All Children Who Leave Our Community Should Pain Us Equally

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  • #609053

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    crisisoftheweek

    Wanna know how I got this subtitle?

    There is very little perspective when kids go OTD, no matter what happens after the child leaves, it is viewed by the parents as failure on their end. As illustrated below and a hat tip to The Wandering Jew

    Chani Goldstein: age 19, kicked out of her Yeshiva High School for smoking, and ended up doing drugs. She has no real place to live, has no prospects or job skills. She does not keep Kosher or Shabbos.

    Rivki Schwartz: age 26, defied her parents who wanted to send her to seminary, managed to get a full scholarship to college, then went to law school while working part-time as a paralegal. She just passed the bar and has a job offer at a prestigious law firm. She does not keep Kosher or Shabbos.

    Both shake their heads sadly.

    Going off the Derech

    Crisis: Deserves its own thread. Even though I disagree.

    I think that the people who lump all OTDs together are saying that both of these kids are separating from Klal Yisrael. And that’s equally sad, whether it’s with drugs or by going to Harvard.

    #947379

    What do you disagree with?

    #947380

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    ich bin no idea vos der thread zein shpreching

    #947381

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    Crisis: I feel that your post implies that we should not feel so guilty if a kid goes OTD and is successful, as we do when a kid goes OTD and hurts themselves.

    #947382

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    “Her sister went OTD? At least it won’t worsen the shidduch crisis”

    “She went OTD and is now a doctor”

    “He went OTD and is now a veterinarian in sub-Saharan Africa dying from AIDS”

    “He went OTD and is now a drug dealer in Ukraine”

    Can anyone tell what these have in common? They all bother me for the same reason.

    #947383

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    pba- translation into normal yiddish- Ich hab nisht kein anung vos der fudem zogt.

    #947384

    Sam2
    Participant

    Torah: I thought we should feel more guilty if they’re more successful (well, different type of guilt). We should feel more responsible for the kids in trouble because we let them go off more. The successful ones are more independent and can choose to go off more on their own.

    #947385

    Imaofthree
    Participant

    It is really awful and I would not wish this on my worst enemy. May Hashem help them come back to us!

    #947386

    WIY
    Member

    The question is which type of OTD kid will come back faster?

    #947387

    writersoul
    Member

    I think it’s more that Chani, in this scenario, went through so many more issues and so much more pain (at least, on the surface) than Rivki did. When people see drugs and smoking, they’re more, oy, nebach. Something must have really gone wrong. You can SEE the problem. And really, I can see where they’re coming from. She’s self-destructing! She’s killing herself!

    From a yiddishkeit perspective, I can see it going either way.

    But I think that Torah is right about crisis’s original point, about how the stigma is equal in both scenarios. People are just thinking about the non-frum sibling and the influence- whether it’s the influence of drugs or liberal arts colleges, it’s equal. HOWEVER, I agree with crisis that perspective is needed.

    I can’t say much about it, though, as since I think that the stigma surrounding OTD siblings is horrible and unjustified.

    #947388

    This is an interesting topic. Of course, you might weigh the OTD-ness of the person equally, but there are various ways that you might engage with people who are OTD, and different reasons that you might do it. Also, people are people, not characteristics. So it is obviously worthwhile to understand that there is a distinction between different situations.

    For example, if the kid is a drug addict, it’s obvious that his parents beat him. If the kid is at Harvard, it’s obvious that the parents let him read inappropriate books.

    #947389

    Amen to the last comment!…..and what about married children who choose to change their lifestyle and take their children and mix them up? That too is something that i don’t wish any Yiddishe parent to have to live with as they watch their grandchildren drift away from us and don’t want to acknowledge(frum family members).

    #947390

    The little I know
    Participant

    If some of the above comments are an attempt at humor, the effort was futile. If they were meant with any degree of seriousness, some people need a lot of help, perhaps as much as the OTD kids.

    It is true that lumping OTD situations together is often unjustified and uninformative. What it does tell us is that our community has lost the strength to hold onto its youth and that the problem starts with the adults in their lives. And don’t bore me with the ridiculous, usually untruthful line about dysfunctional families. It’s sometimes true, but very, very often it is not.

