September 15, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am #588216
I am sure everyone all of you are somewhat aware of what is going on with frum teenagers these day. I know people will say not my kids, or cant be the teens I know but sadly the “good crowd” is experimenting and slowly falling into the traps of society. Everyone knows about the drugs and drinking amongst teens but if you knew the extent and what is happening in the frum communities you would be beyond shocked. The things that are being done wheter drugs, drinking, guys and girls and many other things are not only considered bad in the frum community but in any secular society.And Im not just talking about the at risk kids or the kids going of the derech, there are kids whose flame inside has been distinguished for some reason but they cant leave frumkeit so they continue doing the daily motions but it means nothing to them, on the outside they look lie every other frum yid, but inside they are gone. I am sure many of you will sit here right now and deny what I’m saying, but why else would I say it here? Unfortunatley I have seen it all and done it all and looking at me you would never know. I am not going to give specefics of whats happening but I am sure you can imagine. Instead of just talking about the problem, I want to propose an idea. Kosher hangouts. Co-ed entertainment with arcades and different nightly entertainment, supervised by rebeim or different mentors. I know many of you will be like co-ed? Compared to whats going on this environment is much healthier and how else are you going to draw these kids out of their parties, you have to give them something worth leaving whatever they have. If we dont stifle them but encourage them and have adults there who wont critcize the kids but support them I feel we can move mountains. Most of these kids have emotional problems and questions about Judiasm that were never answered for some reason, and most of them are good people who have amazing potential if we would just give them a chance. I feel so much can be done, but if we just site here idly and talk about the problem it will just get really bad. I dont have the means to bring this to fruition but I am sure someone can help continue the seed I planted. Please ehar my pleasSeptember 15, 2008 1:50 am at 1:50 am #634368JosephParticipant
If its a hangout, it isn’t kosher.
Co-ed is the worst. Once you kasher such tarfus, you’ll invite people who would never otherwise dream of doing such terrible things.
You can’t help people by hurting the rest of society. You need to find another way.September 15, 2008 2:02 am at 2:02 am #634369jphoneMember
I think the larger problem is that there is a need to “hang out”. Hanging out implies, nothing else to do. We should find things for these teens to do. I dont claim to have the answer (or any answer, for that matter), but I dont think it would be a bad idea to understand why there is a need to “hang out” to begin with.September 15, 2008 2:06 am at 2:06 am #634370just meParticipant
I don’t think going co-ed solves the problems. Ohr Naava in Brooklyn, NY offers girls and women ages 17 and up great classes and shiurim. There is dancing, kickboxing, yoga, cake decorating. Rabbi Wallerstien and other rabbis give great classes geared towards young adults. They also have appointments. Food is also offered at most classes. There is no charge. This past summer, Ohr Naava sponsored girls bowling nights up in the Catskills free of charge to encourage hanging out in a kosher place.September 15, 2008 2:49 am at 2:49 am #634371zalmyMember
while i think your idea of kosher hangouts is a good one, i don’t think it is THE solution. i don’t think that the younger generation has had it with yiddishkeit because there aren’t enough hangouts (although this is a start).
quite simply, kids today aren’t stupid. they understand so much more than we give them credit for. and they can sense the hypocrisy that pervades the lives of many of those who are supposed to be their role models. what should kids think when supposedly ehrliche people are committing crimes, being hauled off to prison, etc.? when people are more concerned about the color of a boy’s shirt than what is in his head or in his heart? when our first reaction to anything is not ‘what is the right thing to do’ or ‘what would hashem want’ but rather ‘what will everyone else think?’ or ‘how will this effect this or that shidduch’?
let’s face it. our ‘yeshiva world’ has become so much like the greater society around us – we are so much more concerned with images, appearances, and reputations than we are about truth, reality, and sincerity. its really no wonder that we judge so much about a person now by the way he dresses, the color of his shirt, the length of a skirt, sleeves, etc., just as our society judges one another by similarly superficial characteristics. is this what yiddishkeit is all about?
our kids see right through this charade. they realize that most of us do not REALLY practice what we preach. we go through so many of the motions and dress, talk, and act a certain way in order to ensure that no one in our society will look at us any differently. they realize that so often our actions are dictated not by the ratzon hashem, but by the ratzon of those around us.
our kids aren’t dumb. they realize what yiddishkeit means (and doesn’t mean) to their parents and their communities. and they are sickened by the thought of perpetuating such a perverted and hypocritical system. can you blame them?September 15, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am #634372
Why should the hang outs be co-ed. Rabbi Wallerstien made kosher hang outs in the catskills this summer that was very well attended but he made it separate for boys and girls, he had no problem getting kids. If it is free, they will come.
