Warning: We Are Losing Klal Yisroel In The Catskills!

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yw logo4.jpgKids at risk. We have all heard of them, seen them, and perhaps try talking to them. But what I have personally seen on Motzei Shabbos in the Catskills is beyond human comprehension. I unfortunately cannot describe what I have witnessed on this website, but it is nothing what you can physically imagine. I have spoken with Rabbi Yakov Horowitz from Project Yes, who has given me permission to post his article which appeared in last weeks Jewish Press.

All I can say is, if your child tells you he wants to run out for a slice of pizza, and will be back in an hour, be advised that he may never come home the same.

Rabbi Horowitz Article: 

This past Sunday evening, I received a frantic call from a close friend of mine pleading with me to inform the frum public of what his eyes saw – and what his heart simply did not want to believe.

Here are his words:

I am a fifty-two-year old father and grandfather who spent the past 27 summers in the Monticello, N.Y. area. This past Motzoei Shabbos, July 28th, I received a phone call from a Brooklyn Rov asking me to gather some friends and their wives and go to Broadway (the main street) in Monticello in order to provide some adult supervision and responsible sets of eyes to the ‘scene’ in front of a pool hall situated there.

I got there at about 12:45 a.m. – at least fifteen minutes before any of our friends arrived. As I was the only Orthodox adult present at the time we got an unvarnished look at the proceedings. What I saw was beyond my wildest nightmares. Inside the pool hall and spilling out into the street were hundreds of frum boys and girls hanging out, cavorting, drinking, and snorting drugs. The kids ran the full range of Orthodox Jewry – children from very chasidish to ‘modern-Orthodox’ homes. The behavior of the boys and the dress code of the girls were simply beyond belief. In fact, it was hard to believe that these were frum kids – until you spoke to them.

Parents who are reading this: Please don’t think for a moment that this was a gathering of only “at-risk-kids.” Dozens of cars stopped by, and what you would call mainstream boys and girls got out to see what was ‘going on.’ Many of them joined the party – at least as observers. A few of the kids told us that they and their friends rented bungalows in non-Jewish colonies or rooms in hotels throughout the Catskills where they party from Thursday night until Monday morning – including Shabbos.

We circulated among the kids and tried talking to them, begging them to come home with us. We offered them a place to stay and some food to eat – for the night, or perhaps an invitation for the coming Shabbos. It was most painful to see that underneath the bravado and in-your-face mannerisms were scared kids and tortured Yiddishe neshamos.

Rabbi Horowitz, please beg each and every parent of unmarried children who are in the Catskills and not in a structured, supervised camp setting to make 110 percent certain of their whereabouts, particularly on Motzoei Shabbasos – even if your kids say that they are going for a slice of pizza or bowling with some friends. What might begin as an innocent night of fun may turn tragic – physically and spiritually.

Over the past generation, the number of our sons and daughters achieving success in our community has grown exponentially. However, our teens-at-risk population has been growing at least as rapidly. And along with their swelling ranks comes a sense of camaraderie and boldness. Thirty years ago, mischief for the vast majority of our kids was a camp prank or raid. Ten years ago, kids were hanging out and experimenting with the boundaries that our community would tolerate. Today, our disenfranchised children are forming their own community.

Do you know where your children are?

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved – Rabbi Horowitz WEBSITE




132 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent article, but what is the solution?

    It’s easy to point out the problem, but we need articles that give answers, not ones that leave us with question.

    Of course, Tefilla is the answer to everything – but our hishdalus has to include providing programs to stop this behaivor before it gets out of hand. Just as everyone is busy with kiruv rechokim – we gotta take care of those already frum, who need guidance – before it’s too late!

  2. This is not a Catskills issue, it’s not limited to any specific area. It’s a widespread community issue. The problem is not the pool hall or where they end up at any given night. The same things would probably happen to the same kids if there were no Catskills and no pool halls. There are 1,000+ reasons why these things happen and each case is radically different from the next. Each case in unique, there is no answer that answers every case. And quite frankly, I’m a little shocked at the writers shock. This is not something new.

  3. The comments will come fast and furious……Let’s not turn this into a debate about why it is happening. Let’s focus our energy and Teffilos on fixing the problem. Yes prevention is a key and understanding the many reasons as to why a child can go “off” is important – but this is NOT WHAT THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT.

    Rabbosai – unless you yourself have witnessed this scene then you cannot comment or offer an opinion. First get involved then speak.

    MANY of the hundreds of children at this place are NOT at risk kids. They are regular good normal yeshiva and Bais Yaakov children who are ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time – many times not intentionally.

    Picture the scene……loud music is playing and a few bochurim are simply standing together and “moving & shaking” a little bit to the beat -so far so good….. Now, a mere few hundred feet away a few very good Bais Yaakov girls happen to also stop to see what’s going on and they too get a little into the music….without even realizing what is transpiring around them – as an outsider who comes to see and help – it looks like the boys and girls are dancing together. They don’t mean to but they are. Now add in a few more hundred kids and you have a MAJOR problem.

    Good kids who do not belong at these places but for some reason are ending up there are there…yes there are a few who are drinking and smoking but the general Roiv of them are not…..However, if we do not get them out of these places right away then they will.

    Again, these are NOT bums off the street. These are good bochurim and good Bais Yaakov girls with teenage Nisyanos that need to be addressed and channeled correctly. There is NO yeshiva or Bais Yaakov that can stand up and claim their children would never be there. That does not mean the many wonderful Mosdos should be shut down or blamed. It means that for 10 months of the year these kids are home or in school with a stronger Shmira but for 2 months when they are out of sight – they end up in the wrong places.

    If you have daughter or son that has a job anywhere in the Catskills outside of a real camp – YOU NEED TO BE WORRIED!!!!!!! Who is watching them? Who is making sure they do not have those many free hours to find something “fun to do? Who is there to guide them in the right ways? Are you? Or did you send them to some colony or some apartment as a mother’s helper, day camp counselor, cashier etc. and just assume someone is taking responsibility for them?

    We all want to trust our children and give them a little independence so we figure what’s wrong if my child and a group of friends just goes out to Fialkoffs for Pizza, or is just going to visit friends in another colony? Or wherever…… This is not a matter of independence or lack of trust. This is Pikuach Nefoshos. If you were living in a city where bombs were dropping at any moment – would you let your children (all good) go out for a quick slice or a good time? Or would you explain to them that it seems to be dangerous out there so let’s invite friends over and do something exciting here together? There are BOMBS dropping all over the catskills – keep an eye on your children!

  4. Let’s try something basic…get the mothers back in the house raising their babies until they are old enough to go to school. If they can’t be home full time, then at least let them be home part time. Is it so abnormal to think that the best love and attention a baby will get will be from his or her own mother? Is it abnormal to think that a baby from a few weeks old till age two or three put into a day care setting or in the home of an overloaded babysitter even if frum is not going to get the love and attention needed?? Is it abnormal to think that a mother who is working full time AND taking care of children and a household is going to be stressed out and not have the patience to give her full love and attention to her children when she is with them? Is it abnormal for a young child to feel neglected when his or her mother cannot give him or her enough love and attention? Is it abnormal to think that SOME children may grow up with this feeling of neglect and end up “at risk” ?

  5. PS The question is do the benefits of a husband/father learning full time while the wife/mother is out of the house working most of the day outweigh the possible negative ramifications on the children of today? Are we seeing tremendous shteiging on the part of the husbands/fathers but tremendous downsliding on the part of the children in these situations? If so, our current system needs to be examined. (BTW, yes, if the father is a lawyer or doctor or whatever, the mother should also be at home with her children.)

  6. It’s a very sad situation. Thank you for posting though. I think there are a number of issues. I think we first have to stop blaming the outside culture and the treif medina, which I hear often; we believe that Torah is “sweeter than honey” and why would someone want to pursue a different lifestyle if we can present and provide something incredible. And I think gedarim are obviously good as Chazal have told us, but they are gedarim, we have to address the roots of the problem.

    Instead we have to begin to examine how we (parents and yeshivos) are raising our own children. The kids that I know who end up in the drug culture are usually kids who are in emotional pain and this is there way of channeling their emotions; if not at home or in yeshiva it’s at the club/pool hall etc. that they can feel alive. Girls dress not tzniastik when they are searching for attenteion and lack self respect. It’s more than just “she’s a perutzah”. Instead of Torah being their “life”. A decadent lifestyle will become “life”. There are a lot of broken homes. And many of the intact families put tons of pressure on kids for many different reasons.

    It’s true that there is a yetzer hara out there, and kids like to have fun, but I think the decision to get into drugs and girls and guys “hanging out together” comes from a lack of an appreciation of who we are and the great things that we as yiddin can accomplish. I’m sure if someone went into the pool hall and started talking to the kids they’ll probably tell you that Torah was shoved down their throats and a true appreciation was never presented and therefore never internalized. There’s obviously a lot more to say but we should all be zocheh to see our children become healthy bnei Torah!!

  7. Don’t blame anyone – not the “Yeshiva system” nor mothers working, etc. – because just ask anyone involved in this stuff & they’ll tell you that you see kids from all walks of life who go off. So, before you blame, research….

  8. As a person who was one of those kids hanging out there 10 years ago and now is a Rebbi teaching these types of children, I think the problem is simple and the solution a lot more difficult. When I think back to why I was a child hanging out, doing drugs, and all those types of things, the reason is clear. Our children all constantly being told what Yiddishkeit forbids them to do things. Without a true love for Yiddishkeit, all you see is a religion based on restrictions without meaning. Our Yeshivos are teaching our children what we can and can not do but are not instilling within them a love for being a member of Klal Yisroel. There are too many distractions in the outside world today. If a child does not love being a Yid, they WILL NOT stay frum. Someone or something will pull them to try something which will lead them down that path. They are desperate for someone to acknowledge that even though we must keep the entire Torah, we are human. We make mistakes and that it is ok to mistakes if we learn from our mistakes. When most of the Yeshiva system tells us non stop about the punishments for what we do wrong without emphasizing all the rewards for what we do right, it begins to look like we have no chance of success…. Just my experience and opinion.. Any comments??

  9. SOLUTION # 1 is VARMKEIT = YIDISHKEIT

    YES a rebbe schmozzing with a talmid over a bowl of cholent, with his arm around the kid is something NEEDED TODAY!! Its not just for the ‘at risk kid’ but for ALL kids, no matter what, when and where they are on the ‘yidishkeit’/ ‘frumkeit’ level.

    YES, a parent should stop focusing on whether his son gets good grades in gemarah, or can make a ‘layning’ etc. – FIRST and FORMOST in TODAYS society is preserving our YIDISHKEIT. Making being a YID a GESHMAKER ‘thing’ – and that includes some levity and WARM heimishekeit with our kids. STOP demanding and putting ALL EMPHASIS on ‘grades’ and forcing our kids to be ‘studious’ – yes its important, but not the EIKAR in raising our kids to be EHRLICHA YIDDIN, and to LOVE to be a YIDDIN. SING zemiros by the table, stop being so KALT about yidishkeit, make yiddishkeit a WARM geshmake lifestyle!!!

