May 23, 2011 2:53 am at 2:53 am #779439
Fascinating book by Ms Margolese. Heres some of an Amazon review (I darkened the few sentences I wanted to emphasize):
This is an important book. And the writer of the book is to be commended for choosing a subject which is of great importance to the Jewish community, and has not been previously treated ( so far as I know) in book form. Faranak Margolese spent five years preparing this book, interviewed several hundred people including many major Rabbis for the project. She studied the subject in depth and came to no easy and hasty conclusion.
One of her findings is that there is no single all- encompassing reason why observant Jews cease to be so. It can be the coolness of their own observant parents to religion, or the difficulty they have with teachers in school. It can come from their own sense of the religion’s simply ‘not working’ for them. There are many , many reasons. And the author is honest enough to say that she has no formula for any specific case.
Here it is important to note that this study is written by an observant person who is looking at the falling away from observance as something ‘negative’ In other words this book’s audience is the audience of observant Jews worried about what is happening to their community.
My own experience teaches me too that there are many reasons for falling away. One is simply the great amount of time and effort required to be religious when people are in frameworks ( for instance, university) where they may be pressed for time. I would too second one of the major points the author makes, the frequent insensitivity of religious people to the needs of their fellows. Even in the matter of ‘rebuking’ those fallen away, I have seen a neglect of Rambam’s advice to do this gently and with respect for the dignity of the person.
I believe one reason the author may not give enough emphasis too is the question of love of truth and intellectual integrity. Einstein left religious life simply because he came to believe its stories ‘not true’. I think that in present day Judaism there is a tremendous turning away, even on the part of the most leading and modern rabbis, from the intellectual challenges brought about by a world which scientifically and technically is changing at an accelerated pace.
In this regard I remember one session I attended in a certain well – known Yeshiva , which will go nameless here. A young student whose background was in the sciences asked a question about the religious view of the origin of the Universe. The teacher said to the young man, “Do you have a washing machine?” The young man did not know what to say. The teacher went on. “Well if you do, you know it comes with a manual, a set of rules which tells you how it works. Now” he said holding a Tannakh (Bible) this is our Instruction Manual. Read this, and you will know how the Universe works” The young student looked a bit perplexed, but the teacher was extremely satisfied with himself. My point is that not always are our teachers and educators at the level required to meet the intellectual challenges and questions presented by students.May 23, 2011 3:06 am at 3:06 am #779440
OC: That review is the opinion of the anonymous reviewer on Amazon, who may know nothing of what he is talking about.May 23, 2011 3:12 am at 3:12 am #779441
I’ll darken a different part.
One of her findings is that there is no single all- encompassing reason why observant Jews cease to be so. It can be the coolness of their own observant parents to religion, or the difficulty they have with teachers in school. It can come from their own sense of the religion’s simply ‘not working’ for them. There are many , many reasons. And the author is honest enough to say that she has no formula for any specific case.May 23, 2011 3:25 am at 3:25 am #779442princess17Member
i think alot of them were abused either emotionally or physically and this caused them to be off the derech and Im saying this from people I personally knowMay 23, 2011 3:32 am at 3:32 am #779443
Pac, whether the reviewer does or doesnt know what he’s talking about, I’ve sat in classes years ago and rolled my eyes, as I listened to some teachers come up with feeble attempts at answers to faith questions, like the one above, and so have my children. B”H I got answers elsewhere and more strength from teachers who admitted that we dont have all the answers than from those “know-it-alls” who espoused “do this” or “believe this”…. “or else”, and came up with these kinds of feeble attempts at clarity.May 23, 2011 4:38 am at 4:38 am #779444agittayidParticipant
A neighbor who I have known since he was a young boy, did not fit the mold of his yeshivish family. He was interested in art. Rather than encouraging him, the young boy was made to feel he was a black sheep and had a difficult time growing up. Today he is a fine young man and unobservant.May 23, 2011 4:43 am at 4:43 am #779445
“Today he is a fine young man and unobservant.”