You are unfortunately correct, there are many kids and even adults that are going through the motions but they aren’t really frum, they are all burned out and turned off. We are living through very difficult times. It is really sad.September 15, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm #634373
Can’t be done. It can lead to mixed dancing.September 15, 2008 1:59 pm at 1:59 pm #634374SJSinNYCMember
I grew up with a paradox – my family is modern orthodox and the neighborhood we lived in was modern orthodox but my school was yeshivish. Some of my best friends growing up were boys and when I was 13 one of my teachers gave us the “boys are evil” speech. I thought she was crazy and I still do.
One important thing was that we hung out at our houses, heavily supervised by our parents. No sticky situations ever arose with the boys I hung out with. We had plenty of clean, kosher fun in our own houses [assuming you consider watching TV/movies kosher, but that is a different debate for a different time]. Some things we did was play ping pong, board games, chess – we even went hiking and did outdoor stuff.
I even used to go out to “non kosher” places like the pool hall nearby. Our parents trusted us and we never did anything bad. At one point, one of my friends met a guy who wasn’t so kosher and I sat down and spoke with her parents. I felt that as her best friend, it was my responsibility to make sure that she did not go astray. Although she was upset when she asked me if I had told her parents, she did thank me later.
Its important to know your kids and help them develop into stable, solid adults. Rather than try to forbid them from so many things, help them gain the confidence to act as a true ben/bas torah in all situations.
So no, I dont have a real answer, but what worked for me was my mothers trust and the ability to hang out at home. I never had a need to go out and do anything bad, because I had plenty of good, clean fun right at home (and at my friends home).September 15, 2008 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #634375RabbiYisroelMember
Yasher Koach Zalmy for your insight into the denial downside of the frum world. Young people are certainly being turned off because of the hypocrisy and the garbage that is paraded as being Torah values. However I disagree with your assesment of co-ed activities. My rebbe, Harav Hagadol Shloime Twerski, zt’l, a chassidic rabbi, from the Hornistieple, Chernoble and Bobov families (and elder brother of Rabbi Dr Abraham Twerski)was very much in favor of supervised co-educational socialization. He said, and I quote, “We keep young men and women away from each other and then suddenly expect them to have succesful marriages when they haven’t any idea of what the other is like”.September 15, 2008 2:34 pm at 2:34 pm #634377muchcommonsenseMember
Rabbi Yisroel- how can you encourage men and women meeting? Most of us have siblings to learn from them about the other gender’s personalities and ways of acting. Other than that, it’s a lot safer to stick to the ones you belong to. Same way they can learn what the other is like as teenagers, they can learn it after marriage too. So, the adjustment will be bigger. That’s what marriage is all about- adjustment, adjustment, adjustment.
Thousands of couples are perfectly happy without spending time with each others before marriage. Our world is so sadly all confused.September 15, 2008 2:55 pm at 2:55 pm #634379SJSinNYCMember
muchcommonsense – I grew up in an all female household. My father died when I was 6. If I had not interacted with boys I would have had no understanding of who/what the gender is about!
Yes, thousands of couples are happy without spending time with each other before marriage. Thousands of couples are also divorced.
When I got married I knew my husband very well. We had known each other for 3 years by the time we got married. We had been friends for 9 months, dated for 1.5 years and were engaged for 9 months. Marriage is work, but we understood how we would have to adapt. I’m not saying marriage is always easy, but the adaptation is easier if you know what you are getting into. I knew my husband’s flaws before we got married and he knew mine (at least most of them). We chose to accept each other and make it work. Compromise is key.
Why would you want to marry an almost stranger?? I know plenty of girls who hate dating because its so awkward for them and after so many years of being told “dont talk to boys” find it almost like doing something wrong. THERE IS NOTHING INHERENTLY WRONG WITH COED SITUATIONS. Its all a matter of how the kids conduct themselves, and I hope to raise my son to know how to conduct himself and avoid temptation.September 15, 2008 2:58 pm at 2:58 pm #634380
Re Rabbi Yisroel:
How long ago did your rebbe say this? I know that at the turn of and into the 20th century there were organizations for young men and women who were committed to Shabbos to socialize, but that was such a different world then. Every 15 – 20 year cycle has its challenges and I wonder if this was said in a way that would definitely be applicable now.
And, what age was he referring to? Teens? 20ish? Mid 20’s? And did he mean people who were settled, whether in school, a job, etc., or disaffected? Just want some clarity here.
