November 6, 2013 1:53 pm at 1:53 pm #611195
[I posted a very similar post in another thread. I have edited this one to make it a little less brash and take out mentions to certain things that some people may find unsuitable for this website.)
For those of you who are interested in a slightly different perspective, I went OTD as a teen (15 or so). Today I am not frum at all. I do like reading various frum websites as I still have frum friends and live in an area with lots of frum people.
I felt compelled to register and voice my perspective when I saw so many people on this website talk about what I see as superficial things in reference to OTD children. Examples: hats and listening to non Jewish music etc etc. There seems to be a slippery slope argument; an idea that if you let your child slide in religiosity at all, then all is lost.
In my experience, and when I was a teenager I knew over a dozen “at risk kids”, is that the kids whose parents were a little less strict were more likely to stay frum because they had more room to breath and be themselves. They were less likely to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
My advice? Focus on the big stuff. Like shabbos and kosher. The stuff that really matters. Let’s face it – the dress code aspect is really just about fitting in to frum society. I don’t remember “thou shalt wear a black hat/black skirt” being in the ten commandments.
The fact that your daughter is leaving the house in short socks may seem important now, but let me ask you: Would you rather your daughter just say “forget it” to the whole thing and start wearing clothes that are truly immodest? Because I did. When you make going to the movies on par with eating treif, your OTD children will see them as the same.
My mother WISHES she had just let me be. Let me experiment a little. Rebel. Because honestly if she hadn’t made a big deal about every little thing I may not have made choice to cut ties with religiosity completely.
So think about it. Is it really worth making a fuss over the thing you’re kid is doing that gets on your nerves? If not, grit your teeth and just let your child be. Just one person’s opinion from the other side.
In response to your note to the moderators: This site is Yeshiva world and we welcome your input. However, you must respect the rules of the CR while posting just like everyone else.November 6, 2013 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm #986392BetShemeshInExileParticipant
@LeebaW – Question for you. Based on a superficial read of your post it would seem that the reason you went OTD was related to your mother being too strict with you, as you state “Because honestly if she hadn’t made a big deal about every little thing I may not have made choice to cut ties with religiosity completely”.
Is this a punishment for her not treating you right, or did her treatment of you drive a greater search for a way out, that you may not have embarked on if she had been less strict??November 6, 2013 3:48 pm at 3:48 pm #986393kneedeep (joseph)Member
LeebaW, to reiterate BetShemeshInExile, how can you make your above suggestions if you yourself remain otd even though, now, you could make the choice of leading a less restrictive religious lifestyle and yet you choose to lead an irreligious lifestyle? Apparently the option of leading a less restrictive religious lifestyle is not encouraging you to not be irreligious.November 6, 2013 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #986394keepitcomingMember
sounds like you went off the derech because ur angry at your mother. did you work that out or are you still angry at her? because if your not frum and still angry that sort of defeats your whole rebellion unless you did it to make her angry…November 6, 2013 4:02 pm at 4:02 pm #986395rebdonielMember
LeebaW, I feel that I’m often on the margins here, since most posters are very much opposed to Modern and Open Orthodoxy. But, I welcome you.
Also, you list shabbos and kashrus as ikkarim. How about ben adam le chavero?November 6, 2013 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #986396
I think her point is simply that if one wishes to maximize the chances that their kids will stay frum, especially if there is already some type of “at risk” behavior, it might be better to pick your battles. She isn’t trying to tell you what would or wouldn’t convince her to become frum now, just giving some helpful advice to those for whom it might be relevant. And as a formerly frum person myself, I think this is mostly spot on.November 6, 2013 4:13 pm at 4:13 pm #986398keepitcomingMember
wow streekgeek im a fanNovember 6, 2013 4:18 pm at 4:18 pm #986399kneedeep (joseph)Member
I don’t doubt LeebaW’s sincerity in thinking her suggestions are accurate in that allowing a less restrictive religious lifestyle will encourage children who might have gone otd to remain religious albeit less frum. I just think she, and other ord’ers who think that, are mistaken and wrong in that assumption. I do not believe allowing a less restrictive religious lifestyle will encourage someone to remain frum. Anecdotally I think it is obvious that children from less restrictive religious lifestyles go otd at a notably greater rate than children from more insular and restrictive religious lifestyles. And I also think the fact that LeebaW is still not religious even though she could be religious while less restrictive, belies her contention that less restrictive Judaism will result in more frumkeit.November 6, 2013 4:30 pm at 4:30 pm #986400
The best way of minimizing the chances of your kids going off the derech is to not have a derech.November 6, 2013 4:31 pm at 4:31 pm #986401Burnt SteakParticipant
kneedeep — I think she was saying, you got to be able to allow some space to move. It is incredibly hard for anyone to keep up if there is a very high intensity. When something is kept very rigid when it gets bumped it is more likely to shatter than if it was a bit looser. I’m not saying she was correct, but she does have a great point. That we should focus on the big things.
