dirshu siyum was 80% chassidish, understanding why?

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    meir G

    i went to both met life & dirshu , each was a great kidush hashem & had many highlights , the dirshu siyum was 80% chassidish and my question is why & how did that happen ( from a cultural & marketing perspective)
    let me explain; whats behind the question. both advertisded endlessly , and dirshu was tu beshvat a night of many tishen , dirshu was pronmoted specificly by any specific chasidus as opposed to say aguda where ger belz visnitz… are connected. the speakers at dirshu were mostly litvish and not anounced. is it that by default that the american olam had ” their siyum”? by the women as well the majority was chassidish. is it that everyone knew from media that dirshu does classy events but it wasnt enough to pull . what are your thoughts


    who cares?


    The dirshu shabbaton is also mostly heimishe/chassidishe. Obviously thats who is part of their programs.


    Chasidim today represent about three fifths of American Orthodox Jews. Shocked they’re such a majority of Orthodoxy, are you? It’s easy to miss realizing this statistical fact since Chasidim mostly congregate living in Chasidish neighborhoods and towns. Never been to Kiryas Yoel, like the vast majority of Orthodox Jews haven’t been to it? Well, KY is already half as big as Monsey; and Monsey (which is one of the Big Three areas of American Orthodox Jews [the other two being NYC/Brooklyn and Lakewood]) is itself majority Chasidish, as is Brooklyn. And KJ is constituted of just one chasidus of many, and isn’t even a majority of that one chasidus.

    So if you’ve rarely or never visited Williamsburg, Boro Park (which only became vast majority Chasidish over the last 20 or so years; until then it was a mix of Litvish, Chasidish and MO — even Rav Aharon Kotler lived in BP), New Square and Kiryas Yoel, you probably have no idea how demographically huge the Chasidim have become as a majority proportion of Orthodox Jews.

    Even Lakewood is now getting a huge influx of Chasidim.

    Birth rates matter. And there’s a large statistical difference in that rate between the Chasdim and the Litvish.


    The Siyum Hashas was mostly Misnagdish, not Chasidish. So much for your “stats” Joseph


    The Agudah markets to everyone


    Toast: The Siyum at MetLife/Barclays was easily 50% Chasidish.


    Well I think it’s pretty simple, chasdim has spent their time learning halcha a lot, big part due to their rabbunim endorsements & encouragements, Litfish rabbunim definitely doesn’t stress to learn halcha in their yeshiva’s, and don’t endorse people to learn halcha often only gemorah they do, automatically your going to have more Chasidish appreciation towards halcha.


    Chachamdawid – while you may be saying something correct (I don’t know that statistic) it does not address the question. Halacha is just one of Dirshu’s programs, and only a small program. Their largest program, and the one that is relevant to the OP, is specifically their Kinyan Torah program, in which people learn, review, and get tested on 30 blatt each month coordinated to the Daf Hayomi. Those were the people at the Siyum celebrating their own completion of Shas, and by far a much more impressive accomplishment than just sitting through a Daf Yomi shiur, listening to a daily shiur while doing other things, or even “doing the Daf” by reading the English side of the Artscroll Gemara.

    The question was a very good one. The obvious simple answer is because Dirshu participants in the NY Metro region are 80% Chassidim. The nest question would be why? As a Dirshu pariticipant and Proctor I had the same question myself, most recently after the Dirshu Siyum. I don’t know the answer yet. Joseph’s response is certainly thought-provoking but difficult for me as a non-Chassid to accept that I have become a minority. Yes, I agree that those enclaves of Chassidim certainly are well populated, but there are surely many Kollelim in Flatbush, Lakewood, and other cities in the US that still have people learning who are not Chassidish. Why do none of them participate in Dirshu? Dirshu is open to all, there is no Farher or application process. Learn the material, and show up at a testing site to take a test. But I can personally testify that the Flatbush testing sites are rather empty compared to the Williamsburg and Boro Park testing sites. As a test-taker, I have been to all of them. OTOH, The Lakewood site was also pretty full, and those were not mostly Chassidim.


    Joseph is guilty of using his own experience in thinking that what he sees in the world around him is all there is. It is a common mistake but not actually based on anything real. The only real census that I know of that can demonstrate the percentage of Chadish Jews of the Orthodox in America is the census by Dr. Marvin Schick of all day school students in America. If you do the math, the chadish are actually 37.7% of the Orthodox. This study was done in 2013. Even given the current population growth in all segments (the yeshivishe and chabad is also quite high) it will not come close to the 60% assumed by Joseph. My guess is that Joseph is not counting Chabad in his category of Chasidish. You read the entire study here

    A Census of Jewish Day Schools in the United States – 2013-14 (2014)

    While it is true that there is large population growth in areas such Kiryas Yoel, Williamsburg and Boro Park, my guess is that Joseph has not been to areas outside the Orthodox enclaves he is familiar with. Try visiting

    the five towns, Teaneck, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Chicago, South Florida, Cleveland, Far Rockaway, Queens, Atlanta, Detroit, Crown Heights, Silver Spring, etc.

    In case you are wondering, yes, Dr. Schick’s study does include ALL the chasidishe yeshivos. He is extremely thorough.


