Summer Plans for Bochrim

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  • #602621
    chevraman
    Participant

    Dear Readers:

    At this time of year, many of us begin to plan how our teenage sons will spend their bein hazmanim during the summer. Over the past decade or two, due to scheduling of the zmanim, traditional camp, where many of us spent our summers in a contained and productive environment and got our first taste of being mashpia on those younger than us, is no longer an option. Hence bochrim who want to chill a bit have been forced to either spend a fortune in a learning camp or to travel to various destinations throughout the fruited plains, and take in the scenery which our beautiful country has to offer. Many bochrim combine the adventure with a kiruv bent, by having a far-out community host

    them, and they do some learning with its constituents.

    This may seem at first glance, to be a great opportunity, to combine vacationing with a wonderful spiritual goal. However, parents and

    rabbeim, I feel compelled to warn you of the terrible dangers that

    these oddysseys can be, if not thouroghly looked into and planned in advance, regardless who the sponsoring organization is.

    Last summer I had a family simcha in Miami Beach. During the simcha four 18-19yr old bochrum from top Yeshivos walked in. These bochrim were truly top boys and big masmidim. I asked them what they were doing there? They told me that they were sent to a nearby community for 3 weeks to be mechazek the ballai battim, by helping make the minyanim and by learning with them for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. I asked where they were staying, and they told me in the mansion of the president of the shul, which of course, had it’s own outdoor pool. I asked what they did the rest of the long day, and they told me that they rented a red convertible and they spent their days touring the state. Frankly, I was agahst!

    I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to know that in FL in the hot humid summer weather, women don’t walk in the streets dressed. I wonder if in the home they were staying in, the females were dressed. I shudder to think of the yerida these pure neshamos had from those few weeks. Afterall, even good boys have a yetzer horoh, and a passionate one at that. What were their parents, and roshei yeshivah thinking? or were they?

    Folks, I am not advocating locking up our boys inside our homes, and yes, there is pritzus wherever you venture. However, to allow our boys to go into the depth of tumah with practically nowhere to turn is spiritual homocide. All those years of toil in Torah can be eraticated in a mere few weeks! rachmana Liltzlan

    I plead with all of you, please consider the reality of any summer

    plans very thoroughly and use your seichel, before agreeing to allow your sons to go to a particular destination. Don’t be blindfolded by the sponsor or the fact that it will be a kiruv trip. Our children come first.

    Sincerely

    Yaakov

    #863224

    In the future you might want to write a smaller post in regard to your valid concern and maybe later add your whole long post. I would think it would garner a lot more attention. I completely agree with you and even saw the demise of great bochurim starting with such types of trips etc. They have admitted that it brought them down. Thank You

    #863225
    farrocks
    Member

    Chevraman: Well said.

    #863226
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Ill assume you live in the NYC area.

    One can hop on the Subway in NYC and go to some great places like Times Square , Maybe hop on the Subway and catch some rays at the Beach at Coney Island

    And Lakewood is not far from the Jersey Shore.

    The point is wherever you are there is tumah, You can either “protect” your sons from seeing this and he will see it later, or you can teach him how to deal with it

    #863227
    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    TL;DR.

    #863228
    mytake
    Member

    “These bochrim were truly top boys and big masmidim.”

    Come on.

    #863229
    mytake
    Member

    “The point is wherever you are there is tumah, You can either “protect” your sons from seeing this and he will see it later, or you can teach him how to deal with it”

    And how exactly are they supposed to “deal with it”?

    #863230
    Naysberg
    Member

    It’s much worse in Florida (especially summers) than almost anywhere else.

    #863231
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    It sounds like these guys were on a SEED program or something similar. I did that for 4 summers or so. It’s a good way for a yeshiva guy to spend his summer, and–depending on the program–you usually end up learning a lot more than otherwise. (5-6 hours a day).