One cannot be a “fine” young man, if he discarded Torah observance.May 23, 2011 4:47 am at 4:47 am #779446MDGParticipant
Pac-Man said “And the author is any more right than anyone here because? “
The author has done her homework by interviewing hundreds of OTD kids. The product description on Amazon:
Based on a study which involved over 500 Jews who left Orthodox Judaism, Off the Derech presents the first comprehensive examination of the causes of defection from Orthodox Judaism. It clearly and thoroughly explains those causes, and provides solutions to this increasingly common phenomenon.May 23, 2011 5:00 am at 5:00 am #779447Feter ShmelkaMember
The OTD crisis is directly attributable to the two-income family that takes the Mother out of the home and away from the family.
We have been so brainwashed by secular society that not only are so many of us unfortunately blinded to this fact, we even think there could be a good to this.
Children without a full-time mother is a crime against humanity. There is no replacement for a mother; and a child needs a mother full-time. The consequences of them lacking this, is all too apparent.May 23, 2011 5:07 am at 5:07 am #779448R ShmuelMember
There IS one single reason. It is called ABUSE. Children that were not abused emotionally, will not go off the Derech. Period. (The real experienced therapists in our community know this the most).May 23, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm #779449wanderingchanaParticipant
#24. Sick communities that compel teens to commit crimes and cause serious injuries all for the “fire of Torah”May 23, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm #779450gefenParticipant
Ofcourse – in my high school, we weren’t even allowed to ask questions! if you did, you were looked upon as some sort of apikorus! how dare we question! truth be told, i still feel it was a great school, it’s just that i guess times were different. B”H it didn’t affect my frumkeit, in fact i became more right wing because of them. i am glad, though, that now we have books, etc. geared to all types of questions.
josh – i agree with you.May 23, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm #779451
To the OP. Everywhere you go? Perhaps you frequent the wrong places too often.
Also, some people use the term “off the derech” a bit too loosely. This past shabbos I heard a chassidishe yid use the term in reference to his son who married a litvishe girl and is a full fledged shmoer torah umitzvos, just on a path that is different than his father. Yes, he is off his fathers derech, but not off THE derech. Is this what our OP might mean?
Why someone might abandon torah and mitzvos is ultimately because torah umitzvos mean nothing to him/her. There are as many reasons as their are people why they find no meaning in torah and mitzvos (just as there is surely a reason this chassidishe fellow turned to a litvishe derech instead of the one he grew up on).May 23, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm #779452ItcheSrulikMember
Pac: He can be better than you or me without being observant.May 23, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm #779453
Why does anyone think this is a new phenomenon?
It happened in Europe as well, and in America in previous generations.
Statistically, I would guess a lower PERCENTAGE of children go off now than in the past 200 years (a guess).May 23, 2011 1:04 pm at 1:04 pm #779454
I think Feter Shmelka and R Shmuel’s comment are hand-in-hand. The lack of an at home mother is essentially abusive.May 23, 2011 1:31 pm at 1:31 pm #779455mewhoParticipant
geshmak has a very valid point. i see this all over the place nowadays.
mothers pushing little ones in strollers while talking or texting. the little one is not getting the attention. the person on the other end of the phone is. it is happening inthe playgrounds as well. children no longer get undivided attention. i see it upstate during the summer too.
some parents want to have ”me” time when they get upstate. they want to go walking, go to the gym, shop with their friends. they are disinterested inwhat the children are doing.
you need to be involved in your childs life.
the husbands come up for the weekend and they go to wine tasting onegs friday night. shule on shabbos, kiddush hopping shabbos after mussaf and then they sleep all shabbos afternoon fromthe booze.
give your children the attention they need from you. be available to them at all ages. whether they are coming from kindergarten, high school or college. keep an ear available for them when they are married as well.
thats what parents should be doing. you dont just pop out the baby and think you dont have to nurture them. it doesnt work that way.May 23, 2011 1:38 pm at 1:38 pm #779456R ShmuelMember
Pac-Man – NO. It is possible for a mother to work full time and be a good understanding mother. And it is also possible for a mother to be home with her kids all day, and be very abusive. (It is actually quite common).
