Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy – Week of Parshas Yisro 5776

Last week’s installment of Weekly Digest – News and Essays In and Out of Orthodoxy can be viewed here.

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17 Responses

  1. YbhM says:

    <i>Could this apparent major attrition be the result of the well-known push in some segments of Modern Orthodoxy, by both parents and high schools, to send students upon graduation to secular college campuses, and their aversion to YU, Touro and the like? I</i>

    Could it be due to people making aliya?

    • Steve Brizel says:

      I think that it is a profoundly mistaken sense of naches without consideration of the immense spiritual risks involved to a child whose only in depth exposure to Torah study other than being a course that competes with his or her secular studies is the one or two years spent in Israel.

  2. R.B. says:

    Reading the recent links you have posted by graduates of Yeshivat Maharat and the like, I can honestly say three words that sum them up: Politically Correct Psychobabble (hat tip to Jacob Suslovich for the psychobabble description). Honestly, I actually don’t understand a word that she wrote. I didn’t get any message, any theme, any consistency.

  3. mycroft says:

    Sadly aliya figures  have been relatively stable since the 1970s-there has been no decade to decade increase from North America-that is not the cause of MO being at best flat

    It is precisely the economics of mandating day school attendance to be part of the club of Modern Orthodoxy that restricts its potential in the US.  To attend a MO school one is required to be in upper middle class economic background and as well be in the top 30% of verbal IQ to be able to do the work. We have told the rest you are not welcome. Note in Israel that is not the  case a mamlachti dati school is essentially the same cost as a secular school-thus one can be MO in Israel if ones father is a security guard,bank teller etc-not so in the US.

    One ha

  4. dr. bill says:

    I am missing the point.  How does the attendance of MO students at secular universities and the perils it is often portrayed as having relate to flat growth in MO elementary and High Schools?  The reasons for growth in RW chareidi schools are at least three-fold.  1) Significant population growth in the RW/chareidi community.  2) Being the only school in some communities.  3) Attendance by MO students in some chareidi schools is much more common than the reverse.  In many communities, chareidi schools are cheaper for a host of reasons.
    On your favorite topic, the issue raised by Stein that rabbi Goldin did not address is the RCA’s silence on widespread issues on their right of much greater consequence than OO.  Sadly, Rabbi Goldin was relatively unique among signatories about abuses (sexual and financial) in the Jewish community; how many other RCA rabbis signed?

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Dr Bill-look at the stats referred to in the JTA article. In Charedi communities, the Charedi educational network from elementary school through Kollel is the only game in town, and the Charedi community may very well have more significant population growth. Dr. Jack Wertheimer pointed out in an article in Commentary about BMG that at least 20% of its student body had a MO upbringing. R Gordimer was reiterating a simple point-it is well documented that many  MO students, even after a year or two in Israel, are not observant by the time that they graduate from a secular college. The chances of such graduates remaining in the MO fold , marrying and having kids who will attend a MO yeshiva, thus become increasingly problematic, especially if good private or public schools are an attractive option

      One factor that warrants observation is why many YU grads sent their kids to charedi schools. Cost is but one factor in that analysis.

      • dr. bill says:

         Ah, now I understand.  It’s the children of those who attend secular colleges who do not send their children to religious day school that is causing (some of) the stagnation in MO day school enrollment.   Nice try, but that does not even have a scintilla of statistical evidence.   My own observations of many secular college attendees that I know does not comport with that phenomenon.  Their children attend MO schools, albeit more likely schools like Maimonides or SAR.  But perhaps it is their grandchildren. J

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The logic is si,ple-if you were given a MO education for K-12 and walked away from observance during your college years, the chances that your children will attend a MO school. as opposed to a public or private school are rather daunting. If you want to avoid what is happening to many MO grads on college campuses-go ahead and ignore the facts that led the OU to create a whole program designed for MO kids on college campuses.

      • dr. bill says:

        “si,ple” huh??  Assuming you mean “simple” your “logic” has one major flaw.  It is based on the impact of an entirely non-quantified group.   It is also possible, and again not quantified that members of that group after experiencing a period of non-observance during their college life to become upstanding members of Modern orthodox communities.  I think an in-depth study of that group would be informative.  as I have stated, my limited observation does not support your conclusion.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Name one MO institution or school that either has conducted or is interested in conducting a survey. Negative results about the level of observance of alumni after going to a secular college environment would hardly be a great selling point for future parents. That’s why evidence on the ground is what counts in dealing with the issue.

