Footsteps, ?????? ??????

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  • #618109

    Joseph
    Participant

    Footsteps, and the yemach shmos who run the place and/or organize any of their activities, attempts to shmad yidden into goyim. They recruit, proselytize to and attempt to convert the frum into becoming non-frum and anti-frum. A cursory glance at any number of their speakers speaking at their events makes this more than abundantly clear. Additionally, once someone has already been ensnared into their clutches, members advocate to their friends who are at-risk, yet still frum, to join them in that malevolent organization, where they will hear the continuous preachings of the anti-Judaism/anti-religious Footsteps lecturers, as well as the anti-Orthodox hate from other members they interact with, to take them completely off the derech.

    And they are funded by the UJA.

    The responses here should be a good way to ferret out who the eruv rav here are.

    #1166009

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    This post will surely stop the Anti-Kiruv organization from doing their work

    #1166010

    yichusdik
    Participant

    I’ve actually talked with Lani Santo. meh. I’m not convinced that they have a neutral agenda. I think there is a strong current of strong dislike (I hesitate to use the word hate, because I don’t think its quite that) among their leadership, who are {I think} all ex-chareidi themselves.

    I would say that their intended focus has been on the individuals, not on tearing down the entire chareidi world. That’s ironic, because I think their biggest “dislike” is for the leadership, peer pressure and control without which many of those who leave the chareidi world would have stayed.

    So they claim to be focused on the needs of individuals who are legitimately in pain or doubt or cannot stay where they are, but their are emotionally and intellectually drawn to attack the key structures.

    Its a bit disingenuous. And that counters the needs they try to meet, and which UJA funds.

    Which leads to the indisputable facts that there are too many who have left, are leaving or don’t have the courage to leave who are not bad people but have had horrible experiences or are simply not able to maintain the chareidi lifestyle, and have the consequences that follow.

    They have needs as people, as Jews even outside of Kiryas Yoel, Lakewood, Monsey, New Square, or Boro Park. Assuming Footsteps is the wrong organization with the wrong agenda, there remains a need, outside of the chareidi community (which they don’t trust), for an organization which if not actively trying to get them back in the fold, is at least ideologically neutral. That doesn’t exist right now. The need has to be filled.

    #1166011

    (raises hand)

    #1166012

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Project Makom is an attempt to keep some of the charedim in the fold (Its more complicated for many)

    I think many of the Anti-Kiruv-nicks have been so hurt by some in the frum comminity that they are so angry a them , Its a tough battle. The Main propnent who has written a book, was expelled from new square and is not allowed to see his kids. He harbors much bitterness and even crashed his daughters wedding

    #1166013

    golfer
    Participant

    That’s very very sad, zdad.

    A father not allowed to see his kids.

    I do understand circumstances under which supervised visitation is necessary.

    But not allowing him to see his children at all?

    Who thinks up these things?

    I agree with you that we can probably draw a link between the deep resentment such actions foster, and the people who organize or join groups like footsteps.

    #1166014

    Sparkly
    Member

    zahavasdad – thats terrible.

    #1166015

    Joseph
    Participant

    The former frum now anti-Orthodox activist that zd is referring to in fact did have visitation with his children, and did see his children, though he willfully chose to not see them much – a decision he made but blamed the frum community for. He was hospitalized for suicidal tendencies and is very bitter. He turned his children off from wanting to attend visitations with him, though they did continue.

    #1166016

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Golfer and Sparkly – you don’t know the circumstances. When someone is not allowed to see their kids, there usually is a very good reason and we have a chiyuv to assume that there was a good reason and not to add to the Motzi Shem Ra people spread about the Frum world! By writing such things, one increases Sinas Chinam!

    #1166017

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Joseph

    I agree with you whole heartedly regarding footsteps.

    My question to you though, is what are your thoughts regarding project makom?

    #1166018

    Joseph
    Participant

    I have mixed feelings about makom. They are a relatively new (and small) outfit and its hard to judge them until their modus operandi is more clear.

    #1166019

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I have seen him directly blog that he was not allowed to see his kids and he posted an entire pictorial of him crashing his daughters wedding (Which I think was very wrong).

