What Happened To the Forum I Loved so Well?
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- This topic has 202 replies, 32 voices, and was last updated 3 hours, 58 minutes ago by Neville Chaim Berlin.
May 7, 2023 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #2187890
You might remember me from ~4 or 5 years ago when I was on here using almost the same username (I added a space because I had to create a new account).
Back when I joined the Coffeeroom, we had some of the most cutting-edge trolls, but also some of the best discussions. We had pappa bar abba, Daas Yochid, Joseph, Joseph’s other accounts, etc. Every serious discussion inevitably turned into a fight about Zionism or Chabad, but at least half of the discussions were non-serious.
We had our token leftists, namely Charliehall who had his own category made for him (The Democratic Underground). This forum maintained its early-internet feel long after that was a bygone era. It had censorship, but mainly to maintain the yeshivish integrity of this site.
When I left, it was already starting to feel like the religious-right was becoming outnumbered, but my gosh when I started lurking here again a few months ago I could not believe it. This once great forum has become an echo chamber for politically left-wing, open-orthodox types. The only purpose the right-wing posters even seem to serve at this point is to be a punching bag.
When I left, Syag L’Chochma, for example, was still considered centrist or even left-leaning yeshivish. Today, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s been accused of being a Joseph alt. Daas Yochid was always respectful and brilliant, but today would be considered an extremist. The right-wing posters of today are simply stating the mainstream consensus much to the shock of people who have clearly never interacted with anyone to the right of the MO, YUish world.
One of the most enjoyable threads here was the “YCT Teshuvos” thread where we essentially made fun of the open orthodox movement will full approval from the mods. Now, those joke-teshuvos are basically the arguments made unironically on this forum on a daily basis. Even in parody, we never pretended that anyone would defend LGBT pride at an allegedly orthodox institution, or public displays of avoda zara to appease a fake, purely symbolic goyish monarchy.
The saddest part, is that I have to worry this post won’t even be allowed through. I would like to say hi to those who remember me, but by criticizing the religious/political-left, I presume I might get censored here just as I would on mainstream internet forums. How did this happen? Did management change? This place used to censor pop-culture references, now people can say “it’s the 21st century, stop being homophobic! Who cares what the Torah says!” and it gets let through?
I want to know people’s honest answers. At this point, what is the point of this place even existing? The only people still here would seem to be hashkafically fine using any random internet forum. It no longer serves as a forum for yeshivish people, so what service is being offered here that can’t be done better elsewhere?
P.S. I know I’m signing up to be a punching bag by posting this, which is fine. I don’t plan on sticking around, but please don’t go digging up my old posts from the old days. I was clueless and unlearned and am ashamed of half the stuff I said back then.
I would approve this twice if I couldMay 7, 2023 4:17 pm at 4:17 pm #2187933AviraDeArahParticipant
I started writing here…. Wow, it’s going on 2 years already, mainly because I like writing and I didn’t have much of an outlet for it. I’m also into hashkofa, and I like to debate ideas and ideology… Though i wish it were within the confines of the broad umbrella of Torah Judaism; sadly, as you said so eloquently, that is not the case.
I agree that people are shocked by mainstream yeshiva world thought; or at least they pretend to be. But perhaps there’s benefit in exposing these people to Torah, because all they’re hearing, it seems, is new york times-darshening pulpit rabbis who go on and on about “ethics” without requiring their constituents to make any real commitments.May 7, 2023 4:35 pm at 4:35 pm #2187945Little FroggieParticipant
OOPS… serious discussion .. I’m outa hereMay 7, 2023 4:35 pm at 4:35 pm #2187946
Neville: Thank you for this post. You have said everything that needs to be said.
And welcome back.May 7, 2023 4:35 pm at 4:35 pm #2187947☕️coffee addictParticipant
👋 Neville Chaimberlin! Of course I remember you!
Syag I’m assuming left (for good? I sure hope not) because trolls were bothering her too much
The current lefties are jackk, Gadolhadorah (who has moved somewhat to the center) and CTlawyer (who was probably around when you were here)
A lot of righties did leave (or haven’t posted as much) I think it’s due to the fact that their president isn’t president (which happened to a degree when Trump was president it had more of a right feel to it)
We do have our trolls (not to the level of pba, oh how I miss him) but they are the occasional Yeshiva bein hazmanin variety
I hope this helpsMay 7, 2023 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #2187954GadolhadorahParticipant
While I admittedly am well to the left of most posters (but admittedly have been dragged a bit to the center) and we still have several of the most gifted trollsters on social media (R’ Yosef reincarnated as UJM), the sad part has been the proliferation of a growing number of mindless and childish topics post by the BBC (bored bochurim chavrusah). And yes, despite several thousand posts since your last visit, the FDC has still not approved a cure for the shidduch crisis.
