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I think many of us parents would like our children to learn more Jewish history in school. The problem is that the school day is so long as it is.
How can schools find the time to teach more subjects?
7/24/07 - 1:42 PM
Mordechai - St. Louis
I hope you are talking about REAL history, not the fairy tales that are often presented as history. There is enough greatness in our history that we don't need to whitewash the less-than-great (okay, and even uncomfortable)parts. By analogy, George Washington was a great man and great leader. Parson Weems' fable (about the cherry tree) is cute, but it should not be passed off as history.
Boys do not learn Jewish History. Girls learn it, but it is not repeated through the years. No one in Chareidi schools learns the history of Modern Israel. The events of the wars of 48, 67, 73 should be taught and the footage of the soldiers taking back Yerushalayim and Rab Goren saying the Kail Maleh should be shown. Our children need to have Hakaras Hatov for those who fought so they could go to Eretz Yisroel to learn. This would also help their attitude toward secular Israelis which would in turn help Secular Israelis feel less animosity toward us. It isn't the be all and end all and it isn't exactly what you had in mind with this question, Rabbi Horowitz, I know, but it is no less important. Lately, with all the anger and resentment between our secular Israeli BROTHERS and ourselves, I keep coming back to the fact that as a Bais Yaakov student, I was never taught about these wars and never understood the sacrifices made by the secular Israelis (and religious Jews) of the time. I was overwhelmed when, as an adult, my Chareidi cousin showed me the film about the 6 day war. I was overcome to tears and I felt cheated that I had no idea about any of it. All I knew was that the government is secular and that we must be clear not to support it. This is not to diminish the importance of teaching ancient and midieval Jewish history which is vital to our understanding of our Gedolim and our challenges. It is also vital to the respect and appreciation that Ashkenazim could learn for their Sephardic brothers. Once again, this is something that is needed. And what would happen if we all learned where Chasidus started and more about all the different Chasidim, including Lubavitch, the Mussar movement, the beginning of the Yeshivos...? I learned some of this, but, as I said, only once and briefly. Jewish History will lead to Ahavas Yisrael.
As Tisha B'Av has just drawn to a close and the bitter taste of this time period is still with us, I would like to pose a question: If we are to see Hakodosh Baruch Hu as our father and we are to see ourselves as his children, then please tell me this, If a father has a few children and some are following the Torah and being fervent Jews, seeking out ways to perform Mitzvos as thoroughly as possible and yet...some of his children have left the Derech and are not following Mitzvos, and these children do not get along, do not understand each other, and do not spend any time together, would you think this father would be happy and content that some of his children are fervently Orthodox and understanding that they have nothing to do with their secular brothers and sisters or would this father wish every day that he could have both and wish that all of them would at least get along, hoping that the behavior of some would inspire the behavior of others? Would his priority be that his religious children continue to grow without the Hashpaah of his other children, with distance and resentment for how far the other children have fallen and how much angst they are causing the father or would it be to bring all his children together and to have them love each other or at least have a relationship with each other? And if the secular children had made and continue to make certain bodily sacrifices for the good of the family home, would the father want his religious children to know about these sacrifices and to show Hakaras Hatov for them or would he prefer that his religious children not be made aware of the sacrifices of their brothers and sisters over the years, the more distance the better? I would like the parents out there to respond honestly.
I spend a good part of Tisha B'av this year reading a book on Historiya. Now it happens that in my high school (Machon BY) we had a VERY in depth education of Jewish History so I was just brushing up to remind myself about the Crusades, the Inquisition, Tach V'Tat etc... But I realized while reading that if our children don't understand what the exile and suffering for Jews is all about then how are they supposed to understand why we want to end exile. Frankly, our kids are pretty comfortable and have b"h pretty good lives. They need to realize that in the scope of our history it wasn't usually like this and most of the time the Jews in exile suffered ALOT! Also, for children to understand the Mesorah of Torah SheBaal Peh and Halacha - they need to know how it developed over the centuries. For example - I just got this figured out - The Ba'al HaTurim wrote Halacha. R' Yosef Karo added the Shulchan Aruch (mainly Sephardic Minhagim), the Rema added the Askenazic twist, The Chofetz Chaim gave us the Mishnah Berura explanation and we use all of the above to understand the halachos and minhagim. The process is fascinating but if we don't teach the whole picture to our kids then how can they understand why Sefardim have minhagim according to the Bais Yosef, while Ashkenazim have minhagim according to the Rema - both totally halachically acceptable. That would certainly be one to generate Ahavas Yisroel and bring the Geulah!
Let's not forget that plenty religious Jews fought in all of Israel's wars. Let's not promote the myth that the secular were the only ones to fight, while the religious studied Gemara. And let us also remember what Torah study does to protect our nation.
