Teen Violence in Lakewood
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- This topic has 128 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 20 hours, 2 minutes ago by n0mesorah.
March 9, 2023 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2172371
Once again, which Mesivtas in Lakewood proper still offer High School secular studies?March 9, 2023 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2172372commonsaychelParticipant
@amil, they have Juvenile delinquent status so it’s under wraps.March 9, 2023 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #2172408
A much greater proportion of students in Yeshivos that offer secular studies are teens-at-risk than students in Yeshivos that offer little to no secular studies.
If the argument is based on reducing the number of teens at risk, the better argument is that those Yeshivos still offering secular studies should drop their secular curriculum.March 9, 2023 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #2172409
To be honest, I’m not in Lakewood so I am not really up to date. But going on a few years ago it came down to that a mesivta would not increase it’s profile by having a full scholastic curriculum. Some had for diplomas. And some the rosh yeshiva believed in the idea. But the top mesivtas that have the ability to put in a high level program, were faced with very little interest from their own parent body.
When I posted that there is no market for it that was an exaggeration. I was responding to the theory that it was proactively prevented at the top from happening. That is a lie. It was attempted from the very top. And it failed because of lack of interest. As Lakewood grows there is more diversity. And there could be a really solid mesivta with a serious secular education. There always were lower level options that had English Studies.
In sum, none of this violence is because of learning only yeshivos. Unless these boys were sent to solid places instead of easier ones. But I doubt it. Because almost all these boys were struggling to stay in line while still in Middle School.March 9, 2023 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #2172447
So giving struggling boys zero options in life aside from learning full time has nothing to do with their hopelessness, anger and violence?March 9, 2023 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #2172451
YS> I find that kids in schools who offer optional studies rarely take advantage of them and most just do the bare minimum.
The schools I described do not make these “optional”, they are simply online and clearly separate from the yeshiva curriculum. Also, having an additional tutor that could occasionally help/direct the students will make this model even more effective. Avi Chai foundation had several studies several years ago of online/blended studies like that in Jewish schools and have reports written up about it.March 9, 2023 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #2172452
YS > If they are not necessarily in Lakewood then they aren’t in Lakewood and irrelevant to our discussion
True. Just to contribute view from OOT: one yeshiva general studies teacher in a town I was visiting replied to my (gentle) needling: our parents understand value of general studies, we are not lakewood here. So, this is how things are seen out there.March 10, 2023 4:23 pm at 4:23 pm #2172625
@n0mesorah It goes like this. Some 20 years ago, one or two very chashuva talmidei chachamim opened up mesivtos that followed the same learning model as the Cheder and Yeshivos Ketanos in Eretz Yisroel. They became very popular, mostly due to the Lakewood population boom in the 00s. Then, when other Mesivtas opened up, they didn’t want to start a non-Gemara based curriculum because they would immediately be seen as the B-listers where the Lo Yitzlochs go. It got the snowball rolling to the point where only very established Chashuveh places still teach math and science, because new schools know that they won’t get the top guys if they teach something other than Gemara and Halacha. So many parents who don’t follow this ridiculous mehalech, are stuck with only a small number of Yeshivos in town and way too many kids applying.
Lakewood needs to normalize teaching math, history, language, and science. And then maybe these violent teens won’t feel the need to betray their families.March 11, 2023 8:02 pm at 8:02 pm #2172647Amil ZolaParticipant
CS: Juvenile status means their names aren’t released. That doesn’t keep LE from filing charges or the announcing of same. i.e.” LKWD PD filed charges against 4 local minors for assaulting a shop owner.”March 11, 2023 8:05 pm at 8:05 pm #2172642anonymous JewParticipant
Ujm, the basis for your claim?March 11, 2023 9:58 pm at 9:58 pm #2172738
AJ: My first hand community work on the issue in multiple municipalities.March 11, 2023 9:58 pm at 9:58 pm #2172735
Do we blame Ben Gurion for this – both positive and negative effets? He allowed special status for the few (remaining, outdated in his voew) yeshivos and this lead to proliferation of Torah and “Torah only” system in EY and, as mentioned above, then transitioned over to US?March 12, 2023 1:56 am at 1:56 am #2172756
How enlightening. The persona you constantly display of never having stepped out of a very small area of Brooklyn must be due to your deep feelings of modesty and humility.
