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New York - OpEd: Open Orthodoxy? NO Interest In Orthodoxy, That Is The Real Issue

Published on: June 2, 2014 09:30 AM
By: VIN News Editorial
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The Novaminsker Rebbe addressing the crowd at the 92nd annual dinner on May 27, 2014.The Novaminsker Rebbe addressing the crowd at the 92nd annual dinner on May 27, 2014.
New York -  The speech given by the Novaminsker Rebbe at the May 27th Agudah Dinner this past week has certainly been in the news.  First it was the Forward.  Then came the condemnation in the Daily News, and then the New York Times.  The JTA headlines quickly followed suit.

“The leading Rabbi of Agudath Israel of America, the ultra-Orthodox umbrella group, condemned non-Orthodox streams of Judaism and called the religiously progressive Open Orthodox movement heretical at the group’s annual gala” began the leading paragraph of the Forward article.

Then came the editorializing within the reporting of the news - the subtle coup de grace, which condemns ever so cleverly within the veneer of “objective reporting.”

The Forward continued, “New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who spoke directly after Perlow, did not address his remarks. The mayor praised Agudath Israel, some of whose lay leaders were key backers in his mayoral campaign.”

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All the media articles attacked Rabbi Perlow, and criticized Mayor DeBlasio for not walking out when the Novaminsker Rebbe delivered his words.

Aides in the mayor’s office realized the potential PR disaster this could quickly become and almost immediately issued a statement distancing Mayor deBlasio from the Rabbi’s remarks.  Agudah condemned the New York Times for conflating non-Orthodox Jews with non-Orthodox Judaism in an attempt to minimize the damage that false reporting can wreak.

Could the media’s new take derail the carefully cultivated relationship between the mayor’s office and Torah interests?  This is, of course, what lay behind the Forward’s story, with all its politically correct racism as they chuckle to themselves when they describe a “sea of black hats.”   Indeed, on the following Monday, the Daily News attempted to derail the DeBlasio/Agudah connection by asking why DeBlasio does not attend the St. Patricks Parade which excludes gays but did attend the Agudah dinner which fought against the 2011 law allowing gay marriages in New York.  This last article clearly proves the motivation of the media.  But, for all the Machiavellian machinations at play here, this is not the real story.

No. The real story here is what the Novaminsker, indeed, the entire Agudath Israel organization did not address.  Indeed, it is a burning issue that year after year, Agudath Israel of America has consistently failed to tackle – both at its annual dinner and at the annual Agudah convention in November.

“Rome is burning, and Nero is fiddling” – goes the expression.  And, forgive the comparison, that is exactly what is happening here.

It is true that Open Orthodoxy is steeped in heresy and has gone far beyond the parameters of Torah-true theology.   It is true that Reform and Conservative Judaism now face intermarriage, and assimilation, two devastating repercussions brought about by the failure of what the watering down of religion represents.

But the fact is that we, ourselves,  are losing our children neither to Open Orthodoxy, nor to Reform and Conservative Judaism.

“Open Orthodoxy” is entirely irrelevant to the constituency that Agudath Israel represents, or purports to represent.   True, everyone present at the Agudath Dinner that night may have a distant cousin or a brother-in-law who will occasionally daven in a shul where they just hired a Chovevei Torah graduate as an assistant Rabbi, but almost everyone present at that dinner has a son or a nephew that is, yes, OTD - off the derech, who has  no interest at all in Orthodoxy.

Kids roaming the streets. Shabbos violation.  Kids thrown out of Yeshivos.  Marijuana.  Children leaving  yiddishkeit  entirely.   We have it, and we have it all.

And it is an ever growing problem.  There is not a block in Williamsburg or Boro Park or Flatbush without the problem.

And it is not just the Litvaks, it is happening in the Chassidish world too.  Nearly all of us have a son or a nephew that we don’t really talk about.

We need our leadership to address the problems that Klal Yisroel is experiencing in real life – not some ivory-tower-intellectualism about women putting on Tefillin in some out-of the-way hole in the Bronx.

Agudah, awaken!

Hear the cry within the heart of every orthodox Jew echoing the tears of Dovid HaMelech (Shmuel Bais 19:1) who wept over his own  son, “Bni, Avshalom!  Bni, Bni, Avshalom! Let me have died instead of you Avshalom.  My son!  My son!”

Agudah!  Hear our cry, and help address this dire need.

In the past you have used the full power of your profound Torah wisdom, gifted lawyers, and organizational wizardry to get Klal Yisroel to start learning and completing Shas.  You have filled Madison Square Garden and every other major stadium in the metropolitan area with people to learn Shas and you changed a world.

We beg of you, plead with you.  Address the pressing needs of the nation.

Figure out what needs to be done so that our wives are not up at all hours of the night wondering where her son, or daughter might be.  Figure out how to fix our broken school systems.  How can we get our children inspired?   Get our children mentors so that they can once again thrive in their Yiddishkeit!  Tell us how to change our Shabbos tables so that these things will not happen!