    He also blogged about his first kids wedding (Not sure if its a male or female) and how he wasnt even allowed to go and only got clandestine pictures

    He doesnt seem like a very nice person, but that doesnt mean he should have been cut off

    #1166020

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    But not allowing him to see his children at all?

    Who thinks up these things?

    My parents divorced when I was nine. At the time, we were not frum. Shortly after they separated, my mother became frum and my sister and I joined her.

    My mother tried to find a yeshiva for me to attend. For two years, I attended Ohel Moshe, in Bensonhurst, a school that catered largely to Russian immigrants. There were a handful of frum students there, butthe vast majority of the school was not. After two years, she tried to get me into a more mainstream yeshiva.

    One well-known prominent yeshiva told her that they’d be willing to take me, provided that I have absolutely no contact with my (still not-frum) father. Even having no other options, she turned them down flat.

    The irony of it all is that not too long after that, I ended up estranged from my father for about three years anyway. We eventually reconciled when he remarried and we have a very good relationship now. But that separation (and the ability to especially now, as a father, look back on it and understand it how it affected me as a child and him as a father) gave me a much better understanding of what that yeshiva demanded of my mother.

    It’s probably a good thing that I don’t know the name of the administrator that my mother met with that day. It’s bad enough that I robbed myself (and my father) of three years of our relationship. For a yeshiva to demand that, as a condition of attendance, we cut ourselves off from him for six years (the amount of time I had left in school) plus however many years afterwards (who says we would have reconciled after that long?) for the rest of our lives, is simply monstrous.

    We’re not talking about a man who beat or abused his kids. We’re not even talking about a man who would deliberately force his kids to violate halacha against their will. He was just a man who grew up in a non-observant home and continued in that as an adult. But, apparently, they felt that he would be so corrupting, so polluting of his childrens’ souls, that it would be better to cut off the relationship and sever a man from his children. How horrible is it to suggest that a man is so harmful to his kids that he shouldn’t have any contact at all? When I think about it as a father, the very idea makes me both sad and angry.

    My sister and I are both shomrei Torah U’Mitzvos today. We both raised families where Yiddishkeit is important and central, and we did it while maintaining a healthy relationship with our father. I’m normally the sort of person who avoids “I told you sos,” but I would *love* to be able to go back to this administrator and show him just how wrong he was.

    The Wolf

    #1166021

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Is footsteps reform circa 2010?

    #1166022

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Joseph

    fair enough.

    How about the idea behind it

    here from their website:

    “…but many Charedi Jews who want to transition to a more Centrist or Modern Orthodox community face hurdles that prevent them from doing so (whether cultural, educational, or simply feeling unwelcomed). Some of these people end up leaving religious life altogether.

    Makom will offer one on one mentoring so that participants can meet a new friend in a community to which they previously had no access; classes to discuss questions and variances in Jewish hashkafa and law; meetings to share experiences…”

    To tell you the truth, Im not sure what to think. It definitely rubs me the wrong way but being that the problem they address is real, and the only alternative I know of is footsteps, I think this may be a necessary evil.

    #1166023

    Joseph
    Participant

    zd, my above comment about the individual you’re referring to is accurate and is what he wrote about himself over three years ago (and is still online). He had visitation, he saw his children and he chose to see them less than otherwise through his own volition. That his adult children, when they were engaged, chose not to invite him to their wedding was a result of how he acted and treated them. And when he did show up to the second wedding, he was welcomed by his children.

    #1166024

    Joseph
    Participant

    ubiquitin, mo is a bedieved observance. If the person will not otherwise observe traditional orthodoxy, certainly that is better than the alternative. But to encourage someone to downgrade to a bedieved, when he will otherwise continue observing as he is, isn’t acceptable. (I’m not saying they’re doing that.) You seem to have the same sense on this.

    Also, MO is a very expensive lifestyle. Just sending children to MO schools costs and arm and a leg. So it is difficult to transition to MO without a financial lifeline.