Leeba — Stay strong. Maybe when you are older you will come to realize that no matter what your parents and G-d still love you and that you will always be welcomed back.November 6, 2013 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #986402rMember
Frankly I don’t think the OTD crowd should be the ones telling us how to be mechahnech our children.If the writer was a Baales Teshuva, now practicing a more lenient version of Orthodox Judaism, that would be one thing but under the current circumstances I don’t need her advise about “Chanoch L’Naar Al Pi Dorkoy”
I’m not disagreeing with her I’m just commenting on the oddness of this whole post. I think there is really something else underlying when OTD people say “Had I been brought up MO maybe I would of remained frum”It is an attempt to shift blame for their going OTD from themselves to their parents schools etc.November 6, 2013 5:48 pm at 5:48 pm #986404WIYMember
“The best way of minimizing the chances of your kids going off the derech is to not have a derech.”
Not sure if this is a joke because its not very intelligent.November 6, 2013 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #986405Torah613TorahParticipant
Excellent post, streekgeek. Agree with kneedeep and r as well.November 6, 2013 6:27 pm at 6:27 pm #986406
I don’t ask vegetarians for cholent recipes.November 6, 2013 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #986407zahavasdadParticipant
Everyone wants to stop OTD, Everyone is coming up with ideas on why OTD occurs and now someone comes on and tells you why they went OTD people attacked the messenger. OTD will continue to occur as long as the messenger is attacked instead of the message.November 6, 2013 6:59 pm at 6:59 pm #986409rMember
When someone who lives a lifestyle antithetical to the one I want for my children tells me how to raise them without incorporating that advice into their own lives the advice is suspect.November 6, 2013 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #986410November 6, 2013 7:09 pm at 7:09 pm #986411streekgeekParticipant
I did not post to attack her. Honestly, I just wanted to prove that I was in a similar situation but we turned out so different. I don’t think she should go all out and say it is all because of her mother’s nitpicking that she’s not religious anymore. And if she insists it is, I feel bad for her mother’s guilt in believing that it was her that turned off her child.
One more thing I just wanted to point out – Ironically, the same thing that pushed me away from everything is what eventually brought me back home. My parents love was a bit stifling at times, but it was that exact unconditional love that made me think, do I want to hurt them that much?
Thanks keepitcoming and torah613 😉November 6, 2013 7:16 pm at 7:16 pm #986412
Thanks zahavasdad, that is very understanding of you, and of course, I agree. Also, this is not at all analogous to asking a vegetarian for a chulent recipe, though I imagine that was said somewhat in jest. It’s more like asking a law school dropout why he dropped out and what might have got him to stay in. That would seem to be highly useful information in designing a successful academic program.
People keep mentioning that an OTD person should take the “blame” on themselves rather than trying to push it onto someone else. This is a usually incorrect way of thinking about it, as most OTD people that I know do not see their OTD-ness as something that is blameworthy. Thus, they are not trying to blame themselves, you, or anyone else, but rather provide insight into what might have kept them in the fold. I would think that this advice would be seen as useful, and it is unfortunate that people seem to not agree.November 6, 2013 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #986413
See, it worksNovember 6, 2013 7:18 pm at 7:18 pm #986414WIYMember
Sometimes the messenger is to blame. We all have bechira and if someone chooses to do something or chooses not to do something they must take responsibility for that.November 6, 2013 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #986415eyefortruthMember
Is there any one reason why people go off the derech? I would imagine not. However, it would seem pretty clear that what most allows for it is our total integration into American/Western society. For centuries Jews did not assimilate in the numbers that they do today, probably because they couldn’t more than any other reason. Jews were kept in ghettos, seperate from the rest of society, and when they werent, they were limited in profession and in title. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that if Judaism became more appealing all of a sudden no one would want to go OTD. The last time I checked, the ??? ???? happened not too long after every single person at Har Sinai experienced prophecy. Not to sound too closed minded, but the surest way to prevent assimiliation and this OTD problem (which are one and the same thing) is to make it as difficult as possible to happen, by exposing our children as little as possible to values contrary to our own. By no means am I denying the importance of improving our Jewish society, and of presenting Judaism in its most appropriate form, but by the same token, I do not believe that a most perfect Judaism will prevent the OTD problem in any country in which we have become fully integrated with a society antithetical to ours(see latest NYC mayor elections as the newest example of our involvement in American life).November 6, 2013 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #986416
LeebaW- Firstly, I’m impressed that you have stayed in touch with the Yeshivish world despite your childhood. Many OTD like to deny that part of themselves, and are generally embarrassed of their religious past. (This being from my personal experience during my more rebellious times)
It must be frustrating to see the constant fuss over silly things when many don’t seem to see the whole picture. I know it is for me. I’m glad you spoke out, because what you say is important.