Where are the Pirchei leaders of yesterday – that inspired a generation?  Agudah, we need you now, more than ever before.

Agudah please become a relevant and vibrant force once again, address the real issues that matter!



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Read Comments (51)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 02, 2014 at 09:39 AM yaakov doe Says:

Yes, the dropouts are a problem, but outside of the metro area in towns where there is one orthodox shul, the hiring of one of Weiss' graduates as a rabbi will lead to the end of othodoxy in that town.. They are open to practices that are foreign to Yiddishkeit.

2

 Jun 02, 2014 at 09:47 AM InNY Says:

Reply to #1  
yaakov doe Says:

Yes, the dropouts are a problem, but outside of the metro area in towns where there is one orthodox shul, the hiring of one of Weiss' graduates as a rabbi will lead to the end of othodoxy in that town.. They are open to practices that are foreign to Yiddishkeit.

Its not Drop-Outs its Thrown-outs.. they don't drop out, they are thrown out of yeshivas.. do your research.. this editorial is 100% correct..

3

 Jun 02, 2014 at 09:52 AM Sociologist Says:

Reply to #2  
InNY Says:

Its not Drop-Outs its Thrown-outs.. they don't drop out, they are thrown out of yeshivas.. do your research.. this editorial is 100% correct..

Yes, there are "thrown outs" but there arer many more "drop outs." Wake up and smell the coffee!

4

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:07 AM LionofZion Says:

Yasher Koach

There are no Pirchei leaders because our young Talmidai Chochomim are made to feel that playing a Shabbos Parsha game is beneath them. They have little down time. And they are being taught that they are princes who are only to take from the community, that their Torah learning, which in reality is only between them and the Robono Shel Olum, is somehow benefiting Klal Yisrael.
And that is the successful learners, the good boys. The not so awesome learners, having been taught that nothing else matters, have no way to feel like productive members of Klal Yisroel.

It would be great if Agugah would listen to the message here, but they are the very Roshei Yeshiva that have produced the problem. Oy.

5

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:16 AM Geulah Says:

When you cease being relevant and your product is in shambles you resort to attacking the other guy's product. This is a Roman political tactic attributed to Cicero. We've ceased being relevant and through misogynist practices we've alienated youth. Look on Ocean Parkway, any Shabbos, and see the texting going on there. Is that because the product is relevant, fresh and buoyant, NO. Therefore you're going to get fringes (not tzitsis) that have no connection and create their own geshmak, loosely based on whatever was not condescending or alienating. The organizations are irrelevant. They can fight among themselves and sink in to the mire they've created.

6

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:17 AM Tuvia Says:

At the dinner, the Novominska Rebbe quoted a Pshat from earlier Miforshim,, "that the reason the Riboineh Shel Olom, never again, spoke to Avrom after the Akeido, only through a Malach, is, because Avrom had a Haveh-Amino to Shecht his son".

The Nisoyon actually was, that Avrom should Not listen to this request.

HKB"H even called the idea of a father Shechting his son, "LO Olso Al Libi".

Open Orthodoxy goes with this Pshat and most Orthodox don't follow this Pshat.

7

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:42 AM Ari N. Says:

Agree wholeheartedly!

It is amusing how controversies stir up from the wrong places all the, time but these are facts of life. As if this Open-Orthodoxy conversation is relevant to anyone... but you don't get to pick...!

It’s more the fact of 'political life' – one can never control the narrative – just look at Christie…!

8

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:48 AM Flatbush Mom Says:

Unfortunately, how one looks (white shirts, black hats...etc) reigns supreme in Flatbush (and in other places too). Thirty years ago even in the most Yeshivish schools boys were allowed to grow into themselves. Now they are forced to be carbon copies of themselves. A small precetage go off but many lead double lives which continue into their marriage while raising children which will continue to erode the fabric of Orthodoxy. When I stand up to the principal complaining about my child being bullied I get the answer "well you know your child had problems too and he/she really doesn't belong in the school...."
Keep on closing your ears to the truth and when you wake up you'll be shocked at what you find.

9

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:51 AM Ari N. Says:

Reply to #5  
Geulah Says:

When you cease being relevant and your product is in shambles you resort to attacking the other guy's product. This is a Roman political tactic attributed to Cicero. We've ceased being relevant and through misogynist practices we've alienated youth. Look on Ocean Parkway, any Shabbos, and see the texting going on there. Is that because the product is relevant, fresh and buoyant, NO. Therefore you're going to get fringes (not tzitsis) that have no connection and create their own geshmak, loosely based on whatever was not condescending or alienating. The organizations are irrelevant. They can fight among themselves and sink in to the mire they've created.

Whoa! A lot of bitterness here...!

I love how people act professor and throw around fancy terms (misogynist, anyone?) and causes for every problem out there… everything but for the real source of all sinful acts – "barasi yetzer harah".

Yes, the temptations and allure are to hard to resist, stop blaming the whole world and own up…!