    This must start in kindergarden ALL THE WAY THROUGH the child gets married!! NO STOPPING!!!

  10. I understand snorting drus is very dangerous, but people need an outlet to have fun. Perhaps the community should focus on mitigating the dangerous things and allow people to have clean and safe good time.

  11. #4 Feif Un,
    I agree with you 1000%. I remember when I left Kollel I was harrassed by my chaveirim, but I refused to stay and pull shtick to survive. Now when my son was in High School and I saw he had no Zits Fleish and saw that batalah meivi leidei shimum, I pulled him out and sent him to work. He was happy, tired from a full day of work to do what he shouldn’t and last year he got married and guess what? He doesn’t miss a minyon and doesn’t miss a night seder. I don’t pat myself on the back but if parents would stop worrying about shidduchim and what yenem would say and make sure their children had satisfaction in whatever they did, I think 3/4 of the problem would disappear. The Roshei Hayeshiva, seeing the fruits of the pressure that they are putting on the kids should realize that work or college is way way better than girls and drugs.

  12. altough everyone has the reasons & the best parenting advice etc… children especially teens are very much effected by peer pressure & who their friend are & who the one rotten apple or better yet-lost neshoma who their friends know, that acts this way becuase they needed attention or whatever.
    so i believe tefilah & zechusim is the only true solution.
    a great book on how to instill positive attitude & self esteem recently came out, its called” happiness is homemade” from artscroll- it changed my life & my family
    lets all be mispallel for each other!

  13. I was going to refrain from offering comments, but what RebYid07 (#11) encourages me to chime in – I beg your indulgence.

    From my experiences in yeshiva, everything that occurred outside the beis medresh with the exception of physical exercise (i.e., a ball game) was billed as bitul z’man. There was no concept of “blowing off steam” or relaxing. At best, the idea of “down time” was accepted only grudgingly; to tell a Rebbe, “I am going to bowling or play pool” seemed to risk a reaction similar to if one said, “I am going to my room to stare at my wall for an hour.”

    But the mind is like every other part of the body, or any other working mechanism – it needs a little rest now and then. So, what I am about to say may sound shocking, but I do not think it is such a bad idea – how about undertaking serious efforts to create spaces for youth to socialize with each other, not under the direct supervision of adults but within the confines of areas that are supervised? This will not solve every problem, but it will ease the situation. Please allow me to explain.

    I know of at least two “modern” shuls that have in their basements (yes, not every shul has a basement, but again, please bear with me) “youth rooms.” The rooms have such things as a ping pong table, a pool table, other games, places to sit, and record or tape players upon which to play music. Now, already, I can envision some folks saying, “What a waste of time.” But, it’s not. First, kids need a break (adults too, for that matter). Second, better the boys shoot pool in a kosher environment than in a goyishe pool hall.

    Yes, some kids will still “hang out” – but maybe some kids are “hanging out” in rough places only because there are no kosher places in which to relax.

    So, the solution might be two-fold: (1) recognize that relaxation activities that enable one to socialize and rest a mind are good, then (2) provide adequate facilities so that such relaxation can take place in a kosher atmosphere.

    As one rabbi who had a game room in the basement of this shul said, “I’d rather the kids come here to play than go to treife places on a Saturday night.”

  14. Blue Pinkey, I’m distressed at your apparent apathy to this terrible situation, as if it’s something we should already be used to by now.
    Any one with a “varem Yiddishe hartz” like the writer of this article has, should be shocked every time he’s exposed to such things.
    No matter how many times we’ve seen this tragedy happening we’re not allowed to resign to the Matzev, because this is the beginning of Yiush and a Yid is never allowed to give up.
    we must be constantly alert to what our children are up to and where and with whom they are.
    The main thing is to give the children a lot of love warmth and attention, and sincere praise and complements, even if they don’t deserve it.
    If the kids feel a genuine love from their parents, than the outside nisyoinos would not entice them so much, and they will not be so difficult to overcome.
    The Brisker Rov ZaTZaL when speaking once about Chinuch, said that when his children were growing up in Brisk, although he was very busy with his Rabbinical duties and his own learning, he was constantly aware 24 hours a day, where each of his children were and what they were doing.
    We should learn from our Gedolim.

  15. Telegrok, you answer is perfect. If we provide them with “Kosher” places to go and teach them that not only is it OK to relax, but a necessity to do so, our children will feel a lot less pressure and view Yiddishkeit in a lot more of a positive light. They will see that you are able to enjoy yourself and have a good time, Kol Zman that its done in the proper way…

  16. I just spoke to my Yeshiva boy this morning and asked him about the level of connection the boys in his camp have to Hashem.

    He tells me that most of the boys are just learning and davening because the have to. They are definitely not being taught the beauty of Torah. So they push their boring days (remember no sports are allowed in very Chasidishe camps) and if they can find a way to make trouble they go for it.

    My younger son learns in a wonderful cheder that brings Torah alive. He loves every minute of camp and Cheder. Why can’t they continue this kind of learning for Bochurim.

  17. Speaking as a parent who had kids in this parsha some years ago, I asked my children recently for their perspective on what went wrong for them in yeshiva, in retrospect. Their answers were all the same, in different words. I will share this with you with a warning. Their words will likely be rejected and ignored, because they hit hard. They all said they were turned off by the arrogance of their Rabbeim. By being made to feel worthless, (in reality they were very bright kids, just not in the traditional curriculum).

    My suggestion: listen to what the kids have to say. They will tell you what is wrong. Talk to them about how to fix things. They are smarter than we give them credit for, if we are only judging them by how well they fit in.

  18. i’m in my young 20’s and as a girl growing up in brooklyn, i always felt that i couldnt ask real questions i wanted to in school- about the basis of yiddeshkeit. that if i would, the teacher would just say ‘how can you even ask that? etc’ instead of answering the question. i think many people have questions and no one to ask because theyre considered ‘not frum’ questions that a bais yaakov girl (or boy) wont ask. then when people blow off their questions like that, they feel like rebelling. not everyone can just follow what their father does just cuz their father does it, a lot of people want to know WHY and there arent so many people out there who can/will answer.

  19. While I will not bury my head in the sand and deny any of these sad events, but has this story been verified? Is this common knowledge that the situation is so bad? Not everything written in the JP has not been exaggerated.

  20. Sorry for the cynicism but…
    Why not send the problem child (both male & female) to Israel. Out of site, 6000 miles away. A year’s vacation from your tzatzkele. And all problems solved. Oh yea, don’t forget to give em a credit card so when they hang out on Rechov Ben Yehudah they can really party it up.
    Then WE have your problems & WE don’t sleep at night!

  21. On another note, the importance of peer relations within Yeshiva can never be understated. The stress of competition for wealth, status, achievement, popularity and other issues of social standing (despite uniforms and midos programs)can be overwhelming and sometimes very bitter. Kids in the pool halls may divert innocent bystanders, but let’s also look at how the kids behave right in the school building.

  22. # 13 Frumblogger, I cannot agree with you more.
    Many years ago I heard a Droshah from one of the top Mechanchim in Eretz Yisroel Rav Yechiel Yakovsohn SHLITA, he related how when speaking to a troubled teenager he asked him what he thinks caused him to lose all feeling for Yiddishkeit. The answer was “although my father was constantly prodding me to Daven and keep Mitzvos, the first time I saw his eyes sparkle was the day he bought a new car”. Raboisai our kids see exactly who we are, and what price tag we put on our own Yiddishkeit. There is no faking it to them. A child that sees his father genuinely basking in the Kedushah of Shabbos and being Mekayem Mitzvos with a bren, a child that sees his mother shedding tears by the Shabbos licht, and knows she’s Davening for his Hatzlocah in Torah veYiras Shomayim. Such a child will definitely follow in his parents footsteps.

  23. #11 – RebYid07 – thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

    Very well said and from the heart of a person who has been there and made it through.

    My children are going into 12th, 9th, 8th, 5th, 4th & 2nd. I am thrilled with the schools they are in and love to see the wonderful accomplishments they have in their learning. They learn alot, cover ground and learn the do’s and don’ts of Halacha and Yahadus. However, I am still waiting for them to learn a love for yiddishkeit, a love for the RBS”O, an excitment to be a Yid, a realization that we have it great. Sadly, that is not happening in the classrooms.

    We try at home to make Shabbosos and Yomim Tovim enjoyable and fun. We try at home to show a love for the Mitzvos we get to do. We try at home not to make it appear in any way that we don’t enjoy the life we have. But that is not enough. We need the Yeshivos to to teach a love and appreciation for the lives we are fortunate to lead.

  24. Blue Pinkey, I’m distressed at your apparent apathy to this terrible situation, as if it’s something we should already be used to by now.
    Any one with a “varem Yiddishe hartz” like the writer of this article has, should be shocked every time he’s exposed to such things.
    No matter how many times we’ve seen this tragedy happening we’re not allowed to resign to the Matzev, because this is the beginning of Yiush and a Yid is never allowed to give up.

    I’m hardly apathtic. However, it is disheartening to me that people are still shocked and suprised at this kind of thing. It’s either naivete, denial or just a plain lack of awareness, but either way it’s failing to recognize a reality that has been with us for quite some time now. The first step in dealing with a problem is to first recognize that it exists. Someone who is just realizing the extent of this problem has obviously not been doing anything to counter it, be it with his own children or in his own way in general.

  25. #25 – this is all fact not fiction. You can go to Kiamisha lanes, the pool Hall in Monticello, the other bowling alleys, the streets of the varios towns upstate and see for yourself.

    Sad – but all true. This is really happening

  26. Blue Pinky – There’s no lack of awareness! You have to be living in a dream world not to see the problem. You are right that people have to realize that it exists. But… people have to stop the “blame game” – which is going on in the above posts – and begin taking steps to take care of the situation, bec. it is already a huge crisis. Perhaps – instead of everyone blaming it on what they think the root is, take a checkbook out & support your local Mossad, allow them to hire more Rebbeim, mentors, & social workers, etc. to stop the situation in the early grades, before these Yiddishe Neshoms reach the stage of where it’s very hard to bring them back!!

  27. does anyone think that this problem increases in the catskills or summer time when perhaps some of us are a little more in the “kalos rosh” atmosphere?

    do kids think its ok to do certain things because parents are also chilling out & wearing things they normally dont & hanging out at places with couples they normally wouldn’t be ?