Re Teenager: as you can tell, we’re on your side, and appreciate the credibility you bring to the discussion. I’m not involved enough to say coed would be good, I really don’t know the scene but am not toally naive, yet my gut says that for teens, not a good idea. Whatever might develop along the lines of what you’re thinking, though, I think it would have to be under the radar. Yes, with rabbinic encouragement, but very quietly.September 15, 2008 3:34 pm at 3:34 pm #634381
I had much the same upbringing as SJSinNYC, excpet that I went to modern schools. The boys and girls in my neighborhod socialized together in our homes. Whether it was a Friday night oneg with some learning and then socializing, or Shabbat afternoons doing playing board games and being around togehter, we socialized in our homes under parental supervision. Nothign inapppropriate ever happened. We all grew up and, for the most part, married and have stable families. It wasn’t until high school, when I went to a yeshiva that the sneaking around started. Friends in my class had to be very careful not to be seen in public with their girlfriends, lest they be expelled from school. The solution was to frequent “treif” establishments where no one knew us, and no one cared what we did. A group of kids getting together on a Friday night to learn or hear a talk about Jewish life in Communist Romania (my uncle gave it many times) or meet in the local pizza parlor, devolved into sneaking out to a far off pool hall or night club with some of learning “their” ways. Being cool was no longer being affable and liked in a very benign kosher setting. Rather being cool became knowing how to inhale a cigarette without coughing, being able to hold one’s liquor, and the ultimate prize; doing things with the girls we would have never done in our parent’s living rooms. The net result of all the sneaking around was one teen pregnancy (and this was the 1980’s when such things didn’t happen in white middle class America, at least not in out midwestern suburbs, let alone in the Jewish community) and alot of confused kids. Mayim genuvim yimtaku is an absolute truism; especially as applied to teens. It has to be as much a part of our approach to tzniyut as everything else.September 15, 2008 3:56 pm at 3:56 pm #634382Will HillParticipant
cantoresq, and nebech look at what became of you! (Thats a joke.)
The seperation of genders works very well in the Charedi world (despite the relatively infrequent incidents.) We have far less of the problems cantoresq mentions in his high school years (and he came from a co-ed pre-high school background.)
And Chareidi marriages, coming from no mixed gender settings, work out proportionately FAR better than the secular world or even the non-secular “modern” world.September 15, 2008 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #634383muchcommonsenseMember
SJsinNYC- my point is not that we should not be in the same town as boys, of course we can smile to neighbors, speak to relatives, but spending time together- as a FRIEND- that does not bring any good in most situations. Note that Im not saying it’s wrong- because everyone has to know what is right/wrong for them.
Besides, I dont know how many years ago you got married, but in today’s world- it’s pretty bad out there between girls and boys. Many of them are just there to flirt, and flirt they do…It’s just not right to spend time with a boy that’s just a friend- boys are not supposed to see or talk with girls for no reason other than for shidduch purposes(or any other time it’s necessary.)
BTW- we also have many divorces- c’mon- for a bunch of reasons other than not knowing each others before. Thats not the reason pple are divorced.September 15, 2008 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #634384
cantoresq, and nebech look at what became of you! (Thats a joke.)
The seperation of genders works very well in the Charedi world (despite the relatively infrequent incidents.) We have far less of the problems cantoresq mentions in his high school years (and he came from a co-ed pre-high school background.)
And Chareidi marriages, coming from no mixed gender settings, work out proportionately FAR better than the secular world or even the non-secular “modern” world.
Will, take it from a oisvarf 🙂 like me, you’re wrong. It’s simply that much of the mischief is still below the societal radar. In my profession, I’ve come to learn of a alot of it. Homo-erotic sex play, frequenting strip clubs, use of prostitutes, even fooling around with the heimishe “maidel next door” all abide in chareidi circles. And it’s becoming more and more frequent. Ignoring it only increases the frequency of it. This isn’t about a numbers game. Does it really make a difference if “only” 15% of chareidim have pre-marital sex as compared to 35% of non-Chareidi Orthoodx as compaed to 90% of non-Jews? (I made up all the numbers) the fact is that there is a problem festering in our midst, and it seems nothing is being done, except to try to hide it and deny its existence. As to chareidi marriages, I defy you deny that the divorce rate in chareidi communities is increasing every year and keep a straight face.September 15, 2008 4:59 pm at 4:59 pm #634386samuelbilnerMember
Chas Vechalila!! Ein Apatropis l’arayos!September 15, 2008 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #634387lesschumrasParticipant
“Re Rabbi Yisroel:
How long ago did your rebbe say this? I know that at the turn of and into the 20th century there were organizations for young men and women who were committed to Shabbos to socialize, but that was such a different world then. Every 15 – 20 year cycle has its challenges and I wonder if this was said in a way that would definitely be applicable now”
Small request. If this site does not accept “it was a differnt world then ” in order to eliminate a chumra, then it shouldn’t be acceptable in reverse.September 15, 2008 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #634388jphoneMember
Still all the fluff and not the real point. Why do they feel a need to “hang out” to begin with? They have nothing else to do with their lives but hang out?September 15, 2008 5:50 pm at 5:50 pm #634389
Still all the fluff and not the real point. Why do they feel a need to “hang out” to begin with? They have nothing else to do with their lives but hang out?