10

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:53 AM Anominous Says:

I am against this article because it seems to be saying, don't focus on open orthodoxy, but focus on drop outs instead. Wrong. Focus on both. The Novaminsker Rebbe did very well in addressing open fakeodox. Now if someone has a suggestion to address other issues, go ahead, and we have tons of other issues to ALSO be addressed. Whoever thinks that it's not important to identify and expose the DISEASE of open/modern fakeodoxy is most likely influenced by it.

11

 Jun 02, 2014 at 11:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
yaakov doe Says:

Yes, the dropouts are a problem, but outside of the metro area in towns where there is one orthodox shul, the hiring of one of Weiss' graduates as a rabbi will lead to the end of othodoxy in that town.. They are open to practices that are foreign to Yiddishkeit.

Yes. You are right.

The Agudah has problems (drop outs and throw outs), failing to protect abused children. permitting an air of entitlement of and chutzpah of our bachurim but Open Orthodoxy is very dangerous as their theology is foreign to Orthodoxy but they put on an Orthodox veneer. They will fool many ignorant baal habatim the way Traditional Conservative rabbis fooled them in past decades.

13

 Jun 02, 2014 at 11:19 AM Geulah Says:

Reply to #9  
Ari N. Says:

Whoa! A lot of bitterness here...!

I love how people act professor and throw around fancy terms (misogynist, anyone?) and causes for every problem out there… everything but for the real source of all sinful acts – "barasi yetzer harah".

Yes, the temptations and allure are to hard to resist, stop blaming the whole world and own up…!

Confusing my vocabulary is... Just reinforces the point that was made. Regarding taivehs and yetzer horaah - hiding behind the Soton's A-line, below the knee skirt isn't going to help the leaders own up and realize that the hand that scharfs gelt isn't going to be the helping hand.

14

 Jun 02, 2014 at 11:22 AM mit-seichel Says:

The Novominsker Rebbe doesn't need me to defend him, so I won't even bother.

I'm just wondering whether this anonymous op-ed writer or anonymous commenters have done more than the Rebbe and/or key Agudah askanim regarding the issue of teens at risk and inspiring youth to Yiddishkeit? Theses issues are discussed ad nauseum at Agudah/Torah Umesorah conventions and similar venues, and many key Agudah gedolim/askanim are instrumental in Project Yes, Our Place, and similar initiatives.

I'm not affiliated with Agudah, but would prefer to hear criticism from those who are themselves better than those they criticize...

15

 Jun 02, 2014 at 11:36 AM Mishelanu Says:

The gedolim lost touch with the regular people. Its very sad.

17

 Jun 02, 2014 at 11:48 AM sane Says:

What exactly is open Orthodoxy? I have never met anyone claiming to be an "Open Orthodox." However, I have seen many OTD and many FFBs faking their religiosity.

18

 Jun 02, 2014 at 11:59 AM HadEnoughOfGolus Says:

(1/3) While we're asking Agudah to deal with issues facing the frum family, please add these major problems that our daas torakh need to address ASAP!
A) Tuition costs are soaring. Yeshivas and bais yaakov's do need the money to cover operating costs, however, the cost of living in a frum household is not keeping up with average salaries. We promote larger families, then tuition costs multiply.
B) Same for camps.
C) Shidduch crisis. It's simple. Although there is a kol koireh in effect for boys to marry at a younger age, most boys continue to go to Eretz Yisroel from ages of 20-23. If the leadership and Roshei Yeshivas would strongly instruct, not merely "suggest" that the boys stay local and marry at 20-21, our shidduch issue would be over, period. Kol koirehs don't help if the rebbeim and roshei yeshivas themselves are not enforcing them.
D) Parnossa Crisis! I don't understand when the "leadership" decided that is was ok to forgo the dictates of chazal "Chayev odom lilmod uminos lib'noi", the obligation for a father to teach his son a trade. We have thousands of bochurim in their early twenties officially "learning", when we know what really goes on. (Continued on next post)

19

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:00 PM HadEnoughOfGolus Says:

(2/3)The system is set so that the obligation to make money falls on the girls, they feel the pressure to get educated and receive degrees, while too many boys are busy touring Eretz Yisroel in its entirety from the Northen Galil to Southern Eilat and everything in between (Just listen to bochurim talk during bein hazmanim when they come back home). Isn't the women supposed to be the akeres habayis? Isn't she supposed be home with the children ideally? I understand we need to produce future gedolim and rebbeim, but 80-90% of the boys won't be, so at least set them up to be ehrliche working balei batim who take kvias itim very seriously? We have 1000's of 25-28 year old fathers of 3-5 kids who finish kollel and can't cover the basics, with no skills to enter the professional workplace!
E) And hard working parents need to support "learning" married kids who go to Israel for a 2-5 year honeymoon! This is what's expected from everyone?! I know, there are serious learners, and ashreichem to those people, but most are NOT like that! They're busy on DansDeals figuring out where they can go for their tri-annual vacation to Rome, Paris, or Bangkok! (I'm not making this stuff up!)
(Continued

20

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:01 PM HadEnoughOfGolus Says:

(3/3)(Continued from previous post)
F) Ridiculous financial pressure to send girls to Israeli Seminary, a year before hopefully one is zoicheh to pay for a wedding (I suspect that the reason we don't hear a "geshray" is because most of the rabbonim qualify for generous Federal and State grants, so it does not affect them as it does the average middle income family)
There are other items, and each of the above points can be expounded at great length, but this is not the forum for it.
Please Nesiei Moetzes Gedolei Yisroel! Please address these real issues that affect every frum yid! Don't just talk about it!