    We, as a community, have failed our children, and miserably at that. We do not meet their needs at home, school or yeshiva, or in the community sanctioned social environments. We are confirmed failures at transmitting the values of Ahavas Hashem and Ahavas HaTorah. We have excelled in creating environments that force compliance and conformity. The talmid that is difficult is discarded. Some yeshivos lack the resources, and all lack the funds. But also seriously lacking is the concern to insure that every talmid can find success. This is a product of the times. It was comparatively uncommon 25 years ago, and is still less frequent out of town.

    Here’s the litmus test. How much effort is invested by a yeshiva that rejects an applicant or refuses to permit a talmid(oh) to continue in their school? How many alumni maintain contact with their rebbeim and teachers long after they left? These two examples of approach are elements that have become nearly obsolete. That’s where our children are, and that is the only reason to think about OTD as a single issue.

    #947391

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    Sam2: Are you saying we’re more responsible for the less smart kids, because smarter kids are more self-empowered?

    Imaofthree: Amen.

    WIY: There is no way to predict it (very similar to predicting who will get married first, actually.)

    writersoul: Right, I’m talking from a Yiddishkeit perspective. Of course the most important thing is emotional health.

    Veltz Meshugener: Thank you.

    For example, if the kid is a drug addict, it’s obvious that his parents beat him. If the kid is at Harvard, it’s obvious that the parents let him read inappropriate books. lol

    Ms. Critique who may always know the answers correctly

    That is very sad.

    The little I know: 2/4 I have heard in real life. 4/4 are variations of things I have heard in real life.

    I agree with you that it is a community problem, but it is ALSO a family problem, and ALSO an individual problem. At the end of the day, every person has choices.

    Here’s the litmus test. How much effort is invested by a yeshiva that rejects an applicant or refuses to permit a talmid(oh) to continue in their school? How many alumni maintain contact with their rebbeim and teachers long after they left?

    Very good point,but not the only reason it is a single issue.

    #947392

    rebdoniel
    Member

    Throwing kids out of schools is akin to a death sentence; the Yiddishkeit and even health of such kids is threatened. Drugs and other horrible things are rampant among the real OTD crowd. Just look at a place like Our Place, which says that they’ve gotten heterim to have open caskets at levayas of kids who overdosed, r”l.

    There needs to be more opportunities for people to make a parnassa, get a decent education, and also there needs to be more diversity in the type of learning we offer.

    #947393

    sw33t
    Member

    I know that my comments is what prompted this thread.

    I want to state very clearly that I do not feel that just because an OTD child becomes successful, that its not as sad or painful. I think it is a loss for the Jewish community all the same.

    But I also feel, that if it does happen, the best case scenario would be that the child becomes educated and becomes a productive member of society, as opposed to just wasting away like I’m sure we have all witnessed.

    I do understand the other side though, because from what I’ve seen, these people who are OTD but successful, are detached from Judaism on a whole different level. I get it. But I have also seen the other type of OTD people, who create a train wreck out of their lives.. I mean we can all die any second, but a drug addict has a higher chance. Someone hanging out on the streets at 4am has a higher chance..

    Does nobody see my point?? … I guess I understnad if you dont.. it is just how I feel.

    #947394

    squeak
    Participant

    We get that you feel happy for the successful one. A successful OTD is a permanent OTD. A loser will be dead or come crawling back to yiddishkeit given enough time. Was that your point?

    #947395

    WIY
    Member

    Squeak

    There are many Baalei Teshuva who are successful yet they still choose to become religious. I think that even a successful OTD can come back although it really depends on the persons experiences that lead him or her OTD.

    #947396

    I think the issue here is that even if someone goes OTD, they can still be kind people, lead healthy/productive lives, and be law-abiding citizens. While that’s obviously not the Torah ideal, a successful, charitable irreligious doctor is a lot better person and citizen than a homeless druggie.

    #947397

    yichusdik
    Participant

    A dangerous road to go down, squeak. It would imply that tshuva might be the last resort of the wounded soul, but it offers nothing to the confident or strong.

    Our community needs temporal leadership beyond its poskim. If its bright and capable are neither inspired enough to stay nor attracted enough to come back, we all have some serious cheshbon hanefesh to do to figure out why, and to come up with solutions that address yiddishkeit, not all of the “shmutz” out there that’s easy to blame.

