What REALLY happened with those boys that OTD en masse?

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    I hear whispers and bits and pieces about the boys that were in a certain “metzuyan” Yeshiva, that had questions on basic yiddishkeit, and then OTD… but wait, they got married to unsuspecting wives, then divorced shortly thereafter.

    I am curious, what REALLY happened? Were they seriously seeking, or were they just a bunch of boys that got caught in the times, something in their “yiddishkeit” part of their soul just died? And why? IF they were really seeking, and their questions were quashed, isn’t that just as much their Rebbes/Mentors fault as theirs?

    Lots of other questions… but I am really curious to know details, if someone can share them here… (maybe there will also be lessons to learn)


    I, in all honesty, have no idea what the heck you’re talking about.

    The Wolf


    There are a lot of lessons to learn but no one really wants to know, because no matter what people in the know say there are always going to be detractors who are going to keep saying that OTD is a choice, yada, yada yada. And keep blaming the kids for not being taught to have a love of Yiddishkeit, a love for mitzvos, midos and maasim tovim.

    They are still going to blame kids for not being old enough and mature enough to handle their own pain and their own questions. Enough said?


    It was heresay, from what I gathered in shul. It did not make the press, so I doubt it was 4, and doubt it was from a “mitzuyan” place, and doubt there were 4 divorces in one fell swoop.

    The whole story sounded a bit vauge.


    The numbers I heard were 6 to 8. And that the divorces actually happened in a 6 month span of time…


    is OTD a verb? Anyhow, what in heaven’s name are you talking about? I have no clue- but seems like there’s no point to this discussion and can only lead to lashon hara. Grow up people! Not EVERYTHING is your business! YOU are the people that make these situations hard for people who are going through them.


    Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency. Hard to believe 4-8 cases in one yeshiva in a 6 month period.


    APY – Depends on the size of the yeshiva. If it’s a really big one, 4-8 in half a year works out to 8 – 16 in a full year, not entirely unbelievablegiven what’s going on these days. But vnishmartemmeod makes it sound like some kind of plague – like a contagious spiritual flu.

    And of course, aren’t ALL yeshivas “metzuyan?” 🙂

    Mabye the whole story is apocryphal? It sounds like a frum version of a supermarket tabloid.


    I don’t know about you all, but this story bothers me to the core. And it’s only the tip of the iceberg. (That, and my curiousity is what makes me seek the details…)

    Think about it: Did you read Smile E Face’s “am I typical/normal” post? And the responses? So many admitting to having questions, and trusting no one close to them to ask or get answers from. So some are lucky… but others? Fall through the cracks. And I’m sure there are other scenarios… causing this OTD disease. It really is one… an epidemic in fact.

    Mishpacha had an article this week that I think was so timely, and hit it on the head: We are losing our young ones to “emptiness”. And when feeling empty, yet with a good head on ones shoulders… it is quite difficult to stay in “the system” because that must feel terribly suffocating… and unfortunately, “the baby gets thrown out with the bath water” and EVERYTHING gets thrown out by the person feeling “EMPTY”.

    Appreciate ye’all reading my ramblings… I’m tired, but I did want to try to get a point across anyway…

    Would love to spin off this thread into: How can I raise MY children, to feel a strong connection to Hashem, and the Torah… as opposed to just doing things by rote, and possibly falling prey to this disease called OTD, otherwise known as “feeling empty, giving it up”.


    Kind of puts the “marrying a BT” conversation in an interesting light, eh?


    This is fascinating. I’m going to have to google this.


    I worked with a young woman who lost her mother quite suddenly at the very young age of 11. She told me that she was in so much pain and no one recognized it. Her teachers kept pointing to her top button which was unbuttoned when her broken heart was just three inches away. No one worried about that, only about her top button. That hurt her even more to the inner most spaces of her soul. So she started asking questions and they didn’t know what to do with her. Of course you know what they did, they sent her on her way right out of the school. I found her in an at-risk school and she became a daughter to me. B”H she is very frum today and married to a very nice yeshivish boy.

