August 15, 2008 7:52 pm at 7:52 pm #1160077
I just want to wish everyone a Good Shabbos and it should be a peaceful one. All of you in my situation know how much that means. I hope everyone going through this has someone to share it with or talk to, because I can’t imagine not having that. If anyone doesn’t please reach out to someone for your sake.August 15, 2008 9:53 pm at 9:53 pm #1160078
Feif Un, if everyone was like R’ Shmuel Berenbaum zt”l and like your mother we wouldn’t be in this situation!
In case someone thinks they know who I am, I just wanted to say that in regards to my opening post, there are a few wonderful people on my block who do reach out to my daughter and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. (you know who you are!!!)August 15, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm #1160079levi123Member
To Feif Un Yes you are right there are some but very rarely can we find in our Yeshivah system today That will try with all there hearts to help these kids.
I heard of a rebbie in a Yeshivah in Eretz Yisrael who wanted to kick out a boy from Yeshivah beacuse he felt that he was a bad influence on the other boys This kid was always playing jokes and even one time put a goat in the Aron Hakodesh so that when the Aron was opened everyone jumped . He thought it was funny.. When this Rebbi went to the Rosh Yeshivah to request that this boy should be kicked out. The rosh Yeshivah Told him to bring this child to me let me talk to him . When the rosh yeshivah spoke to the boy he told him do you know that you are about to be kicked out of the Yeshivah beacuse of your behaviour What do you have to say for yourself . The young boy looked at the Rabbi and said How can you even think of doing such a terreble thing Do you know that if you kick me out you are not only kicking me out you are kicking my childeren and my childrens childrens from yiddishkiet. And just like you take your time every morning to put on teffilin and doven so must you take out of your time to help me and be mekarev me.
When the Rosh Yeshivah heard these words he understood what can happen if he dares to kick this child out and told the rebbi that now he has to make special time for this kid and be mekarev him even more. This wild kid grew up to be a big talmid chacham and educator.
We must all fight with all our might againts anyone who wants to destroy our children beacuse they feel that they are holyer then though attitude. If a parents will stay strong in a situation where there child is about to be thrown from the Yeshivah system and not let the Yeshivah get away with just saying this Yeshivah is not for your son . we will beable to save lots of our kids from the street.
And last of all If someone had the smarts and would open up a vocaitional type of yeshivah esspecially in brooklyn ny where a child who does not get along in a reguler Yeshivah can go to this school and learn a trade. like , music,computers,electronics pluming. together with limudei kodesh it would make an big diffrence in the lives of these young men and straigten there lives forever….August 17, 2008 5:33 am at 5:33 am #1160080bashielooParticipant
ikaufman-yes-rabbi yitzchok mitnick is the one who is affiliated with “our Place”. he does live in flatbush but right now he is upstate in woodridge n.y. in camp morris.August 17, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am #1160081shindyMember
You are correct. Often I read stories of Gedolim that treated their Talmidim like their own children. I am glad that your mother always made sure the girl had another school to go to first. Because if a child is asked to leave a school mid year, no other school wants to take them, it is horrible and I wish this on noone.
I wasted two years of my life crying and being angry at my daughters’ principals. I realize that she was only capable of dealing with her perfect little students. Girls with “issues” as she called it, did not belong in her highness’ school. It is sad that many girls school do not have any kind of social worker or therapist to speak with a girl who is going through something, as the principals and teachers do not have the training to deal with this, so they just kick the kid out. The schools are very competitive, and they want the reputation of having the smartest and best girls who have no “problems”.
do you know of a support group for parent of Off the Derech kids? I find it helpful to talk to other parents who have a kid like this, otherwise they can’t really understand.August 17, 2008 7:46 pm at 7:46 pm #1160082saythatagainMember
This has been a very intresting discussion. Lkauffman- it is evident that you are a very caring and insightful parent. I am sure that bezrat Hashem, your daughter will come back to her loving parents. Thank you for sharing with us and bringing up this topic.
Maybe some of you could shed some light on the following:
Kids who go off the derech, how come most of them (correct me if I am wrong) get into “trouble” ie drugs etc. . . .how come they don’t just lead a non frum life like “normal ” goyim, (workto make it to the top of the goyish world) why or what is it that drives them not only to be not frum, but to engadge in self destructive behaviour?