    #947398

    pou_bear
    Member

    I never thought the CR can make me so mad. I don’t deny that torah and religion is the truth and nothing but the truth. However, when someone goes off the derech , at that point in their life religion is NOTHING to them. To me whats important when seeing such people, is knowing at least they are in a HEALTHY place, “happy” with themselves and what their doing, feeling fulfilled. At this point in their life its not about religioun anymore!! Its sad but this is the harsh truth. It sickens me to think that people would rather see these yordim suffer with themselves and destroy there existence for the slight possibility that there will be a return. Obviously people go through fazes but when you hit 21 if your not heading back yet chances are its not happening anytime soon.

    #947399

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    But I also feel, that if it does happen, the best case scenario would be that the child becomes educated and becomes a productive member of society, as opposed to just wasting away like I’m sure we have all witnessed.

    I see your point from a completely different angle.

    We have 613 Mitzvos in the Torah + 7 D’rabbanan. Each time a mitzva is done (whether Bain Adam L’Makom or Bain Adam L’Chavairo) it is a Zechus and a fulfillment of Hashem’s word. If someone is “OTD”, they may very possibly be doing more mitzvos and be “better” in Hashem’s book than someone who is “officially” On the Derech, but cheats others, hurts his wife, etc. Part of Hashem’s Torah is to be kind, not cheat, be honest, honor your parents, etc. It is not a Zero-sum equation. A non-Frum Jew who eats Kosher this one time instead of Traif, or deals honestly in business instead of cheating, or joins the family for the Seder & eats Matza (even if he will eat Chometz the next day) will get incredible Zechusim in Shomayim for those acts.

    With that idea in mind, it is obvious that someone who made an honest life for themselves is doing more of what Hashem wants

    than someone who is “on the streets”.

    #947400

    It is true that lumping OTD situations together is often unjustified and uninformative. What it does tell us is that our community has lost the strength to hold onto its youth and that the problem starts with the adults in their lives. And don’t bore me with the ridiculous, usually untruthful line about dysfunctional families. It’s sometimes true, but very, very often it is not.

    The community has never had the strength to hold onto its youth. Since the emancipation of European Jews, there have always been a significant proportion of people who did not remain frum; and at times it was the vast majority who didn’t.

    Of course, we always have to work on improving on the job that we’re doing, but it’s simply false to pretend that it’s worse than ever.

    #947401

    sw33t
    Member

    My point was that if I had to choose between worrying about my child’s yiddishkeit, vs worrying about their yiddishkeit AND their physical safety, I think I would rather the first. I think I would be very upset and dissapointed that they are throwing away their roots but would be grateful that they did not turn to drugs, etc.

    And I really dont see what is so bad about feeling that way. But, please, keep making me out like I’m saying something terrible.

    #947402

    EzratHashem
    Member

    So if the sibs are treated unfairly in shidduchim, is there anyone taking up their cause and doing shadchanus specifically with these families?

    #947403

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    I know several people that are OTD. None of them are drug addicts or anything like that, but they’re not Harvard graduates either. Most of them went OTD because they didn’t have a decent social life when they were religious. No, that’s not the reason they’ll tell you, but that’s the truth. Problem is that social skills don’t magically rain down on you when you go OTD. Now they have other socially awkward OTD friends though, so that’s keeping them from coming back. I only know one OTD person who has good social skills, and that person still respects and gets along very well with religious people. Most OTD people on drugs is not because they stopped believing in Hashem but rather that they have major issues. Someone with major issues and doesn’t believe in Hashem is obviously worse than someone who’s only issue is that they don’t believe in Hashem.

    #947404

    I know very few people who are off the derech, but if I put them on a graph according to intelligence (not raw intelligence but as applied to life) and stability, there would be a strong bimodal distribution, with many people completely unstable and inept; and many people super high achievers, but very few in between.

    Actually, many is not a good word, because between both groups, they don’t total “many”.

    #947405

    EzratHashem
    Member

    GAW–your words can be healing to those who feel they are too far gone to turn back, Wish there was a way to get your message out to them.