    We caught this one, but we lose so many, many more. Some forever because they numb their pain with substances and sometimes they go overboard and we can never get them back. Some purposely because the pain is too much to bear and they take their own lives. But B”H there are kind hearted people out there that open their hearts and arms to them and allow them to come rushing in. They show them the love that one is supposed to show a fellow Jew. They show them what true Yiddishkeit is about and what true ahavas yisroel is about, and how to apply what we learn in the Torah to everyday life, and if we are very lucky, they start to come back home again.


    really don’t know if the story is true or not, but why are we always so surprised? when all the latest gadgets, ipods, phones, etc. are at our fingertips and you can hook onto all the junk out there. why are we so surprised?

    minyan gal

    I sometimes wonder if emptiness or having too many questions are the only reasons that some choose to opt out. Perhaps it is a lifestyle choice. A kid in his late teens begins to think – “Is this really what I want? I see my father looking old before his time, struggling to pay tuition and meet other expenses. My mother must work so hard to raise so many children. I look around and see others from smaller families who have a much easier time. Do I really want to be a clone of my father? Actually, I have always wanted to be a writer (or firefighter or police officer or forest ranger or whatever) and that usually does not fit a frum lifestyle. Do I just want to live my life wearing a dark suit and going to shul 3 times a day. “

    Forgive the rambling but I actually think that some of these reasons could be why they leave. What I think is unfortunate is that many of them drop out of Judaism completely rather than “ramp down” on their Judaic practices. Is it because they have been taught that there is no other Judaism except the frum type? It is a big problem and we are losing far too many of our best and brightest. I only wish that I had the intelligence or knowledge of how to begin to solve the problem.


    No to get too personal here, but I was that kid. I had the issues, and I had the questions. And then I got angry. I fought with my rebbeim. I asked questions, and people got angry at me for it. So I began to read. And read. I read the Koran, the New Testament, Kant, Plato, Aristotle; Spinoza & Descartes- I read Moreh Nevuchim and Shaar HaYichud, the Kuzari and…started calling R’ Avigdor Miller. And reading his books. His clarity – the fact that somebody cared to think about all this – made a tremendous impression on me.

    I used to wander, late late at night, thinking, thinking , thinking…

    After thinking, writing – and finally, finding one understanding Rebbe, I found a base that made everything else worth fighting through. I left high school with a base, a basis, that stays with me today.

    Minyan Gal – offering me Judaism lite wouldn’t have worked, nor has it worked for a dying american conservative & reform Jewish population in the swamp of intermarriage and disinterest, where a check to the UJA apparently has not been able to fill the need for meaning, which in a two generations won’t even exist. And it never stops with Judaism lite, it means throwing out all the basic principles of Judaism; a Judaism not worth fighting for. At least when you have nothing you can’t fool yourself that you have something. That what the Israelis do; if there be Judaism in their lives, they want it to be Orthodox. And that’s why the Baal Teshuvah movement there has broken three hundred thousand.

    What I wanted wasn’t something lite; that was more garbage. I wanted something real.


    thats why children have to be raised that there is no one way to live as a jew. The main thing is to be shomer torah and mitzvos. If being yeshivish and “black” works for them, great, but they shouldn’t feel trapped in the yeshivish lifestyle of “start in kollel then become a rebbi.”


    Amichai: Yeah, like the internet.

    Minyangal: you have a point. Chanoch l’naar al pi darko has fallen by the wayside, but it’s kind of like the guns and people debate. It’s not the inevitable result of Orthodox Judaism as much a by product of our being influenced by the air we breathe and broader culture. Right now, the broader culture is the most superficial in history. (I can even picture the angels scratching their heads as they try to figure us out so they can defend us properly.) What’s filtered down is an emphasis on the superficial and the type of conformity you see.

    There are a LOT of things one can do for a living if s/he’s willing to think outside the box and if her/his parents are supportive and do good parenting. And something that’s been ingrained in me is that phrase, for a living. Nothing wrong with finding meaning and pleasure in your 9 – 5 day, and opportunity to make a kiddush Hashem and the name of Hashem beloved in one’s professional life. But we don’t do ourselves any service by defining ourselves by our professions. As people, and Jews, we are so much more than that.

    And what’s up with the dark suit three times a day? Let’s parse that.

    One doesn’t HAVE to wear a dark suit to daven. The idea is to stand before the King “kempt”, vs. unkempt.

    And three times a day… you got a problem with that?

    Let’s flip it around. Say a young Orthodox woman would say, you know, I’m moved to daven three times a day and I want to organize my day to be able to go to a minyan to be able to say all the extra ameins, yehei shemei rabbas, etc. You wouldn’t stand up for her rights to actualize herself?


    Family size is not an indicator of emotional or financial stability.

    Small families can be poor, too. There are large families that are well off. Mothers of small families can have worse parenting skills than those of large families.

