through this now and its not that judaism has nothing to sell its the screwed up yeshivos and schools i understand every one of my peers for doing what they do


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102. to 100 and 101     10/21/07 - 8:10 AM
Yakov Horowitz - Monsey/NY

101; you are free to express your frustration, put please use more appropriate language when doing so.

100: your suggestions are excellent; but we really need to go back and ask what is the MISSION of our schools. Is it to produce gedolim or well-adjusted Yidden???

And as much as many would like to place the blame at 'the gedolim' or 'them' -- I still maintain, as I always have, that it is the parents that are making poor choices. They are shunning the schools that are child-centered and pushing for those with the most unrealistic and pressure-filled programs.

Please take a moment and read these columns.

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=765&ThisGroup_ID=272&Type=Article&SID=7

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=881&ThisGroup_ID=346&Type=Article&SID=7

http://www.rabbihorowitz.com/PYes/ArticleDetails.cfm?Book_ID=804&ThisGroup_ID=272&Type=Article&SID=7

There, I spelled out my thoughts on the subject of pressure and rushing kids inappropriately.

Which rebbi or morah has the TIME to speak to their children about these critical subjects?

Until we as parents get our acts together and start acting more responsibly, I'm afraid that things will not get better.

Yakov


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103. Magid haemes     10/21/07 - 12:20 PM
momof2

Right, the point is, I was brought up in a modern orthodox home where I was always taught to fully embrace the modern world while I was simultaneously taught to fully embrace Torah, Mitzvot, Hashem, etc. That's why I'm still frum, and I'm raising my children in a frum home with the same values I grew up with. I'm still frum becuase of the simple love of Torah and mitzvot that my parents taught me. I have gladly clung to it all of my life and continue to do so.

So all of your chumros and pushing away the modern world has clearly not been successful in communicating this love. Indeed, the Soviet Union failed in the same way. The just couldn't force their citizens to see the beauty of their system by blocking out the Western World.

The shechunos charediyos will eventually implode from their insistence on refusing to deal with the modern world. If you think it was bad losing the child subsidies, wait till you see what the next 10 years will bring.

Shutting your eyes to child abuse, "at risk children", children who question anorexia, drug abuse, domestic abuse, etc. will not make them go away. "Rabbanim" applying chumrah after chumrah will also not solve these problems.

The sooner you open your eyes, the better.


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104. "Marketting"????     10/21/07 - 12:27 PM
yy

R' Horowitz -- I haven't followed all these overflowing comments, but in noting yours abt marketting and a few of the responses, I must tell you that I felt a distinctive disgust that you had definately missed the core. This is especially disturbing in that you're obviously very sincere, informed and experienced in these matters. All that said, let me ask: Do you ever ask yourself that maybe this all comes down to a simple question of feeling connected to HASHEM. Marketting is by definition for those looking to buy, but not those looking to BE.

We need real experiences with tsaddikim and overflowing. Just like we don't have to sell air to anyone, so too a Jewish nesham just wants to BREATHE H'!


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105. Project Chazon's Solution     10/21/07 - 2:19 PM
Rabbi Daniel Mechanic

Kudos to Rabbi Horowitz for yet another insightful and accurate article highlighting the critical issues our Chinuch system must address - before it's too late! One effective response would be to introduce and/or expand the Hashkafa curriculum in our Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov high schools.

I would like to bring to the attention of the readers that a program already exists dedicated to addressing this very issue. Ten years ago, with the Haskamos of numerous Gedolim and Roshei Yeshiva, I founded Project Chazon. Our staff presents comprehensive Hashkafa seminars on the Yesodei HaEmunah to Yeshiva and Bais Yaakov high school students throughout the United States, Canada, and England. To date, over 1300 programs have been presented to over 125,000 students in 265 schools. These multi-series seminars cover a wide range of issues basic to Yiddishkeit including the classical approaches to Metzius Hashem, Torah MiSinai, Torah She’Bal’Peh, Tzaddik Verah Lo, Tachlis Hachaim, Bechirah, etc. The unprecedented success of these seminars can be measured by the letters and calls arriving daily from school principals, parents and, most significantly, the students themselves.

After speaking and listening to the questions --and sometimes doubts-- of thousands of Yeshiva students, I can attest to the fact that this problem is broader and deeper than we tend to think. I recently invested a great deal of time analyzing correspondence received from over one thousand Yeshiva high school boys and girls and found the following question to be the overwhelming favorite: “How do we know that we are right?” It would seem that the challenge of growing up in a society increasingly driven by science, technology and all manner of newfangled “modern sensibilities,” demands that we provide our children with the ability to effectively articulate to themselves, and to others, the truth and relevance of Torah.

After a recent three hour Hashkafa presentation in a well-known Bais Yaakov, the valedictorian of the class wrote me a long letter wherein she shared some of her, and her classmates, feelings about the program. Here are some excerpts from the letter - and this is after she and her entire class were exposed to years of fantastic teachers and the necessary and high quality chomer and curriculum of the school.

"Very infrequently has anyone in the Frum world spoken to us as directly as you have. Most just pass over those questions they do not feel earn a response, disregarding the truth that answers are badly needed – and it is not just a matter of several unstable and therefore argumentative adolescents looking for conflict. There is a fair amount of insecurity in our grade. About religion, about Hashem, about life, history, and the world at present. Most of our feelings about the above issues have been hushed up, one way or another. Either it is not appropriate, or it is shocking that such a thought would enter a “Yiddishe Maidele’s” head, etc. And with responses such as the above, our unease and discomfort builds, and perhaps we begin to feel we should not be asking these questions, and that it’s wrong to think such thoughts".

"Never before have I seen so many kids so enthusiastic about Yiddishkeit as there were after you had spoken. Please continue, the impression made upon us is incredible, and it is necessary that other young teens feel the same".

My friends - I am not so talented. Really. But what I did accomplish apparently was validation - validation for their frum lifestyle and mesiras nefesh. Something that, unfortunately, our kids desperately need today. And all I did was answer their Hashkafa questions.

Project Chazon is not in the business of being meorair shailos (awakening doubt). We are there, however, to provide the reassurance of direct and compelling responses to the crucial Hashkafa questions of today’s Yeshiva students.

Hopefully, with great siyata dishmaya, Project Chazon will continue to assist the schools in reinforcing and strengthening the Shmiras Hamitzvos and Avodas Hashem of their students.


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106.     10/21/07 - 2:20 PM
M

Rabbi Horowitz, I am sorry that you haven't singled out 93, 95 and 97 as excellent. If I can respectfully observe, you have decided that the problem is due primarily to one problem and have written articles to that effect as well as comments on this blog, most recently comment 102. I think this is equally as important:

Radical rejection of observance (not slight deviations such as change in derech etc, but eating on YK, forbidden physical relations, etc) is usually the result of pain from familial or social factors, AND/OR normal immoral tempations of the "outside" world.

momof2 - as noted above, you have not proven your point except with yourself as an example

yy - excellent point:

Just like we don't have to sell air to anyone, so too a Jewish nesham just wants to BREATHE H'!


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107. follow up     10/21/07 - 2:33 PM
M

following up on an earlier comment I made (#20) - how about if a curriculum was designed for boys and girls in 6-8th grades, for a class called, "Jewish Heroes and Heroines."