    #947406

    emunah613
    Member

    There is a way. Become an amazing example yourself of what a true Torah observant person is. When any one sees a baal middos, and a lamdan, with a friendly disposition, our OTD children will flock back quickly. When Jewish kids are finding the love and acceptance they crave among goyim or non religious the only one we can blame is …us…..When I was a kid I admired my teachers and the rabbanim I knew, and I wanted to be just like them, and as dedicated to Yiddishkeit as my parents. It was also enjoyable to be a frum person! We felt grateful for every Jew-no matter their level of frumkeit. When we harp on every silliness, style of hat, type of shirt, etc… no matter that our kids fly away. None of that is EMES. Let’s focus on teaching the emes, on working on ourselves, and on accepting a teen as is FOR NOW. Kids go through stages, but look at your neighborhood. Probably half the people in your shul were not religious in high school. Look at the teens from your yeshiva that were trouble-most of them are religious today….Why? Because of good Torah true Jews who impacted them in a positive way and made them understand that there is no greater life than one that is filled with serving Hashem.

    #947407

    The little I know
    Participant

    Let’s face a painful fact. The primary reason behind nearly every single case of OTD is REJECTION. This can exist in many versions. The obvious ones are the expulsions from yeshiva or school. But there are countless others. There are those who have been degraded and shamed, whether by parents, rebbes/teachers/menahalim, other adult figures. Included here are many presentations of inappropriate discipline. Some have been victims of bullies. Still some have limitations in areas such as learning skills, reading, social skills, and other areas of psychological functining. With many situations involving considerable difficulty in helping the children to compensate for these limitations, the child can be knocked for his/her handicap. Yes, teachers and rebbeim have a poor track record when it comes to withholding negative comments from talmidim. Parents are also guilty of doing this to their children.

    So we are not only guilty of failing to provide the welcoming to a life of Ahavas Hashem, but we have also shamed them enough for them to choose to rebel. OTD kids are the victims. The adults in their lives are the perpetrators.

    One additional thought. Parents are not perfect. Neither are mechanchim. However, the demands made on mechanchim by Chazal hold then to a higher standard. Here are a few examples:

    ????? ????? ???????

    ??? ???? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ????

    #947408

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    The little I know- you’re generalizing too much. Not all OTD people are victims. Some are people that get a thrill out of doing what they’re not supposed to, and take pleasure in their parents pain. Yes, this is a small minority but you can’t say all are victims.

    #947409

    The little I know
    Participant

    Gamanit:

    Can you share your experience with kids at risk? I won’t present details about mine, but my exposure to KAR is extreme, with many, many hundreds having been connected to me. In addition, I work closely with many others who have worked with this population for years, and this is the conclusion we have all reached. There is a small statistical minority who are simply looking for the thrill of the moment. But the overwhelming majority are Kids in Pain, who are escaping from themselves. To call them Victims of Abuse would be dramatic, but would be true.

    #947410

    WIY
    Member

    There are many possible reasons that a kid will go off but if you know any of them you will see that most have one thing in common and that is emotional issues. I think many of these kids are by nature very sensitive and need lots of love and attention respect….additionally I think many have social issues and have difficulty making normal friends. So these two factors isolated them and made them feel out of the pack and like an outsider. Kids who are well adjusted emotionally and socially tend to have no desire to go off. Yes there are exceptions but I’m speaking about the majority. I personally know a few OTD kids and kids who were off.

    #947411

    squeak
    Participant

    WIY, yichusdik,

    Don’t put words in my mouth. I was putting words into sweet’s mouth.

    #947412

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    sw33t: To be perfectly honest, I have not been following the thread, but this post jumped out at me. I did not read your comments and they did not prompt this thread. That said, I am happy to see that you think that every child lost to the Jewish community is a tragedy. I agree.

    pou_bear: I’m sorry the CR made you so mad. Please recall that this is from a Yiddishkeit perspective.

    gavra_at_work: Not necessarily. There’s “honest” and there’s honest. ??? ?????? ???????

    Veltz Meshugener: I agree that it is not all dysfunctional families. I know plenty of kids from dysfunctional homes who stayed on the derech, and kids from excellent homes who went off. I agree that it is far better than it has ever been (except maybe when the Bais HaMikdash was standing)

    EzratHashem: Please let’s not drag shidduchim into every thread. (I was just giving an example of a BAD attitude. It is BAD to connect the issues of OTD with shidduchim.)

    Gamanit: Agreed.

    emunah613: Beautiful post.