Thank youAugust 18, 2008 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #1160083
saythatagain, I wrote about that a few posts up. When these teens decide not to be frum, they are often cut off. When they’re home, their parents yell at them. They aren’t in a yeshiva, and their friends very often distance themselves from them. They desperately look for someone who accepts them, and unfortunately, the ones who do are often the teens who are in even bigger trouble, with drugs, etc. When these people justify their feelings, and make them feel accepted, how are they supposed to resist trying to fit in with them more? Nobody else listens to them, nobody treats them well, except for the “druggies”. What do you expect to happen?
If people treated these kids with more respect, and showed them the love they so desperately seek, it wouldn’t happen as much.
As I wrote, I went through a time when I wasn’t frum. A few years after I became frum again, I saw my younger brother start going through the same thing. However, he wasn’t as “smart” as me – he didn’t know how to hide things from our parents as well as I did, and often was in big trouble. I saw what was going to happen – he was terrified of our parents, and was starting to spend time with people who weren’t too great. I started spending a lot of time with him, and had a long talk with my parents. I explained how constantly punishing him, taking away his DVD player and not allowing him to use the computer as punishment, etc. would only backfire. He had friends he could go to. He could go to the library. If he wanted to do these things, they wouldn’t be able to stop him, and they’d only push him farther away. I told my father, “The next time he wants to rent a movie, don’t say no – just tell him you want to know what he’s watching. Even if you don’t approve of it, don’t say anything. You can set rules – don’t expose the younger kids, etc. but don’t just yell and scream. If you do, he’ll watch it by a friend, and just resent you more for it. At his age, you can’t force him not to do it.”
B”H, my brother is now in college, has a part time job, and learns part-time. He won’t sit in kollel, he won’t be the biggest learner – but he’s shomer Shabbos, keeps kosher, and wears a black hat.August 18, 2008 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #1160084saythatagainMember
Thank you feif un- I think we all learned a lot from you post.August 18, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm #1160085
shindy – if you are in nyc and want to go to M.A.S.K. but don’t want to go alone I can tell you where it is and meet you to go if you want.August 19, 2008 5:51 am at 5:51 am #1160086
I just wanted to add a little bit more to why many kids who go off the derech escalate further down self destructive behaviors and not just lead goyish lives.
For starters, we live in a society that demands certain types of behaviors and dress. When an individual does not fit into the norm of society he/she is often rejected and pushed away. Sometimes it’s a direct push where parents, teachers or peers say that if you don’t do “such and such” then you don’t belong here. Sometimes its more subtle. Either way this rejection causes a lot of pain for this person who just want to belong but just doesn’t seem to be able to. It is not long after, depression sinks in and he/she is living a life where they hate everyone (including themselves) and are just looking for any happiness that they can get. It’s not long brfore they find the kids on the streets, who accept them for who they are. They are introduced to drugs and alcohol. Then when drugs and alcohol are involved they get the momentary fix where they can feel happiness (if only for a brief while). Yet it’s that happieness that they could not find anywhere else.
Many times the individual is in so much pain that they have shut off their feelings and their acting cool is just a cover for many true emotions that they dare not show to the world. When drugs and alcohol are involved, all inhibitions are removed and they can say and do what they want without the “emotions” of life preventing them.
Also it is acceptance since this is a group that does tolerate him/her for who he/she is. It is only natural to act in a way that the majority does so that they can fit in.
It is also rebellion and destruction, since on some level many hate themselves, since they feel their rejection means that they are unworthy, so they don’t put the effort into taking care of themselves. (and sometimes it’s to hurt themselves and others)August 19, 2008 6:47 am at 6:47 am #1160087
Levi123: I’m sorry what has happened to you, your husband and your boys. You bring up many good points that illustrate some of the imperfections of the “Yeshiva world”. Being that I don’t know the details nor do I see any point disagreeing with you out right I do want to share some thoughts on the matter.
For starters the Yeshiva system is not a perfect system. It has grown in many positive ways over the past 50-70 years as the Jewish population (Of America) has grown in large numbers and adapted to a different lifestyle. Many of our parents and grandparents can tell you of a different style of learning that was much more strict and rigid. Yet, and B’H for the most part it continues to improve and adapt to meet the ever changing lifestyles of the Jewish community. However, what many Yeshiva/institutions face is that there isn’t a road map or expert to lead them in the process until the problem is identified. Plus as Yeshiva/Beis Yaakov’s evolve, parents are demanding higher standards in their learning, and are less tolerant on those who may tarnish the institution as a whole.