Visit us again in 5 years and perhaps the CR will be populated entirely by AI bots emulating R’ YosefMay 7, 2023 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #2187961YW Moderator-29 👨💻Moderator
Neville! You took the words right out of my mouth. The painful reality. I actually tried to reach out to you after you left but your email did not go through.
Thanks for the visit.May 7, 2023 6:29 pm at 6:29 pm #2187967LostsparkParticipant
The right has begun to become silent as there is no reasoning with madness.May 7, 2023 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #2187965jackkParticipant
Is it possible that the main YWN website has changed since you posted and that has caused the CR to also change?
It is clear that YWN now has only a small percentage of news that is relevant to the Yeshiva World.May 7, 2023 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #2188003Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
Neville, I don’t think we talked before here. I can add that I was zoche to participate in earlier internet forums – before yeshiva bochrim got phones, and the Jewish discussions included people from yeshivish world to apikoiresem mamash, but the tone of (better) discussions was higher. People were not afraird to quote sources and discuss their views, without so much bashing others for the temerity to be associated with that or this group. I may be mis-remembering, but sometimes I see here people talking past each other, simply repeating their sources, be it CNN or Yated. I don’t think there is value in doing that, everyone interested can read the originals. I always hope that there will be an actual discussion, and it does happen sometimes. Maybe, you can help us raise the elvel?May 7, 2023 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm #2188005
That change actually happened a long time ago while I was still here. I was very vocal about how the forums were the actual frum part of the site and the main page, which is run by totally different mods (or at least it was back then) was completely a different tone. I was never a big fan of YWN proper, but Hamodia going subscription-only has kind of driven me back (mods: you can edit out the name of that competitor if you need; I’ll forgive you).
My case against the “exposing people to Torah” thing is that they’re just looking for confirmation bias. They’re just going to antagonize you until you word something perhaps a little more strongly than you should and then they can sleep easy knowing that you (and all other yeshivish people) are fringe extremists. I was bad about giving into this, which is why I really can’t post here.
Is UJM really Joseph? That’s confirmed? Many people have been accused of being Joseph here, including myself.
I really appreciate that. I didn’t even know I had an email associated with my old account. It must be an archaic one that I don’t use. Perhaps the silver lining of the painful reality is simply that the more yeshivish crowd actually decided their time was better used learning or blowing off steam in more healthy outlets rather than posting here.
The most important detail about your comment is that you mention in passing “CNN and Yated” as sources, which is sadly accurate. Even just 5 years ago, people regularly posted real seforim as sources. Daas Yochid had an encyclopedic knowledge of the Igros Moshe. Even in the Chabad Wars back then, people brought real rayas. If you look at the King’s Coronation post that’s active now, at least last time I checked, it’s like 20 posts in and neither side has posted an actual source.May 7, 2023 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm #2188007CTLAWYERParticipant
I haven’t been called a ‘lefty’ since I was protesting the Viet Nam War and burning my draft card more than 50 years ago.
Yes, I am a proud Democrat, but that doesn’t mean I support every idea floated by every Democrat. At the State and National Conventions I am viewed as old fashioned and right wing.
I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative. I am anti-gun and believe no private citizen unless a sworn law enforcement officer or member of the National Guard (the well regulated militia mentioned in the 2nd Amendment) should possess a gun.
I have watched American Orthodoxy move to the right over the past 60 years. While I may not find all the moves to my taste, I support the institutions.
I am one of the final generation of American Euro-Traditional Jews. What was called Orthodox in my youth. We were the children of business owners and professionals. Many attended public school and Yeshiva as well as university and professional schools. What we didn’t do as a whole is become professional Jews, deriving our income from Jewish organizations, instead we fund those salaries and positions.May 7, 2023 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm #2188010
Neville: Every Ben Torah has a little bit Joseph in them.May 8, 2023 12:43 am at 12:43 am #2188017
“I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative.”
Yes, I am all too familiar with your political position. You are extremely liberal until it personally costs you financially, after which you suddenly discover the miracle of laissez faire economics.
“I am one of the final generation of American Euro-Traditional Jews. What was called Orthodox in my youth.”