You have three wives, eighteen children, you’re a nuclear engineer and a chip designer, plus you give shiurim and answer halachic queries over the phone. How do you find the time to be so active as a volunteer in multiple communities?March 12, 2023 11:56 am at 11:56 am #2172833☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
It’s fun to blame whatever hashkafa we already don’t like, but I think it fails us when trying to understand the root causes.
Hit the nail on the head.
Examples in this thread of anti-Torah bias:
Blaming the community approach in a community which doesn’t have a higher prevalence
The ludicrous assumption that the troubled kids who haven’t connected with Torah would have connected with secular studies
The lack of recognition that there are definitely programs inside and outside of Lakewood which deal with boys who haven’t connected with TorahMarch 12, 2023 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm #2172862GadolhadorahParticipant
‘the better argument is that those Yeshivos still offering secular studies should drop their secular curriculum..”
Even for our resident trollster-in-chief, a truly mindless observation. It is clear that for a certain segment of bochurim, there needs to be some alternative path to provide them with an outlet for their energy while offering as much limudei kodesh as they can usefully aborb. Its not a binary choice although some seen intent on making it seem to be mutually exclusiveMarch 12, 2023 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #2172994
You may have a point, but it’s an irrelevant one. The teens we are discussing did not on the whole make it to high school. They had secular studies in elementary school. And it is more likely they struggled with math and science than with limudei kodesh. They may have struggled to keep with their peers in non academic activities as well.March 12, 2023 9:25 pm at 9:25 pm #2172996
Dear Daas (and a lot of other posters who to busy blaming whatever they don’t like),
And what I think is the main point. These kids started on this trajectory when they were younger. Project all the arguments to the age of a ten year old. But if anyone wanted to help, they would work on solving how to deal with now. Even saying we (fellow CR posters) have to be extra nice to them, would be more to the point. Even though it seems utterly futile and irrelevant.March 12, 2023 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #2172997
Warning: this is a hypothetical question. It is not based on any rumor or fact.
What if I tell you that some of these boys are good learners and should be learning a whole day, but feel like it reflects badly on themselves to be a learning boy? Or what if they could be top of their class but don’t want to live off of someone else’s dime?March 12, 2023 9:26 pm at 9:26 pm #2172998
The Lakewood model is not based on Israel.
That’s an extreme armchair hypothesis.March 12, 2023 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #2173001
Your dreaming. I don’t think you have any real access to Lakewood. So your excused for believing these old housewife tales. Neither of those two yeshivos were successful. One barely existed. The Other managed to fill a class, but the rabbeim revolted against the method and intensity. It was taken over and remade into an in-between approach. Mesivta has not been a problem for those boys because of a reason. But the fact is that Lakewood Mesivta did not have english before (Did it ever?) these two schools opened. And the top high schools in town dropped their programs around the turn of the century. The Roshei Yeshiva are open about it. It just failed due to lack of interest. The less intense high schools do offer secular studies and diplomas.
PS The boys system doesn’t really fight over top guys. The tension is over filling up. A low enrollment could bankrupt a yeshiva within a year.March 12, 2023 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #2173003
It depends what you call a yeshiva. And where you count the at risk boy that went from no secular studies to secular studies to the street.March 12, 2023 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm #2173026
N0m: please give the different possible definitions of a Yeshiva that you refer to.March 13, 2023 8:37 am at 8:37 am #2173059
A yeshiva for the formerly at risk.
A yeshiva for work half day/ learn half day.
A yeshiva for college guys.
A yeshiva as a place to house OTD so they don’t go off/on to something worse.
A yeshiva that focuses on drug rehab.March 13, 2023 8:38 am at 8:38 am #2173063
N0 > The Lakewood model is not based on Israel.
I am following on YS suggestion. My knowledge of Lakewood is indeed superficial, based on occasional visits there and talking/observing visitors and refugees from there. When I mentioned my “Lakewood Teacher”, he travelled to where I was, not other way around and it was some time ago.