So while we are looking at the big picture from this angle and the need for these kids to be accepted, there are those who don’t want their kids to be associated with less the “normal” behaviors. There is a very fine line between a school that has a no television policy to a school that shuns and rejects a family that does. I have been involved with a school that actually had parents call up demanding kids in a p’tach like setting NOT be allowed in the mainstream setting. The excuses ranged from being a distraction, the kids will learn poor behaviors, or plain and simple, that the kids are just too different to fit in. (B’H this school did not give in, the teachers went out of their way to incorporate these kids and they all graduated together several years later with a lot of success).
There is another factor of plain economics, where not all Schools have the luxury of training the staff or adding more to incorporate the students who need the extra assistance. It’s nice to have good intentions, but it alone won’t be enough to keep kids stimulated, motivated and productive on an individual level. (This isn’t just learning disabilities, but for the person who isn’t cut out for the full day routine)
To get back to the point. It is easy to put the blame on one particular section (and probably justifiable in some aspects) but change has to be made on all fronts.
– Schools have to have a more open mind, and be sensitive to the proper way to send off a kid who would be best learning elsewhere. This would mean to have a clear and consistent policy for all, and to constantly look out for programs that work so that they can add it to their policy. When a kid is expelled it should only be as a last resort and in the manner that causes the least emotional damage.
– Society needs to recognize the needs of all kids/people, that when one group suffers everyone suffers. There has to be a larger acceptance of all Yiddishkeit regardless of the dress and practices. That a person can be a good person even if he doesn’t wear a hat and jacket, have a full beard, learn in a kollel, or what ever standards sets up. It is possible of showing the beauty of your minhagim without causing prejudice towards others who don’t share that way of life.
– Parents need to be open minded as well and build a solid foundation at home. Look for schools that bests reflect the lifestyle that you live and ask for help when there isn’t one to be found. On one hand, make sure you have a positive attitude towards the school that your kids are in so that they won’t be prejudice against it’s policies. While on the other, communicate with your children and see how they are faring. If a kid is being mistreated, they need a voice and the knowledge that someone cares enough about them.August 19, 2008 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #1160088
I may sound pessimistic, but I don’t see the judgmental ones changing. May a few, but there are too many people and schools that won’t change and that’s just sad.August 19, 2008 8:58 pm at 8:58 pm #1160089Yeshivish with Eyes OpenMember
Kids dont go off the derech overnight. It is usually a slow process, Skipping a minyan here, cutting school there, a movie without the parents knowing etc. Parents should hopefully be able to see the signs before it is too late. I should know because I have boys considered “at risk”.
The way to handle it is not to turn a blind eye, and I am Chas V’sholom not saying that anyone here did that (I haven’t read most of the posts). Fighting and yelling doesn’t work. Ignoring it doesnt work.
What I have found that seems to be working for me, is that the parent (i.e. me) needs to accept the fact that their child may not, at least at this point in time, want the same level of Yiddishkeit that is expected. That needs to be OKAY. If the child knows that there is love no matter what, then there is a fighting chance (trust me, it took me a while to understand that myself). Once the child feels safe at home, there can be a gradual (and I stress Gradual) change. None of us are perfect and we should judge these kids as favorably as we can. Afterall, don’t we want to be judged the same way by Hashem (Avenu Sheh Ba Shamayim)?
B”H my sons, while still a bit away, are now moving closer to where I want them to be instead of further away.
As far as the girls go, I have no experience with that, But what I have read as to reasons why they cant be talked to sounds ridiculous to me. To save one N’shima is as if you saved the world, right? I dont think it should matter what the neshama is wearing.
