Monday, February 16, 2015

Why Do Centrists Send Their Kids to Extreme Charedi Yeshivos?

There are many thousands of wonderful families in the Centrist and Modern Orthodox communities. These are people who value the State of Israel, one of the greatest miracles of Jewish history. They also value modern science, which has unlocked so many mysteries of the universe. These people also share the values of Chazal and the Rishonim in rating it as very important that a man work for a living and support his family.

Baruch Hashem, there is no shortage of wonderful yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael which share and teach these values. Why, then, do so many of these people send their children to yeshivos which teach the exact opposite?

These are yeshivos in which students were encouraged to attend a rally and pray to Hashem to pour out His wrath upon the State of Israel for somewhat equalizing the burden of military service. Yeshivos in which the Roshei Yeshivah, the revered heads of the institutions, attend Satmar anti-Israel hatefests. Yeshivos in which modern science is disparaged and students are taught an anti-rationalist outlook. Yeshivos in which students are taken to the Kosel to davven that their fellow students should not be forced to attend YU. Yeshivos in which it is drilled into the students that they must spend endless years in kollel, and rely on their parents to support them, rather than training for a profession. A student at one yeshivah told me how, when he told his rebbe that he was leaving, the rebbe took a Gemara, spat on it, hurled it to the ground, and said, "That's what you're doing to Chazal!"

Why do these people send their children, at a highly impressionable stage of their lives, to be immersed in an environment which teaches the exact opposite of the values that they hold dear?

In a future post, I will explore some possible reasons - and their shortcomings.

116 comments:

  1. A very important topic and I will reserve my thoughts on this question until you offer yours. In the meantime, I really think you should stop repeating this accusation that thousands prayed to G-d to pour our His wrath on the Israeli government. As you well know, hardly anyone who says Tehillim pays attention to the words he's saying. Maybe the organizers had malicious intent in picking this perek, but I would venture to say that 99% of the people saying this perek had no clue what they were saying.

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    1. Good point.

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    2. If they had no clue what they were saying, it is a disgraceful reflecttion of the the ossified hashkafa to which these thousands have delivered their minds.
      It's so embarrasing, that the celebration should serve as an incentive for anyone thinking about sending their children to one of these chareidi yeshivas, to refrain from doing so.

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    3. Abe,

      For better for worse, Tehillim is recited by almost all Orthodox Jews like a prayer book of requests (even though a good portion of its content has nothing to do with requests). People recite it, hearts pouring out, hoping G-d will answer what's in their hearts. If you want to be cynical, you could say its perakim are recited as if they were magical incantations -- that the words themselves (irrespective of their meaning) have power to affect change.

      Now, you can argue that 99% of Jews are acting silly -- that it makes no sense to have one thing in your heart while the words you're saying are about a completely different topic. Perhaps. But this is what the recital of Tehillim is in Jewish world and has been for a long time. It's not a "charedi" thing per se.

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  2. R' Natan,

    You are asking a question that plagues me to no end. It goes a step further..what about the Centrist and DL yeshivos that employ rebbeim who encourage their talmidim to "do better" and continue on in Charedi yeshivos?

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    1. What? Are they supposed to FIRE those rebbeim?

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    2. No, but they should be employing rebbeim that share their values and the values of the parent body.

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    3. Definitely, it is perfectly fine for the educational institution to fire an educator whose worldview and message he conveys to the audience is not compatible with the worldview of the institution. By the way, any Chareidi institution would fire in such circumstances without mercy and without any hesitation whatsoever.

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    4. Why not? If they are teaching things incompatible with the ideology of the institution, why shouldn't it be OK to fire them?

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    5. Were I to start pushing agendas that aren't consistent with modern science, such as AIDS denial or anti-vaccination nonsense, I could be fired. And I should be!

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    6. What is AIDS denial?

      Anyway, who said that "these Rebbeim" are pushing agendas? Obviously their employing institution doesn't think so. Sounds like they are just advising serious/promising students to advance, and the institution doesn't disagree with them suggesting "chareidi" yeshivos. (I hate the term "chareidi"! Let's replace that with "more mainstream" in the context of higher yeshiva learning.)

      By the way, were you at the levaya for the Mercaz Harav students that were massacred some years back? It was most heavily "chareidi" attended. Between these camps, there is a mutual respect for sincere Torah dedication of sincere talmidim. (you need to be able to see past the several street punks who claim to carry a "chareidi" banner, though, but the mutual respect is there in both communities - above gutter-lever.)

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    7. For the record, AIDS denial is the idea that AIDS is caused by something other than HIV. Some (some African politicians, for example) push this as part of an argument that AIDS is really easy to prevent and/or cure, which is dangerous as well as stupid. There was some conservative chatter about it years ago too for some reason, but that's all gone.

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  3. Which yeshivos are considered extreme here? If they are charedi or just " extreme" charedi? Here in town there are a couple of pretty centrists charedi schools, do these count? They do not discourage kids from going to the army from what I have researched. I am sending my kid there ... so here I m a centrist modern sending my kid to a pretty centrist yet charedi yeshiva...

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    1. Don't be too sure, or too dependent on "what you have researched." Just sayin'.

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    2. Exactly Nachum, I hope that Reb Natan elaborates a bit. I am specifically thinking of charedi but more open schools like Bnos Malka- Magen Avot for girls. And for boys schools I am thinking of Darche Noam. Personally I am still considering sending the girls to Ahavat Israel but as much as I am impressed with the school's hashkafa, academics and teachers, I find the social scene with the students too open for me: Disney movie characters obsession, TV at home ( and yes I know it is not the school policy) and boyfriend talks for older grades- it is not unheard of in the charedi schools I motioned but it is the exception. So yeah there, that is why I am hesitating to send her to ahavat israel. I am looking forward to learn more.

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  4. Why did you teach at Ohr Sameach, considering it was also a nutjob place?

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    1. because he was still drinking the kool-aid at the time.

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  5. Easy , the parents expect thier children will be more respectful and much less wild then those in Centrist yeshivas

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  6. The answer is simply bc many CO do not feel comfortable with their commitment to Torah study and their family's absorption of popular culture. While we don't agree with much of the thought and practice of Chareidi society- we are not convinced that our way of doing things isn't a bit of a compromise from the ideal. It's easy to say that there are worse things than television sets and tablets so we do not assur such things. But there's no doubt that we and our families are far too occupied with these things

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    1. i think you are on to something. while we see much bashing of the problems in the charedi world, it doesn't take a genius to see many places they got it right. If we look at CO america, and the state of the children who are being swept away rapidly because of the incredible technological access which the MO world doesn't seem to be curtailing, it isn't hard to appreciate the fairly successful push in the Charedi world to push out much of the internet. even texting has turned addictive to the point where many kids keep shabbos...except for texting. The level of modesty in the CO world leaves much to be desired, it isn't hard to hear why a father might be interested in his daughter attaching herself to a less "loose" crowd, how well has shmirat negiah been incorporated in the CO world? how well in the charedi world?. Another example, ,shmirat einayim, does the average CO not go to movies at least sometimes? does he not feel a small violation lo taturu achrei eineichem.
      this list could go on. I think on a blog so quick find everything wrong with the charedi world, it can't be ignored that many of the Torah's ideals seemed to be well kept by them.
      there is clearly room for thought here, one just has to set aside his hate and bias.

