Increase in OTD Children… are made to feel like second-class citizens,

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  • #601292
    AZOI.IS
    Participant

    In an interview with the Editor of Ami Magazine (September 7, 2011 edition) Rebbetzin Malke Feinstein, the esteemed wife of the noted posek and Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Dovid Feinstein, said the following in reference to the attitude of today’s Chinuch Institutions. “Years ago, doors were open for any child who wanted to learn. No one was afraid that a child would spoil those around them. If a child wanted to come to a yeshiva, then he belonged there. We are so busy protecting our children today, yet more and more children are going off the derech. Why? Because they are made to feel like second-class citizens.”

    When Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter the Editor of Ami asked her, “How, then, should a school develop its policies? Where should they draw the line in terms of whom they accept?” Her succinct response was: “There shouldn’t be a line.” She added …”Reputation, that’s what they’re concerned about. There’s too much of an emphasis on chitzonius (outward appearance) today. “

    #839708
    emunah613
    Member

    I agree with her! When I went to a frum bais Yaakov years ago, many of my classmates mothers did not cover their hair fully or were not wearing perfectly modest clothing. Anyone who was interested in learning Torah was welcome. We felt every Jewish shomer Torah person was a treasure, since so many had perished. Today, we are too busy trying to outfrum the next door neighbor, the shul, the school, the neighborhood. Outer costume is NOT an indication of any real commitment to Torah. Yet stupidly we base acceptance on these false criteria. OTD kids are not stupid. They see through the hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it. If we spent as much time on our middos as we did on purchasing the black hat or the sheitel, we would see an immediate decrease in OTD.

    #839709
    cantgetit
    Member

    How is covering your hair properly “hypocritically out-frumming” those people who don’t cover their hair properly or dress immodestly??

    #839710
    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Her point was obviously in regard to people who do not put in a similar effort for other, less noticeable aspects of “frumkeit.”

    #839711
    emunah613
    Member

    Let’s define covering your hair and dressing modestly from years ago versus today. Thirty years ago, a woman could consider herself a refined Torah observant woman if she wore a hat or scarf, and wig wearers were rare. Her elbows and knees showed in those pictures of the sixties which today would be considered unacceptable. Yet these women sent their children to be educated in bais yaakovs and their daughters were welcomed. Today, a woman who does not cover her hair, elbows and knees will not have her daughters accepted at a Bais Yaakov. Were those mothers of the past less frum? Less refined? Today a woman who wants her refined daughter to learn in a Bais Yaakov but wears a too long sheitel or hanging earrings, or even high heels will probably not have her daughter accepted. I know of a mother who was wearing a hoodie and was told that if she appeared in that on the street, her daughter would not be accepted the following year to a bais yaakov. There are so many rules today as to what is considered the proper clothing. Some BY’s only permit a certain type of denier (thickness) of nylon, some want the skirt to be exactly three inches below the knee and not more because then the skirt is too long. The point is that based on all of these criteria, a girl will or will not be accepted into a BY. This is not Torah. This is hypocritical. The girl may truly desire to become close to Hashem, to get educated in Torah, and she will be rejected because she wore hoops earrings instead of studs, a jewel neck long sleeved t shirt instead of a shirt with a collar? (It happens) More and more kids find these things ridiculous, and feel that this is not based on true halacha. And when they are rejected for their chitzonious it leaves a scar. And the rules just keep getting crazier by the year. And when a child feels unwelcomed by the frum community they leave. We should never be rejecting a Jewish child! Especially for such reasons. Every child needs to be accepted for who they are at the moment, and every educator needs to understand that people are works in progress. And that the values we teach and emphasize should be great middos, and not overly emphasize that a girl deserves rejection because she wore the wrong ______________. OTD kids are just sick of the whole thing-I know this from the many girls I have met that have spoken to me about why they left………

    #839712
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Thirty years ago, a woman could consider herself a refined Torah observant woman if she wore a hat or scarf, and wig wearers were rare. Her elbows and knees showed in those pictures of the sixties which today would be considered unacceptable. Yet these women sent their children to be educated in bais yaakovs and their daughters were welcomed. Today, a woman who does not cover her hair, elbows and knees will not have her daughters accepted at a Bais Yaakov. Were those mothers of the past less frum? Less refined?

    Uh. Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.