Still, I wonder whether YS has a point here. It seems to be a difference from early small Lakewood where top students did not have general classes with the recent growth of community, with now masses of people ignoring general curriculum. Are all students now at the level of the 1960s when R Malkiel was learning? maybe they are, tell me.March 13, 2023 8:44 am at 8:44 am #2173067
It is very relevant. A struggling thirteen year old who knows there’s only one seemingly unachievable option in life is going to become hopeless, angry and quite possibly violent.March 13, 2023 10:37 am at 10:37 am #2173138
Lakewood’s growth started thirty years ago.
The only high school in those few years that did not have a general curriculum was Mesivta of Lakewood.
Almost all top students went to learn out of town until much more recently. Or they did not remain top students.
Lakewood has many issues to address with the current growth of the masses. Almost none of them will be addressed at all. I don’t see why the larger scale of disinterest in general studies would be more of an issue. Moreover, I suspect that there is more interest in general studies now, than in the previous generation.
Rav Malkiel left Lakewood to learn in Boston at a tender age. The only frum high school (sorry the other one wasn’t) in Lakewood was the Sons of Israel crowd. And most definitely had a general curriculum. The elementary school was coed.
Whatever you were trying to say about elites and Lakewood of old is totally false. Please reflect on this before you post about Lakewood again.March 13, 2023 10:37 am at 10:37 am #2173139
Are you on Mars, or do you think Lakewood is?
These kids struggles began at around ten. Ten year olds on Earth are generally not aware of life options. They become overloaded just talking about the subject. There are plenty of options in Lakewood. Any kid with eyes sees the blue collar teens all over town. They present themselves well and have some means. Your assertion that these kids would have success at secular studies is ridiculous. There are decent high schools in Lakewood that offer a general education with a full diploma.
Now you are not making any point at all.March 13, 2023 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #2173171
Once again, name the Mesivtas in Lakewood proper that currently offer High School secular studies with a full diploma. Also, boys are pushed to become white collar bachurim, not the blue collar teens whom the system could care less about.March 13, 2023 3:25 pm at 3:25 pm #2173232
For once and for all, Mekor Hatorah and Mesivtas of that type.
Who is pushing the boys to become anything? I would think delinquents are a result of a lack of direction.
General studies is also white collar.
I don’t have any insight into the psyche of Lakewood parents. Most parents do not know what their kids are up to. The good parents are those that accept that and show their children how to approach life issues. And then make themselves available to guide the kids through these challenges.
The blue collar boys do not need the system. They live in the real world. Should the yeshiva system care for the girls too? The seniors?March 13, 2023 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #2173258Avram in MDParticipant
“The ludicrous assumption that the troubled kids who haven’t connected with Torah would have connected with secular studies”
Right, when people here keep saying “outlets”, they seem to be thinking algebra and history tests. I don’t think the troubled teens would see those as “outlets”, lol.March 13, 2023 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #2173259
@n0mesorah Please stop with the condescending tones, it doesn’t get anywhere. Kids at risk happen in every community, and yes, many of them start as young as ten. However, when a ten year old starts to experience these issues, the problem is more often than not addressed and arrested. However, in some communities, a ten year old with a problem has a very limited set of schools they can attend. And most of those are remedial schools, where the talmidim as seen as “problem children”. If a community normalizes schools with less intense curriculums in middle school and high school, along with pushing encouraging skills such as art and music, perhaps these children will not feel like such failures and start acting out.
If you say that if the failure for Lakewood Mesivtas to follow the derech ha’Yosher is because there is a “general lack of interest”, then that is a seething indictment of the klal.March 13, 2023 3:28 pm at 3:28 pm #2173260Avram in MDParticipant
“different hashkafas have different things that put their teens at risk and have to put out different ways of helping them.”
I’m not sure that I agree with this – can you be more specific?
“In many MO communities, teens become too enamored with the dark sides of secular society so they have organizations like NCSY to steer them on the right path. In some communities, however, they close their ears and say “La la la can’t hear you learn more Torah!” instead of addressing the 800 pound gorilla.”