It would include selections from books such as:

"The Youngest Partisan" - for boys, followed up by a visit to the school (if the author agrees) by the author himself

"Those who Never Yielded" - for boys, about Gerrer bachurim who completely disregarded Nazi orders and kept their beards, sat and learned, and served Hashem with joy in the midst of danger and death

"To Vanquish the Dragon" - for girls, about BY girls who were moser nefesh for Yiddishkeit and for their fellow Jews in the war

"Frau Anna," "Sisters in the Storm," "Voices in the Silence" - for girls, about how girls and women faced challenges to their yiddishkeit in the war and in the soviet union

"All for the Boss" - the story about how he left all his belongings on the dock on Shabbos comes to mind as well as his early years, a teenager, all alone in America

"Deep in the Russian Night"

selected stories from Paysach Krohn's Maggid series, selected stories from the Visions of Greatness series of short stories that depict people, preferably young people, having mesirus nefesh for shemiras Shabbos, kashrus, etc., baalei teshuva and FFB

a teacher's guide for discussion questions and activities such as classroom visits of heroes and heroines who live among us or visits to them

projects for each grade such an interviewing a hero or heroine


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108. Modernische Orthodox     10/21/07 - 4:05 PM
Magid ha-emes

Momof2,

The point is that the modern world is at odds with the oylem shel torah. You cannot embrace both at the same time. It's a stirah minei ubei. Modernity says do what you want. Torah says do what Hashem wants.

Maybe your parents were frum. Maybe you're frum. Maybe your children will remain frum. The only thing that will guarantee continued devekus is if the values being taught are from the gedoylei yisruel, NOT from personal perspective.

Chumra is necessary like vitamin or vaccination when needed because of sakunes nefashoys like modernische shtus. We in the shchunos chareidioys like har nof are successful in getting our yingelehs to embrace oylem shel Torah without any modernische shmutz. Our yingelehs don't act up in yeshiveh or shul. They don't reject yiddishkeit the way the modern orthodox kids are doing.

Chas v'shulem that you compare shchuneh chareidis with communism! Communism murdered millions of yidden, and made millions more freie yidden. How can you compare that with chareidische frumkeit that has saved millions of yidden and their neshumoys?

We don't need subsidies from the treifeh medineh. We are mispaleyl zein that Hashem will get gevirim ashirim to help us. Our rabbunim kedoyshim, zoll zein gezint, are addressing any problem. Our eyes are wide open, enough to see the modernische sakunoys.

Gitte vuch!


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109.     10/21/07 - 4:23 PM
yoni

We don't need subsidies from the treifeh medineh. We are mispaleyl zein that Hashem will get gevirim ashirim to help us. Our rabbunim kedoyshim, zoll zein gezint, are addressing any problem. Our eyes are wide open, enough to see the modernische sakunoys.

may such be the will of hakodesh barechu, speedily in our days.

Then you will see why our sages prohibited the actions that cheredi judaism bases its self on.

"one who does not teach his child a trade, teaches him to steal". One will also see why rishonim would have considered daas torah to be maamish treif. Why chaza"l regularly adjured people NOT to be chumradik, and gave heavy pictures of the consequences for doing so.

in 20, 30 or fourty years the time for judgment and payment will come due, and I Beseach you to turn from your errant ways and return to the path of perfect truth of hashems torah, and cease for your sin, and I pray and hope that the aibishter will have mercy upon his errant children, and assist them in returning to the path of truth as was in days of yore.


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110. To Yoni 109     10/21/07 - 6:05 PM
Magid ha-emes

Amen, kayn yehi rutzen! Chareidi yiddishkeit is based on emese daas Torah from chazal ha-kedoyshim to rishoynim and achroynim. We teach our yingelehs all kinds of trades, from setzen un lernen to business. Chazal say "asu syag le-Torah" in pirkei avoys. Chumra when necessary is good thing. We are doing the rutzen Hashem. Also you can, but you must not mix modernische shtus with yiddishkeit. It's like "toyvel be-mikveh v'sheretz be-yudo".

What means the rest of what you wrote?


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111.     10/21/07 - 6:48 PM
yoni

May hashem have mercy on you that you should never know.


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112. Parents.Look at yourselves     10/21/07 - 7:41 PM
Mum - U.K.

Parents, be happy. Be honest. Don't be hypocritical. Let children be children. Let them ask questions. Let them do sports activities. Let them relax when not at school and enjoy being in a Jewish home . Do gemillus chasodim there and involve your children. Fathers learn at home sometimes. Let your kids see this as being a form of recreation and relaxing rather than just a school thing. Don't be so tired on Shabbos that you have to sleep when you're not eating. Enjoy your children's company more than anyone else's. Let yur kids see that you enjoy your spouse's company.


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113. Another factor: Not Considering the Childrens' Bechira     10/21/07 - 10:52 PM
Gary

Rabbi Dessler writes that one's bechira is based on one's level. In other words, a smoker's decision to either have a cigarette or not have one is not 50/50. Likewise a rav who must decide whether to turn on a light on Shabbes.

With kids in 2007, often the yeshivos put them in positions that are not consistant with their levels of bechira. For instance, when kids grow up with TVs and the rabbeim tell them that they should NEVER watch TV, that's unfair. So the kid thinks, okay, I must be terrible, so to heck with everything. In other words, the unrealistic expectations lead to perfectionism, which leads to despair.

See Dr. Sorotzkin's other articles regarding perfectionism. Clearly the yeshivos promote this way of thinking.


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114. Knowledge is helpful     10/22/07 - 12:37 AM
Anonymous

TO THOSE WHO THINK ARTICLES AND BLOGS LIKE THIS DON'T HELP, let me say from my personal experience you are wrong. I have daughter who had anorexia and because I read articles about it and heard lectures at high school I (and my wife) jumped on the matter with a slew of doctors and nutritionists and the matter was resolved in record time. My daughter's psychiatrist to this day tells me my daughter holds the record for recovery which he explains is due to the fact that we moved quickly. Without lectures at the local Bais Yaacov we would have been in denial. Unfortunately she has dead friends whose parents never saw it coming for too many years. I do not blame the parents because 12 years we heard very little about this.

We also have three sons. Two were not shomer shabbos by 15 if not earlier. I went to Rabbi Horowitz's first ten part lecture in Brooklyn about ten years ago and read the famous JO article. My wife and kept it under the night table and read and re-read it. My brothers-in-law scoffed at the entire treatise, but we went to more lectures and more doctors and probably spoke to every author in that JO issue. It all helped slowly. Till today I do not know why two went off. Shimon Russel (also an author in that JO issue), said usually the third son won't be a problem and he too was right. Since both sons are now very big masmidim in Lakewood (unbelievable for two boys who hated gemmarra for over five years) they do not yet want to talk about it. So I have to trust people like RH and other in the field for insight.

I my humble opinion anyone who writes about any illness or problem helps those who want to be helped. At the very least going to lectures and doctors helped my wife and I cope. Lastly I spoke to many gedolim about throwing the boys out and many other matters. Answer was then much to my chagrin always NO. It is shame people do not seek advice. I took a lot of advice and I have five very frum happy kids who can answer a lot of questions posed above. BTW the brothers-in-law who scoffed are now having problems but still refuse to seek help and spend money.


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115. General     10/22/07 - 1:44 AM
Anonymous

First, the phenomenon of kids going off the "derech" en masse is hardly new. Growing up in the sixties and attending "frum" yeshivos, many many of my contemporaries at least strayed from the straight and narrow. Some returned. Second, the trend for the longest time is to take kids out of the environment of the parents' home and to put them in yeshiva. To some extent, the yeshvas/ot, delegitimize their parents. Their is no counterweight to any conflict that brews within the yeshiva. The parent cannot provide a religious model or buffer because the yeshiva insists that it is the only legitimate arbiter of a child's time and behavior. Third, while religiou is a serious issue, I think many mechanchim push it too far. I remember when my oldest son was in pre 1A his "rebbi" (a man who was fired for character issues) complained that this 5 year "nemt nisht oif zich dem oil" (is not sufficiently intense in his religious attitude), 10 Years later this extremely gifted, sensitive, and polite child was faulted by another rosh yeshiva for not being a yiras shomayim. Pretty steep for a fourteen year old. I can't begin to describe the journey this kid took. I believe he was always observant of the biggie mitzvas but he lived through quite a miserable adolescence --- mostly for the crime of thinking for himself and expressing it strongly (and honestly).

