i have noticed a great interest and concern here regarding causes/understandings of teens "going off". i, myself grew up in a modern orthodox family and community, which held very strongly the importance of living as a religious Jew. I chose to leave it,, and a few years later have returned, and actually have chosen a more "intense" path religiously for myself. i feel i can clarify and clear things up for a lot of you, so if anyone has anything to ask or discuss it'll be my pleasure to help.
from otd to back on, ask away(77 posts)
What made you go off and what brought you back on?
(Note: Your experiences may be vastly different, and for different reasons, than others.)
WELCOME BACK!! I cannot fathom how this thread got missed. I read those threads intensely to glean what I can so my kids WON'T be OTD. Many of them struggle in school and we see the potential pitfalls. Any advice on one foot or do I need to come up with a question?
I know you said that you grew up MO, but do you think societal pressures on young frum kids drive them to go OTD. By that I mean having to always be and act a certain way so, for example, as not to disrupt any potential shidduchim for them or a sibling. Pressures rhiarding learning, and tsnius, dating, appearances, everything really. It is just a question I am not trying to offend anyone, I too live in this society and I also want to make sure I am the best parent I can be, without forcing and pressuring my children and causing them chas v'shalom to go OTD
Basicly what MorahRach said. What are some things that made you or could make someone OTD? Are there certain personalities that could make someone become OTD living in such a religious environment or living in a more modern one?
And BTW, thanks for willing to share and help others.
My family is really frum and I feel like one of my brothers is starting to go OTD because he hates sitting down in Yeshiva. He is still young and I don't want to make it sound like a bad thing. I just hope that just because he hates sitting in Yeshiva it doesn't mean that he has to become less frum or go OTD. Is there any specific way he should be guided?
1- how long were you otd?
2- What inspired your return, emptiness of the outside world? Richness of Yiddishkeit?
3- In what way are you different now?
4- Are you concerned that once tried, it can happen again?
Just because a boy has no zitzfleish for Yeshivah all day, does not mean he has to go OTD. The RIGHT derech has to be found for him, i.e. an alternative to the Yeshivah environment that he is in presently. Chanoch lanaar al pi darko means exactly that. We don't come in "one size fits all." Some kids need a different methodology, a different teaching and learning style, and cannot handle the structure of a typical Yeshivah class. Should they be thrown away because of that? How many neshamos have been lost because of the inability to recognize this?
ok, so before i really share any experience or opinions, i think context is important. when is say i grew up "modern", i mean that my religious upbringing on a practical level consisted of strict adherance to the rules of shabbas, kashrus, and tefilin/davening every day. rules regarding dress, music/movies, or how/with whom to socialize were non existant. however, a "Jewish spirit" and strong values of chesed and kindness permeated my home( and community to some extent).
i am going to work backwards and start with Rabbaim( most specific questions)
i actually like the fact that you didn't ask what "pushed me off", or what caused me to "go off", i was not trying to rebel, i got along well with my parents and respected them very much. for me (and many others i know), there was very little really holding me in, going out to experience things that are out there was easy once i got past the initial fear of the unknown, and fear of dissapointing my parents. in other words, for me and many others like me, the issue isn't what pushed us off, but rather that there was nothing really keeping us in. ( i know that was vague, i am sure i can elaborate a lot if more specific questions are posed)
- i was only about 14 when i started dropping the basics, like shabbas, kashrus...
-my "return" came when i was about 19, i went to visit israel, and met certain incredible people who helped me see the beauty and depth of the world through the prism of observant Judaism, and serious learning of the Torah.
-i have spent the last few years learning seriosuly full time in very serious yeshivas(places i never even heard of growing up), and in fact, my family has moved forward with me and has become more commited to learning and overall shmiras hamitzvos. i am now working part time, as well.
- i have absolutely no concern about returning to things that i experienced "out there". my clarity in what is true has been strengthened exponentially as a result of my experiences and realizations. i actually am active in dealing with teens/college kids who are struggling with things that I and many like me have struggled with.
- there is a lot more for me to share, but without more pointed questions i could end up writing non-stop, so more specific questions/concerns will be easier for me(sorry i am not a regular internet poster, this is a little foreign to me).
i hope i helped at least a little, so far.
At what point did you feel like you 'left'? Did feeling that make you want to return or did it hold you back?
