Urgent Communal Concerns to be Addressed at Agudah Convention


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agudah5.jpgAmong the most popular and effective aspects of an Agudah convention are the concurrent sessions that enable participants to come together in smaller, more informal settings where they can thoroughly examine critical issues of the day and share ideas regarding how best to address them.

In many ways, observes Mr. Aron Tessler, who is serving as this year’s convention chairman, these sessions typify what a convention, and indeed the Agudah movement itself, is about.

“Baruch Hashem, as a klal we have much to be proud of, including the myriad tzedaka and chesed organizations that provide important and vital services to the community. What sets the Agudah apart, however, is that it is both an incubator and a facilitator of ideas.”

In fact, he points out, many tzedaka and chesed organizations were originally conceived at Agudath  Israel of America conventions.  Shuvu, the Vaad Li’hatzolas Nidchei Yisroel. Operation Open Curtain, Ichud Mosdos Hachinuch of Brooklyn, Project YES, the Emergency Parnassah Initiative… The list is a long and impressive one.

This year’s convention – the organization’s 87th – will take place Thursday through Sunday, November 26-29 at the East Brunswick Hilton in East Brunswick, New Jersey. The conventions theme is “Areivim Zeh Lozeh: Dealing Decisively – And Jewishly — with the Challenges We Face”

Among the issues that will be discussed at the Thursday afternoon concurrent sessions – which, like all the other weekday sessions, are open to the public, free of charge – are the persistent and ever-growing dangers posed by the internet and other electronic media (“Tangled Up in the Web: Real Problems, Real Solutions”); the search for new and innovative ways to help singles find their mates (“Thinking Outside the Shidduch Box: New Approaches to an Old Problem”); and the imperative to preserve  the memories – and the lessons—of the Holocaust for our children (Seventy Years Later: The Need to Keep Churban Europe Before the Eyes of Our Young”).

On Friday morning, four concurrent roundtable discussions will deal with such topics as identifying and addressing “pre-risk”  distress in our children (“Denying ‘At-Risk’ a Foothold: The Importance of Prevention and Early Intervention” ); finding ways to insulate ourselves from the moral darkness of the world while striving to be a light unto the nations (“Standing Up to the ‘New Normal’: Contemporary Culture’s Assault on Torah Values” ); maintaining a strong and enduring connection to Torah study growth – even after we leave the walls  of the yeshiva (“ Beyond the Beis Medrash: Ensuring That When the Yeshiva is Left, It’s Not Left Behind”); and exercising our communal responsibility to ease the physical and emotional pain of those still suffering from the economic downturn (“Arvus in Action: Our Communal Responsibility Victims of the Economic Collapse”).

Says Mr. Tessler: “When Yidden gather at a knessia l’shem Shomayim – and  resolve not only to confront the problems we face but to take constructive  steps to alleviate them, Hakodosh Boruch Hu provides the wherewithal for success.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. this is very nice , but the most important discussion is not being discussed and that is the tuition crises were parents and yeshivas have to run around day and night trying to raise the funds.

  2. “The lessons of the Holocaust for our children”.

    But they shy away when they don’t want to discuss ‘Lomoh Osso Hashem Kocho’, which we are obligated to yearn to know.

    We must teach our children to care and love every human being, Yid or Non-Yid. Never ever to use words like, Shegetz or Shiksa or Urrel or Peiger.

    We must learn from Avrohom who loved and prayed for every Nationality.

    Hashem will reward us and He will instill into the nations, only love towards us.

  3. It happens to be that the Tuition Crises has been discussed many times at Agudah conventions. In fact just a few years ago it was a major track that was discussed throughoutthe whole convention. Unfortunately there are no easy answers

  4. Yosse, if you feel there is a viable tuition solution, no one is stopping you from forming your own committee to find alternatives. The rabbis at the Agudah convention don’t have the monopoly on solving all the world’s problems.
    They don’t stop the laymen from getting involved!

  5. midwesterner
    they don’t stop the laymen from getting involved
    they do stop the laymen from getting involved . the proof of this is simple. hamodea and the yated refuse to publish any letter that they feel will hurt the image of the agudah.

  6. Yosse, you are so off base it is frightning. Tuition and Yeshiva assistance is part of the daily lifeblood of Agudas Yisroel. Not a minute goes by every single day that Rabbi Zwiebel and Rabbi Lefkwouitz (and the Askonim who work with them) are not working on behalf of Yeshivos, parents and our children.Every ounce of their Shtadlonis efforts goes towards easing the heavy burdon on Yeshiva families. How could you be so unfair and blind? Tuition has been discussed and rediscussed many times and serious efforts are always ongoing to deal with this major issue. As everybody knows its not simple. Come up with solutions not finger pointing.
    As for #3 rabbiofberlin-your comments are boring! If you must- at least come up with some new innovative jabs at Klal yisroels organization, please. Your comments have been recycled and we are all frankly sick of them. They provide no help or solution to todays very serious problems.
    Botoom line,either your working towards solutions or your part of the problem but either way blaming the agudah for not caring or wanting to fix real problems is nasty and ignorant. The Gedolim have decised that the time has come to make the Holocaust a new conversation for todays children. You dont call the shots. So Rabbi,are there no agenda issues being discussed at the convention that you feel deserve to be topics?Give us a break,stop hiding behind your scrren name- you dont need an excuse to bash the Agudah it obviously come easy to you which is why your comments will be ignored.
    Stop whining and start working.

    PS The Agudah hardly owns the Yated and Hamodia anybody who has an ounce of saichel and knowledge knows that.

