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Haredim frozen out of civilian service post-Tal Law
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Denmark shocked by story of brain-dead donor’s recovery
Where Jewish Studies Captivates Non-Jews
This day in Jewish history/Jewish Theological Seminary admits women rabbis
Amid furor, Nefesh B’Nefesh focuses on young aliya at NY conference
Confessions of an Orthodox Feminist
Catholic Group Expels Holocaust-Denying Bishop
Christians’ letter was reasonable, worded sensitively
Conference to discuss Jewish world’s budget
A selection from Strictly Kosher Reading by Yoel Finkelman
Teaching Respect During Election Time
SALT Tuesday

Biblical Politics
Dressing Up for Prayer and for God
R Aviner: Donating sperm to single woman immoral
Israeli Novelist Opens ‘World’s Narrowest Home’ In Warsaw
Hebrew media is imploding, but in Israel the English press is booming
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Oldest-known Auschwitz survivor dies
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Jewish communities through the lens
R Cardozo: Rabbinical Tyranny and Freedom of Thought – A Protest
R Cardozo: Rabbinical Tyranny and Freedom of Thought Part 2
A Vote for School Choice Party
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Why ‘Intelligent Design’ subverts faith
Crisis in the Curriculum
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Hasidic Jews bust ‘Nazi super-villain’
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Why Are Our Teens Going Off the Derech?
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Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of Torah Musings.

 
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259 Responses

  1. ruvie says:

    disappointed with r’ pruzansky analysis in the OTD – mo version- article. instead of insightful analysis of the situation – a new report – we get pointing the figure and over simplification (with zero responsibility by any leadership).
    has anyone seen anything published recently that is worthwhile to read? not looking for solutions but a better understanding and insight to what is going on and its underlying causes with some type of objective (data centric if possible) criteria?

  2. “Crisis in the Curriculum”

    socially i think israel would be much better off if there were one unified school system for all jews (don’t ask me how this would work practically wrt to curriculum or what to do with the FSU non-jewish olim).
    in the 1950s (?) abba hillel silver opposed attempts to established Reform-sponsored schools in israel because he thought that the unity of the jewish people was more important.

  3. “Why Are Our Teens Going Off the Derech?”

    the stats he cites are meaningless without really good baseline and follow up data.
    and he oversimplifies by placing the blame squarely on parents, as if schools and other communal institutions (and leaders) are doing a perfect job. (and what is exactly is the purpose of paying $17k-30k/kid/year for tuition?)
    i’d also like to know what he would consider an acceptable retention rate. 60%? 75% 90% 99% 100%? in our entire history have we ever had a high voluntary retention rate?
    all this having been said, the underlying premise that many parents need to be better role models (frum-wise) is on target.

  4. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Rabbi proansky is a dayan on the BDA? that’s one scary piece of news.

  5. Moshe Shoshan:

    please explain

  6. Yoel Finkelman says:

    Abba’s rantings:

    What do you mean by “one single school system?” One bureaucracy in the Ministry of education for separate schools? Schools that include religious, secular, Haredi, Arab, FSU, children of foreign workers all together?

    There were attempts prior to the founding of the state to eliminate the “zeramim” and have joint religious/secular schools, but they did not get off the ground not only because of political interests but because religious parents (and to a lesser degree secular parents) did not want to this arrangement, and for obvious reasons would not want them today. Part of the goal of Orthodox education is to put young people in environments where mitzvah observance is normal, even taken for granted.

  7. R. Finkelman:

    i mean schools where all jews (leaving aside who is a jew) are intergrated for as much of the day as possible.

  8. Yoel Finkelman says:

    Why only Jews? (I’m not asking to be difficult, but because I want to understand how far the pluralistic environment should go and why).

    My other questions – about why Ortho and non-Ortho parents would want this – remains.

  9. Yoel Finkelman says:

    BTW – I’m not a rabbi.

  10. YOEL FINKELMAN:

    “I want to understand how far the pluralistic environment should go”

    well if you’re appointing me minister of education (although i would decline since you declined my semicha :) ) i would extend it to the boundaries of the jewish community (not sure about non-FSU jews).

    “why Ortho and non-Ortho parents would want this”

    i guess they don’t want this, because it doesn’t exist.

  11. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    wasnt this the (supposed) dispute in xxxx (i even forgot the name of the town in the shomron) a couple years back.

    but extending this would mean no sfardim, do srugim, no americans (charedi parents dont want charedi americans in the children’s classes), etc.

    by the way, pre 60s israel was very politically oriented — you couldnt get as job outside of your party affilliation. (i understand US was similar in 19th century; not for school purposes, but one was defined by his political affilliation. nevertheless american politics wasnt as dysfunctional as today. politicians spoke with each then, unlike today.)

    (changing to original comment) minister of education is a pOlitical appointment, not an education (merit) appointment. so smicha would be irrelevaNT.

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    Moshe Shoshan-what is so awful about R Pruzansky’s piece, which appears to be based on his personal observations as a rav of a prominent shul?

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    Moshe Shoshan- R Pruzansky’s piece, appears to be based on his personal observations as a rav of a prominent shul. Any specific objections?

  14. emma says:

    Re: inteligent design, the first argument (“why are some parts of nature benevolent and others hostile towards man?”) Seems not to be a problem w I D per se. Don’t the same questions all apply to an ex-nihilo created universe?

    The bigger issue to me is that a lot of the supposedly perfect designs of nature look awefully sloppy, precarious, and haphazard…

  15. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve B: I don’t think Moshe Shoshan was saying that this article is “scary”, but was referring to R. Pruzansky’s overall record.

    As for the article: RSP used as his starting point an unpublished study. He urges that parents look in the mirror and be better role models for their children. This is fine, but why do I not see him urging rabbis, teachers, principals, etc. to look in the mirror? Has HE looked in the mirror? As the Rabbi of a major shul in Teaneck, what has he done for the teenagers of his congregation? Has he considered how he could be doing more?

  16. joel rich says:

    R’LK,
    I would like to see a companion post from R”Sp as you describe. I would include whether the mega synagogue structure is conducive to the type of positive influence needed.
    KT

  17. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-while ERSP mentioned a study, the following was based on his own observations:

    “To me, it all goes back to basics – not just what the parents say, but what parents say and do. The “chut hameshulash” – the “three-ply cord” of our world – is Torah study, prayer and Shabbat – and in no particular order.

    Children who see their parents prioritize shul – not once or twice a week, but every day – see shul as a value. Children who see their parents attend shul once a week and primarily socialize and converse while there see shul as a place to meet their friends. When older, they can just bypass the middleman and go straight to their friends.

    Similarly, children who see parents learning Torah during their leisure time perceive learning as a value. Children whose Shabbat is different than the other days of the week – the Shabbat table is different, the conversation is laden with talk of Torah, ideas, values, and zemirot (hymns) instead of idle chitchat, sports, and gossip – experience a different Shabbat. It’s just a different day. When Shabbat is not observed as a different day, it stops being a different day.

    I have noticed that there are teens who simply do not daven (pray) – they will converse the whole time – and invariably they are the children of fathers who themselves don’t stop talking in shul. Children who roam the halls of the synagogue Shabbat morning are invariably the offspring of parents who roam the halls. Like father, like son.

    And something else: too many teenagers have absolutely no concept of bigdei Shabbat – the obligation to wear special clothing on Shabbat. I am not even referring to wearing ties and jackets, although that is clearly perceived as dignified dress in America. Many teens come to shul dressed in weekday clothing, even on the lower end of what might be called “school casual.”

    How do parents not impress upon their children from their earliest youth with the idea of Shabbat clothing? That is part of what makes Shabbat different. Every child – girl or boy – should have clothing specially designated for Shabbat, ideally a jacket and tie for boys and a nice dress for girls.

    At age five, I put on a suit and tie for Shabbat, and never looked back. How are children allowed to leave the house on Shabbat as if it is a Sunday – whether it is to attend shul in the morning or meet their friends in the afternoon?

    Are we then surprised when Shabbat for them becomes “not Shabbat”? Their whole experience of Shabbat is being told what they can’t do, incarcerated for two hours in the morning in a place where they don’t want to be, to then eat a meal that might be devoid of spiritual substance, the day salvaged only when they meet their friends who have had similar experiences.

    But if Shabbat is not a different day, then apparently the moment the child gains his independence, or a moment or two after that, his Shabbat becomes Saturday, which, combined with Sunday and Friday night, makes for a long, fun and enjoyable weekend. The 15-year-old who walks around the streets Shabbat afternoon in shorts and sneakers will likely not be observing Shabbat when he is 20. But no one will make the connection then – so make it now.”

    I would maintain that rabbanim can offer shiurim, etc on the issues raised, but the real chinuch on such issues begins at home. It is denial of the obvious in recognizing that a proper hashkafa in such subjects is caught at home, as opposed to being taught either via shiurim or in drashos condemning what are perceived as departures from appropriate Shabbos attire.

  18. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-one of the shtieblach that I daven Maariv at has on its bulletin board a reminder from its rav about proper weekday and Shabbos attire for Tefilah, turning off the cellphone during Tefilah, as well as posture in shul. I suspect that such a reminder in many shuls would be viewed as creeping Charedism.

  19. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve B. I said that what RSP was fine, so you are breaking through an open door. But there are other ways rabbis can and should influence teenagers, other than by giving shiurim on the relevant issues. Being available, understanding, and empathetic, for example. BTW, I am old fashioned MO enough to believe in proper shul attire.

  20. HAGTBG says:

    I thought RSP’s article was poorly articles. Aside from relying on an anonymous, unpublished study indicating a community with a shocking failure rate as others point out we have no baseline. Are we to believe more people went to shul each day a generation ago then now? Or are we to believe that a generation ago the failure rate of high schools within two years was 50%? And meanwhile, with a 50% failure rate, RSP asserts that schools that are paid tens of thousands per child – where parents are sacrificing their quality of life to provide – have NO responsibility for this phenomena. What exactly does he think they are receiving money to do?

  21. HAGTBG says:

    poor argued. Not poorly artivles.

  22. ruvie says:

    R’ joel Rich – the point of the article is in the headline: why are our teens going OTD? RSP is washing his hands of any responsibility as a leader in his community. maybe he is tired of congregants blaming rabbis, teachers, and their institutions. it is fine and proper to tell them to look in the mirror if you want to inculcate your children with torah values – you are part of the cause. but that is not what he is doing in his drive by writing.
    we should expect more insight and thoughtful analysis of what is ailing our community. btw, i have no problem in RSP using a unreliable and faulty study (assuming that it is because anecdotally it seems way off base) as a stepping stone to discuss a touchy subject dear to the mo community. i just expect more than a poorly thought out shabbat mussar sermon pointing his finger at his congregants. poor or lack of leadership is what also ails us.

  23. IH says:

    Given recent posts, does R. Pruzansky’s data points indicate an even split between males and female OTD rates?

  24. IH says:

    R. Yoffie’s piece on Dressing Up and the Yamim Nora’im reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s Yom Kippur piyut, If it be Your Will, which ends:

    And draw us near
    And bind us tight
    All your children here
    In their rags of light
    In our rags of light
    All dressed to kill
    And end this night
    If it be your will

    The primary reference, I think, is to the Akedah; but, I’ve always felt the “rags of light / dressed to kill” was also a subversive reference to the shul fashion parade that used to be a “feature” of Kol Nidre.

  25. joel rich says:

    R’ Ruvie,
    And also in my experience, people tend to listen more if you own part of the problem rather than noting others’ ownership.
    KT

  26. ruvie says:

    R’ Joel Rich – i am not sure what real or responsible advise is being offerred by RSP that anyone should take note of that is not general common sense. but it is quite surprising that there has not been (to my knowledge) any serious methodological study in the mo community besides anecdotal stories and what we can see in front of our faces. where are the community leaders, rabbis, and principals? it is a very complex issue with many moving parts and different causes for different segments of our community. the silence is deafening and embarrassing. just disappointed and cynical in my old age.