    CTRebbe Whats the point of bringing in Los Angeles, Chicago and south Florida when we’re discussing a siyum, and therefore the population, of NY/ NJ??? Joseph was obviously discussing his area, which incidentally is the are in discussion… Simple.


    Simple. Chassidim don’t feel Agudah represents them and they didn’t feel the Siyum was meant for them. I know many Chasidish people that finished Shas and did not attend Metlife. Kal Vechoimer for those that did not finish Shas. How many Lakewood people would attend a siyum made by the OU? Therefore when offered with a nice alternative they grabbed it. Even Belz, which is officially fully part of the Agudah, did not feel the Siyum was meant for them.
    And proof of this, is by looking at the difference between Metlife’s program and Dirshu’s. Without going into any specifics, it’s obvious that Metlife wasn’t catered for the Chasidish crowd, while Dirshu was. Meir G says that isn’t true since the speakers were majority Litvish by Dirshu. However Chasidim have absolutely no problem with Litvish speakers, while the Metlife was a step further. And I don’t mean problem in the literal sense, only regarding whether it catered to them or not. That’s all besides the point that there was no mainstream Chasidish speech at Metlife. R’ Aharon Shiff was bought in as the Rav of Antwerp and Noviminsker Rebbbe isn’t mainstream. Again, not that Chas Veshalom anyone has a problem with any of the speakers, they just felt “Men maint nisht mich.”
    It became similar to Israel where there is a separate siyum for the Chassidim and a separate one for the Litvak’s.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that more Chasidim do Dirshu, if it’s even true…



    CTRebbe: You’re missing utilizing the Pew Research study of American Jewry, 2013. It’ll add context of how what they call “Ultra-Orthodox” (i.e. what is also referred to as Chareidim and includes both Yeshivish/Litvish as well as Chassidish in one statistical category by Pew Research) have become a super-majority of American Orthodox Jewry, with Chareidim constituting almost 70% of American Orthodox Jews nationwide in 2013. It was an increasing majority until then and has certainly increased even further since 2013.

    What Dr. Marvin Shick’s studies for Avi Chai demonstrates, by looking at not just his 2013 study but rather at at least his two studies prior to 2013, is that the Chassidish population rate-of-growth far outstripped anyone else, including the Yeshivish/Litvish. The Chassidish schools were in his earlier studies smaller than the Litvish but the rate of growth of their student bodies year over year (calculated by comparing the earlier Avi Chai studies to the most recent one) demonstrates a far higher rate of growth.

    Also, I’m not Chasidish and don’t live in any of the enclaves.

    meir G

    first i appreciate the feedback and its not chas veshalom about machlokes just as someone sitting on the board of philanthropy i am interested in what motivates segments of the klal …programming, advertising.. so here is an update
    there are a number of reasons some of which were mentioned but on a yiddish site called IVELT i was blown away by the detail & analysis of both events with more than 50 pages ,1000 comments and 100K views
    a few takeaways
    1. a direct connection to the daf or dirshu was a fraction of the attendees .
    2. there is a subset of people that went to both as enjoying big groups of yidden and would go to a 3rd one also
    3. MUSIC- a major drawing card for chassidim was the music which”everyone knew” would be over the top . as an example look at the poster for RCCS dinner in bp this week its a 4hr + program with at least 2hr of music and grammen ( bonei olam , mir bp, slabodka,,)you can look at the pics of these dinners packed until midnight – the same org making a dinner in flat, five towns..etc the program and duration is totaly diff
    4. THE CONVERSATION- events & programs need noise to be a topic by the chassidim this was a conversation and in more american neighborhoods it wasnt …thats how “everyone knew ”
    gevirim & heads of non profits have an achrayus to understand trends and use tzedaka dollars as efficiently as possible lets learn torah bechol makom shehem , thanks for your input

    Some Common Sense

    Sad. I thought Torah was beyond politics.

    Jersey Jew

    Such an insane conversation!

    Non chasidishe

    WHO CARES!!!?!??

    I was at METLIFE and saw PLENTY of hassidics. I felt the videos i saw of Barclays was mostly hassidics. To me that just tells me the type who would not mind sitting outside in the cold versus those who needed to be warm and cozy.

    meir G

    some common sense; i did not mean machlokes or politics at all , the who cares part is fine but this was a unique phenomenon . where a single individual org. with no real base can pull 25000 men and 6000 woman to newark nj is something that has never happened before . additionally this combo of music & speeches on such royal level has also never been done in america . to me this was worthy of a conversation …


    I would venture a guess that 70% of those who are part of the dirshu kinyan torah daf yomi program are in fact chassidish. I know of 2 chassidishe kollelim that devote a full seder daily to learning the daf b-iyun.. participation in the program, translated to participation in the siyum.


    APY: Would you venture to guess why that’s the case by Chassidim much more so than by non-Chassidim?


    I disagree with Simplesense’s theory that it is all political – though if we were just comparing the siyum alone, it might be a factor, The Dirshu siyum speeches were almost entirely in Yiddish, which possibly precludes a lot of non-Chassidim.

    If you read back to what I said earlier, it is not just this siyum. As APY guessed, the participants in the Dirshu Kinyan Torah program in NY City are mostly Chassidim. I don’t know exact figures, but I say this from observations I personally noted at testing sites and and past Dirshu Shabbatons – where there was no Agudah competition.

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