With all due respect, what was called “Orthodox” in your youth was just a misnomer. There were shuls without mechitzas that identified as Orthodox in the 50s/60s. That’s not an era that we should be romanticizing.May 8, 2023 12:43 am at 12:43 am #2188019MarxistParticipant
What the Original Poster is describing is I think common to many internet forums. There is an early stage where the number of users is small so the place feels more heimish and geshmak. Over time, it either dies out or grows to such a large userbase so that the connections between members just aren’t the same. I think the internet itself just isn’t the same as it was a decade ago.May 8, 2023 12:44 am at 12:44 am #2188022HaLeiViParticipant
Those good times… We had Srulik, Sam4, oh, and myself.May 8, 2023 12:44 am at 12:44 am #2188023HaLeiViParticipant
I meant Sam2. We had Sam4 as well, though…May 8, 2023 9:40 am at 9:40 am #2188109
Marxist: Actually the number of active users here has dramatically dropped since the old days.
I think internet forums/social-media sites just trend leftwards over time for whatever reason. Right wingers generally don’t feel comfortable spreading their views on leftist outlets (eg. Joseph or I probably won’t go posting in the comments section on “The Forward” or some such place). Then, left wingers are perfectly comfortable spreading their views on non-leftist outlets until it gets to the point that they’re the only ones left.
The only institutional mistake that I think was made here was to let through so many posts that are fully outside the realm of halacha. Most notably during the discussions of the gay club at YU. At least things like the Rabbi going to a church or the Brooklyn eiruv are nuanced and you can say elu v’elu, but the other issue is an issur d’oraisa according to everyone, and anyone publicly stating otherwise is just flat out spreading kefira, which shouldn’t be allowed here.May 8, 2023 10:24 am at 10:24 am #2188131ubiquitinParticipant
“Neville: Every Ben Torah has a little bit Joseph in them.”
Thats true but our avoda is to be kovesh our Joseph and stand up for whats right and emesMay 8, 2023 11:21 am at 11:21 am #2188139
ubiq,: I’m glad to see that you still have that Pintele Yid in you.May 8, 2023 11:24 am at 11:24 am #2188141
Just point of fact
The national guard is not the “militia”
The NY guard is the militia. It only operates in the state. It can not be federalized and serves as a theoretical check and balanceMay 8, 2023 11:25 am at 11:25 am #2188148
The OP asks deep questions
iMHO it’s just a symptom of galus and affects both the MO and chareidi world . The MO world by virtue of its insistence on giving chashivus to non Jewish thinkers, are certainly embracing kefira at a faster pace . But the chareidi community is hardly immune from the craziness.
In sticking with your example. Whereas the MO world will find adherents who transition children (yes I know a case) in the charedi world they are asking shaylos on attending gay weddings. A generation ago it wouldn’t have occurred to us to ask the shayla. Now it’s being asked.May 8, 2023 11:33 am at 11:33 am #2188196MenoParticipant
I think COVID was largely to blame. Everyone got all up tight and serious.May 8, 2023 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm #2188221👑RebYidd23Participant
With only the Decaffeinated Coffee forum active, is it any wonder we’ve lost our buzz?May 8, 2023 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm #2188230Yserbius123Participant
Nuh, so let’s get things back to normal then!
Like, what’s your issue with Zionism anyway?May 8, 2023 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm #2188234
I’m guessing YWN in general lost a lot of customers for that reason. In 2020 YWN were hardliner Coronacrazy collectivists, blatantly shaming frum communities for not being psychotic enough. Fast forward to today and they’re suddenly trying to be all freedom of choice and what not. YWN was hugely disconnected from its base on that issue, which would also explain why many conservatives are no longer here.May 8, 2023 1:12 pm at 1:12 pm #2188245
Sounds like YWN is not allowed to talk about Trump, I’m sorry this is ridiculous, we are not talking here about left or right, it’s about Un body. It’s like blaming one for hitting someone else because of his left hand or the right one. “It wasn’t him, it was just his left hand”.. Good luck with that!May 8, 2023 1:35 pm at 1:35 pm #2188258DaMosheParticipant
Neville, Mentsch brought back the forum you know and love – the bashing of MO for no reason, with little to no truth in it.May 8, 2023 1:50 pm at 1:50 pm #2188263
Um, wut? I’ve seldom seen a post here make that little sense.