    #1166025

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    ubiquitin

    Why would it rub you the wrong way? If someone doesnt want to be Charedi, why should they be forced to do so. They are not “doing Kiruv” but rather offering people who are miserable in the charedi lifestyle a way out rather than totally leave

    #1166026

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    zahava’s dad- according to Halacha, it is completely assur to believe something like that or even to read it in the first place, and certainly, to repeat it. It is Motzi Shem Ra on Am Yisrael. We don’t blame Jews for anti-Semitism. It’s almost Tisha B’Av. Let’s find some positive things to say about Am Yisrael!

    #1166027

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    If you knew the story behind Project Makom, that is exactly what happend and was the inspiration behind it

    #1166028

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I can’t argue that what you posted may be true in some shuls, but I cannot bring myself to post a general statement like that, especially so close to tisha b’av

    #1166030

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Moderators: some of the above comments need deleting as they are Motzei Shem Ra on Am Yisrael (something we definitely want to avoid before Tisha B’Av).

    #1166031

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Moderators: – you beat me to it. Thanks! I do think that some of the other comments should be deleted as well, since they say negative things both about specific people (the family of the guy in question who I’m sure doesn’t appreciate it) as well as the Frum world as a whole – since the implication is that this is what the Frum world is like and people are right for being anti-Frum people.

    #1166032

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    ZD

    I’m not sure why. I think it is that Footsteps makes me nervous since they claim to do the same as project makom.

    when footsteps started One of the founders was on Zev Brenner and explained themselves along the lines f what project makm does. However the founder was exposed as a liar when a few callers called in. for example. The founder at first claimed that their events all had a kosher food option, which turned out not to be true

    Joseph

    “mo is a bedieved observance…You seem to have the same sense on this.”

    Not at all! While adhering to halacha, I think MO is lechatchila being Chareidi is bedieved since being involved in both worlds is too difficult for some so if you are to choose one world obviously you have to shun the world at large, but it is bedieved

    However admittedly, for some this isnt the case and they end up on the wrong side of balacnicng both worlds. So in principle I think we agree

    #1166033

    Sparkly
    Member

    zahavasdad – their thinking that its better for them to keep something than nothing. so they believe what their doing is good.

    ubiquitin – mo also keeps shabbos and kosher.

    WolfishMusings – i VERY much agree with you. i would also be upset. why is it their business that your dads not religious?

    lilmod ulelamaid – their causing sinas chinam by not allowing another jew just because his not religious to see his children.

    #1166034

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “lilmod ulelamaid – their causing sinas chinam by not allowing another jew just because his not religious to see his children.”

    Sparkly, you have absolutely NO RIGHT to believe that his kids did any such thing! How dare you spread rumors about them?! How would you like it if someone did that to you?!!!

    (I think you misread her pronoun)

    #1166035

    BlueSoul32
    Participant

    I can’t believe what I’m seeing here. How can we call fellow yidden ??? ???? If they chose not to be shomrei Torah Umitzvos, that’s terrible and unfortunate, but who are we to judge? Is this the ???? ????? our community is famous for? I think not. Better we should try to be understanding of people who have been through a lot of pain. Not only are they still human beings, they are still our brothers and sisters, regardless how far they have fallen. I wish I could invite all the Footsteps people to my Shabbos table, and simply show them love, nothing more. That’s what our frum world should be doing more of. Just my opinion.

    The comments are toward the leaders in the organization who are helping the members leave Torah behind, not the people who are suffering.

    #1166036

    Sparkly
    Member

    lilmod ulelamaid – im not spreading rumors about them. like how the mods said you must have misread what i wrote.

    #1166037

    dovrosenbaum
    Participant

    “We don’t blame Jews for anti-Semitism”

    U’mip’nei chatoseinu galinu meiartzeinu?

    Our aveiros are indeed to blame for the misfortunes that befell us.

    #1166038

    BlueSoul32
    Participant

    The leaders are also yidden, and as far as I know, they are simply providing resources to people who would otherwise struggle with basic needs. I also happen to know that several prominent frum organizations and individuals are supportive of their work. I don’t believe they are the evil reshoiim they are made out to be. It is really very disheartening to see some of the attitudes here, especially in a week like this one, when we should be especially avoiding sinas chinam against other Jews, even if they are unfortunately not on our level in yiddishkeit.

