State of the MO communtiy
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- This topic has 104 replies, 33 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 9 months ago by n0mesorah.
August 20, 2020 4:15 pm at 4:15 pm #1894199mw13Participant
R’ Yoel Schonfeld, rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, recently wrote a heartfelt opinion piece for the Queens Jewish Link title “Cancel Culture Come to Orthodoxy”. Although you’ll have to look at the article for all the details, his primary message is that a lack of engagement and enthusiasm among the younger generation of the MO communities may be a danger to the continued existence of these communities.
Analyzing the situation very much as an outsider, here is a list of what I see as possible reasons for this lack of engagement and enthusiasm:
1) Just as “brain drain” keeps a poor country poor when all the educated people leave to look for opportunities, it seems to me that the MO communities may be suffering from an enthusiasm drain. The most spiritually inspired MO members are likely to, depending on the nature of their inspiration, either “flip out” and identify with the chareidi/black hat world, or make aliyah to join the Dati Leumi. The suction of these most enthusiastic members out of the MO mainstream then prevents them from acting as seeds of inspiration to the rest of the community, exacerbating the process.
2) Since the MO are much more connected to the secular world, they are much more likely to be buffeted by its winds. As R’ Schonfeld points out, it’s not very easy to go through several years in a liberal college campus and remain an ardent Zionsist. The same can be said for many aspects of being a religious Jew. Additionally, the fact that many MO see themselves as very much being a part of the broader world means that they have someplace where they feel that they belong even if they leave their religious community, which a wavering member of the chareid/black hat community would not have.August 20, 2020 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #1894303n0mesorahParticipant
‘Lack of enagement and enthusiasm among the younger generation’ is true of most jewish communities in this country. Could be it is true across the country, not only by yidden. Look at the this presidential race, as well as the last one. I have a hunch, that it is a characteristic of the Boomers to never relinquish the steering wheel.August 20, 2020 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #1894322FrumWhereParticipant
From your brief description of the article by Rabbi Schonfeld, it sounds like this “loss” to the MO community is a gain for the Jews, since the chareidi Torah-adherents are sucking away the talent in the MO community. If so, it’s wonderful and celebratable, and we can stop crying about it and move on with more important and interesting thingsAugust 20, 2020 8:40 pm at 8:40 pm #1894339
The decline of the YI movement is a factor. I think the void that was left after YB Soleveitchik isn’t being filled. Zionism without aliyah doesn’t make sense.August 20, 2020 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm #1894341ayidwhoistryingParticipant
Please give him the respect he deserves and call him Rav Yoshe BerAugust 20, 2020 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm #1894343
What 1 says makes a lot of senseAugust 20, 2020 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm #1894353
“The decline of the YI movement is a factor. ”
The prevailing attitude is that the YI movement today is more about politics and power than it is about Torah.August 20, 2020 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm #1894344
I suspect a large percentage of “missing” younger MO men and women are sadly eing lost to yiddeshkeit entirely than being “sucked” into the Chareidi velt.August 20, 2020 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #1894351
Well I can say that in my own MO community, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, all the MO shuls were packed every Shabbat until the shutdown. Young couples with small children have created a massive problem as the shuls do not have enough space to park all the strollers.
I heard one little old lady at a shul board meeting once say that we need to take the eruv down so that the women and small children would stay at home on Shabbat, solving both the space problems, but she was ignored.August 21, 2020 12:09 am at 12:09 am #1894361
“call him Rav Yoshe Ber”
To us MO folks he is simply, “The Rav”.August 21, 2020 7:50 am at 7:50 am #1894430
@CharlieHall, the Hebrew Institute is a open orthodox place, not MO.
MO community including RCA, YU and YI want no part of anything affiliated with Avi Weiss or his ilk.
