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by Joel Rich

Words to live by (kach mkublani mbeit avi abba)
Maimonides repeatedly emphasized that a bad composition is long on words an short on content. One should be more sparing of his speech than of his money; he should not augment speech and diminish subject matter. When Maimonides wants to denigrate the value of the few existing works on a given halakic subject, he affirms that they are simultaneously verbose and unedifying. His own ongoing stylistic revisions demonstrate his quest for the marriage of precision and substance.


Marc Shapiro recently had a post on the Seforim Blog which included the following, I am disappointed that this does not seem a topic of serious discussion at MO HQ:
“I have no doubt that many of the non-Orthodox admire the Modern Orthodox lifestyle, and would be willing to try it out, before learning the cost. Many non-Orthodox would also be happy to send their kids to Modern Orthodox schools, but they are not going to sacrifice a middle class lifestyle for this. Those who grow up Modern Orthodox and remain in the community are prepared to make the financial sacrifices (as well as limiting how many children they have). But for those who are not part of the community, the entry fee is simply too high. Needless to say, there are also those among the Modern Orthodox who drift away because of the financial cost, and this drifting often begin when the first child is enrolled in public school. As I see it, the financial burden is the great Achilles’ heel of Modern Orthodoxy, and what prevents it from any real growth. By the same token, those of us in the Modern Orthodox world must recognize that one of the great strengths of the haredi community is that there is room in it for everyone, from the wealthy real estate developer to the blue-collar worker. If, as so many predict, the future of American Orthodoxy is with the haredim, money (or lack of it) will play an important role in this story.”

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About the author

Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

 
The opinions and facts here are presented solely by the author. Torah Musings assumes no responsibility for them. Please address religious questions to your rabbi.
 

5 Responses

  1. mycroft says:

    “Those who grow up Modern Orthodox and remain in the community are prepared to make the financial sacrifices (as well as limiting how many children they have). But for those who are not part of the community, the entry fee is simply too high. Needless to say, there are also those among the Modern Orthodox who drift away because of the financial cost, and this drifting often begin when the first child is enrolled in public school”

    Drifting away may begin much earlier for financial reasons- many children by HS know their realistic abilities and chances of entering the golden professions. Thus many realize that they will not be able to afford a MO lifestyle and thus can’t be part of that world. Rather than waiting to be pushed out they leave voluntarily thus a component of those who are OTD.

    • Gil Student says:

      I find that hard to believe. Most teenagers are not that aware of financial realities and their own career possibilities.

    • micha says:

      We have no statistics on OTD teens, but the numbers I was able to gather are suspiciously similar for both MO and yeshivish communities in the US — 15%. I therefore am personally more inclined to assume common cause than both communities having the same problem in roughly the same size but for distinct reasons.

      OTOH, it’s possible that because we are relying on anecdote and general impression by those in the field that the cited numbers influenced each other. (Someone hears the estimate 15% for one group and now forms that impression of his own target population.)

  2. mycroft says:

    “I find that hard to believe. Most teenagers are not that aware of financial realities and their own career possibilities.”
    Teenagers are well aware of their abilities-they are explicitly tracked in many day schools-they are also aware that entering lucrative professions requires winning the competitive race. They are very much aware of the role of money in our society.

 
 

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