Posted 20 minutes ago #
Two answers: First becuase they are teenagers. Second, adults also like to “hang out”September 15, 2008 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #634390LeiderLeider…Participant
zalmy. Thank you for your enlightening comments. I attempted to assert the same in the post entitled “Do we really mean it” but I haven’t seen a very enthusiastic response to my query.September 15, 2008 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #634391
I am a teenager and am I am well aware of what is going on, but I do not think this is a solution. jphone, I am sorry to say kids feel a need to hang out, or in better words get out-not necesaraly doing something wrong but they just like getting out. Rabbi Wallerstein has been very succesfull in his separate bowling allys in the country or other things he does. I know people who on the inside have totally left yiddishkiet, but did not come to leaving the outside, so they stay with their bais yaakov appearance, some may think that is good while others will disagree, Although because on the outside people might not lable them as off the derech and help them, they will as I have been so many of my friends get help in other ways, it is just a matter of time. One thing I would say is always be there for your friends, whatever it is.September 15, 2008 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #634392
I don’t believe that “meeting in the middle” is the correct way to go about it.
We don’t believe in the ends justifying the means so we cannot do something against our ideals in order for the end product of bringing teens closer to yiddishkeit.
Besides, why do we need to show these teens that the only way to have fun is to do it in a not-such-kosher way?
The opposite! Organize bowling, roller skating, etc.. but show that you can have fun in a strictly kosher enviornment!September 15, 2008 6:31 pm at 6:31 pm #634393
there are a lot of divorces. That is true! But you just made a statement implying that the cause is not being familiar with eachother before marriage. Did you ever take a poll on chasidish, litvish, modern, secular, etc and see where there is more divorces? FYI, most chasidim barely see e/o before marriage and most litvish people don’t either get to know e/o for over a year! And guess what! There are much less divorces amongst us than in the secular world! So obviously we’re fine the way we do things.September 15, 2008 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #634394
Re lesschumras: I think along different lines. Kula/chumra didn’t enter into it at all. 80 – 100 years ago, these picnics and outings and socializing resulted in wonderful shidduchim and choshuve doros. It was a matter of survival – you wanted to meet someone whom you knew was as committed as you. And the men were gentlemen, with very focused goals. The world now is different. It wouldn’t work, definitely not for teenagers. That’s all I meant.September 15, 2008 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #634395
wow I feel everyone missed the point of my post, how can you have your head in the sand to whats happening. I know co-ed is not ideal, I grew up in a pretty frum homw never spoke to boys till last year right before i turned 18 and that first guy is my boy friend of the last 14 months but anyway thats beyond the point. I think one of the probems with the frum worlds is extremes, no co-ed no nothing, you dont understand the znus and immorality that is going on can make anyone sick I have seen it all, you cant got from 0 to 100 in one shot it has to be gradual, you cant put these kids who are doing znus and who knosw what back into a real chareidi environmet they will just rebell again and feel no one understands them and than never come back to their roots. But if we slowly in icrinements move what they are doing into a kosher supervised, loving warm environment with people to aid their struggles there is hope they can get back to where they fell from.
Another point, maybe i shouldnt have used the word “hangout” perse as it denotes a negative conotation, like 711 in monsey or several pizza stores in brooklyn. im not talking about kids smoking up and just wasting their time. so we have the question of why kids hang out? so the most common is boredom, they have nothing else to do thats very true but not the sole problem, when kids hang out they are looking for people who have a lot in common with them, its diffrent than who your friends are, like for example i was abused and abuse causes a wide range of emotional problems from not trusting people and not letting people into you life or to being to trusting, or feeling wortless, i could go on and on, so you tend to gravitate toward the people who have common problems in you, I know I did, i could name you hangouts where the kids represent diffrent problems and are looking for emotional relief. So to solve this problem, if our “kosher hangouts” could become more than just a store front where the kids stand in front and look stoned, if it could gives the kids something to do, like if we set up with people available for the kids, like psychologists and social workers but not who will make the kids feel like something is wrong with them, they already feel that way if we put it in a way that the adults who supervise these hangouts really interact with these kids, wherer through playing basketball or just shmoozing it really can accomplish. I think Ohr Nava is an amazing organization and I am very familar with it as Nava was my friends mother, Ohr Nava attracts a different population, like I am not at the level now I would want to sit through shiurim and even though thy have different activities most of the girls there are critical and would look down on me and I already know that feeling way to well, Rabbi Wallerstien is an amazing speaker as weel as an individual but one orginization in Brooklyn is not going to touch 1/100th of what needs to be accomplished.