    It sounds like your complaint is that there should not be summer SEED programs in miami, because it is hotter outside in miami than it is in Los angeles or in New Jersey.

    I’m unconvinced. I don’t imagine the pritzus in miami in the summer is much different than in Denver or Phoenix or Baltimore, or Philadelphia or wherever.

    #863232
    chevraman
    Participant

    I think some of you are just missing the point. Just because there is pritzus almost everywhere, doesn’t mean we should be stupid. Although the particular episode happened in Miami, doesn’t mean it’s much better in LA or Phoenix. My point is, we as parents and mechanchim, have to use our sechel a bit and not throw our kids into the fire. We have to be diligent and really understand what the circumstances are going to be like wherever they go. Would any of u agree to have these boys go mixed swimming every day??? Just justify it by saying there is pritzus in the street of NY anyway!

    #863233
    147
    Participant

    I work in summer & let my firm pay for the airconditioning, and vacation during the fall or winter, when commercial aviation is cheaper, and I don’t have to put up with my skin rash for sweating in the awful summer humidity.

    #863234
    kfb
    Participant

    The mods must have deleted my post so ill be more appropriate. There’s nothing wrong with bochrim who learn in yeshiva all day to ride around in a convertable in Miami and learn with baal habatim! They need a break too, let them chill!

    #863235
    mom12
    Participant

    the chillers will always find where to chill and the serious learners know where the beis medrash is…

    and at that age the boys know what you want from them and do as they wish, I have both kinds in my family..

    I am always davening for them and thats the only thing we can do in regard to these boys..

    #863236
    chevraman
    Participant

    KFP: So if chilling means letting them do whatever they please, just let them spend a few days in Times Square, no need to shlep to Miami.

    #863237
    MorahRach
    Member

    These “boys” are 18-19 years old. They are learning all year bH for that. They do deserve some time to chill as kfb put it. Whether it is Miami, NYC, Baltimore whatever, unless you plan to lock them inside of a beis medrish they are going to be exposed to the outside world. A few days/weeks in day light around (not mingling) with those who are not bochrim won’t ruin all that they have accomplished. Don’t let fear of failure as a parent suffocate your kids they are much more likely to go otd that way we all know that.

    #863238
    writersoul
    Member

    Why do yeshiva bochurim assume that they can be mechazek the balebatim (who are undoubtedly much older than them) and can teach them how to learn? Seems a bit gaavadig unless I’m just not getting the concept.

    I’ve known people who went on SEED programs (girls) but those were chaperoned and were meant for the kids in the communities.

    #863239
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Why do yeshiva bochurim assume that they can be mechazek the balebatim (who are undoubtedly much older than them) and can teach them how to learn? Seems a bit gaavadig unless I’m just not getting the concept.

    I’ll fix your post.

    You meant to say: “Why does torah umesorah which runs SEED assume that yeshiva bochurim can be mechazek baal habatim, and teach them how to learn? Apparently, they know what is going in the world, and know that it is true.

    What in blazes are you talking about?

    #863240
    writersoul
    Member

    Cool it, pba. I’m asking a simple question here— what is the point of these trips?

    I’m looking for a nice, friendly response to a person who means no disrespect and seeks only an answer, seeing as I don’t know much about this. I was looking for a clarification.

    Apparently, I’m in the wrong place.

    And by the way, the girls’ trips I mentioned are chaperoned. If these boys are just doing what they want in their free time, then they probably aren’t chaperoned.

    If they are coming back from these trips down a level in yiddishkeit, then maybe the balabatim, who made the time for learning an hour in the morning and an hour at night even during an exhausting day at work, should be mechazek THEM.

    #863241
    LIVEandLEARN
    Member

    “I wonder if in the home they were staying in, the females were dressed.”