    P.S. I don’t know why my comment was edited with a mod note tacked on. I am new here, so maybe this is standard, but it strikes me as very authoritarian by whoever is running this site. Who’s the rav approving what goes on here?

    #1166039

    Joseph
    Participant

    BlueSoul32, if you demand the name of the rov giving a haskama to this site, first provide the name of any so-called rabbi, fellow or “several prominent frum organizations” you claimed support these reshoyim gemurim from footsteps.

    #1166040

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Sparkly – so you spread rumors about the whole Frum community instead – that’s much worse!

    #1166041

    Sparkly
    Member

    BlueSoul32 – they need to be strict here otherwise it could end up like yahoo answers chasvichallila.

    #1166042

    The mod note was added on as a courtesy so that you would have a direct and immediate response. You are correct that it is a time when people need to be accepting and find good in each other but at the same time we are not halachically permitted to extend that kindness toward people who pull others away from Torah.

    There may be people in the organization who want to help those who are already out, but the point of the organization is not to help you make peace with Torah. I agree that it is painful to hear people speak this way about other Jews but we cannot misplace our love and kindness to people bent on destroying Torah Judaism.

    The comments have nothing to do with them being on a different level of observance, it is about their objectives.

    #1166043

    BlueSoul32
    Participant

    Is there any evidence anywhere that Footsteps “pull others away from Torah”? I haven’t seen that. According to what I know, they do no such thing. In fact, from what I heard, several of their staff members are religious (MO). If we’re going to be maligning other Jews, we should have the evidence to back it up. Anything else is beyond disgraceful and a tremendous chillul hashem.

    #1166044

    Joseph
    Participant

    Educate yourself. Even a cursory listening to any number of their speakers will reveal a clear vitriolic hatred towards Torah Judaism and frum Jews.

    #1166045

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I just checked their website. I cut and pasted as follows:

    Footsteps is the only organization in North America that assists people who wish to leave the ultra-Orthodox community.

    There were also several Article Headings maligning the Frum Community.

    #1166047

    BlueSoul32
    Participant

    I am plenty educated. I have listened to their speeches and read their articles, and I know people who have used their services. Fact: if you take a look at their website, you will see they focus exclusively on helping people with issues that are not at all in conflict with Torah. They offer assistance with education, careers, unique needs for families, as well as opportunities for socializing. NOWHERE do they say: “we will help you be mechallel shabbos, or teach you how to eat treif.” NOWHERE do they say: “stop being religious.” They offer assistance for people who have felt that the charedi world is no longer for them, and now need to figure out how to survive in the world.

    I have no doubt there are some individuals there who have deep-seated pain, which is expressed with anger toward their former communities. But that shouldn’t be an excuse to tarnish the organization as a whole. And we might also find a little compassion for those individuals (even the leaders) who come from our world but must’ve felt so much pain that they gave up families, friends, and communities in trying to find happiness. That’s not a thing to take lightly.

    This will be my last comment on this subject. May Hashem help us in these trying times to only judge and be judged favorably. ?????? ?’ ?????? ???? ???? ?????.

    #1166048

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Their website says they help people who WISH to leave, not people who left.

    I definitely feel compassion towards them and I’m sure that everyone else hear does as well. There is no reason to think otherwise from anything anyone wrote here. You can think that someone is wrong or even bad and still feel compassion towards them.

    #1166049

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Blue soul

    Years ago their was an interview with the founders by zev brenner. (A quick goole search brings it up) from the interview it is clear that their intention is to find people on th eedge of leaving orthodoxy and push them over th edge.

    This does in fact make them reshaim.

    For example at first the founders claimed that their events had kohser food available. Obviously if their goal was anything other than pushing people away of course they would have a kosher food option. However After repeated callers stating this wasnt true and psuhing from zev brenner, the founders admitted they did not offer kosher food. In other words in order to be “helped” by their organization are in fact being helped by being taught (almost forced) ” to eat treif… stop being religious.”