      • dr. bill says:

        in the real world, surveys are done by non-biased third parties.  i have seen neither evidence on the ground or a survey.  if you were right, YU or Touro, who have the most to gain, should encourage a third party to execute such a survey.  but i assume they have found a better use of their resources.  MO high schools that encourage / identify secular colleges alternatives for their graduates would have to have a death wish if you are correct.  they don’t and i see no evidence that you are correct.  you have the right to your opinions but facts require some modicum of demonstration.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Dr Bill wrote in part:

        ” MO high schools that encourage / identify secular colleges alternatives for their graduates would have to have a death wish if you are correct.  they don’t and i see no evidence that you are correct”

        Look at the graduation announcements of MO high schools. When their grads go to schools where there is no viable Orthodox community except for Chabad,  that is evidence on the ground that such students are highly unlikely to be observant when they graduate such institutions.  Talk to anyone who is involved in Kiruv on college campuses or works for JLI on any campus where there is a strong MO contingent-the rate of students who graduate unobservant is not something to be dismissed lightly

      • Steve Brizel says:

        This is an issue that I would have loved to discuss with R Ronnie Greenwald ZL, one of the great Marbitzei Torah and defenders of all Jewish children and adolescents ,regardless of their position in the spectrum of observance.  Those who advocate either R”L actively expelling such children from our communities or R”L taking a laissse faire attitude and ignoring the issue can still learn a lot from R Greenwald ZL, whose addresses at a recent Agudah convention and in Monsey, and R Greenwald ZL’s participation in a Melaveh Malka in Miami. We need more activists who consider themselves talmidim  and chasidim of R Greenwald ZL in our communities as opposed to either intolerance or ignoring the facts that exist on the ground.

      • dr. bill says:

        When you write “When their grads go to schools where there is no viable Orthodox community except for Chabad, that is evidence on the ground that such students are highly unlikely to be observant when they graduate such institutions.”  you may be technically correct, but of rather negligible consequence.  Having spent Shabbos at a number of such institutions, never at Chabad, I was impressed with the vital Jewish community and personalities encountered.   Penn, Columbia, Barnard, Maryland, Rutgers, NYU, Yale, Princeton, Brandies, Harvard, Georgetown, Radcliffe, Michigan, UCLA, etc. all have a vibrant, well more than a viable, MO life though perhaps absent your hashkafic imprimatur.  I don’t dispute that students at secular universities will more likely encounter challenges to the ikrei emunah that may trouble them.  But, they also have an environment where those topics can be discussed constructively.

      • Larry says:

        When you say “many YU grads” do you have rough estimate of how many grads and where is this trend occuring?  Is it that the YU grads became chareidi or that they live in towns that only have chareidi schools or are they RWMO that send their children out of town to chareidi schools? I am aware that some YU musmachim send their sons to chareidi schools and that some YU kollel families send their children to Breuers.  But I am not aware that the trend is widespread.  Thanks.

    • Larry says:

      I agree with all your points.  It seems this article deviates from its key factual point to make an ancillary unsupported point.  The fact of the article is that a 2014 report claims that MO school enrollment is stagnant since 1998.   The unsuported ancillary claim is that MO Jews who attend secular college are responsible for the stagnation and implies attending YU would counter the stagnation.

      If the survey is correct and enrollment at MO schools is flat since 1998 and if enrollment at YU and Touro combined is flat or up since 1998 then the writer’s assertion that more MO parents are pushing their kids to secular colleges seems tenuous.   But, there may be factors here that I did not consider.

  5. tzippi says:

    Re Rabbi Gordimer and his articles on OO: I’ve seen countless comments along the lines of why bother, it’s a fringe thing anyway. And I’ve disagreed with those comments and supported informing the masses.

    I can’t help but think that Rabba Landau is on the fringe. Had I not known of her Weiss ordination, I would have assumed she was a Renewal leader.

    But most of all, I wish Ktoret well. It’s clear she’s not trying to be like the boys, otherwise she would have given us her thoughts on tefillin. Seriously, how sad that the only  quote outside her own musings is attributed not to a great Jewish thinker (Nechama Leibowitz would have been wonderful) but…Spiderman. Really, really sad.

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