    From living in Miami i can honestly tell you all that it’s not like FL in the summer is buzzing. But i do agree with your premise. But the fact that schools in NY dont let girls come down, even with their families is not because it’s really the miami community. To be truthful problems begin when teenagers come from NY for winter vacation or peasach and they get into trouble with themselves. And for the 1/2 being dressed… us Miami frum people are just as tznius as everyone else.. we’re just out of town. Of course goyim here may cause the problem that you’re referring to. I just feel like in general, there is a stigma to where I live. Like because i’m from Miami i may not be as tznuus or as frum because “it’s hot”. So what? For us halacha is halacha and we strive to follow it just as much as everyone else.

    #863242
    Flatbush Guy
    Member

    I could not agree more with the original poster. Bochurim who have been elavated during a zman in yeshiva, have such a ‘Prikas ul’ during their one month vacation. Davening at a respectable time?? Forget about it. Learning?? What is that??

    If you think I am making this up, think again. It happened to me 2 summers ago. I really wanted to attend camp, as I had done for a number of summers and really wanted to be a counselor. However, the Elul zman that year was starting on August 10th and it was impossible for me to get a job. I was so devastated. I always looked forward to camp during the year, and it really brought out the best in me. I had an opportunity to spend a summer without seeing any chilul shabbos. It was an environment of Kedusha in the highest form. However, I could not get a job and leave two weeks left to the second half. That summer, my friends and I floated. We davened at all hours, sometimes even beyichidus. We went up to Toronto for a few days. Then we spent a few days in bungalows of our friends, barbecuing each night. As I look back, I am disgusted at myself.

    BUT THIS HAPPENS TO ALL BOCHURIM THAT ARE NOT IN A CAMP ENVIRONMENT. Even with SEED, there are bochurim floating all over with rented cars, running around as if they are experiencing GAN EDEN. They come back saying that it was great, and that they had a great time. All I hear is about the mansion they stayed in, and the convertible that they drove. And of course no mention of the learning with the baal habatim or the lives they claim were touched by their presence.

    What about becoming counselors?? I think that this is the best solution to avoid the pritzus, while at the same time giving of yourself to todays youth who really need us.

    #863243
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Cool it, pba. I’m asking a simple question here— what is the point of these trips?

    I’m looking for a nice, friendly response to a person who means no disrespect and seeks only an answer, seeing as I don’t know much about this. I was looking for a clarification.

    Oh. I’m sorry. I thought it was a bit accusatory. And considering I was being accused of gaava for spending my summers learning with people for free instead of just going on vacation; and being told to assume that I knew less than the am haaratzim who had never barely opened a gemara in 30 years if ever, while I was killing myself over it 60 hours a week for a decade; I sort of responded in kind.

    #863244
    cinderella
    Member

    Writersoul- I run a branch of a well known kiruv oganization in New York. I have the opportunity to meet and learn with many completely irreligious Jewish children. One thing I have have noticed is how the high school age girls in my program are able to teach the parents of the secular girls so much.

    The non-frum adults know as little as their children, so it’s really not hard to teach them things. Even by just dressing tzniusdig in front of them, or teaching them how to daven and make brachos, you are making a huge difference in their world.

    #863245
    writersoul
    Member

    I’m not talking about the non-frum kids or their parents. That I can understand. In fact, I hope to be able to go on a kiruv trip in my school next year (if I can raise the money).

    I’m talking about the FRUM community. And pba, I DO think it’s gaava to assume that these balabatim are amaratzim just because they’re not in kollel. Just the fact that they’re going to these learning sessions 2 hours a day, as said in the OP, on top of their very busy schedules makes that absolutely demeaning to working people.

    And you haven’t answered my question, by the way.

    #863246
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    And pba, I DO think it’s gaava to assume that these balabatim are amaratzim just because they’re not in kollel. Just the fact that they’re going to these learning sessions 2 hours a day, as said in the OP, on top of their very busy schedules makes that absolutely demeaning to working people.

    And you haven’t answered my question, by the way.

    I don’t assume they are am haaratzim. I know they are. I have been on these programs, remember?