    I have no idea what you are trying to say. You are arguing that we shouldn’t keep halacha.

    #839713
    dash™
    Participant

    Uh. Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.

    But is that a valid reason to deny their daughters a jewish education?

    #839714
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Uh. Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.

    But is that a valid reason to deny their daughters a jewish education?

    I wasn’t speaking to that point.

    But, since you raise it. Let’s discuss it.

    If you want to, you will first need to acknowledge the reasons the people who do this are raising. You can’t ask as if anybody thinks that having a parent who doesn’t keep halacha is a positive reason to not give a child a jewish education. Once you acknowledge what is actually happening, then we can discuss its merits.

    #839715
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Actually a better example would be yeshivas who dont let kids in who dont keep Chalav Yisroel

    #839716
    emunah613
    Member

    I wholeheartedly disagree with you! I think that these women of the fifties and sixties were very frum, despite the fact that they did not have all of the chumros that we have today! Their Yiddishkeit was really sincere, and they did not have a concept of putting on an image. In fact, because so many things were less convenient they worked much harder at being frum. (There was much less kosher food, virtually no plethora of Jewish novels, music, magazines, tapes, shiurim, etc…) Halachically according to their poskim, they were the frum ones! There were no chumros like we know of today! And kids were not rejected from schools because of their family not following a CHUMRA-not a halacha. Because Yiddishkeit was sincere and honest and women had the immense desire to learn and to grow, their daughters wanted too, also! Today the mother and teacher is so concerned about her daughter’s appearance and outer clothing that there is a failure for some girls to feel that there is anything of substance in Yiddishkeit. Example: When I buy my daughters boots or a winter jacket we have to know- this year can there be a trim on the coat collar? A buckle on the boot? (last year boots had to have no decorations) What is the latest chumra? None of this is halacha. And the only reason we have to search so hard is because some rebetzin decided that this year this is in and this is out. And if my daughter comes to school with the wrong whatever she will be tossed out like yesterdays newspaper-despite the fact that she is a wonderful growing neshama! (BTW this year she can’t have a water bottle that she can drink straight out of-there must be a cup cap.) I feel badly that so much of my daughters’ lives are spent on their outer look instead of building and growing their inner souls.

    #839717
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I wholeheartedly disagree with you! I think that these women of the fifties and sixties were very frum, despite the fact that they did not have all of the chumros that we have today!

    That’s nice. But the examples you gave were actual halacha.

    #839718
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    BTW this year she can’t have a water bottle that she can drink straight out of-there must be a cup cap

    What is wrong from drinking from a water bottle

    #839719
    cantgetit
    Member

    Covering hair prpoperly and dressing modestly is halacha, not chumra.

    #839720
    Bar Shattya
    Member

    Yes it is very nice. in fact you might convince me to devalue the characteristic of frum. If you can be frum without doing what hashem wants, then what is the value of frum?

    #839721
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Actually my daughters school had rules about rolling knapsacks (A heavy knapsack is bad for kids) and rules about Bat Mitzvah’s

    They tried to tell me who I could invite to a Bat Mitzvah

    #839722
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    zahavasdad:

    Why did you send zahava to a school which you so disagree with?

    Did zahava like it? If so, I commend you for putting her needs before yours. But, I still don’t understand why you are criticizing, if that is what zahava wanted.

    #839723
    MiddlePath
    Participant

    This is partially why living in a small, “out of town” community is such a great thing. Every Jewish family can send their child to the same school regardless of whether a father learns all day in kollel, or a mother doesn’t cover her elbows.

    #839724
    Bar Shattya
    Member

    middlepath

    uh. thats just b/c the outoftown school isnt really so frum

    #839725
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Sometimes we dont always have the choices we would like in life.

    While here I have expressed opinions on various topics, When I am in company of people associated with the school either teachers, parents, students etc I keep my mouth shut. for that matter in many company of family I do keep my mouth shut even if i strongly disagree

    #839726

    I thoroughly enjoy reading the thoughts of the OP on this topic.

    I have a personal experience as well on this issue.

    I was ‘new’ to the community and wanted my children to get enrolled in school. I personally called up the principal and spoke to her and she said she’d ‘see’. In short, she never got back to me. I suppose the fact that I had Jewish kids who needed to be educated was not significant to her in her life/world enough to even call me back.