    Considering the matzav today, the career choices for frum people have had to expand. “Writer” seems to be one of the most popular careers for Jewish women currently, so why not try it (unless you are looking to write something antithetical to a frum lifestyle)? we are raising our children not to be clones of their father in respect to his career. let them follow what they are good at.

    and in eretz yisrael, they import irish firemen? there there are no jewish policemen, forest rangers, etc? here in ny there are also jewish policement etc.


    Yes, These boys are Metzuyunim, and they are from a metuzyin yeshivah. Although not all of them are divorced and not all of them are even married. The real truth we wont ever know.. But there’s most def. something!

    I heard saying the beliefs bordered atheism,

    But, I don’t know if i should believe that… SO take off a bit of the exxageration,


    Best line I’ve read in a long while >>(I can even picture the angels scratching their heads as they try to figure us out so they can defend us properly.)

    so right

    Where are all these Mikvah Tales coming from? And why does everyone’s Mikvah have a different version?


    vnishmartemmeod makes a good point. If this story (and the “typical teen” thread) get us thinking about things we can do to prevent this, it is worth our time and attention to this story.

    If its just info gathering, then its a waste of time.

    Lets make it the former!


    Moq, all I can say is “Wow”. Definitely heartening, your story… And everyone else that weighed in, good points…

    I agree that we are living in an age of superficialities. Both the secular and the Torah world are suffering from the lack of “realness”…

    There’s another scenario too: What about the children/teens that are “fine with the system” and actually go for the superficialities (levush, going to a Rebbe, etc.) but then what happens when they start maturing, thinking for themselves… and figuring out that some of it is a sham? Will they too throw away everything once that realization hits them?


    MinyanGal: It COULD be a lifestyle choice… but that’s just a different side of the problem. And exactly my point.

    Why shouldn’t they see CHOICES within the Torah world, when clearly, it’s there? Who says you cannot be a frum fireman? Or cop? Or doctor? Or ANYTHING that is not going against halacha?

    I think that we’re starting to dig in the right place… and beginning to formulate the “problem”. Which is quite heartening… because as soon as we start getting to the real root of the problem, we can start brainstorming for solutions that can actually have a chance to work. And I’m not even thinking “big picture” here… I’m thinking more along the lines of “with our own families, how can we avoid the pitfalls, how can we be successful in raising children that are “real” and “strong” in their beliefs… and know there is flexibility in their choices within our frum/Torah world…


    I guess I must be the only person on Earth who hasn’t heard this story.

    The Wolf


    That’s right, because I live on the Moon. And I’m happy to.


    I havent heard the story and this thread has told me nothing other than something may or may not have happened.


    Earth = Brooklyn?

    I’m out too. BH. sounds like stam hock.


    R’ Wolf, neither have I, just the buzz. But give it time. Soon we’ll be able to put together a picture. I suspect that all our pictures, even those more in the know will be Dali-esque.

    minyan gal

    “One doesn’t HAVE to wear a dark suit to daven. The idea is to stand before the King “kempt”, vs. unkempt.

    And three times a day… you got a problem with that?”

    Tzippi – I have no problem with davening 3 times a day – the discussion is about the young people who are opting out. It appears that they have a problem with it.

    As for the dark suit – I don’t think Hashem cares what color you wear when you pray – only that you do it. Incidentally, this morning I attended my first class of the new Chabad JLI course in medical ethics. The young rabbi teaching it was wearing a grey suit with a striped open neck sport shirt. Surprising, but refreshing. Incidentally, if class number one is a prelude, then the course will be terrific. I highly recommend it.


    The dolphins talk on the moon? Cool.


    I suspect that all our pictures, even those more in the know will be Dali-esque.

    Ooooh… I hope so. I love Dali’s work. I even have one of his prints (Metamorphosis of Narcissus) on my desk here at work. 🙂

    The Wolf


    The dolphins are long gone. Last thing they said was “all the fish”


    Ah, the OU started making tuna on the moon… 🙂


    For the last time: R. Tzipporah Heller said, the frummer the crowd, the less dropouts they have. I see it anecdotally all over. Wanna start a poll again?


    OK, gang, game time. Finish the sentence:

    “The frummer the crowd…”

    the less likely they are to hang on the internet.

    And minyan gal, if, after having learned and lived the meaning behind shacharis, mincha, and maariv, created by the Patriarchs (who were, I’m sure, inspired by the Matriarchs), the words, having an opportunity to commune with the Creator in a nusach organized by the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah (and I urge everyone to try to track down Rabbi Reisman’s shiur on the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah, and the new realities of galus and the post-prophecy era)…if after all that kids have real lasting issues, not the occasional malaise we all tend to suffer, there are other issues that they would do well to find someone really good and real to help them address.



