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New York - Up-and-Coming 'B’Derech' Making Strides as Trendsetter in Kiruv Kerovim

Published on: April 1, 2009 02:19 PM
By: Ezra Friedlander For VIN News
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New York - B’Derech, a movement established by noted Brooklyn Haredi attorney, Mrs. Ruchie Freier, with its stated mission of raising awareness of the need to emphasize the beauty of yiddishkeit in everyday life to the youth of our generation, has recently concluded a successful series of lectures geared toward students, teachers and parents. According to Mrs. Freier, herself a parent, who has decided to dedicate herself to creating a conversation with our community about the importance of creating an atmosphere for the youth of our generation to identify with the beautiful tenets of yiddishkeit, in response to the epidemic of children going off the derech. Mrs. Freier does not use the term “kids at risk,” instead referring to the “community at risk.”

B’Derech recently hosted Rabbi Yom Tov Glaser  who spoke in front of hundreds of participants in most of the frum communities where his message of being mechanech our children with tolerance, love and care resonated and impacted all those that came to better understand the true key to our children’s hearts. 

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B’Derech has instituted a series of lectures that will allow parents and teachers to avail themselves of a how-to approach to dealing with their children and/or students in interacting with other children challenged by the system, yiddishkeit and related problems.  “I realized that there are dynamic programs like Aish HaTorah, who have successfully transmitted the beauty of yiddishkeit by kiruv rechokim.  How much more important is it to use their methodology to transmit the beauty of our yiddishkeit to those kinderlach that are seeking answers in a non-confrontational manner,” explains Mrs. Ruchie Freier, about her approach to the dilemma that parents and educators are increasingly facing with each passing day. 

“I cannot emphasize enough that the one buzz word that keeps coming back to me when confronting the problem of kids going off the derech is the “pressure” that is being applied to our children, whether it’s by parents, teachers or the society we live in.  Although this is an issue which requires more than just the space provided in a newspaper interview, I cannot overemphasize enough how much simpler it would be for us as a community to retain our kids and to see them grow into ehrliche yiddisher tattes and mammas, if only we could accentuate the positive and to value our precious children as opposed to creating a higher statistic of academic achievement and accomplishment. We have managed to teach our children of “Yiras Hashem” what about “Ahavas Hashem” equally important?

B’Derech will be featuring Miss Chanie Ravitz, originally raised in Williamsburg, who strayed off the derech and became a successful investment banker, only to realize that she asked the questions and issues which plagued her as a frum young woman, continued to torment her upon leaving the frum world. B’Derech is offering the greater community the opportunity to meet with Chanie Ravitz, a survivor of the turbulence of secular society who will share her journey back to Yiddishkeit and her newfound appreciation for Torah and Mitzvos in everyday life.  This is an opportunity for yeshivas, parents, rabbanim, askanim, and teachers to avail themselves of a unique lecturer who can share a perspective on proper values and Hashkofos by an individual who has been in both worlds and can answer questions from today’s youth without being judgmental.

Additional lectures will be given by Rabbanim and Mechanchim who understand the mind of today’s generation yet equally are committed to the timeless and traditional torah values that have sustained Klal Yisroel from time immemorial. 

B’Derech has also set out an ambitious goal of creating a cadre of volunteers who will have the ability to serve as positive role models for our children who are seeking direction in a non-judgmental atmosphere.  For more information regarding the time, venue and dates of these lectures, please contact Mrs. Ruchie Freier at 917-509-9518 or via email at freieresq@aol.com


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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:25 PM Anonymous Says:

And how is she alleviating the pressure on our kids? Anyone?

2

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:54 PM moody Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

And how is she alleviating the pressure on our kids? Anyone?

What she is probably trying to show us there is no pressure by being frum and ehrlich. For example davening is saying thanks to hashem for what he does to us and praying he should give us more what ever we need. Not a pressure. The same is a brochu or anything else everything has a reason why we do it or why we shouldn't do it.

3

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:49 PM Rabbi Velvel Brevda Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

And how is she alleviating the pressure on our kids? Anyone?

I think the best way of alleviating the pressure of kids and adults, is by showing them the hidden sweetness in our beautiful Torah and Mitzvos , I have tried it with so many people and I can say that with one who is looking for the Emes it works, try painting a true picture by pointing out the comfort of a Torah life style and it speaks for it self.