  28. To respond to FrumGirlNY (#24), you are 100% right. The turn around for me (story in #11) was when I spent my last two months of my 2nd year in E”Y at Ohr Sameach. I grew up in an extremely frum community, and the uproar that a Rebbi’s son was going to Ohr Sameach was tremendous. However, it was the best spent two months of my life. So much of what we do as Yiddin, are done from the time that we are little kids. By the time we become Bar/Bas Mitzvah to beginning adulthood, we just do it by rote and because we have to. I would be shocked if 20% of Yeshiva Bochrim can explain to you why we do most of the basic Mitzvos that we do each day. Those two months in Ohr Sameach opened my eyes. I was able to ask any question that I had. Nothing was taken for granted. They start of teaching you all the basics and reasons for why we do them. For the first time, I understood why we do everything. I had amazing Rebbeim (R’ Rockmill Shlita) who took the time to really explain everything to me and he took the time to listen to my concerns and reassure me of all the right things I do. He told me that we must focus on how many Mitzvos we do everyday and to try to make sure that each day I do one less thing wrong then the day before. For the first time, Yiddishkeit became something obtainable to me. That I had a chance to be successful in the eyes of Hashem and all was not lost. This all came from asking questions and being told that its Ok to even ask questions about the basic principles of Yiddishkeit…

  29. Blue Pinky – There’s no lack of awareness! You have to be living in a dream world not to see the problem.

    The letter writer above, who spent 20+ summers in the Catskills seems pretty suprised, don’t you think? I was addressing that reaction.

    Perhaps – instead of everyone blaming it on what they think the root is, take a checkbook out & support your local Mossad, allow them to hire more Rebbeim, mentors, & social workers, etc. to stop the situation in the early grades, before these Yiddishe Neshoms reach the stage of where it’s very hard to bring them back!!

    If you don’t address the root issues you may just be perpetuating the problem.

  30. To respond to #34, that environment does give children more of an excuse, but we shouldn’t kid our selfs, if happens just as often and just as bad during the year as well. Parents would be shocked with the amount of children smoking marijuana on a regular bases. I am not talking about the “messed up” kids. I am talking about the Yeshiva boys and girls who will buy drugs from a dealer wearing white shirts, black pants, tzitzos out, and girls with long skirts and sleeves. It has seeped everywhere. They just go to frum dealers as opposed to goyish ones..

  31. Reading these comments are really uplifting – so much positive thinking and ideas! I would like to add an idea that I heard from someone — the key is for those who are bentched in the role of parents/ grandparents to SHOW 100% of the time their love for yiddishkeit examples: The ‘P’ word (Pesach) should not bring a groan and eye-rolling. The other ‘P’ word (Purim) should equally not bring a we-have-to-go-shopping-for-shalach-monos-theme sigh either. Years ago, there was a saying in Yiddish that it’s hard to be a Yid — Someone else(again, I forget) said that it would have been better to phrase the expression that ‘it’s great to be a Yid’. To be effective parents, we has to LIVE it, not only preach it. Much easier said than done; with Siyata Dishmaya may all of klal yisroel’s children be raised properly!

  32. people have to introduce these boys and girls to people that can help. In every town and city there are rabbis that can help Monsey R’Gluck Lakewood R’Abadi ……..

  33. It seems from all that has been written above that there are basically 2 groups of kids hanging out there. Those who are looking to rebel for whatever reason and those who are bored and looking for something to do and a way to let off steam, and finding it in a dangerous place.

    As far as the first group goes, much outreach needs to be done to help bring them back, but unfortunately I don’t have any practical ideas to add to what has been written above.

    However for the second group there seems to be a solution, based on some of the posts above which may be worth trying. I’d love to hear everyone else’s opinion on it. Perhaps we as a klal need to provide these boys and girls with kosher down time. Perhaps 2 large halls/rooms can be made available every motzei shabbos, one for boys and one for girls. They should contain music, pool tables, ping pong tables and plenty of place to sit back and shmooze. And perhaps plenty of free pizza too. And there should be some warm gishmake adults at these venues playing pool with them, shmoozing with them and hanging out with them. And in the process being available to them to talk to about any frustrations and anxieties they are dealing with. And just to put their arm around these kids shoulders and make them feel good about themselves.

    If the kids who come have a great time they will let their friends know and hopefully this could become the IN place to be, for those who will anyway not be sitting in the bais medrosh.

    All this will cost money, but with all we as a klal spend on kiruv rechokim (which is important too – I am not trying to denigrate kiruv rechokim) is this too high a price to pay for kiruv krovim?

  34. Blue Pinky – Anyone living in the mountains for 20+ summers & still unaware that there is a scene in Woodbourne, and beyond – probably either has their head buried very deeply in the sand or isn’t saying the truth. How can you not know what’s going on? It’s been going on for as long as Yiddin have been going to the mountains!!

    As for the root of the problem – leave that for our Gedolim – not for every person with personal ideas. When YW put on Rav Shmuel against smoking, then, everyone agrees, but to hear something that is unpopular – suddenly, noone wants to listen.

  35. To #35, you are 100% right. I am a Rebbi for high school boys and I have gone through what they have. I feel that i have a tremendous influence on the boys and can really relate to them. However, I am studying to take the actuary exams and will be forced to leave Chinuch because I can’t support my family on my salary. We lose so many great Mechanchim because we don’t pay them enough!!

  36. This is far from being a “Catskills issue”, it is more like a tri-state and maybe beyong issue. Every motzei Shabbos in our communities there are gatherings in our pizza shops of an unlikely mixture of “frum” kids. There is no such thing as wrong place at the wrong time for it is well known what goes on. Those “frummer” kids who just happen to be “browsing” as appears to the walker-by, are not merely browsing they are intentionally putting themselves under the influence of others! For teenagers arent as stupid as you think, they know whats going on.
    What can be done and some communities are presently doing is having an adult standing in the front and watching, this is so far the most succesful solution.

  37. A child that sees his father genuinely basking in the Kedushah of Shabbos and being Mekayem Mitzvos with a bren, a child that sees his mother shedding tears by the Shabbos licht, and knows she’s Davening for his Hatzlocah in Torah veYiras Shomayim. Such a child will definitely follow in his parents footsteps.

    There is no one answer to all cases. There are many children in these kinds of situations who come from the most ehrliche families, who have fathers and mothers exactly how you described. Each case is different. Let’s not try to give an answer to all cases, and let’s cetainly not always lay blame at the feet of the parents, some who haven’t slept a night since their child chose his or her own path.

  38. As a Mechanech I can tell you that speaking to Talmidim with sensitivity and “gefill” goes along way in helping them cope with their difficulties.
    (The same holds true for parents! although it is sometimes more difficult for them because of the emotional involvement) However, the question is why are there many more children with many more issues today then ever before.There is no one answer to this question. The reasons are unfortunately many but one thing does stare us in the face. This trend started in the early 90’s when inappropriate videos were easily accessible to our youth. (who did not have a VCR?)Now unfortunately with the Internet in most homes and with parents unaware of the “Loded Gun” in front of the child the problems become unimaginable. Once the “spiritual snake” creeps into the hearts of the innocent children there is no interest in Abaye Vrovo, Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel, Tfillah etc. and it is very difficult for a frum grownup yid to deal with, let alone a “cooking” teenager. All Parents must became masters of their own homes. Take a good look at what comes into your homes and take responsibily for it. Yeshivas do not allow internet access. It is the homes that provide it. Dear Parents, please send us -your children’s Mechanchim and Mechanchos- children that are “Kailim” for Kedusha and Yiras Shomayim and together we will enjoy the Yidishe Nachas from them.

  39. The cause of the problem is simple, we all have our Tayvos, and the outside world today creates many seemingly attractive and accessible Tayvos for our youth. The focus has to be on the solution, which include the following (many were covered by the other comments as well):

    1) We need to shower our children and talmidim with love. Todays children need it and flourish with it.

    2) We need to instill in our children a love for Yiddishkeit. The Shabbos table is the best venue for this, Zemiros, Divrei Torah, etc.

    3) Parents must be realistic about who their children are. To send a mediocre student to a very high pressure “elite yeshiva” for the status of it is suicidal. (Then of course when the parent has problems they blame the Yeshiva!). Be realistic.

    4) Parents must know where their children are and who they associate with. Of course, children want some degree of independence. You can give it to them while keeping strong tabs on them. Let them know that you are watching and following.

    5) As the Brisker Rav said when asked how he had Hatzlocho with his children, he answered “Tehillim un Treren”. We need tremendous Siyata DiShamaya.

  40. Fief un and Reb yid07 are both right on the mark,

    Some yeshivas today have people running them that have absolutely no shiechus to chinuch and they “l’tovas h’klal” should close down before damadging more bachurim.

    But on the other hand for the most part there are so many great out of town yeshivas that work with bochurim and do instill a love for yiddeshkeit.

    Supervision, knowing where your children are, WHO ARE THEIR FRIENDS, will go a long way in curbing this problem

  41. I’d like to thank ExKollel (#15) for his insights. I grew up in an environment that was far from frum in many ways, and there were *plenty* of ways for kids to get messed up and *plenty* of opportunities to start on a downward spiral of self-destruction.

    As we reached our teenage years — with lots of energy but not so much sense — our parents found a great outlet: J-O-B-S! As ExKolell said, we came home each evening relatively tired, and even nights out with friends ended relatively early. We all had to be up the next morning to be at work!

    Summer and part-time jobs not only occupied our time, but also gave us valuable experience in the workplace (As a business owner, don’t even start me on the inadequate work ethic and and basic ignorance of appropriate workplace behavior among young frum people!). At the very least, many of learned what we *didn’t* want to do the rest of our lives.

    I realize this is not a wholesale solution to the problems described. Plus, there are issues of bitul Torah as well as finding jobs in appropriate venues for young bnai Torah.

    However, I think we are seriously crippling our young people when we provide plenty of money, a fair amount of leisure, and hardly any opportunities to try on adulthood before plunging in.

    Tomorrow’s Rosh Yeshivas will have a different attitude toward fundraising and toward their baalabatim if they remember some long hours and/or hard work — and not just as a camp counselor — during their bochur days. Likewise, our daughters will think twice about a $3000 shaitel if they know how many hours must be spent earning it.

    We can’t expect them to develop these values in a vaccuum.

  42. Charlie Brown #41 – and one more thing, your comment about a geshmake adult to be with the kids – a rabbi in Ohio, Rabbi David Stavsky, zt’l, had in his shul a youth room – and I heard this from a girl who grew up in that community that the kids felt at home not only in that room but throughout the shul because Rabbi Stavsky zt’l made them feel as if the shul was their home and they should always come in to speak with him or just to be in the shul to be with friends –

  43. #39

    Years ago, there was a saying in Yiddish that it’s hard to be a Yid — Someone else(again, I forget) said that it would have been better to phrase the expression that ‘it’s great to be a Yid’.