21

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:16 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #17  
sane Says:

What exactly is open Orthodoxy? I have never met anyone claiming to be an "Open Orthodox." However, I have seen many OTD and many FFBs faking their religiosity.

You might call me "Open Orthodox" even though I've never personally used the term for myself, because I attend a synagogue that has an rabbi who does use the term. The rabbis I know who do use that term believe in Torah Mi Sinai, the authority of Chazal, and are scrupulous in their observance. They do tend to support some changes in minhagim that aren't in conflict with halachah, and they do not avoid Jews who are lax in their observance.

22

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:18 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #17  
sane Says:

What exactly is open Orthodoxy? I have never met anyone claiming to be an "Open Orthodox." However, I have seen many OTD and many FFBs faking their religiosity.

There is an even bigger problem than no interest in orthodoxy: No interest in Judaism. I work with many 20something and 30something Jews who barely identify as Jewish at all. Slandering Open Orthodoxy isn't going to inspire them.

23

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:20 PM charliehall Says:

"Although there is a kol koireh in effect for boys to marry at a younger age, most boys continue to go to Eretz Yisroel from ages of 20-23. If the leadership and Roshei Yeshivas would strongly instruct, not merely "suggest" that the boys stay local and marry at 20-21"

Forget the kol koireh. An explicit unopposed mishnah says that the age for marriage is 18. But that same mishnah says that the age for gemara learning is 15; we ignore that one, too.

24

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:33 PM OPElly Says:

Reply to #17  
sane Says:

What exactly is open Orthodoxy? I have never met anyone claiming to be an "Open Orthodox." However, I have seen many OTD and many FFBs faking their religiosity.

Well, I do know one YCT graduate personally.

He's given a couple of drashos in front of our shul that demonstrated a deep understanding of the sources and thoroughness of scholarship. When he davens for the amud, he holds to his family's minhag of saying "mashiv haruach umorid htal" in shemone esrai (which puts him, as he said, among the "weirdos"). If there's a lack of dedication to Torah in him, I've yet to detect it.

I only regret that a sample size of one doesn't qualify as "typical."

Lots of stuff YCT people are saying makes me uneasy, but I wish the right would remember that challenging the history or historicity of the Torah does not equate to challenging its authority or the halachic system.

25

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:34 PM OPElly Says:

Reply to #14  
mit-seichel Says:

The Novominsker Rebbe doesn't need me to defend him, so I won't even bother.

I'm just wondering whether this anonymous op-ed writer or anonymous commenters have done more than the Rebbe and/or key Agudah askanim regarding the issue of teens at risk and inspiring youth to Yiddishkeit? Theses issues are discussed ad nauseum at Agudah/Torah Umesorah conventions and similar venues, and many key Agudah gedolim/askanim are instrumental in Project Yes, Our Place, and similar initiatives.

I'm not affiliated with Agudah, but would prefer to hear criticism from those who are themselves better than those they criticize...

I don't have an answer for mit-seichel, but he/she makes an important point. This is an OPINION piece, not straight reportage. We should be told who wrote it.

26

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:35 PM grandpajoe Says:

What the real issue here is the LOSS of Modern Orthodoxy - years ago when - as baby boomer, and child of holocaust survivrors am appalled at what is happening to the orthodox community - if you are not to the right - we do not need you or your are an apikores - the shidduch situation for Modern frum women is stalled because we train our young men to just learn and not earn - and vice versa for some of the young men - this all gets put in to the bucket and leads them to 'OTD" it's time the frum community step up to the plate and smell the coffee rather than the chumrah of the week !

27

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:48 PM yossie Says:

the novominsker does not need anyones approval about what he says especially at an agudah dinner -the organization which he heads
if you don't like what he said
ask for a refund!

that being said -the author of this oped is on the money
never have so many boys been in yeshiva at one time since the days of chizkiyahu hamelech

however we are bringing up a generation who may know a lot of gemara but zero in basic haskafa
to answer questions such as why be frum
how can I prove that torah (all of it) is min hashamayim etc
we are missing in our education system the pride that is needed what it means to be a torah frum jew
to understand history of how am yisroel and the torah have survived against all odds
just learning gemara all day most of todays boys (with all the distractions) cant handle it
the learning system needs to change or we will loose more
the old model will not work
and the mechanchim can either keep their head in the sand
or make a change

28

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:50 PM The Truth Says:

To #12 - Yoel
100% right, Could not have said it better.

30

 Jun 02, 2014 at 12:53 PM charliehall Says:

"I work with many 20something and 30something Jews who barely identify as Jewish at all."