4

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:40 PM PMO Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

And how is she alleviating the pressure on our kids? Anyone?

Don't be so smug... there are no details here.... People laughed at the more modern groups like JEP and NCSY and look at what they have done over the years to bring kids to or back to the derech.

We should be thanking her ever day for trying!

Save your judgment for her results. IM"H she will have 100% success!

5

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:40 PM RC Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

And how is she alleviating the pressure on our kids? Anyone?

Call her and see, or even better, go to one of the lectures. :-)

6

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

And how is she alleviating the pressure on our kids? Anyone?

She is giving very important lectures to the kids

7

 Apr 01, 2009 at 02:00 PM bitachon Says:

Without knocking the idea, the kids still have to go to school parents have to live up to the jonses and the pressures abound.
You gotta work from the inside. With schools and rabbonim that are succesful and ask them what their secret is and share it with other schools.
No pressuer?! this from a frum attorney and investment banker?! Without pressure they wouldn't be where they are. There has to be joy and intrinsic simcha in our avodas Hashem and a little pressure goes a long way.
Hatzlocha rabbah.

8

 Apr 01, 2009 at 01:51 PM Ben Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

And how is she alleviating the pressure on our kids? Anyone?

She isn't claming to be, but rather she seeks to implement ideas on how us as parents can teach and guide our kids stressing love and acceptance rather than pressuring them to fit the criteria of socially accepted norms and educational goals of the Heimish society, which all too often as you know, ,is tailored for the genuises among us.
Why when discussing our children, we say how is he doing in school? how are his grades etc. Why is that the standard barometer? Why dont we ask how is he doing socially with family and community in yidishkeit? How is he davening everyday? How is he expressing his Love for hashem and happiness with yidishkeit? the reason is, is because people will think we are insane!
(as you probably feel while reading this.....)

9

 Apr 01, 2009 at 02:14 PM finally Says:

I attended the 1st lecture that she hosted at her house in bp.

keep it up

10

 Apr 01, 2009 at 03:47 PM concerned Says:

part of the real problem with our children is that in our chinuch children do not understand and have basic questions today about the ribono shel olom. when a child asks basic questions in the 8th or 9th grade about the ribono-shel olom the rebbi or moreh does not take out the time to explain to children or maybe does not have the abilty to explain to them. the rebbi or moreh puts down the kid and some t mes embarrasses the child. he feels that if the rebbi cannot answer me and tells me to accept it on face value he becomes disillusioned. he is also then marked Parents on a whole never really sit down to explain to the children because they themselves are not equipped.
I have heard from parents complaining about this problem.
if a rebbi does not wish to discuss the matter in class, he must find the time to show
his concern and speak to the child privately and make him feel that his questions are not bad questions.

11

 Apr 01, 2009 at 03:46 PM involved Says:

Kol Hakavod Ruchie, I once heard from a great mechanech that "we live in a time of marketing and media and unfortunately we don't know how to market the Torah"
Makes alot of sense. when we learn how to market the Torah to our kinderlach we would do much better. it's sad but we need to learn from Coca Cola and the like how to entice buyers.

12

 Apr 01, 2009 at 03:40 PM BS Says:

What a zchus for baila ravitz!!!
a lesson to all: a yiddesha mame's tefillos & tears never go to waist!!!

13

 Apr 01, 2009 at 03:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Without any substantive changes made in the schools itself no pressure whatsoever will be alleviated. She's directing her lectures at the wrong audience, the parents. It should be directed at the schools; the principals, teachers, and rebbitzins- not the parents.

14

 Apr 01, 2009 at 02:25 PM moody Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

She is giving very important lectures to the kids

Kids??? How about adults that have no clue why. how. Or when to be jewish. Including some chasidm. From satmar belz viznits pupa chabad gur spinka klousenburgh or others sorry if you feel I left your chasiduss out don't worry its the same by yours.

15

 Apr 01, 2009 at 02:23 PM Anonymous Says:

with all due respect to ruchie freier, most kids who stray are the result of a less than ideal home environment, whether an overly strict parent or other childhood issues, and i really believe that parents need to be educated on the harsh realities of parenthood.

mrs freier has the good fortune of being the wife of a tzadik, so i hope that she has familiarized herself with the prevailing reality.