    Reb Moshe Feinstein zl is said to have made this comment. (I did not hear it myself but have seen it quoted)>

  44. EVERYONE IS PLAYING MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK, TRYING TO PLAY CATCHUP!! THE REAL PROBLEM IS THAT YIDISHKEIT IS DRY THESE DAYS, THE YESHIVOS DONT TEACH WHAT MAKES YIDISHKEIT EXCITING, THEY SAY YOU CANT DO THIS AND YOU CANT DO THAT, THAT IS A GOYISHEH YAMUKA, COLOR YOUR NIKE CHECKS BLACK! HOW ABOUT TEACHING MEDRASH AND NAVI, AND WHEN THEY GET OLDER SOME CHASIDUS WHICH WARMS THE HEART AND MAKES YOU HAPPY TO BE A JEW INSTEAD OF BUILT UP HATRED TOWARDS THE REBBI WHO TRIED TO RESTRICT THEM MORE AND MORE, AND THE RELIGION HE REPRESENTS! YESHIVOS SHOULD NOT SHY AWAY FROM ADDRESSING CERTAIN TOPICS, THERE SHOULDNT BE A LITVAK-CHASID FUED WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT SEFORIM TO TEACH, WHEN IT WILL HELP ALOT OF BOYS! EILU V’EILU DIVREI ELOKIM CHAYIM!!! THESE KIDS MUST FEEL A CONNECTION WITH THE RELIGION THAT THEY ARE A PART OF. IT SO HURTS WHEN EVEN THE ADULTS ARE MISLEAD TO THINK THAT THIS BEHAVIOR COMES FROM JUST GOING TO A POOL HALL, BOYS WILL BE BOYS AND GIRLS WILL BE GIRLS BECAUSE THATS WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND THEM, WE WANT TO MAKE THEM WANNA BE A PART OF OUR SOCIETY AND NOT CHAS VSHOLOM OTHER!

  45. In the 1920’s and 1930’s when the Yerushalmi Kehilla were going through difficult times The poverty was great, and the Tziyonim were doing evreything in their power to lure away the frum youth from their parents Derech, sadly with much success, an organization by the name of Masmidim was formed, with the purpose of trying to save these kids. It was based around learning programs in a relaxed atmosphere, in the evenings. But they held many Mesibos parties with a lot of singing and dancing, Melave Malkas and tiyulim (trips), joking and fooling around was greatly encouraged. And so they managed to save many hundreds of Bochurim. Many of them are today choshuva Rabbonim and Baaley Batim with their progeny following in their footsteps.
    It is definitely possible to create a fun environment in a Toiradig Chassidishe/Yeshivishe atmosfere.
    We need some warm an dedicated young men and women in every community, to give from their time and arrange these type of youth groups.
    P.S. Today Masmidim Has developed into a huge Kehilla with Moisdos in Yerushalayim and Beitar.

  46. Let’s remember that the Chofetz Chaim said that raising children is 100% siyata d’shmaya. Self-improvement- which includes a)tefillah (which is really bitachon,) and b)shmiras haloshon, i.e. the way we speak to (and about) our kids- is a sure way to aim for this merit.

  47. telegrok,
    I agree with you. I was just adding that it shouldn’t just be an individual shul doing it for its own teenagers, but a community-wide initiative, attractive to all the teens who end up in the pool halls, be they chasidish, litvish, modern orthodox or anything else.

  48. Numerous respondents to this article have offered valuable insights and practical suggestions as to how to effectively deal with this pressing issue. But how much longer will it be before our Rabbanim, Askanim, and community leaders get the message? How much longer will it be before they take action? How many more “karbonos” will there be in Klal Yisroel?

  49. i just want to respond to rebyid07 (#34)that what you write is very encouraging to me and others who may feel the way i do. b”h i never tried rebelling because it wasnt in my nature and i would never hurt my parents that way. but i did carry a hurt inside of me that i couldnt ask questions- it just seemed like this shouldnt be the jewish way, thats supposed to be the way other religions work. i know there are places out there that deal with these kinds of questions, like ohr someach and neve. i just wish it was more accepted out there to ask, not that its ‘wow you have such chutzpah asking that’

  50. frumgirlNY (#24),
    It sound to me like you still have not found someone to help you find answers to questions which are still bothering you about yidishkeit. There is nothing wrong with having questions, and there are people out there who can answer them even if your high school teacher couldn’t.

    May I suggest going to aish.com and click on the “ask the rabbi” link. Another option may be to find a rabbi who does know how to deal with these types of questions. As someone mentioned in an earlier post, every community has someone. You just have to find them. I obviously don’t know where you live so I can’t help in that regard.

  51. Everyone listen to #11’s comment. As a 26 year old Jew raised traditionally and slowly becoming frum over the past 4 years, who has seen both sides of the fence, good AND bad, this Rebbe absolutely nails it on the spot with how the kids are feeling and why they’re feeling it. Kol Hakavod.

    He writes:

    “As a person who was one of those kids hanging out there 10 years ago and now is a Rebbi teaching these types of children, I think the problem is simple and the solution a lot more difficult. When I think back to why I was a child hanging out, doing drugs, and all those types of things, the reason is clear. Our children all constantly being told what Yiddishkeit forbids them to do things. Without a true love for Yiddishkeit, all you see is a religion based on restrictions without meaning. Our Yeshivos are teaching our children what we can and can not do but are not instilling within them a love for being a member of Klal Yisroel. There are too many distractions in the outside world today. If a child does not love being a Yid, they WILL NOT stay frum. Someone or something will pull them to try something which will lead them down that path. They are desperate for someone to acknowledge that even though we must keep the entire Torah, we are human. We make mistakes and that it is ok to mistakes if we learn from our mistakes. When most of the Yeshiva system tells us non stop about the punishments for what we do wrong without emphasizing all the rewards for what we do right, it begins to look like we have no chance of success…. Just my experience and opinion.. Any comments??”

    Comment by RebYid07 — August 8, 2007 @ 11:59 am

  52. Charlie Brown – 56: I agree – there are benefits to being in a shul, but the suggestion of a community-wide initiative recommends something that was quite in vogue 70 years ago – the idea of a Jewish Community Center – in those days, in some communities, the JCC was the alternative to the YMCA or private clubs that restricted Jews, and so there was a need to provide a physical plant where Jews could play ball, swim, etc. Maybe we need the same thing again today, albeit a version that remains true to Torah observance at the same time – imagine, a Jewish Community Center with separate hours or facilities for boys and girls to play ball, go swimming, engage in arts and crafts or music – all under proper supervision, all with the intention of forming healthier hearts, bodies, and minds

    The irony is that many frum communities shunned JCC-type places because they were either not Shomer Shabbos, or because they attracted non-observant people – and now, maybe we need such a facility –

    And I’ll take it one step further – maybe the opportunity for a yungerman to play ball with a non-affiliated yid is an opportunity to open under informal and casual circumstances lines of good communications that can have good results, too –

    Let’s think about the YMHA/YMWA model again – this could be a good thing to consider –

  53. Monica,

    I wish is was that simple. Were you ever a teenager or do you skip year 14 thru 22?

    If you say outright no, thats when they go without your approval.

    If you warmingly explain why not, then you might have a fighting chance.

  54. telegrok,
    wow, you’re thinking big! A building with a swimming pool etc. That may be a great solution, but at least to start maybe it can just be done on motzei shabbosos in a rented hall.

  55. The root cause to this problem is the extended summer vacation. Why do we need 2 months of vacation? In the UK the kids have a 3 week vacation. They either go on holiday with their parents or go to a short camp for about 2 weeks and they are well rested and relaxed. None of this garbage is going on there like it is here.
    Trust me, it is boredom that is causing all of this. If kids were to have a shorter vacation and with a structure we would not be discussing this.

  56. Charlie Brown #65: I agree – the first step is to set aside a modest space with some games and pizza. My mention of JCC-type places was more of a “well, 70 years ago we needed the JCC because we could not get into those other places – now we can get in, and we are endangered for it – maybe we should rethink the model” – fact is, the JCC type establishment is still alive and well – and, in many communities, the rabbonim have been able to work with the JCC to establish separate mens and womens swimming hours, etc. Maybe it’s worth the frum velt considering whether a $600 membership in the JCC, and the opportunity for our boys and girls to engage in wholesome activities with other Jewish youth, is worth the price – I think it is –

  57. #62, there is such a place that exitsts for teenage girls and women called Ohr naava,in flatbush. The place is open for 7:30-11:30 nightly,and provides free supper and a variety of activites such as jewerly making, simcha dancing excersise classes, etc. along with speeches by various Rabbonim,on various topics.

    After the speeches, there are Rabbonim available to talk to the girls about anything they wish. and this INCREDIBLE program is absolutely FREE!! It is run by Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein.

    The amount of girls that show up there a night are i beleive close to 700! He is saving an enourmous amount of girl from hanging out on the streets or in a non kosher environment! Now we need other communities to open up places like this,and for the boys too!

  58. The issue is a tragic one, but Rabbi Horowitz, contrary to all the hype about his expertise, is not the authority on this, or chinuch in general.

    Edited By Site Moderation Panel.

  59. when are you all going to wake up and smell the coffee this has been going on since the beginning of life it was going on 35 years ago in front of the lucky dip in wood burn and will i shock you if i tell you all this is going on ave j 13th ave lee ave.and you don’t see it because you are all at home minding your own business this dos not go away after the summer it comes home to Brooklyn long island the rosh yeshivas are stuburn and don’t want to admit that there is a problem as long as the parents and the rosh yeshivas and the schools will work together we are wasting our time and we are going to loose our precious children that are crying for our help in the only way they know and i am not making excuses these are the facts

  60. telegrok (#67),
    I hear what you are saying that back then the problem was we couldn’t get in and now the problem is that we can get in.
    I disagree though on the idea of joining an existing non-frum JCC. For this idea to work its gotta be run by frum ppl or else it’ll just be another hangout like main street in monticello. I don’t see what advantage it would have.

    freezer, (#68),
    I had never heard of Ohr Nava,but if 700 girls come they gotta be doing something right! We do need more places like that especially in the catskills in the summer.

    All,
    i am not in the catskills, but is there someone up there who is ready, willing and able to run with this idea? Is it too late to do anything this summer?
    Of course the first step would be to get hadracha from our gedolim about if and how this should be done.

  61. It’s amazing how most people here seem to be on the same page but the people who can really affect the difference won’t change. A choshuve person told me last week that the issue the may be speaking about by the Agudah Convention will be adults and young adults at risk. He was asked to be on the forum and he waqs given carte Blanche to talk about the problem on the condition that he can’t criticize the system in place. What’s the point of introspection then, do we or don’t we want to save Nefoshos Yisroel? Why are we still using the model that worked for previous generations? A new model for this generation needs to be explored!!!