I don’t think this is true or fair. Sometimes NCSY helps a teen connect to Yiddishkeit and steer him away from trouble. Sometimes it does not. Should an outsider to the MO community then conclude from those not helped that the MO community is doing nothing to help these troubled teens? There’s some troubled teens in my community who disrupted a NCSY social party-type event to the point that they were told to leave and (allegedly) police were called. I’ve seen those same teens attending evening youth-focused learning programs offered by a local kollel and not disrupting it. I think the big difference was in the atmosphere – one was a swarm of teens plus 1 or 2 adults there to shout a dvar Torah, and one was a beis medrash with many adults and some teens mixed in attending a shiur. Is the NCSY route really superior to the derided “learn more Torah”? And as Gadolhadorah noted earlier, studies, outlets, and activities are not sufficient to really help the underlying problems these kids are having.March 13, 2023 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #2173297
Troubled children can result from lack of direction as well as learning disorders, emotional difficulties, dysfunctional families, poverty, abuse and other issues.
The yeshiva system exists to address the educational needs of all boys to prepare them for life, regardless of their challenges. The same is true of the educational system for girls. When the system cares more about promoting itself by being elitist, exclusionary and leaving children out, they are abrogating their mission. Unfortunately, too many parents blindly trust the system to raise the next generation and are unavailable when their children need guidance.March 13, 2023 5:00 pm at 5:00 pm #2173299
Apologies. Not really. I am mildly annoyed at your assumption of the facts. You don’t know what this specific story is about. [Almost nobody does.] And your not at all correct about the making of Lakewood Mesivtas. [Almost nobody cares.]
Whatever can help struggling kids, is water under the bridge. It is hard to say that this is from the schools without a clear pattern emerging. And the fact that Lakewood is now producing dozen of well behaved, blue collar teens, is enough to not immediately blame the gemara obsession and the like. Your theories can have a lot of truth to them, yet remain inapplicable.
As to “general lack of interest” it is not a seething indication to anything let alone indictment. Apathy is in abundance throughout the American Jewish scene. It varies community to community what they are apathetic about, but all in all the great unifying factor of today’s Judaism is lack of interest. It is remarkable that the post war generation worked tirelessly to build, their grandchildren are to disinterested to maintain.March 13, 2023 5:39 pm at 5:39 pm #2173310
The yeshiva exists just to promote The Torah and Limud Hatorah. Nothing else. The larger system? Is legally mandated so start there. But let us forget about schools for a moment. It could be very troubling to kids when there is a debate and the adults in the room do not show an appreciation for the truth.March 13, 2023 7:57 pm at 7:57 pm #2173337
Are you actually accusing those who disagree with you of being untruthful?March 13, 2023 7:58 pm at 7:58 pm #2173373
I saw a description of a seemingly legit charity in EY that teaches charedim carpentry skills. Would this derech be useful for those who are not interested in neither gemora nor algebra? Or would this be seen an inferior ways of supporting oneself?March 14, 2023 3:26 pm at 3:26 pm #2173610
@Always_Ask_Questions I would absolutely cheer on any program that is set up to teach skills to frum youth. However, I fear that such programs would be considered only for kids at risk instead of being normalized as they should. This has happened in goyishe public schools in the last few decades where they phased out shop class since it was seen as a place for dumb brutes. Now less academically inclined students are left with few options when it comes to what they can be successful at in school with and often act out.
@Avram-In-MD I’m simply saying that different communities with different hashkafos often have different reasons for some kids becoming at risk. In the communities that essentially tell children that if they can’t learn for 10 hours a day and do nothing else for most of their lives that they are failures, kids who can’t do that often act out.
@n0mesorah I don’t know what you mean. Thirty years ago, there were a tiny handful of non-Chassidish American Mesivtas that had a Gemara-only approach. Now (especially in Lakewood) it’s the norm. It started somewhere and I surmise that it started with one, two, or three places in Lakewood and then spread.March 14, 2023 3:57 pm at 3:57 pm #2173721
Rav Ahron Kotler encouraged high schools, already in his time, to have no secular studies.March 14, 2023 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #2173715
I don’t know that I disagree with you and the chorus. People are not being truthful with the facts. The reason for my harping on that is still to come.March 14, 2023 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #2173716
Again and………. again. Lakewood has plenty of frum blue collar workers. They mostly learn on the job. So it would not be useful at all.March 14, 2023 4:01 pm at 4:01 pm #2173719
“communities that essentially tell children that if they can’t learn for ten hours a day”
A community that expects the kids to learn ten hour a day?!? Tell me where and I’ll be looking for a wife today. Lakewood is far removed from such a description.