  27. joel rich says:

    but it is quite surprising that there has not been (to my knowledge) any serious methodological study in the mo community besides anecdotal stories and what we can see in front of our faces. where are the community leaders, rabbis, and principals?
    ==================================
    Unfortunately orthodoxy in general prefers to substitute appearances for facts and impressions for demonstrations (bonus points for anyone who gets the allusion)
    KT

  28. emma says:

    i know of an orthodox dayschool that recently surveyed alumni about, among other things, observance and denominational affiliation. judging from the vague release they did make (“most” affiliate orthodox, the vast majority are strongly jewishly affiliated, and a sizeable majority send kids to dayschool) they won’t be releasing precise numbers any time soon. (“most” are orthodox is not exactly an awesome stat…)

  29. emma says:

    i do note that rabbi pruzansky’s suggestions are at least somewhat gendered.
    “parents” should
    – go to shul daily
    – take shul on shabbos seriously rather than socialize
    – learn torah regularly
    – make shabbat table special
    – dress nicely for shabbat and make kids do the same.
    – daven regularly (not clear if this is searated from “shul” above)
    if they do, their “children” will do the same.

    it seems to me many many orthodox mothers don’t do the first three- indeed, the more “orthodox,” the less likely. was he talking about parents or mothers?

  30. emma says:

    sorry, “parents” or “Fathers”?

  31. abba's rantings says:

    EMMA:

    “(“most” are orthodox is not exactly an awesome stat…)”

    what do you consider a (realistically) awesome stat?

  32. ruvie says:

    interesting documentary – rabbi’s daughter: since we are on the otd subject..

    The Rabbi’s Daughter, בת הרב, is a documentary about three daughters of three different national-religious rabbis in Israel who have chosen to live a life that is different from the house in which they were raised.

    http://menachemmendel.net/blog/film-the-rabbis-daughter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=film-the-rabbis-daughter

  33. abba's rantings says:

    ruvie:

    did you watch “srugim” (i.e., hodaya)?

  34. abba's rantings says:

    ruvie:

    i just watched for a few minutes and will have to watch the rest later. the father of one girl was my rosh yeshiva.

  35. ruvie says:

    abba – never did. one day i will get around to watching it. RSP solution shows a lack of understanding of what is going on. what is the most troubling to me is the lack of effort (to my knowledge) to accumulate and analyze data. seems to be a paralysis in our community.

  36. micha says:

    Speaking as a parent, I think it’s clearly our issue. School can help. I think sleep away camp can help more. And shul more than either. But the bottom line is, people commit to something felt, not thought. Curricula aren’t the issue. How these kids perceive the atmosphere they’re expected to live in is. Camp can be a 4 week experience, learning from lifestyle rather than books, and shul should be a big part of one’s definition of “home”. But parents and peers provide the core of that atmosphere. (And pointing at peers is an infinite regress; solving the problem for one teen by saying the root is the other teen’s similar problem?)

  37. abba's rantings says:

    ruvie:

    it was a great show, although some of the characters got annoying toward the end of the second season. (completely unrelated, but if you watch israeli tv i highly recommend hatufim (prisoners of war), available free and legal online (second season just started)

    perhaps no (published?) data because institutions afraid of what results might show?

  38. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Homeland (big emmy winner this year) is based on Hatufim (Prisoners of War).

  39. Ruvie says:

    Abba – maybe right. 25 years ago a friend told of am alumni survey from a well known upper east side high school he attended . The results were so embarrassing – I believe north of 50% were not religious -that they never published the results ( I believ

  40. emma says:

    Abba, no science, obviously, but as a parent I would be ok sending to a school where 80 percent or so stayed frun. (I would include highly observant nonortho in frum. Not sure abt nonobservant but orthodox affilliated) the theory would be that that is enough critical mass who are taking it seriously that my kid would be much more likely positively vs negatively influenced by peers and/or general school culture.

  41. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Ruvie: Thanks for linking to Bat ha-Rav. It’s not that long, about 35 minutes.I just watched it. Very moving. It was made by a director who was from the Religious Zionist Maale school. In light of the NY Times article about Haredi films, this film shows more than anything else the yawning gulf between the dati- leumi and Haredi camps in Israel. Rabbi Prusanzky, by the way, should see it. He’d see things are not so simple.

  42. Ruvie says:

    Micha – “How these kids perceive the atmosphere they’re expected to live in is” can you explain?
    No doubt it’s the parent’s responsibility and issue. And therefore the solution is? Do we really understand the what and why ?

  43. Hirhurim says:

    I found the way R. Aviner and his daughter interact inspiring–both sides.

  44. IH says:

    Inspiring indeed; and it made me glad I did not comment on the article linked above.

  45. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Wow, Gil and IH agreeing! Mashiach’s tzeiten.

    I agree as well. While I still do not agree with most of his views, my opinion of Rav Aviner has just shot way up. I also thought the very difficult but honest confronational scene between Rav Bigman, his wife, and their daughter spoke well for all of them.

    Gil: I think that you should link to this movie as a separate post. That way you will hopefully ensure that lots of people will see it and comment on it.

  46. IH says:

    See also Rav Shagar’s daughter starting at 15:33 on http://vimeo.com/45277267

  47. IH says:

    Sorry, it then quickly continues into the next segment on http://vimeo.com/45287134 where the filmmaker then moves on to himself, as a father.

  48. Moshe Shoshan says:

    For all I disagree with and complain about many of R. Aviner’s positions, He is deeply humane and moral person from what I have seen. He was among the only right wing Rabbonim, who, before the rabin public decried the extreme rhetoric and frequent hatred of left wingers expressed by the anti-Oslo camp, warning that it would lead to murder…

  49. Nachum says:

    Lawrence: In what way does it show a gulf? I think I know what you mean, but I’m just curious.

    IH: What article didn’t you comment on?

    Ruvie: I remember in the mid-80’s Prof. Gurock edited a book on Ramaz (for its fiftieth anniversary) that included a study that showed that observance had gone way up among the students’ families. (Pulling from memory here, but for example I think shemirat Shabbat had gone from the 40’s to the 80’s or something like that.) I don’t remember if it discussed alumni. Of course, Ramaz has always been somewhat unique in its position in society.

    Based completely on a somewhat large range of personal experiences, one thing I’ve learned that in both the US and Israel, observance among the formerly religious goes up quite a bit when kids start going to school. I can’t say what goes on in the heads of the parents- I imagine they still don’t quite believe in the orthodox (small o) sense- but the praxis is definitely there.

  50. MJ says:

    Moshe Shoshan, He is a deeply humane person with a whose pronouncements often cause me to wonder how much actual contact with humanity he has other than with his followers.

    I think he is completely on the right track to remind people that reproduction is not a simple matter of personal autonomy, but involves the creation of a child with her own interests. But then he adds this nugget:

    “Rabbi Aviner adds that children born through sperm donation “often wake up at night and cry, ‘Father, Father.'” ”

    Seriously? I’ve seen a decent amount of literature following children born to single mothers via sperm donation and I never came across that factoid.

  51. MJ says:

    The problem I have over much of the OTD discussions are that they begin with the assumption that today remaining modern Orthodox is the default norm and going “OTD” is the deviation. My assumption is that given that the socioeconomic position of the MO community gives its members easy mobility into less affiliated lives (as well as into hareidi streams), and the rather high threshold to pass in order to be considered sufficiently Orthodox by official communal standards we should have a very high attrition rate, (but that even those who move out of the community will have very strongly Jewish identities.)

    If coed day schools that cater to students ranging from weakly to strongly affiliated keep 50% of their students observant two years out, that’s not great, but not terrible either.

    If you want better numbers then given that leaving is not an unexpected outcome, what you need isn’t data on why they leave, but carefully researched qualitative and quantitative data studying the question of the factors that lead people to stay observant.

    R. Pruzansky’s common sense set of suggestions (really a rabbi’s wishlist of things he’d like everyone in his community to do) amounts to “people from more demonstrably committed homes tend to remain committed” and is simply not useful. (BTW, why isn’t he wondering why so many adult congregants in his shul are not demonstrably committed? shouldn’t that be his real purview? )

    If you want to make a dent in what are dismal day school statistics the question can’t be what are the factors that exist in demonstrably committed homes that tend to lead to children remaining in the community because you can’t realistically make every home demonstrably more committed. You need to study and produce real data on the factors that lead children from what are less committed homes to remain within the community. Whatever that is provide more of it. Don’t just wish that everyone stopped talking in shul wore suits, went to minyan three times a day etc. Not gonna happen.

    Find out why the kids who grew up in homes that by R. Pruzansky’s metrics are spiritually impoverished managed to stay frum.

  52. ruvie says:

    As we all know there are too many rabbis that we respect that when they make public statements many of us just shake our heads and say : what was he thinking? nothing to do with their humanity.

    the video just shows that today the issue of OTD is complex and there is no hiding from it – ain bayit asher ain shem mate. lets not forget that many religious jews religiousity also depends on where they are in their time continuum.
    it also depends on your age and what you see in your friends, childrens’ friends, and community.

  53. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Nachum: What I mean is that, as related in the NY Times article, Haredi filmmakers are not allowed by their “rabbinic advisors” to make a film showing, say, even the slightest tension between a teenage daughter and her mother. Bat ha-Rav came out of the Maaleh Film School, as stated in the opening credits. Can one even begin to imagine anything even vaguely similar coming out of a Haredi film school?

  54. Ruvie says:

    Does the beit harav film reflect the way dati leumi – or mo- families deal with OTD differently than the hareidei population? And in the us is there a major difference on the personal level? I would assume so here in the us – embarrassment and shiduchim issues etc. any comparative analysis?

  55. Hirhurim says:

    Funny, I have read/learned quite a few of Rav Aviner’s books and find I agree with him most of the time.

    MJ: His story about the child waking up was just meant to spice up his point with an example or a story.

    MJ: I saw R. Pruzansky’s main message as: If you want your kids to be frum, you be frum. He presumably has congregants coming to him to complain about their OTD children without first looking in the mirror.

  56. ruvie says:

    MJ- i would think it would be easier to find data and analyze why children deviate from family and community norms of observance ( they would be naturally stronger) than why they stay in the fold. but its a good observation.

  57. IH says:

    IH: What article didn’t you comment on?

    Nachum — MJ at 5:13 am hit it on the head. That silly “father, father” line just made me dismiss the whole article out of hand. It’s interesting that Gil comments as he did, because I often have the same problem with his writing — i.e. adding an unnecessarily provocative throwaway line that discredits the rest of the commentary.

    Perhaps R. Aviner should “sanity check” his pronouncements meant for the general public with his daughter that is in the film.

  58. ruvie says:

    r’ gil –
    “If you want your kids to be frum, you be frum”

    sage advise? or simplistic statements that fails to realize the depth and complexity of the problem. i guess its ok for a shabbat sermon reprimanding his congregants but not serious to deal with a title of – why our children go OTD. it also seems the parents are shomer mitzvot to begin with but not outwardly frum enough for him or serious enough.

    its a hard thing to pass down belief and faith. as a community he fails the test miserably for an understanding of the situation.

  59. abba's rantings says:

    MJ:

    ” why isn’t he wondering why so many adult congregants in his shul are not demonstrably committed? shouldn’t that be his real purview?”

    good point. perhaps he would presume his congregants themselves didn’t have good role models in their own parents?

    EMMA:

    i didn’t mean what percentage are you comfortable with as a parent with children in a particular school, but rather what percentage is acceptable on a communal level as an indicator of overall success or failure.

  60. abba's rantings says:

    lots of interesting interesting observations in bat ha-rav aside from the main subject.
    i was amazed that r. aviner’s daughter brought him her shoes to be fixed (and later he helped her pack up her apartment). surely he had more important rabbinic matters to tend to than fix her shoes and pack her up. so he knows her name and then some . . .