    I wasn’t just ‘new’ , being baal teshuvas we were indeed ‘different’. We didn’t speak yiddish. We just weren’t the ‘same’. That really hurt. Some schools are like that.

    Those were all the reasons ‘why’ i needed them even more than a regular person who wasn’t fussy about which “jewish day school” they want because I WAS IN FACT choosing ‘their high road’ to travel down and they weren’t welcoming. I feel like resentful that they are in the chosers seats.

    #839727
    Abba bar Aristotle
    Participant

    In my observations, the majority of OTD children are the result of seemingly frum, but really “OTD parents”. To a lesser extent, they are the result of OTD rebbes.

    #839728
    cinderella
    Member

    This whole thing is stupid. Can someone explain why someone who is not so frum* want to send their kid to a school that is more frum then them?

    And if you do want to do that, stretch a little. Go out of your comfort zone and start being a better person. Why should the school lower their standards for you? You should be the one to adapt to their standards.

    * I’m not talking about not frum like eating chalav stam, I’m talking about hair covering not frum.

    #839729

    zahavasdad, the problem with drinking straight out of a bottle is that its held as a goyisher thing like a shikker drinks and is uncouth practice by the heathens and hoydens.

    #839730
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Goyim also fold pizza in half, Eat Hamburgers on a Bun, Eat french fries with their fingers drink soda from a can etc

    #839731
    MiddlePath
    Participant

    “uh. thats just b/c the outoftown school isnt really so frum”

    Bar Shattya, no. It’s because the school is more open-minded and less judgmental. I believe being open minded and less judgmental does NOT mean less frum, even though to you it probably does.

    #839732
    Imaofthree
    Participant

    “In my observations, the majority of OTD children are the result of seemingly frum, but really “OTD parents”.”

    Not true at all. There are many reasons why a child goes off the derech. Everyone thinks they know THE REASON.

    #839733
    cinderella
    Member

    In all honesty, I think that the schools actions are justifiable, up to a certain point of course. If there is a really frum, yeshivish school and a child applies who is not so frum and yeshivish and him being in the class would probably expose these really yeshivish kids to things their parents don’t want them being exposed to, the school should accept that child? (sorry for that run-on sentence)

    I think the child should try to find a school that has kids more his type.

    #839734
    mexipal
    Participant

    I love the coffee room. there are about 100 different things declared to be THE reason why kids go off the Derech.

    #839735
    agittayid
    Participant

    “,,Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum,,.”

    Thirty years from now, when new chumras that I can’t even imagine will be the new norm; someone will write in the coffee room of 2041 about our time;

    “Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.”

    #839736
    OneOfMany
    Participant

    The whole water bottle thing (yeah, it’s real) doesn’t make sense to me. I DO believe that it is uncouth to drink from a bottle, but that water bottles are in a different klal, as they are MEANT to be drunk from. Does anyone agree with me?

    #839737
    AZOI.IS
    Participant

    agittayid:

    “Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.”

    Thirty years from now, when new chumras that I can’t even imagine will be the new norm; someone will write in the coffee room of 2041 about our time;

    “Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.”

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    agittayid:

    Your post hit the nail on the head, I think. I share your sentiments. By 2041, we might have gederim around gederim around gederim around gederim…..

    #839738
    Non Political
    Participant

    Not covering hair and elbows is against halacha. PBA made this point above a number of times and it keeps getting ignored in favor of self serving justifications.

    A women who today publicly refuses to comply with halachic standards which are widely observed and known has nothing in common with a Europeen or American women in the mid 1900s who was making an effort to learn and do the right thing.

    #839739
    mdd
    Member

    Covering knees and elbows is Halocha, but that there are crazy chumros being pushed around is true.

    #839740
    mommamia22
    Participant

    I think that many of these schools that turn children away would not do so if they did not have such a flood of applicants to choose from. One could argue that they should just accept those who were first to apply (first come, first served), and I guess that’s where the pickiness comes into play. If they can afford to choose (and don’t have the classroom space to house B’H so many children) then, I guess, they need to decide which of the applicants to admit.

    Where do you draw the line, indeed?

    I agree with the Rebbetzin, and yet, I don’t understand what she is proposing when B’H so many children are applying. Should they admit everyone? Where will they house them? Do they just rent more space because they have more applicants?