Welcome back! Baruch Hashem that you have found your way back to the Torah way of life!
I have a few questions if you don't mind my asking.
1. How old were you when you went off?
2. What caused you to go off in the first place? Was it family issues? School issues? Bad friends...? Were you just lacking in certain knowledge, beliefs in basics...?
3. What was attempted to bring you back and why didnt it work?
4. What brought you back?
5. What do you think can be done differently to keep kids on the derech?
6. What can we do once a kid is slipping or gone off the derech to get him back as quickly and securely as possible?
I know this is a lot, but I think your answers will shed a lot of light on what goes on with OTD kids and what can be improved upon.
Thank you, and may you always feel Hashem's love for you in your life.
@yeshivish. I could've written your post, as I too came from the same exact type modern orthodox background , went completely otd for a number of years, and came back much more Frum than b4, b"H. In my case, I went off partly because I became friendly with people who were experimenting with the other lifestyle, and mostly because I was emotionally neglected at home and was searching for happiness and attention in all the wrong places. What I'm still trying to figure out, so many years later, is why I stayed in the other lifestyle for so long since it really didn't bring me any happiness or peace of mind, only guilt and pain...
I am not clear on what you were before
Charedi with a touch of "modern" (Sometimes known as centrist) or where you Modern Orhtodox and went to a Jewish Day School
Without Disclosing where you are from, did you grow up in a community More Like Borough Park or More like Teaneck
So interesting to her from you, y316. Would you say that you grew up in what we call an "MO" home? More YU than BMG? I find a lot of people try to convince me that more rightwing homes & yeshivas are far more likely to produce kids with OTD issues. Would you agree?
Also interesting to me that you made it sound as if you left more because of the attractions of what was "out there", than because of digust or discomfort with what you experienced at home & in yeshiva. Is that correct?
What do you think parents can do to keep their kids from leaving to the excitement of what they can find out in the world? Better to shelter them? Expose them? Talk to them? What do you think of all the talk these days about electronic media and keeping kids away from it?
How do you help teens & college kids deal with things you struggled with?
IMO it is likely the MO people probably do leave more than Charedim, but I dont think it has anything to do with hashkafa.
It IS easier to leave if you are MO than Charedi, You likely speak english better , You likely dont have a jewish accent, you likely dress like everyone else, you likely have a secular education , you likely can behave in the outside world and most likely your family will not disown you.
If you are Charedi the break is much more extreme, and more difficult to do. Also they are married younger and breaking away involves kids and people cannot function in regular society.
If you want to say the keeping people in almost by force works better and keeps more in , you would be correct, but I am not sure if having miserable members is such a good idea either.
Those are all good reasons to be chareidi. Indeed it does keep people frum to a much much greater extent. MO OTD is a notable percentage of MO teens and young adults. And it occurs to a far far greater extent than it happens with the regular frum.
You people are making up statistics. Not only have none of you any actual information, but I'm betting you haven't even heard it anywhere.
How about this: First give me a rough estimate of how many people per 100 go OTD in any group, and then we'll let you start your inane speculations.
There aren't enough jewish neshamos to go around for all the kids that are being born to frum families nowadays. So unless hashem makes more neshamos or starts splitting the ones we have, some kids just get goyishe neshamos, and of course they leave judaism.
AMBP: That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. HKBH didn't plan for this at Briyas Ha'olam? People who go OTD have no Bechirah because they got Goyish Neshamos? That's just stupid.
Sam: You think he was serious? I seriously doubt it.
I was raised chareidi, went off, and became MO when I became frum again.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with other people.
I have a lot of questions but this is one I was thinking about recently.
When you went out into the world were there a lot of things that turned you off about the goyim and what is going on in that lifestyle that caused you to rethink the path that you took or did you not think about it until you saw the better alternative? If so what kind of things were they specifically?
I appreciate the response i got from zahavasdad.
I have to agree with pba that to an extent, most of our info is anecdotal. We don't have any sociologists in place conducting interviews & compiling data.
And to ambp, this may be harsh and get my post deleted- but that is THE most ridiculous post i have seen on the CR. Too ridiculous to respond to.
I was curious if y316, who started all of this had any answers for me?