Back ot the point, kids are being taught complex ideas, conflict (machlokes) and are being held to an extremely high standard of behavior. Yet, on the other hand, they are being told that they cannot be trusted, that they are children (adults in their religion - children in their ability to choose behaviors). They smell a contradiction This is only the begining.

More, the life their parents live is not legitimate, Other Jews -- other yeshivot - other... are not legitimate. Yet, they have Rabbonim, they are shomer shabbos, they may be honored at the school melave malka etc...

I think there is a need to train mechanchim professionally to be sensitive to the nuances of children. It has always been my imprsssion, and I wish some kid from Azrieli would be given permission to do a study on this, that the "average" kid is well served by the elementary school yeshiva. He will grow up not extremely knowledgable in his religion but he will be willing to "ask the rov". It is the 20 percent on the two extremes that are most at risk. The extremely bright kid is not going to be served by the Ysshiva unless he or she is unusually motivated by learning and has the patience to sit still while others catch up. The academically weak child will be harassed and will almost certainly seek the company, comfort, and acceptance of other marginanlized kids. Often this will lead to self destructive behavior.

There's much much more. And, yes, it is not all the Rebbi's and Yeshiva's fault. We all contribute to this. Good luck on a solution. At this point I think only Hashem in his chesed will aleviate the situation. --- but, that doesn't excuse us from trying.


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116. Introjets     10/22/07 - 2:53 AM
Ak

Hi, As Rav Dessler says - quoted in Coercision is not chinuch , until a kid exercises be'chirah , puts in something from his own personality and develops his own values, it is still mitzvot Anashim Melumada or to use a modern term we are fostering ' introjets '-where kids in some way swallow the values whole and feel pressurized from the inside to act accordingly instead of internalizing values and see them as enimating from themselves.

Reference quoted by Dr Sorotzkin

Rayan and Deci (2000) found in their research that parents who were more autonomy supportive promoted greater religious identification, as opposed to introjection, in their offspring and that teens who have been exposed to cold, controlling maternal care were more likely to develop materialistic orientation,


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117. to anonymous 114:     10/22/07 - 9:53 AM
Anonymous

You write about a daughter with anorexia and two sons who were not shomer Shabbos by age 15. You wrote about their successful rehabilitation, which is remarkable, and how reading articles helped. But that was after the tragedies took place! What would have helped to prevent them? No articles to help you with that?


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118. apologetics     10/22/07 - 10:11 AM
Anonymous

I found peace of mind through lectures by Rabbi Mechanic and Rabbi Millstein, basically saying that an old universe or evolution are not incompatible with the Torah.

I'm sorry to hear that the way they are "helping" is by attempting to make Torah fit science. Our Torah sages throughout the centuries did not speak in terms of an old universe and evolution. It is only NOW, because of certain scientific claims, that some frum Jews are referring to an excerpt from a Rishon or a Medrash that supposedly supports modern-day claims.

Science, as the study of the world around us, is no contradiction to Torah. It couldn't possibly be a contradiction since G-d looked into Torah and created the world! Please, let us not lower Torah in our attempts to placate our youth (and adults) by bowing to science!


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119. i'm an adult-off the derech     10/22/07 - 10:33 AM
tzvi

a year & a half ago- i participated at a panel organized by the Carlebach Shul regarding "off the derech" - one of the panelists, Rabbi Stauber, made a good point - he said that throughout history there has always been a very large attrition rate in Yiddishkiet ie. 80% of the Jews died in Makos Chosech who didn't want to leave Egypt. Judaism is an opportunity & a privilege- whomever doesn't want it-here is the door- ( Judaism will perpetuate with or without you )- though this sounds harsh- i believe it's an important piece of the picture. Thank you Rabbi Horowitz for keeping the lines of communication open.


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120.     10/22/07 - 11:24 AM
M

"whomever doesn't want it-here is the door-"

That was never the attitude. On the contrary, sefarim speak about all Jews corresponding to letters in a Sefer Torah. How if one is missing, the Torah is pasul, the Jewish people are lacking. "Whoever sustains one Jewish soul, it's like he sustains an entire world," and the opposite is true too.

That all Jews are one unit; we all affect and are affected by one another. That collectively we are like a body; if the toe hurts, the entire body suffers.


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121. how is it a solution?     10/22/07 - 1:45 PM
M

Rabbi Daniel Mechanic, I would be interested in getting your feedback on comments 93,95,and 97. I wonder how your program is a solution when many think that unanswered questions are not the problem.


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122. Victims of our own success     10/22/07 - 5:06 PM
Yitzchok - Brooklyn, N.Y.

The value system in western civilization today, is due to the revelations we, the Jewish people, have been a symbol of, since Sinai. This has created hardship for us, the practicioners of "Mitzvos Maasiyos" when we seek to bequeath our heritage to the next generation. Example: The lip service paid to a Mitzvah like Lulav, Esrog, Hadasim, Aravos. While we proclaim to 'bind together' all types of Jews, we don't rethink our decisions to 'not send our kids to a certain Bais Yaakov- "they accept Russians"...... and indeed as soon as Yom Tov is over, off our daughters go, on the bus with 'our own'... 'Heimish'e... whereas in America, we all enjoy treatment based upon the premise that 'all men are created equal'. RAMBAN, in numerous places explains that Mitzvos like "Lo sachsom shor v'chamor yachdov" , was designed to protect the poor Donkey who might be overworked by the more powerful ox, And today, many of us view issues like animal abuse with disdain. No, I'm not a animal rights activist, nor am I a tree hugging environmentalist. But I do resent the mockery heaped upon people, reasonable, rational leaders like Al Gore, in articles like the one just published this past week in the Yated, titled-"A Prize For What?" in which the author goes on to scorn Mr. Gore for his contributions to awareness of global warming, as if it's a Mitzvah to spit in the face of scientific fact. Please don't insult our intelligence! The reason we have a "shchitah" system is questioned by RAMBAN, 'what difference does it make to G-D wether an animal is slaughtered by slitting it's throat or some other way?' again RAMBAN presses the Torah value of teaching us to be Rachmonim, and yet, when a Kashrus scandal forces entire neighborhoods to "kasher" their kitchens, the immediate reaction is to enact more stringent 'chumros' involving shecitah, rather than asking ourselves -do we deserve kosher meat?- . We do? with Rabbonim and Roshei Yeshivah mercilessly bickering over power and control? with Batei Din a laughing stock?

Our children are famished, theyr'e starving for meaning. They are confused when they realize that for the parts they can see and feel, the goyim (whom's civilized values have originated with us) are really not that bad, except the goyim have alot more fun, and after getting on and off the schoolbus thousands of times, subconciously realize that the kindly busdriver, the school janitor, the irreligious assistant cook, has better Middos then many of the people teaching them Torah, to the point where it has truly become 'Or V'choshech mishtamshim b'arvuvia' , light and darkness now function together, creating a state of confusion, in Bochurim especially-(and now, normal ones), 40% of whom spend much of the day in idleness because of the unrealistic curriculum, the brainchild of ... (fill in the blank), children and many an adult unrealizing what happens to this outwardly civil system when the nations are tested B'kos, kis, v'kaas R'L. I'm reminded of a remark the Kotzker once made; "I don't fear hunger, I do fear the "achzoriyos" hunger will bring".