Something to consider: I wear my yarmulke to work every day, refuse to ever eat cooked food from a non-kosher restaurant, refuse to even think about working on Shabat or Yom Tov, disapear for a half hour almost every afternoon to daven mincha with a minyan, and on the rare times they ask I tell them that yes, I do believe that the Torah is from God and that I am bound by all the commandments. These barely-connected Jews consider me to be as much of an extreme case as the members of Rabbi Perlow's kehillah. I wish I were more effective at inspiring them.

31

 Jun 02, 2014 at 01:03 PM Simcha Says:

Outrageous tuition costs from schools that are in essence businesses with no transparency and zero oversight is a far greater challenge to orthodoxy then what the Rebbe spoke about. Folks who would love to bring more Jewish kids into the world simply can't afford to take on the burden. When are we going to stand up and say we're not going to take this anymore?? We need take our schools back, they don't belong to individuals!

32

 Jun 02, 2014 at 01:04 PM sane Says:

Reply to #21  
charliehall Says:

You might call me "Open Orthodox" even though I've never personally used the term for myself, because I attend a synagogue that has an rabbi who does use the term. The rabbis I know who do use that term believe in Torah Mi Sinai, the authority of Chazal, and are scrupulous in their observance. They do tend to support some changes in minhagim that aren't in conflict with halachah, and they do not avoid Jews who are lax in their observance.

How does that differ from mainstream Orthodox?

34

 Jun 02, 2014 at 02:53 PM inNY Says:

Reply to #10  
Anominous Says:

I am against this article because it seems to be saying, don't focus on open orthodoxy, but focus on drop outs instead. Wrong. Focus on both. The Novaminsker Rebbe did very well in addressing open fakeodox. Now if someone has a suggestion to address other issues, go ahead, and we have tons of other issues to ALSO be addressed. Whoever thinks that it's not important to identify and expose the DISEASE of open/modern fakeodoxy is most likely influenced by it.

The Novominskerr Rebbe knows fully well about the issue of OTD, so does every single board member of Agudath, they never addressed it publicly, and most likely never will, they live in stone-age, they think we live now in the time of Reform movements that are trying to take our kids. no one cares what so ever about reform, this war against them was won many years ago, and now no one cars about open orthodoxy, they are absolutely no threat to us.. what is the real threat??? Kofrim and atheists that we have in our own community, no need to look into Rabbi Avi Weiss.

And most of the problem is, we push away our kids from the beauty of Yiddishkite...

35

 Jun 02, 2014 at 02:24 PM One-Comment Says:

The crises, such as shidduch, inability to earn a living, throw/dropout and "open" orthodoxy, are being bemoaned by their creators.(I am not pointing to one individual or to one organization or to one school). These crises were enabled by anti-poverty programs, food stamps, welfare etc. which were taken advantage of by all of those to whom I am not pointing. As is the case with other minorities, we have allowed ourselves to become reliant on "ess kumt mir" government gifts. In fact we have shown our communities that we endorse &/or elect candidates based on the amount of gifts that they can & will deliver.
Add to these realities the reality that Kollel admission is obviously lax and we have
more to bemoan .
Many American born Jews do not want to be in communities that they consider unorthodox and in crisis.

36

 Jun 02, 2014 at 02:26 PM BarryLS1 Says:

Why is it so difficult for some people to stick to the issue at hand, instead of attacking on other issues, to sidestep what was said? The issue of at-risk kids, or OTD people are serious issues unto themselves and the causes should be honestly examined and something done about it. It has nothing to do with "Open Orthodoxy."

If you must, criticize a statement based on the statement, not on other issues. All it shows is that the statement is correct and you have no refutation.

37

 Jun 02, 2014 at 02:37 PM posaikacharon Says:

this article is pure nonsense..... the difference between the two is clear as day. OTD is a very unfortunate "occurance" and needs to be addressed. and so it is. in many more a way than this writer knows or realizes. but this Open Garbage stuff is proffesed to be a "movement" or derech in judaism. and this is a churban. an official movement needs to be opposed in an official way. we need to stand up and say..this is NOT yiddishkeit. nuff said.

38

 Jun 02, 2014 at 03:24 PM Sociologist Says:

Reply to #31  
Simcha Says:

Outrageous tuition costs from schools that are in essence businesses with no transparency and zero oversight is a far greater challenge to orthodoxy then what the Rebbe spoke about. Folks who would love to bring more Jewish kids into the world simply can't afford to take on the burden. When are we going to stand up and say we're not going to take this anymore?? We need take our schools back, they don't belong to individuals!

Taking the schools back is not necessarily the answer. Education is expensive. teachers and support staff need to be paid (they too have children who need to be fed, clothed and educated), books and equipment need to be purchased and mortgages need to be paid. I hate to say this but maybe families need to be smaller?

39

 Jun 02, 2014 at 03:29 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #31  
Simcha Says:

Outrageous tuition costs from schools that are in essence businesses with no transparency and zero oversight is a far greater challenge to orthodoxy then what the Rebbe spoke about. Folks who would love to bring more Jewish kids into the world simply can't afford to take on the burden. When are we going to stand up and say we're not going to take this anymore?? We need take our schools back, they don't belong to individuals!