PS Avi is Rabbi In Residence at the Hebrew institute.August 21, 2020 7:52 am at 7:52 am #1894435
The fact is the MO community is withering away. 20% of the YI shul are barely functioning or not functioning.
a bunch of MO shuls merged with Chabad, YU has declining enrollment and REITS hardly function, contrast that with Lakewood, Mir and Brisk that are bursting at the seams .
Coed Day Schools are closing up or merging and the average age at a YI is 75.August 21, 2020 9:04 am at 9:04 am #1894451akupermaParticipant
“State” of the MO community.
Given that they are already more diverse geographically than the hareidim, they should have no trouble migrating out of the fanatic (and increasingly hostile) blue states. The improvements in distance education and teleworking due to Covid19 will also help.August 21, 2020 9:38 am at 9:38 am #1894453
“I heard one little old lady at a shul board meeting once say that we need to take the eruv down so that the women and small children would stay at home on Shabbat, solving both the space problems, but she was ignored.“
Are MO people that cruel and selfish to cut off their nose to spite their face?
IAugust 21, 2020 9:40 am at 9:40 am #1894455
Obviously not if she was ignored 😊August 21, 2020 11:17 am at 11:17 am #1894461besalelParticipant
When MO was the only version of frumkeit that embraced higher education and a Baal Bayit lifestyle, many frum Jews would have no choice but to camp out beneath their tents. But now that such a large percentage of the haredi yeshivish world also embraces some from of higher education and a majority of “black hat” boys end up in the business world, MO has less to offer.
Additionally, the quality and capability of the MO/YI rabbonim is on a steep decline, in my view. With few exceptions, the Rabbi Yudins and Rabbi Schonfelds and Rabbi Lerners are being replaced by rabbis who are more akin to kiruv rabbis or political talking heads than poskim and talmidei chachomim. There is a serious religious leadership problem, which trickles down.August 21, 2020 11:27 am at 11:27 am #1894465
@commonsaychel – Hebrew Institute is not the only Synagogue in Riverdale. RJC (Rabbi Zirkind) is modern orthodox and bursting at the seams with young members. YIR (Rabbi Willig) is almost finished with their expansion project.
We might not be Brooklyn, but there is a thriving community here and conversation is friendly and generally doesn’t devolve to “my Judaism is bigger than your Judaism” type arguments.August 21, 2020 11:36 am at 11:36 am #1894467
@besalel: Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky, Rabbi Netanel Weiderblank, Rabbi Daniel Stein, Rabbi Dovid Zirkind, Rabbi Yitzi Genack.
That’s besides for the more senior poskim, Rav Hershel Shachter, Rav Mordechai Willig, Rav Mayer Twersky, Rav Eliakim Koenigaburg, Rav Michael Rosensweig and the rest of the RIETS faculty.August 21, 2020 11:52 am at 11:52 am #1894469
@shebbesonian, I am well aware of the shuls in Riverdale, I was addressing this to Charlie Hall and about the Hebrew Institute.
I can tell your that Riverdale is the exception rather then the norm, look at the number of MO shuls that closing or merging and the declining enrollment in YU and Mercaz Harav and the lack of space in Lakewood, Mir and Brisk.
PS most successful frum businessmen in the US are either black hat or Chasidish.August 21, 2020 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm #1894476yichusdikParticipant
As Charlie can attest, the RIverdale MO community also has the fast growing Riverdale Minyan, The bustling YI of North Riverdale, as well as a couple of diverse shtibelach, and the Whitehall minyan.
What sets it apart – from most communities, is that almost without exception, the entire community comes together on issues of community wide importance. On these there is little daylight between HIR and RJC and TRM and YI of North Riverdale. When it came to setting guidelines for the community during COVID, virtually every shul/community. delivered the collective guidance.
MO communities that aren’t riven by ideological battles, or, that can rise above them, will grow even stronger.