  7. To Ader:
    Quote – “The lessons of the Holocaust for our children”.
    Reply – The Blushever Rebbe ZTvK”L, a leading member of the Moetzes Gedolei Yisroel, was very outspoken about this. He said it must be taught and spoken about. B”H many books have since been written on the subject which represent a true picture of the mesiras nefesh for Torah u’mitzvos and the emunah (not so) p’shutah of so many of the kedoshim. All of this is a welcome change from the untruths available to us for so long.

    Q – “But they shy away when they don’t want to discuss ‘Lomoh Osso Hashem Kocho’, which we are obligated to yearn to know.”
    A – Where does it say this?

    Q – “We must teach our children to care and love every human being, Yid or Non-Yid.”
    A – Is this your own opinion or that of the Torah, and Chazal? Does “rei’acha” include members of all nations?

    Q – “Never ever to use words like, Shegetz or Shiksa or Urrel or Peiger.”
    A – Urrel is used in Chazal. Were they insensitive? What about meshumed or nochri? They too were PC in Chazal’s mind. Akum was the invention of the censors. Maybe its appropriateness changes over time. I, by the way, never heard a Rosh Yeshiva use the other terms you mention, nor, for that matter any “bentch k’vetcher.”

    Q – “We must learn from Avrohom who loved and prayed for every Nationality.”
    A – Arguably, if what you say is true, this was all before matan Torah, before “asher bachar banu m’kol ha’amim.”. Would you also say we should go out and “convert” members of every nationality just as Avrohom Avinu did?

    Q – “Hashem will reward us and He will instill into the nations, only love towards us.
    A – I am happy to see that you know how, and for what, HaShem rewards.

    To Rabbi of Berlin:
    Q – “they will never discuss this because it what you are talking about is a REAL problem and they have no intention of solving or mitigating real problems, just discussing airily some platitudes.”
    A – I am sorry, but history proves this statement blatently inaccurate if not hateful. They have addressed head on, and made much progress in areas such as unemployment, shiduchim, children at risk, etc.
    Q – “If they would really want to tackle every day problemsa, they would talk about the scary lack of qualifications for young married men in the workplace, due to the incessant drumbeat of “learning forever”. (college, chas vecholilloh- vocational school- chas vecholilo)”
    A – I don’t know where you learned, but my close involvement in the world of Yeshiva education – both secular and kodesh departments – has seen every effort made to direct those who are best served by pursuing careers outside the Bais Medrash, to do so. Mir, Chaim Berlin, Chofetz Chaim, etc. Their leaders and staff all have full orchestras (not just drummers with one beat).

    Q – “Or they might talk of the quasi-blackmail that young bochurim exercise in the shidduch place because they insist in being supported forever by their future in laws…
    A – it used to be that fathers-in-law fought over the best bochur in the Yeshiva. Now we have to show them what is worth paying for. True less willingness to learn forever with mesiras nefesh, but then again, the “baal ha’bos” 60 + years ago did not drive a Lexus, human hair custom sheitles, etc.

    Q – “nah- those are not the real problems. The real problem is how we preserve the memory of the Holocaust”
    A – True, and one that our Gedolim have stressed for years.

  8. to; Rabbi of Berlin

    Youre treading on dangerous waters. and also,youre very politically incorrect in criticizing the”Learning Boys” dilemma. Let’s not make waves now. We are not back in the 50’s or 60’s get with the program. All boys should be in kollel regardless whether or not they belong there. Work is a 4 letter word. And,yes unfortunately, some shidduch boruchim do play the game in looking for a”sugar daddy” to support them and make life easy for them. and why not? havent they also gone thru the holocaust? and suffering? dont they deserve a break too?

  9. Shuali- if you fail to teach your children to love and respect every human being, you also fail to have the right to complain if other parents fail to teach their children to respect Jews.

    The Holocause would have been a lot worse if those individuals who had saved Jews at great risk to themselves were taught prejudice and bigotry as you seem to suggest is appropriate.

  10. Comment by askan 7.Yosse, you are so off base it is frightning. Tuition and Yeshiva assistance is part of the daily lifeblood of Agudas Yisroel.

    that mite be , but nothing is being done about it. you should know that a few years ago i had this same conversation with one of the heads of the agudah . i will not say his name here because it is unfair to mention someones name without giving him a chance to explain what he meant . however when i told him that all the kids who go to yeshiva should register in the public school system which in new york city and most other locations are bursting at the seems and they don’t have room for all these new Jewish boys and girls . then we give the ultimatum , take our kids in and make us all feel secure , or give us money from all the taxes that we pay and we will use that to help yeshivas educate our kids . you will see how fast the state will come up with the money , because the Jewish schools don’t need as much money to run as the public schools.
    his answer to me was very simple . it would be a tremendous embarrassment if the Jewish schools don’t open do to lack of funds , that means it looks like we are unable to educate our own .
    just for the record when i went in to new york state senator Carl Kruger to discuss this matter he told that my was a great idea was a great one and this is a route that should be taken to rectify this matter.

  11. To Shuali

    1. The Ritvoh writes that the reason Hashem uses ‘Middoh Knged Middoh’, is, so that we can try to figure out “Lomoh Choroh Ho’af Hagodol”. The Satmar Rov brings dozens of sources that we are obligated to want to know why HKB”H is punishing us so that we can try to correct the cause of the Pironious.

    2. If our children, on the buses, or all over in Cheder, don’t stop using these horrible name-calling (including the game “Ver Ken Machen Ah Urrel Peigeren”), we are to blame.

    3. There are many dark clouds on the Horizon. We better do Teshuva before it’s to late.

  12. Obviously “ader” hasn’t been to too many Rebbes and Rabbonim or ma’amarim, where Gedolei Yisroel often use such terms as Shegetz or Shiksa or Urrel or Peiger.

    Or, perhaps, “ader” considers himself wiser than Gedolei Yisroel ZT’L and Shlita.