  61. MJ says:

    Ruvie – it seems easier, but it forces you to look for pathologies which are really not the main explanation from social drift away from the MO community. On the contrary, this type of drift is normal for young adults with a lot of social mobility entering the wider world. Instead the community ought to focus on factors that counteract the effects of that freedom and mobility, especially among children of families not as demonstrably religiously committed.

  62. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Funny, I have read/learned quite a few of Rav Aviner’s books and find I agree with him most of the time.

    precisely Gil, you really fit in with elements of the chardal world, of which R. Aviner is a leader. Its hard to call him Modern Orthodox.

  63. MJ says:

    Moshe Shoshan,

    No need for that, I’ve read through one of his books on marriage. He basically subscribes to a retrograde essentialist view of men and women. Men have nature X, women nature Y, and these determine the course of their public and private lives.

  64. ruvie says:

    MJ- “pathologies” do tell what you mean. but you have a valid point. i would think that many stay in the fold because they are neutral (in some cases lethargy also factors in). to go out of the fold takes initiative and reasons while staying in does not (so ithink its more fruitful and easier to analyze that). but mobility is surely as you stated a factor. i also believe eventual acceptance of the choices our children make as oppose to other segments of orthodoxy adds to it. its complex so we really do need experts to comb the data – simply to create the data would be nice) and not rabbis pontificating without knowledge. rabbis i am sure like RSP mean well but have not risen to the bar of helping their own community. – imho.

  65. MJ says:

    Becasue of what I mentioned above, R. Aviner has a tendency to make sweeping pronouncments:

    Memorial for First Wife
    Q: My family is organizing a meal in memory of my first wife who passed away. Should I bring my current wife?
    A: You should not attend at all. You are now married anew and your former wife is no longer part of your world. If you attend, even alone, it will hurt your current wife, even if she denies it.

    Has R. Aviner ever taken the time to speak with couples on their second marriages after being widowed? On the contrary, most people I know in these situations respect their spouse’s connection to their previouse spouse and would never feel hurt by said spouse attending a memorial arranged by his or her children. R. Aviner’s advice seems to me more likely to create a rift between a man and his children – but women being how they are I guess he knows of what he speaks.

  66. joel rich says:

    r’mj,
    the nature of text message responsa (a subject of debate anyway)is too assume “all other things being equal”. I imagine R’ Aviner has anecdotal data supporting his position.
    KT

  67. MJ says:

    Beyond that quibbling stuff I have deep problems with R. Aviner’s position on prenatal testing and selective abortion which has contributed to the high rate of selectively aborting disabled fetuses among the Religious Zionist community in Israel. Ostensibly in the name of encouraging everyone to have excessively large families.

  68. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Ruvie: I am NOT saing that Haredi parents necesarily deal any differently with their OTD children than do Dati-leumi or MO parents. I do not know the answer to that one. I AM saying that the Haredim will never in a million years make movies about it!

  69. IH says:

    On a positive note, I was struck in the film by how respectful non-Dati’im were of the Rabbanim — even though they did not live that life, nor probably agree with many of the views held by the Rabbanim. The epitome to me was 07:00 to 08:08.

  70. ruvie says:

    LK – didn’t say you did. your post made me reflect on mo vs hareidi differences on the subject and was wondering if anyone knew of any analysis. but i do think there are major differences.

  71. abba's rantings says:

    IH:

    “I was struck in the film by how respectful non-Dati’im were of the Rabbanim”

    i too was in awe if the landlord who was in awe that one of his tenants was the daughter of r. aviner. i watched it late at night though and don’t recall other indications of such respect (not that i recall any disrespect)

    MOSHE SHOSHAN:

    are there any MO-type rabbinic leaders in israel that are nationally prominent (in the sense that r. aviner is for the chardal world)? r. bigman is MO (of course american), but is he prominent or have a following?

  72. Nachum says:

    Abba: I’d say there are plenty, especially the ones who appear on TV, give regular addresses at various fora, etc.- you can probably name a bunch.

  73. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Abba: How about Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, who is rather well known and whose oldest son went OTD–and became Haredi! RAL refers to him in his new book (Mevakshei Panekha) and says something to the effect (I am citing from memory) “I love him with all my heart, but I know that my whole world of literature and culture is a closed book to him.”

  74. emma says:

    “i didn’t mean what percentage are you comfortable with as a parent with children in a particular school, but rather what percentage is acceptable on a communal level as an indicator of overall success or failure.”

    i know, but the first is easier… off hand, i would say we should, as a community, certainly strive to do at least as well as other similarly situated religious groups. for the MO the best example i can think of is mormons. i am not sure what their retention rate is.

  75. aiwac says:

    I would add that there is a substantial phenomenon here in Israel where young adults effectively “take a vacation” from observant life for a while and then return later. I’d be curious to know how prevalent it is in the US.

  76. Hirhurim says:

    I find his views on tzenius to be overly strict. But there is more to a worldview than women’s place.

    Generally, I tend to disregard reports in the media as exaggerations and rely on his own works for his true view.

  77. emma says:

    one difficulty with the analogy is that a marginally observant mormon who wants to maintain that religious identity is is still just “Mormon,” whereas a marginaly observant jew may be either nonobservant “orthodox” or some other denomination. i.e., some ppl who count as “dropouts” from orthodoxy might not for LDS.

  78. Hirhurim says:

    MJ: Beyond that quibbling stuff I have deep problems with R. Aviner’s position on prenatal testing and selective abortion which has contributed to the high rate of selectively aborting disabled fetuses among the Religious Zionist community in Israel. Ostensibly in the name of encouraging everyone to have excessively large families.

    I actually find it courageous and praiseworthy.

  79. Hirhurim says:

    IH: It’s interesting that Gil comments as he did, because I often have the same problem with his writing — i.e. adding an unnecessarily provocative throwaway line that discredits the rest of the commentary.

    People do it because it works. Many more readers appreciate it than don’t. The people who are most careful in their wording are the boring ones whom few read, or at least few read all the way through.

  80. IH says:

    On R. Aviner’s article, a tradeoff not covered is the effect of having older parents to a (probably) single child versus the effect of having only a single parent.

    Also, some of these Dati single mothers may be gay, but not volunteering that information (and some may even be in same-sex partnerships).

    —–

    Gil — sure, but words matter and it depends on how they’re used. It is straightforward to see when something is being said to provoke an honest discussion and when something is being said out of ignorance or as chizuk for the converts through incitement. I call it out when I see it, but held my tongue yesterday on the R. Aviner piece.

  81. abba's rantings says:

    GIL:

    “I find his views on tzenius to be overly strict. But there is more to a worldview than women’s place.”

    easy for you to say!

    EMMA:

    http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Mormon/A-Portrait-of-Mormons-in-the-US–Religious-Beliefs-and-Practices.aspx

    70% of those born mormon remained mormon in this study. but as you correctly point out, the study gauged retention via idnetification. i’m willing to bet that most of those supposed 50% OTDers still identify as jews.

    PROF KAPLAN:

    how prominent and well known is RAL in israel? (i have no idea, just asking).

  82. ruvie says:

    LK – i assume you were joking on the OTD comment of RAL’s son. but it makes ask if anyone really thinks that their child goes hareidi is the same as OTD. or do people define OTD as not following your footsteps – like from satmar to mo. therefore the term has different meaning to different segments of orthodoxy. just asking if i am in the same world as everyone else.

    MJ – “On the contrary, this type of drift is normal for young adults with a lot of social mobility entering the wider world.” i understand that. children leave for various reasons – bad experiences, dysfunctional families, substance and high risk kids. maybe its natural to rebel against one’s parents beliefs. what surprises me is that anecdotally i see a majority of them are the best and brightest from great families that are not mo lite in anyway. but its a small sample and i wonder if its true in the broader mo community.

  83. Hirhurim says:

    IH: It is straightforward to see when something is being said to provoke an honest discussion and when something is being said out of ignorance or as chizuk for the converts through incitement

    I think the issue is that you are expecting discussion. He isn’t. He’s just saying his view and expecting people to take it as it is. He’s trying to explain, not convince.

  84. MJ says:

    R. Gil, What do you find courageous about routinizing the elimination of people with Down Syndrome from Klal Yisrael?

  85. Nachum says:

    Abba- he’s currently got two books out by Yediot (basically interviews, one with R’ Sabato and a translated one with R’ Ziegler) that seem to be selling pretty well in the large (secular) bookstore chains.

    I wonder about Amish…

  86. emma says:

    ““I find his views on tzenius to be overly strict. But there is more to a worldview than women’s place.”

    easy for you to say!”

    abba, my thoughts exactly. but i am glad you said it first.

  87. Hirhurim says:

    MJ: The problem he faced was that women were having fewer children because they were worried about the increased risk of having children with Down Syndrome. He encouraged them to have more children by saying that he would allow them to have abortions if any problems were detected. Net net, he is increasing the number of Jewish children.

  88. MJ says:

    Ruvie, I think you are missing my point. It’s not about rebellion, dysfunction etc. It’s social mobility. The best and brightest are potentially the most mobile. They can seamlessly transition from upper middle class modern Orthodoxy to college life to being a young hip urban twenty-something to being an upper middle class professional outside the Orthodox community.

  89. Nachum says:

    Gil, thanks for that JTA piece. I thought “Brant Rosen” was a Christian until I got to the end. Now the twelfth bracha of Shemonah Esrei will have some extra meaning for me.

  90. emma says:

    is there no cost too hight for “increasing the number of jewish children”?

    is there no statement being made about the worth and dignity – tselem elokim, if you will – of disabled children? (note that these are not, mostly, children who would be best described as living a “life of suffering.” they are just harder to take care of.)

  91. emma says:

    insemination of single women also incraeses the number of jewish children.

  92. MJ says:

    He’s increasing the net number of children by selectively eliminating the disabled based on people’s outsized fears of having a disabled child. He is effectively reinforcing and legitimizing those fears along with the idea that disabled people’s lives are not worth as much as the non-disabled.

    Instead he could have told people that we will stand by people with disabled children by making sure they have the governmental and social support necessary to raise them – and then used his bully pulpit to make it so. That would have been courageous. The wholesale heter for abortion is a cop out.

  93. HAGTBG says:

    He is effectively reinforcing and legitimizing those fears along with the idea that disabled people’s lives are not worth as much as the non-disabled.

    Are we going to start pretending that people’s preference for a healthy, normal child over one with Down’s Syndrome is illegitimate? Those fears are there because it is something to be fearful about.

  94. ruvie says:

    MJ – “The best and brightest are potentially the most mobile.” i would think that 90% if not 100% of mo are socially mobile. most doesn’t add anything. going OTD has many causes – that is why i mentioned the other categories. i was wondering whether my observation about the best and brightest is true to others here on an observatory or anecdotal level. what percentage of the otd group would also be illuminating.

  95. Hirhurim says:

    Giving a heter for birth control does not say anything about the tzelem elokim of the children who are never born.

    It isn’t outsized fear. When you have 8 kids, a special needs kid as the ninth can easily overwhelm a parent. It’s based on observation, not theory.

    The statement is that a mother’s mental health is worth protecting.

  96. HAGTBG says:

    we will stand by people with disabled children by making sure they have the governmental and social support necessary to raise them – and then used his bully pulpit to make it so. That would have been courageous.

    It is courageous to argue that other people’s hard-earned money should be used to pay for a child that the person doesn’t really want? That may be right. That may be proper. It is not courageous.

    Courageous would be if he offered his own money. Or used his bully pulpit to raise the money privately. Or if you do that.

  97. aiwac says:

    “insemination of single women also increases the number of jewish children”

    Not a very good idea for the child, though.

  98. HAGTBG says:

    Not a very good idea for the child, though.

    Assuming the alternative is two happy parents as opposed to one parent, probably. As opposed to two abusive parents (which we frown upon but do not forbid) or nonexistence (which is real likely alternative), I submit that answer is not so simple.

  99. emma says:

    “Not a very good idea for the child, though.”

    worse than being the ninth or tenth kid born to two parents?