May Hashem gave us all the strength to contiue to fight this battle.August 20, 2008 2:49 am at 2:49 am #1160090
Amen to what you guys wrote. and Yeshivish – it sounds like you are on the right track, good luck.August 20, 2008 3:33 pm at 3:33 pm #1160091af al pi cainParticipant
If a child leaves yiddishkeit and has never heard, from home nor school, of any other options in the non-frum world, then they will likely fall into a delinquint lifestyle. The problem is the lack of options offered to address all of the unique gifts that each Jew has been endowed with. If the only options are either star learner or worthless, it is hard for an OTD kid to pick up the pieces and figure out what to do next. It is the frum parents, communities and schools that have to widen our vision and accommodate all of HKB”H’s Jews, with all of their various talents and inclinations, and channel them correctly so that we don’t have such a delinquency crisis.August 20, 2008 7:28 pm at 7:28 pm #1160092Pashuteh YidMember
While I will get hit for this, I believe that for the sake of kids who are off-the-derech, the klal must be prepared to make some major sacrifices. We must be prepared to jettison anything which is not based in halacha. That includes beaver hats, long black robes, white stockings, black and white clothes and black hats. How can you expect a cool, with-it American kid to want be part of a religion where you must dress like a freak? And the truth is our religion doesn’t require it. I believe the maamar of lo shinu es malbusham means they dressed bkovodig in whatever was the standard of that country. The gemara in A”Z says Rabban Gamliel was allowed to get a goyishe haircut because he interacted with govt (hitiru lsaper kumi). There was a need, and there was a heter.
The ikar of yiddishkeit is menschlachkeit, and becoming all you can be. We need to develop a yiddishkeit based on ahavas yisroel, rationality, and accomplishment in all areas. We must stop the voodoo-based approaches and cultlike behavior. We must let go of our overwhelming fear of secular knowledge and YU. We must stop the medieval superstitions regarding owning pets. Dogs show incredible affection to their owners and will play ball and anything else the owner likes. (Contrary to what someone posted here that dogs are the lowest animals, the medrash says because of lo yecheratz kelev lshono, they were given a tremendous reward.) We must show kids that they can develop into great people, each in their own way with their own talents, and be loved and respected for it.
We must stop talking about the terrible aveirah of loshon hora, and then proceed to viciously attack every other group “lshem shomayim”. Don’t you think kids see through this total hypocracy and sheker? We must intill a pride for Eretz Yisroel and Medinas Yisroel, and show the kids that they can be a part of building the state into a more frum and more advanced place. They can be a bridge between the frum and secular, and unite the klal. We must give them hope, and find and nurture their talents whether in art, science, literature, sports, or whatever.
Al t’hi baz lkchol adam. When we put others down, the kids see that the world is a place of hate. When we make fun of secular studies, the kids see that making fun is a proper thing, and will sure enough make fun of the Rebbes, as well. The gemara says they never appointed anyone to the Sanhedrin unless he was conversant in 70 languages. In some yeshivishe places, I am afraid to ask if they even know one language?
The world is open to them, and yiddishkeit makes their lives better. The Torah is called a tavlin. A tavlin imparts a pleasant taste into the food and makes it super-great, instead of bland. However, can you eat a tavlin directly? Try eating some salt or oregano or garlic tonite. When you tell a kid he can only learn and everything else is treif, that is the same thing. The Torah is a Toras Chaim, helps us with life. With Torah, we avoid the hurt feelings that public schools kids have because their classmates make fun of them, ruthlessly. We learn to speak with kindnesss to all. We avoid the problems of teen-pregnancy, and the messed up lives that result. Kashrus helps us curb our desires to do whatever feels good, even though it may be harmful. Fast days help us rememebr the poor. Niddah helps us remember those who need shidduchim, etc. etc. Every mitzvah has a positive. Let’s stop with the negative and the voodoo and the cult-stuff. Let’s start to focus on living normal productive lives filled with warmth and simcha and the greatst simcha which is accomplishment. Let us encourage them to cure cancer, or to become compassionate poskim, or whatever they dream.
The world is open to them, let’s not slam the door in their faces.August 20, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm #1160093shindyMember
Pashuta Yid wrote a very powerful thing: “We must stop talking about the terrible aveirah of loshon hora, and then proceed to viciously attack every other group “lshem shomayim”. Don’t you think kids see through this total hypocracy and sheker?” My kid was very turned off by some principals and teachers because she felt they were hypocrats. Many teens are almost allergic to this kind of thing. As far as the dress code thing, I don’t think it is that simple. Proof being that even kids from cool families go off the derech, and they were allowed to wear more with it stuff. But when the child has a bad experience with the school and the teachers, they don’t want to be a part of the frummy world, they are too hurt and angry. Well, I don’t think there is just one reason why a kid goes OTD, there are many things involved.August 21, 2008 2:22 am at 2:22 am #1160094Pashuteh YidMember
Shindy, what you say is true. I believe there are two separate diseases called off the derech. In the yeshivishe world, it is caused by either assuring the mutar, or hypocracy. In the modern world it is caused by matiring the assur, and hefkeirus, i.e., free rein of TV, movies, and internet.