    This is but one example.

    Of course it isnt on their website

    #1166051

    PuhLease
    Participant

    I’m sure I will get attacked over this.. but I’m going to do it for “knowledge” sake. So I’m guessing I’m going to be labeled an “eruv rav” by what I’m going to state:

    I am not religious. I made this choice as an educated, mentally stable, not criminal adult. My reasons are personal and I will not discuss them here. It should be noted that those that choose to not live a frum lifestyle are not necessarily criminally insane or mentally unstable. As one poster said, some of us suffered so much trauma at the hands of “supposed” G-d fearing individuals, and people who claim to be “frum” and “yeshivish” that we were simply unwilling to remain frum. And claiming to be G-d fearing, and yet abusing your children or your spouse, is completely the antithesis of what Yiddishkeit is supposed to be.

    Additionally, I want to note that a jew that chooses to live a not frum lifestyle, no matter the extent, is NOT a goy. You can claim that they are lost, off the derech (which is another term I don’t like, because if we compare ourselves to generations past, we are ALL off the derech), but we are not goyim. I was born a Jew, and whether or not I live as a Jew, I will die as a Jew.

    Someone actually had the nerve to tell my son that his mother (me) was a goy because I was not frum anymore. My son thought that because I was a “goy” according to this person, that he was one also. One should be very very careful what terms they use.

    I contacted Footsteps when I first got out, because I needed help processing what I was dealing with. The abuse, alcoholism, neglect, and then public shaming, the humiliating shunning, the lack of any support and the sheer volumes of rechilus and lashon hora spoken by the RABONNIM of the community, let alone my own “family” almost killed me. Footsteps was referred to me by someone who wanted to help.

    To say that Footsteps was not a help would be a significant understatement. There was no encouragement, and if I wanted or needed help, I would have to go into the city, which was not an easy feat.

    They would not speak with me over the telephone, and the only resource they would give me was one where again, I would have to go into the city to speak with them. That’s not to say they weren’t going to help me, but again (I’m stressing this for a reason) they would not help unless I was there in person.

    I managed to make it, survive, and thrive even, in spite of their not being willing to help or provide counsel over the phone or via email. But, I wouldn’t refer them to anyone who desperately needed assistance. It was a worthless experience, and a waste of previous time and energy.

    I’ve done my research into Footsteps. While I personally believe that Joseph is being a little contradictory using words like “yemach shemo” and essentially shaming those that use the Footsteps program, is a bit harsh, to say the least, I also believe that to some extent, he has a point. Footsteps is not the organization that they publicly claim to be.

    #1166052

    golfer
    Participant

    PuhLease, I was glad to read, after you wrote about the hard times you went through, that you made it, survived, even thrive.

    You are, after all, as you noted- a Jew forever, one of us.

    I hope that in the coming years you continue to grow and thrive and find sippuk hanefesh in whatever you do.

    Which is what I hope for myself and for all Jews, for those very close and those very far from me, and everyone in between.

    #1166053

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    puhlease

    I may have missed it, but where did anybody criticize or shame those that use footsteps?

    Joseph was pretty clear “yemach shmos who run the place and/or organize any of their activities, attempts to shmad yidden into goyim”

    #1166054

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    Puh lease- how are you? I just want you to know that I have been thinking about you and all your struggles on and off during the years since you last posted about them. I think I even tried an email I found on a blog once…

    I can’t say I am not sorry that you are not religious, but I am also sorry that we have not found a better way to keep these children who suffer and struggle. Just wanted you to know that someone from “this side” does care and think about you.

    #1166056

    PuhLease
    Participant

    Syag Lchochma,

    I am doing very well thank you. I don’t know what blog you are referring to… But I am more than happy to communicate privately with you if the Moderators are willing to mediate an email address exchange.

    That’s entirely up to them.

    I have thrived. I’m no longer part of the abusive community or family I was. I am thank god far far away and happy that way.