And all of those on the right who criticize them or their weaknesses certainly still seem ready to take their big cheques for their mosdos.August 21, 2020 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm #1894472rubinbParticipant
Wow are you guys off. The MO community is alive and flourishing. Anybody been the Five Towns, Teaneck, New Rochelle and a myriad of other places. Anyone walk through the wards of Columbia, NYU, Cornell and see doctors wearing yarmulkas? Those are all modern Orthodox. Partners in almost every prestigious law firm and in almost every investment house are products of YU or similar modern orthodox educational programs. Sorry to tell you, yes there drop outs from the MO community but nowhere near as many as dropouts from Satmar and the rest of the Chassidshe world. Don’t know much about the Yeshivish dropouts, most of them become MO when they move to North Qoodmere and Cedarhurst. Why does anyone get pleasure by ripping the Modern Orthodox community?August 21, 2020 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm #1894474
Charlie Hall’s comment about strollers very much describes RJC if you have ever passed their building on a Shabbos morning. Maybe he also had Hebrew Institute in mind, but whether you count Hebrew Institute or not his comment is valid.
YU has lost enrollment to Touro, but that doesn’t mean they are no longer MO. Mercaz HaRav is a single yeshiva and isn’t MO.
I don’t know where you get the idea that most frum business men are black hat or chasidish. Do you mean most frum business business men in the diamond district? Most frum men you know of? I work with plenty of frum business men who are MO, chasidish, yeshivish black hat, [fill in your label here] and don’t see any lack of MO frum business men who are koveia itim just like their yeshivish counterparts and they work successfully side by side despite having different world views.August 21, 2020 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm #1894484smerelParticipant
I used to be semi MO
I left for two reasons
(1) Difficulty in finding a shul or community that really lived up to some of the MO ideals I was looking for. Not saying they don’t exist. Just saying that I couldn’t find them in my area.
(2)They were on the wrong side of the Slifkin issue.
I’m not even debating the actual issue itself It is just that the incredible Emunah Peshuta towards what scientists say and the quick and easy dismissiveness towards what LeHavdil Chazal said, which is very prevalent in many segments of the MO, seems to be a major factor in their lack of ability to keep an enthusiasm for Torah. In my case it caused me to leave,August 21, 2020 3:09 pm at 3:09 pm #1894489PaperBridgeParticipant
Smerel’s perspective is fascinating to me. The MO community always seemed to me on the wrong side of Zionism and a host of other issues, especially communal ones having to do with preservation of mesora, Yiddish language, and the prioritization of limud hatorah over professional pursuits. The one thing I am sure they were right about is the Slifkin issue.August 21, 2020 3:09 pm at 3:09 pm #1894491
@rubinb, other then those 5 mentioned place MO is dying out, and even in the 5 towns there has been a hard shift to the right in the past 25 years, fyi about half of the frum doctors are yeshivish, the fact is MO communities are shrinking and black hat and chasidish are growing by leaps and bounds, look at Staten Island for example the frum community was slowly diminishing very year until the chasidim came in the frum population shot up.August 21, 2020 3:09 pm at 3:09 pm #1894495
rubinb it’s still alive but you can’t deny a lot of their kids flipped out and became yeshivish. It’s definitely on the decline.August 21, 2020 3:54 pm at 3:54 pm #1894536
@shebbesonian,YU lost ground to Turo because Touro made a concerted effort to attract Yeshivish and Chasidish.