  62. i understand that these and other “pool hall settings” where these things happen are run by greedy and unmoral people. i think the first thing is to hit these organizers where it hurts. a task force that will take decisive action to teach them a lesson would close them up and only the hardcore group will find alternative sources. the majority who are there because “its available” wont bother if all these establishments are close down. ask the vaad mishmeres hatznius in yerushalayim how this works.

  63. avrohm:
    What’s your point? There is no single person that all will point to as “the authority”. Even R’ Elyashav shli”ta has detractors. I know of lives that he saved and I know of some of the soundest advice on parenting which he originates.
    The article is mostly a quote with little added, what do you find objectionable. I noticed so many posts which are full of problems, at least he is someone with (at least some) solutions.

  64. Devorah – Of course the spiritual well being of our children is our – the parents – responsibility. But if we don’t have Rabbanim, Menahelem and Mosods chinuch that are (1) willing to recognize the magnitude of the problem,(2) sensitive to and knowledgeable of the issues at hand, (3) willing to offer creative solutions, and (4) willing to work with parents and children, we parents don’t stand a chance to succeed. Gevalt!

  65. #10 wrong wrong wrong.
    Over 90% of teens at risk and beyond, have poor relationship with their parents.
    Why oh why can’t we keep kids with their mothers and avoid play-centers.
    One more thing, yes torah is the best schioreh/merchandise, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the boys should be discarded or made to feel like that.

  66. in comment #8 drawkcab says the following in the context of his comment.

    “but I think the decision to get into drugs and girls and guys “hanging out together” comes from a lack of an appreciation of who we are and the great things that we as yiddin can accomplish.”

    The fact that you did not diffrentiate between the severity of drugs and the severity of socializing between guys and girls is a reflection of part of the problem. Kids get that message and they dont diffrentiate either, thinking that both are just as ‘rebellious’. That’s ridiculous!! Drugs is something that is completely against teva, and it is absolutely unacceptable, while socializing comes from a natural feeling that everyone has. Granted, you dont want your children ‘hanging out’. But if they recieve this message that you send out, that both are equally bad, they’ll just go ahead and do both, why not? ‘Once I’m hanging out with guys at the pizza shop, we may as well go snort drugs…’ Really, people, get a grip on reality!

  67. Hashem is testing this generation with relative prosperity and unprecedented opportunity, to see what we do with it. Teenagers today apparently have lots of time in the summer and plenty of money to spend. Parents have an obligation to be aware of where their children are and what they are doing, and encourage productive alternatives. It takes effort, but would you rather live under the threat of pogroms and without any civil rights as previous generations?

    It would also be helpful to focus teenagers on their oblgations to Klal Yisroel For example, remind them that there are three Israeli soldiers, one of them roughly their age, in captivity for over a year, being held by barbarians. Maybe asking teenagers to think about them in tefillos once a day would give them a sense of responsibility beyond their daled amos, and think twice about overdoing it with the fun. It would be nice if parents and the Rabbeim in Yeshivos would suggest this. Thinking beyond one’s small daled amos promotes maturity and responsibility. I do not believe this message is really addressed by parents and in Yeshivos and Shuls.

  68. When my oldest daughters were in the 6th or 7th grade my husband A”H decided that he wanted guidance on how to be mechanech a bas ysiroel. He made an appointment with Rav Moishe Feinstein z’tzal and we went to hear what the Gadol Hador had to say on the subject. Keep in mind that this was about thirty years ago and we asking about girls. I think you will be very shocked at Rav Moishe’s priorities for raising bnos yisroel. #1 Show your girls a tremendous amount of love. #2 Give them presents, even when they don’t deserve it. These were Rav Moshe’s words and directions! #3 Instill in them a great love for yiddishkei and a desire to do mitzvos – good hashgofos. #4 After all this comes the academics to the level at which they are inclined.

    We did not ask Rav Moishe z’tzal about problem girls. My girls were B”H regular Bais Yaakov girls who eventually attended the finest seminaries in E”Y and did wonderful, Toiradick shidduchim. Each of them started out in Kollel and now B’H they have beautful Toiradick mishpochos, B”AH.

    I wonder if the Rabbonim and Rebetzins who run our wonderful Bais Yaakovs ever discussed chinuch habonose with Rav Moishe. I somehow have my doubts judging by the academic pressure that the schools load on the girls. Do we want to give the girls a reason to want to rebel? A girl does not have the mitzvah of limud Hatorah. If we lighten up a little on the girls and give them options for kosher outlets we would have less girls at risk!

  69. On just a day I am too busy at work to read YW, I now log-on and see this. I haven’t read the vast majority of these replies, but I feel compelled to add my 2 cents, based on the original post.

    The answer here is simple. Yes, the Yeshiva system needs work – yes, children should be taught the beauty of Yiddishkeit and Torah – yes, kids need to mature and blow off steam….

    BUT…..

    Who’s kids are allowed to rent a bungalow/hotel room/cottege/etc.. for days, weeks on end with NO supervision? Shabbos away, no adults? Who’s kids are these?

    Not every child can be controled, I understand that. But this seems to be much bigger then 1, 2 or 20 kids.

    You can’t blame a Yeshiva, a Rebbi, a Rebbe, or anyone else, if your child is allowed to roam the roads of the ‘country’ or the streets of the city at 1AM!

    Folks…WAKE UP! If your child is not home at 1AM.. find out where he/she is. If they say there with a friend, call that friend’s parents. Yes at 1AM! Don’t say “it can’t be my kid” Where was your child this past Motzei Shabbos at 1AM.. Do you know for sure?

    Believe me, not a single one of theses kids told their parents, “Tatty, see you in the morning. I’m going to Monticello to hang out on the street, smoke a little, do a bit of pot, and down a couple of beers. I think I’ll be home for Shachris.. don’t wait up.”

    If you didn’t see your child in bed, ask.

    How can you sleep at night without knowing, for certain, where your child is??

    I’m not advocating locking our kids in the house, not exposing them to life and allowing them to grow and mature. What I am advocating is to stop abdicating the responsiblity of raising our kids to someone else. Not a Rebbe, not a Morah, not a Rosh Yeshiva.

    How can this be so plain as the nose our our faces, yet nobody sees it?

  70. BOTTOM LINE. If we would make it a priority that ALL of our children should be happy, proud and accomplished Yidden, then 90% of these problems would disappear. But this will never happen as long as we have a cookie-cutter chinuch system that doesn’t understand or isn’t willing to admit that 30-40% of ours kids don’t fit the mold. It will also never happen as long as there are parents who are more concerned about their child’s (and their family’s) reputation and standing in the community than what’s best for their child’s happiness and success in life. These kids may need a specialized curriculum (or yeshiva) suited to their level or style of learning. They may also need other non-learning (kosher) outlets to give them a sense of accomplishment in life. Fellow Yidden – where are our priorities?

  71. The person who reported what he saw says that: Inside the pool hall and spilling out into the street were HUNDREDS of frum boys and girls hanging out, cavorting, drinking, and snorting drugs.
    #25 writes that: Has this story been verified? Is this common knowledge that the situation is so bad? Not everything written in the JP has not been exaggerated.
    # 36 responds that: This is all fact not fiction. You can go to Kiamisha lanes, the pool Hall in Monticello, the other bowling alleys, the streets of the varios towns upstate and see for yourself.
    Can anyone very #36 ? that at ONE time there are hundreds of these boys and girls in Kiamisha Lanes or HUNDREDS in the Monticello pool hall at one time etc. I am sure that over the summer there are indeed hundreds in each of these places, but who knows how many are the same kids that keep on coming back time after time ??? That is slightly different than the contention that the original writer of the article reports that he saw hundreds at one time. I am not dismissing the problem, but it must be put into perpective and looked at accurately

  72. I think the problem is mostly illusory; They are just a bunch of kids trying to enjoy their young, and possibly only, enjoyable years.

  73. The problems are real and get more complicated unless properly addressed by trained professionals.

    Edited: Please no URL’s

  74. I have had the experience of speaking/working with some “at risk” kids and from my experience :
    A)while the majority of them seem to come from problematic homes , many of them did not.
    B) They all emphasize how what turns them off the most is that people judge them externally . Many girls are drilled over & over about the laws of tznius in a “you cant wear this & dont do that” manner. However, Tznius is something that should be taught in a manner that glorifies it & explains to girls how lucky we are to have these laws-because its here 4 our protection (Esp. in todays crazy world).
    c) Many were turned off by teachers who couldnt/refused to answer questions.
    d) some of them rebel against their parents-either 4 being too strict on them-or the opposite,some of them have parents who are out helping the world & running after $ that they neglect their kids & these kids need 2 get the parents attention somehow- so they call out 4 help/attention/love by dressing improperly,going 2 wrong places etc..all these venues are cries 4 help 2 notice them & love them 4 who they are not what they look like !! They need unconditional love, just like Hashem has for us we will always be His children (Bein Kach Ubein Kach Banei Hem) same too parents have to accept & love their children 4 who they are-b there 4 them 24/7 !! They will eventually phase out of the rebellious stage & retun to their roots if they are loved!

  75. Mothers & fathers, across the land
    don’t critcize what you don’t understand
    Your sons & your daughters are beyond your command

    Robert Zimmerman 1962

    You’d better start swimmin’ or you sink like a stone….The times have changed. Theyr’e not buying your brand of fundamMENTALISM

  76. Everyone,

    We all have many great ideas. I think one of the major underlying themes that we all have been saying is that there is a lack of appreciation of yiddishkeit is all about. It has turned into a bunch of rules. INSTEAD of just venting on this post maybe one of our goals of should be to be better to our children and to be more accepting and show them the beauty of Torah. The Torah says “uVacharta Ba’CHaim”

    LETS MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR OUR CHILDREN TO MAKE THIS DECISION!!!!!!!!!

  77. stop blaming the roshei yeshiva and gedolim. the ones who truly run our day schools and yeshivos are the boards of directors, which are made up of “frum” baalei batim – not the experts of chinuch which are the above mentioned roshei yeshiva and gedolim. they are the reason the yeshiva system is so messed up and with all their screaming about and supposed submission to “daas torah” , why wont they reliquish control completely – just give the money hashem deposited with them for safekeeping and go back to their castles and go to sleep(after being yotzei their chiyuv of vhigisa bo with their artscroll daf yomi and/or daily “dose” of oxygen to barely stay alive). all the pressures etc, come from their friends who are just as krum as they are and it gets pumped into the yeshiva system. the brainless parents make their rediculus demands and the board willingly gives in. how can the roshei yeshiva fight them – they need parnossa. this is basically the answwer to almost all prblems facing klal yisroel todat. think about it a little.