One of the problems with Orthodox Judaism is that everyone believes that "their way" is the "correct way." It is no different than the early days of Chassidus and Misnagdim. Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch zt"l was also criticized and shunned. Why can't people be strong in their personal beliefs and practices and be respectful of the next ones? Are people so insecure that they have to attack people who are different than them? Does that make them feel vindicated for how they approach the RS"O? All this is is a form of religious racism.

40

 Jun 02, 2014 at 03:49 PM Ariel_Gold Says:

Reply to #34  
inNY Says:

The Novominskerr Rebbe knows fully well about the issue of OTD, so does every single board member of Agudath, they never addressed it publicly, and most likely never will, they live in stone-age, they think we live now in the time of Reform movements that are trying to take our kids. no one cares what so ever about reform, this war against them was won many years ago, and now no one cars about open orthodoxy, they are absolutely no threat to us.. what is the real threat??? Kofrim and atheists that we have in our own community, no need to look into Rabbi Avi Weiss.

And most of the problem is, we push away our kids from the beauty of Yiddishkite...

First of all people are just not to big on religion nowadays. Either they fall in and they don't really believe but just to make others happy. Or it serves no purpose for them.

41

 Jun 02, 2014 at 03:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #30  
charliehall Says:

"I work with many 20something and 30something Jews who barely identify as Jewish at all."

Something to consider: I wear my yarmulke to work every day, refuse to ever eat cooked food from a non-kosher restaurant, refuse to even think about working on Shabat or Yom Tov, disapear for a half hour almost every afternoon to daven mincha with a minyan, and on the rare times they ask I tell them that yes, I do believe that the Torah is from God and that I am bound by all the commandments. These barely-connected Jews consider me to be as much of an extreme case as the members of Rabbi Perlow's kehillah. I wish I were more effective at inspiring them.

Why inspire them. Just do you and they will they will come around.

42

 Jun 02, 2014 at 03:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
sane Says:

What exactly is open Orthodoxy? I have never met anyone claiming to be an "Open Orthodox." However, I have seen many OTD and many FFBs faking their religiosity.

Exactly. People are very good actors. They just don't won't to upset the family, so they pretend.

43

 Jun 02, 2014 at 04:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Tuvia Says:

At the dinner, the Novominska Rebbe quoted a Pshat from earlier Miforshim,, "that the reason the Riboineh Shel Olom, never again, spoke to Avrom after the Akeido, only through a Malach, is, because Avrom had a Haveh-Amino to Shecht his son".

The Nisoyon actually was, that Avrom should Not listen to this request.

HKB"H even called the idea of a father Shechting his son, "LO Olso Al Libi".

Open Orthodoxy goes with this Pshat and most Orthodox don't follow this Pshat.

Do you mean to say that OO by definition does not listen to the RsO?

44

 Jun 02, 2014 at 05:14 PM Moe Cohen Says:

This article is so factually off base, it is laughable. The OTD problem, while certainly a serious issue that must be addressed -- and it is being addressed by the Agudah and many others -- is a far far smaller phenomenon that is being portrayed. It is NOT widespread. It is not prevalent. It is not, numerically, affecting a significant proportion of either the Litvish OR Chasidish community.

Let's not invent untruthful talking points for political points. Even if those political points are intended to be used against The Big Bad Agudah bogeyman that a certain cadre of malcontents are fond of doing.

45

 Jun 02, 2014 at 05:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #44  
Moe Cohen Says:

This article is so factually off base, it is laughable. The OTD problem, while certainly a serious issue that must be addressed -- and it is being addressed by the Agudah and many others -- is a far far smaller phenomenon that is being portrayed. It is NOT widespread. It is not prevalent. It is not, numerically, affecting a significant proportion of either the Litvish OR Chasidish community.

Let's not invent untruthful talking points for political points. Even if those political points are intended to be used against The Big Bad Agudah bogeyman that a certain cadre of malcontents are fond of doing.

While I disagree with much in this article, your position about the OTD issue being a smaller phenomenon is mistaken. There are many hundreds of kids who are out of yeshivos, and only a fraction of them have managed to get jobs, pursue other education (GED, HS, or job training). The problem is widespread and prevalent. I work within the field, and the sheer volume is staggering. The problem, in fact, affects everyone. In every family, shul, yeshiva, and community, there are examples of the problem. Your denial of the extent of the problem is hurtful and dangerous.

With my firsthand connection to this issue, I have no problem with the Rebbe addressing a different issue. To bark that he should have spoken about something else is plainly foolish. I can also testify to the interest and work that Agudah does to help deal with the yeshivaless kids and the more global problem of kids at risk. I may want them to do more, but it is a viciously false accusation to say they don't care.

As for the OO issue, the ideology justifies modifying Torah requirements to fit with someone's convenience and preference. That is a core threat, and the Rebbe in correct in denouncing it.