16

 Apr 01, 2009 at 04:40 PM Yashar Koach ! Says:

Although I learned in Yeshiva when I was young, I drifted for years and when my Father was nifter recently I started to come back when I decided to say kaddish for him. Sadly, as an out of town resident, I have found Chabad to have a welcoming shul on Shabbos, but the davening is unfortunately uninspiring. We need to focus on Ahavas Hashem and Ahavas Am Yisrael and good meaningful teffilos for the kehilla. Otherwise uninspiring davening is just an excuse to get together for a men's club during the week and Shabbos. If things are bad in NYC just imagine how bad they are out of town. We need inspiration or why suffer through frumkeit?

17

 Apr 01, 2009 at 04:32 PM Anonymous Says:

who is she???
what is she talking about there are hundreds of schools and thousands of kids that are proud of their yiddishkeit and are very happy.Not always do kids have to understand evreything.
while there are kids who strayed its not bc the system is bad its usually a combination of the home he grew up in or something in his personal life.
so please if it aint broken don't fix it.

18

 Apr 01, 2009 at 05:03 PM Anonymous Says:

It is not just kids that don't like pressure. It is a generation of wanting things easily..

19

 Apr 01, 2009 at 05:24 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

who is she???
what is she talking about there are hundreds of schools and thousands of kids that are proud of their yiddishkeit and are very happy.Not always do kids have to understand evreything.
while there are kids who strayed its not bc the system is bad its usually a combination of the home he grew up in or something in his personal life.
so please if it aint broken don't fix it.

Sorry to bust your bubble. But things in the average family are not Chevy and apple pie. Plenty of people are going about the daily business, minyan, work, home, learn and do homework with the kids, attend simchas and community events, Shabbos with all the accoutrements, shop for foods with the best hechsherim and clothes with the strictest of tzniyus, etc. However, much is lacking in the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos. Davening is a chore, and focus is on the trivia involved, not the connection to HKB”H. The keeping up with the Goldbergs with the stringencies of halacha is more a social issue that a spiritual one. You get the gist. The feelings that need to be the foundation for Yiddishkeit are not being conveyed or taught. Yes, there is a bigger challenge in parenting that our parents had, and this results in sometimes severe deficiencies in how children are raised. But the role of chinuch (schools and yeshivos) is paramount.

One should not let parents off the hook. But the damaging role that so many yeshivos play today is alarming. There is a preoccupation with keeping girls too busy to be able to help at home or chas veshalom spend time with a friend. Boys must be set to compete to learn more hours and cover more material. This is done at the expense of any development of internal motivation to learn. It is also done at the expense of providing role models to guide children to develop good midos and hashkafos.

B’Derech is becoming a net to catch some of the teens who are falling out from the chassidishe system. The only ones that anyone sees are those who get thrown out of yeshivos and are on the verge of dropping their Yiddishkeit altogether. There are thousands that are below the radar, complying with all the external stuff, but are turned off on the inside. That happens to be true, and I know it from direct involvement. The trouble is that much of what B’Derech does is not directed at these kids who are still in the mainstream. We need Moshiach.

20

 Apr 01, 2009 at 05:23 PM don Says:

I really think Mrs. Ruchie Freier, Miss Chanie Ravitz, and anyone involved in Kiruv Kerovim are super special. Hashem should bless them with every bracha. Why is it that people are more interested in Kiruv Rechokim? This is way more important.

21

 Apr 01, 2009 at 06:38 PM Pleasant Says:

Upon reading the biography of Rav Pam Z"L, I observed how, by example, he taught us how wonderfully pleasant the ways of the Torah are, and how we should observe it. He lived a modest and simple life, yet one permeated with fulfillment and happiness. That is the hashkafa that we should transmit to future generations, especially as the world becomes more and more complicated every day.

22

 Apr 01, 2009 at 08:46 PM PMO Says:

I don't typically like to insult people, but #15 and #17 are both morons and I pity any children or grandchildren you may have.

There are children being abused at home AND in our yeshivos. They are being pushed off the derech. Nobody is noticing them. They sit quietly detatched from everyone else hoping the other bochurim will just think they are shy. Professionals (teachers, school counselors) need to know how to recognize the signs, identify those children and help them. We have a CHIUV to help them. Parents need to be educated as well, and should be included in this instruction.