This does’nt mean is is good or bad for mothers to be working, but that discussion is unrelated to my point.May 23, 2011 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #779457zahavasdadParticipant
Most people I know, the men are in Kollel all day and the women are WORKING
They are not away from the kids because they want “me” time, they are away from the kids because they need income to pay billsMay 23, 2011 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm #779458
Itche: If he was never frum you might be able to say if he was tinok shenishba he might still be a good person. But someone who knows and was brought up with Torah, and throws it out and starts violating the Torah, is no tinok shenishba and can not be described as good.May 23, 2011 2:12 pm at 2:12 pm #779459
R Shmuel, There IS one single reason. It is called ABUSE. Children that were not abused emotionally, will not go off the Derech. Period. (The real experienced therapists in our community know this the most).
Thats as valid a statement as saying that all cancers are a result of cigarettes. Abstaining from cigarettes will guarantee a cancer-free life. Su-erre.May 23, 2011 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm #779460shimenParticipant
dass yochid..excellent! here is someone with ‘DASS” torah, saying like it is, not a religion of everybodys personnel opinionMay 23, 2011 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #779461
A child needs a full-time mother. To deny a child his mother is abuse, and a major cause of OTD.May 23, 2011 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #779462
“Children without a full-time mother is a crime against humanity”
actually the crime is the high cost of yeshiva education that forces mothers into the work force to help pay for them….May 23, 2011 2:51 pm at 2:51 pm #779463agittayidParticipant
“A neighbor who I have known since he was a young boy, did not fit the mold of his yeshivish family. He was interested in art. Rather than encouraging him, the young boy was made to feel he was a black sheep and had a difficult time growing up. Today he is a fine young man and unobservant.”
Whether or not he is a fine person is immaterial to the discussion at hand. The question is why he is OTD. Perhaps it is his parents who were OTD (of good parenting).May 23, 2011 2:56 pm at 2:56 pm #779464
And it doesnt help when a child decides to wear a blue shirt instead of white, is looked upon like they came from a different plant…that doesn’t help either….May 23, 2011 3:31 pm at 3:31 pm #779465
what makes anyone think that its one thing that causes it? every person has their own story, situation and set of circumstances that could have caused it. but who cares why they went off- how can we get them back?!?!?!! Isnt that more important? lend them a listening ear!May 23, 2011 3:34 pm at 3:34 pm #779466
I think a lot has to do with (going OTD) fitting into social norms that really have no basis in halcaha. Trying to make children fit into certain molds can be detrimental for some…
There also has to be more kosher ways teens can enjoy themselves away from school…setting up sports leagues for kids would probably be a good thing…there is nothing wrong with getting kids involved in sports. In NJ there are several Jewish baseball leagues….I don’t know of any in Lakewood boro park etc. but I could be wrong….
Kids need an outlet, better to have a kosher supervised one then letting it up to the teems themselves….May 23, 2011 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #779467
a gitta, Perhaps it is his parents who were OTD (of good parenting)
Perhaps and perhaps not. Yaish v’Yaish.
Perhaps our schools ought to offer parenting education. It’s not ingrown all the time. Surely wouldnt hurt.May 23, 2011 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #779468
I would never have pegged my kindergarten morah as an abuser. live and learn.May 23, 2011 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #779469
actually the crime is the high cost of yeshiva education that forces mothers into the work force to help pay for them….
Who committed this crime?
I agree that for many, the high cost of tuition is a tremendous problem. But I don’t believe that rebbeim and teachers are being overpaid, nor do I think that administrators are pocketing loads of extra money. I think it costs a lot of money to educate a child. It’s a big problem, but not a crime.May 23, 2011 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #779470
Who committed this crime?