46

 Jun 02, 2014 at 06:25 PM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #19  
HadEnoughOfGolus Says:

(2/3)The system is set so that the obligation to make money falls on the girls, they feel the pressure to get educated and receive degrees, while too many boys are busy touring Eretz Yisroel in its entirety from the Northen Galil to Southern Eilat and everything in between (Just listen to bochurim talk during bein hazmanim when they come back home). Isn't the women supposed to be the akeres habayis? Isn't she supposed be home with the children ideally? I understand we need to produce future gedolim and rebbeim, but 80-90% of the boys won't be, so at least set them up to be ehrliche working balei batim who take kvias itim very seriously? We have 1000's of 25-28 year old fathers of 3-5 kids who finish kollel and can't cover the basics, with no skills to enter the professional workplace!
E) And hard working parents need to support "learning" married kids who go to Israel for a 2-5 year honeymoon! This is what's expected from everyone?! I know, there are serious learners, and ashreichem to those people, but most are NOT like that! They're busy on DansDeals figuring out where they can go for their tri-annual vacation to Rome, Paris, or Bangkok! (I'm not making this stuff up!)
(Continued

"The system is set so that the obligation to make money falls on the girls, they feel the pressure to get educated and receive degrees, while too many boys are busy touring Eretz Yisroel in its entirety from the Northen Galil to Southern Eilat and everything in between"

You know, it used to be that the men had the קללה of בזעת אפיך תאכל לחם, while the women had בעצב תלדי בנים. These days however, the poor girls have both!

47

 Jun 02, 2014 at 07:07 PM Rafuel Says:

"almost everyone present at that dinner has a son or a nephew that is, yes, OTD, who has no interest at all in Orthodoxy."

"Nearly all of us have a son or a nephew that we don’t really talk about."

Yes, the problem does exist. But with all respect to the anonymous VIN News Editorialist(s), if you want intelligent men to take you seriously, could you please avoid such HUGE exaggerations?

And to the extent that the problem does exist, how is it that your finger of blame gets pointed first at the, although well-established, nonetheless, the organization with very limited real power rather than at the parents who failed their children in the first place? For behind almost every so called OTD youth you will find a failed parent.

I may not be Rav Reisman when it comes to Tanach (or anything else), but I can't see any indication that Dovid Hamelech cried because his rabbeim or dayanim or generals failed Avsholom.

Respectfully.

48

 Jun 02, 2014 at 09:20 PM hashomer Says:

A most fascinating debate by VIN. posters based on the editorial. It's good to read all (most) sides. But frum people need to understand that many non-frum Jews reject religious conformity, religious browbeating and phony superiority while yearning for spiritual connection and Yiddishkeit in a modern world context. Let's see an editorial about that.

49

 Jun 02, 2014 at 09:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Very well written article. Why was it ok for the Ruv himself to attend Brooklyn College, but not for the children of current Agudah members. Clearly, Brooklyn College was never a Jewish school, and I am safe in saying that it was always a Co-ed institution as well. All would agree the Ruv came out ok. Forcing everyone to fit into a cookie cutter mold is backfiring badly on Agudah and other ultra groups. Rather than accept that, they throw the babies out with the bath water and accept all of these lost Yidden as collateral damage. The fault dear Ruv lies not in open orthodoxy but within ourselves.

50

 Jun 02, 2014 at 09:58 PM poshete_yid Says:

While I appreciate this opinion piece, I don't understand why this writer speaks exclusively in the name of all the men in the community.
He refers to "our" children and "our" wives as if the women themselves have no voice.

Why???

51

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:07 PM OTD #1 Says:

Reply to #47  
Rafuel Says:

"almost everyone present at that dinner has a son or a nephew that is, yes, OTD, who has no interest at all in Orthodoxy."

"Nearly all of us have a son or a nephew that we don’t really talk about."

Yes, the problem does exist. But with all respect to the anonymous VIN News Editorialist(s), if you want intelligent men to take you seriously, could you please avoid such HUGE exaggerations?

And to the extent that the problem does exist, how is it that your finger of blame gets pointed first at the, although well-established, nonetheless, the organization with very limited real power rather than at the parents who failed their children in the first place? For behind almost every so called OTD youth you will find a failed parent.

I may not be Rav Reisman when it comes to Tanach (or anything else), but I can't see any indication that Dovid Hamelech cried because his rabbeim or dayanim or generals failed Avsholom.

Respectfully.

I disagree with your statement "For behind almost every so called OTD youth you will find a failed parent." I work with these youth and their families. There are no perfect parents, and that is true for all children, including those who are not OTD, and are doing just fine. To press this point farther, the OTD kids nearly all have siblings who are OK. Theory doesn't hold water. Rather, I would look to a wide variety of society influences on the development of children. Yes, the home and family count. But so do yeshivos and schools, where our children live for a majority of their waking hours. They are exposed to rebbeim, mechanchim, menahalim, and teachers who are often less than desirable influences. To explain, none of these faculty have a mandated credential or qualification by training, education, or supervision. They are mostly underpaid, and understandably subject to anxieties and pressures. Our children are called names, punished - often unfairly, embarrassed, made to fail by curricula that are not individualized. Our children are easily traumatized, and have solid reason to reject everything. Does any yeshiva take responsibility?