    Besides, you accused me of gaava before that, just for having gone on Torah Umesorah’s SEED programs!

    What other question did you want me to answer?

    #863247
    writersoul
    Member

    pba: No, I didn’t accuse you of gaava. I simply didn’t understand what these things are about, and that was my question: what is it, and what do you do? Nice and simple.

    But either way all you’re doing is making generalizations right now. I kind of was also, I know, and I apologize. However, what you said just now is a disservice to all of the balabatim who make it their business to learn as much as they can in addition to their busy work schedules. They are not all amaratzim.

    And I don’t know where you did your program, but it isn’t fair to call them amaratzim unless they fit under the descriptions of the tannaim who said that, among other things, an am haaretz is someone who doesn’t put on tefillin or have a mezuzah, doesn’t teach his children Torah, etc. It doesn’t mean “doesn’t learn in kollel.”

    #863248
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Ok, so what is your question?

    #863249
    SayIDidIt™
    Participant

    As Flatbush Guy said

    I really wanted to attend camp, as I had done for a number of summers and really wanted to be a counselor. However, the Elul zman that year was starting on August 10th and it was impossible for me to get a job. I was so devastated. I always looked forward to camp during the year, and it really brought out the best in me. I had an opportunity to spend a summer without seeing any chilul shabbos. It was an environment of Kedusha in the highest form. However, I could not get a job and leave two weeks left to the second half. That summer, my friends and I floated. We davened at all hours, sometimes even beyichidus. We went up to Toronto for a few days. Then we spent a few days in bungalows of our friends, barbecuing each night. As I look back, I am disgusted at myself.

    So camp and Yeshiva overlapped. So what should Bochurim do? Go on trips/programs like SEED etc.? No, can’t do that (even Flatbush Guy who did it was disgusted by what he did)

    So, should they go to camp/take the job and skip the first two weeks of Yeshhiva?? I can already hear the yelling and screaming from Roshei Yeshhivis, Rabbonim, Rabbeim, Parents, YWCR Posters and many others.

    So I ask you (including Flatbush Guy) what do you want Bochurim to do during the summer? Sit in the Beis Medresh all day? They need a break the same way (or maybe even more then) a buissness man needs a break.

    #863250
    Toi
    Participant

    Any baal habbus who is actively participating in his communities seed program is a self-proclaimed am ha’aretz.

    #863252
    BTGuy
    Participant

    Hi chevraman.

    Awesome post.

    Years ago I heard a great Rosh warn the boys about the challenges of being on break during summer. He said, “Hot summers come and go, but Olam Habah is forever.”

    #863253
    The little I know
    Participant

    My understanding of SEED programs is that they are sent to plant an environment of Torah in a community that needs one. This involves kiruv, but also the setting of a positive example of Torah living. My issue, assuming that this is a SEED program, is that the project is to bring Torah and the environment of Kedusha, but can be exploited for other, non-Torah activity. I do not question the need to “chill”, but this can be accomplished in shorter spans of time. As for a full summer, the strong nucleus of learning and Avodas Hashem must remain intact. If this is shortchanged, there is ch”v risk of serious damage to the spiritual growth of the young man (or woman). This arrangement cannot lend to good outcome of being mashpia on others.

    If I send my son on a SEED program, I am not agreeable to his driving anywhere. Kiruv and vacation are not synonymous (though I can think of ways they can overlap).

    #863254
    far east
    Member

    Flatbush guy- I get that “chilling” over the summer does’nt work for you, however some people do need it. For a lot of kids theres nothing wrong with traveling in the summer, having daily BBQ’s for a few weeks, and even davening beyichidus once a while (although that one is obviously not preferable it does happen sometimes when your on trips or cant find a minyan) Its part of growing up if you ask me. Not everyone wants to go to camp, personally i hated camp when i was teenager and enjoyed doing the “terrible” things you just mentioned

    #863255
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I do not question the need to “chill”, but this can be accomplished in shorter spans of time. As for a full summer, the strong nucleus of learning and Avodas Hashem must remain intact.

