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UPDATE: He Never Says Anything Nice!
Letter to the Editor - Mishpacha Magazine
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: Mishpacha Magazine

  Rated by 50 users   |   Viewed 58328 times since 5/12/08   |   69 Comments
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5/12/08
Dear Editor:

First let me say that my entire family really loves your magazine. However, after reading Yaakov Horowitz's columns these past few months and especially this past week, he is worried for our youth ?? I wonder how many people (grown-ups) went off the Derech due to his articles?

According to Yaakov Horowitz there is nothing right with Klal Yisroel. The schools are messed up, the Rabbeim are bad, parents don't get it, etc. If one would rely on these articles, you may think that there are almost no good yeshiva boys left. I was at the levayas of Reb Shmuel Birnbaum z”tl and Rav Avigdor Miller z”tl and was shocked to see 30 to 50 thousand fine yeshiva bochurim pouring out of the buses. Plus if you happened to peek into either Yeshivat Ateret Torah or Chaim Berlin or Mirrer Yeshiva, and I am sure many other places around the country, you would have seen hundreds and thousands of yeshiva boys learning with no mashgiach forcing them into the Bais Medrash.


So if Yaakov Horowitz is looking for the perfect world, then perhaps Moshiach is the answer ...but till then let’s hear something positive once in a while.....


P.S. Don't think my head is buried in the sand.
I know exactly what's going on out there. I have many kids, who were “kids at risk" working for me and now they are my best employees.

Thank You.


Avrohom Tikotzky
New York

Dear Avrohom:


Thank you for taking the time to write and for expressing your opinion in a forthright manner.


Part and parcel of the painful but crucial process of self-improvement – on an individual and/or communal level – is to honestly evaluate the facts on the ground. This allows us to take pride in what we are doing well and to reflect on how to improve things moving forward. Failure to engage in self-evaluation is a surefire recipe for disaster as substantive issues that are far more manageable in the early stages fester and grow until they explode into full-scale emergencies (and then get publicized in a much more embarrassing manner). That is why Mishpacha deserves a great deal of credit for creating the venue for such proactive discussions to take place in a responsible manner.


Before I wrote my first column on at-risk teens twelve years ago, I was strongly encouraged by several of our leading gedolim to write about the subject – even though it meant raising topics that were not discussed in polite company at that time. I’ve received similar hadracha over the years regarding the propriety of writing columns about abuse, drug use, etc. At Agudas Yisroel Conventions and other public venues, I’ve spoken about these issues in the presence of members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah s’hlita, and never once was I asked to refrain from having these discussions. In fact, I was – and am – given chizuk by our gedolim to do so due to the critical nature of these topics.


Because I see what I see on a daily basis, I feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to shine the light of day on the issues that sorely need to be addressed. Suggesting that kids and adults go off the derech from reading my articles, is like saying that it is dangerous to take CAT scans, because so many people who take them are found to have illnesses.


For the record, while it would be fair to say that my writings insinuate that (some) “parents don’t get it” nothing I have ever written can even remotely suggest that I feel that “schools are messed up” or that “rabbeim are bad.” And I always strive to maintain the balance between accentuating what is positive and beautiful in our charedi society, with unflinchingly addressing the pressing issues of the day. Even the title of the column you mention, (Issue #207; “Retail Beauty and Wholesale Unsightliness”) reflects that balance, as does the body of the article which gives prominent mention and many examples of all the ‘retail’ Kiddush Hashem activities. It is because I take such pride in our society and all we stand for, that I feel obligated to write about these issues to help all members of our community live and thrive with simchas hachayim until the time when Moshiach comes and relieves all suffering.


Respectfully,


Yakov Horowitz



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