So, in many respects, the outside orderliness of what modern society aspires to, untested by war or rampant hunger, inspired by Judeau values=us, and has indeed in many respects, surpassed us, has made us victims of our own success in our attempt to convey the deep spiritual connection these popularized values contain within everyday mitzvos maasiyos.

It's a lonely challenge, a challenge in which we have few living examples.

A challenge that requires each and every one of us to convey subtle ideas as individuals, in opposition to spineless leaders- who fail to call the shots as they see them-

Or we become messengers.

Who have forgotten the message.


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123.     10/22/07 - 8:28 PM
Anonymous

Just because you bought into the globlal warming frenzy doesn't mean it's right and true. There are plety reputable scientists to discount Gore's conclusions. If you seek mentchlichkeit in others, respect other's views yourself.

I personally think that anyone who accepts a Nobel Peace Prize, and allows himself to be included with the likes of Arafat and Carter, deserves our scorn.

...subconciously realize that the kindly busdriver, the school janitor, the irreligious assistant cook, has better Middos then many of the people teaching them Torah

on what basis do you make this disgusting remark?


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124.     10/22/07 - 8:57 PM
yoni

on what basis do you make this disgusting remark?

you don't like that remark do you? you don't like the fact that american non MO jews are the most materialistic people I have ever seen on the entire planet, including the rich? You do not see the kind of opulent weddings that frum people throw (all to impress their neighbors) in any non-jews who earn under 3 or 4 hundred k, and even then. Many, many non-jews throw happy weddings that are quite, and tznius, and yet you never see and orthodox jew doing such a thing do you? Infact, generaly from what I've heard and personaly seen, weddings can be quite a hotbed of hatred amoungst frum yidden, with generaly one of the two guilting and humiliating the other in to putting out sums of money that are most unreasonable and irrational, unaffordable and rediculous, just in order not to "shame themselves". Well y'know what? non-jews DON"T CARE ABOUT SUCH THINGS! They do not care about showing off (which automaticaly means they are more tznius than most jews I've ever met, as tznius in dress is only the most external part of being tznius. IN not flirting excecively is also more external, although less so. Showing opulent displays of conspicuous consumption is entirely antithetical to everything tznius ever stood for, or do you decapatate tznius and castrate it by pretending in your fantasy that the only thing were tznius has any relevance is in making girls cover up?) how much they make, or how much they earn. How do I know this? because I know thousands of non-jews, and practicaly none of them believe this way. They live modestly and within their means. 95% of them would not dream of telling the kind of lashon hara I hear almost every jew I ever knew tell. 95% of them would never, ever be a selfish and pigheaded as I see my orthodox jewish brotheren being, as when they triple park, cut in line, Bully other people in to doing what they want, etc. No non-jew I have ever met would EVER leave a place as much of a mess as jews often leave it, because non-jews these days understand the concept of decency, which jews evidently do not. They also do not lie (ever heard of the shidduch system? its methods of "reasearch" which are nothing more than a rediculous game of lies, deception, and gossip, because if any of you cared about your kids half as much as you seem to care about how other people look at you, you'd have the common decency to recognize that lying when it comes to a shidduch, or even withholding information does nothing to help your child, and damages their future, and their personal dignity, and risks finding people with whom they will be miserable with, all in persuit of worthless social status), earn an honest dollar (which, I can regretably say that many orthodox jews are more than willing do defraud others these days and I find it appauling), and many other things.

Let us face it, there are SERIOUS problems with the orthodox world today, and our little children are mirroring selfish parents, not the outside world. All of the things that jewish educators decry about the outside world are not true as any person who has ever had any more than a tiny amount of dealing with it can clearly attest.

Torah is a beautifull body of knowledge, but we seem to pay so little attention to its values and instead persure heval v'shtussim so much that we loose site of everything, and then have the gaul to blame it on non-jews, who for all of their fautls, do NOT posses any of the faults frum jews accuse them of having but one! That one single one is that they are very very loose in terms of their intimacy, which is actualy less of a halachic problem than MOST of the narishkeit that jews have developed on their own, entirely independant of the non-jewish world.

(and how do I know, because I have met and know litteraly thousands on non-jews, I go to a non-jewish college, and spent some time in public school, even though I have been frum basicaly all my life, from when I was born untill now, except with a tiny little exception in the elementery years. I have met them, I have seen the non-jewish world, and honestly, jewish enclaves like new york look like cespits of sin and vanity in comparison.)

(this is not to say that out of towners are anywhere half so bad. Many, or even most out of towners and MO are Not even a hundreth as bad as the ultra orthodox jews are, and this is not to say that all "in town" jews are so shallow, its not true, I have met many who are uniquely exemplary.)

and why on earth does this bother me so much? Why am I so willing to recongnize it? BECAUSE SOMEONE WHOM I DEEPLY WANTED TO MARRY RAN AWAY FROM ME AND FROM JUDAISM BECUASE OF THIS STUPIDITY! Why don't you open your eyes and see the other major thing that is driving kids away, the fact that they often see that dispite all the jewish claims to the contrary, when they finaly encounter the non-jewish world, they find that many, or even most non-jews have superior moral fiber to most "in-town" jews.

Does this mussar hurt? To find out that it is not the non-jewish street that is courupting our yiddishe world, but the yiddishe world its self which is taking stated ideals and putting them on a pedistal no non-jew would ever place them? To find out that yiddishe children are leaving in droves because their parents and their communities are groups full of hypocritical liars who denounce the outside world which they find is not nearly so bad or evil, and then when they look and find us so below par that they run for it? that it is you own sins and shortcommings that is driving kids alway from all of the good holy and pure teachings in torah, because most cannot realize that the jews are not living up to their torah?

GOOD, because it should! sit on this fact for a few days, dwell on it and internalize it and continuously ask your self, am I really doing the best I could do and not making rationalizations for bad behavior? am I really being as tznius about my expendatures and clothing-cost as I could be? are my simchas appropirately modest as torah demands (clearly not, if you think so then you are to far gone to ever come back)?

think about this LONG AND HARD and then see just how so many like you are driving away good, kind, sweet children because they see that so many of our people are lying theives!


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125. Give me a break: Mr. I know a 1000 Gentiles     10/22/07 - 10:46 PM
Anonymous - Lawrence NY

I am 52 and I do not know a thousand anybodies. I too went to a very good college down south, Duke. I see how kind those nice liberal secular and gentile professors were with the Lacrosse players. In 1980 to 1982 I was an assistant US Attorney and then I spent time in the Pentagon also as an attorney. And guess what? I found that there are a lot bad guys out there. Drug dealers, thieves, doctors who cheated the US government and you may be in for a surprise but they were black, Christians, atheists, Indians, blue blood Anglos and Jews. Jews are not some super bad guys. My present law partners are not jewish and they make big parties too and they drink a lot. So do I so we get along. Do you think only ultra orthodox jews have nice houses? Do you read "House and Garden"? I have been in really big houses and there was nothing kosher to eat so I guess someone else also have those mansions. The federal prisons are NOT teaming with Jews. Their numbers are about representative of the their population. This is sad. But your diatribe against those avaricious ortho's is plainly a figment of your delusional angst.


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126.     10/22/07 - 10:51 PM
Shuli

Thank you for your articles. They help me focus on my kids better.


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127. Sarah Schnerir     10/23/07 - 9:58 AM
M

In "Carry Me in your Heart," a book about Sarah Schenirer it says that the secret to her success was the joy and enthusiasm for mitzvos and avodas Hashem that she instilled in the girls.

She said youth is about happiness, optimism, hope, belief in ideals and belief in self.

Coldness and indifference are anti-youth.