    Many years ago, a child approached my father and asked “Du bist a Yid?” My father was FUMING! My father learned in Toras Emes and was a talmid of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt’l. His father was a very learned man and taught. My father went to minyan faithfully and was often the first one there, so he had the key to the shul. Just because he’s clean shaven, this chassidishe kid questioned if he was Jewish (even though my father was wearing a kippah). This child was so sheltered he thought there was only one kind of frum Jew.

    #839741
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Thirty years from now, when new chumras that I can’t even imagine will be the new norm; someone will write in the coffee room of 2041 about our time;

    “Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.”

    Yes, there will still be people writing stupid things.

    Meanwhile, though, the people writing that are correct.

    #839742
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I think Its easiest to sum up some peoples views

    Every Yiddishe Neshama is sacred and holy , unless they want to go to MY schools, be friends with MY kids, Daven at MY Shul or live in MY neighborhood

    #839743
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Thirty years from now, when new chumras that I can’t even imagine will be the new norm; someone will write in the coffee room of 2041 about our time;

    “Inasumuch as they didn’t keep halacha- yes, they were less frum.”

    One thing you can not fault Judaism for, is that we always spell out precisely what is d’oraisah, d’rabbanan, and chumrah. These halachos are spelled out precisely in the poskim.

    #839744
    soliek
    Member

    btw…who in here actually works with OTD kids and is therefore qualified to decide why they go OTD?

    #839745
    Menachem Melamed
    Participant

    I am surprised that most of the posters have allowed the statement that covering “knees and elbows is halocha” go by unchallenged. Check with the gedolei horabbanim and find out if this is unanimously accepted halocha.

    One of our problems is that we forget that different communities and sectors of observant Jews follow different poskim. There are seriously observant Jews who we misjudge because they follow a poseik that does not share our assumptions regarding halocha. We immediately judge them to be “not really frum”. I suggest that you verify this with the gedolim whom you know – I did.

    I think that the aveira of misjudging a fellow Jew is far worse than the avairos that people find so upsetting.

    #839746
    adams
    Participant

    Basically they come up with new Chumras because they are insecure or are trying to make a name for themselves. It’s not Yiddishkeit at all.

    Having said that there are so many cases I see of families that don’t some of them are not Tznius dressed, some of the girls are more dressed for the beach than a simncha, and others are fully covered teens from Beis Yaacov style, in family occassions, so much love in the room at a family simcha, why can’t it be that way for everyone?

    #839747
    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Every time this comes up, I always wonder about this side issue: who went and decided that sheitlach are somehow frummer than hats or scarves? “she doesn’t cover her hair, she wears a tichel”

    #839748
    Jothar
    Member

    Soliek, in your experience, what are the top 3 reasons kids of otd and end up in our place?

    #839749
    soliek
    Member

    “I am surprised that most of the posters have allowed the statement that covering “knees and elbows is halocha” go by unchallenged. Check with the gedolei horabbanim and find out if this is unanimously accepted halocha.”

    just checked. it is.

    #839750
    stamamen
    Member

    MenachemMelamed, please name any posek, if he so exists, that allows knees and elbows to be uncovered. It simply isn’t the case. At most there is a question of where the knee or elbow begins. But everyone says it must be covered. And it must be covered at all times including when walking and sitting. Not just when standing. Anything less is a violation of halacha, not chumra.

    #839751
    MiddlePath
    Participant

    Of course there is no one reason why people go off the derech. I think the people that say “such and such is the reason” are simply saying that from what they’ve seen themselves. That’s why they say “this is the reason”.

    So instead of ridiculing or making blunt remarks to someone who says a specific reason for it, we should understand that they are simply saying that because that is what they’ve seen to be the reason. Of course they know there are other reasons, too.

    #839752
    soliek
    Member

    “Soliek, in your experience, what are the top 3 reasons kids of otd and end up in our place?”

    abuse, wrong friends, and overlooked issues such as learning disabilities, mental illness, or emotional problems.

    ultimately what does it is the wrong crowd, the other two are just reasons a kid joins that crowd…

    all this other stuff is nothing but fluff. seriously…all this garbage that people say drives kids off the derech is completely contrived and rubbish. one or two kids perhaps, but certainly not the overwhelming majority. when people make threads like this its because someone did something that irked and they feel the need to tell the world just how peeved they are, and in making their point, since it is usually not valid enough to stand on its own, they pull out the OTD bogeyman.