23

 Apr 01, 2009 at 10:08 PM Shlomo Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

who is she???
what is she talking about there are hundreds of schools and thousands of kids that are proud of their yiddishkeit and are very happy.Not always do kids have to understand evreything.
while there are kids who strayed its not bc the system is bad its usually a combination of the home he grew up in or something in his personal life.
so please if it aint broken don't fix it.

You are unfortunately extremely naĂŻve. Very old school. Wake up and live in our times, or you will suffer the fate of losing your children. Ruchie is a Tzadeikes trying to help deal with a community at risk. Keep on burying your head in the sand and the effects can be devastating. I deal with these problems on a daily basis, and believe me the problem is very real. Please don't be so antagonistic to change. It's sorely needed in today's society.

24

 Apr 02, 2009 at 06:45 AM Anonymous Says:

Yes, children are being abused in school and at home. It is unrealistic to point a finger in any single direction. However, as far as efforts to change things, practicalities, not numbers, demands that we begin in school. Here’s why.

Parents come in a spectrum of versions, from great to lousy. On average, things have deteriorated over the years, and we can look to many factors to explain this. Western society has affected us heavily, with values that detract from Torah living. Our clustering in cities, the avalanche of pritzus, the speed of communications and electronic conveniences, etc. are all factors. What our parents did to raise us couldn’t work today, and we have not adapted in ways that are strong enough. In addition, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of attempts to bring parenting classes to the public. Shamefully, the only ones that attend such programs are those who have managed to be mandated by law to complete such programs, and few interested individuals. One cannot expect to make a badly needed mark on the community by bringing parenting education to the public.

While yeshivos also contain abusers, there is considerable resistance to admitting that this exists, and the offering of training for teachers and other school staff is seriously unpopular. However, there is a captive audience, and when a yeshiva or school recognizes or admits the need for this (not necessarily an admission that they are harboring an abuser), it can more easily be mandated as a term of employment.

Many have stated this already, but the chinuch system has serious deficiencies. Perhaps all school and yeshiva staff need to be trained before being permitted to have charge over students. Maybe there should be some sort of mandatory certification that we arrange before letting teachers enter classrooms. Torah Umesorah’s Aish Dos program is one such resource, but is there a school or yeshiva anywhere that mandates such training?

25

 Apr 01, 2009 at 11:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

who is she???
what is she talking about there are hundreds of schools and thousands of kids that are proud of their yiddishkeit and are very happy.Not always do kids have to understand evreything.
while there are kids who strayed its not bc the system is bad its usually a combination of the home he grew up in or something in his personal life.
so please if it aint broken don't fix it.

You don't know what you are talking about. Go to any shul and watch people going through the motions. I speak to many people and I deal with many people in these matters. its much worse than what's being said here. About 10 years ago I spoke to a menahel from a very prominent yeshiva in bklyn. He told me that probably 75% of kids today do not understand why they are doing mitzvos and keeping torah. Most keep on doing it because its much easier to do what you are used to and what's expected of you from family and friends. Some eventually drop it completely because of some problem they have to deal with. The underlying problem is that their yiddishkeit was never meaningful so that when they had some trouble they left it. if yiddishkeit was given meaning and geshmak they would not leave even if they have problems in their life.
I've spoken to bochurim from some of the top yeshivas in the world. When i ask them simple ideas about yiddishkeit they can't answer. When i explain it to them they almost always say " wow i never understood that" these are bochurim who sit and learn over 10 hours a day. What about those who dont??

26

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:14 PM Anonymous Says:

ruchie is a tzadeikes for feeling and caring about our pain. This is a terrible zoroh of our times and like cancer we have to thank hHashem every second if all our children stay frum and healthy. I am amother of a child who is going off the derech a huge part of the reason is bec against my better judgement I left him in dorms with other kids with problems that we were clueless such as marijuana. This is serious I am telling you that marijuana is stronger than yu and me and it pulls your neshama and mind away from akk achrayus and you just want freedom. ther is so much trouble with marijuana we should have counselors inevery area to deal with this and help before it stoo late. whoever puts down ruchi better go and beg Hashem fast and hard tht this should never ever happen to them or their loved ones. I know many exc families where this happened and many families ewith all sorts of problems and it does not happen. We need to change the whole boys mesivtaq dorm system we need toprevent smoking inabig way bec it is a gateway to marijuana and we could for exmample give free tickent s to hasc concert if abachur gives upsmoking etc. we also must help families in trouble . I thank Hashem for this nisayon for one reason I CAN finally feel the pain of others. Do you think blaming helpsw when hundreds of kids who grew up so frum are in somuch trouble its our holocaust and we better get moving fast to save our ouw kinderlach and anyone who helpos is doing the greatest work of Hashem. Do you think a mother goes into labor and gets up every single day at the crack of dawn and watches a child and feeds them and goes oneverypta and chal hamoed trip and shopping and simchas etc and etc . and can bare this pain. Its like saying if a family did not used bottled water and a child got sick and so you blame the family. There is only one way to ever hope for a yeshua when there is a zarah daven reach out help be supportive and never judge bec I judged and now I am being the judged one. We cannot thank Ruchie enough for giving up her time and kochos to help save our children.

27

 Apr 02, 2009 at 12:29 PM Raphael Kaufman Says:

Reply to #17  
Anonymous Says:

who is she???
what is she talking about there are hundreds of schools and thousands of kids that are proud of their yiddishkeit and are very happy.Not always do kids have to understand evreything.
while there are kids who strayed its not bc the system is bad its usually a combination of the home he grew up in or something in his personal life.
so please if it aint broken don't fix it.

It's not the kids who don't understand everything, it's the adults who have grown up without basic understanding of Yahadus. Most FFBs are "frum" because that's the way they were brought up, not because they made a conscious choice. "Minhag avoseinu b'yadeinu" only works if the individual makes a conscious decision that the minhag is correct and appropriate. Breirah chafshi is a mitzvas assei min ha Torah. Living a "frum" lifestyle because "that's what Tatty did" doesn't get you many points with the Beis Din shel Ma'alah (and, yes, I know that for a fact.).

28

 Apr 02, 2009 at 03:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry to bust your bubble. But things in the average family are not Chevy and apple pie. Plenty of people are going about the daily business, minyan, work, home, learn and do homework with the kids, attend simchas and community events, Shabbos with all the accoutrements, shop for foods with the best hechsherim and clothes with the strictest of tzniyus, etc. However, much is lacking in the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos. Davening is a chore, and focus is on the trivia involved, not the connection to HKB”H. The keeping up with the Goldbergs with the stringencies of halacha is more a social issue that a spiritual one. You get the gist. The feelings that need to be the foundation for Yiddishkeit are not being conveyed or taught. Yes, there is a bigger challenge in parenting that our parents had, and this results in sometimes severe deficiencies in how children are raised. But the role of chinuch (schools and yeshivos) is paramount.

One should not let parents off the hook. But the damaging role that so many yeshivos play today is alarming. There is a preoccupation with keeping girls too busy to be able to help at home or chas veshalom spend time with a friend. Boys must be set to compete to learn more hours and cover more material. This is done at the expense of any development of internal motivation to learn. It is also done at the expense of providing role models to guide children to develop good midos and hashkafos.

B’Derech is becoming a net to catch some of the teens who are falling out from the chassidishe system. The only ones that anyone sees are those who get thrown out of yeshivos and are on the verge of dropping their Yiddishkeit altogether. There are thousands that are below the radar, complying with all the external stuff, but are turned off on the inside. That happens to be true, and I know it from direct involvement. The trouble is that much of what B’Derech does is not directed at these kids who are still in the mainstream. We need Moshiach.

and the reason for all that is pressure???!!!
It is always comfortable to blame one thing for all the tzoros, but maybe it is more complicated than that? Alternativeley, maybe either Pesach hotels, Lipa Schmeltzer, expensive kosher food, Matisyahu Salomon, molestation coverups or Chabad are solely responsible for all the troubles plaguing Charedi Judaism?

29

 Apr 02, 2009 at 08:00 PM Chaim bp Says:

Mrs. Frier keep up your great work! Hatzlucha Raba!

30

 Aug 12, 2009 at 02:01 PM sharona Says:

Beautiful article

I agree that the way to encourage youth is to show them the beauty of Torah and mitzvos and how it connects us to Hashem and brings light to the world

31

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