This is a symptom of the torn world we live in. There needs to be one standard that we all agree on. I have said countless times, the modern will never give up their movies if you tell then that college is also asur as well and you are supposed to hate the state of Israel. They look at you as being from another planet, and will not listen even when you are right (about movies).August 21, 2008 3:25 am at 3:25 am #1160095sesMember
i have a friend , the daughter of a choshuva rav from boro park, whose sister went off the derech. That sister whom the rav accepted no matter what, is now married with children . her husband who was not religious when they married, learns weekly w/ a rabbi and they send their children to a local yeshiva day school. some kids, just need to get it out of their system.August 22, 2008 2:08 am at 2:08 am #1160100
Ses you brought up a very good factor…unconditional love and acceptance. It is very hard growing up as the child of a Rav as there are many “expectations” placed upon such children. The Rav as well as Rebbitzen can be fantastic people but it doesn’t change the fact that this kid has to grow up being the daughter/son of such and such. It can place such a pressure on them, and I know personally 4 families of choshiva Rebbiem who have had children go off the Derech. So what was the common denominator about how they treated thier children afterwards? Unconditional love and acceptance. While they were not thrilled that they chose a non religious lifestyle, they made sure to keep the doors open and to go out of their way to make sure they feel accepted for who they are. (one family even remodeled their basement so that their irreligious child and spouse could move in.) While not all have come back into the fold, they all have a lot of respect for their Parents as well as their religion and heritage.August 22, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm #1160101YusselParticipant
I have been reading the book “Off the Derech” for the past few days. It has been an “eye opening” experience. I’ve been thinking alot about what’s written there and have been discussing it with my wife.
One thing that bothers me (more than anything else) is the impression I get that according to the author, whatever we do as parents seems to be wrong. A person could come to “Yeeush” when reading page-after-page of reasons why whatever they do as parents will send their kids “off the derech”. It would have been a little more helpful if the author had given any indication that, at least sometimes, what the children/teens perceive as negative behavior on the part of the parents/teachers is really in their (the kids) minds. Our author seems to suggest that children/teenagers should never experience ANY negativity from their parents/teachers. The stories the author relates in the book seem to be one-sided in presentation. If we face facts honestly, we ought to admit that children/teens often ask questions in a “confrontational” way. Incidents should not be viewed in isolation. If a teacher, with a roomful of children to teach, who may also be stressed from his/her familial responsibilites, is confronted with hostile questioning from one or more students, perhaps that teachers less-than-patient response is a little more understandable. Our author, for example, refers to her own experiences in a school in Israel. She mentions, almost in passing, that she, at least twice, violated rules that she voluntarily accepted on herself. Her presentation of the principals response is totally from her perspective without ANY indication that the gave ANY thought to the other side of the coin.
Just as kids/teens don’t need to hear a 100% negative message from us, we don’t need a 100% negative message from them. That having been said, I continue to read this book because it has many helpful ideas. It’s just the overall tone I concerned with.August 24, 2008 4:06 am at 4:06 am #1160102
Yussel I can’t speak in place of the author, but here are a few thoughts on the matter.
1- I have to be honest that I don’t see eye to eye on everything that she bring down. However, I still thing that she has done excelent job of showing the perspective from a teens veiw point and there is a lot to be gained from this book. She has obviously taken her emotions and redirected them into a positve channel that is a benefit for all of us.
2- In my humble and non profesional opinion. Kids need to see honsety, consistancy and to see thier parents as role models. When a parent makes a mistake, (doesn’t have to be directed to the kid in question) takes responsibility for it, and then works on him/herself to become a better person, is a much more valuable lesson then the immage of the “perfect parents”. Kids need to see that we make mistakes, that it’s ok to do so, and see the proper steps taken to fix or rectify the matter.