I dont want to sound chutzpadik but I really feel some adults just have forgotten completley whats it like to feel as a teenager, plus we have so many issues that you have never had, some of you just turn your back on whats happening, but I know it must pain some of you, please do something!September 15, 2008 7:25 pm at 7:25 pm #634396noitallmrParticipant
Hangout??? Not a chance it won’t turn Treif. However many good thoughts are put in to the project and supervision even, eventually things will happen and you all know what I mean.
Instead of creating a hangout, establish a yeshiva with half day working towards a career or something positive to let teenagers have an outlet but to make an establishment to kill time??? Never!September 15, 2008 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #634397
teenager, me being one as well we do understand what you are talking about, the problem out there and hte need need for kids to get out. but by doing this like someone said it is mixing bad with good which is bad. you have to see if hashem would be smiling at your action, kiruv activities he definately would be, but this he would not be. it is mixing bad with good, bad is bad good is good and when the teen comes to that hopefully they will help themselvesSeptember 15, 2008 7:49 pm at 7:49 pm #634398
You are right that you cannot expect 0 to 100 in one day but the people who are trying turn them “on” should not be the ones introducing co-ed etc. A silly example would be a student who is really misbehaved, so the teacher wants her to go from doing 10 pranks a day to doing only 5 and from talking non-stop to only talking every 10 minutes. Will the teacher plan pranks with her that are a bit more toned down then what she’s been doing until now? or will the teacher not help her with her pranks but turn a blind eye up to a certain point?
What I mean to say is that people might want to turn a blind eye to certain things that teenagers do and rather focus on worse things. However, we are not allowed to Encourage co-ed etc. That is the wrong way to go about it!September 15, 2008 7:53 pm at 7:53 pm #634399gavra_at_workParticipant
Go MO. The Charaidi world is not willing (right or wrong) to allow a possible breach for one even though they will help many. Try NCSY or similar program.
The other idea is to try not to do anything that is irrevocable, and Hashem understands that you are trying to do the right thing. And it is hard, and you get credit for seriously trying. Your test today is very different than most people on the board here, and YOU have to know that you are not asked to pass THEIR tests, only yours. And feel proud when you pass your test.September 15, 2008 7:55 pm at 7:55 pm #634400
Teenager- With what is going on nowadays, it is very hard to make a kosher hang out for boys and girls. I went to a Jewish Concert at the racetrack in the country a couple of years ago, it was supposed to be like a Jewish Woodstock kind of thing. The mixed dancing was the least problem there was there, what was going on on the blankets and grass was worse! If you really would like to get some concrete help for yourself I would suggest that you get a private learning partner to learn with and ask questions. hanging out is hanging out…why waste your time, you have a mind you can develop yourself in ways that you never knew. Torah isn’t only about being stuck in the classroom and memorizing, I think this turns kids off. Kids are looking for warmth and love, if they don’t find it at school they turn to the boys and drugs and alcohol. These mixed social affairs are not accomplishing much, maybe I am wrong but this woodstock thing stands out in my mind. lots of luck to you.September 15, 2008 7:57 pm at 7:57 pm #634401
bored@work, see the problem si you think you are getting it but not quite, well I guess you have to live through it to really chop whats going on, maybe I have a different pesspective if Hashem would be happy about this and the Hashem I know would be, because we are trying to do something for the good and not just sit here idly and wait till these teens going through the trobules now have grandchildren who go off and we can do easier kiruv work with them than bother ourselves and get our hands a little dirt in the not most comfortable situations and environments. One of the main reasons I became frum again even though I have so many problems with it and every day is a constant struggle, was to help the kids in my position, I understand them which I feel very few people do and I want to help them but I cant do it alone, people need to open up their eyes and realize whats happening, I would tell personal stories but I dont even know what that would accomplish because when you want to deny something it doesnt matter whats presented, people will ignore it regardless. I will try a few more times but otherwise I am going to give up on these kids and meSeptember 15, 2008 7:59 pm at 7:59 pm #634402JosephParticipant
Co-ed is about the worst thing that can be done. The problems that WILL occur are hideous.September 15, 2008 8:07 pm at 8:07 pm #634403
K i am not here to encourage co-ed, I am not endorsing it at all, I have seen the consequences of it over and over. But when its already happening in basements and alleys and bard with frum teens, bring it in to a kosher environment, thats all I am saying. I spent a lot of time thinking this up and talking about it with other adults and kids, and originally I proposed seperate “hangouts” but why would these kids go there? they need a reason to leave what they have. Make it a big building, spererate rooms, really really suervised but some kosher interaction. Or manybe try it without it, at least do something, not just Ohr Nava but something on a lower level, seperate for boys and girls, dont just argue what I am saying but come up with something that will work if my idea wont.