I wrote Successful Businessmen meaning worth in the multi Millions or Billions not a partner in a law firm,
Ruby Shroen -Yeshivish
David Lichenstein -Yeshivish
Benzion Freshwater- London Chasidish
Ellish Englander -Chadish
Shlomo Rechnitz- Yeshivish
Ralph Hertzka -Yeshivish
Yosell Tabak- Chasdish
Shlomo Werdiger- Gur Chosid
Harry Klein -Chasidish
Hershal Schreiber _Chasidish
Leizer Kestenbaum -Chasidish
Barry Ziskind and Karfunkel brothers- Yeshivish
Shimmy Glick- Yeshivish
Ruven Dressler- Yeshivish
Hershy Freidman- Yeshivish,
Can You match a similar list of MO people in that net worth?August 21, 2020 4:12 pm at 4:12 pm #1894540smerelParticipant
I’m not going to debate this issue but to be clear as I said in my initial comment the UNDERLYING issue of the incredible Emunah Peshuta towards what scientists say and the quick and easy dismissiveness towards what LeHavdil Chazal said,turned me off from MO a lot more than most of the actual positions they took on this question.August 21, 2020 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #1894541
Do you think that would have been a thought in a ultra orthodox shul?August 21, 2020 4:27 pm at 4:27 pm #1894544
Um… well… you are kinda putting me on the spot here. I’m kind of an old lady and I’ve said it many times but never at a board meeting. Our shul is very small, the mother’s bring strollers in and fill the whole Lobby and block the doors while the kids usually end up running around and screaming in and out of the main rooms while the moms talk to each other in the hallways. I will not say this happens in any other shul outside of ours but I have never been an advocate for bringing children in unless they will be sitting with their father or in an organized group made for them. The running around slamming doors and yelling is very distracting and unfair. Let them come at the end for some cake and cookiesAugust 21, 2020 4:32 pm at 4:32 pm #1894547
Having said that, how many women go to shul in the ultra-orthodox community?August 21, 2020 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1894550
You think I like the kids running around?
But to say (you should be healthy for many years to come) that we have to sacrifice old people with canes and wheelchairs so that women shouldn’t come to shul with their babies is a little odd whereas there are countless other ideas where everyone can be happy (a babysitting service built into the membership perhaps where it benefits syag that she can daven properly and it benefits shprintze where she can daven properly and have the kids off her hands to boot
I’m not sure if your shul constantly have guests but one of the shuls in my community (Yeshivish/Modern) does this and it seems like it works
Bear in mind an Eruv makes a community most of the time (except for Brooklyn, but that’s an exception)August 21, 2020 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #1894551
“Having said that, how many women go to shul in the ultra-orthodox community?“
I don’t know, I don’t count (partially because I don’t look through the mechitza)
But during my shul’s Kiddush (pre-Covid-19) there we’re at least 10 and that was the weekly Kiddush, a bar-mitzvah is obviously higherAugust 21, 2020 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #1894553
@commonsaychel: there were plenty of MO in Touro when I was there who would have otherwise gone to YU.
Yes, I can list off several MO businessmen in that tax bracket and no, I will not post their names online, but if you search enough on public filings you can find some too.August 21, 2020 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #1894556anonymous JewParticipant
Commonsaychel, you throw around numbers and percentages but provide no sources. Where do you get them from?August 21, 2020 6:33 pm at 6:33 pm #1894565
Women don’t have to go to shulAugust 22, 2020 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #1894569jdbParticipant
I simply want to say to the comments, think before you write. Their loss is our gain? We are one community! We are one family! These words make me sick.
RIETS is falling apart? Have you been to the YU Beis? I’m not MO, but there are guys learning seriously until all hours of the night. Top learners. There are world class talmiday chachamim and poskim. Don’t speak from the outside, until you have walked he proverbial mile.
This issue is one we can raise within our own world. How many Baal habatim that wear hats on shabbos do not put on tefillin every day during the week? How many local shteibels can hardly make a minyan during the week? Sure, Shomrei Shabbos is booming, but we know we are not fully accounted for.