3- Lets face it, many teens are really into the drama. They have a perspictive that is not always logical and there are going to be times when they are convinced that they have the worst/stupidest/incert-negative-uphamism parents in the world. There will be times when we will have to tell them to grow up or chill out. However for some kids who have already crossed that line into going off the derech, it might be more important to calm down thier emotions (regardless of how logical they may be) so that we can engage them on a level where they will be respetive to listening. But this is for the child who is down the path of rebelion. For the rest, we have to pick our battles, be consistant and make sure that we put in as much positive in our disipline as the negative.August 25, 2008 3:05 am at 3:05 am #1160103
i just read through all the posts and wow now i dont feel so alone, but i’m still in a evry diffrent poition from the rest of the posters. most people posted about a child or a family friend or someone they knew, but I myself am currently in this situation. I grew up completley frum in a very good home but I always felt that something was missing, being that I was shy my questions about Judiasm never got answered, plus I went through lots of abuse and worse. Im 18 and last year I was in a good seminary in Israel really starting to feel like I belonged but I got kicked out for having a boyfriend (the first guy i ever spoke to) and for telling people I was molested. i refused to come back to NY so I stayed in Israel for the rest of the year and tried to heed the words of the rebeim that the ebst thing to show my rosh yeshiva was that he was wrong fro kicking me out, I tried really hard, but no longer ebing in a loving environment with friends I went off, first it was just talking to boys, than I started hanging out with guys, usually me with like 10 guys or so, I started drinking as a way of handeling my depression and lack of sleep from horrible flashbacks of abuse, and I experimented with pot, during this time I reached out to several experts in at risk teens but they either told me im to far off or theyre to busy, i dont think theyre to seriously, they usually have parents contacting with them not a kid whose in to deep and wants help. Also around this time I started cutting (only for a week). I got myself in really bad situations (some werent my fault), started not caring about shabbos, tznius and kashrus. i had amzing friends but most either didnt know what to do or didnt want to ehar about it becuase they wanted me to be the happy go lucky kid they knew before, I hung out in town with druggies and the like becuase like feif un said they accept us kids for who we are, we dont have to pretend to be diffrent. Lkaufman and Shindy I cant put into words how difficult it must be for you to see your child like this, but at least they have your support and know you are there. I have straightened up a little since I got back from Israel and my boyfirend came back into my life and helped me belive more in Judiasm but I still have many issues. the thing is my parents dont know, I mean they know I dont daven and dont dress aidel, and that I talk to boys and sometimes drink but beyond that they dont realize that I am a different person when I am out of the house. I have reached out but no one has helped, what are they waiting for till theres no more hope?August 25, 2008 6:28 am at 6:28 am #1160104yoshiMember
teenager – I’m sorry you’re still suffering in : life-religious, limbo. Not that this will help in any way, but know you are not alone, and you should be happy that you are still young, there are people still suffering anywhere from drugs to religion to feeling lost and small in this big world and they are in their 50s and up. The thing you should be really happy about, and a great thing you got going for you is that you are aware of your issues, not to say that makes it easier, but that is the first step to feeling positive, which will help in the healing process. The worst thing though, is to go through this alone. You need support and if you can’t get it from certain people, then look for others to help, they have programs here in the states and in israel that have such amazing people who sincerely care about you, and want to see you happy. Also keeping yourself busy (working, school, hobby) and getting the support you need and not delaying for a moment, will help prevent you from falling into a deep depression. Just one thing you have to remember, you can never be “hopeless” no matter how low a person goes, there is still a shred of light, of hope somewhere deep inside. If you need someone to talk, vent or just someone to listen, you contact me via email ([email protected]) i have personal insight, and been through it all… i hate to see anyone in so much pain – Try to think positive! Hope you feel better soon!August 25, 2008 1:09 pm at 1:09 pm #1160105
alot of things you wrote I can relate to in my daughter. she is doing great now just not religious at all, but that’s ok, coz she’s happy and healthy now which is the first step. i sent her to a therapist who loves and knows teens so well and she’s truly amazing. If you are interested please contact me at [email protected].August 25, 2008 1:18 pm at 1:18 pm #1160106
teenager, one thing I realized when I wasn’t frum. As I’ve written before, I didn’t get into the whole drugs thing, but I had friends who did. The so-called friends you make in the drug scene aren’t real friends. If you got into trouble, they’d run to help themselves, and let you take the fall. Yes, they make you feel good temporarily, just like the drugs they give you, but they really don’t care much.
As yoshi wrote, there are many people who really do care. You need to try and find some of those people. Try going on a Shabbaton from one of the kiruv programs like Aish Hatorah or Gateways. If you do that, you’ll start to see the beauty of being a frum Jew, and keeping Shabbos the way it’s meant to be kept, and meet people who practice Judaism the way it should be practiced.August 25, 2008 3:30 pm at 3:30 pm #1160107
Feif Un – any suggestions how to get a teenager to go on these Shabbatonim if they have no interest in being frum or going? I would love for my daughter to go but she has no interest?August 25, 2008 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1160108
Dear teenager, as many others who have read your post, I am touched by what you have wrote. I’m in between meetings at the place where I work, but I’YH I will set up an email acount to reach me (as well as anyone else who needs support or to network) later on.