Shindy- I am not on here to get help for myself, yes I have my own issues but I try not to slef pity, I kind of do kiruv myself in JEP and other orginizations, I am usually the one teaching I wouldnt even know where to ask for a private learning partner, but what you are saying is very true, I was kind of turned off by just memoirzing things that didnt mean anything to me, but in seminary when I realized i could just open a sefer and really learn things that I can apply to my daily life it meants so much more.What you are saying is so true, that is whats happening hence is why i suggested heavily supervised co-ed, theres already enough of the non supervised co-ed events, like the concert you meantionedSeptember 15, 2008 8:14 pm at 8:14 pm #634404
joseph, its already happened, i am trying to make it better not worse, any ideas?September 15, 2008 8:26 pm at 8:26 pm #634405
I do understnad what is out there like I said I am a teen just like you. but mixing good and bad is definatly not a good thing. I have friends that look like by girls on the outside but do terrible things. They know that they are doing something wrong, my friend would say I am going out now to do something bad, and she will admit she knows its bad and not for a second think that she is doing something good, but by doing this kids might think that they are doing something good cuz they are going to this mixed party instead of a different one when in reality this one is no better. What you said about what turned you off you should just know is the majority of kids doing judiasm by rote, there is a loss for love of Juadiam which is a major problem in our days.September 15, 2008 8:54 pm at 8:54 pm #634406
Thank G-d, for now I’m not “in the parsha” of parenting teenagers. My oldest is only seven. But it seems to me that I’d rather know where my my kids are and that they be where I know they are safe and away from highly at risk behaviors (i.e. drugs, drinking, unprotected sexual activity etc.) and with whom they are asssociating. If that means I have to tolerate boys and girls (with equally concerned parents) spending time together in order to vouchsafe that my kids are socializing with other wholesome “safe” people their age, so be it. What’s worse/more dangerous, platonic co-ed activities, or a group ot frustrated shiftless boys on the prowl? I’d gladly risk my son kissing a girl at a supervised co-ed gathering over risk his getting in a car with a drunk boy driving it.September 15, 2008 8:57 pm at 8:57 pm #634407
you might understand but its not the sole fact that you are a teenager, many of my friends dont get it theyv’e just never exposed themeselves to whats out there which is a good thing but they are living in a little bubble. what you said is a really good point, as i feel the same way I know I am doing something bad but still do it, so fine lets make seperate “hangouts” but lets still do that at least. Well lets figure out how to rekindle that love, shall we?September 15, 2008 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #634408
EXACTLY, Bored at work, you hit the nail on the head. For many teens, Judiasm is a yolk of boredom, rules, memorization and perfectionism. Everything seems to be shoved down their throats and they feel like they are a number, especially at the big high schools. They are very angry, and when they go off the derech, they don’t just go off a little but they go off all the way. and since they are innocent BY girls they are not educated about being street smart and the dangers of their actions. It is so sad that love of yiddishkiet is something that some teens have totally lost, and it saddens me to no end!September 15, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm #634409yoshiMember
The township, city, or state, should try to get government funding to rent , and make a designated “hang out” place where they have mentors, activities, and more. They may already have this for the general population, so the Jewish communities should get together, raise money, and create such a place for Jewish kids. Coed, or not, some kids as young as 12 or 13 and up, have no place to go, especially when they feel neglected by their Rebbis, family, and town.
Some years ago a great, great man, Rabbi Twersky, was the only one who took notice of the lost teens, and helped so many people out, and I personally know a Rav of a shul, who may not have been there if it had not been for Rabbi Twersky. He was a very special man, there are few like him around now days.
The point is, if we shun these kids, and pretend the “problem” doesn’t exist they may never be able to reach their potentials in life.
Israel has a place like this for lost or confused teens, and they have made a major difference in some of these children’s lives. Instead of doing drugs, getting drunk or who knows what, they were in this safe contained place. There should be more places like this in the U.S.
-We should raise awareness to our communities, and start creating such places!September 16, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am #634410
cantoresq, congratulations on seeing things how they really are and having a normal approach to dealing with this, thanks for restating my point that you would rather small things happening in a supervised environment than who knows what in a deserted area. your kids are lucky to have you as a parent.