We all live in glass houses. We all need to stop throwing rocks, and start doing yeshiva! It’s Elul! Elul!August 22, 2020 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm #1894582Accuracy and HonestyParticipant
Fact: Modern Orthodoxy is dying. And just like all splinters of authentic Judaism (Tzidukim, Baitusim, Christians, and the like) whose approach to Torah is not in line with mesorah and Gedolei Torah, Modern Orthodoxy will die out as well or simply fall off the Jewish map. It’s just a matter of time. Torah lives in the mesora. The mesora is with the Yeshivas.August 22, 2020 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm #1894650Grey matterParticipant
I think this is a worthy conversation. But it is very sad to see so much bickering and bashing. Particularly coming out of Av and into Elul.August 22, 2020 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm #1894661
1: “Women don’t have to go to shul”
Nor do they “have to” do a lot of other things. At the same time, there a lot of things men do have to do, but they don’t . During the past 6 months, in many frum households,, the women have held the families together, many taking on the additional role of virtual educators, in addition to their other 24×7 responsibilities. For some, not having the option to go to shul on Shabbos and the coming yom tovim is a real loss that is deeply felt.August 22, 2020 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm #1894662
Technically that’s true but they are for parshas zachor etc and family simchasAugust 22, 2020 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm #1894675
Coffee- have no fear, i never voiced it as a suggestion, just a gripe. And you are right, i wouldn’t sacrafice elderly but in this shul people used canes on shabbos so it never ocurred to me.
Side point, the eruv went up only two decades ago and not everyone holds of it (we don’t use it). My complaints are dated from then, i have not been to shul in over 20 years. And while i wouldn’t sacrafice elders for more lobby space, i do see a lot of people relying on the eruv for things not permissable. It is the desecration of shabbos that really drives me away from eruvs, as many/most are not well versed in the halachos. The stroller thing is just an annoying side point.August 23, 2020 12:19 am at 12:19 am #1894681
” It is the desecration of shabbos that really drives me away from eruvs”
Eruvim are mutar. They PREVENT shabbat desecration. And we pasken leniently as eruv is entirely a rabbinic innovation (admittedly from three thousand years ago). There is an entire tractate in the Oral Torah about it — in fact we are learning it now in Daf Yomi! (This will be the third time for me. 🙂 )August 23, 2020 12:20 am at 12:20 am #1894677
@anonymous Jew, what numbers are you questioning? I got the data directly from the sources.
If you tell me what comment your referring to I will be glad to give you the data.August 23, 2020 12:20 am at 12:20 am #1894679
“As Charlie can attest”
I do so attest. We indeed do work together; the idea that other shuls don’t want to have anything to do with the Hebrew Institute is a statement from someone who doesn’t know what they are talking aobut.August 23, 2020 12:21 am at 12:21 am #1894680
“Charlie Hall’s comment about strollers very much describes RJC if you have ever passed their building on a Shabbos morning. ”
Absolutely! Also Riverdale Minyan and both Young Israels.August 23, 2020 12:21 am at 12:21 am #1894683
“Women don’t have to go to shul”
Actually, men don’t have to, either. I did not attend a minyan between March 13 and August 8 and still only have gone to outdoor minyanim. I bought a shofar a week ago to learn how to blow for myself, my wife, and neighbors because we are not going to be going to shul on Rosh HaShanah. (My wife was actually in tears yesterday bout not being able to go to Rosh HaShanah services this year.) 🙁 🙁August 23, 2020 12:33 am at 12:33 am #1894691
Charlie – people who have not learned the halachos well are not always aware of what can and can’t be carried. It’s not a free pass. People will bring things from ace to place that are not shabbos related, and ball games on grassy fields (in sports clothes) is a spiritual probl eff m at best. There were people carrying muktza in the stroller figuring it was okay if they don’t touch it. It’s not so simple of an issue.August 23, 2020 12:34 am at 12:34 am #1894690MistykinsParticipant
“Women don’t have to go to shul”
True, but I‘m guessing the ones that go are less likely to חַס וְשָׁלוֹם have children off the derech.August 23, 2020 12:51 am at 12:51 am #1894695
Charlie; Is the old Salanter Yeshiva from Webster Avenue that moved to Riverdale 20+ years ago or thereabouts still operating and if so, would it come under the “MO” nomenclature??
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