Using Popa’s example, you being vegetarian won’t be good for cholent recipes. However, it’s always important to face the community issues instead of running from them. Vegetarians can explain what is wrong with the whole meat eating process. Perhaps if we listened to those we turned away, we would know what we could do to fix ourselves a create a better society.
I’m sorry that you saw the dark side of religion. Maybe one day you’ll be able to see the beauty our religion has to offer. If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that darkness is everywhere. Horrible people, idiots, and passivity is common no matter the race, religion, or belief. The halo we place around our religion doesn’t stand up to reality, and that can be a deal breaker for many. Try looking past the darkness, and see the goodness in the world. It’s there. It’s in religion. In society. And it’s in Judiasm as well. Once I left my past behind, I was able to see so many modern principles of morality, was already written into our religious code thousands of years ago.
For everyone else here, listen to her voice. Because if we were doing everything right, her voice might still be pro religion, and not OTD.November 6, 2013 7:47 pm at 7:47 pm #986417November 6, 2013 8:52 pm at 8:52 pm #986418
Would you really ask a law school dropout how to run a law school? Sure, it would be worthwhile to ask what bothered him that he wanted to leave, but would you really care for his recommendations?November 6, 2013 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #986419
Again, a bad analogy. This isn’t the same as asking someone how to RUN a school, or how to BE a mechanech, but like with any good school, getting feedback about what might have made the experience better is certainly helpful. Of course I wouldn’t ask a law school dropout how to run the place, but I definitely would ask him or her why they felt they had such a bad experience that it induced them to leave.November 6, 2013 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #986420gavra_at_workParticipant
Would you really ask a law school dropout how to run a law school? Sure, it would be worthwhile to ask what bothered him that he wanted to leave, but would you really care for his recommendations?
PBA: It depends on your goal. If your only goal is to graduate the best lawyers, then no, there is no reason to ask the dropouts. But if your goal is to make sure that everyone who enters the system graduates, then yes, you would want their suggestions so that you can move towards that goal.
If your goal is both, you may be “Nimtza Korachas M’Kan UM’Kan”.November 6, 2013 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #986421
Thanks:) I was wondering if my brief return to life would be noticed. ThankNovember 6, 2013 9:49 pm at 9:49 pm #986422
Sorry, my post got cut off. Maybe I shouldn’t try polishing a Menorah while on my laptop. I’m a little too excited for Chanuka though.
Popa- We’re talking about a law school with a huge drop out rate. At this point all they have demonstrated is that they don’t know how to stop the dropouts. And these are the children of graduates too. Maybe it’s time to start listening to our dropouts.
I’m registering my opinion as a dropout who returned. And I agree with her words. I’ll add that perhaps we need to work on our Bein Adam Lchaveroh Mitzvos, and stop focusing on how others are doing on their Bein Adom L’Makom.November 6, 2013 9:50 pm at 9:50 pm #986423RainusParticipant
Is OTD: On The Derech or Off The Derech?November 6, 2013 9:54 pm at 9:54 pm #986424November 6, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm #986425
Thanks DY for bumping that thread. It has become very relevant very fast.
The point I have been unsuccessfully making is that even though talking to the people who leave may give us good insight into what the shortcomings are, there are also serious caveats that need to be included.
Included in that is the fact that the people who leave have all sorts of dynamics going on inside their heads to justify why they left post-hoc. The reasons they say may not be the real reasons they left, and the perceptions they claim may not have really been perceived.