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    2. Even Protestants accept the Roman Catholic Pope as the highest Christian religious leader. Part of it is default - the Protestants don't have such an institution, while the Catholics do, so they just go with him, even though they might disagree with him on many things.

      Its the same with us. The Charedim/Yeshivah world have something called "Gedoilim" and they have built a PR machine behind the concept as well. The rest of the orthodox world has no comparable institution. [Of course, that is by design, because such Jews - again, like Protestants - aren't into hero worship the same way the Charedim are.] So, by default, the charedi rabbis become the rabbis for ALL of orthodoxy. And everything flows from there - their yeshivas are better, their learning is better, their chinuch is better. All complete nonsense, of course. But it stems from the default of having a central authority figure.

      There's much more, of course. The Charedim are usually (almost always, in fact) less educated, and hence more impressionable, and to such people the more exotic one looks, the more "authentic" he is. A charedi Roshe Yeshivah and certainly a Rebbeh looks and dresses nothing like a member of the public. Thus, to some people, that means the RY and Rebbe are the real deal. By contrast, other orthodox rabbis look pretty much like regular people with a beard, and their public are not as impressionable as the Charedi public, so they aren't viewed with the same reverence. And once again, it all flows from there.

      It's an interesting discussion, but its a very old phenomenon. When it comes to religion, people are more attracted to razzle-dazzle than they are to substance. Charedim are razzle dazzle. Modern Orthodox are ZZZZZZ.... They key for the MO is not to be bothered by this, and to simply accept that they are always going to be a minority in the minority. The Jews' Jews, if you will. To me that's a badge of honor.

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    3. Except in both Israel (2:1 Dati Leumi:Charedi) and in the US (possibly a much higher ratio), non-charedim are a clear majority. They need confidence.

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    4. "Even Protestants accept the Roman Catholic Pope as the highest Christian religious leader."

      Not true. Surely you studied European history, DF, and know about the wars between Protestants and Catholics that consumed Europe for centuries; the Protestant rejection of papal authority was a central issue in those wars, and although the wars may be over, the rejection hasn't changed.
      Doesn't make any difference to the question on this thread. I'm just in favor of more knowledge and less ignorance.

      --Smartwidow

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    5. I'm talking about nowadays, not hundreds of years ago. Ask your average American WASP who the leading figure of Christianity is, and he'll tell you the Pope.

      Nachum, I don't know about the US, but in Israel, it seems to me the mizrachi public [sorry, I know you hate the outdated term, but its what folks like me are used to] doesn't really need any injection of self confidence. They have their own schools, their own rabbis, their own newspaper, their own everything.

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    6. DF: Of course. I merely meant the ones without confidence need to get some.

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    7. By the way, it happens in Israel too. R' Aviner every now and then goes on about how charedim are more authentic and more religious. Hence this misbegotten "Yachad" party.

      Makor Rishon was the last DL daily (a successor of sorts to HaTzofe), but it is owned by Yisrael HaYom now and switched (back) to weekly-only a few months back. There's another DL weekly, but the only religious dailies are charedi (two chassidish, two Litvish).

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  7. I think it has to do with the respect that is afforded to the Charedi community. Despite the fact that a MO Jew would seldom seek out a Charedi Rav to pasken halacha for them, there are certain Charedi figures whose Torah is greatly respected and we therefore respect that Rav even though he has little to no connection to the Modern Orthodox world and navigating the secular world in the way the Modern Orthodox do. Perhaps related to this idea, I believe that many MO Jews have been influenced enough by The Charedi/Yeshivish world into believing that learning all day is a better way to live. These people often believe in a Torah U'Maddah type of philosophy but still see learning all day as a kind of utopian ideal. This would be in opposition to what I would argue is a fundamental belief of Modern Orthodoxy that making a living and finding time to learn every day is the ideal, a lechatchila way to live, and not just a sad circumstance of modern living.

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  8. "These people also share the values of Chazal and the Rishonim"-- Again with these falsehoods. Ahhh...See Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Brachos (not for the masses) but see the mishnah berurah on how he paskens that machlokes. But Im sure the Chofetz Chaim was some anti-Rationalist Am Haaretz according to you who couldn't possibly read chazal and rishonim as well as you.

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    1. Virtually every Tanna and Amora would be considered "Modern Orthodox" by our standards. For the record.

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    2. @anon chareidi
      The Mishnah Berurah refers only to talmidei chachomim who have many talmidim (להרבות גבולו בתלמידים ... לזכות את הרבים). This is not the case with the vast majority of kollel fellows.

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    3. For the record, that is a ridiculous and utterly false statement. Would love the so called "proof" for that statement.

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    4. Well, they virtually all approved of secular studies (they certainly were secularly learned themselves), working for a living (they pretty much all had full-time jobs), and Zionism even as we'd define it today. Find me more than a miyut shebemiyutim who didn't approve of those things. That makes them "Modern" by our standards.

      (And, of course, the hamon am, who far outnumbered them, all worked.)

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    5. Nachum,

      Which of those characteristics distinguishes Modern Orthodox from pro-Israel working Yeshivish (e.g., the BMG or Ner Yisroel guy who gets a law degree, or all the working people in, say, Flatbush)?

      Hayyim `Ovadya

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    6. Unknown: Approval of secular knowledge, for one. Feeling that Jewish sovereignty is a good thing, including from a religious perspective, two. Belief that working is not a bedievad, three.

      Regardless, the types you described are posul according to Israeli (and thus all "official") Haredism today.

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    7. @anon chareidi

      Beur Halachah 231 states להרבות גבולו בתלמידים ... לזכות את הרבים.

      Beur Halachah 156 singles out אנשים יחידים.
      Thus, he certainly does not pasken like R' Shimon bar Yochai; rather, he follows the Gemara's conclusion הרבה עשו כרשב"י ולא עלתה בידן.

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    8. Nachum,

      Call me Hayyim `Ovadya. (I don’t know how to change the name, given my current posting settings.)

      TLDR: As I see it, all the things that you mention are principles found in both groups (though obviously understood differently) and I think that one would need to "show one's work" to demonstrate that Hazal's view of these things by and large tends toward the specifically MO view rather than the working Yeshivish view.

      Longer:

      1. Why doesn't the knowledge required to get training in the areas common among working Yeshivish (lawyer, accountant, computer programmer, etc.) count as secular knowledge? And what's the basis for saying that Hazal valued secular knowledge spefically in MO (TuM) rather than TIDE or Torah uParnassah sense? (Overall, I'd say that they valued secular knowledge more than contemporary Haredim, but do we find anything in Hazal approaching the engagement with secular thought found in Rambam or RYBS? I also don't know where they'd fall in terms of secular/popular culture.)