So there you have it. If a child is apathetic to Yiddishkeit, something went very wrong in their chinuch both at home and at school.

yoni - what would the Rebbe say about your condemnation of Jews? about your high praise for gentiles while denigrating Jews? Your comment belongs on an anti-Semitic blog.


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128. Yitzchok     10/23/07 - 11:12 AM
S

"subconciously realize that the kindly busdriver, the school janitor, the irreligious assistant cook, has better Middos then many of the people teaching them Torah"

Sir, I advise you to get your kids out of their school ASAP. It sounds like you are seriously abdicating your responsibilities to allow your chilren to learn in an environment wherein the non-Jewish driver/janitor displays better Middos than the educators. My children have wonderful role models in their educators, and I hope they truly imbibe and integrate the special Middos they see daily. I wouldn't wait another day- take them out TODAY.

"So, in many respects, the outside orderliness of what modern society aspires to, untested by war or rampant hunger, inspired by Judeau values=us, and has indeed in many respects, surpassed us"

On second thought, if you admire current Western morality, then perhaps it doesn't pay to pull your chidren from their school- what they see at home is far more powerful, and school values wouldn't stand a chance. You see a civilized, genteel society- open your eyes, (unless they're stuck way down in the sand, in which case you would need to lift your head out before opening your eyes)and take in the sights of rampant marital faithlessness, betrayal, backstabbing in the offices and professional world, half undressed individuals practically begging for immorality, endless pilfering and stealing, even in white collar society, and yes, outrageous vacations and plenty of ostentatious mansions, gardens, and adult toy technology.

Frum society has many areas requiring improvement, and calls for improvement are important- we need as many participants as possible joining in to effect change and raise the bar on our Yiddishkeit and daily practices and behavior. But if you see Middos and morality of non-Jewish society contrasting favorably with your children's Morahs and Rebbeim, reality is not a factor for you, and you've placed yourself outside of coherent, intelligent debate.

"A challenge that requires each and every one of us to convey subtle ideas as individuals, in opposition to spineless leaders- who fail to call the shots as they see them"

I think that's your punchline.

Our horrible, no-good leaders. I hope your children don't hear you speak thus, because that's the first step in the slippery slope downwards. And the best shortcut to arrogance and a self-concept of superiority. Those who are concerned about what children see and internalize need to model respect and humbleness, among other nice things to have.

Otherwise, I'm afraid the rot is from the inside, and no finger pointing outward can minimize the significance of the three fingers simultaneously pointing inward.


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129. great homes?     10/23/07 - 12:22 PM
Anonymous

13-14 years old boys and girls. High achieving in school. No emotional problems; great, respectful kids from great homes.

On what basis are you saying they come from great homes? Because the parents said so? How is a "great home" being defined?

If their children are so apathetic to Yiddishkeit that they eat on Yom Kippur and don't keep Shabbos and kosher, doesn't that tell you that their homes are not great?


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130.     10/23/07 - 12:41 PM
Too long in Galus

Yoni, I'm guessing you had to expect that your words would elicit some strong negative responses. Still, your article points to some very stinging truths that must be acknowledged in order to stem the tide of abandoning Yiddishkeit. On the other hand, I also saw in between the lines an acknowledgement that it is not Torah you object to, but the wayward practices of Jews who call themselves, and are called by others, Torah observant. Please try to keep this separation in mind, and don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. You can make your own way through a Torah-observant life, minus the hypocrisies. As for the non-Jewish world, well, if their ways seem superior across the board, then it is only a sign of how far we have come from true Torah, which is a light to the other nations when practiced honestly. In reading the many posts on this blog I am coming to have a different perspective on the potential of those who leave the klal. I know of others whose self-respect will not accept living a pretense but are willing to face exile from the klal in order to be honest with themselves. Perhaps from them will come a fresh and pure Torah, having learned from our mistakes.


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131.     10/23/07 - 4:33 PM
Anonymous

Kids will allways see through hyprocity. when you have for example yeshivas taking dirty money or adults telling kids not to do drugs while these same adults are guzzling Johnie Blue at kiddush every week what do you expect the kids to think?


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132. why the goyim are happy     10/23/07 - 4:42 PM
Nechama

Yoni, your words are very poignant.

Goyim have a much easier, simple life. As far as obligations go, they only have 7, while we have 613. Some don't apply today, but some are real biggies, like Torah learning, which takes a great deal of our time, Minyan, which can be exceedingly difficult - both to get there, and emotionally, to have Kavana, or to forgive ourselves when we don't manage; Kashrus, which quadruples the space and time needed in the kitchen and halves the effects of creativity, Shabbos, which requires a ton of planning, to get the physical and emotional aspects in balance. That's not to mention that Judaism lauds and encourages parents to have a large family, enabling more people to have the gift of life (and an education, and Middos training, etc).

So that's partly why Goyim are just happier. They're life is just simpler. They have more time to do people favors, less stressors that they have more space for a smile, less worries, less goals, etc. They have the whole day - their whole life stretching out ahead of them - and nothing that they need to do. It is relatively easy to get a job with a salary that covers their needs (even if an orthodox jew lives simply, their basic Torah needs equal about 8 times that of the non-Jew).

I think that this is a major reason that kids prefer to live like non-Jews. It is often a simpler life, and much easier to make it a happy life.

It's not only opulence that have created this sadness, it is also just observance of the Mitzvos that Hashem gave.

But with thought and effort, we can all try to add as much joy as we can, to compromise, to recognize when we are doing some things to impress; or when it's a chumra we shouldn't be doing (I still love the analogy of Rabbi Horowitz to a canary in a gold mine). We need good friends to talk things through with and get criticism on how we can make our lives that bit more peaceful.


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133. Yoni     10/23/07 - 7:07 PM
Yitzchok - Brooklyn, N.Y.

The anger you exhibited in your previous post left me breathless. After reading it a few times, questioning in my mind the searing- accross the board indictment- you leveled against so many of us, I realized that it was an expression of pain because of the woman with whom you wanted to build a Bayis Ne'mon v'Kodosh B'yisroel- who left Yiddishkeit- and you- because of her unfortunate treatment, maltreatment some other people still don't acknowledge. I realize that you speak with a bitter heart. I'm truly sad about the breakup you endure.

It is for this reason that I don't join the mob in criticizing you, and don't nitpick your choice of words like the D.A. in Lawrence, although I don't share your paintbrush.

I do need to tell you- for whatever its worth- that youv'e done something incredibly special, that being, allowing the object of your affection to walk out the door because she left Yiddishkeit! You stuck to your guns! You are a man of principle! WOW!

Yonah, the Chidushei HaRim Z'L interperts, Havei don es kol haadam l'kaf z'chus, to mean, that when judging others, we need to take 'kol haadam' - all and every aspect of the man- including his father, mother, sister, brother, where he was, what he saw, what he did not have the opportunity to see, what he experienced, what his perceptions are/were, what he could not perceive or hear, and the myriad other factors that are to be taken into account when we judge others actions. It is then, that you can truthfully judge 'man' lkaf zchus.It is in this spirit that I ask you to ignore the negativity, which has come forth-youv'e made yourself a big target for an establishment that is now twisting in the wind, wondering how to break the clock, as their best answer to the crisis of "running out of time". Another real winner of a response is to change the subject by highlighting the "kiruv" activities we need to be engaging in. You can't make this stuff up! The very fact Yonah, that you take precious time, to troll and post on this blog, where it now seems that you don't have children in the system, tells me that you care deeply about these issues, tells me that you don't want to leave, really something I already knew because you could've left with with your beloved, just increases my respect for you. Yes, you're in pain. So am I. So are so many people you and I know in our respective circles. Think about it, think about the case, now in the legal system, in which a longstanding mechanech is finally being brought to justice for crimes committed against young boys over the course of decades! And yet these people will attack anyone for relating their negative experiences by denying their legitimacy. They can't believe that there are physically, and especially- mentaly abusive people in charge of our most vulnerable. I know that some of you will jump on me now for using extreme cases as an example. Hold your fire!!!! I only use an extreme and rare case like this as an illustration that there are real people, real neshomos that are and have been hurt over a long period of time. Where are the checks and balances? Who is in control of the Yeshivah world private schools? In my personal experience, I have been subjected to 'mechanchim' who's only resume was their relation to Rabbi so and so... no shaichus to chinuch.... If you have an issue or a problem, and go to the 'higher ups' to complain, you get the soft look of a 'Rebbe', acting as though they have real empathy, lifting their hands slowly into the air, palms outstreched (no pun intended) as if to say... what can I do, he's my brother in law.... -Nepotism - Do not deligitimize those of us that have nightmares about our formulative years!!!