    Please tell us what you find


    Minyan gal, if a krum fellow has krum complaints against Yiddishkeit, he should not be validated! Oh , I have to keep Shabbos, oh, I have to eat kosher, oh, no immorality. Is this the life I want to lead? I’d rather live without the ol Malchus Shamaim on my neck.

    Oy lahem le’reshoim!


    Moq, you seem to be a person with a lot of depth.

    Sister Bear

    The system is what makes good frum kids go off. Plain and simple. You can blame things from today till tomorrow, and yes there may be other factors, but the root of the problem is the system and once that changes, I think there will be less kids going off.

    There are many kids that are going off inside (there was a Mishpacha article about that) they don’t really care about Yiddishkeit inside they are just pretending on the outside cuz they learn that’s all thats really important.

    Call yourself a Bais Yaakov, but unless you act like one you aren’t. You’re lying! What message are you teaching kids? The basic things of faith in Hashem, they preach to you all the time but the way they act is the total opposite. I’m a kid in the system right now, you can take my word for what I’m saying.

    I’m a good frum girl. I was in a Bais Yaakov and hated it. And it wasn’t just my school. My friend’s friend got suspended for asking a question on Emunah or something like that. When kids get that message, then what’s the point? Why should I live a life of restrictions, that’s all that the school is teaching them. They don’t teach about the beauty of Judaism and if you try to find it, then you’re like an apikorus.

    They try to fit you into a mold and if you don’t want to be a teacher in BY and have 25 kids while living off a kollel paycheck in a basement apartment in Lakewood then you aren’t frum. Judaism is taught as all or nothing. But it’s not like that!!

    A kid who is having a hard time with Tznius or another mitzva, why should they try to fix it? They’re burning in hell either way, so why not just transgress all the others cuz you’re doomed either way.

    People become so focused on the small things that aren’t even Halacha and make them into Halacha and just focus on externals. (that did not just make sense. sorry) Judaism is a way of living. It’s not supposed to strangle you, and if it does there is something wrong!

    Sorry for ranting but it’s a really sore topic for me, becuase it’s just soooo messed up and someone needs to do something about it quick!!!!


    I hear — many good points.


    its very straight 4ward. when theres more reason to leave than to stay, why stay. lessons: [1] theres reason to stay. [2]theres nothing to leave to!


    Sister Bear,

    I agree with what you said 100%. Very well written. And there are many more people out there that feel the same but are afraid to say so for fear of being labeled ‘OTD’ when all they want is direction and answers.


    When kids talk people say “oh their just kids”. But if you don’t listen to the kids, how will you know what’s really going on?

    That is how we got this far and got so messed up. Take the time to listen “to understand” the kids. Ask questions, find out what they are really saying and feeling inside. Find out from what grade they started feeling that way. Find out at what point they started feeling frustrated and when the simcha was forced out of them.

    The “system” has covered this up for so long by saying “don’t listen to kids”. I am telling you, kids are smart. Stop shutting them out. Listen to your kids, your neighbors kids, any kids. Just take the time to listen.


    BTW, SJSinNYC, THERE ARE proofs for the Torah. And the counter-proofs are like the staffs of the Pharo’s servants — if one wants to see the truth, one can see through them.


    mdd, having heard most proofs, they are NOT foolproof. There is always reasonable doubt.

    Its easy to believe the proofs if you believe the premise (Hashem created the world and gave us the Torah). If you doubt the premise, or don’t believe in the premise, its not the open/shut case you think it is.


    Aish rabbis are a great resource for those who want proofs/answers etc. And they never make you feel as if you are wrong for asking -to the contrary, they think it’s great that you have questions and want answers.


    There should be at least one “Aish Rabbi” in every yeshiva and beis yackov.


    I don’t think it’s “proof” that is available. Rather, an intellectual understanding if we dedicate time to study and try to understand. Not IF, it’s our obligation to. There IS a limit to how much we can understand… How can we UNDERSTAND everything(have beyond a doubt “proof”)… we’d have to be like G-d to…

    But we can infer. Each to his own intellect, and pursuit of “the truth”. But the truth is within everyone’s grasp… just not “beyond a doubt”… we do have to have some faith. But it’s much easier to when we ASK the right questions, dig deep… and don’t let those why try to quash that delving succeed.

    We should not fall into that “foolproof” trap – because many have been lost to yiddishkeit because of that false/unprovable claim…

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