      2. How do we know that that Hazal viewed Zionism specifically in terms similar to MO/RZ/DL rather than the Yeshivish AIPAC supporter? (If the secular state is some sort of reishit tsmihat geulatenu, wouldn't that make the Rabbanut reishit tsmihat Sanhedrin? And where would that put those in the MO/RZ/DL community who circumvent the Rabbanut via Tzohar and other organizations, versus the RW who supports the Rabbanut hard line? And if there's no religious significance to the religious branch of the state, justifying Tzohar et al., why must one attribute religious significance to the secular state itself? And if you want to say that the three oaths were brought down lehalakha by later authorities, they originated with some segment of Hazal are less Zionist than the status quo among the many Haredim who don’t align with the Satmar line.)

      3. Many/most of the passages in Hazal about work (http://jewishworker.blogspot.co.il/2015/02/the-value-of-work-in-eyes-of-chazal.html) view it in utilitarian terms (i.e., one should work in order to support themselves and thereby not commit issurim). Do Hazal say that even if a man is a multimillionaire, he should have a steady job leshem having a job than devoting more time to learning (or hesed/tsedaqa/hevra qadisha/etc.)? Do we see evidence that the independently wealthy members of Hazal dawqa had steady day jobs leshem having day jobs in addition to learning?

      (These are all good faith questions, not just arguments phrased as questions.)

      Your last point ("regardless...") is basically No True Scotsman.

      (Cont.)

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    9. (Cont.)

      Further, in terms of the work/Torah issue, I think that lekhatehilla/bedi`avad need to be better defined. Let’s take an unrelated example, zman shaharit. According to the Gemara and many poseqim, the proper time is until the fourth hour, but there's an `inyan of praying with sunrise. From this we can extrapolate differing degrees of value placed on praying at various times:

      A. Anything other than kevatiqin is equally bedi`avad.
      B. Anything before the fourth hour is lekhatehilla, only until noon is bedi`avad.
      C. Anything before the fourth hour is lekhatehilla, and only until noon is bedi`avad, *but* kevatiqin is the ideal that one should strive for as long as practical realities do not make such prohibitive.

      (You could probably add other nuances about whether to pray shaharit at a time when one will say birkhot qeri'at shema` before sof zman qeri'at shema`, but I'll keep it simple.)

      I'd think that these three positions map roughly onto the Torah-only, MO, and working Yeshivish views, respectively, of earning/learning. It's clear that while A and C both view kevatiqin as the ideal, they have different understandings of what it means not to be able to fulfill the ideal.

      In addition, to say that Hazal worked and encouraged working is to say that A is wrong, but on its own it doesn't tell us anything about their perspectives on B and C. Given their other statements about the importance of learning, and that learning even trumps doing certain mitzvot in certain circumstances, it's not obvious that their statements about work should be read in isolation to conclude that their view of the *ideal* working/learning combination would be closer to B than to C, such that a person should ex ante choose a career that would seriously detract from learning (or other Torah-related endeavors). Is there evidence that going into a profession that takes years of intensive study and then requires long hours of work, leaving barely any time to learn other than the Shabbat derasha and the rabbi's daily halakha as everyone takes off tallit/tefillin (and tries to sneak out before the extra qaddish if not needed for the minyan) and between minha/arvit, would be considered Hazal's *ideal*? How many of Hazal themselves do we see ex ante choosing occupations that require that kind of commitment? (I might be wrong, but my recollection is that they were mostly manual laborers, such as wood choppers, water drawers, etc., not the ancient equivalents of the training-intensive professions common in Modern Orthodoxy.)

      In other words, from Hazal's statements about work, we know that the investment banker who learns with the LIRR daf yomi is a better embodiment of their ideals about working and learning than the avrekh-schnorrer, but we don't know that he's a better embodiment of their ideal than the Haredi shopkeeper who learns Gemara (or Shulhan `Arukh/Rambam/MB/etc.) during the slow parts of the day (or the employee of a Jewish company such as B&H who works "normal" hours and has nights fairly free for sedarim) such that we can conclude that Hazal were by and large “Modern Orthodox.”

      Hayyim `Ovadya

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    10. Well, a few quick points:

      1. Chazal praise "chochma" coming from non-Jews, they praise the Greek language and thought, they even approve of reading Homer. None of that is utilitarian.

      2. At least some of Chazal supported Bar Kochba. That's pretty active. Lots of the ones from Bavel made aliyah.

      3. If Chazal approved of work in a utilitarian sense, that's fine with me, considering the other views we hear today. Of course if a man can afford it he should take time to learn more- I don't think even Modern Orthodox thought would disapprove.

      And I don't think that's a "No true Scotsman." I'm just saying I'd be quite happy if Israeli charedim were more like American ones.

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    11. Nachum,

      Thanks for your response.

      1. As I said, this is most probably where MO is arguably closer to Hazal. At the end of the day, though, there's still quite a difference between Hazal, and say Philo, and while they left us a lot of aggada and midrash, they didn't leave anything approaching Philo's (or later Rambam's) synthesis, which I think is also telling.

      2. Some gave us the three oaths, and some didn't follow bar Kokhba, so it's a little forced to say that "Hazal" as a group were more MO than Haredi on the issue. Moreover, even the most anti-Zionist Haredi groups have a presence in Israeli, so I don't think that one can equate `aliyah with the MO conception of the religious significance of Erets Yisra'el/Zionism.

      3. I think that the nafqa minah here is that some people have likened the Haredi emphasis on "learning" to `avodah zarah. The question is whether, leshitam, it would be proper to say that that's true per se (i.e., even if everyone in BMG or the Mir were a multimillionaire) or whether this criticism is only legitimate (stipulating that it is valid) to the extent that the focus on learning has negative real-world impacts such as the increase in poverty in the Haredi world.

      4. Fair enough, but since MO isn't a distinctly Israeli phenomenon, I didn't think that it was necessary to exclude the non-Israeli Haredim from consideration.

      - Hayyim `Ovadya

      PS Hodesh tov and Shabbat shalom/shavau` tov, whenever this reaches you.

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  9. Here in Israel, this phenomenon was once quite common among Ashkenazim, but is now much less so, but it is now common among Sefardim. Up until the 1960's, the DL's (Dati Leumi) viewed the religious world as a two-tier system. Kids from DL families that did not have a head for Torah study would, after "tichon dati" (religious high school) go to the IDF and then do hachshara (preparation) to go build a kibbutz or go to college. Someone who did want to study Torah would go to a Haredi yeshiva. The DL's viewed themselves as "the builders" and the Haredi as the Torah teachers. Of course, many of the DL kids in the haredi yeshivot would then end up rejecting their parents DL philosophy. In the 1960s, the DL started developing the yeshiva high schools or Yeshiva Benei-Akiva which studied Torah on a more intensive level for men only (unlike the tichon-dati) but they had to man the teaching staff with graduates of Haredi yeshivot, so again, they were recruiting the graduates to continue in Haredi yeshivot gedolot. Finally, with the spread of the Yeshivot Hesder, along with the growth of Mercaz HaRav, enough Torah educated DL teachers were coming out to take over teaching n the yeshiva high-school and tichon dati system. This was in the 1980's. Thus, fewer Ashenazi DL kids were going over to the Haredi system. However, the Sefardim are still encountering this, largely because their charismatic Rabbinical leadership views the Haredi way as preferable and many, many DL Sefardim follow these Rabbis.
    In addition there is the "guilt-feelings" factor in which DL people feel a certain sense of inferiority and an admission that while they may be "weak" (as they see it), they want to correct this in the next generation and they may say they want their kids "to be real frum".