    The little I know: You obviously know a lot about this topic. I am impressed when you write that you are connected to 100s of kids.

    I volunteer with people “at risk”, tweens, as a non-professional who helps them transition to professional help. I always emphasize that no matter what has happened to them, they have choices. Right now, they have to choose whether to face their anger / depression / academic struggles / social issues and make an effort to change, reach out to others, or they can stay unhappy, rejected, failing as they are. All eventually choose to make positive changes.

    It bothers me that you blame parents and mechanchim. I do not think that they can be blamed for everything, and this only encourages the characteristic endemic of modern society of avoiding responsibility for one’s actions. Our job is to protect the kids as much as possible, teach them tools to protect themselves, and help them become constructive adults who serve Hashem in the way that is best for them.

    #947413

    The little I know
    Participant

    Torah613Torah:

    One of my mottoes is that blame is a banned word. I have no issue with looking at factors that contribute to a problem and addressing them for change. In the situation of an individual OTD youngster, I am more interested in mobilizing the parents and others to work along with the kid as there are efforts to help him/her succeed in pursuing realistic and healthy goals. It is not about finger pointing. Inasmuch as the subject was raised in the direction of grouping all OTD kids into a single unit, I was pointing out that the adults in the lives of the children are the ones who form the child’s experience of living with authority figures that create the structures of rules and limits. That set of experiences, in turn, is the greatest contributor to the healthy development of a connection and relationship to a spiritual G-d. When we see fraying at the edges of Yiddishkeit, it is reflective of weak development of this side of life, and “the problem is us”. I am not blaming parents or mechanchim any more than I blame every adult in the community. We all contribute in some way to the development of every child, even one not biologically our own, or a talmid.

    If the question, by virtue of grouping OTD kids together, is what can the community do to change, we must address how we, as authority figures, relate to children. Again, the most common theme to ALL kids with these issues is REJECTION. It comes in many flavors, and often is accompanied by a stack of justifications that are tantamount to “The surgery was successful, but the patient died.” Well, I am focused on the result. The success of chinuch is not that which is measured by a bechinah or the memorization of text, be it Chumash, Tehilim, Mishnayos, or Gemora. It is the implementation of Torah values in the context of everyday life, in which there is more than rote and robotic performance of mitzvos, but rather a sense of dveikus in HKB”H, with whatever level of Ahavas Hashem and Yir’as Hashem is achievable. Now, we should ask, do we, as parents and mechanchim succeed at transmitting these to our children? If not, what can we do to correct this?

    #947414

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    The little I know:

    I hear your point about how we are all responsible to ensure no child feels rejected.

    Chinuch… It is the implementation of Torah values in the context of everyday life, in which there is more than rote and robotic performance of mitzvos, but rather a sense of dveikus in HKB”H, with whatever level of Ahavas Hashem and Yir’as Hashem is achievable. Now, we should ask, do we, as parents and mechanchim succeed at transmitting these to our children? If not, what can we do to correct this?

    This is an excellent point.

    #947415

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    The little I know- 1) I mentioned in my post that I’m talking about a small minority 2) You’re talking about kids at risk, I’m talking about OTD altogether. I wrote that post because sometimes parents do everything right, keep on telling their kids how much they love them and want them to be happy and the kid still goes off. They feel intense pain when they hear that the kids that are off are blameless and it’s all the parents fault.

    #947416

    WIY
    Member

    Gamanit

    Its extremely rare for that to happen. In such a case it is possible that his Rabbeim or someone along the way turned him off. It is also likely the kid was exposed to certain harmful things or made bad friends. A parent has an obligation to make sure a kid is not being exposed to spiritually harmful things (as much as possible within reason I’m not saying lock the kid up in the house and never let him or her go outside) and a parent must make sure that their child has good friends. There are many kids that may have had loving parents but that doesn’t mean they were given the proper chinuch in the home. A parent has to be mechanech its not enough to just love love love your kid. If you love your kid you teach him or her discipline. You teach right and wrong at a young age and you teach personal responsibility. You teach that life isn’t fair and we don’t always get what we want and that its ok. Its not easy being a parent these days. Its probably harder then in most previous generations.

