Criticizing Rabbi Levenstein

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154 Responses

  1. Allan Katz says:

    ‘I cannot see myself making the public remarks articulated by Rabbi Levenstein, either using his phraseology or other, more delicate wording, due to public sensitivities and society’s hypercharged atmosphere, which usually render such remarks counterproductive on a pragmatic level’ – there is also the press which don’t quote fully and out of context. R’ Gordimer is giving answers to the converted , how about sharing some of his creativity in dealing with these issues with non-frum people

  2. jr says:

    Kevod Rav Gordimer, you are right, of course, that there is no doubt that the Torah says what it says.

    But Rav Benny Lau, in his condemnation, raises an entirely different issue:

    Rabbi Benny Lau, head of the Ramban Synagogue in southern Jerusalem, said he was appalled at Levenstein’s comments and that he knew of an incident in which the rabbi had spoken out against homosexuals in a high-school which led a pupil to attempt suicide.“You called them ‘perverts’. By throwing this word around, it is as if you have cursed someone as a leper.You used words that are disgusting,” said Lau in a 17-minute video he posted on Facebook on Sunday.Lau said he was aware of an incident two years ago when Levenstein spoke at the Himmelfarb school in Jerusalem.“You stood there and ridiculed homosexuals with a bad joke. You compared them to animals until the school principal Rabbi Yirmi Stevitski stood up and said, ‘Rabbi Yigal, you are our guest, and we don’t speak like that here.’ He stopped you.”Lau said that last year a pupil who had been present at Levenstein’s address had spoken subsequently with Stevitski and told him that he had tried to commit suicide in the wake of the speech but that his friends had stopped him.“Who gave you the right to insult them [homosexuals]? In the name of what Torah are you doing this?” Lau asked, calling on Levenstein to retract his comments and apologize for them.

    It is quite clear that homosexuals, at least in the Orthodox world, are in terrible distress, and they did not have complete free will to develop or not develop their inclinations upon which they must not act. While legitimately defending the Torah and mitzvos, it is important, IMHO, to be very careful with the delicate souls of these unfortunate individuals who are in a perpetual struggle, the likes of which most of us will never know.

    And perhaps the same could be said about standing up for Orthodox halacha and its standards; while doing so, we should try to be respectful and kind to those who disagree with us.

  3. Cosmic X says:

    I recommend listening to Rabbi Levenstein’s entire speech.   It is over half an hour long and only a small part of it deals with “sotim”.  Most of it deals with the increasing difficulties that religious soldiers face in the IDF, which are the intentional result of IDF policy.

    • mycroft says:

      I did not state that the RAv ever changed his mind about the psak on going to a mixed pew synagogue to hear shofar-I stated that a very close talmid of his less than a decade ago raised the possibility that had the issue been asked then less than a decade ago his belief was that there is a strong possibility that the RAv wouldn’t have pas kneed that way.

  4. Eli Blum says:

    Mixed seating does not equal Christianity. Rabbi Levenstein is wrong because he is factually incorrect, as the Reform do not worship jsus (or give him divine characteristics). Rabbi Soloveitchik compared the reform temple in one aspect to a church. I would say you are moving the goalposts.

    If we are beginning to discuss movements that start in Judaism but also endow divine powers to humans, there are other places that we should start (that go on today and are a much bigger issue), not Reform, the easy and popular target. That got so contentious that the post had to be deleted from Cross Currents.

    I can’t speak for the LGBT discussions, as I have no idea what they are discussing in the IDF and if it is anti-Torah.

    I also note you didn’t mention anything about the Rabbi dismissing attempts of the IDF to avoid hurting civilians, which in of itself would be sufficient to disqualify. Do you agree with those comments as well?

     

    • larry says:

      What about denying Torah from Sinai, rejecting the commandments,  supporting intermarriage and denying that there will be a redemption?  What part of Rambam’s 13 principles of our faith does Reform Judaism support?

      • jr says:

        Ok, that makes them kofrim, not Christians

      • larry says:

        He did not call reform Jews Christians.  He called reform Judaism, which we agree is a kefira movement, not a Jewish movement.  If reform Judaism rejects many of the basic tenets of Judaism, it is hard to call it a Jewish movement.