  78. If some of you would see how some of the grown ups in the catskills behave on a motzei shabbos, you wouldn’t be surprised that their kids follow suit and act the same way. I think the whole mishigas of going out as “couples” and socializing between men and women in bungalow colonies is something that needs to be addressed. It leads kids to think that it is ok to act in such a way because their own parents do so. I think the catskills which used to be for people escaping their hot stuffy apartments is now a venue for couples to have socializing opportunities. I think the whole idea of the catskills bungalow colonies shouldn’t be anymore, and people should go on vacations with their families or spouses, but not to be with the same thirty other couples the whole entire summer so that all the couples become so close. If you think just children are experimenting with drugs such as marijuana, think again, I have seen heimishe men with families smoking pot in bungalow colony parking lots with each other. I have seen men get so drunk by the shabbos kiddush that many an inappropriate word came out of their mouths. And this is referring to the heimish flatbush crowd with kids in the best yeshivas. With parents acting the way they do in the bungalow colonies it is no wonder to me that children are acting this way too. Any comments?

  79. The problem is one word -SPOILED- Back in the day when someone did or acted not like a ben torah should, he was scolded calle’d a low life, a oisvorf, mushches etc.. These days? chas vesholom to say that about another yid, there are always excuses for ourselves other’s, he must be going through a hard time, his parents are divorced, broken family, his father/ mother died, poor family etc.. the list goes on. In hebrew there’s a saying tirutzim yesh harbeh aval teshuva yesh rock echad, and the teshuvah over here is one word -SPOILED-.

    When I was on the streets I was told straight out what i’m doing is wrong I wasn’t given excuses for the way I was acting, the point is I wasn’t made in to a case, ex. He has issues leave him alone etc.. These days Theres A word CASE he’s a case she’s a case. It used to be either u in or you out, either you following the derech hatorah and your part of the proud jewish people that we are, In ex. not going clubbing,mixing with strange woman/ or men, not smoking pot, not being mechallel shabbas, not eating trief, in other words not being a free for all do as you please when you please where u please, If you coudn’t deal with it, zei gezunt your not zoche and strong enough a person and proud enough a jew to practice what has been practiced for generations in our religion, if you didnt like it then go on join another, and thats what made me think.

    These days there’s a whole new izim, its called the CASEizim giving excuses to kids and adults for being the way they are. Kids at risk? where did that come from? which idiot made that up? They are not at risk they are SPOILED never told that they are dead wrong for the way they are, and things they do, Dont have the strenth to stand up to a nisayon, with the excuse that we are kids at risk, we are a case. And therefore have the right to be a part of the ones that have the same nisyonos plus, that work very hard to stay al derech hatorah, people that worked on themselves to get over their hardships
    And yes had their downfalls as well but got over it and moved on. You know why? cause they were never label’d and givin excuse to be the way they are, they were scolded and told off, so they were able to get over it and move on in life.

    We werent given free pizza, free pool hall’s, free trips,etc.. we were spoken to, told off, explained why we are dead wrong, case closed, not open’d.

    I’m young and some may even call me stupid, but my advice is, the next time you talk to one of these SPOILED,CASES, you give them a little yiras shomayim, yiras hisromemus, and then ahavas hashem can take effect, and then a nice shabbas table w/ zemiros can do its work, Explaining yidish keit is for non belivers, not for CASES that ARE looking for excuses to be free like other religions, with out even a good enough reason to be upset at Chas vesholom hashem, Cause their rebbe scrame at them? or cause their parents didnt have enough time to talk to them, or play with them? etc.- SPOILED-
    Their are so many lo olenu yesomim, crippled, etc.. all different real issues, that kids have and had, but they deal with it they arent made in to cases and they arent SPOLIED. The more you feed them with attention the more you fuel them with excuses the more you are at fault for the whole kids at risk quote on quote situation.

    They should be defined as low lifes and spoiled not kids at risk, and then you’ll maybe see a change in their behavior, or atleast they( I mean The bad ones will maybe either straighten out or leave the community and not destroy the rest of the left over strong fighters. NO ones arguing to all the comments about how our generation is hard and the sevivah, bad hashpaos are stronger then ever, but theres no excuse, even if parents are really messed up these kids gotta understand and be told that its their life and their future and their nitzchius, enough of blaming everyone else for your issues, deal with it or just drop it and get out.

    P.s. One more peice of advice, the fact that most of the issues is concerning the mingling of boys and girls, etc. Maybe its time that you marry of your kids at 18 years old yes boys and girls, when A youngster feels he has to wait to age 23-24 to get married that may not be pas besalo for this generation, on the other hand he knows hes gonna seriously be dating at age 18, he/ she is gonna straighten out their act by 16, if they did in fact get to the point, of SPOILED.

    Also stop sending the drugies to rehab on the house, let a few get really sick and teach the rest a lesson, its the in thing now,lets go on drugs then we go to rehab and then we can say we were in rehab and then we have an excuse to be who we are cause we were on heavy drugs and we were in rehab, so everybody watch out here comes the once upon a druggie/rehab, strong tough guy that got over his nisyonos and attention needy and stoped taking drugs, see im a tough guy, yea right, your worthless and should be treated so, for all the other SPOILED ones that followed your path , you low life.
    YOU gotta be a gangsta, not a wussie stand up to these kids and let them know what their worth. and thats why I”m called yeshiva gangsta.

  80. #92
    Mr. Mufka, See Pinchos Lipschutz’s piece on YW about sinas chinom, your venom is overflowing. Youre entitled to your opinion as wrong as it is. The Roshei Hayeshiva are on the moetzes and make statements, everyone follows it. And you know frummer baaleh batim are good people, they work hard and support all the torah going on in the world. Stop being a hater, start being a oheiv. Kids rebel from Rebbeim and Parents that think the same poison as you promulgate.

  81. This past week a group of rabbis got together and bought this poolhall/club and made it into a hangout for boys with rabbis there and also arranged a similar thing for girls in liberty lanes.

    Just because we don’t have this hangout to worry about anymore doesn’t mean that the problem’s solved. Yes baruch Hashem we have this place now but, still keep an eye on your children especially saturday nights.

    Not so long ago I was a teenage risk hanging out in the catskills and the main places where everything was going on were house parties, where hundreds of kids would go and do it ALL. So if your kids want to go hang out motsei shabbos take them to these arranged kosher places with great rabbis that they could chill with instead of letting them go on their own to kiamesha and end up by some house party doing a new drug or girl/boy(chas v’shalom).

    Baruch hashem I am learning in yeshiva now and growing from day to day in becoming a true Eved Hashem and the main reason why I feel that I turned back to yiddishkeit was because throughout the years that I wasn’t so frum and then not frum at all, my parents never gave up on me and always showered me with love to the point that i simply felt so guilty by hurting them.

    Unfortunately I do have friends that are still pretty far down on their own derech and if you happen to be one of their parents, call them right now and say three words(that for some odd reason alot of parents today don’t say): “I LOVE YOU”.

    If your child comes home smelling like pot, deal with the problem nicely in a loving manner and tell him you love him even if he has a girl waiting outside. I know it’s not so simple, most parents in these situations don’t stop to think they just start screaming, and i don’t blame you i’ve never been in your position but, I can imagine how tough it must be. But still you have to train yourselves to stop think and then react, just like a 4 corner stop sign. You have to understand that if your child is caught up in these things you have to be easy on him or he’ll/she’ll just leave it all behind.

    I also know of alot of younger high school kids who want help but are too scared to ask for it. They think they’ll get kicked out of school and they’re house and what not. So instead they don’t talk to anybody about it and don’t have any real interest for yiddishkeit and when some fiend offers them pot or introduces them to a girl/boy they have no reason to say no. So if you’re not getting along with your teenage kids then there’s most probably something going on and you should find them someone who knows how to deal with it and help you deal with it.

    Brooklyn: Rabbi Wallerstein, Rabbi MItnick and many others

    Monsey: Rabbi Gluck, Rabbi Blobstein and many others.

    Lakewood: Rabbi Abadi, Rabbi Karp and many others

    There are plenty of rabbis out there looking for your kids you just have to help them find them quickly!

  82. Gangsta – The right way is שמאל דוחה וימין מקרבת But it has to go hand in hand. One of the great Chassidic masters one said פאר א לעפעל התעוררות דארף מען א שיסל התחזקות Any rebuke has to go together with a large dosage of love.
    I do not think that calling a child low life and spoiled will have any positive affect. On the contry it will only serve to take away any self esteem that they have, which is one of the roots of the problem.

  83. that’s what happens when boys are not in yeshivah when a boy is not learning in yeshivah this what happens to them it’s terrible to see this happens you can’t control kids I whould call them not even jewish

  84. we cant blame anyone for the problem but we surely can only blame ourself if we don’t admit that there is a problem
    if we would embrace our fellow yid even if he or she is not so exactly like us would be a big first step
    not everyone can sit and learn all day and that is not necessarily there fault, but why cant we agree that there needs to be options and outlets for those who need it
    Secondly when we were kids we all went to camp for 8 weeks, today you are looked down at if chas vasholem you want to go to camp as a staff member for 8 weeks, BY THE WAY THE MAJORITY OF SUCCESSFUL MECHANCHIM TODAY WENT TO CAMPS LIKE AGUDAH, TORAH VODAATH, MUNK AND ETC.
    ALSO WHO IS TO BE OUR KIDS COUNSELORS? WE AGREE THEY CANT STAY IN THE CITY, SO THEY GO TO CAMP AND THAN WHAT,WHO WILL BE THERE MASHPIAM AND COUNSELORS.
    camp has taught the previous/our generation responsibility and allowed a healthy and positive expression of creativity and talents to flourish.
    we are in desperate need of normalcy and realization that our kids need role models summer too- as well as the huge toelis it has on the bnai torah.
    lastly many a past camp staff member has continued in fields of chinuch, kiruv and rabbanis due to there healthy experiences and opportunities allowed during the summers.

  85. Back to basics. Remember there is:
    עין רואה ואוזן שמעת
    For those that need a reminder, get a camera, TAKE PICTURES, and post a hundred pictures a week on the internet. If the prospect of having your parents see you in the wrong place is a deterent, they won’t go. If you hear of a “party” where boys and girls are mingling Take pictures and post them. If you hear of a “party” where boys and girls and drugs and alchohol are mingling, take pictures, call the police, and take more pictures when thet’re arrested. The ringleaders of this party are “Rodfim” and are endangering others b’ruchnius uvigashmios. If you want to ask a rov first you can do so. Any normal person will tell you to call the police. The parents of these kids will eventually thank you.

  86. I recently saw two young bochurim strolling down coney island avenue past cortelyou rd. in the direction of prospect park. It was 11:43 at night. My iitial reaction was: “who is worrying about these kids? Is nobody concerned taht they’re not home?” I don’t know what they were up to, but they certainly were not visiting the sick or burying their dead. it is important to worry about our kids, and that they know someone is up and worried- i gotta get home.