Those who didn’t pay their share (obvious).
Those who insisted on others being Machmir, while taking no responsibility for the results.
Those who decided for others before they could make their own decisions.
And those who said “Others will take care of it”.May 23, 2011 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #779471
Why does anyone think this is a new phenomenon?
It happened in Europe as well, and in America in previous generations.
We had a relative grace period, b’chasdei Hashem, for a few decades, after WWII, so our generation perceives it as a new phenomenon. It’s also a new yetzer hara, for the street, whereas in Europe the yetzer hasa was for secular “enlightenment” and in America, acceptance into secular society.May 23, 2011 4:57 pm at 4:57 pm #779472
Am I in Chelm?May 23, 2011 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #779473
And it doesnt help when a child decides to wear a blue shirt instead of white, is looked upon like they came from a different plant…
Which plant, k’la ilan? ?
Seriously, I’m sure there are such cases, although I don’t know of any personally. I do know plenty of white shirt parents with blue shirt kids who are very much accepted and loved.May 23, 2011 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #779474
Those who didn’t pay their share (obvious).
Fair point. Although a number of school administrators and board members have told me that full tuition is roughly what it costs for one child’s education (fundraising covers those who don’t pay full tuition), surely if people would pay according to their means and not try to get away with as little as possible, full tuition cost could be reduced.
Let’s face it though, that’s not where the anger is directed.
The rest of your post I did not understand.May 23, 2011 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #779475
what do the gedolim say is the issue? wouldn’t it make more sense to look at their opinions rather than make up our own?!? I think ppl would rather bash the system and complain about what everyone else is doing wring rather than hear from those who are greater than us about what the real issue is.May 23, 2011 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #779476
Am I in Chelm?
Yes.May 23, 2011 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #779477
DY: So look what was different 40 years ago that is no longer true now and was not true in pre-war europe, and you will have your answer.May 23, 2011 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #779478
Funny, how this seems to crop up each Spring / Summer.
Wearing gangsta clothing does not mean you are looking at someone who is off the derech. Perhaps, it means they are not yeshiva bochurim, but to paint them with such a damaging brush is wrong and hurtful.
5 teens (all in yeshiva, but out for lag Baomer) are standing on 16th Ave at 2:00am, with their (white) shirts untucked.
An ex-classmate and 2 friends (all wearing hooded sweatshiirts) stops to say hello and catch up on news.
All of a sudden, you have 10 AT RISK TEENS!!
See how its important to know your facts?
Remebmer, they (or a family member) may read the CR, and seeing this sort of sensationalist reporting does no one any good.
Also, please bear in mind, while we have many boys who are slipping (and even 1 is 1 too many) we do not have an epidemic! We have 1000s of good boys, and 100s who may not want to fit the mold we have made for them.
But to say the yeshiva / parenting system is a failure, is plain wrong. We need to do whatever we can to help each and every person find the niche that’s right for them, but in the meantime, lets give credit where its due.May 23, 2011 5:29 pm at 5:29 pm #779479zahavasdadParticipant
In the Book by the Iranian woman
She gave an example of a Chassidic boy who did not want to wear a har. His father forced him to wear a hat and it became a struggle.
I suppose many called him “Off the Dereach” ,
Of course it became a self-fufilling prophecy and eventually the boy did go off the dereach.
But the Author also gave her own story, She was all gung ho about frumkite, she then went to Israel for a year in seminary and she was caught hanging with a bunch of friends , including a boy. Her rosh yeshiva ignored her the rest of the year and she was turned off. The rosh yeshiva of the seminary bascially threw her out because she was caught hanging with boys on Ben Yehuda St.
Teens need a little space, You need to know how much to give them, but some space is likely. You catch alot more flies with Honey than vinegarMay 23, 2011 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #779480
I made me post before reading all the others.