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  10. A close "moderate charedi" relative sent her son to a charedi yeshiva here in Israel after the boy called her in panic when "the condom broke." We had him and some friends over for Shabbat and he regaled my kids and their friends with tales of fist fights in Crack Square at 3 AM. My daughter asked him why he didn't go to a hesder yeshiva, and his answer was that he didn't want to become "not frum." Just comparing him and his friends to my hesdernik sons and their friends makes me feels so much better about having nothing to do with charedi society and especially their yeshivot and their "gedoilim."

    The answer to your question R' Natan, is that even relatively moderate Centrists, still believe in the myth that only charedim are "Torah-true." Only now are some Centrists waking up to the fact that there is nothing torah-true about Charedism.

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  11. The bottom line here is that the MO, DL and CO communities suffer from an inferiority complex. They don't look at their rabbonim to be as great as the Charedi rabbonim.

    IWe should feel and admire about Rav Kook(father and son), The Rav, Rav Shapira, Rav Yisraeli,Rav Eliyahu, Z'L and YbL'C, Rav Druckman, Rav Lior, Rav Arieli the same way the Charedi world does with their rabbonim (sans the avoda zara aspect).

    We need to bring pride and self confidence back into our world. For our sake and for the sake of our children.

    One can be a total Halachik, G-d fearing Jew and still be a proud DL, MO or CO Jew.

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    1. This isnt true in the Dati Leumi communities in Eretz Yisrael. My kids go to a DL school and they know all about R. Mordechai Eliyahu, R. Ovadia Yosef, R. Kook, R. Aryeh Levine, R. SZ Aurbauch etc. We have books on these Gedolim.

      They also know of R. Kanievsky, R. Elyashiv, R. Shteinman, R. Asher Weiss, R. Wosner etc. But they dont see them specifically as Charedi Rabbonim because thank G-d we teach our kids that gedolim are gedolim. Only Charedim have this classification by Rabbonim as if they cant be gedollim if they arent Charedim.

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  12. I can say from experience with sending my son to a Talmud Torah instead of the local MaMa"D. Our main concern was that while the MaMa"D claimed to be Torani, it's stress of Torah was way below what we wanted. So while a bit apprehensive, we sent him to a Talmud Torah, this way he'd have a greater stress of Torah. Second and Third grade worked out fantastic for him. From 4th to 6th grade, each year was progressively worse. My feeling was that the school made him into an Am Ha'aretz in both Judaic studies (even if he had "book knowledge") as well as in secular studies. I was very glad to transfer him when he reached 7th grade. He's now in a "premier B'ney Akiva" Yeshiva, and we're much happier with what he is getting.

    Z

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  13. This, I think, is one of the biggest (maybe even the biggest) achievements of the Chareidi brainwashing that permeates masses outside Chareidi camp - lots of MO, Dati Leumi and other centrist people believe that the Chareidi lifestyle is the ideal, the original Torah lifestyle. Definitely this is false, but many people share this belief, some of them consciously, and even more - unconsciously.

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    1. Don't blame the hareidim for our own gullibility and stupidity.

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    2. DE lots of Baalei Tshuva certainly think that, a lot of Baalei Tshuva think that they need to get to the "Harvard" of frumkeit. It is non sense. They are brainwashed in most BT yeshivas to follow this "ideal"... BTs ( and converts) feel chronically insecure in their frumkeit. They stop thinking ( the one tool that got them into yidishkeit to start with) and they go back to their old approach to success: Keep up with the Jones. It is now " Keep up with the Charedim".

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    3. What I wrote above is I believe a big part of the answer because statistically the BTs and Gerim are a significant in the chardal/centrist populations here in town at least.

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  14. The answer that I have heard from many is that they would rather their son be a narrow minded Talmid Chacham rather then a broad minded am haaretz.

    The fact is that there is no comparison in the amount and level of torah learning between Charedi high schools and MO high schools, the Charedi schools simply learn more. Now,obviously they do it at the expense of other things but many people feel that it is worth it.

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    1. In terms of quantity, you are right. In terms of quality--well, let's just say that I am not convinced. I have heard so much infantile, trivializing nonsense and worse spouted as toireh, not just by bnei yeshiva but by their rabbanim, as well, that I tremble.Just because you can parse a shakleh vtaryeh or recite a famous toisefois doesn't make you any less a fool, if a fool you be, and the closed and incestuous system seems perfectly tuned to produce erudite and well-trained fools.

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  15. nathen there is not a much better alternative sending to a dati leumie yeshiva that glorifies war and violent racism against goyim? nothing's perfect and you pray that your son wont pick up the wrong elements if things were really as bad as you are trying to portray them then parents would stop sending there

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  16. In the same way one may want to attend Oxford or Harvard over the Jewish offerings, because they are (some of) the best institutions, irrespective of their world outlook, if you want the best Torah education go to the Yeshivot that offer Torah to the highest level.

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  17. Vafsi,

    By sending to (many of) the Charedi yeshivos you will glorify war and violent racism against other Jews.

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  18. Years ago at a convention of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists I heard Rabbi Dr. Moshe D. Tendler read the riot act to the assembled audience because there were numerous people in attendance who sent their children to yeshivot with no secular education.

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  19. And the answer is because the Modern Orthodox/ Data Leumi can't seem to get those darn televisions out of their houses.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With a filter and the children don't have access to it. There is a difference Mr. Smart Ass.