  87. 20 years ago woodbourne I was a girl hanging out in woodbourne. it consisted of boys and girls walking back and forth on the sidewalk, buying ice cream, shooting pool, playing knock hockey and video games. mostly we were hoping to make eye contact and maybe even talk to each other. those of us that were considered “bums” (that was the term used then for girls and boys who flirted with and talked to each other) soemtimes got lucky and even got a ride in a car with some boys. what we were looking for was a little attention, and someone to make us feel good about ourselves. my parents had no idea where i was and apparently i took this as a sign that they don’t care. the “at risk” behavior of our time was to go bowling, catch a movie, or go boating. we did have some sort of outlet and though these things were not ideal they were o.k. NOBODY ever did or would think of doing drugs or drink alcohol. the world was a different place and our taivos were different. While it is true that a boy that has difficulty in Gemara, and not good in sports, and a girl that is chubby,not so smart,and doesnt have the newest clothes are doomed, there is not one specirfic reason that kids rebell.But one thing is for sure.(my opinion an this is very painful to write). as a teenager growing up i did not feel good about myself. i had a low self esteem and did NOT feel LOVED or cared for. actually, i felt the opposite,i felt totally neglected. my parents were both very busy and hard working people. often i would come home to an empty house, ate supper late with the t.v. on in the kitchen, had minimal together family time. My parents were alway yelling at each other and as a girl i could have sworn that they probably hated each other because i never heard either of my parents say the words “ilove you” to each other- unitl they were old and sick. ALWAYS overhearing or being told “did you see the Jones’ wonderful, beautiful smart, rich successful children. The importance of comnforming to society not beccause something was right or wrong but because “what will all the people say about us if we….. Somehow it was O.K. for them to tell white lies, and that set the stage for me to justify lying. When i would “hang out” it was always “you souldn’t do that. mom and i have a reputaion to upkeep in our circle and it would be embarrasing to us”. i always felt this was not about me, my feelings, my pain .That was always insignificant to them. I WAS DESPERATE FOR ATTNETION, AFFECTION, LOVE AND ADMITATION. I WANTED SOMEONE TO MAKE ME FEEL SPECIAL, TO ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM, TO APPRECIATE THE GOODNESS IN MY HEART AND MOST OF ALL TO ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM.
    I guess i never got that at home. I NEVER HAD OR FELT UNCONDITONAL LOVE. THE WORDS I LOVE YOU WERE NOT VERY COMMON, AND THE WORDS I AM SO PROUD OF YOU WERE NOT EXISTENT. THE TYRANICAL STATEMENT OF “I AM YOUR FATHER-THAT’S WHY YOU CAN’T…..AND YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME “MADE ME FEEL STUPID AND DISRESPECTED. I wanted to have conversations and wanted someone to actulally listen to me. While this sounds like rambling i am sure there are many wounded souls out there that can relate. As parents, my husband and I are affectionate towards each other,constantly tell each other I love you in front of our children, and DONT yell. we constantly hug and kiss our children. I’m often the one that drops them and their friends off in school and alway am available to pick them up. i conastantly drive friends home and wonder if their parents ever thought about how their kids would come home from a party….(and how that makes the kids feel i.e., do my parents care about me?) i tell them
    -that i love them,
    -money and beauty is not everything,
    – being a good person and following the rules is something you do for your own self respect
    – that having a good character is the most important thing
    – as yidden we should always feel and act special that Hshem is always their watching over us
    -that matererialistc things are nice to have but don’t guarantee happiness
    -do the best you can, but don’t be lazy
    – dont lie about your age and cheat on admission to parks…
    We do all this and most of all daven to hashem that our children feel safe, loved, and secure in our home, and don’t need to turn elsewhere. i am not sure what the purpose of my post is, i guess it is to enlighten some people as to why this might be going on, and to give parents an insight as to what your children might be feeling. (I dont claim to be the perfect parent or even come close) I just never, never want my children to feel as i did.

  88. Many of the comments are going with the assumption that the main problem is with the system and with people feeling they must toe the line.
    If that indeed was true, why are there still Boruch Hashem, SO MANY boys and girls who are happy in their black hat yeshivas and bais yaakovs ? Do you really think there is a time bomb ticking away ? Or are they such dummies that they are just shlepping along following the crowd ?

  89. velicher choosid:
    A large chunk of my post was edited by YW moderation board, which unfortunately contained the crucial part of my opinion. From where I sit, a good deal of the trouble with today’s youth is a direct result of our “experts” guidance.

  90. As someone involved in pulling kids out of the sewer that is our streets these days, a few wake-up calls:
    1. It is not just summer. There are three hookah bars in Flatbush and no one is pulling the kids (12/13 and 14 year olds) out of there. There are house parties all the time in Brooklyn. There are gang rapes. The street is not pretty and it isn’t just upstate
    2. The commentators who posted about the love of Hashem and Yiddishkeit not being given to kids are 1000% right. Dovid HaMelech had a very hard life, but loved G-d and had a connection to Him and that pulled him through. We only tell our children about Yiras Hashem, not Ahavas Hashem, and even those who are good are only doing it to save themselves from accidents, Gehinnom or the like. This becomes more of a problem when a rebbi, teacher or neighbor ends up being corrupt and abusing the child. You see, in this week’s Parsha, we are told that there will be Neviim who stand for Sheker — and Hashem allows them to exist to see if we “love” Hashem. The LOVE of Hashem can pull someone through the test of faith when confronted with a false teacher/rebbi, but if the LOVE of Hashem is never mentioned/instilled, the child has no way of surviving a crisis when a teacher or rebbi is corrupt.
    3. Children take what the adults do and run with it. What they are doing is only magnified what the adults are doing. When we stress gashmiyus, money, kavod, the teens stress the same. I could not believe it, but it exists, a Yeshiva bachur who is acting as a pimp. When I dragged one girl out of his web into my home where she managed to pull her shambled life somewhat together, I asked her what induced her to fall so low — and her answer was the money, the high life, the flashy cars. You don’t want your kid drug dealing, becoming a Zonah, etc – well then, get your priorities straight and DON’T STRESS GASHMIYUS!! That was what Rabbi Grodzenski had told Rebbetzin Kaplan should be the mantra for American Jewry to retain their youth.
    4. If you ignore “yenem’s” problems, they will come home to roost under your own roof. All the children who were being abused, who were at-risk because of their home situations or because of abuse by schools, if they would have been helped by the stabler families, would not have the need to shlep more kids into the misery of the street with them. In many communities, kids from good homes, with strict discipline, with everything right, are going off, shlepped there by some kid who should have been helped and would not be a “maysis u’maydeeach” if they got the proper intervention.
    5. Special ed is a makka – the majority of the children tagged special ed find that on the streets there is nothing wrong with them, only within the hallowed halls of our yeshivas and schools are they considered problem. Most are higher i.q. – just different learners. So instead of being our school’s drek, they go out on to the streets and try to prove how great they are. The reason why special ed exists is because of Gashmiyus, so that some folks can make an extra buck off of governmental funds for learning disabled.
    6. Most of the adults are unhappy. Why should the teens choose Torah, if you adults can’t seem to make yourselves happy within the Torah-life. One girl just confided within me why she doesn’t want a frum lifestyle – she told me that no one on her block has a happy marriage. Sad comment, but since I know some of the Shalom Bayis issues of some of the folks on her block, I understand her perfectly

  91. HarveyK (Comment#90):

    While your leftist idea is tolerated in an open society such as ours, we, as a JEWISH nation have survived longer than any other because of our rejection of modernism and our desire to adhere to the paths of our fathers.

    While we always need to adapt to the changing world around us, we will be destroyed if we follow the advice of a radical 60’s hippy that had a hallucinogen induced epiphany such as the one you quote from Dylan.

    The fundamentalism you and all free people oppose is one based on poor fundamentals such as Islam. Our FUNDAMENTALISM is pure in its intention and is one which seeks to prevent us from sharing the fate of the Byzantines, Assyrians, Greeks and Romans etc.

  92. grose (110)
    Thank you so much for your post and for the good work you do. Please keep it up we need you.
    I didnt get to read every post so I’m not sure if anyone suggested this, but buy the book Times Square Rabbi by Yehuda Fine. It is encouraging for all who contribute to our future as you do.
    Yeyasher Koach.

  93. I wish I had time to read all these responses. I think there’s no real solution and nothing to pinpoint and blame. We just need a lot of Tefillos and S”D with our children.
    I don’t think children with full time at home mothers necessarily grow up diff than children whose mothers are out of the house. And if there’s no parnassa, that’s the worst of all. Obviously I’m not talking abt extreme situations, just regular ones. Btw, many women who are working have their husband working as well. You just needs lots of $$$$ in today’s day and age.
    Besides, a home where the father is really learning in Kollel will be a home undisturbed by everything that goes on in the working world. For that alone, I think Kollel is worth it. What do I need my husband dealing with women and internet ch’v?
    I’ve seen children from very strict homes rebel later on but then again, some children from very strict homes thrive and grow up beautifully.
    I agree that the Litvishe world puts a tremendous pressure on the Kollel lifestyle which could definitely contribute to those who don’t conform to going astray. But then again, what answer do we have to the chassidishe who do the same?
    So basically, we just need to take out our Tehillims and daven our hearts out that Hashem steer our children in the right path and protect them from the tremendous Yetzer Hora out there.

  94. bin there:
    Great post. I was out there in your days (man those were the days 🙂 ) and I did go a little further in my rebellion but B”H my father got it right and gently guided me right. I still daven for the day I will be all I can. You are so right in the need to show our children love at all ages. My 17 year old daughter cringes when I show her affection in public, but I know how good it is for her. NEVER ASSUME your child knows you love them TELL THEM. Over and over again say I love you and hugs. Gevalt what a hug can do!
    We have a great future with great people who can help us grow as Yidden and as people.
    Thanks for your post.
    VC

  95. All I keep on reading again and again is about the lack of warmth and the hypocrisy towards wealth amongst our brethern
    I really dont care how much you give financially if that is your only criteria of frumkeit, our wife our children always come first.teaching by example in the home is the very first and biggest chinuch lesson. MONEY does not buy derech eretz or children yirei shomayim, — eidelkeit does, hachnoah does, emunas chachomim does, asking and listening to daas torah does- not just running to mukabalim in EY. Make a simcha ask your daas torah if it is within the realm of a way a ben torah should, blowing out the eyes of klal yisroel doesnt make it easier for those who are working so hard on themselves and maintain some level of normalcy within our lives.
    Yeh we/you could buy any bachur or kovod we want, but it wont have a kiyum without tznius in and out of the house.Our kids are so so much smarter than we think. They are light years ahead of all of us, they see, read and feel all the undercurrents of what is going on, both in the craziness of spending ie; cars, trips, extensions, homes-summer homes and more, dress- as if there will be a famine of clothes-spending $250 plus for a toddlers outfit,taking whole classes to EY for a kids bar mitzvah-plus all the trimmings of the $500k bar mitzvah
    we need big tikkunim
    lets hear only besoros tovos

  96. AWESOME JOB RABBI WALLERSTEIN AND RABBI MAX!!!
    ‘Lo alecha ham’lacha ligmor, V’lo ata ben chorim l’hibatil mimena’ (Pirkei Avot 2:21,20.)
    IT’S NOT ABOUT HOW MANY TEENS ACTUALLY SHOW UP, IT’S ABOUT WETHER OR NOT YOU SHOW UP…
    THANK YOU FOR SHOWING UP. THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU ARE DOING ON BEHALF OF KLAL YISROEL!!

