Sunday, April 23, 2006

A wake up call -

The New York Times had this op-ed piece today:

This is a story of a gentleman from a Chassidishe background. Similar stories can be heard about people in the Yeshivish community. The issue is not the individual case because that has happened all the time and will continue to happen. It is that the arguments put forth are so compelling. How many amongst us are staying in the community because of societal and family pressures. Just read the few who dare show themselves anonymously in the Jewish Blogosphere. And then you get this monstrosity

When are our leaders going to wake up and realize what a chilul hashem they are causing with their obtuseness refusing to address the rightful concerns of the few that are capable of thinking and questioning within our community?

There is only one way for Judaism to survive in our times and that is to face up to the issues and deal with them openly. Our Torah is great and if followed in spirit, not only in ritualistic practice, has the ability to change not only us but the whole world. Let's drop the Emunos Tefeilos, "spirituality",fake "Kabbalah" and other current fads and return to the teachings of our earlier Chachomim and Rishonim. Addressing the issues rationally in light of the Torah teachings will weed out those who leave because they want to shirk the burden of Torah and those who are in the process of leaving because they are perplexed. It is for the latter that we lament.

(This post was re-edited when i realized I left out the crux of the matter - sorry)


  1. Baruch Horowitz4/24/2006 12:46 AM

    I just read the link to the NYT op-ed, which is a poignant description of the lives of those who have left Chassidic and Orthodox Judaism. I don't recall having read anything in the NYT or any of the non-Jewish media on this topic before.

    While I have not read the book, I have heard a conversation with Hella Winston on the NYC Zev Brenner show about two months ago, in regards to her book "Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels" . That interview also provided a glimpse into the lives of these Chasidic "Rebels".

    One factor which I feel could stem the growth of the "At Risk" population is the allowance of a more flexible approach even within the paramaters of the particular derech of the Chassidic/Yeshivish communities--Chanoch L'enaar al Pi Darko. Portions of the Charedi community appear to already have recognized that not "one size fits all" in chinuch. One hopes that these "rebels" will find a way back to Yiddishkiet--MO or RW Orthodoxy-- and that there also will be a continuing recognition among educators of the need for flexibility in chinuch.

    As an aside, there is an interview on "Around the Dining Room Table" between Steven Savitsky of the OU and Rabbi Moshe Titlebaum of YI Lawrence/Cedearhurst( Rabbi Titelbaum states that the "Off the Derech" phenomenon affects both RW and MO populations; clearly the factors involved in this occurrence are complex. Also, Mr. Savitsky interveiws Faranak Margolese, author of "Off the Derech". Have you read this book?

  2. Boruch, I have ordered both off the derech and the unchosen. Thanks for the info about the savitzki interview.

  3. After reading the piece from Ha'aretz about R. Elyashov and the other Gedolim defending the baby killer I don't know whether to cry or to cry even more.

    I wonder if these Gedolim would be defending this frum yid if he had thrown Slifkin's book at his baby.