      Delete
    2. Yes, the internet is much worse. Everything on TV is on the internet plus a whole lot more.
      You are a poseur, Yisrael, or you wouldn't respond with that language.
      RM

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  20. Part of the answer is social. A good MO or DL yeshivah/high school turns out a balanced student, one who has a working knowledge of Torah and secular, who can both learn at a basic or advanced level and also get a higher education and earn a good living. A Chareidi yeshiva turns out a learner, period, someone who can pull a Rashba out off the top of his head and quote six different shitos on a particular mishnah.
    Now, here's what that matters. When doctors get together they inevitably (much to the chagrin of their spouses) start talking about cases they've seen. Lawyers (feh) do it, accountants do it, all professionals do it. Frum Jews do it to. You're sitting down and someone says something about a vort he heard on the parsha or an interesting gemara he recently read and the discussion begins. Now, say you're this MO/DL yeshivah/high school graduate sitting with a bunch of Chareidi yeshiva graduates. Suddenly they're talking in garbled Yeshivish and bringing up Rishonim and Acharonim left, right and centre (well, right, right and right nowadays I guess) and you're stuck just listening. If you're a parent, do you want your son sitting there left out as the token am ha'aretz? No, you want him to fit in so you send him to a Chareidi yeshivah so he'll be just as smart as the other kids.
    (The long-term view to prevent this is to remind the parents that if they stick with the MO/DL school, one day those snooty Chareidi yeshivah graduates will be knocking at THEIR kids door, calling him a tzadik and asking him to give them a cheque, but that's a long way off, kind of telling the nerd in high school how the pretty girls will like him once he starts a doc-com company 10 years later, it's cold comfort)

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    1. I really don't think the scenario you pose is an important factor.
      RM

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  21. My son went to Marava - we did not give him "permission" to attend the anti-IDF atzeres. Turns out, he was the only boy in the Yeshiva without permission. He felt embarassed about it, and asked if we could get him a patur to come home for that day. We called the Rosh HaYeshiva. Instead of being moderate, modest, and understanding, he told us that if our son did not want to go, then he had to sit alone in the beit medrash all day and learn. We replied that our son felt embarassed. The RY did not care, and regaled us about how the event was "kodesh".

    So, we "gave" our son permission to attend. Our son reported that the entire event was a bittul z'man of the highest order - just a meaningless "fun" day off where the boys got a first hand taste of pathetic propaganda (signs comparing protesters to Ester, etc.).

    But the saddest part was that Marava was not really seeking "permission" from the parents. IMO, the school is just a haredi "front" with a great market for "centrist" Anglo chareidi who are torn between having their children receive a good secular education vs. "Torah".

    Ultimately, I think a big issue is that many centrist Anglo hareidi just have no "data points" on the Daati way of life. For example, all of my friends were haredi - I had no people I knew and trusted whose children had successfully navigated the Daati system. Not speaking Hebrew certainly didn't help.

    Bottom line, BUYER BEWARE when sending to so-called "centrist" Haredi Yeshiva's. These schools can be ESPECIALLY INSECURE - as a result, even more stridently "anti" moderation.

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    Replies
    1. Parents who let the rebbaim bully them as to how they raise/educate their children is a component of the problem. This is a relatively trivial example of that.
      RM

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  22. Both Modern Orthodox and Haredi Judaism suffer from being excessively agenda driven and not placing intellectual honesty and truth as the top priorities. They would both do well to learn from the refreshing approach of Machon Shilo's Rabbi David Bar-Hayim.

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    1. His approach is not intellectual honest and he is certainly agenda driven.

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    2. Rabbi David Bar-Hayim is extremely intellectually honest. He examines each issue individually and objectively' and will be posek both stringently and leniently in accordance with wherever his halachic methodology leads him.

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  23. If I understand correctly, in England most 'modern orthodox' parents are not particularly bothered where their children go and the choices are mainly Influenced by the rabbis at their schools. Mostly these rabbis are charedi and why that is, I'd have to think about.

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  24. 1. Too many view MO as bdieved rather than lchatchila
    2.supply and demand means that chareidi teaches will work for less.


    KT
    Joel Rich

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  25. Since everyone already offered their thoughts, I will too.

    I went to charedi yeshivos and, even though, I reject most of charedi philosophy, I am very wary of Modern Orthodox yeshivos. As others have pointed out, there is the tzinius problem (girlfriends, boyfriends, which was simply unheard of in my school other than rumors about the worst boy in my class), there is the movie problem, there is the TV problem (do I really want my kid to have to feel like he's missing out because he hasn't watched American Idol.... or worse, that his environment and friends will cause him to want to watch it?), etc. etc.

    And then there's the overall yiras shamayim and respect for kedusha problem. I'm sorry, but I simply don't find the same reverence for G-d and Torah among many in the Modern Orthodox world. Even among its rabbinic leadership. You might say I'm being political, but I have a hard time imagining a major charedi rabbi holding a sign at a rally that says, "Islam is a religion of peace" as a major YU rabbi did a few weeks ago. Where do you think he got such an inane idea? From his studies? Or his political correctness?

    I happen to be proudly conservative. People like Justice Antonin Scalia are my heroes. I detest much of modern secular culture, liberal politics, and modern psychological theories. Modern Orthodoxy, to a large degree, is enamored of all three. And that bothers me. I don't see independence of thought among these so-called moderns. I see a desire to fit into every culture they live in -- no matter what the culture is or what its ideas are. "Going along" is not an absolute value in my book as it seems to be for many Modern Orthodox Jews.

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    1. When a Rosh Yeshiva in Ponovitch calls another Rosh Yeshiva in Ponivitch a "dog" in a public shiur, when tear gas is sprayed in the Ponovitch Bes Medrash during ma'ariv, ( and numerous other documented horrific events) , I find it laughable to claim that the chareidim have "reverence for G-d and Torah"

      The chareidim have reverence only for themselves, and fear only one being : the shadchan..

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    2. "but I simply don't find the same reverence for G-d and Torah among many in the Modern Orthodox world."

      Thats because Bein Adam L'chavairo and Ahavas Yisrael are emphasized in the DL community more than Bein Adam L'makom especially among the Rabbinic leadership.

      All that reverence of G-d and Torah means nothing if you only care about your daled amos i.e. charedi community and not about the klal.

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    3. "I have a hard time imagining a major charedi rabbi holding a sign at a rally that says, 'Islam is a religion of peace' "

      I guess you never saw a Neturei Karta rally

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    4. Shlomo Zalman- Shkoyach you found a machlokes in a chareidi Yeshiva. Proves nothing.

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    5. If you call what is going on in every single litvish yeshiva and community inIsrael between the mechablim and son'im just a "machlokes", then you've fully proved my point.

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    6. Did you seriously just write that you don't see reverence for God and Torah among MO rabbinic leadership? I can name you thirty roshei yeshiva and countless other rebbeim at YU who would easily disprove that statement. So could you.

      I'd love to know who this "major YU rabbi" was, or even what that means. YU has ordained thousands of rabbis. Some are krum. The vast majority aren't.

      Finally, you know you can be conservative and MO. Lots- probably most- MO people are. Most DL people in Israel (something like 95%) vote for right-wing parties. Being MO means you can decide for yourself, and many do.

      I imagine you don't find much liberalism in the charedi world, but you also don't find much conservatism either.

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    7. Nachum, please name me which prominent Modern Orthodox leader is outspokenly conservative. I can think of one or two (Rabbi Steven Pruzansky perhaps), but the vast majority of its leaders are proudly "moderate" on ever almost single issue. Indeed, being "moderate" is almost an independent value in the Modern Orthodox community.

      As far as the charedi community is concerned, I find its gut reaction to most issues to fall in line with conservatism (perhaps because the Torah's positions do as well -- or at least, so I would argue).

      (As far as the rabbeim at YU are concerned, most of them are charedi in their haskkafa, which is a well-known open secret.)