  100. emma says:

    birth control doesn’t say anything about specific types of people. aborting fetuses with down, etc, says something very clear about the people with those abilities who do, in fact, get born. (indeed, i think parents who choose to carry such children to term are finding increasingly little sympathy or understanding. w all the abortions, fewer people actually know someone with downs, and more people think they should have aborted rather than drain society’s resources…)

  101. emma says:

    i also think the psak is connected to rav aviner’s gender essentiaism. he believes that women want to have more and more babies in part because some women do, and in part because his worldview dictates that they should.

  102. aiwac says:

    “As opposed to two abusive parents (which we frown upon but do not forbid) or nonexistence (which is real likely alternative), I submit that answer is not so simple”

    Wow, what a ringing endorsement – better than an abusive household. Is that really a reason to start a single-parent household lechatchila?

    I submit that a single woman’s desire to have a child should be weighed against the well-being of that (potential) child. Like it or not, their chances are better in a two-parent household. The fact that some of these are not good to say the least is no reason to endorse an inherently flawed arrangement, even if “not as bad”. “I want to” is not good enough.

  103. aiwac says:

    “Worse than being the ninth or tenth kid born to two parents?”

    If you mean they can’t afford them, then yes – neither is good or desirable. It certainly shouldn’t be endorsed.

  104. Dovid says:

    Re: “Brain-dead donor’s recovery”:

    The headline you linked to has it wrong; the girl had never been declared brain dead.

    What happened was that the doctors anticipated that she WOULD become brain dead and began initial preparations SHOULD that occur. She then recovered, with the doctors’ help.

    See DailyMail account:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2219085/Carina-Melchior-The-girl-wouldnt-die-Miracle-Danish-girl-woke-doctors-prepared-organs-donated.html#ixzz2AEjIwzsY

    One Danish doctor who spoke to MailOnline said it was an unfortunate case of miscommunication between Carina’s family and the doctors at Aarhus.
    ‘The story says a lot about the importance of communication in a doctor-patient relationship,’ the doctor said. ‘If the doctors had expressed themselves differently, the parents would not have felt so maltreated.’
    ‘From a medical point of view, no mistakes have been made. The girl was never declared brain-dead, that was never the case.
    ‘In fact, the doctors saved her life with the treatment they gave her.
    ‘And they were not going to ‘take’ her organs, it was merely a conversation about organ donation if she would become brain dead.’
    The doctors at Aarhus hospital has apologised for the failures in communication during Carina’s treatment and have said they made a mistake.

  105. MJ says:

    Are we going to start pretending that people’s preference for a healthy, normal child over one with Down’s Syndrome is illegitimate? Those fears are there because it is something to be fearful about.

    They are not legitimate when they are simply based on a fear of the unknown. Have you spent much time with families with disabled children or with disabled children or adults?

    It is courageous to argue that other people’s hard-earned money should be used to pay for a child that the person doesn’t really want? That may be right. That may be proper. It is not courageous.

    First, All of the disabled children I know are loved and wanted. Second, I think it is courageous When a Rabbi says “you know what, this is a social problem, not a halakhic one, let’s find a social solution” instead of bending halakha to existing social prejudice.

  106. MJ says:

    (indeed, i think parents who choose to carry such children to term are finding increasingly little sympathy or understanding. w all the abortions, fewer people actually know someone with downs, and more people think they should have aborted rather than drain society’s resources…)

    In Israel today prenatal testing and selective abortion is not so much a choice presented to a pregnant woman as an expectation. And Israel is going to be at the forefront of expanding the conditions tested for. So along with down syndrome you can expect the elimination of people with all sorts of disabling conditions.

  107. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Re; R. Pruzansky’s article on OTD and his references to recent “surveys,” I saw this on the Areivim listserv:

    “I contacted Rabbi Pruzansky directly, who was the
    author of the blog referred to in this Lookjed
    posting, and who offers the ?50%? and ?25%?
    figures now being quoted authoritatively. Rabbi
    Pruzansky has never seen the ?survey? which he
    writes about, and has only heard an ?oral? report
    ? we do not know if this was first-hand,
    second-hand or twentieth-hand. We know nothing
    of who conducted the survey; how it was
    conducted; who were the respondents, how large
    the sample was, what questions were asked or what
    definitions were used. The whole posting is
    therefore worthless, and with all due respect,
    should never have been published on the web. If
    the organisation who commissioned the report are
    prepared to publish it, we will then have something to discuss.

    Paul J. Shaviv, M.A., M.Phil.
    Ramaz Head of School”

    Why am I not surprised?

  108. joel rich says:

    R’JK,
    I hope you got permission to post that – back in the day when I was on that list R’ Micha was very tough on posting outside the list :-)
    I would disagree that the whole posting is worthless based on the nature of the reference to the “survey”, I’d say the posting was of equal value with or without that survey.
    KT

  109. Moshe Shoshan says:

    “how prominent and well known is RAL in israel? ”
    Very.
    I would add to the MO list, R. Yuval Sherlo, R. Yoel Bim Nun, Benny Lau

  110. emma says:

    MJ, you are expressing everything i want to, but more eloquently. that R. Gil doesn’t seem to acknowledge the huge moral issue here is actually shocking to me.

  111. Dovid says:

    Re: MJ’s comment “First, All of the disabled children I know are loved and wanted.”

    Could be a function of the society you move in.

    Often, when they are born into large families with very limited resources, the results are unending stress and desperation.

    In some hasidic communities in the US, where abortion is not an option, the children are sometimes left at the hospital or given to other families to raise.

  112. emma says:

    aiwac, the point was: rav aviner essentially endorses abortion because it creates, net net, more jewish babies born to older mothers who already have a lot of kids. but he decries the birth or more jewish babies to single mothers. the latter may not be ideal, butif you are wiling to go to extremes for more jewish babies, turning around and saying “but not for you” to single women is at least noteworthy…

  113. emma says:

    “In some hasidic communities in the US, where abortion is not an option, the children are sometimes left at the hospital or given to other families to raise.”

    first, my undersatnding is that in many chassidic communities abortion is very much an option, much as it is for the RZ in israel. the goal is as many healthy kids as possible, and if you have to discard some unhealthy along the way so be it. agree that those kids who are born are often institutionalized or “given away.” not obvious that those kids end up worse off than they would in their birth families given the large number of other kids, shame at having a disabled child, and general lack of resources…

  114. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Joel: it wasn’y posted by the person who wrote it (whose name I did not put in my comment).” So I thought that once it was made public in this manner, it was proper for public dissemination. On second thought, I should have been clearer, though I don’t think I violated any of the guidelines.

  115. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Joel: Just reread your comment and appreciate the last part (at least I think I do).

  116. abba's rantings says:

    R. Joel:

    the letter from paul shaviv that joseph kaplan posted also appears at http://lookstein.org/lookjed/read.php?1,20888,20896#msg-20896, which is publicly available to all.

    Moshe Shoshan/Lawrence Kaplan:

    thanks

  117. abba's rantings says:

    DOVID:

    i’m aware of the stereotype of chasidim who lock their disabled kids in closets (hopefully just metaphorically), but leave them at the hospitals? seriously?

    also, someone once remarked to me that for all the shame and stigma of handicapped/disabled/etc. children in the chasidic world, once still sees many more there than in the MO world (speaking relatively, obviously the chasidim have higher birth rate).

  118. HAGTBG says:

    It certainly shouldn’t be endorsed.

    It is, nevertheless, permitted. No one is saying single-parenthood should be the ideal. But the question is whether its better for a women to never have children or have children as a single parent. And if someone can make such an absolute assessment about this, that they’d prohibit the activity to all.

    As for the child’s perspective, the question is not whether the child would be better off with a two-parent household but whether the child would, generally, be better off non-existing. And whether you can apply a general rule to the specific instance.

    Why forbid a woman who can do this but not forbid it by a household with to many children or abusive, etc.

  119. Nachum says:

    I once spoke to someone who worked with kids in homes in the charedi world. She said there’s a whole range of types- families who visit their child every day (some of these children are far worse than just “disabled”- some may not be conscious as all), and some who never come at all. I suppose this is true of any community.

  120. emma says:

    “leave them at the hospitals” – i assumed that meant “give them up for adoption through formal channels.”

  121. joel rich says:

    r’JK,
    you think correctly :-)
    KT

  122. Hirhurim says:

    emma: birth control doesn’t say anything about specific types of people. aborting fetuses with down, etc, says something very clear about the people with those abilities who do, in fact, get born

    It says something about the effect on the mother when specific types of people are born, not about the people themselves.

    indeed, i think parents who choose to carry such children to term are finding increasingly little sympathy or understanding

    Really? I’m not finding that AT ALL. It’s pretty much unquestioned in my circles that you don’t get an abortion. If people do, other people either don’t know or assume it was a miscarriage.

  123. Hirhurim says:

    emma: the point was: rav aviner essentially endorses abortion because it creates, net net, more jewish babies born to older mothers who already have a lot of kids. but he decries the birth or more jewish babies to single mothers

    He presumably also believes that allowing older single women to have children will REDUCE the number of Jewish children born by further changing societal norms regarding marriage. At least I do.

  124. shaul shapira says:

    ▪ Confessions of an Orthodox Feminist

    “I know feminists from other denominations will be wondering what’s wrong with me, having progressed so much further on the road to equality in their own prayer settings. But I know that I share these conflicted feelings with other feminist women — and men — from orthodox backgrounds who still struggle to reconcile the demands of feminism with the standard orthodox shul-going habits to which they are accustomed.”

    Is she saying it’s O’s fault for being segregated and thus making the transition to heterodoxy harder? Or, where did I misunderstand?

  125. abba's rantings says:

    GIL:

    ” It’s pretty much unquestioned in my circles that you don’t get an abortion. If people do, other people either don’t know or assume it was a miscarriage.”

    i don’t know if true, but a doctor friend (not an ob/gyn who would really know himself) once commented to me that he suspects that frum parents tend to postpone notifying family and friends about a pregnancy as long as possible in order to preserve the option of abortion with privacy.

  126. emma says:

    “It says something about the effect on the mother when specific types of people are born, not about the people themselves.”

    That may be the immediate motivator (and notice you/rav aviner are talking mothers, not parents/family, btw…)

  127. Hirhurim says:

    I can tell you that my wife and her family are absolutely insistent about postponing notifying anyone that they are pregnant and would never ever consider an abortion. It’s kind of an unofficial ayin hara thing. You never know if you will miscarry and don’t want to have to tell people if you do. And don’t say that miscarriages are really just code for abortions because I know for certain of cases that weren’t.

  128. Hirhurim says:

    emma: I specifically wrote mother because that is the halakhic consideration. I do not believe the effect on the father enters the calculation, at least not directly.

  129. emma says:

    oops – posted too soon. but it does carry implicit messages about the worth of such children (are abortions so easily given out for women who get pregnant by accident and just think they have too many kids to cope?). it also does “change societal norms,” as you say, regarding the support offered to people with disabilities and their families.

  130. emma says:

    agree that postponing notification is about ayin hara and/or not wanting to have to tell ppl abt a miscarriage. i still get freaked out when nonjewish colleages announce a pregnancy at, say, week 6.
    miscarriages are quite common. everyone knows multiple women who have had them. if you don’t know who they are that’s just because they didn’t tell you.
    (otoh postponing notification past the point where a pregnancy is pretty visible is often just fuel for gossip…)

  131. MJ says:

    It’s pretty much unquestioned in my circles that you don’t get an abortion.

    There is a huge difference between America and Israel in this regard. In the US, R. Moshe’s stance on abortion coupled with the fact that abortion is the source of ongoing moral controversy makes it very rare in most right of center circles. More importantly, it is much easier to forgo prenatal testing. If you tell your OB you are not interested they will almost always back off. I really have no idea about what goes on in MO circles. You seem to see fewer children with Down syndrome, (when I was involved with Yachad I was struck by the fact that few of the participants MO communities) but this may equally be a function of families stopping their childbearing before the risk of Trisomy 21 gets very high.

