Rabbi Naftoli Neuberger, zt”l, and Us

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5 Responses

  1. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Among their many major projects together were the Iranian rescue, creation of a national accreditation agency for yeshivos gedolos, which has brought tens of millions of dollars in federal funding into yeshiva coffers,

    Under what law does the federal government pay yeshivot? For what benefit? Surely, not for Talmud Torah, since that is not a government matter under the 1st ammendment.

    Politicians found in his modest office at Ner Israel something they could find nowhere else: disinterested advice and the chance to escape the seemy, calculating political world for the company of a genuinely high-minded person. … The structure of Israeli politics and society makes it much more unlikely that a Rabbi Sherer or a Rabbi Neuberger will emerge – e.g., the fact that much of the government financing of chareidi institutions comes only through supplemental budgets that must be renegotiated each year using political threats.

    If a Rabbi has a vested interest in politics, because his Yeshiva is funded by the government, then naturally that Rabbi will not be able to offer disinterested advice. One can’t be a judge and a litigant at the same time. The only way for Israeli Rabbis to be respected for high mindedness and lack of personal interest is to have Israeli Yeshivot be privately funded, they way US Yeshivot are.

    We are widely perceived as concerned solely with maintaining the financial support of our communal institutions. And the truth is that if asked to demonstrate our concern with our fellow Jews many in our community would reply that our learning, and therefore larger budgets for our yeshivos, are the best protection for the entire society. Remarkably, however, that response has failed to convince our fellow Jews that we care about them as people.

    A charedi can say: our learning, and therefore larger budgets for our yeshivos, are the best protection for the entire society. However, a chiloni (= non observant Jew) who does not believe in the value of Torah study for the community would hear: we want to learn Torah, and we are going to use this excuse to justify forcing you to pay for it through your tax shekels.

    If the chilonim believed in the value of Torah veMitzvot, they wouldn’t be chilonim. Being chilonim, they resent being made to pay for studies they see as private affairs that do not produce any benefit for them. The fact that secular students, who produce visible benefits (the doctors that save lives and the high tech engineers whose work brings foreign currency into the country) have to pay for their university education, does not help either.

  2. Jonathan Rosenblum says:

    Let me answer Ori’s excellent question about federal funding of yeshivos. The primary form of that funding is indirect — via student loans — but highly significant for the yeshivos. Were students not able to receive student loans few could afford the tuition, and the yeshivos would suffer greatly.

  3. Joshua says:

    Is the part about Rabbi Sherer a plug for your up coming book about him? 🙂

  4. Yochanon says:

    I attended Ner Israel and other Yeshivos in the USA and I never heard of anyone taking out a Stafford, Perkins or other loan to pay their yeshiva tuition.

  5. Michael "Match" Eisenband says:

    When I was in the Mechina of Ner Yisrael between 1986-89 I recall going to the “business office” every morning to read the daily copy of the Baltimore Sun sports page. I sat in one of the waiting area chairs outside of Rav Neuberger’s office. I remember seeing him go in and out of his office rushed to take phone calls. He often glanced at me, and
    greeted me, but never “musared” me for reading the results of the Washington Bullets at the time. I always asked his secretary “r’shus” before picking up the paper. Finally one day he stopped in his tracks and asked me if I was being helped. I put the paper down and went back to the beis medrash. I enjoyed the article by Jonathon Rosenblum and feel
    that I am privelaged to have overheard the voice of Rav Neuberger on the phone speaking yiddish doing business. I am
    now a dentist in Florida, and proud to say I am a Ner Yisrael graduate.

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