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    8. Tom - which "major charedi rabbis" are afffiliated with Neturei Karta?

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    9. And which YU rabbis are anti-zionist?

      Yehudah, you are painting with far too broad of a brush. I think you are addressing your own fantasies about MO life rather than reality. MO culture is enamored of liberal politics? Are you kidding? Unless you're defining MO as the small far left fringe. And running through all of your comments is a strong element of self-aggrandizement, condemning others as a misbegotten way to elevate oneself, which I find disturbing.
      RM

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    10. I wasn't trying to aggrandize myself. I was trying to explain why I feel uncomfortable with Modern Orthodox yeshivos. But you're right. This isn't about me; this is about the larger issue. So I'll leave behind this issue, which doesn't seem to bother so many people (although I do think it is related to the "cultural" factor that many have identified), and focus on the one that does: girls/TV/movies. Sorry for veering slightly off topic.

      Delete
    11. > girls/TV/movies

      And those are bad because...?

      The Chareidi obsession with separating the sexes, to the point where, as you describe above, only the worst boy would ever admit to something so horrifyingly human as having a girlfriend, is a Bad Thing.

      TV and movies, whatever. If your kid feels a compulsion to watch a particular show,that's a failure on your part as a parent to teach your children the proper place of entertainment. It's not the TV's fault. Of course, it's much easier to ban everything that's potentially problematic than to teach balance. So no TV, no girls, no sugar, no collectibles, and no hanging out with friends (who knows what they might get up to).

      Delete
  26. I consider myself to be included in the subjects of this article and here is the reason (i'm sure many others out there would agree):
    I have lived in both worlds. I went to both chareidi yeshivos and MO yehshivos for both highschool and post highschool. I know what both systems are like.
    while I share many values with the MO community when it comes down to it they are severly lacking in many crucial areas. from first hand experience I can tell you that the level of torah learning and shmiras hamitzvos is just mediocre. Ask any MO highschool kid fro the new york area and they will tell you that most of the kids in their school do not care about learning, shmiras haanayim, shomer negia, and the list goes on. Most don't start taking judaism seriosly untill they get to yeshiva in Israel. Why would you put your id in a school where the peer pressure is like that? In israel its different but there too they are lacking in many of the same issues. I would rather my kids got to a school where they will be challenged to learn torah on a high level (and where the peer pressure is for that), and where shmiras hamitzvos is the norm. I would teach them my values and beliefs at home and hope that they have inner strength to live with them too. Its much harder to do the opposite (be one of the few frum learners) in a MO school.
    shmuel

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  27. Dear Reb Natan,
    I am wondering about the use of the picture of KBY in this article.
    I am not sure whether KBY is being put on the same side of scales as the 'extremists' or the 'centrists'?
    Perhaps your future articles will delineate exactly what defines the 'extremism', but since i think the phenomenon you are describing can be discussed without this delineation I wanted to get some idea of where you draw the line.
    In my experience KBY is a yeshiva of two parts; the chutznik program is realistic about life - most guys stay one or two years before going to college and this isnt discouraged, but the israeli program is not especially encouraging towards getting a secular higher education [many of those who go on to high level college programs are those who are of foreign parentage], or even of going to the army for hesder!
    I want to thank you for discussing these important topics.

    Yours sincerely
    YS
    London

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  28. My guess is that this post is referring specifically to Toras Moshe...(Nosson can correct me if I am wrong in my assessment)
    I am curious what the makeup of the student body is, from what schools does Toras Moshe draw students? Just from being around the MO community in America, I don't hear much about kids going to ToMo, so my impression is that the student body at ToMo is made up of graduates of more Charedi or perhaps moderate Charedi high schools. (I don't think you'll ever see a graduate of MTA, TABC, or JEC, not to speak of Frisch or Ramaz going to ToMo after high school.) In other words (assuming that my impression is correct that this post is actually about ToMo), unless I see evidence otherwise, I dispute the validity of the premise that children of MO families are going to ToMo.

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    1. You would actually be surprised about how many kids from MTA and TABC end up a ToMo. Most not for first year but eventually many do.

      Delete
    2. ToMo's student body is varied, but with one consistent common denominator. The parents are financially stable due to their having had secular education and a job/profession. This enables the yeshiva to tell them that they can sit and learn forever, Pops will foot the bill.

      Translation: Your parents aren't such good Jews, but they're good for their money.

      Delete
    3. anon chareidi: How many guys per year are you talking about?

      shlomo zalman: How would you describe the parent body? Are any of them "centrist"/MO as this post presumes, or are they some kind of moderate Chareidi-lite? I'm very curious, what high schools send directly to Tomo?

      Delete
  29. No, this post was not specifically about ToMo. But that is a good example. Another example is Midrash Shmuel.

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    1. I was in Israel in 1998 and went to a vort of a student that went to Midrash Shmuel. All of the students there seemed to me to be clones of one another, dressed the same, acted the same, all very polite. As I recall, the Rosh Yeshiva was a great dresser, had a really nice suit. The student told me that the Rosh Yeshiva referred to President Clinton using the word yimach shmo.

      Delete
    2. Sorry betzalel. I was in medrash Shmuel in 98. The Rosh wears a classic litvish rosh yeshiva get up. Nothing at all fancy. And in my 5 years in the yeshiva I never heard him refer to Clinton in those terms.
      What was your point anyway?

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    3. I didn't have any point other than to describe what I remember. The Rosh Yeshiva also had a very distinguished English accent. The fact that he was dressed really well might have been because he was at the vort. The vort was at Shapell's.

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    4. Actually, when I said that all of the students looked like clones of each other, seeing Rabbi Slifkin's picture, they all looked to me like Rabbi Slifkin.

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    5. Also, don't take it as a criticism when I said they all look like clones of one another. Nothing wrong with this in this case; they were all very pleasant young adults.

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    6. Well, there's a big difference in connotation between saying students were dressed similarly or students looked like "clones" and it's hard not to take the latter as not only criticism but condescension.
      RM

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    7. Identical twins look like clones. It's not a criticism or condensation.

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  30. So you agree that you were referring to Toras Moshe, but not exclusively. That being the case, my previous question is a valid one. I don't know anything about Midrash Shmuel, but again, I don't hear of graduates of MO high schools going there. (As a former talmid, I'm sure you're very familiar with the makeup of the student body.)
    So I will repeat/modify my initial question - from what high schools do Toras Moshe and Midrash Shmuel draw students?

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    1. I've known MTA students who went there. People from "real charedi" places don't go to places like that.

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    2. MTA students who went there directly from high school? Who does go to ToMo straight out of high school?

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    3. People I know. Do you want me to name names?

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    4. Not asking for names, just a general idea of what high schools ToMo typically draws from. A pie chart would be nice. :) Also, what's the parent body like? We know it's not "real Chareidi", is it Brooklyn balebatish types? Out of town watered down moderate chareidi? A pie chart would be nice if anyone could provide it :)

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    5. A follow-up question - how long ago was it that these MTA students went to ToMo?