Is Mentsch the name of another internet forum, or is that a person here on the coffeeroom? By the way, I just bumped the YCT teshuvos thread. As long as I’m hanging around here, I’m going to try to bring back some of the glory days.May 8, 2023 1:50 pm at 1:50 pm #2188282
I can accept the first half of that statement, but the second half breaks from reality.May 8, 2023 3:17 pm at 3:17 pm #2188288
There is nothing wrong about being nostalgic about one thing, things are evolving, and that too is a good thingMay 8, 2023 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #2188316ParticipantParticipant
I thought you’re referring to religious right and left. But coffee addict & zetruth made this political.May 8, 2023 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #2188318ParticipantParticipant
Btw how does one go about perfecting their love?May 8, 2023 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #2188319
He was referring to me
didnt like my comment though I do not know why
I thought I was being very fair and balancedMay 8, 2023 3:19 pm at 3:19 pm #2188322
Fun fact (I just learnt this) technically (at least in NY) every able bodied male between 17-45 is already a member of the unorganized militia (NY Guard) though not on active status till called up by the governor
So we need to refine your grievance
Since the second half of the amendment is clearly meant to make sure the citizenry is ready for active status, so is it fair to say you are against gun ownership by anyone other than law enforcement and active military regardless of the wording of the amendment?
I know, this isn’t the thread for this, but you can always respond in the mass shooting threadMay 8, 2023 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #2188343
“I thought you’re referring to religious right and left. But coffee addict & zetruth made this political.”
I was referring to both. They’re most often correlated anyway. I still not really sure what Zetruth was going for with the comment about Trump.
“Btw how does one go about perfecting their love?”
This is the perfect place to ask this question. First, you need to spend hundreds of hours studying the YWN Coffeeroom. Then, you’ll be ready to take your next step. Find you local Open Orthodox Maharat and ask her to help guide you on this journey of soul searching.May 8, 2023 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #2188353Avram in MDParticipant
Hi Neville ChaimBerlin,
“You might remember me from ~4 or 5 years ago”
You might remember me too. I’ve been on the CR since the early days, though my posts seem less memorable in general.
“We had our token leftists”
Maybe it was before your time, but we also had posters such as (these are from memory, so may not get them exactly right): Illini007, Feif Un, OhTeeDee, etc., so I think the left wing representation was more robust than you remember.
“but by criticizing the religious/political-left”
These are not the same thing. We have posters on here now who are seemingly quite far to the right politically but rather left on the religious spectrum, and vice versa.
“I presume I might get censored here just as I would on mainstream internet forums. How did this happen? Did management change?”
My personal view is that the earlier CR participants developed a lot of camaraderie with each other, and over the years many of those participants have stopped being active, and newer participants haven’t developed the same level of camaraderie. Maybe it’s because people have turned to other forms of social media (like WhatsApp). Additionally, the earlier CR used to have discussions and debates primarily of religious or Jewish-specific cultural issues. Now there is much more focus on national political issues. I also notice many participants who exhibit remarkable differences in writing styles depending on the issue, or whether the post is an OP or a response. It leads me to wonder if a number of current participants see themselves (or are even employed) as “influencers”, and are posting recycled content/sound bites, or even engaging in false-flag trolling. That surprises me a bit, because the CR seems like an awfully small pond for an influx of external influencers.
“”Who cares what the Torah says!” and it gets let through?”
I missed this, where was it posted? There’s a pinned thread intended for participants to directly interact with the mods. If egregiously bad posts are making it through, you can maybe point it out there. I think there are fewer mods than there used to be, but they still genuinely seem to care about the forum.May 8, 2023 4:06 pm at 4:06 pm #2188354
Thank you for the compliments (although extremely overdone, and especially the Igros Moshe part which is simply untrue).
(I still do some occasional lurking and even an occasional post here and there. I happened to see your name here so opened the thread.)
Nice to “see” you.May 8, 2023 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #2188363
Of course I remember you. And you’re posts are memorable because you’re one of the people that actually knows how to do the real quotey thing that requires HTML markup.
As for the anti-Torah comment from my OP, I guess I shouldn’t have put that in quotes. I doubt anyone actually said those exact words, but when the gay club at YU was being debated that was certainly the sentiment. It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say there were people vocally of the mindset that certain halachos can be considered “outdated.”
I remember 2 of the old posters names you mention, but I don’t remember them being particularly left leaning. I remember rebdoniel being defensive of YCT, and when gadalhadorah first started here he was pretty antagonistic towards chareidim, but I think he’s chilled out a bit.
Daas Yochid is alive!