    #839753

    JOthar and members, would it be over simplifying to say there is only one reason kids fall OTD? And that is BITACHON. there is a major malfunction in their bitachon in everything that Torah and Yiddishkeit stands for? Can we sum it up that way? i can relate.

    I didn’t want to share this, but yet I want so badly to reach out share this with someone. I personally struggle sometimes, and DO NOT WANT TO FALL OTD. I am an adult BT and I struggle with the cultural differences I find myself agaisnt. Sometimes I feel so ripped off in that everyone else frum from birth around me got Yiddishkeit the real pure stuff served to them, born with the silver spoon of Torah in their mouths. THey were read the right stories, they ate the right kashrus, etc, had warm kind family didn’t struggle through the young adult years with the influences of public school. And on the other hand, sometimes I struggle with the cultural differences, a lot of what I learned as values and as social etiquette is backwards here and the people do differntly in Frumkeit. It alienates me.

    Sometimes I reminisce about what I lost and then just like the unfounded complaints coming from the mouths of the Yidden who left Mitzrayim, I too fanatsize about “sitting around pots of meat” in the old days. Its ungrateful. I recognize that. I didn’t even eat meat, I was a vegan!

    And it wasn’t even like I gave up anything worth missing or running back to.I don’t know why I am telling you all this. Maybe I see within myself a bit of that teenager at risk of going OTD.

    I guess I need chizuk and strength and advice. Sometimes I feel like I am acting the part of Frum , and people think I am ehrlich but I don’t like who I am turning into, with having the internet in my home, spending a great deal of time there, and with the click of a button I have all the old music, tv shows, friends on facebook (whom I’d disconnected from years ago) and its self defeating to welcome this all back into my life. Sometimes, i feel angry against Hashem, when things get rough. Then I turn back to old memories in the internet like music and I noticed that reading the news and watching the youtube is changing me. I don’t like it.

    Each morning I wake up I say “today I will not go there” but by the night when I am worn out and need an escape I go watch. I hate the pritzus and the secular mentality. I could better use my time reviewing halachos of tznius. Or shabbos, I know.

    I know everyone in my community loves me, and I have many good friends so why then do I feel this way? How can I resolve to come closer to Hashem which was my main goal in this life when I threw away my name, and old ways and made a techias hamaysim of the neshama who was stiffling and crying out for L’chaim, when I became a baalas teshuva?

    I know people are people and there are not nice people in every place, but some of the things I have seen “the big people” do exemplyfying the worst middos when they are suppose to be orthodox yeshivish yidden really makes me wonder. I could tell you a story here, but I have children who need their mother right now. Bye for now…

    #839754
    Menachem Melamed
    Participant

    “Stamemen”, you actually supported what I said. Sometimes we accuse people of transgressing a halocha based upon what we believe the halocha to be. Sometimes we discover that the person actually was following the halocha according to a different opinion, or that the person misunderstood the halocha.

    I purposely did not state what the divergent opinions might be as the only proper approach is to ask your own poseik. People who use internet chatrooms in lieu of a Rav are making a mistake. There is no replacement for a Rav who knows you and your situation.

    #839755
    aries2756
    Participant

    Why kids go OTD:

    Dysfunctional homes

    Divorce

    Illness at home

    Death in a home

    Molestation

    Hypocrisy

    Getting lost in the crowd

    Pain or humiliation caused by a Rebbe or Teacher

    Bullying

    Too many rules, or changing the rules without rhyme or reason

    Not understanding the rules

    Living the life without the “simcha”

    Not being told or shown the reasons for living this way

    Not being shown the emunah and bitachon that goes along with Yiddishkeit

    Not being shown the “love” of yiddishkeit

    Not being shown the “love” for learning Torah

    Not being shown or taught the “love” and “joy” of Yiddishkeit

    Need I go on?????

    #839756
    Sam2
    Participant

    Not everyone agrees that the elbows and knees must be covered. Everyone agrees that the area above the elbows and knees must be covered. The elbows and knees themselves are a matter of dispute. Also, there are those that say that because “Tefach B’ishah Ervah”, you are allowed 3 inches above your elbow (I’ve never heard anyone use that for knees though). These might not be at all accepted opinions, but to say that everyone agrees that elbows and knees must be covered is a bit of a stretch.

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