Yoshi- ecactly what I am saying, there are very few out there who are trying to accomplish what is being done, you have very good ideas we just need to bring it to fruition to help those kidsSeptember 16, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am #634411smartgalMember
Teenager , I am a bit past my teens (I’m in early 20’s) but I still have associations with many teens and I know that what you are saying is very true there are many of todays “BY” type of girls and “yeshiva” boys doing detrimental things which have previoulsy been unfathomable ..I beleive the reason they are doing all these things is because they have a void they need to fill –if it ain’t going to be filled w/ spirituality and closeness to G-d then its gonna be filled with all the garbage out there which the teens are craving ..so how to solve it ?
We gotta show the beauty of our Heritage ,weve been persecuted, exhiled , opressed & pained but Am Yisrael will 4ever remain !! We are unique we have a special closeness with G-d and He wants us to enjoy life & to experience the greatest pleasure of life -which is connecting & coming close to our Creator .
When I was in high school I never thought about any of these spiritual things like why we’re here what our purpose is..but with time and going through challenges in life & attending great inspring shiurim I feel I have grown tremendously in my spirituality & guess what I feel so content , seriously its a great feeling -I am satisfied with who I am & what I do I dont feel I need to look 4 entertainment (TV/movies) which I used to do back in high school.
This is what we must do for our teens expose them to people who had challenges in their lives & overcame them & used those challenges to grow & become closer to Hashem & Judaism.
As for you idea of co-ed hangouts, sorry hon thats not gonna work –why cant girls have fun with girls and guys w/ guys separately?? you don’t want to create platonic relationships it just makes things harder 4 shidduchim and later married life , you dont wanna stand under your chuppa thinking about all the things you did with your boyfriends or “friends who happen to be boys “
Hatzlacha in your endeavors to try to fix this sitch , I’d love to help let me know what I can do I would be a mentor or something …September 16, 2008 2:21 am at 2:21 am #634412TOHIGHSCHOOLGUYMember
I think that while their are definitely issues with co-ed activities, it is first-of-all turned into way more of an issue then it really is, and that instead of just saying assur, it needs to be addressed publicly to 7th and 8th graders. by the time you are in high school, it is already too late.
while co-ed activites are not inherently evil (i know plenty of guys/girls who are good friends and are shomer etc.), unless it is monitered, the risks are large. That being said, however, people going around snapping pictures of teens hanging out together are simply driving them into greater secrecy, thereby indirectly encouraging them to hang out at places which are less desirable.
To the average teenager, judaism is filled with so many restrictions, and the ability to question and discuss is so severely limited, that co-ed activities becomes not just a regular social gathering, but rather a form of rebellion (just like non-jewish music, movies, and playing pool). I am not sure how to solve it, but i definetly think it needs to be adressed in a manner different from the way it is being talked about at this time
what do you guys think (i’m a teenager by the way)September 16, 2008 4:13 am at 4:13 am #634413
smartgal- wow you are so lucky to ahve discovered what Judiasm really stands for and can be for you if you get beyond all the dos and donts. K forget the co-ed hangouts, if we do seperate I think it can still accomplish a lot. you sound like you know what you are talking about and being a mentor I think would be a great idea for you if/when we set up these “hangouts”, but beyond many orginizations need mentors such as project yes so look into that if you are interested. I am really trying to help others, but I am a jealous of how you really found your niche in Judiasm would you be interested learning with me or something?
Tohighschoolguy- as you said co-ed activities are a risk unless they are monitored, hence my idea is to bring these relationships out into the open into a monitored setting. just one thing, there is no such thing as being shomer, everyone used to tell me you cant have a shomer negiah relationshp with the opposite gender, but I was all inncoent what do you mean you cant just sit and talk to a guy for hours, I have only one relationship with a guy that has stayed shomer, it doesnt happen so I know all of you are going to say to me so i should know very wll that a coed setting isnt good cause it cant stay platonic, well nobodys having a platonic relationship now anyway and I think if I would have been in a supervised setting nothing would have happened, I dont touch guys they touch me and if we were in an environment with rebeim and mentors and something to do beyond make out, fun activities that can give us meaning it can really solve so many problems.Tohighschoolguy, you are so correct to most teenagers Judiasm seems like just a list of donts and cause the teen to rebel cause he/she feels restricted and is not able to see the beauty that our religion has.September 16, 2008 5:26 am at 5:26 am #634414illini07Member
Your first post in this thread really hit the nail squarely on the head. It’s exactly what I have been saying for a number of years now. The only problem is, there is no potential to really fix anything when the Charedi community both refuses to admit that it may not always do things correctly, and insists on seeing everything as black-and-white, assur-or-muttar.September 16, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am #634415TOHIGHSCHOOLGUYMember
teenager … I happen to think your idea is great, however, unfortunately, I don’t even know if it is practical, simply for the reason that people will (unfortunately), never go for it. I also happen to know a whole bunch of my friends who a: are boys and b: have stayed shomer.