As for hatred towards the religious, we have the State of Israel to thank for that, for promoting vicious lies a la Goebbels, as well as ripping Yiddishkeit away from our pious Sefardic and Yemenite brethren, as well as turning child Holocaust survivors from religious homes into secular Jews. These children's martyred parents cry over what Jews did to their children, that which the Nazis did not manage to do.
Religious soldiers fought in every war and currently fight too. No one, including me, has forgotten that, but, I personally do not feel comfortable with the enmity over the sins of the secular Israelis outweighing the Hakaras Hatov for their spilled blood. I also do not feel comfortable with our children not being taught about the wars fought so they can go there to learn in Yeshiva or seminary. What would bring Hashem Nachas? Your dwelling only on what you know of the evils of the State and some of its people or the tremendous sacrifices made every day by its soldiers?
Chabad doesn't dwell on the evils of the State, although Chabad is vehemently and outspokenly against the State, it's "kochi v'otzem yadi" attitude, and its policies which seek to destroy Yiddishkeit and endanger the security of millions of Jews.
Chabad doesn't focus on anybody's sins.
Chabad brings simcha and the ability to perform mitzvos to the soldiers on the frontlines during wars, and to soldiers and Jews everywhere.
Chabad makes bar mitzva celebrations for the orphans of soldiers.
Chabad is known for its Ahavas Yisrael.
The history of the state is not taught in Chabad.
Ahavas Yisrael is taught and lived in Chabad.
So maybe your comments are better directed specifically towards those who focus on sins etc.
The irreligious of today are generally not anti-religious, like when the state was founded. Most are willing to be reached out to, many are being reached out to. One or more busloads of Kollel men from Kiryat Sefer go out every Wednesday to nearby communities, offereing to learn something with irreligious residents. The Kollel men are open, gentle, and interesting, and the irreligious hosts ARE EXTREMELY GRATEFUL! Many similar initiatives are undertaken by other communities.
The Israeil press, which implies that irreligious people virulently hate Frum people, is in the hands of a minority and is not representative of the people. How do I know this? Because most of the irreligious people I've ever met are courteous, respecting, and even - believe it or not - keep a few Mitzvos. The people who hold top positions in political parties are also (in my opinion - good job I'm anonymous) NOT representative of the people who voted for the party. They're just the ones with the pull.
Somebody recommended that we to express gratitude to the Israeli irreligious soldiers who risked their lives for us - while someone else said that they were wicked, and caused so many problems... Well both are correct, for different people. We can't lump all irreligious people into one bracket. So we must feel and express gratitude to those who are/were good, to the best of their ability. Yet we should also try to feel outrage at those who did the acts of cruelty, against Hashem, described above.
Even in that category of evildoers, there were those who did it dafka, and those who did it from narrowmindedness, lack of foresight, and believing that a standard solution is enough, without taking into account people's actual needs, physical and spiritual. So the first type we may attack, or avoid, or pray for their downfall, while the second type we seek to educate. Preferably by example.
For that matter people aught to teach american jewish history as well, about all the sefardim who came to settle these shores 300 years ago, what happened to them and why, and how their brothers in europe littleraly said "we think the country you live in is evil sop we wont send you any help."
yes america earned a reputation as a land that ate frum people alive, but only because the rabbis of europe drenched them in ignorance by refusing to send any teachers or rabbanim to create a jewish future in america. There were no chedorim to ensure the survival of the communities, why? because the yeshivot would to send melamdim. Mitzvos were not kelp like they should be, why? because the yeshivos would not send rabbanim, so what do you expect of sheep without a sheaperd to protect them? the wolves (budding reform rabbis from germany where they were endanger of getting stonned by the lay people for herasy) came and ate them of course!
Fascinating, yoni. That's the first I'm hearing that it's all those evil European rabbis' fault. Where did you get this disgusting theory from?
As far as I know, from all my reading, the vast majority of Jews in America did not become irreligious because of Reform Rabbis. They had nothing to do with them. They were busy working hard for a living with no Saturdays off and it went downhill from there.
7/30/07 - 2:03 PM
the working on saturdays only started in the last half of the 20th century with the industrialization, the same time as it started in nearly every other section of the world.
Things really were not so different here than anywhere else if you look at the history, other than modern people like to make false things up about america in the 17 and 1800s.
7/30/07 - 4:05 PM
Do you perhaps mean the 19th century?
Either way, so what?
7/30/07 - 4:38 PM
The point is, and it is not entirely their fault, that because of that refusal on the part of the torah centers of europe, reform and conservative judaism exist today in america. Because of them, there are millions of dissaffected jews who are currently ignorant of their jewish history. Granted they received bad information from those who were here, but still, they failed. How and why they failed, and what the difficulties were and and what went on is important for future generations to know, in order that such a mistake and massive sacrifice should never, ever be made again. I repeat, if the yeshivot of europe had sent young rabbanim to america to teach and to guide and deliver the psak, then there would be no such thing as reform or conservative judaism, and america would have been a bastion of traditional judaism, completely untouched from the war, ready to receive the european refugees after the shoah.
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