You need a good therapist as well as a support group who can help you out. I’m not sure where you live but if you contact priority 1 or mask they will have some good resources for you. As it happens to be, the relative of whom we have been dealing with, his therapists’ wife dealt with girls off the derech and at risk. They have just moved to Israel this past year, but I will contact them and see if they know what sources are available for young women like you.
I have googled a few links, look into them and see if they are of any help to you.
and worthwhile to look into http://www.ohelfamily.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=6&Itemid=32 although I don’t know if they deal with teens at risk.August 25, 2008 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #1160109
lkaufman, you can’t force her. She has to want it for herself. You have to accept that might not occur for a while. You can mention it to her, and see how she reacts to the idea. Explain that it’s a weekend in a hotel, no pressure at all, etc. You can even offer an incentive to her, as most hotels where they hold these events have a spa. Offer to pay for a spa treatment on motzei Shabbos if she attends lectures over Shabbos.
One other option you might want to consider is Neve in Israel. My wife went there, and it played a huge part in her becoming frum again. I know many friends of hers who also did very well there, including one girl who came in claiming she had no interest being frum, and was going to spend exactly one week there, no more. That girl ended up spending over a year there, and is now married to a guy who’s sitting in kollel. It might be worth looking into. They can probably also advise you on how to convince her to go there at all.August 25, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm #1160111af al pi cainParticipant
Just a thought, from one who has been in this parsha for a while: the real heros of kiruv are those working with the off the derech young people. Rabbi Shimon Russel, addressing a conference on Off the Derech, said that the whole inyan of OTD was to cause the klal to do teshuvah. I understand this better as time passes. When we do kiruv with this population, unlike the kiruv with tinokos she’nishba, we must in the process face our own shortcomings, face what is wrong with us that caused the young people to leave yiddishkeit.August 26, 2008 2:16 am at 2:16 am #1160112
thanks for all the responses and support everyone
yoshi- I’m happy I’m in this state young but what if I still feel this way when I’m older? And I know you said I’m not alone but I feel that way, I have reached out and experienced the worst thing; rejection, I dont want to have to beg for help, I want someone to care, I kind of dont want to be this way and thats a good thing and I should be easier to help if someone just cared. I am just starting college so hopefully that will take up some time. Thanks so much, I will take up your offer and contact you.
Feif Un- I have one thing diffrent from you is that I’m a girl so the guys did care about me for different reasons, I have nothing to do with that crowd anymore, but they did protect me and wouldnt let me take drugs. I cant go on kiruv shabbatonim because my parents cant know about this, I dont want them hurting the way mothers on this site are. The ironic things is I used to teach and tutor in JEP and other kiruv orginizations.
Bentzy 18- Thank you so much for your support. For the first time in my life I have a really good therapist that i started going to 4 weeks, and for once i really fell like I’m making progress, but I have so many issues that we hardly even talk about the abuse and because shes modern Orthodox we dont really talk about religion. Thanks for all the sites, I will check them when i have more time.August 26, 2008 8:43 am at 8:43 am #1160113abcd1234Participant
I had an idea which i repeat, is just an idea, and i’m not sure if this was brought up at all since i havent been following this topic too religiously but i would imagine some teens go off because they dont get answers to their questions and most schools dont really offer any kind of formal class where its possible to ask and be answered so i was thinking maybe it would be worth the schools having a class like once or twice a month which would go under the name of “kiruv-training” or something like that and would be directly geared to answering questions that teens have (which are often the same as those of baalei teshuva) the questions could be asked in a way where no one would be embarrassed since its not just a side point of the lesson but a class actually intended for questions and dealing with those kind of “issues”. in addition it would possibly help for teens to have somewhat of an interest in kiruv even if it would only be used down the roadAugust 26, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm #1160114tzippiMember
As a parent I don’t think your parents would hurt at all from a kiruv Shabbaton. Don’t they know about the therapist? Do they know about the abuse? Maybe I shouldn’t speak for mothers who are experiencing this but if it’s not too presumptious, as a mother I would be thrilled to see you getting involved in any authentic Jewish way, even if off the beaten track. And a lot of FFBs from fairly uncomplicated situations thrive on the so called kiruv Shabbatons. Just focus on doing what’s going to help you grow. That will give your parents nachas.August 26, 2008 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #1160115yoshiMember
abcd1234 – In Neve, they have a similar idea in some of the classes, but the questions aren’t asked aloud, The students would write their questions on a piece of paper, and put in a box, so when the Rabbi would read the question, it would be anonymous, and no one had to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. -I agree with you 100% about having a class here in the states for the sole purpose of questions the students have on anything they may be confused about, or understand further. I just wish they had something like this back when I was in school…August 26, 2008 5:30 pm at 5:30 pm #1160116
Teenager, I’m glad to help in any way that I can. I’m really glad as well that you have a therapist to help you work things out. In our case the progress was slow but steady. The realtive who was living with us was able to grow out of his issues and to see the world as a much better place. As for the abuse, while I think it is very imprortant that you deal with it and get some sort of closure on it, it is not wise to rush the process any faster then you are ready for it. You just have to make sure when the time does come to deal with it, that you do so that you can move forward.