    In Israel you have the Tzitz Eliezer’s stance on abortion plus R. Aviner’s coupled with abortion not being controversial plus the country’s aggressive use of prenatal testing (you almost have to fight to forgo it) and the ingrained expectation that it will be acted upon should an abnormality be found results in the selective abortion rate being quite high in the general population as well as the RZ, chardal, and even some of the Hareidi communities.

  132. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    In just reread RSP’s post. He is not a lawyer for nothing. Reminds me of Noah Feldman. He writes “an unpublished study was brought to my attention.” Note he is careful not to say “I recently read or saw a new survey.” Of course, he also does not what is the case, namely, “I heard about this survey 2nd (or 20th) hand.” So, he cannot be accused of lying, though, to say the least, he was highly economical with the truth. So RSP, how about taking a hard look at yourself in the mirror?

  133. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve B: You should read Paul Shaviv’s comment cited by my brother. Among other things, you will see an instance where “WADR” is perfectly in place.

  134. emma says:

    what if they develop a prenatal test for “colic”, and the mother says “i have 7 kids, i can handle a normal baby but not one who cries all night.” would rav aviner allow abortion?

  135. Hirhurim says:

    emma: I don’t believe that R. Aviner made this decision lightly. I am certain he agonized over it.

  136. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan wrote in part:

    “Steve B. I said that what RSP was fine, so you are breaking through an open door. But there are other ways rabbis can and should influence teenagers, other than by giving shiurim on the relevant issues. Being available, understanding, and empathetic, for example”

    Do you have any info that would remotely suggest that RSP is not available, understanding and empathetic, regardless of his public stances?

  137. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry and Joseph Kaplan-I see no basis whereby RSP would not have written the same essay even if he had zero knowledge about the study. The essay contained many of RSP’s own observations from what he has seen in his own shul.

  138. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve B: Then let him say that, for heaven’s sake! Let him be honest and open and say he is basing himself on his own observations, instead of unjustifiably appealing to some vague unpublished study that he did not even SEE in order to whip up hysteria and thereby lend more force and urgency to a valid but very limited point. WADR, your desire to defend the indefensible is very perplexing.

  139. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie,MJ, Larry and Joseph Kaplan-putting aside the issue of the survey, I think that RSP’s comments were based on the following:

    “Perhaps the numbers are less dire than they seem on the surface. For sure, a not-insignificant percentage of students enter those high schools already lacking in Shabbat observance – their families are not observant – and they leave the same way. Other teens already fall off the derech (Orthodox “path”) while in high school – a more exacting study would measure their observance level at graduation and then two years later. But, undoubtedly, many slide off the path of Torah as soon as they gain a modicum of autonomy. Just as certain, there are some who return to Torah years later as well.

    What are we missing? What are we lacking? What are we failing to provide them after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per child on their Jewish education? What is going wrong? And how can it be rectified?

    It needs to be stated that parents who look to blame the schools, the shuls, the youth groups, the rabbis, the teachers, and/or the greater community are looking in the wrong place. They should start by looking in the mirror. That should be obvious, because parents have the primary obligation of educating their children – “You shall teach [these words] to your children to speak of them…” (Devarim 11:19). Even if parents delegate this task, they still remain primarily responsible.

    And of course, the general disclaimer always pertains in these matters: there are perfect parents whose kids go off the derech and horrendous parents (absolute scoundrels) whose children are righteous and scholarly. Even such illustrious people as Yitzchak and Rivka produced one of each – a tzaddik (righteous individual) and a scoundrel. There is no panacea, and we can only talk about the majority. There will always be exceptions.

    To me, it all goes back to basics – not just what the parents say, but what parents say and do. The “chut hameshulash” – the “three-ply cord” of our world – is Torah study, prayer and Shabbat – and in no particular order.

    Children who see their parents prioritize shul – not once or twice a week, but every day – see shul as a value. Children who see their parents attend shul once a week and primarily socialize and converse while there see shul as a place to meet their friends. When older, they can just bypass the middleman and go straight to their friends.

    Similarly, children who see parents learning Torah during their leisure time perceive learning as a value. Children whose Shabbat is different than the other days of the week – the Shabbat table is different, the conversation is laden with talk of Torah, ideas, values, and zemirot (hymns) instead of idle chitchat, sports, and gossip – experience a different Shabbat. It’s just a different day. When Shabbat is not observed as a different day, it stops being a different day”

    I don’t see RSP as focusing on insufficient external manifestations, but rather at parents who are passing on a message of Mitzvos Anashim Mlumadah as a desired religious modus operandi.RSP is merely stating that is foolheardy to view and make a Bdieved into a Lchatchilah ( to use the CI’s phrase) in any aspect of Avodas HaShem. As R E Buchwald pointed out in a Tradition symposium, you have to aim high, as opposed to merely a passing grade, as a parent so that your kids will be frum.We can all posit all sorts of learned rationales on the sociological and cultural factors in response, wothout blinking an eye or shedding a tear that a parent’s hopes that he or she invested in a kid’s education are now just a faded dream as observance and Torah study are not just faded memories, but now are no longer part of a person’s life. Instead of looking at ourselves as individuals, parents, and members of a community, we blame the messenger. As R Aviner noted in one of his ShuT “Bmakom Baalei Teshuva, Ain Ycolim Laamod Tzadik Gamur”, IOW, someone who has lots of “answers” has no interest in hearing the truth.

  140. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-The overwhelming point of departure and emphasis of RSP was his own observations. FWIW, there was an important essay published a number of years ago on the cultural and educational risks of secular colleges by two MO high school grads who attended Ivy league colleges. The notion that any concern about the same is a means of whipping up hysteria, or magnifying a limited isssue, IMO, is illustrative of saying that MO parents should just view RSP’s remarks as just another would be charedi rav’s remarks as utterly irrelevant to their lives.

  141. Tal Benschar says:

    “in order to whip up hysteria”

    Really? Someone is hysterical about RSP’s observations? Who?

  142. joel rich says:

    R’sb,
    My impression is that no one disagrees with r’sp that parental role modeling of desired behaviors is very important, iiuc the feedback is – ok that’s true but why not focus on the area that the writer can directly influence in the role of shul rav (or that other similarly situated individuals could do). Otoh if he feels he is doing all he can, perhaps input as to alternatives would be helpful since current efforts seem to be generating less than desirable results
    Kt

  143. Noam Stadlan says:

    As noted the headline regarding the recovery of the ‘brain dead’ girl is misleading and in fact wrong. She was never brain dead. Is R. Gil going to change the headline?

    This illustrates why discussions regarding donation should not occur until the patient has been determined to be actually dead. The patient in question was breathing on her own and would not have fulfilled criteria for brain death by even the most liberal criteria. This was a case of miscommunication. It shouldn’t happen, but it also doesn’t impugn the concept or practice or determining brain brain death

  144. Steve Brizel says:

    R Joel-I disagree. Most of the posts on RSP’s article suggest that either his approach, to the extent that he relied on a “study”, was simplistic, or that a rav should be somehow more proactive than parents who AFAIK, were and remain the first line of defense in fulfilling the Mitzvah of Chinuch.

  145. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Tal Benschar and Steve Brizel: As I said, I have no quarrel with RSP’s observations, per se, though I thought they were very limited and spoke only about the parental reposibilities and not those of rabbis and teachers, etc. I do, as I said, find the use he made of the unpublished study as a lead-in and his slippery wording (“was brought to my attention”) to be highly problematic. What do you think of the substance of this point Tal?

  146. Tal Benschar says:

    “What do you think of the substance of this point Tal?”

    I don’t know, I am still in a state of hysteria. Maybe I’ll calm down later and tell you.

  147. Steve Brizel says:

    Noam Stadlan wrote in part:

    “This illustrates why discussions regarding donation should not occur until the patient has been determined to be actually dead”

    That is true, but IMO begs the issue-under which criteria/definition of death would be used in reaching the conclusion that “the patient has been determined to be actually dead”?

  148. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Tal: I have often disagreed with you, but always found your comments to be thoughtful and intelligent, strong but measured. I guess there is always a first time. I am surprised and disappointed. Did you think you were being clever?

  149. Noam Stadlan says:

    Steve- Denmark rejected brain death in 1990 but I am pretty sure that subsequently they accepted it as a matter of policy. I am not aware of any criteria for death under any concept that would classify a person who was spontaneously breathing as dead. Defining death is very complex even outside of halacha.

  150. mycroft says:

    “R’sb,
    My impression is that no one disagrees with r’sp that parental role modeling of desired behaviors is very important, iiuc the feedback is – ok that’s true but why not focus on the area that the writer can directly influence in the role of shul rav (or that other similarly situated individuals could do)”
    Agreed

    “It needs to be stated that parents who look to blame the schools, the shuls, the youth groups, the rabbis, the teachers, and/or the greater community are looking in the wrong place. They should start by looking in the mirror. ”
    Everyone should do their own cheshbon hanefesh-parents and Rabbis teachers, preachers etc.

  151. Hirhurim says:

    Dr. Stadlan: I try to avoid changing titles from what is published in the source. To me, the most important part of the article is this:

    “But in more bad publicity for the hospital, a Danish tabloid profiled a man who had been falsely diagnosed as brain dead in 2002. He recovered quickly.

    “Aarhus University Hospital is investigating both cases, although it insists that the correct procedures were followed in the earlier case.”

  152. ruvie says:

    steve b. – “Instead of looking at ourselves as individuals, parents, and members of a community, we blame the messenger.”

    obviously you do not read the posts before you write your comments. RSP is a bullin a china offering the obvious. not helpful.

  153. ruvie says:

    MIcha- “Speaking as a parent, I think it’s clearly our issue.”
    originally i agreed. but we are only responsible for our individual families. who is responsible for the community if not leaders and educators. we need to know as a community is the OTD rate higher than 10, 20 ,30 or 40 years ago. what solution can be offered and what does the data tell us.
    if our leaders can’t do the basic service to its communities then we need to get new leaders who can. parents can’t do it all by themselves and there are limits of what effectively parents can do. I do not see how one can see it otherwise.

  154. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    just like hospital ethics committees are suspect (ethics wise) (per previous discussion), so are this kind of medical decision making. second opinions are important (and NOT second opinions that say “well, if dr so and so said, then it must be right”) and here, where its time critical (or is it?) more consideration must nevertheless be made.

    2. dont these kind of cases crop up all the time? this only made it to the press, and a controlled, reluctant press, at that.

    3. the big US case of this type was karen ann quinlan, who lived for nine years after she was taken off a respirator, and it turned out she never had brain stem damage. (slightly diff scenario, but the ethical questions are similar.)

  155. Tal Benschar says:

    “Tal: I have often disagreed with you, but always found your comments to be thoughtful and intelligent, strong but measured. I guess there is always a first time. I am surprised and disappointed. Did you think you were being clever?”

    No, I was highlighting the absurdity of your comment that RSP was “whipping up hysteria.” Whatever your view of what he wrote, that was way off the mark.

    Just like your comment that R. Lichtenstein has a son who went OTD by becoming Charedi. Do you think R. Lichtenstein agrees with or would appreciate your characterization?

  156. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Tal: I’m glad you calmed down. I was getting worried. So, fine, say I was way off the mark. Actually, I may have exaggerated, but I don’t think I was so far off the mark.

    My comment about RAL’s son going OTD by becoming Haredi was a joke, for heaven’s sake! I quoted exactly what RAL said about his son. Now, it is you who is being absurd.

  157. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “his approach, to the extent that he relied on a “study”, was simplistic”

    Well, to the extent that they relied on the alleged “study” (yes, Lawrence, I too am a lawyer) WAS simplistic.

  158. SM says:

    Why do we assume that there even is a study? Wouldn’t someone other than RSP have heard if such a study was actually commissioned. From what I have seen so far, I don’t believe there is such a study (would welcome being disproven in my assumption). Is it possible that RSP made the whole thing up in order to make a point, and that there really isn’t a “study” but the “study” is simply his or someone else’s impression?