  97. I believe that sending these e-mails is pure loshon hora. The answer is to buy the pool hall and set up activities for our Jewish youth to spend saturday nights in the right environment. Highlighting the negative impact serves no purpose. We should work quietly behind the scenes to ensure are beautiful young gifted children have happiness in their lives.

  98. matzahlocaol101 (#102)

    I hope you NEVER think of doing what you posted, (taking pics of kids at these places and posting them online) and I hope nobody else thinks of ever doing that. Being mevazeh someone b’rabim is equal to murder. there is a posuk hoche’ach toche’ach es ameisecha v’lo seesa olov chait.

    Not to mention the fact that you may irreputably harm the shidduch prospects of that kid’s siblings who did nothing wrong.

  99. grose (#110),
    thank you for all you do! Megalglin zchus al ydei zackai. I hope you continue having loads of hatzlocho in everything you do.

    BTW, have you ever asked a sha’alo about massering on that bochur to prevent him from destroying more girls? He probably has a din of a rodeif.

  100. Re; Many of these are normal kids at least we think, and they are being ruined
    There are no quick fixes
    the vast majority of this longest forum ever of this site are on the same page–the system is not working sufficiently such that so many are becoming disenfranchised
    we need more support infrastructure everywhere for kids who are in working mode, there are spots of this available for the motivated
    come the next economic downturn, and less people will be able to spend their lives in the kollel world

  101. charlie brown –
    turning guys like that in is a problem – not because of mesirah, but because a lack of unified front – the girls are afraid of having to go through the whole court system, and when you have one brave enough to do so, someone will bail the jerk out and let him run to Israel (which is what happened recently on one case). So I kinda lost steam on that road until our community stops enabling predators and empowers victims.

  102. grose,
    I understand where you’re coming from. its unfortunate that that is the way it is though.

    and don’t ever lose steam from doing the good work you’re doing.

  103. In response to this report about what is really going on with our teeangers in the Catskills, I would like to inform people that The Yatzkan Center (residential & outpateint services) has moved to Brooklyn. We offer unique programs designed to treat kids ages 14-17 who are struggling with emotional disorders and alcohol or substance abuse problems.

    Miriam Turk, LCSW
    Director, OMH Community Residence

    Edited by Site Moderation Panel: (No URL addresses allowed)

  104. go after the family you hit where it hurts you get places lets not forget who the victim they turn it against the girls and society goes along with it

  105. applause articale number 116 you mentioned rabbi max which rabbi max is that whats his first name
    thank you
    hoping for the best

  106. Us parents of today’s teenagers are products of this same “Yeshiva system”. If we did not learn to love Yiddishkeit, how are we supposed to give it over to our children? Like another wrote, I too try very hard not to show negativity, and I don’t have it in me to be rebellious, but positivity–where is that supposed to come from. Like someone else wrote, you can’t fool kids.

  107. let me tell you one thing – I tried to get involved with bais yaakov girls who couldn’t seem to get answers to their questions… Halevai everyone should really appreciate those that are trying to help.

  108. >charlie brown — August 9, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

    I’m not sure I understand you. In post #118 you criticize me and in post #119 you agree with me. These kids are on the street because they know their parents don’t where they are. If the prospect of their parents finding out is a deterent, so be it. Better yet, a web cam… OOps! I changed my mind. I was going to say a web cam scanning the mainstreet by local hangouts so parents could see if their kids are there. But kids would probably use it tio see if it’s worthwhile to go and hang” also. I stick by my oricinal idea. But in deference to you, I would put up signs and give a weeks notice that “THIS AND OTHER HANGOUTS” will be photograped. If you only put up in one place, they will go to another place, if they don’t know which places they hopefully will not take a chance. Worst case, after the picture appeared the first week, second week attendance will be way, way down.

    You’re worrying about the guys shidduch, and totally oblivious to the fact the he, and the people he’s hanging out with, might not even be frum by the time he gets to age. The problem needs to be dealt with and children have to know THEY HAVE RESPOSIBILITY ALSO. (This does not preclude parents from abdicating their responsibility.) That’s what Torah is about. Personal responsibility. Hopefully because of a love Hashem and a desire to be close to him. If thats not the level, so it’s fear of Hashem’s greatness that keeps one in line. If that doesn’t cut it, it’s fear of punishment. But it comes down to personal responsibility. The kids need to know it one way or the other. And if i saw my kids picture, (highly unlikely) amongst those posted, I would thank the picture taker for bringing it to my attention. I would not assault him for “ruining chances of a good shidduch”. What right do I have as a parent, to demand a “GOOD SHIDDUCH” and inflict a bum who hangs out with girls in a Pizza shop, on an unsuspecting temimasdika bas yisrael that deserves better. Forget the “Ruining a shidduch” line. The only one who ruins a chance at good shidduch here is the boy/girl who’s hanging out. If they understand that, maybe they’ll stop hanging. PS it happens in Williamsburg too. Not just the mountains. Ask the Italian barbers that trim chassidic facial hair with razors.

    Veilcher choosid,
    I was embarassed. I thought I was the only one that recognized the name (although not the lyrics.) Thanks, I feel much better now.

  109. Some kids at a house party that was broken up by the cops were drinking and smoking pot. The world is coming to an end, isn’t it? Get real — this is a normal, everyday occurrence among American teenagers. It is not “beyond human comprehension” as the article’s author states. It is a normal, healthy outlet that in most cases would not need to be accessed if children had true inner satisfaction with the Orthodox lifestyle, which is often imposed — even though religious training should not be imparted in a manner of imposition — upon them by their parents.

    In any case, the first step to a solution is reaching an understanding of the core problem. Thus, the route to a solution does not begin with the children or with the parents policing their physical whereabouts more closely — it begins when the parents start trying to understand. An understanding — by definition — cannot be reached when parents approach the issue from the perspective that the behavior of their children is beyond comprehension.

  110. matzahlocaol101 (#130),
    My posts (118 and 119) do not contradict each other. In one I was talking about publicly embarrassing people who hang out. I’m not talking about the ringleaders, I’m talking about the other 99% of the kids there. They shouldn’t be there, but they also shouldn’t have their pics posted online for it. My other post was about massering on someone who is cashing in on bringing girls into znus. Very different than someone hanging out in a bad place.

    As for shidduchim – if you had read my post, I was talking about the shidduch prospects of the hanger-outers SIBLINGS, not theirs.

  111. To clarify my previous post — when I said “a normal, healthy outlet” I did not mean that such activites are beneficial to the health of those who engage in them — I meant that the teens engaging in such activities are, in most cases, healthy and normal. We need to understand that there is nothing wrong with these kids and they aren’t engaging in these behaviors because there is something wrong with them.

  112. Grose wrote “The reason why special ed exists is because of Gashmiyus, so that some folks can make an extra buck off of governmental funds for learning disabled.”

    This reminds me what a cousin of mine said years ago. On the one hand, we all pray for healthy children – on the other hand, we are mass producing speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and special education teachers – so our young ladies of today can make a good parnasa for their families helping all those children who are not healthy in one way or another!

    Seriously, are you saying that some children are misdiagnosed so that they can be fed into the health services system so all these professionals can have work? (Either totally misdiagnosed or diagnosed with some disability before it is too early to judge if this is really the case?)

  113. I am newly religious and a Dad of young kids. My inclination is to spend all my time with my young kids, and to watch who talks to them, and what they are up to. This keeps me back from certain learning and minyanim, from visiting the sick, helping other people, volunteering to clean the shul or to assist with hillulim. But I see other religious kids left on their own, they are using coarse language, there is some bullying, they make a mess in shul rooms. I guess I will have to let go sooner or later when my kids get a bit older, but I do think it is important to devote this time while they are in their formative years. I hope it helps! If my son turned off the derech I hope I would move to a small town in Israel or anywhere since otherwise I don’t know what the point of all this is! Kiryat Sefer seems like a nice place to escape this kind of stuff!

  114. Regarding the original post: Sending a fifty plus grandfather to supervise these kids is no eitza. Send yungeleit – and their wives- in their twenties and thirties, especially ones who know how to relate to these types of kids.

  115. I think everyone who posted about less pressure to be aa great talmid chochom is right.

    But I think there is a more basic problem. Being a teenager is incredibly difficult. The desire to do avayros is much higher than at any other time in life. And we really do not help matters by deferring adulthood.

    In other words, we don’t expect kids to grow up anymore! We keep them as children for far too long, treating them as if they are incapable of making their own decisions. When we do that, they realize that they are not actually responsible for their actions.

    If we want kids to stay on the derech, we have to help them focus on the larger goals in life. And that means exposing them to the big bad world. Any teenager who is coddled and protected from the outside world is like a caged animal; their only thought is what they are going to do when they get out.

    So I am advocating a sea change. Kids are bar/bat mitzvahed at 12 and 13. Start treating them like adults. Let them marry rather young (to a 13 year-old male, getting married at 24 or 25 is like never getting married – 19 or 20 would be much better). Don’t defer the important discussions about parnasah and life goals – have them as young as possible. If kids can see the big picture, they’ll be more likely to skip the distractions.

    iWatas

  116. Just a suggestion:

    I vist the Lubavitch news sites once in a while. I see that their yeshiva bochrim used their ben hazamanim to go to do “shlichus” in far out places like the far east or montana.

    These bochrim look like erliche bochrim, most pitured with yeshivish/chasidish clothing.

    I am sure that besides for all what they are accomplishing, this must give them a little bit of an oppurtunity to “blow off steam” in a kosher way. I don’t now if lubavitch’s problem with people going off the derech os more or less than the yeshivish world, but i wonder if these bochrim are negativily affected by their shlichus. Please comment if you know more information

  117. Fortunately I was saved from NY City religiosity. We were just regular Jews living in the harsh city with parents who loved us and taught us wrong from right…do you really need all this shabbos table, learning, pyrotechnics? Our parents were straight about friends and their financial affairs – frier’s by current definition. But we knew the red lines. I think this generation needs to read and internalize what the Natziv said in his introduction to Safer Berishet(or ses). That being Yashar is far better than being a Zaddik…lets have fewer Zaddiks in training and more Yashar Menchen.