Include in this the fact that people who are so unhappy with their life that they make huge upheavals and abandon their former social circles and family are highly likely to have all sorts of issues.
Moreover, even if their observations are relevant and helpful, there is no reason why their recommendations for change are at all relevant or helpful. They don’t have any special insight in what might make it better, and certainly don’t have any insight in how to balance their concern against all sorts of counterbalancing concerns.
Because of that, I don’t find the information from OTD people particularly useful. And I don’t find their recommendations worth listening to at all.November 6, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm #986426zahavasdadParticipant
OTDers are willing to state things publically that people tend to whisper. You think things like too many Chumras only bother OTDers?
They bother people who are frum too and they talk about it quietly.
OTDers complain about Chinuch, we have all heard the whispers about the lousy chinuch.
You can moan and groan about people going OTD , or you can do something , and something is listening to Chizuk from them. They do have real criticms, some of it of course is sour grapes, but not all of it is and its not very hard to figure out which is sour grapes and which is real and needed critism.November 6, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #986427
So their observations are “relevant and helpful” but you also “don’t find the information…particularly useful.” Hmmm. I don’t think I’m understanding.November 6, 2013 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm #986428
Popa- Many left because no-one listened. Without an outlet for their fears, doubts, and yes anger, they left. Even in the most angry, crazy, far- fetched rant though, there tends to be even a slight grain of truth about our community. Even just for that it’s worthy to listen to. Because we do have problems, and we do tend to ignore them.
That being said, it’s true that the advice given is questionable. How we should change, is something that will probably happen only within our community. It is where we change that we need to listen to OTD for.
But you never know. That’s why I listen to everyone, no matter where they’re holding in life. Everyone has something to add, and I don’t want to miss it because I’m blinded by their defaults.November 6, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm #986429
Am I getting that right Popa btw?
From what you’ve said, I gather that you see how OTD can help point out our problems, but not how to fix them.November 6, 2013 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm #986430
Someone remind me of the gemara term for “Believe my claim that somewhat implicates me, because otherwise I could’ve kept quiet and no one would’ve known.”… It’s been a while and the name for that claim escapes me, but this whole conversation reminds me of that a bit. Anyone?November 6, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm #986431
Let me rephrase my earlier post, because WIY apparently didn’t get it, and my response to him is still, as of this posting, is still in moderation limbo.
The OP no longer values the same things which I do. I will not change my values out of fear of my kids going of the d erech, ch”v. That would be changing or even abandoning the derech. Some of the things the OP wishes parents would compromise on are completely against Halacha.
I’d be more than happy to consider anyone’s suggestions on how to make my values more palatable, and how to keep them on the derech. When you tell me, though, that you don’t like my derech, I stop listening.November 7, 2013 1:12 am at 1:12 am #986432
To everyone who read my post and/or responded, I thank you for taking the time to consider what I have to say, whether you agree with me or not. I was at work all day and didn’t have a chance to revisit the thread until now.
To those of you who asked in various forms, I did not go OTD because my mother was too strict. However I do think that the way she reacted pushed me further away much faster. At the time, I felt that my choices were Everything or Nothing, and I chose Nothing. Later, when my anger faded, and I started thinking more seriously about what I actually believed, I made the decision that despite the very serious sacrifices involved (it was financially and socially advantageous to remain frum or at least fake it), religion of any kind was not for me. That’s the short version and I prefer not to go into it in more detail.
I think that many teens who don’t exactly fit the mold end up pushed into being completely not frum when all they really want is to experiment a little and find themselves or be slightly less frum than their parents. I am not suggesting that anyone compromise their beliefs. But which belief does wearing a leather rather than a velvet kippa violate? As Burnt Steak said: “When something is kept very rigid when it gets bumped it is more likely to shatter than if it was a bit looser.” That’s exactly it.November 7, 2013 1:12 am at 1:12 am #986433TheGoqParticipant
An OTD person has reasons why they left, reasons which may not make sense to a person who never had the urge to leave we each have our own experience in this life that is shaped by those around us, a person who had parents who loved them and helped them learn their way would most likely not understand the existence of a person who had an abusive parent it just does not compute, the reasons are valid to the one who left and they have no need nor desire to apologize for the path they have chosen.