I think Ambp is kidding, although it's inappropriate for this thread. In reality we were taught that once all neshomos are brought down from shamaim, moshiach will come. (and btw this includes miscarriages) which is another reason to have more children.
In a more literal sense, we unfortunately haven't yet replaced what we lost during the holocaust, which means there were more jews at a given point in history.
Would you people
recognize the ANECDOTAL nature
of this thread/poster
and stop making
And what is this stupidity
Geez Louise, when did m"s get so serious all of a sudden?
MUSICALDIGNITY- to be honest with you, i did not see things out there that sent me back to judaism, all of the overt positivities of the religious community, such as solid family values and overall sense of concern for one another, were always clear to me. the emptiness that i saw very up close in the lifestyles that are out there didn't send me back either, because my perception was that there was a lot of emptiness in the life style i left behind as well. i know that sounds really harsh, but that is truthfully the way i felt, and probably the main reason i was able to leave my childhood upbringing in search of a life style that had more meaning and less restriction.
i think this next point may the most important one for me to share- because my relationship with my family stayed strong throughout, and mutual respect was always there no matter what i was doing(of course there was friction here and there also), i was open to the suggestions of searching "in my own backyard" for the happiness and meaning in life that i felt i was missing growing up. that led me to peaople who were able to open my eyes to the richness, beauty and joy in the Torah life.
i hope i am being somewhat clear, if not, i am happy to clarify things more specifially. i hope i can help all those struggling with these issues
Feif: I went the same way you did, though thanks to some very exceptional people I managed to minimze the "off" part.
Itche and Feif - That's interesting. I was raised very modern, similar to the way the OP describes. We kept what we kept and considered some stuff "extras" like covering your hair, wearing skirts and kol isha. We never asked poskim things, just the shul rabbi. I don't think there was much holding any of us on. I never thought of leaving but I felt I had lots of freedom to do what I wanted, I never really learned any philosophy or purpose to any of it. For instance, I knew that if you wanted to eat on Shabbos, you had to make kiddush and hamotzie first. I didn't know that you had to make kiddush and hamotzie for their own sake.
By the time I finished high school, most of my class wasn't religious anymore. Some ended up "frumming out". I am just surprised that the empty, buffet-style derech would be inviting to you. But you also seem to know TONS more than my peers did. I assume we are talking about two very different definitions of MO.
BTW, most of my family ended up becoming more religious to some extent or other.
Syag: In the MO community I live in, these things are not considered "extra". As for asking the shul Rabbi, yes, when I have a question, I ask the Rabbi of my shul. He is extremely knowledgeable, has semicha, and I have no problems asking him.
Now, does saying these things are not "extra" mean they don't happen? No. There are women in the community who don't cover their hair, or wear pants. However, the Rabbi will never say it's ok, and he encourages people to dress more appropriately - in private, and not via fire and brimstone speeches like most Beis Yaakovs do these days.
But when it comes to learning, our shul is fantastic! There are shiurim every day, chaburos a few nights per week, and on Shabbos there are numerous shiurim on various topics throughout the entire day.
Are we Zionist? Yes, and proudly so. In our shul, the gabbai used to make a mi sheberach every week for Gilad Shalit. You should have seen him the first week he didn't have to say it anymore - he had tears streaming down his cheeks! The love that every member of our shul has for Israel is amazing.
Our community also has a kollel that is supported by the community. They learn b'chavrusah with many baal habatim every night.
This is a real MO community.
And the difference is that almost every Beis Yaakov has ZERO issues with girls or mothers wearing pants. Or mothers with uncovered hair.
Plus, unlike in Syag's example where most of the class went OTD, they have a very very small OTD rate.
Clearly the Beis Yaakov's are doing things right.
That sounds a lot like where my brother is now. There is a real kesher to Hashem and His Torah. We didn't have any of that. Just as an FYI, not to start a tangent (please no) but when I registered my daughter for BY here I did it with baited breath. Just waiting for them to say the wrong thing and send me walking. They never did. No fire and brimstone in this particular school. She learned a lot from role models and soft speech. The fiery ones were a sad minority who did their damage but have been replaced, B"H.
I can now see why you felt an attraction. I wish I had been raised with some of that. B"H my kids are.