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  31. Being from the UK, I personally know several guys who went from hasmonean to ToMo, guys whose families brought them up MO and interested in earning a living, guys who are now envisaging remaining in learning forever.
    Having said all this I do know of several American ToMo guys who have gone on to attain BTLs at Ner Israel and subsequently done pre-med or pre-law and then entered grad school. This is the exception and is only found among the most brilliant group of guys.

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  32. All subgroups among Jews have strengths and weaknesses. Charedi strengths are in Torah. There are many weaknesses that stem from the fact that it shuts out the nonTorah world, but at least its Torah knowledge is better than anywhere. That answers Rabbi Slifkin's question I think.

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    1. How do you quantify that? Many would argue the opposite.

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    2. I would quantify it in terms of how many hours learning Torah per day on average.

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    3. "More" doesn't always equal "better."

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    4. Correct, but don't you think that a person who learns Torah all day long is going to know more Torah than a person who works all day long, comes home, and learns Torah for an hour or so? This is why it is safe to say that the Charedi community knows more Torah than other Jewish groups.

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  33. I very much look forward to your next post on this topic.

    A few thoughts:

    1. I hope you will be try to be honest, thorough, and searching in your explanation of why centrists choose to send to Chareidi schools. I sometimes feel that your trademark fearless criticism is not apparent enough when it comes to the Dati Leumi / MO community. This is understandable, but I hope this will not be the case this time.

    2. I think most centrists do not realise how extreme schools like Maarava, Tomo, Midrash Shmuel are. This is partly because those schools deliberately 'target' the naive Anglo Centrists, and obscure their extremism, but this is also because centrists often do not realise how extreme the Gedolim truly are.

    3. There is a big difference between being ideologically centrist, and culturally dati leumi/ MO. A black velvet kippa centrist has no entry point into the religious culture of the dati leumi schools, especially in Israel.

    4. There are (almost) no anglo gedolim any more. Parents who were brought up to respect Rav Yaacov Kaminetsky, Rav Shimon Schwab, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Wolbe - who all had a sensitivity to, and appreciation for normal anglo values - now have to send their children to schools who respect Rav Elyashiv, Rav Chaim Kanievsky, and the Chazon Ish, who are/were much more extreme.

    5. Chareidi Israeli society - led by Rav Shach - ensured that there is a very sharp distinction between full blooded Chareidi yeshivos, and the dati leumi world. There is a huge fight against setting up any yeshiva which is remotely centrist, putting a small but significant proportion of Olim/Anglos in the invidious position of either sending their kids 'too far to the right' or 'too far to the left'. Most frum parents who fall into that sub-category are going to choose 'too far to the right', as it is more scary to have an irreligious kid than an overly religious kid (no, I am not saying that all MO kids are irreligious).

    6. Related to point 4, there is no pride, identity, or rallying point, for centrists. Centrism is a word which is hardly used and much less understood. It is easy to be a Rav Shachnik, or a Rav Kooknik, it is infinitely harder to be a Rabbi-of-my-shul-who-is-nice-and-frum-and-normalnik, so people have to become an I-love-all-jewsnik, which means that they don't have an externally defined identity, which is something much more problematic for a school than it is for the individual family.

    For example, my son's menahel told me that his school has many more hours in the school dedicated to Limmudei Chul, and there is an appreciation for Israeli soldiers who protect Chareidim, because 'we anglos have certain ideas in our head which we don't want to get rid of', which to my ear translates as 'our values are an embarrassing and bedieved accident of birth, not something to be proud of'. It may be that he has to say this in order not to be shunned by the mainstream chareidi world, but this in itself is a big barrier to self-perpetuation.

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  34. I won't speak to "extreme" charedi yeshivot (or how to determine what qualifies as such), but I'll give a few reasons I see why many moderate Anglos send their kids to charedi yeshivot over dati leumi/chardal, even if "on paper" they identify as dati leumi - in their orientation toward work, education, army and gratitude/pride in the State of Israel.

    1. CULTURE - Charedi culture feels more familiar. Many of the people in this category are "charedi-lite," and charedi culture is more "at home" for them than dati leumi culture, which feels more "Israeli," i.e. foreign. You go to an information meeting at a charedi school and sit in a room full of your peers (people you know or who come from similar backgrounds), and then you go to one at a dati leumi school and find yourself in a different crowd with few Anglos and feel out of place. That's where it starts. People go where they feel at home, where they find their peers - that's first and foremost.

    2. LEADERSHIP - The Torah leadership they identify with is charedi - from the gedolim they're familiar with, to the English-speaking rabbis who lecture and write books, to the frum magazines they have in their homes, etc. The mantle of stewardship in Torah is perceived as passing through the charedi world. And when their rabbis/shuls/peers carry this perception as well, it's natural people want their kids aligned with this system. (This is really an extension of #1 above - culture is king.)

    3. TORAH/BECOMING A LAMDAN - Speaking about boys in particular, parents want to give them a chance to be "serious" Torah students, striving to be lamdanim and talmidei chachamim. Why not go to a "serious" dati leumi yeshiva then? Part again is image and culure, the hat and jacket and "beis midrash" style simply feeling more at home and less "Israeli." It's a certain mystique about what Torah is supposed to "look like." But part is the fact that the intensity and single-minded focus of the charedi world does create a milieu especially suited to achieving high levels of Torah learning. (Yes, sometimes at the expense of other important things, but that's another story. And yes, I'm talking about the particularly motivated boys - certainly not all boys, many of whom are trapped in a "learning world" that doesn't suit them. Again, another story... And yes, there are certainly high-level dati leumi yeshivot...)

    4. EXPOSURE TO MEDIA - Charedi society spends a great deal of time and energy (not to mention fire and brimstone) in the attempt to seal kids off from "outside" influences - movies, TV, internet, secular music and culture. Parents look at charedi yeshivot, where the "expectation" at least is that families have less secular/media culture in the home, and where kids are not all coming to school with smartphones, and they look at dati leumi yeshivot, where incessant smartphone use and problematic media exposure are sometimes rampant, and they choose the former.

    So in a sense you have to pick the poisons you're willing to live with. And like I say, when your peers and rabbis and shuls seem to all be aligning with the charedi track and its set of problems, over the dati leumi track and its set of problems, and when the charedi world feels more "at home" and less foreign, i.e. when the charedi path is the "default," I think you have your answer as to why people choose it.

    I say this as someone who's straddled both worlds and tried to cull the best from each. But at a certain point, you have to make some decisions. For us, that point is high school, and we've decided on the dati leumi/chardal track since the life path and philosophy speak more to our ideals.