  159. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Joseph: What exactly are you referring to?

  160. Steve says:

    RSP has a lot of empathy and is a very good pastoral rabbi and liked and admired by many. That is why they renew his contract, because he really is a good rabbi. It is because they like him that they choose to ignore his occasional ill-chosen comments. The only time that his statements became a real problem were with the extreme right wing article he published some years ago (it was basically an anti-Israel rant) but they gave him a pass on that precisely because he is a great rabbi (not a great thinker or politician, but a great rabbi)

  161. IH says:

    RSP should just come clean on this matter. It doesn’t do him or his congregation any good to let this drag out.

  162. Ruvie says:

    Steve b.- I would ask people in that community if that is true of RSP. I was under the impression that he is a divisive person who is known to be disrespectful of people that disagree with him.
    IH – don’t hold your breath.

  163. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Note that RSP has revised his post, without, of course, giving any indication that he did so. He changed the 50% statistic, always the most dubious and challenged point in his essay, to “a substantial number.” Never apologize, never explain.

  164. IH says:

    Prof. Kaplan — true of others we’ve discussed as well. If you’re going to crusade, be consistent.

  165. Ruvie says:

    LK – the question remains if there is even a survey or study. Is it pushing the envelope of exaggeration or making up facts at this point.
    Anecdotally, my daughter – the photography student ( sophomore in college) estimates that 90% plus of her SAR class is the same religious level as they were at graduation. A couple like herself are more religious at a few are much less. Does anyone else have children in this age group that have the same or different anecdotals?

  166. Noam Stadlan says:

    MMHaYam- Karen Ann Quinlan was not brain dead, she was in a persistent vegetative state. There is a huge difference medically and ethically between the two. The issues under discussion with her were withdrawal of care. As far as I know, no one from the medical establishment claimed she was dead or wanted to harvest organs. please dont conflate the two.

    R. Student- You note that the most important sentence in a newspaper article is a citation from a tabloid which is denied by the hospital. This is not exactly first class evidence. I am not sure what purpose is served by your referencing the article. I would be the first to admit(and probably report) if an adult recovered neurological function after fulfilling adequate criteria for brain death. This report certainly shows how even medical personnel can err(or at least misrepresent to the family), and it is vitally important to be sure when dealing with this and all issues of life and death. So it serves that purpose. If the purpose is to cast doubt about the determination of death using neurological criteria, it fails miserably. I would note that if we are going to discuss problems in the determination of death, it would only be fair to publicize issues with all types of determinations, such as this report- http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2218833/Lazarus-Syndrome-Or–British-womans-just-proved–waking-dead-common-think.html?ito=feeds-newsxml which documents many people ‘recovering’ after being determined dead via cessation of circulation and respiration. While there are no medically confirmed cases of recovery after brain death, there certainly are cases reported of recovery after medical personnel determined death using cardio-pulmonary criteria. It would only be fair to highlight those as well.

  167. Hirhurim says:

    Dr. Stadlan: This report certainly shows how even medical personnel can err(or at least misrepresent to the family), and it is vitally important to be sure when dealing with this and all issues of life and death

    Yes!

  168. MJ says:

    Steve b.- I would ask people in that community if that is true of RSP. I was under the impression that he is a divisive person who is known to be disrespectful of people that disagree with him.

    On the handful of occasions when I attended services at his shul I found him to come across in person pretty much the way he comes across in writing –I think divisive is pretty accurate. Of the two relatives from different sides of my family who attend his shul, one is among his closest friends and supporters, the other — well, let’s just say she hopes he makes aliyah soon.

  169. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Ruvie: Steve is NOT Steve Brizel: From what I hear, contra Steve, the verdict on RSP is mixed as per MJ. But I do not believe that we should be speaking about rabbinic personalities. Public statements and articles of those rabbinic personalities, yes.

  170. ruvie says:

    LK – My error.
    is there a reason why the film is not posted here? has anyone spoken to RSP about his post ?

  171. Hirhurim says:

    I did not post the video here because it does not meet this blog’s standard of tzenius. People who want to watch it anyway can certainly find it easily.

  172. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Steve b.- I would ask people in that community if that is true of RSP. I was under the impression that he is a divisive person who is known to be disrespectful of people that disagree with him.”

    As a member of the community, that is my impression as well. But I note that he has many supporters. I am not one of them.

  173. ruvie says:

    Paul Shaviv has a guest post on Reb Harry’s blog on RSP’s article.

    http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2012/10/modern-orthodox-dropouts-follow-up.html

    educators need to understand that sentences like the following are not helpful:
    “When and if the organization who commissioned the survey publish it, we will have something to discuss. Until then, we don’t.”

    If parents perceive a higher OTD then it is a problem. You do not need a study for parents wanting better solutions (starting with looking in the mirror) to issues that concern them. Feels like talking down to those parents. i wouldn’t be surprise if the OTD are not higher (or slightly higher) than 30-40 years ago since 80-90% of our children spend a year in israel plus the support system and religious atmosphere (and social life) on the majority of campuses that are popular with religious kids. It still warrants study and not denial until stats are available. I expected beter. is it clueless on the upper east side? or protecting one’s turf.

  174. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “Note that RSP has revised his post, without, of course, giving any indication that he did so. He changed the 50% statistic, always the most dubious and challenged point in his essay, to “a substantial number.”

    Interestingly, the article also appears on his blog and there he didn’t even make this minimal, and IMO insufficient, change. 50% still appears there. Wonder if he made it only because the OU demanded it. Just wondering. (BTW, the president of the OU was aware of the posting from the head of the Ramaz middle school.)

  175. Joseph Kaplan says:

    You’re right, Ruvie, that study or no study there is what to discuss. But it shouldn’t be discussed in a context of fear mongering based on unsubstantiated numbers.

  176. ruvie says:

    JK – Paul Shaviv commented and clarifies elsewhere to his comment:

    “Clarification: My statement ‘Nothing to discuss’ refers ONLY to the issue of the ‘statistics’ and their interpretation/significance. All other issues — bevakashah…..”

  177. “Rabbinical seminary breaks ground in Berlin”

    related to pre-war seminary?

  178. IH says:

    Regarding Ben Elton’s JC piece, it seems to me that he avoids discussing the supply side of the problem. My own experience in London is that there are a small number of MO shuls, in ornate buildings much too large for their Shabbat congregants run by Rabbis with long tenures. On my last visit I davened Shabbat Shacharit in one of the US shuls in the West End where the average age couldn’t have been less than 60 (and probably higher).

    No doubt the situation is less extreme in Hendon or GG, but surely part of the problem is that without the support of United Synagogue, it will be difficult for an innovative young Rabbi to gain a foothold and build up a congregation that attracts new blood. Of course, given the politics of the Chief Rabbinate there is no incentive to sanction innovation.

  179. IH says:

    Well. Rav Aviner is at it again:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4296854,00.html

    “Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of the most senior Religious Zionism leaders, has ruled that women must not run for Knesset according to Jewish Law, as it is ‘immodest.’

    He added that women’s right to vote should also be banned, but that nowadays that could be overlooked.”

  180. IH:

    le-ma’ase he is not banning women from running, as per the artice

  181. emma says:

    but lemaaseh, it sounds like if a party came to him and said “should we continue reserving spots for women,” he would say no.

  182. IH says:

    There is an internal consistency to his comments over time: it seems he does not see a difference between halacha and secular society in regards to the role of women. He is opposed to the change in the role of women in secular society, but recognizes there are practical limits that prevent him from taking them away to the degree he would prefer.

    I obviously disagree, but I respect the internal consistency which I find absent in the typically expressed RWMO approach.

  183. IH says:

    taking them away = the changes (in the role of women in secular society)

  184. Hirhurim says:

    The news story may very well be missing a crucial piece of information in order to sensationalize the issue. It might also be right.

    But the way it sounds, he is very much in line with the halakhic literature of the 1950s. There were two approaches to allowing women in Knesset — it isn’t a public “appointment” or they are the only ones who can fill that specific role. He isn’t saying anything new.

  185. emma says:

    it doesn’t sound like he is speaking about serarah issues (is that what you are refering to? – am not familiar with the 50s debates…), but about general “women in public” issues, hence the mention of “mixing” at political events.

    “”It’s not just about arriving at the voting station, placing the vote and going home. That’s fine,” the rabbi said, referring to women’s right to vote and be elected. “The problem is that there are events in which women must know who to vote for, and these are public events which are immodest and bring men and women together.” ”

    although he says women could vote and go home, as reported rav aviner’s position seems to idealize the removal of women from the public sphere (literally, like the street) to the extent feasible.

    though of course you are right that the article may not be entirely accurate.

  186. emma says:

    in other words, he is (reported to be) saying women voting is a problem not because of anything about voting per se, but because it requires women to be actually involved in civil society, and that is “immodest.”

  187. shmuel says:

    IH –If you were implying that Rav Aviner is RWMO, he’s not (unless you divide everyone up into neat categories based on whether they say the prayer for the state of Israel or whether they wear a hat). He’s not MO at all!

  188. IH says:

    Shmuel — le’hefech. I was contrasting him to RWMO.

  189. Tal Benschar says:

    There is an internal consistency to his comments over time: it seems he does not see a difference between halacha and secular society in regards to the role of women. He is opposed to the change in the role of women in secular society, but recognizes there are practical limits that prevent him from taking them away to the degree he would prefer.

    I obviously disagree, but I respect the internal consistency which I find absent in the typically expressed RWMO approach.

    In what way is his approach different from what you term “the typically expressed RWMO approach,” and how is the latter inconsistent?

    Both R. Aviner and RWMO (and even the dreaded “Charedim”) recognize that they cannot control secular society, who is not even interested in their respective opinions.

  190. abba's rantings says:

    anyone remember that he was originally a kibbutz rabbi? (i have his ‘am ke-lavi)

  191. emma says:

    rav aviner is willing to say that he thinks women should, ideally, not be involved in “Secular” civil society, not just shuls and the like. so-called RWMO types are generally silent on the propriety of women being secular politicians, lawyers, etc, and focus on the synagogue. it often feels like the arguments the “rwmo” are making re: synagogue should equally suggest women should not pursue public professions (cf rabbi davidovich’s post). but they never quite come out and say it, perhaps because they know it goes against the intuitions of even “rwmo” americans.
    being in america vs. israel has a lot to do with it, of course.

  192. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Interesting, and quite telling, Q&A from RSP’s blog re the “survey.”

    Q: For those of us interested in following up, whose unpublished study are you citing? Thanks.

    A (RSP): I can’t say. It was unpublished for a reason.

  193. SM says:

    I think what he is telling us is that there really isn’t a survey. I think now he realizes that he put his foot in his mouth by mentioning a survey. He should have just said that based on what he heard, he knows many kids drop out.

  194. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Joseph: I couldn’t find it.

  195. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    noam s — i said the scenario was different, but this case led to establishment of hospital ethics committees, which i wanted to address. claims of brain death turned out to be wrong, too. (and even “second opinion”s turned out to be wrong.)

    regarding RSP, whom i like very much, though i was never a congregant of his. if he is such as divisive personality, how can he be a dayan on the RCA BDA?

  196. Shlomo says:

    I obviously disagree, but I respect the internal consistency which I find absent in the typically expressed RWMO approach.

    Some see lack of consistency, others look more closely and see nuance

  197. Shlomo says:

    it often feels like the arguments the “rwmo” are making re: synagogue should equally suggest women should not pursue public professions (cf rabbi davidovich’s post).

    I’m not sure which arguments you are referring to. But RWMO are frequently accused of aping charedim, yet charedim take diametrically opposed positions on profession vs synagogue: that women should have no role whatsoever in synagogue, yet they should be professionals to the exclusion of men who should instead be learning.

  198. IH says:

    Some see lack of consistency, others look more closely and see nuance

    I’m all ears.

  199. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    new haredi parties — as the article (almost) says, one expert at extortion, extorting another expert at extortion. thats how the game is played in israel, for many years.