Um, do you mean Yeshiva Beis Binyomin of Stamford?
Your assuming that it was an ideological choice. My guess is that is has to do with feasibility. Education can’t be willed upon the students. And (barring plentiful funds) it has to be worth the investment.March 14, 2023 5:52 pm at 5:52 pm #2173756
@ujm Rav Aharon Kotler ZT”L also lived 70 years ago and we should not be beholden to his ideas regarding how frum communities should be set up since the world has changed so much since then. Besides, Rav Schneur ZT”L didn’t seem to have any issues with frum High Schools in Lakewood that were started in his time.
@n0mesorah I’m sorry, but do you mean that you can’t name one Mesivta that has a ten hour day with only Gemara and Halacha? And yes. There was an ideological choice that was made (the mechanism of how it was made isn’t clear and I know you’re going to jump on me if I don’t get every detail exactly correct). At some point in the last 20 years, many frum communities decided on an anti-Torah derech of insisting that anything other than Gemara and Halacha is batala. In time, this will lead to disaster and we’ll have the usual tehillim zoggins and askanim begging to mitigate that while these communities pretend that they don’t know why this disaster is happening.March 14, 2023 5:52 pm at 5:52 pm #2173754
In his time he did. Now what?March 14, 2023 8:01 pm at 8:01 pm #2173795
Obviously the Roshei Yeshiva *today* not only agree with Rav Ahron Kotler that high schools shouldn’t have secular studies, but they believe the imperative today to eschew secular studies is even stronger than in Rav Ahron’s time as it has been more successfully implemented today than when Rav Ahron advocated this practice.March 15, 2023 1:34 am at 1:34 am #2173864
@ujm But just previously, the other guy said that the Roshei Yeshivos had no issue with secular studies and it was the parents who just weren’t interested! Which one is it? Come to think of it, I cannot recall a single American Rosh Yeshiva stating that it’s “imperative today to eschew secular studies”, especially since that would be cholek on some of the most prominent Roshei Yeshivos alive today in places like Philly, Torah Vodaas, Chaim Berlin, and Darchei Torah.March 15, 2023 4:20 am at 4:20 am #2173883
Yseribus: Au contraire. Since Rav Ahron’s times the Roshei Yeshivos advocated no secular studies. But in earlier generations the Roshei Yeshivos couldn’t widely implement such a Yeshiva program since the parents refused to send their children to Yeshivos with no secular studies; so the Yeshivos were forced to offer secular in order that the parents shouldn’t send their children to worse Yeshivos.
Nowadays many of the parents have come around and agree with Rav Ahron and the Roshei Yeshivos, and are willing to send their children to Yeshivos with no secular studies.
Baruch Hashem!March 15, 2023 8:30 am at 8:30 am #2173920
As we discussed here earlier, Rav Moshe did not suggest college for general public because it was possible to have a median American lifestyle with a job without it. He clearly allowed some students to be on college track, less the parents take the kids out of yeshiva, as ujm mentions. Maybe other motivations also – otherwise, why his own daughter went to college. As median American job now does require a college degree (possibly way inferior and less demanding in study but more in money than during R Moshe’s times), what would R Moshe pasken now? Also, what was R Moshe’s (and R Aharon’s) position on using non-Jewish charity – welfare/disability/single-parent benefits/etc, esp when it is public knowledge?March 15, 2023 11:23 am at 11:23 am #2173940anonymous JewParticipant
Ujm, please cite your studies reflecting the attitudes of roshei yeshiva and parents regarding R Kotlers psak on secular studies. It’s only my opinion, but I doubt if many out of Lakewood parents have detailed knowledge of R Kotler’s life, let alone his psaks and positionsMarch 15, 2023 11:26 am at 11:26 am #2173948
@ujm So then name them and quote what they said. As far as I know, there was one Rosh Yeshiva (who himself went to a Yeshiva high school where he studied math, history, etc. and is now considered one of the Gedolim) twenty years ago said that in Eretz Yisroel there are more talmidei chachamim because the Yeshivos only teach Gemara and halacha. However, various members of the Moetzes openly disagreed with him and he himself has backtracked on that statement (and continued to lead a Mesivta that has a full curriculum in math, history, etc.).
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