I think in an out-of-town type of setting it will be easier to institute, but sadly, I am extremely doubtful that it would ever happen in lakewook or brooklyn. (then again, as each day passes, i find myself growing more and more cynical)September 16, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm #634416
Maybe schools have to start having less hours and homework. I would come home from school after 5 pm and have tons of homework which I never did because who has patience for homework after a whole long day in school?!? The point of tons of homework is to “keep kids off the streets” but according to Teenager that seems to not be working.
Even kids who are not off the derech need to have fun. I was always very frum even in my very, very frum school, I was probably from the frumies but you know what?? I never liked school. I did not enjoy to study Chumash, Navi, etc. I also did not respect many of my “amazing” teachers and still don’t. (I had plenty excuse to go off the derech I think, but Torah is Emes so no excuse helps…) In any case, I don’t think these kinds of stuff is only for off the derech kids it’s for everyone. But really the underlying issues have to be addressed. If someone goes off the derech there is usually a reason behind it, not just that they want to hang out.September 16, 2008 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm #634417
I would definately be willling to help think of ideas in where we can “reinject” love of judiasm into kids, or at least for the ones growing up maybe change something. one thing i felt that make kids do things by rote was the system in being taught, teachers teach for kids to memorize and get a good mark on the test, so the kid puts in their head they just have to memorize for the test and after that they can forget everything. so for these kids history is the same thing as historia, as chumash is to math, nothing more than just memorizing for the tests. I am not throwing the burden on the teachers but they must connnect the lessons to the kids life and give them practical ways to apply it. I think i reestablished that love in seminary, not only from the classes but from being in Israel, the land just changeds people. I really feel such a love for it and feel terrible for kids who are a point where i once was, knowing how painful and depressing it is.
I also wanted to say I do have a friend who her and her boyfriend are shomar, but thats becuase they only hang out together and not in groups of kids so no other boys can touch her. but maybe there is some way we can alter this system to work?September 16, 2008 2:35 pm at 2:35 pm #634418
Tohighschoolguy, 7th and 8th grade is already too late. I was in the library and saw a preschool picture book about a froggy and his crush. Can’t remember the exact title but you get the point. Kids are being targeted at earlier and earlier ages. I just contrast Wendy Shalit’s two books – A Return to Modesty already raised the alarm, but you read it and think late teens and older; Girls Gone Mild is about tweens and even younger.
(And there was another book, I think by a Stephanie Levine, called something like Mystics, Mavericks and…something else with an M, about the empowerment of separation between the sexes, among other things.)
My point with bringing up these books is, that as Teenager mentioned, boys are touching, they are being conditioned to think that they can get away with a lot more, because the girls are letting them. You talk about getting to middle school kids. What kind of curriculum or what do you see is the most important message to keep them, let’s say, asexual as long as possible?September 16, 2008 4:11 pm at 4:11 pm #634419
zalmy- like everyone has said what you said is a hundred percent accurate, in seminary last year one of our most frequent discussions was the hypocrisy in the frum community, these were all really good BY girls but who were fed up by all the contradictions. We actually made a whole list and its something that really bothers me, how people dont practice what they preach, as you said we kids arent stupid we see through all this falsehood that is presented to us. you have a great grasp on whats going on, but any ideas for a solution, also one thing I wasnt saying kids are going off because they dont have a place to hang out, there already are problems as you just mentioned a big one, I am looking for a sultion to it.
Tohighschoolguy- let me quote you” dont even know if it practical” we wont know until we try something, I am telling you it will work, I have lived through this, I know what would have pulled me out of all the stuff I was doing and going through. By “people will never go for it”, did you mean the adults who control our society and what is their purpose in not allowing a positvie constructive thing, pushing kids who are alreafy turned off even further? Ok fine maybe that was a blanked statement that no relationships are shomer, but very few are and many arent you just dont know about it, I do have one shomer relationship but its rare, it takes a certain kind of guy maybe your friends are like that. Personally I am from Monsey and wanted to start my idea there and than see if we can isntitue into other communities, yes it would be easier in an out of town setting but I dont think theres a need for it, it will be harder in Brooklyn and Lakewood but it deffintley can be done
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