52

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:14 PM OTD #2 Says:

Reply to #47  
Rafuel Says:

"almost everyone present at that dinner has a son or a nephew that is, yes, OTD, who has no interest at all in Orthodoxy."

"Nearly all of us have a son or a nephew that we don’t really talk about."

Yes, the problem does exist. But with all respect to the anonymous VIN News Editorialist(s), if you want intelligent men to take you seriously, could you please avoid such HUGE exaggerations?

And to the extent that the problem does exist, how is it that your finger of blame gets pointed first at the, although well-established, nonetheless, the organization with very limited real power rather than at the parents who failed their children in the first place? For behind almost every so called OTD youth you will find a failed parent.

I may not be Rav Reisman when it comes to Tanach (or anything else), but I can't see any indication that Dovid Hamelech cried because his rabbeim or dayanim or generals failed Avsholom.

Respectfully.

The voice that places all blame on parents, as Rafuel did, emanates from the yeshivos, who reject their responsibility. That is a huge disgrace. There are parents that fail, usually having attempted to do what schools do - apply the same methods to all children regardless of individual needs. Yeshivos sit behind their facade of Avodas Hakodesh, and inflict some really awful damage to so many children. It is rare that a rebbe who unfairly punishes a talmid is sanctioned or disciplined in any way. It is even harder to find a rebbe that will apologize for having wronged a student (they claim that it denigrates their "kavod haTorah"). How shameful that an adult can emotionally abuse a talmid and consider that consistent with Torah chinuch.

Yeshivaless kids were referred to earlier as "throwouts", not dropouts. And there is at least one mechanech for each of these kids that will be called to task on their day of reckoning for having spiritually murdered a neshomoh. Every chilul Shabbos of an OTD kid will end up as a punishment for the party responsible for putting him/her in the street.

There are no exaggerations here, just facts with depressing and alarming numbers.

53

 Jun 02, 2014 at 10:21 PM OTD #3 Says:

Reply to #47  
Rafuel Says:

"almost everyone present at that dinner has a son or a nephew that is, yes, OTD, who has no interest at all in Orthodoxy."

"Nearly all of us have a son or a nephew that we don’t really talk about."

Yes, the problem does exist. But with all respect to the anonymous VIN News Editorialist(s), if you want intelligent men to take you seriously, could you please avoid such HUGE exaggerations?

And to the extent that the problem does exist, how is it that your finger of blame gets pointed first at the, although well-established, nonetheless, the organization with very limited real power rather than at the parents who failed their children in the first place? For behind almost every so called OTD youth you will find a failed parent.

I may not be Rav Reisman when it comes to Tanach (or anything else), but I can't see any indication that Dovid Hamelech cried because his rabbeim or dayanim or generals failed Avsholom.

Respectfully.

There's no free pass for parents. But it is incompetent, and patently false to limit blame to parents. I know the parents, and I know them well. I see them succeed with most of their kids, providing them with an emotionally healthy environment. It is the one kid that gets rejected or otherwise abused, with schools and yeshivos well represented, that slides away and rejects the "derech".

There is a very valid comment about the failure of today's lifestyle, whether yeshivos, schools, communities, and homes, to imbue a sense of real spirituality, Ahavas Hashem, and Yir'as Hashem in our children. The exposure to a "system" that labels itself as "orthodox" but customizes the Torah to fit some preconceived patterns of convenience and comforts is a dangerous thing for all of us, certainly children. However, OTD kids are not gravitating toward OO. They are running away from us, because they are feeling rejected.

54

 Jun 02, 2014 at 11:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Flatbush Mom Says:

Unfortunately, how one looks (white shirts, black hats...etc) reigns supreme in Flatbush (and in other places too). Thirty years ago even in the most Yeshivish schools boys were allowed to grow into themselves. Now they are forced to be carbon copies of themselves. A small precetage go off but many lead double lives which continue into their marriage while raising children which will continue to erode the fabric of Orthodoxy. When I stand up to the principal complaining about my child being bullied I get the answer "well you know your child had problems too and he/she really doesn't belong in the school...."
Keep on closing your ears to the truth and when you wake up you'll be shocked at what you find.

ANY principal that blamed the victim of Yeshiva bullies on the victim, has NO business working with children let alone being a principal. A petition should be drawn up demanding the ouster of this principal. Let him work in a back office somewhere.

55

 Jun 03, 2014 at 09:32 AM Anonymous Says:

Unfortunately the Agudah that inspired a previous generation is gone. There hardly any pirchei groups, they have nothing to do with Jep and all the organization has become is a chance for over 60 years old with money to take photops with politicians. What a shame. Obviously a vibrant organization will not solve all the problems but certainly a strong movement where people can be involved regardless of their financial status might go a long way in preventing these problems in the future.

56

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