A Din Torah was once decided in the court of the famous Oheiv Yisroel. The loser of the D.T. started to weep very bitterly. Upon wittnessing the loser in his state of distress, the Rebbe called both parties back into his chamber and worked out a amicable settelment so that both parties were satisfied. The Rebbe, seeing the astonishment on the faces of the onlookers, gave the following explanation: 'Torah, said the Rebbe- D'rocheho Darkei Noam- the ways of torah are sweet' So when I observed the 'loser' so bitter, so distraught, I knew in my heart that my Psak could not be the right one, so I called the sparring parties back untill an acceptable resolution was reached.' In the world of true Torah Judaism, there are no 'losers', only Neshamos.


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134.     10/23/07 - 9:57 PM
yoni

I have an obligation to judge every individual for merit, and yet the klal, where we are so woefully lacking, I cannot stop crying out the facts until people know, change, and turn from evil ways to good ones. Because every single one of those children, innocent children matters, each one of them is an entire world, and loosing even one yiddishe neshama is a tradgety of global porportions, and lets us answer honestly, I do not think that there is a single one of us who is not guilty of one of the things I mentioned, and I suspect that everyone of us, old or young, has seen the entire list violated by someone (and not necessarily by the same person) three or two times, or maybe at least once.

will you deny this?

We are not following torah, we are not emulating hakodesh barechu, and we are not emulating our forefathers, AND HASHEM ISN"T HAPPY ABOUT IT! He's taking isreal away from us and do not any of you see it? Are you all blind? chumash tells us in parshas kedoshim what will whill cause isreal to fly from our hands, and TZNIUS CLOTHES ARE NOT ONE OF THEM! BOYS AND GIRLS TALKING IS NOT ONE OF THEM! hatred of your fellow is. Peverting justice is. Afflicting the ger is. DID you not notice that just before the expulsion from gush katif rabbi amar (my hashem have mercy) put through a suggestion that judaism only recognize the conversions of 5 rabbis? (which has since increased) DO you not see how hashem is telling us to turn to him? DO you not understand that in times of physical danger people behave with achdus, and so hashem sends physical danger to our beloved brothers in isreal and yet what happens? WE HURT, HUMILIATE, ABANDON, AND TRY TO KILL our fellow jews, with no justification! Where is the achdus? HASHEM IS CRYING TO SEND MOSHIACH, BUT HE cannot do so untill we get along, love each other, and act and behave humbily with him! DON"T ANY OF YOU UNDERSTAND?!


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135. to Nechama     10/24/07 - 9:51 AM
M

I am astonished by your comment. You assert that goyim are happier. Says who? Are the bookstores filled with self-help books and the mental health profession exploding, the numbers of people taking anti-depressants and sundry other medications any indication that people out there are not only happy but happier?

You think we need to ADD JOY to our lives as though living a Torah life is a drudgery and we need to prop it up with some joy?!

What happened to "Ashreinu, mah tov chelkeinu, u'ma na'im goraleinu"?


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136. Yoni     10/24/07 - 11:36 AM
S

Your bitter feelings and deep hurt regarding the breakup with your girlfriend is understandable.

Being that you are in college now, there must be lots of temptation- today's campuses are hotbeds of immorality- and I understand why you would try to minimize issues of tznius.

If you are strong, you will graduate with your values intact, and perhaps go on to graduate school or the adult working world with the satisfaction of having overcome the rampant temptations of the college scene.

You are blaming all of frum society for your pain, and again, this is understandable. Both your age and your painful breakup are fertile soil for this way of thinking. I won't tell you to stop (since when do college kids listen to advice :)) but I do hope that you will also engage in some inner reflection, and try to ascertain your own responsibilities in your life.

Those who go through life forever pointing fingers can look forward to a bitter, empty, and unproductive life. I know you want better for yourself. I have seen adults who will forever remain children, and fail to take responsibility for their own actions because of anger and resentment at past failings of their parents and other authority. Truly, children in adult bodies.

Strengthen yourself, work on your Middos, take concrete steps to protect yourself from the decadency of your current environment (which, despite your tirade that boro park is worse, is a true cesspool- and yes, you CAN strengthen your resolve and emerge the stronger for it), make plans for the future (career, marriage, place of residence) with the help of an adult mentor who is a true Yorei Shamayim and Ba'al Middos, and focus on sincere growth.

Your own past experiences can be the springboard for enormous inner achievement; perhaps many years down the line, the dignity, inner peace, and spiritual growth that you will have achieved will help you serve as a role model and mentor for others.

You can do it.


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137.     10/24/07 - 12:16 PM
yoni

I am not minimizing tznius, only pointing out that tznius clothing, in the long run, is a tiny part of it. Personaly, college holds little temptation for me. I've seen hardly any immorality here (although I know other campuses are worse, most people here are married or about to be), and have very little desire to engage in non tznius activities. THey simply are shallow, uninteresting, and unmeaningful, and rather leave a person feeling dirty, so I'm just not all that interested.

So no, personaly I don't see the connection between wanting to minimize tznius and being in college. Did you think so little of me that I'd be interested in a meaningless and shallow physical relationship?

no, The issue is as I have said, our children are abandoning their father in heaven, and we need to recognize the multitute of disasters ahead, the pains and the sorrows that await us if we do not turn from our errant path, and confront them head on! Hiding the problem will only serve to make things worse!

I am crying for the children, I am crying for those whom I knew who were good children with a great future, that for a variety of reasons have abandoned their people, and I am frustrated that so many are ignoring and discounting the problem! You are insinuating that I am still hurt over my friend, well I have news for you, that was some time ago, and I have gotten over it already. Yet how many people are losing their besherets because they are leaving hashem's people, how many greiving parents are loosing children and blaming the outside world for OUR problems! They are problems of OUR making, each and every single one of us has a stake in the problems, and participates in them and has a responsibility to correct them.

What angers me about this the most is that everysingle time we have an issue brought up amoungst our people, the universal result is to point outside the klal for these probems and complain "if only they would change!" "if only our daughters would be more tznius!" "if only the world didn't exist we'd have no problems!"

IT is rediculous and the behavior of the 4 year old child, and I will not stay quiet while we betray hashem, his torah, and everything that it stands for! While we fight amoungst ourselves like little children about stupid things. I promise you, if we continue to engage in our melodramatics about insignificant issues, then hashem will give us some real problems, and they're comming soon, and when they come, do not dare say "if only we knew we wouldn't have done it!" "if only someone told us!"

PEOPLE ARE TELLING YOU AND YOU ARE NOT LISTENING! off the derech children are telling you and you are making excuses and you are throwing up your hands because you are too arogant and full of yourselves to admit that we have some serious problems, and they are destroying us from the inside out, and they have nothing to do with the secular world, and everything to do with our wrong and non-torah perspectives and mindset!