I repeated what you said. Sorry for the re-write. (but glad to see I’m not alone).
And Adore –
The gedolim have spoken about it. This (like many other issues we find ourselves confronting) are not “new”. The faces / places may have changed, but inspiring a bren for yiddishkeit has been job # 1 from day 1.
We are working on it (and doing a fine job, BTW). And we need to do more.
That’s the full time job of a parent (and to a degree, the job of a mechanich)May 23, 2011 6:02 pm at 6:02 pm #779481
DY: That is because the rest of it is debt, and missed payments to Rabbaim.
We had this discussion a while back, regarding tuition, salaries, and the kitchen sink. I see no reason to do it again.
The last three points are V’Hamavin Yavin. If you do not understand, that is OK.May 23, 2011 6:02 pm at 6:02 pm #779482
DY: So look what was different 40 years ago that is no longer true now and was not true in pre-war europe, and you will have your answer.
I think every generation has its’ nisayon and its’ yetzer hara, and every generation has the imperative to withstand that nisayon and yetzer hara. It is a young adult’s obligation to choose the right path, and parents’ and educators’ obligation to make the choice of “uvacharta vachaim” as pleasant and rewarding as possible.
If I had to offer an opinion of today’s nisayon, I would say it’s the double edged sword of the influence of an ever increasingly immoral society (both in middos and kedusha), with the high pressure lifestyles we live which make it very challenging to fortify our children against that influence.May 23, 2011 6:06 pm at 6:06 pm #779483
bpt- I know that they have spoken about it just wanted to remind ppl that they can have theories from today to tomorrow but whats important is what they say, NOT WHAT WE THINK!May 23, 2011 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #779484WolfishMusingsParticipant
Children without a full-time mother is a crime against humanity. There is no replacement for a mother; and a child needs a mother full-time. The consequences of them lacking this, is all too apparent.
I’m curious… if children without a mother is a crime against humanity (a VERY strong term), would you advocate removing children from a father-only household to be adopted by a frum, loving couple? If not, why would you allow this crime to continue to be perpetrated against them?
The WolfMay 23, 2011 8:16 pm at 8:16 pm #779485ItcheSrulikMember
Pac: Given the amount of nonsense and outright evil in our communities today, the FFB have more of a reason to leave. The fact that more don’t is evidence for the true Torah underneath it all.May 23, 2011 8:41 pm at 8:41 pm #779486
“Children without a full-time mother is a crime against humanity. There is no replacement for a mother; and a child needs a mother full-time. The consequences of them lacking this, is all too apparent.”
I’ll take it a step further, what if the Mother is niftar and the children live with their father? If this is a crime we need to report it to the authorities so they children can be removed from the house immediately….
Feter Shmelka…do you see how silly you sound?May 23, 2011 9:46 pm at 9:46 pm #779487
I can’t know what was on Fetter Shmelka’s mind, but what I hope he meant (and I would agree, but not phrased the same way) is women who, by choice, turn their back on the needs of their children (so they can shop, go to tzedoko parties, pursue a carrear, even though $ is not the issue), they (and their partner husbands) have done their kids a huge dis-service.
Same applied to families who jet off to vacations all the time and leave the kids in the care of the nanny.
The single parent (regardless of gender) who is trying their best? We need to support and applaude them.
The parent (either half) who are “too busy” to tend to their kids? We need to condemn and ostracize them.
And before anyone jumps down my throat, yes, I know sets of both kind of parents.
And the kids are living proof of you get what you give.May 23, 2011 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm #779488
Ok, so what DO the Gedolim offer as advice to prevent kids from going OTD? Obviously they dont have one-size-fits-all clear-cut answers, because Im aware of Gedolim who have had OTD kids themselves (to different degrees, some Shomer Shabbos, some not). The Yetzer Hara affects all kids. Even Gedolim’s.
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