I should have mentioned your modesty when I was complimenting you! You used to regularly come into halacha discussion threads with a bunch of sources backing up what you said and with links to hebrewbooks. It really kept the bar high for debate on this forum.May 8, 2023 8:16 pm at 8:16 pm #2188389maskildoreshParticipant
I mostly lurk but can’t agree more with many of your points, Neville.
I am frustrated and saddened on a regular basis by the fact that almost no one researches or quotes actual sources even when discussing Torah topics, Halacha or Hashkafa. It’s extremely saddening.May 8, 2023 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #2188392maskildoreshParticipant
Except Avira, Reb Eliezer and a few othersMay 8, 2023 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #2188398MarxistParticipant
Neville- You are forgetting Patur Aval Assur. That guy was an unbelievable baki. It’s a shame that in a lot of old threads the hebrew letters have turned into question marks because he had a tremendous amount of rare and great sources to back up his points. Now to see it you need the wayback machine.May 8, 2023 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #2188419CTLAWYERParticipant
I do not live in NY, nor do I wish to do so. After my 120, I shall join my forebears in the family plot in Queens. No chance of me owning a gun in the grave.
BTW> you label the NY Guard an unorganized militia and as such it would not fall under the 2nd Amendment.
B ing liable to a call up, but not sworn I. Does not make one a member of the Guard.May 8, 2023 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm #2188431Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
I would like to defend CTL. I do not agree with many of his political positions, but I think he is reflecting an authentic Jewish tradition, mostly Yakkish – but not only – of Jews being comfortable both with Jewish sources and world culture. This may sound ridiculous if your family comes from the Pale or Hungarian villages, or Yemen, or Persia, or if your information comes from teachers from same places, but not if your family comes from London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw, Petersburg … True, many Jews in the latter areas ended with assimilation, but (a) those who survived are worth respect, and (b) a lot of people from other areas also did not end well.May 9, 2023 8:19 am at 8:19 am #2188459
Don’t blame you on the NY part
Avoid at all costs
Actually what I was saying was that the second amendment was written at a time of mandatory membership in the militia, making the second half of the clause logical. The militias became the organized (national ie federal guard) and unorganized (aka the NY/state guard)
If you look at the NY military code and us code all able bodied men are automatically members. They might not be sworn in but that is how it is written. I’m guessing it’s a holdover from the original mandatory membership of revolutionary times.
10 code us 246 and ny military 2 establish all able bodied men (17-45)as being in a militia
Now I may be missing legal nuance, but that’s why I’ve got youMay 9, 2023 2:47 pm at 2:47 pm #2188715
You used to regularly come into halacha discussion threads with a bunch of sources backing up what you said
That’s true, but does not mean I have encyclopedic knowledge of the Igros Moshe.May 9, 2023 2:53 pm at 2:53 pm #2188720
Of course I remember you. And you’re posts are memorable because you’re one of the people that actually knows how to do the real quotey thing that requires HTML markup.
Also because his posts are intelligent and well written and always courteous.May 9, 2023 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm #2188745
Neville: You remember illini07? He was from the pre-CR days when there was only the main site. When the CR started in the summer of 2008 he was from the first posters here. (In fact, his last post was directed to me.)
Any old timer will surely remember this classical thread:
Eight highly active far-left-wing posters [from a Torah perspective] (all of whom were active on both the main site and the new CR) were identified in the OP. And they weren’t the only ones.May 9, 2023 5:03 pm at 5:03 pm #2188768
I see you also possess the ancient secret of HTML markup. Could it be that your seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of the Igros Moshe can be explained away by being tech savvy to know how to search for stuff on Hebrewbooks?
No problem with you defending CTL, but just to set one thing straight: the pre-war American community that was known to eating unchecked lettuce, not keeping tznius, not having mechitzos, going to public school, eating cholov akum (pre-heter), etc. was not an “authentic tradition,” and you are inadvertently maligning the European communities you choose to associate with it. We aren’t talking about being able to quote Shakespeare and Plato here; we’re talking about real issues.
I’m guessing since CTL is presumably under the age of 90, he probably doesn’t go this far back, but Rome wasn’t built in a night. I know we like to automatically assume earlier generations were always holier, but you have to realize historically where we’re coming from when you apply that to America.
I remember a few of those names, but not illini07. I didn’t think Rabbiofberlin was that bad, but maybe I’m forgetting.May 9, 2023 6:07 pm at 6:07 pm #2188802
Why cant we find an option here to edit/delete our posts and accounts?
This is real-life. You can’t just delete things that you’ve said.
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