WE have to take action, NOW! Not just you and not me, not just everyone else, BUT EVERY ONE OF US, and join together and actualy have some sort of achdus, real achdus, kindsness, understanding, and getting rid of things like the mashkante used on boys who talk to girls, beating up girls who do not dress to chumradik standards of modesty, damaging their property, these are all OUR problems, as are the ostentatious and non-tznius weddings that we have in our midst. A MACHITZAH AT A WEDDING DOES NOTHING TO MAKE IT TZNIUS WHEN THE WEDDING ITS SELF IS A GARISH, AND OFFENSIVE DISPLAY OF VULGAR CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION! non-jews do not do this, we did not get it from them!

at least have the courage to admit to the problems in our midst, because only then can each and every one of us seek to change it in our personal lives.

I for one, when I get married, am going to do everything I can to have a modest wedding, one that does not attempt to show up everyone else. Are you commiting to making your next barmitzvah a modest affair, perhaps nothing more than sponsering a nicer than usual shallos seudis in shul, as was the custome of our fathers in europe? Are you commiting to making your bris a quiet affair, without all the waste of funds, and perhaps even giving the extra to tzadakah if you instist on spending it?


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138.     10/24/07 - 12:51 PM
S

Yoni,

You wrote in a previous comment on this thread:

"and why on earth does this bother me so much? Why am I so willing to recongnize it? BECAUSE SOMEONE WHOM I DEEPLY WANTED TO MARRY RAN AWAY FROM ME AND FROM JUDAISM BECUASE OF THIS STUPIDITY!"

It appears that this was something very painful for you, and as you say, the primary "reason" why frum society's ills, as you percieve them, bother you so much.

Again, your continued finger pointing to all of society may contain many truths (albeit exaggerated for many families and lacking nuance) but is not the route to personal growth.

Those who want to grow look inward.

When I myself engage in reflection and determine that my child's Bris will be homemade on a modest scale rather than catered, I looked inward, not outward at lavish celebrations of some others. The latter would have given me a great sense of self righteousness and the emotional high of "The whole world is so wrong! Why do so few people recognize the emptiness of their actions!!", but it would not have led to self-growth. Giving shrill critisism is addictive, and can easily take the place on the true work- working on oneself.

One additional point- when it is determined that giving Tochachah IS helpful and constructive, it pays to be honest, which establishes one's maturity and credibility. Therefore, one might say,

"I have seen weddings which had all flowers from a Gemach, a one-man low priced band, in a simple hall with the family dressing tastefully but not ostentatiously, no fancy dessert table or other extravagances, and the Simcha was so beautiful and meaningful. It is a crying shame that those who throw lavish, extravagant affairs seemingly intended to show off, cannot emulate the individuals who know the value of tznius."

To paint all of frum society with a condemning brush is to completely demean the efforts of so many noble families who strive to inculcate their families with true tznius and Jewish values. And Yoni, if you have not seen these families, you have been around very little. For all the "thousands" of non-Jews that you assert you "know", it might be time to get to know some very wonderful frum Jewish families, to give you a more developed perspective.

If you do continue in your current mode of unfettered critisism, I will refrain from commenting further, for I think you have gotten my point :). You may not be ready to hear it now, but the time of self reflection will come, as it does to all mature and sincere individuals, as it seems you are.

Wishing you Hatzlacha and all the best in your studies and other endeavors.


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139. Success     10/24/07 - 1:55 PM
Ak

Yoni, I have found that if I want to be stimulated , inspired and actualize my potential as a Jew , I need to be surrounded by people I admire and serve as role models. one needs to hang around successful people if you want a to have a vision for the future. Cricism which does not trigger self reflection , justs generates negativity, not very inspiring.


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140. Um, you're not going to like this, but I think those kids are cool for their courage     10/24/07 - 4:37 PM
tedydouglas - the playground - teddy.douglas@gmail.com

The angst, drugs, and promiscuity of older teens in the past may have been the expression of pent up feelings that existed since they were 13 or 14, but were "controlled" by their parents' authority.

Now that kids have a bit more freedom, they are more likely to act how they feel. What we see today in younger teens is what they always felt, but were too afraid to act upon. Nothing's changed (except the drugs, and maybe that is not a bad thing.)

When I was 13, I wanted out, but my parents kept me in the system, sent me to Yeshiva High, where I excelled at learning and being yeshivish. Then I kept my promise to myself and went to college, obstinate individualist that I am, where I was unable to justify the costs of maintaining my differences from everybody else. Oh, I was armed with all the requisite arguments, but I had already accumulated enough hidden resentment that it didn't matter.

If I had "opted out" at a younger age, I could have been dedicated to a Jewish life; this could have been my uniqueness and expression of self in found I a secular world. But after overdosing on yeshivishness, I found I needed to detox.

P.S. the poor rating is not for the article but for the mandatory rating requirement


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141. Re: You're not going to like this     10/25/07 - 1:41 PM
Anonymous

I don't think there's an either /or here. You refer to opting out in a positive tone. What is there had been another option for *you*, like a less-(you should pardon the expression) yeshivish h.s., with a good college prep, or maybe just more freedom when you were a teen. I don't know the restrictions you lived under but some of our kids just need room, an extra-curricular arenas they can excel in, e.g music, wordwork, etc.

This isn't too relevant to the article, I'm talking about you, not so that this thread becomes, Let's Rehabilitate Teddy, but since you extrapolate so much from your experience, clarifying it may be helpful.

And dove-tailing with Adults at Risk, might there be some social/educational framework for kids/young adults in your situation? From the Shmuz to some kiruv organizations who would be welcoming, there must be a place for conflicted kids/young adults to find themselves Jewishly.

Conflicted and focused. A lot of the kids who drop out drop out altogether these days, and aren't focused enough to make it through college. (Which makes me wonder if you're older; no offense intended in assuming you're in the young adult range.)


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142. Yoni     10/25/07 - 4:08 PM
Yitzchok - Brooklyn, N.Y.

'S' ome of us would have you believe that all is really good and well, but for a few minor tweaks. You- I, and everyone other than the the lampposts here, some of whom exhibit minimal understanding of these issues, and have distorted , in my particular case, the essence of my posts, and make it seem as if I said the exact opposite, e.g. what I said about western culture "that is now untested by war or hunger", meaning of course, that we really don't want to find out how their values will hold up if R'L war or hunger comes to our borders- which is an argument IN FAVOR of mitzvos maasiyos! S o much for them. (remember the middle initial between Harry and Truman, dosen't really Stand for anything)

In any case, like the old saying goes 'the fish rots from the head', however in the interest of being Dan L'kaf z'chus, which is a rational approach as well as a Torah one, its important to recognize that the Jewish world has undergone tremendeous upheaval just a very short time ago. A mere couple of grandparents ago, in, just to pick a year 1750, we Jews had, the Vilna gaon, the Besht, both truly great people, both in full combat mode, warring against Spinozian (B. Spinoza 1632-77) era bible critisism influences, the growing haskalah movement, M. Mendelsohn's (1729-86) culture Judaism, as well as the aftershocks of the Sabbatian's, (1626-76) of which there existed quite a few believers in Europe, until the second world war. Throw that in with the hopelessness, disease, plagues, poverty,eruptions of wars , Napolean's conquests, the list goes on and on. The Chasam sofer's (1762-1839) line in the sand, against the nelogen, the zionist appeal by the likes of T.Herzl (1860-1904), the dreyfus affair, Beilis, WW1, the closing of Yeshiva's like Valoshin, the Pogroms, the countless new upstart organizations like Bundistn etc. etc. Again the list goes on, hundreds of thousands of jews emigrating to America, many of them immediately tossing their Teffilin overboard... untill the final - or what was planned to be - the final solution R'L. a solution that left the skeleton of European Jewry, wretched, spent souls, to start anew, fresh out of the oven and into the frying pan of a new type of nisayon...