Spirituality is a wonderful thing, having faith in hashem is a wonderful thing but organized religion just doesnt work for everyone.November 7, 2013 1:23 am at 1:23 am #986434
Kneedeep, you pointed out that children from less restrictive communities go OTD at higher rates. That is true, largely because culturally many left wing Modern Orthodox communities have a lot in common with the non Jewish world – not just superficially but in terms of what they value and focus on in their lives. I can certainly think of a few Modern Orthodox communities where the focus is on the “modern” rather than on the “orthodox”.
I don’t think that allowing teenagers a little bit of understanding and flexibility pushes them into that category, especially when we’re talking about things that don’t actually break halacha.November 7, 2013 1:40 am at 1:40 am #986435
Leeba, some of the things you were talking about are against halacha.November 7, 2013 1:45 am at 1:45 am #986437
No. I was saying that.
1. Your experiences would be helpful, but I don’t believe that the information is reliable and unbiased.
2. The conclusions are not helpful.
Also, let me pose a counterpoint here, and zahavasdad can feel free to weigh in. Is there less of a problem of people going off the derech among the MO community? Right, so that kind of shows this analysis is worthless.November 7, 2013 1:57 am at 1:57 am #986438
FFG, I believe you’re thinking of “migu d’i bo’i shosak”, but I fail to see any relevance.November 7, 2013 2:10 am at 2:10 am #986439
[To the Moderators: Was this post deleted or lost? I can’t tell if it ever actually posted. I am new to the site, and I am not trying to violate your rules – I would appreciate a little understanding.]
Zahavasdad, thank you for your comment.
You said: “Everyone wants to stop OTD, Everyone is coming up with ideas on why OTD occurs and now someone comes on and tells you why they went OTD people attacked the messenger. OTD will continue to occur as long as the messenger is attacked instead of the message.”
I understand the resistance to wanting to hear feedback from OTD people/formerly frum/whatever you want to call people like me. The Orthodox world is attacked from every angle. People have a lot of pride in their communities and are resistant to criticism as well as naturally suspicious of someone they see as a traitor.
You can believe this or not, but I am sharing my viewpoints out of affection for the frum world. I live and work primarily in the non frum, non Jewish world now and it is a very cold and cutthroat place. In the frum world, people are largely kind and look out for each other. So much so that it’s a cliche in New York that non Jewish people keep a kippa in their glovebox in case their car breaks down so they can put it on and a frum Jew will pull over and help them.
Please think of my comments the way a company would think of an employee exit interview – valuable feedback taken with a grain of salt due to possible biases – that may genuinely help their organization improve in the long run.
When I started reading articles and books about the “OTD phenomenon” it amazed me and disappointed me to see that the majority of the blame was put on OTD people. That we must be emotionally or psychologically damaged. To admit otherwise would be to admit that there may be something about the frum community that is less than perfect.
Let me posit this: If your religiosity is dependent on the idea that everything about the frum community is perfect, then how strong can your faith possibly be? The true and the good can withstand criticism.November 7, 2013 2:17 am at 2:17 am #986440
To DaasYochid: Which ones?November 7, 2013 3:12 am at 3:12 am #986441
The most obvious was in the other thread – holding hands. I also assume that the non-Jewish music and movies you refer to are not Beethoven and nature films.November 7, 2013 3:38 am at 3:38 am #986442Anonymous1000Participant
Leeba- Do you believe in Hashem and the Torah? If yes, you aught to keep the Torah regardless of what other people have done. Maybe it is harder for you but logic would dictate you should try. If you don’t believe then perhaps that’s the reason you remain off?November 7, 2013 3:45 am at 3:45 am #986443Anonymous1000Participant
“hats and listening to non Jewish music” superficial things?
If everyone in your community dresses one way and you decide to do something different there is a significant reason. It is well known even amongst goyim that how you dress affects you. Hence the saying “dress for success” and the like.
It is also widely accepted that music has an impact on our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, performance, moods etc.
btw- there are halachos regarding tochacha if doing so will not be effective then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. So I am not arguing with that. I am just pointing out that maybe the approach is wrong but the message is true.November 7, 2013 3:50 am at 3:50 am #986444rebdonielMember
I appreciate Leeba’s presence here. I think she can offer insights into how we can do things differently, so as to learn what caused her to go off, and to learn what not to do to boost retention rates.
- The topic ‘Perspective From OTD’ is closed to new replies.