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    1. David - I think you summarized the situation pretty well. What is odd, at least in my case is that although I grew up in a Conservative synagogue in liberal Southern California and became observant while in University in the 1970''s, I have always felt at odds with both American Orthodox Jewish and general culture and so it was precisely the Israeli DL culture that attracts me. Even though I only learned to speak Hebrew as an adult at the time we make aliyah almost 30 years ago, today I actually feel funny hearing a lecture or shiur in English, after all the language of the Torah is Hebrew. In fact, I don't see how anyone who doesn't spead and read Hebrew fluently can possibly study Torah properly.
      There are American ghettos in Jerusalem , Ramat Beit Shemesh and even in Gush Etzion. Children growing up in these places and not interacting with Israeli kids often have serious problems, even if they were born here. Thus, I believe that parents who are olim should make every effort to socialize with Israelis and learn to speak Hebrew fluently.

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  35. (1) It is important to note that there are significant differences between American MO's and Israeli DL's.
    There is a very wide spectrum of philosophical viewpoints within the DL camp. The things they agree on are the importance of viewing the Jewish people as a NATION, and that this nation can only reach its religious goals and fulfillment in Eretz Israel. This includes service in the IDF. Within this spectrum there are people whose lifestyle would be considered Haredi, including deemphasis on secular education for the young and opposition to exposure to secular culture including television and the internet, through what is called the "Torani" group which are people careful about halacha and making time for regular Torah study, but not looking for Humrot in halacha and a more general openness to secular culture and finally what is called "dati-lite", people who keep the basics, go to shul on shabbat but are relatively relaxed in other things. What is interesting about Naftali Bennett is that he has been able to unify these diverse groups into a single political movement.}
    In the US, the general, anti-Torah secular culture is much more pervasive than in the US, and the Modern Orthodox community seems to under much more pressure to be "flexible" on issues that clearly go against the Torah such as the attitude towards homosexuality, which seems to me to the the number one social issue today and in which every is expected to bend to. This applies to all religions as well.

    (2) It is true that Haredi youngsters seem to show more enthusiasm for studying Torah than do many DL kids, although Rav Pinhas Heyman, the developer of the Revadim system for Talmud study claims Haredi kids don't really like Talmud any more than DL kids do. The difference is that Talmud study is the only real way to get respect in the Haredi community and to achieve social mobility. The DL community allows its young people to achieve respect in many other fields as well, so a youngster who doesn't like Talmud study won't feel that he is a failure if he does something else as well.

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  36. I heard this from Rabbi Zev Leff when he spoke in Baltimore many years ago: (I am paraphrasing)

    Because while independent-thinking adults may be able to withstand the pressures of thinking outside the box, many parents realize that young children will need to fit in a box in order to make it socially in Israel, even if that box may be at odds with the parents' personal feelings or observance.

    (This was in answer to the question about what to do if one's child's school has certain chumras/restrictions that the parent may not agree with, and Rabbi Leff stated that in his own case, their were certain things that his kids' schools did that he didn't agree with/hold by, but he lived with the conflict as it was)

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  37. I await R' Natan's first-hand account of the attitude towards secular studies promoted by ostensibly moderate Hareidi yeshivot such as Midrash Shmuel. I use the term moderate for Midrash Shmuel because that was the impression left with me by Rav Moscowitz when my youngest son applied for admission. I recall being told that while they do not encourage it, they recognize that some students will continue their secular studies for career purposes. That is what happened to my son.
    After over 3 years in that yeshiva he tried an end run around conventional college attendance. In the end, however, he was forced to get a BS degree from a properly accredited university in order to be admitted to medical school. His efforts at becoming a full-fledged lamdan have not ceased, however, despite very time consuming duties as both a medical resident and a parent. I only wish he had entered into his long planned career path earlier.

    His story illustrates the issue at hand. He applied to Midrash Shmuel at the advice of his Hareidi Bet Midrash Rebbe who had been his mentor since entering the local yeshiva high school. We accepted that advice under the impression that the Israeli yeshiva would not work to undue his career plans and our hopes. In the end, his own ambition was sufficient to counteract the negativity towards secular education by the yeshiva. Other students may not be so motivated and may well be swayed by the anti-secular propaganda promoted in Hareidi yeshivot. Perhaps my not infrequent disagreements with what my children were being taught in their yeshivot helped forge an independent spirit. Such was not the case with a daughter who was sufficiently influenced by the faculty of the BJJ seminary that she never attended college and is now a fairly prominent figure in Lakewood. So, I am an example of a rather LWMO person (if such typing must be made) who sent children to Israeli Hareidi post high school institutions with rather different results.

    Y. Aharon

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    1. Presumably you sent your kids to Chareidi high schools, if they had Chareidi Rabbeim who encouraged them to go to Midrash Shmuel and BJJ. As a LWMO person, I guess the question applies to you - what made you decide to send your kids to Chareidi high schools?

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    2. Not Sure, we sent our kids to the local yeshivot rather than opting to send them to a then coed day school in our community or to an out-of-town more 'modern' yeshiva. We believe that parents should have the primary influence over their children rather than some institution. That becomes difficult when a child boards away from home. The high school that my referenced son attended was also of a moderate Hareidi hashkafa and had mostly day-school graduates attending. My son's yeshiva background and talent was such that he was immediately placed in the Bet-Medrash program under the tutelage of the referenced Rebbe.

      In contrast to the above brief account involving 2 of my kids, my youngest daughter graduated from a yeshiva high school and then attended an MO seminary in Israel, Midreshet Lindenbaum, where she studied talmud (they had 2 tracks, Nach and Talmud). If their reputation remains as it was then, I would highly recommend that seminary for daughters. In any event, this daughter graduated college with honors and is a nursing professional.

      Y. Aharon

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  38. The other problem is that for many "careers" "pulling shtick" to get a degree is of limited value if you don't get the basics (e.g. how to speak non-Yeshivish English" etc. I've seen to much of the M Jordan syndrome (Yankee went to Harvard law with a BTL gotten on the internet-aybe true, but are you an ilui too?)

    KT

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  39. To respond to the original question of why parents send their kids to these extreme charedi yeshivos, here's my perspective from someone whose son graduated from a MO NJ high school and is in Israel this year (but in a non-extreme school, Lev Hatorah) so we just went through the choosing process.

    I think a major part of it is that when your child is 17-18 years old and going to Israel, many parents let their kids make the decision which school they attend. All the Israeli schools come to the high schools and make their pitch. The hardcore schools don't push their extremity, they push their "exceptional, top tier learning!". In many cases, the principals of the high schools also push the extreme schools as the ideal because of the learning.

    I was very pleased when my son was deciding between a number of excellent but non-crazy schools. But some of the other parents, who were MO, were very happy their kids were going to schools I would consider way too intense. There is this thinking that most hardcore / most intense = best that I just don't share.

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    1. Just wondering which schools you are referring to when you say that "the principals of the high schools also push the extreme schools as the ideal because of the learning." I think the schools that you consider "extreme" are not the ones referred to in this post. The schools that this post is referring to (like Toras Moshe or Midrash Shmuel, as mentioned above) don't recruit from MO NJ high schools, to the best of my knowledge. And the schools that do recruit in MO NJ high schools are generally fully supportive of the State of Israel, of college education/secular knowledge, and of YU.

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