    #947417

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    WIY- I know it’s not common. But say it’s the situation of one of the readers here? I don’t know. Should we potentially cause someone pain for being in the minority? Does that obligation apply to children over bar/bas mitzvah? Say a kid goes to the library and uses the 15 minute computer which you don’t need a card for without his parents permission. Is that their responsibility? Note- I don’t mean this rhetorically. I would like an answer.

    #947418

    Ariellah
    Participant

    true

    #947419

    The little I know
    Participant

    Gamanit:

    If I had a dollar for every time a mechanech blamed parents for all the kids at risk and OTD issues, I could get myself and several other people out of debt. It is a blatant lie. There are good parents, there are bad parents, and there are parents who tried to do a good job but lacked the skills for a child who had different needs. Even Avrohom Avinu succeeded with only one out of 8, and Yitzchok Avinu with 1 out of 2! It is high time for the community and all those involved in chinuch to accept responsibility for the role of the yeshivos and schools. There is gross failure to meet the needs of talmidim who do not conform, whether by providing or accessing services, or by having individual attention for each and every talmid. It is pikuach nefesh for so many, and is the exception to the rule. How many menahalim of mosdos that have more than 100 students can greet every single one by name? I am not blaming yeshivos for all the problems. I am simply stating with full conviction that the defense of diverting responsibility away from yeshivos is irresponsible and blatantly false. We are all in this together, and we all share a collective responsibility to insure that every boy or girl has a yeshiva, school, program, and all needed services. If we fail to accomplish this, we will ch”v continue to watch every family lose some to the welcoming arms of the yetzer horah, the filthy streets, and the tangle of the web.

    #947420

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    >em> There is gross failure to meet the needs of talmidim who do not conform, whether by providing or accessing services, or by having individual attention for each and every talmid.

    Non-conformism is severly looked down upon. If someone cant be a learner, but they can play the trumpet. Its looked down upon and the person might have to leave to be a trumpet player (or any art form like Painting etc)

    #947421

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    I am simply stating with full conviction that the defense of diverting responsibility away from yeshivos is irresponsible and blatantly false. We are all in this together, and we all share a collective responsibility to insure that every boy or girl has a yeshiva, school, program, and all needed services.

    Isn’t this self-contradictory? We are all responsible. Not just yeshivas (or parents, or grocery stores, or grandmothers)

    #947422

    The little I know
    Participant

    Torah613Torah:

    Where is the contradiction? My point is simple. These discussions go one all the time, and the one line we are guaranteed to hear is that yeshivos and schools bear zero responsibility. This denial is an open, defensive lie. It is equally irresponsible to point a blaming finger in any single direction. Rather, on the global scale, there are multiple factors, including that of chinuch. Even on an individual scale, every single angle must be examined, and dismissing chinuch is a mistake. No one gets a free ride. There is great strength invested in the efforts to exonerate chinuch, and this energy would be better spent on helping even a single yeshiva boy or girl achieve success and be kept in the path of Torah living. Much is possible if all would cooperate.

    #947423

    Torah613Torah
    Participant

    TLIK: You keep on repeating that the blame shouldn’t be diverted AWAY from the yeshivos. In other words, aren’t you blaming the yeshivos? You immediately follow that up by blaming everyone. I’m confused.

    Again, I agree that everyone bears some responsibility, including yeshivos. But by “yeshivos” do you mean Roshei Yeshiva, Menahelim, Mashgichim (or the lack of such), or the yeshiva system, or the yeshivish culture? And let’s say you do blame the yeshivos, what good does that do?

    #947424

    The little I know
    Participant

    Torah613Torah:

    The reason I emphasize yeshivos is not because they are the ones to blame, but because the voices of denial on behalf of yeshivos are strong and pervasive. And this resistance to recognize that there is room for improvement is sinful as well as dangerous. It is not the finger pointing that matters, but it is unquestionable that everyone needs to admit their shortcomings and undertake to fix it. I cannot speak for individuals, but the general public expresses greater awareness that parenting skills, sometimes even therapy are needed to be able to help a child make it through childhood and adolescence. We all recognize (though little ever gets done) to prepare young people prior to marriage with the needed skills to manage a marital relationship and how to parent children. The one place that has remained steadfast in insisting that no change is needed is chinuch, and for that there is solid blame. No, chinuch is not solely responsible. But until they yield to the pressure to recognize that they bear some responsibility, there needs to be a concentrated focus on yeshivos. Yes, there are dysfunctional families. This is universal. But there are also dysfunctional yeshivos, and it is high time that the mainstream chinuch systems acknowledged this. So far, all discussions with mechanchim are met with solid denial, proclaiming that all is well, ,and that no adaptations are needed. And the rate of expulsions, inappropriate discipline, and admissions refusals is at an all time high. Many hundreds of kids are yeshivaless. This is a community problem, it is epidemic, and everyone including the yeshivos themselves must address it.