    A full summer?

    Just how long do you think a yeshiva summer is?

    #863257
    Flatbush Guy
    Member

    Far East,

    Actually, I do enjoy “chilling.” However, I believe that yeshivos should work out their bein hazmanim that their talmidim could attend camps as counselors. For example, 2 years ago, had yeshiva ended on shiva assur b’tamuz, there would have been an opportunity for me to be a counselor for the first half of the summer and then have less than 2 weeks until yeshiva starts again. Instead, I had about 5 weeks off which precluded me from attending camp at all.

    Camps need Bnei Torah to be couselors. Todays children need someone to whom they can relate, and one that can have a positive influence on their lives. The best counselors are the ones that are Bnei Torah, that all the campers can say “Look at my counselor, he is so geshmak and also is a Ben Torah. I want to be like him.” I really believe this. All other programs are nice, but in todays generation, it is imperative for the Bnei Torah to be counselors. This in effect would provide a clean and kosher structured environment for them as well, and a place where they too can grow in learning how to deal with children.

    #863259
    chevraman
    Participant

    Folks: Once again, why do we clump the need for a break aka “vacation” with tumah and prikas ol? Traveling is fine. As a matter of fact my teens drove to Yellowstone and had an awesome experience. But they did travel together with a group, so they always had minyanim. When you go with a good chaburah, it is also a shmirah, that you don’t do things you may normaly fall prey to. Are there people inappropriatly dressed in Yellowstone or any rest area they may stop at? You bet! But it aint no different on Ocean Pkwy. They can still invoke their bechirah, and it’s not glaring at them everywhere they go. Most of the time the boys were by themselves, and there was where to divert their attention. In FL, besides the fact that it’s pervasive, the avirah is one of lewdness. Perhaps the visiting population, beaches, attractions & hotels lend to that atmosphere.

    Those who live there hopefully have learned to deal with it. You cannot compare that to folks who go down to visit and are already on a semi prikas ol mode. It’s very dangerous. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientest to figure it out.

    #863260
    mytake
    Member

    chevraman

    Great post, thank you! I was beginning to think that I’m the only one who thinks like this and either me or the rest of the world is crazy…

    #863262
    uneeq
    Member

    writersoul: While not all balabatim are amaratzim, I highly doubt that PBA is lying about the balabatim he met on his SEED program trips. After all, he was sent to a specific places that needed chizuk, no

    Last I checked, there’s no SEED program in brooklyn, monsey, lakewood, and other developed communities where normal balabatim are also b’nei torah.

    #863263
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There is no seed program in Brooklyn, because there arent many PEOPLE in Brooklyn in the Summer

    #863264
    uneeq
    Member

    zahavasdad: I argue your facts as I lived in Brooklyn last summer. One has only to check up news stories about Leiby Kletzky to find out that over 5,000 people helped search for him. Thats quite a high number of volunteers for an empty city. Also you ignored Lakewood and Monsey.

    #863265
    far east
    Member

    Flatbush guy- different people chill in different ways. Something you find to be relaxing may not be the same as someone else

    I agree with you that its beneficial for yeshiva bochurim to be camp counslers, and the yeshivas should accomadate that. (I had a freind who once actually got permission to leave summer zman early to go be a counsler) but not everyone has the desire to be a counsler in camp and they can do other stuff to relax such as going on trips, BBQing, going to ballgames….

    #863266
    LIVEandLEARN
    Member

    This thread is so irking. Everyone can come to my house in miami and you can see how frum and normal we are.

    #863267
    writersoul
    Member

    uneeq: Aren’t many of these communities kiruv/new communities anyway? In that case the population can be split into the kiruv people (who most probably are NOT amaratzim) and the kiruvees, for lack of a better word (who I can see more as pba’s definition of an am haaretz, though that’s unfair as what can be expected of them at an early stage?).