    I won’t tell you that there arent things from the past that I don’t miss, because that would be a lie, and one thing that I promised myself I would not do any longer is play into the “lies, manipulations and word games” that were perpetrated in the community I was part of once upon a time, however, what I do not miss, and never will, is the shaming part that went along with trying to get someone to come back to the “fold”. Shaming someone will only push the person further away, and at the end of the day, the fact is IF that person comes back it’s because they can’t make it on their own, not necessarily because they wish to.

    That’s not a reason to be religious.

    #1166057

    PuhLease
    Participant

    Golfer,

    You are very kind. Thank you. I have a lot of grievances towards the family that I was part of at one point. But one thing I can honestly say I have tremendous gratitude for is that the years of abuse made me a very strong woman.

    Have an easy fast.

    #1166059

    Ben Levi
    Participant

    PuhLease,

    I fell badly about what you have gone through but I’d like to make a couple of points.

    1) At one point I was extremely sick, I was rushed to a local hospital where I was badly misdiagnosed, that wrong diagnosis almost cost me my life.

    When I was brought into another hospital the Doctors overseeing my care actually stated that in this case they feel I should sue the pants off of them because the people who saw me in the first place should not be practicing medicine.

    Yet I still see Doctor’s, in my case pretty frequently.

    I know in my heart that medicine as a whole is beneficial it is “true” even if some Doctor’s messed up and used it wrongly.

    2) When one goes on an extended road trip they sometimes get lost, they some times take detours. However the objective is to reach the final destination.

    As such they are on the road.

    If the pull off and decide to turn back, to cease driving they are off the road.

    The fundamental tenant of Yiddishkeit is that we are alive for a purpose to reach “deveikus” in Hashem to overcome the Yetzer Horah.

    The roadmap for that is the Torah.

    We are all imperfect, that is why we are alive to meet the challenges the Yetzer Horah throws at us, to battle them, and to overcome them.

    As long as we are trying we are on the road.

    When we let those challenges win and turn around we are off the road.

    #1166060

    Sparkly
    Member

    Ben Levi – i am becoming a pharmacist and am very pro medicine. but im anti birth control since it can destroy the body making it hard to have children chasvichaillila. so too when it comes to taking the wrong medicine that is VERY DANGEROUS. i would DEFINITELY sue.

    #1166061

    PuhLease
    Participant

    Hi Ben Levi,

    Thank you for your response. Allow me to counterpoint…

    1. I was in the same boat as you. Instead of being rushed to the Emergency Room, I was maligned and told that there was no other excuse for my behavior other than to be addicted to narcotics.

    It took me passing out, being misdiagnosed and then wrongly medicated, having my heart stop, and extreme measures taken (Thank goodness my DNR was overlooked, too) for me to get the medical attention I desperately needed. I was then diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness that has taken me years to deal with having and getting somewhat under control.

    Does that mean that I no longer see doctors? Does it mean I no longer see people? Of course not. In fact, I have made my living serving others. However, I no longer see THOSE doctors or go to THAT hospital, and I am significantly more wary, suspicious and hesitant to see any medical professional that I don’t fully and completely trust unless I feel that my life is in danger, in which case I immediately request an ombudsman from the hospital or a medical advocate to speak with and for me.

    2. I realize that this is a widely unpopular opinion, but your OPINION is that Torah is the road map for the map of life. If/when someone gets lost, they can pull over and stop their trip, they can take a break and regroup or they can ask for directions. IF when they ask for directions, they are again and again given the wrong directions, at some point, they will stop asking.

    Regardless, thank you for your comments.

    #1166062

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I do belive the torah is the proper roadmap, However When travelling between 2 places there usually is more than one way to go and each way might have reasons not to take that direction

    One way might have more traffic and another might have no highways and a longer travel time

    I think the problem here people are told there is only one way to get from point A to point B and all other routes are wrong. If the direction you are given does not work for you for whatever reason and you are told no other routes are valid, You just decide not to make the trip and give up.

    And Unless we stop telling people There is only one route from Point A to Point B, nothing will change and for some people that might require a whole new route (New Routes arent wrong, just different and serves differnt needs)

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