    You asked a powerful question, “Just who are the yeshivos?” Actually, everyone. Let’s explain.

    Menahalim set policy of admissions, discipline, etc. Many of these policies need to be revisited. Many are based on mission statements that are not consistent with the ultimate goal of continuity of Torah life, or mesorah as we know it.

    Roshei Yeshivos, at least many of them, are not involved with every talmid as a yochid. A great shiur is Divine music, but the talmid who is struggling to keep up is the responsibility of the Rosh Yeshiva.

    Mashgichim have a role far beyond saying a mussar schmooze. There is direct attention needed for every single bochur to guide him to reach his potential. It is a shared responsibility with Roshei Yeshivos. It is sometimes exceptional to find a Rosh Yeshiva that knows every talmid by name. This should never occur.

    Rebbeim and Magidei Shiur often assume their responsibility is to deliver a shiur, and that’s it. Wrong. We are told ?????? ??????? ????, not to establish large yeshivos. There is greater responsibility for the welfare, physical and emotional for each and every talmid. The inattentive talmid may be preoccupied with many other issues, not seeking to disrupt the class or plain bored. Does a Magid Shiur realize that the public confrontation, even asking the talmid to leave the class is not only inappropriate, but damaging? Is there adequate training for rebbeim before they enter the classroom? There is potential for huge growth in every year of yeshiva, but there is equal and opposite potential for great destruction if the experience is not handled correctly.

    Yeshivish culture has also been diverted greatly from the goals and intentions dictated by the great founders of the yeshiva movement. Mussar is intellectualized to where Reb Yisroel Salanter would not recognize it. Amkus is not right where Reb Chaim Brisker wanted it, at the expense of bekiyus. The gaava that permeates the environments in both Litvish and Chassidish yeshivos is antithetical to Torah. The glamorizing of our Gedolim and Talmidei Chachomim, while truly deserved, is a misplacement of resources. We have taken things to an extreme, with relationships to our Torah leaders being relegated to the photographic, not the precious teaching and experience they can share with us.

    There is much that needs to change. You are correct in recognizing that the finger pointing and blaming is of limited value. But if it triggers the realization that we need to modify our direction, it is worthwhile.

    #947425

    big deal
    Participant

    Tlik: you are a very good advocate for these boys. But may i add that the problems run much deeper than that. I believe its a community problem where most of our yeshivos and schools belong to a mosdos or communal group that want their students and later their parentbody/ community to have a certain mehus and mehalech. These are future representatives of said mosdos.

    Another thing is that by taking away individuality they have more control over their community and everyone follows whatever goes on blindly. Because thats how they were trained from young. I tkink that it is usually the kid that has problems conforming to the mold that run the risk of being different.

    When we as a community realize that hashem created us as individuals to serve a common purpose that is when we will be able to be secure in the knowledge that we are not turning anyone away.

    #947426

    big deal
    Participant

    Our common purpose is to serve hashem. What better way to do that than to take his perfect creations and utilize their brains, talent and emotions toward establishing a beatiful harmonios environment for the shechina to dwell. Why are we so bent on taking these special gifts rhat were given to us and melting them down to mold them into something that they are not?

    Sometimes i have this sad thought. After the holocoust when people came to america and they were starting up yeshivos and schools they were practically begging for students . They werent starting up one for every type of crowd either. There were unfortunately not enough students to enroll. Survivors worked very hard to set these up because these children were viewed as the continuation of klal yisrael. They needed every single soul. Now it sounds like we are telling hashem that, please we have too many now. We dont need the ones that do a,b,c, differently than us, its going to ruin our image.

    #947427

    big deal
    Participant

    Sorry about the rant. Its something i feel very strongly about.

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