    Just because a person doesn’t live in the tri-state area doesn’t mean that he is potentially more likely to be an am haaretz.

    #863268
    chevraman
    Participant

    LiveandLearn: We have nothing against those living in Miami. Afterall Bnei Yisroel Lived in Mitzrayim the “armpit” of the world for 210 years. I also have family in Miami, and yes very normal indeed. But let’s say your kids vacationed in NYC by staying in a Times Square Hotel, and spent their day on 42nd St, would you be ok with that?

    That is the nisayon a New Yorker would have by roaming around FL, unhindered. You simply cannot compare living there and visiting especially when touring. You should know that better than all of us.

    #863269
    mexipal
    Participant

    chevraman,

    as a bachur that participated in a SEED program in FL last summer I can honestly say that the Pritzus was not nearly as bad as it’s made out to be. Don’t stay near the beach area, travel around in groups, and go with good guys. You’ll be fine. I honestly did not see much of a difference between Fl and NY in terms of pritzus levels. Stop overreacting,driving a convertible around is at worst a little childish.

    Another point. writersoul maybe you should ask the baalei batim that spend money to bring SEED to their communities. They definitely feel it’s worth it.

    #863270
    writersoul
    Member

    Look, honestly, the only reason why I posted here in the first place is because I wanted to know about this program. I haven’t the foggiest idea beyond this post and what I’ve heard over time. That has been my request from the first post.

    SO can someone tell me?

    #863271
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Look, honestly, the only reason why I posted here in the first place is because I wanted to know about this program. I haven’t the foggiest idea beyond this post and what I’ve heard over time. That has been my request from the first post.

    SO can someone tell me?

    Project SEED (Summer Education ? ?) is a project run by Torah Umesorah. It consists of several types of programming, which share certain commonalities. You can see more by googling it and finding them on their websites.

    A. The commonality is that it is always in the summer; sending yeshiva guys or “yeshiva” girls to underserved jewish communities. (Their policy is to not run both a girls and guys program in the same city).

    B. Types of programming.

    1. Day camps. Some of the programs are day camps, which the guys or girls run for the local kids. Most (all?) girls ones are this type, and some guys ones are this type. I personally did this type once.

    2. Learning. Most of the guys programs are like this. It is usually run in affiliation with a shul, and the guys spend several hours a day learning in the shul and available to learn with the am haa- um- baal habatim. I have personally done 3 of these programs, and the hours we spent daily learning typically ranged in the 5 hours a day area.

    Frequently, the guys will also say shiurim, and speak between mincha/maariv and the like.

    Also frequently, there will be married couples who are part of this type of group, and the women half of the couples will say shiurim for women. I bet it has even happened that there were only couples, and singles.

    There may be other things you do as well. There can be endless variation. BBQ’s are an essential part of this. So is beer.

    It is really quite a win-win situation for the Jews and the yeshiva guys/girls.

    #863272
    LIVEandLEARN
    Member

    Chevraman- I totally understand what your saying but in truth it’s not miami that is the real problem here. I believe that if someone wants to get into trouble, they can do that wherever they are. Honestly its the attitude that people come with down here. Just because it’s sunny and awesome doesn’t mean that they could just do whatever they want. Lol it’s kinda funny, we can spot a tourist from a mile away down here.

    #863273
    chevraman
    Participant

    LiveandLearn: I respectfully disagree. Its a makom muchan l’puranious hanfesh, for youngsters visiting. And it aint the only place. Vegas would be worse. Why do young 18 year olds have to be thrown into the lion’s den? Maybe these spiritually dangerous places should be served by kollel couples, or at the very least older 23+ year olds, that are more mature and have better discretion?

    #863274
    Bar Shattya
    Member

    Because their better discretion tells them not to go there

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