  200. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    british rabbinic brain drain — “He and his family will have access to kosher facilities, a school, a mikveh and probably an eruv wherever he ends up, from Nashville to New Jersey. And he will have a respectable salary too. In Britain a new rabbi has to exist on a pittance as an assistant, or go to be rabbi of a community with no Jewish infrastructure for a few difficult years, before he is allowed to lead his own synagogue in a major centre”

    sounds like the american rabbinic internship program. whats he complaing about? that britain has the same issues?

    better article to link to (from same paper): http://www.thejc.com/judaism/judaism-features/62939/why-a-bronx-yeshivah-a-beacon-brits

  201. emma says:

    “that women should have no role whatsoever in synagogue, yet they should be professionals to the exclusion of men who should instead be learning.”

    No, chareidim think women should work, sometimes as proffessionals and other times not. They are not encouragin women to become marketting execs or other high powered jobs. Ostensibly this is in part b/c of “work life balance” but that’s not the only reason. I think one reason the “therapiesl are so much more popular than, say, law school is that the former are more in line w feminine roles. Bais yaalov grads are, fpr the most part, looking for “suitable” enmployment for a nice jewoish girls. You don’t hear the same from self-identified Mo I think.

  202. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft deserves a Yasher Koach to RAL’s very incisive comments, which I would suggest are must reading togther with RSP’s article. I note that RAl mentioned the book by the same title, which focuses on family, community and education as the triparte factors in this discussion. RYBS out that the Torah teaches us about Lot to describe his inability to resist the lure of Egypt., IOW someone who went OTD ( See Abraham’s Journey, Pages 116-125)

  203. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan-do you maintain that all discussion re OTD adolescents is rooted in “fear mongering based on unsubstantiated numbers” or should all discussion be avoided until a million dollar study confirms the existence of a substantial problem?

  204. Steve Brizel says:

    Is it hardly ironic that those who describe themselves as not exactly fans of RSP were highly critical of his approach, and seem almost willing to let the issue fester as if it is a common cold, as opposed to being an issue worth individual and communal discussion?

  205. Steve Brizel says:

    FWIW, almost 20 years ago, we spent a Shabbos in what is now a citadel of MO. The rav of the shul, a RIETS musmach, told his members ( it was Parshas Kedoshim or Parshas Emor)in the course of his drasha that while his community wasn’t KGH, there were standards for attire for Shabbos Kodesh that did not suddenly end after davening and Shabbos lunch.

  206. IH says:

    Steve — bad data is often worse for decision-making than no data.

  207. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve, Re your 10:30 pm post: What is the matter with you? How much clearer could my brother be? He wrote “You’re right ruvie, that study or no study THERE IS WHAT TO DISCUSS. But it shouldn’t be discussed in the context of fear-mongering based on unsubstantiated numbers.” So it SHOULD BE DISCUSSED IN OTHER CONTEXTS. What didn’t you understand about that? Are you being deliberately obtuse? I don’t understand you.

  208. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “do you maintain that all discussion re OTD adolescents is rooted in “fear mongering based on unsubstantiated numbers” or should all discussion be avoided until a million dollar study confirms the existence of a substantial problem?”

    Of course not. I’m in favor of discussion based on facts. Throwing around supposed studies with alleged facts with no basis is the fear mongering. Someone wants to seriously discuss this important issue without resorting to such fear mongering, kol hakavod.

  209. Joseph Kaplan says:

    “and seem almost willing to let the issue fester as if it is a common cold”

    For anyone who has read this thread, this is simply untrue. But don’t believe me (and certainly don’t believe Steve). Read it for yourselves.

  210. Shlomo says:

    Bais yaalov grads are, fpr the most part, looking for “suitable” enmployment for a nice jewoish girls. You don’t hear the same from self-identified Mo I think.

    Not every bais yaakov girl has the talent or ambition to become a marketing exec, in fact most don’t. Yet in Mishpacha magazine, for example, those who do are repeatedly portrayed favorably. In the MO world, in my experience, the “therapies” are replaced for women by the “humanity major” which is similarly non-lucrative.

  211. Moshe Shoshan says:

    Shlomo there are probably three MO girls going into the therapies for every hum. major. I suspect that I high percentage of thse hum majors are header to law school of chinuch.

    Can some one get numbers from SCW to confirm or contradict my claims?

  212. Moshe Shoshan says:

    That is

    I suspect that a high percentage of these hum majors are headed to law school or chinuch.

  213. joel rich says:

    re: shooting hoops.
    IMHO another case of hoisted on(by) our own petard – we (sometimes) communicate orthodoxy being all about technical do’s and dont’s, and then want to know why people (BTW there are neighborhoods I’m told in NJ where it’s adult volleyball) ignore the forest for the trees.
    KT

  214. Lawrence Kaplan says:

    Steve B: How ironic. When RAL speaks about the tri-partite cord of family, community, and education re OTD, his remarks are deemed by you incisive. Of course–he’s RAL. But when my brother, ruvie, and I, and others criticize RSP for limiting his focus to family and ignoring community and education– not to mention his fake statstics and fear-mongering– we are just carping and letting colds fester. Of course–in your eyes we are just part of that cabal of LWMO!

    Joseph: Sorry for rushing to your defense. I know you can take care of defending yourself very well, as, indeed, shown by your very cool reply to Steve B. But when I read his what seemed to me deliberately obtuse comments, I just saw red.

  215. abba's rantings says:

    STEVE BRIZEL:

    “Is it hardly ironic that those who describe themselves as not exactly fans of RSP were highly critical of his approach, and seem almost willing to let the issue fester as if it is a common cold, as opposed to being an issue worth individual and communal discussion?”

    uh, my own critical comment at the beginning of this thread concluded by noting, “all this having been said, the underlying premise that many parents need to be better role models (frum-wise) is on target.”

  216. abba's rantings says:

    “Congregation Tifereth Israel in Corona, Queens, is Restored and Rededicated”

    probably a waste of money

    “Shooting Hoops on Shabbos”

    r. saul berman had an article on the topic in edah journal. i don’t remember much but for 3 things
    1) he charts the increasingly stringent view of shemiras shabbos kehilchoso through successive editions
    2) ball playing in fields more problematic halakhically than on pavement
    3) community needs to re-consider how it provides meaningful shabbos activities for youth

  217. abba's rantings says:

    “Constant Teacher Training Keeps Poor Jewish School Performing”

    r. enkin was (unjustly) recently raked over the coals for allegedly failing to offer proper credit. i didn’t think he did anything wrong.
    on the other hand, 5TJT very poorly credits the teacher training article. a brief mention at the very end of the Huffington Post as the source, with absolutely no note of authorship (sara garland). and in fact tracing it back further the original source of the article states that “Reproduction must credit WNYC’s SchoolBook.”

  218. Joseph Kaplan says:

    Being better than the 5TJT is nothing to crow about. :-)

  219. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    waste of money (rebuilding dormant synagogue): yes, but there’s plenty of money in such reconstruction, and overblown, puffed up money at that (since its basically a privately outsourced govt funded project, with appropriate (or inappropriate) govt requirements / puffery.)

    also, the particular rav seems to have his own agenda.

    ball playing is a distinct issue from “shooting hoops”. unfortunately, r gil’s policy of keeping the original headline runs into pblms here (and the 5tjt editor should have been more careful, but i assume the author wants to keep interest in his articles.)

    is this a halachic article (like the author usually does) or a policy issue article (which it really is, with a smattering of halacha thrown in)?

    also, its the Shibolei HaLeket, not some shvil.

  220. Charlie Hall says:

    ‘replaced for women by the “humanity major” which is similarly non-lucrative.’

    My wife was a humanities major (not at SCW) who also picked a non-lucrative career: She went to medical school and became a primary care physician.

  221. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    constant teacher training — this is not constant training, but basic training. (constant means having a number of asst principals and teacher training days and other such traits of puffed up scholl budgets, common in MO and such school systems.)

    basic, cause these teachers never had any serious education, but the principal manages to hire (what she considers to be) quality teachers.

    i’m actually surprised local rabbonim (or rather, their zealots, their “askanim”) didnt close the school down yet, for being so “modernish”.

    also, the principal’s last name indicates a desire for (some) serious education. (i wouldnt be surprised she really has a teachers’s diploma / license, but is smart enough to deny it.)

  222. abba's rantings says:

    GIL,

    perhaps you should relink that 5TJT article to an earlier source that gives proper credit.

    CHARLIE HALL:

    “My wife was a humanities major (not at SCW) who also picked a non-lucrative career: She went to medical school and became a primary care physician.”

    that is not the typical path for orthodox girls, even in the MO world

  223. IH says:

    that is not the typical path for orthodox girls, even in the MO world

    It would be interesting to see the statistics regarding credentials and careers of girls who graduated YoF, Ramaz and Central High Schools in the 1970s and 1980s as they would now be women from 41 to 60 years old.

  224. Tal Benschar says:

    From RAL’s hesped:

    One example: anyone who is familiar with the American lifestyle,firsthand or from afar, knows that there are many problems theresurrounding the role of religion in the educational and political systems. TheConstitution provides for a clear separation between church and state. Andwho is behind this struggle? Liberal Jews who are afraid that if they allow thesmallest vestige of Godliness into the school, who knows what it might leadto… On the altar of separation of church and state, of liberalism, they’rewilling to sacrifice anything and everything.

    Wow!

  225. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    abba — actually, i think the credit is proper. attributing to huff post makes the source clear as opposed to the two (not one; you also failed to catch it) more obscure sources, esp in a print publication. also shows interest of huff post in a story such as this. (and putting the source at the end is also somewhat norm.)

    as for rebbetzin charlie, whats wrong with studying humanities? as long as she doesnt get the govt to finance that frill? (oops! the govt prob did finance it.) no criticism to the woman, that was the norm of the day. criticism to the govt. (sign me an eco major, who never became an economist.)

    IH — it would make a good dissertation thesis. same for SCW grads of the 50s to 80s. ditto YC. add to that such parameters as how many send their children to MO schools, how many have children living in lakewood (i know of many), etc quantifiable parameters.

  226. Steve Brizel says:

    Emma wrote in part:

    “first, my undersatnding is that in many chassidic communities abortion is very much an option, much as it is for the RZ in israel. the goal is as many healthy kids as possible, and if you have to discard some unhealthy along the way so be it. agree that those kids who are born are often institutionalized or “given away”

    This post would be correct if it was written about forty or so years ago-long before special ed and education of kids with all sorts of emotional and other difficulties became a major issue within the Charedi and MO worlds.

  227. emma says:

    actually, the correct answer is “it depends.” but we are not talking about garden-variety special ed or “emotional” issues. more like seriously debilitating-from-birth issues… on that, while it may be that more people “keep” such children than previously, that does not mean that families also “often” do not.

  228. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-RAL’s comment re his own son is not a joke, but rather an acknowledgement by RAL about the fact that his son “flipped out”. FWIW, RAL’s son is a rav in Monsey ( whose installation was covered by the Yated with a picture and bio of RAL as a SIL of RYBS) has edited a Haggadah ( Siach HaGrid), and collaborated in the publication of R Chaim Brisker’s “machberet” with R Meiselman on BK, BM and BB. I think that flipping out, while the other side of the sociological coin, than being OTD, should not be confused with being OTD. OTOH, as we have discussed on this blog repeatedly, one can find almost as much fear of a kid’s “flipping out” as going OTD, with a far more visceral reaction to the former than the latter in the MO world. Such comments prove to me that some MO parents view a kid who is OTD as not as much of a Hashkafic challenge than a kid who has flipped out ( meaning in full time learning or in a Kollel, as opposed to someone who is more mdakdek bmitzvos than his parents and has a college and post grad education).