Thanks for sharing!
choppy - I was pretty clear about stating that we had no derech to go off of. And as Feif explained, this was NOT an MO life. It was a "live on the fence" life. I have to tell you that the kids in my class were raised wearing pants/shorts and no hair covering, few made brachos Except for when eating bread. We davened but minyans were not 'required', it was a "better this than nothing" lifestyle that was created to keep these kids (50 years ago) out of public school and for MOST, it worked. This is the place Reb Noson Tzvi went. Nobody did anything bad, they just drifted. The girls in my daughters school who went off did so with a vengence. The things they did in 6-11th grade behind their parents backs were things I never would have done in all my years of "modern" life. It's a non-comparison. And MANY of the kids in my class became very frum when they got to Israel. Some opened yeshivas and yeshivot there.
Choppy, I beg to differ regarding the OTD rate of Bais Yaakovs. It may be considerably lower than Syag's class, but it's not "very very small." Unfortunately, I have no numbers, just anecdotal evidence.
yehudayona - Are you THE yehudayona???????????
yehuda: My anecdotal evidence, from many beis yaakov's, is not zero -- but pretty close to it.
Syag: And those of the girls in your daughters class that did those things, do most of them keep Shabbos when they're 20 or 25? You indicated most in your class, most of the class completely stopped keeping Shabbos. So even if a few in your daughters class did really wild things, it seems by time they are 25 most are still keeping Shabbos, unlike your class.
Re-characterizing your class from being MO, is like re-characterizing a guy from Lakewood who went bad as not being Chareidi.
Changing a posters words to make it say something you are more comfortable with is the type of behavior that sends these children running. In your eyes, my class probably wasn't ever keeping Shabbos in the first place.
Choppy: You're ignoring a very important semantics difference. You are lumping both the community that Syag described and the one that Feif described as "MO" and therefore saying that "MO" has problems. But you can clearly see the difference, can't you? Just because a community that is more properly described as Conservadox calls themselves "MO" shouldn't mean that the "Modern Orthodox" communities who remember the Orthodox part of their name should be lumped with them as problematic. That would be like saying BMG has a lot of Zionists because there are some Zionists in Ner Yisrael. They're both "Chareidi/Yeshivish", right? So that's a fair claim? You can see that's ridiculous, can't you?
As an aside - If you would like to play with words, more of the people in my class who went off the non existent derech came back to something than did the BY girls who went off.
I don't understand this assumption that MO have a higher rate of going OTD.
Where does the term "greasy" yeshiva guy come from?
Clearly no community is immune.
choppy: I know exactly one OTD MO guy personally. I know of one more through a friend of a friend. I can name over sixty OTD individuals whom I know from backgrounds Yeshivish and to the right including practically an entire class from my yeshiva. One of the guys from the last group is an illui of the sort that books get written about. My evidence is anecdotal, just like everyone else's, but human beings can only judge by what they know.
Big deal. I know one OTD guy whose father is a dentist. You are being absurd.
IS: And I know no OTD Chareidim, either directly or through my friends. I know of many many frei people who come from MO backgrounds.
You are correct, sorry. Itche is being absurd, not you.
Sam: Yeah, calling the LWMO as Conservadox, is like calling the few bad apples Chareidim have as MO.
Mod95: Is it any less dumb than what Itche wrote right above my comment??
Mod 95: It's not outrageous. It's just denial. It's like the Chalaria's claim that there are no gay people in Iran.
95 - What in the world made you swap that? That makes no sense at all to say choppy is making sense. He obviously twisted my words and is making statements that can't hold water. Why support that?
Choppy: Precisely. You just proved my point. Call it LWMO instead of Conservadox if you want. I don't care. But you clearly see that there is a big difference in the two. So why are you lumping them together?
this is so dumb. this is really really dumb. for real. So you can go and tell that, go and tell that, go and tell that, homeboy homeboy homehomehomeboy.
Syag: I think that recent revision by 95 was facetious.
Sam: LWMO is MO just as RWMO is MO.
Sam2: I hope you're right. I'm tired of swimming upstream.
Choppy: Fine. And Chareidim are Jewish just like "MO" is Jewish. Therefore, by your logic, all Jews are Apikorsim who should never be trusted and are guaranteed to go off the Derech. Your comment is just hateful, stupid, and willfully ignorant. The differences were laid right in front of your eyes in this thread and you chose to ignore it because it wouldn't suit your hate-based agenda.
You must log in to post.