As for your parents, you seem to be in a bind. On one hand you don’t want to hurt them but on the other, you are (possibly) cutting off an avenue of support that will help you in your struggles. Unless they are responsible for the abuse I don’t see why you can’t involve them on some level. This doesn’t mean that you have to tell them everything about where you are holding in yiddishkeit, but you can say to either one of them that you are having difficulty with certain concepts. There is a Rabbi in Monsey (Rabbi Ezriel Tauber) Who deals with Kiruv for “frum” people. Many religous jews go for a spiritual boost and he has been helpfull in connecting many non religoius individuals as well. Here is a link to some of his lectures, http://www.aishaudio.com/ssi/aish/speaker/rabbi-ezriel-tauber.php. He is also known to answer the tough questions that people may ask. If you go to Eichlers, he has many books out there that you might emjoy as well (I’m sure many lending librarys would have his material as well) This is a viable source for you to look into, without having to worry your parents. However, you wanting to sheild them from pain is commendable, but they are your parents and may just rather to be upset a little for the short term then having to find out later that you have had many unresolved problems for many years.
One last thing, if your parents were the ones responsible for you abuse, (and we don’t need to know this bit) you have the right to deal with this despite the fact that they might be hurt in the process. Obviously you are not looking to go out of your way to hurt them but you need to heal also. When the time comes speak with you therapist who will help you walk through the process and deal with the abuse (this goes for whom ever abused you)
ABCD123: While I would say rejection is one of the biggest, but you are right that it’s a big source of frustration to be told that you can’t ask valid questions and have to rely on a faith system that you don’t understand. Knowing the reasons for why we keep shabbos, keep kosher, cover our hair, put on tallis and teffilin will only serve to make the mitzvah all that more special. We as adults have to stop being afraid of either saying that we don’t know the reason or that tough questions will lead a person off the derech.
As for Yeshivos and Beis Yaakovs, I’m sure they are out there. When we look for a high school for our kids we might want to ask straight out if there will be Rebbiem that our children can go to in order to ask tough questions. Or at least lead them to someone who will.August 29, 2008 2:34 am at 2:34 am #1160117
tzippi- my parents wouldnt hurt from a kiruv sshabbaton but they dont know im off the derech and i dont plan on telling them
bentzy18- yea i am happy im in therapy and shes beyond amazing but its not a quick fix and sometimes it just gets to hard to continue on, I’m scared of telling my parents, more than just protecting me I’m scared of how they will handle it and that they might get angry which will hurt me and trun me off and they have enough on their plate, my mother just got diagnosed with cancer and they dont need this on top of everything, I will continue to try to handle it myself, they are not responsible for the abuse, diffrent types of abuse happened with diffrent people,but I was raped by a family member and I cant tell them that, they cant know tihis, Im used to being alone despite how much it hurts, my boyfriends my main support he made me frum again but he doesnt know that I still have problems and questions about Judiasm that nobody will answer.July 22, 2016 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #1160119SparklyMember
I think that these teens should get a rabbi or a mentor and have people care for them even if they dont discuss religion with them as long as they know some religious person cares for them whether their religious or not this will give them an opportunity to ask questions and with Hashems help go back on the derech. teenager- this happened so long ago your probably religious again and married now with multiple children. do you want to share what helped you go back on? also im sure you probably realized by now that your parents can tell if their child is off the derech by looking at their clothes, looking at their texts etc….
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