    I read RAL’s comments as focusing on parenting issues, such as maintaining a relationship with an OTD child, implementing the views of RYBS and RSZA, that if you want a child to share your values, you have to take part in the child’s world while maintaining a balance,finding an appropriate model of child rearing within one’s committment to Torah as well as the sin qua nons of Sechel and Siyata DShmaya. I did not discern in RAL’s comments any advice as to what a parent should do so as to how act like a proper role model.

    RSP’s comments were based in large part on what he perceived in his role as a rav of a large MO shul in a major citadel of MO ,with respect to parents not acting as proper role models. I think that there is room for both POVs in this discussion, without a need for a “psak” as to who is right or wrong.

    As far as I am concerned, the JO special issue on kids OTD, the Margolese book, and the anecdotal evidence that many of us from families in our own communities and/or our own families is more than enough evidence for the social scientists to engage in their studies, forums, etc, and for parents, educators and rabbonim to discuss and evaluate potential means of dealing with the same. RSP’s comments merely echoed what was in the Margolese book as to the critical role of parents in the tripartite factors that are the cause of OTD behavior.

    Unfortunately, while RAL’s discussion adds much to how parents should deal after the fact with the issue of an OTD adolescent, RSP’s observations, regardless of the much criticized sudy, remind us that we all have an obligation individually to act in a manner so that the problem is at least minimized as a social reality as much as possible, rather than shrugging our heads and hearts and claiming that we need more data to evaluate the issue and that we should avoid fear mongering. Depending on an issue, when addressing either his shul or in the public arena, a rav has to decide whether he should say things which are disturbing in the same manner as a Navi or act in a behind the scenes manner to effectuate greater individual and communal awareness of the problem. IMO, both approaches are appropriate-it is merely a question of judgment as to which approach works better on a particular problem. RSP was focusing on how we can all work to be better parents as role models, while RAL clearly emphasized what to as a parent in accepting a sociological reality.

  229. Steve Brizel says:

    Abba-Re R Berman’s article re ball playing-see R Gil’s response thereto.

  230. MMY:

    “abba — actually, i think the credit is proper. attributing to huff post makes the source clear as opposed to the two (not one; you also failed to catch it) more obscure sources, esp in a print publication. also shows interest of huff post in a story such as this. (and putting the source at the end is also somewhat norm.)”

    there were 3 problems. most egregious is omitting the author’s name. secondly, putting it at the end isn’t proper because not everyone reads to the end and in general authorship should be at the top and clear, not buried at the bottom. as far as being at the end being the norm, well the huff post (as well the places it appeared before hand) put it at the beginning. i did notice it previously appeared in 2 places and it doesn’t matter if they are obscure, all you have to do is click on the links in the huff post article and it takes it you strait away to those places. Finally, it specifically states, “Reproduction must credit WNYC’s SchoolBook.” shabbat shalom.

  231. Steve Brizel says:

    MiMedinat HaYam wrote in part:

    “IH — it would make a good dissertation thesis. same for SCW grads of the 50s to 80s. ditto YC. add to that such parameters as how many send their children to MO schools, how many have children living in lakewood (i know of many), etc quantifiable parameters”

    The YU Alumni Directory is an excellent place for such data.

  232. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    if it states must credit, then i defer to you. if its a print issue, then putting it at end is proper (but a stmt like huff post did at begining is nevertheless appropriate.) “no author” makes it an editor’s article, which it obviously is not.

    the more interesting issue is why huff post is interested in charedi education, or is huff post / schoolbook neglectful in not finding out the principal’s bio, which i suspect is more professional than she lets on to.

    shabbat shalom

  233. MiMedinat HaYam says:

    steve b — alumni dir no longer has children info, and never had children’s addresses, or schools attended. nevertheless, must be collated, etc.

    i mention these criteria cause these are more quantifiable as assesing one’s level of religious observance as opposed to asking do you keep kosher, shabbat, do you go to shul every shabbat, etc, (do you require your children to dress on shabbat, do you go to shul three times a day, etc i dont think will produce good answers.)

    of course, further follow up will ask same questions to non MO yeshivot. (dont expect cooperation from them. or from yu admin, either. as a dissertation, maybe.)

    shabbat shalom

  234. Steve Brizel says:

    MiMedinat HaYam-My YU alumni directory from circa 2001 had schools attended and names of kids. I think that the addresses of parents probably is a good starting point

  235. ruvie says:

    steve b. -” one can find almost as much fear of a kid’s “flipping out” as going OTD, with a far more visceral reaction to the former than the latter in the MO world. Such comments prove to me that some MO parents view a kid who is OTD as not as much of a Hashkafic challenge than a kid who has flipped out ”

    pure malarky.

  236. Joseph Kaplan says:

    The rebbe was a great man. But on the issue of church-state separation he was not particularly knowledgable about the significant constitutional law dealing with it. He also did not show the concern that he showed in so many other ways to those Jews who sent their kids to public school and did not want them singing christmas carols or participating in new testament bible readings, christian prayers etc.

  237. IH says:

    A very interesting short talk by R.D. Freundel at the Symposium on The Jewish Vote and the Presidential Election a few days ago on Reproductive Rights.

    There is a Washington Post article about the Symposium that led me to this video.

  238. Yeedle says:

    MiMedinat HaYam: “i’m actually surprised local rabbonim (or rather, their zealots, their “askanim”) didnt close the school down yet, for being so “modernish”.”

    Askanim are currently working on that, and the past year over 50 students and about 10 teachers left the school due to pressure from the askanim.

  239. lawrence kaplan says:

    Steve B: I never cease to be amazed at how thoroughly, almost peversely, you misunderstand me–and my brother, and others. I, of course, did not say that RAL’s comment about his son was a joke. It was clear from my citation of RAL’s comment that it was very serious and moving. My joke was in my referring to RAL’s son becoming Haredi as “going OTD.” It was a joke, for how could I consider his becoming Haredi “going OTD,” since he is still on the derekh of torah u-mizvot and is still part of the world of Brisk (yes, I, of course, own and have studied siach ha-Grid) even if he, unlike his father, is not interested in literature and culture.

  240. Elon says:

    Rav AL’s son is not more medakdek on anything than R’ AL. He is just different than his father.

  241. IH says:

    Interesting commentary on the future of the Siddur: http://tinyurl.com/9fm4c96 (it’s a photo on FB דוסים מצייצים

  242. Steve Brizel says:

    Ruvie-read both Flipping Out and Off the Derech. Then look at some of the posts re going OTD and flipping out here over the years. Then we will have a basis for continuing the discussion.

  243. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “The rebbe was a great man. But on the issue of church-state separation he was not particularly knowledgable about the significant constitutional law dealing with it. He also did not show the concern that he showed in so many other ways to those Jews who sent their kids to public school and did not want them singing christmas carols or participating in new testament bible readings, christian prayers etc”

    IOW, the Rebbe ZL’s stance was opposed by those Jews who sent their kids to public school and completely and adamantly supported the ACLU’s view of an absolute wall of separation of church and state.

  244. Joseph Kaplan says:

    As usual, those are the wrong words. Rather, the correct words are that the rebbe’s stance was opposed by those Jews who sent their kids to public school and whose kids were adversely impacted by the rebbe’s position since they were the ones who, if the rebbe’s stance had been followed, would have had to either separate themselves from their classmates or else participate in Christmas carols, Christian prayers or new testament bible readings. The ACLU’s position is completely irrelevant except for those who like to make it into a bogeyman.

  245. Charlie Hall says:

    “the govt prob did finance it”

    She went to a state university for her undergrad degree, so the government did indeed fund it. Do you have a problem with state universities? There are entire countries where almost all universities are state universities, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Israel.

  246. Ruvie says:

    Steve b. – read both and no need to continue a discussion where your assertions are just a pov you attribute to others that fits your narrative.

  247. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote;

    “As usual, those are the wrong words. Rather, the correct words are that the rebbe’s stance was opposed by those Jews who sent their kids to public school and whose kids were adversely impacted by the rebbe’s position since they were the ones who, if the rebbe’s stance had been followed, would have had to either separate themselves from their classmates or else participate in Christmas carols, Christian prayers or new testament bible readings. The ACLU’s position is completely irrelevant except for those who like to make it into a bogeyman”

    FWIW, my family was certainly not Chabad oriented, but more than one Jewish teacher in my public high school went out of his or her way to schedule exams on Shavuous and Sukkos, and or belittle the holidays as minor days.We also had to avoid carols , etc on school grounds. I would argue that the stance of the Rebbe ZL paved the way for Jewish student clubs on the grounds of public schools, which became constitutionally acceptable in the 1980s.

  248. mycroft says:

    “read both Flipping Out and Off the Derech”

    I have read both and I have cited parts from both over the years-
    BTW-Flipping Out is in reality a book made up of 3 different authors works on different matters.

  249. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan wrote in part:

    “The ACLU’s position is completely irrelevant except for those who like to make it into a bogeyman.”

    The ACLU’s role in rendering the public arena, including public schools a religion free zone, based on its absolutist reading of the Establishment Clause at the expense of and the degrading of the importance of the Free Exercise Clause is well documented.

  250. mycroft says:

    “IH on October 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    A very interesting short talk by R.D. Freundel at the Symposium on The Jewish Vote and the Presidential Election a few days ago on Reproductive Rights.”

    Thanks for the link it was very interesting. Rabbi Freundel is also one who is very active in ritual areas also see eg the following fragment which just eliminates the name of the community involved that shows Rabbi Freundel is interested in Halacha.

    “We reviewed all of the findings with the eruv’s original designer, Rabbi Barry Freundel, the Rav of Kesher Israel in Washington, and a nationally-respected authority on hilchot eruvin. Rabbi Freundel oversaw the construction ….Eruv and is the Rav HaMachshir, or sanctioning rabbinic authority. In hopes we could work with Rabbi Freundel to resolve this difference in interpretation this week, we sent photos and video of the two areas to Rabbi Freundel but he is unable, without viewing the areas in person, to make a determination. He is able to arrange travel to … next Wednesday for this purpose.

  251. mycroft says:

    Steve Brizel on October 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm
    Joseph Kaplan wrote in part:

    ““The ACLU’s position is completely irrelevant except for those who like to make it into a bogeyman.”

    The ACLU’s role in rendering the public arena, including public schools a religion free zone, based on its absolutist reading of the Establishment Clause at the expense of and the degrading of the importance of the Free Exercise Clause is well documented.”

    See their website
    http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/free-exercise-religion

  252. Joseph Kaplan says:

    SI want to make sure I understand you. Do you think it’s okay to have christmas carols, christian prayers and nt bible readings as long as we can have Jewish clubs in public schools? (Your point about some Jewish teachers is not really worth much to this discussion.)

  253. Steve Brizel says:

    I have no objection to any constitiutionally protected exercise of free religion in any public facility. Only someone who lacks confidence in or does not practice his or her own religion perceives a state sanctioned religion ala the Church of England or worse in the USA.

  254. Joseph Kaplan says:

    You simply can’t answer a question so you change the topic. Not speaking about the ACLU or lousy teachers or state sanctioned religion. Asked a simple question: do you think it’s okay for schools to force Jewish elementary school kids in public school to choose between OTOnH singing christmas carols, reciting christian prayers and reading from the NT and OTOtH having to take a stand in front of their friends and refuse to do so. Elementary school kids. It’s a simple question that can be simply answered: you think making them choose is okay or it’s not. But I don’t really expect an answer. Just interested how you’ll change the issue again.

  255. Steve Brizel says:

    Joseph Kaplan-would you ever permit a client to answer a question that was a conclusion consisting of unproven facts? I am not in favor of public schools being free from the protections offered by the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. I believe that the option should be available for ” to have christmas carols, christian prayers and nt bible readings as long as we can have Jewish clubs in public schools”.

  256. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “See their website
    http://www.aclu.org/religion-belief/free-exercise-religion

    Show me one link from the ACLU where it was either lead counsel or filed an amicus on free exercise grounds in favor of the building of a shul, mikveh or eruv on free exercise grounds or did not view the establishment clause as prohibiting government aid to secular functions and studies in a parochial school.

 
 

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