Libraries have been filled, recounting each of the issues and people in the previous paragraph.

To think for a minute that after being through the washing machine-spin cycle, the dryer, the oven , the frying pan, is something to "just get over", is an irrational expectation.

We are again a new young nation, but when we walk the streets of Boro Park, keep in mind that the discomfort, the unwelcoming stuffy smell you experience, is a stench that is still mixed with, the odor of smoldering flesh.

When you walk around just a single block in a frum neighborhood, look up at the signs on the Shtiblach, and by the time you get around the block, if you know your geography, you'd think you were just in epcot strolling around the world... and you are!

Each and every Shul, each streetcorner, each allyway, represents horrific losses, unhealed wounds, million's that beg you- and me- for meaningfull renewal.

Hisnaari, Meofor Kumi: As we get up off the ground, the first thing we do, instinctivly, is, Livshi Bigdei Tifartech Ami. We get dressed, in beautiful clothes, we're not there yet.... It's still only- Korvo El Nafshi Geolo... wer'e not even fully awake.... Then.. Hisorreri, Kvod H' Olayich Nigloh..

Wer'e not embarrassed with our identity anymore: Lo Seivoshu. BUT NOW- We are up to Yomin Usmol Tifrotsi, we are dressed in beautiful clothing,driving nice cars... wer'e spreading, B'H, -IT"S TIME TO BRING MEANING TO IT ALL- "V'es Hashem Taaritzi" then the Simchos, tasteful tzniosdik Simchos, will be "Venismecho V'nogiloh" true happiness.

But, dear leaders of Sheeris Yisroel, do not abdicate your responsibilities to B'nei Yisroel in your charge. We don't want to continue seeing the the back row Hatzoloh vollanteers, the members of Chaveirim, the poor neglected 'unimportant' B.T. , as the real most impressive part of Yiddishkeit, as we turn around to watch our de-facto leaders, who get the first row in in welcoming the Shabbos Queen during the brief moment's of BOEE B'SHOLOM.

Yoni, may you find your Queen, with whom you will enjoy a life lived in good conscience.


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143. Numb Blabber Bursts From My Lips, Sorry     10/26/07 - 12:08 AM
teddydouglas - teddy.douglas@gmail.com

to anonymous: There are other options, at a variety of levels. From CHAT or RAMAZ, to RAMBAM to Southshore, to Yesodei to Philly, there is a wide range of styles. Some have stronger college prep, others try to sneak in more yeshivish hashkafah against parents' wishes, others represent the parents who prefer a yeshivish curriculum.

However, aside from the hard-line yeshivish with the mandate of heaven, most of these are lacking a firm theological/philosophical footing. Luminaries like SRH and JBS provided that in their days, but there is no one at RAMAZ today who can explain why God wants them to do what they are doing (in a way that holds up to critical examination).

So the right dissociates from the world, demeans a liberal arts education, and they sit and learn and stay away from secular influences, while at the other end of the spectrum, people are placing such a high value on mainstream society that going to a Jewish school at all requires justification. In the middle, you just feel like mush in th middle.

maybe this isn't the forum for a personal discussion, we can chat over email (perhaps we have?)


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144. re 143 (144?)     10/26/07 - 12:46 PM
anonymous613

I wrote the earlier post a few ago, forgot to "sign" it.

No, we haven't talked, though I think we share some of the same hopes for the system. This thread is dying down, and overlapping with others, so I'll just say this: I don't know how much good this commenting is doing, but I will trust that since this is associated with R. Horowitz, someone is paying attention, and some of us may well be quoted in the next Torah Umesorah, or even Agudah conventions.

It is sad that from what you see, the MO and middle of the road schools are losing their directions. Here is my own personal experience that I hope others can learn from. I'm yeshivish, or what can pass for it out of town ;-) Most of my kids are probably headed for some time in kollel. But they have had great examples - their parents (if I may say so) and gradparents, who are living in the world yet also deeply committed to their Yiddishkeit, so they don't dread the possibility or inevitability of one day leaving the cocoon. I think that all of our schools, from MO to the right, need to emphasize to the PARENTS that with hard work on their part and siyata d'Shamaya they too can telegraph this message to their kids.

I know, I guess I'm saying what's been said already - curb the materialism and superficiality - but with a twist: let the schools use what may be their greatest asset, the parents, to work as partners, regain their vision, and do as best by the kids as they can. This may help regain that middle ground lost in a culture that seems to leave no options but "either or".

Good Shabbos.


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145. re comment #105 about Project Chazon     12/12/07 - 9:59 AM
Anonymous

in response to comment 105 about Project Chazon and in response to all the comments on this blog about children and adults with shaky emuna and the need to teach children proofs for G-d's existence etc.:

The Steipler zt'l (in his Chayei Olam) writes that we live in a world of philosophy and analysis,but only a fool thinks that this is the way to draw close to Hashem. Of course there are many books of this kind to turn to (Emunos V'Deios, Moreh Nevuchim, Kuzari, Sefer Ha'Ikarim), but it is more important to concentrate on developing the heart: studying Torah with dedication, davening with devotion, and performing the mitzvos b'hidur, while being especially careful to avoid transgression since sins contaminate the soul.

When one lives this way, says the Steipler, then the light of Torah and mitzvos brings a sacred aura to the soul, and as time goes by, all of a person's spiritual questions will disappear. This is written in many of our holy books and it has been tested and proven true numerous times.

The Chofetz Chaim said (as related by his son) - When someone looks for proof of his emuna in philosophy books, it is a sign that his understanding is flawed and that he has doubts and second thoughts. Among us, everything is clear. Hashem revealed Himself to our forefathers on Har Sinai, where millions of people observed the event. They all heard the Divine voice speaking to them. Why do we have to start all over again from alef-beis?

The Chofetz Chaim gave a mashal: Imagine a child whose father is holding him in his arms. The father feeds and clothes him. He is concerned about all of his needs and lavishes affection on him. If one were to ask the child, "Who is holding you in his arms?" he would immediately answer, "My father." Any effort to convince the child otherwise would be in vain. Every one of his senses validates his awareness that this is his father. He feels it with his entire being.

Woe to the child who doesn't recognize his father and must have existence proven to him. He will never feel any natural ties of love to him, and the relationship will remain cold and distant.


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146. R' Aisenstark     11/27/08 - 8:53 PM
YH

HaModia issue #527

Interview with Rabbi Shneur Aisenstark, principal of B.Y. of Montreal.

In an excerpt from an address he gave at Torah Umesorah's convention, he described dyslexia, his family's constant moving, and how various people in various yeshivos were nice to him and did the right thing by him.

He said, "As mechanchim we know that no one, absolutely no one, drops out of a loving situation."


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147.     11/3/09 - 3:55 PM
Steve

I chose the 2 star rating (titled Diappointing) since that what this artcile was for me. I Don't have a teen but I worry and daven like crazy for my children. I have no doubt that there is a problem out there but what I am feeling is lacking are ideas of what the average parent who has no power to change a school or society can do.

I know each parent should be talking to their children and trying to impart in them the beauty and meaning in a Torah life on a regular basis and not depending on the school to do it for them, but each child is still facing the overwhelming pulls of peer pressure, wanting to fit in etc. Besides telling me the schools have to change admission policies or curricula tell me what I can do now to try and keep my DC on the path.

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