        Reform Judaism believes that “Judaism must to adapt to survive.”  (as per their website)  They have adapted their way into considering gentiles Jewish and allowing Jews to marry gentiles.  Rav Levenstein’s statements seem entirely aligned with the facts.

      • mycroft says:

        Zionism is a Jewish movement-yet majority of its hashkafa is not in sync with classic yahadus from 200 years ago.

      • dr. bill says:

        i do not agree that labeling something kefirah is even remotely similar to labeling something a non-Jewish movement.  I know of no tanna, amora, gaon or rishon behaved that way.

        differing attitudes to change, status, messianic beliefs, the divinity of texts, etc. are not new heresies; they have occurred  previously in our history.  if you believe rabbinic judaism was always the dominant stream, you would be hard-pressed to prove it.

      • mycroft says:

        As Dr. Bill points out Keira’s does not equal min. A big problem is censorship that had the result that much of our printed sources have the reverse of what the original was due to censorship. A leading  psak that many rely on relies on in many opinions the wrong girsah of min vs apikores.

      • Eli Blum says:

        I said there are red lines and I am not willing to bring them up for discussion. I said: the Reform movement is not a Jewish movement. (The chief education officer) asked me ‘why?’ I said: ‘It’s a Christian movement. There were many branches that began in Judaism, then left Judaism and became other movements.”

        Emphasis added.

      • larry says:

        Three decades of intermarriage and patrilineal descent impacts the Jewishiness of the  movement.  If members of a movement are not Jewish, it becomes difficult for me to see the movement as Jewish.

        I appreciate the halachic distinction between one who converts to another religion and one who denies a principle of faith.  A halachically born reform Jew is not a Christian.

         

      • dr. bill says:

        Larry, are you aware that various ancient jewish sects, and let me not get into an arguement about who, followed patrilineal descent?  you can call them non-halakhic jews, but even Hitler considered them as jews; enough with defending obscene language.

      • larry says:

        Hitler yemach shmo is now your Rav that you accept his psak on who is a Jew?

      • mycroft says:

        dr. bill
        July 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm
        Larry, are you aware that various ancient jewish sects, and let me not get into an arguement about who, followed patrilineal descent?  you can call them non-halakhic jews, but even Hitler considered them as jews; enough with defending obscene language.”

        Worthwhile listening to  http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/859115/rabbi-evan-hoffman/the-history-of-matrilineal-descent/

        for an interesting lecture on topic

    • mycroft says:

      “Mixed seating does not equal Christianity. Rabbi Levenstein is wrong because he is factually incorrect, as the Reform do not worship jsus (or give him divine characteristics). Rabbi Soloveitchik compared the reform temple in one aspect to a church. I would say you are moving the goalposts.”

      The Rav did not equate non Orthodox movements to Christianity-he had  complex contextual opinions about their place-clearly the paragraphs quoted in CC are accurate but he also stated we should let them use communal mikvaot for conversions, he was choshed a conversion by them could be a valid gerus, he wrote in a letter to the President of new Conservative synagogue while explaining his opposition to their mixed pews -congratulating the President and Conservative Rabbi for bringing Judaism to a new section  of Boston . The Rav was complex

      • Steve brizel says:

        You seem only able to quote portions of the letter in question. RYBS stated quite clearly that he would not and could not attend the C synagogue dinner because the same would legitimize a heterodox house of prayer.

      • Eli Blum says:

        Either way, it doesn’t mean that those who use mixed synagogues by definition are a Christian movement.

        The point is not that Reform is correct (of course not), but that the Rabbi said a falsehood. That others continue to propagate and defend that Sheker does not speak well for them or their positions.

      • dr. bill says:

        when conservative judaism was on the rise and employing some YU musmachim; in any case, there is a tad of difference between the Rav ztl attending than you or I.  as mycroft noted to extrapolate  to what the Rav would decide in various current situations requires a great deal more than a selection of  cases.

      • mycroft says:

        I heard a little less than decade ago that probably that a leading talmid chacham certainly very close to the Rav  IHO the Rav wouldn’t have paskened today that a person should not hear shofar rather than go in and come out and hear it in a Conservative synagogue-the reason is that on technical halachik grounds shofar is not tied doraisa to davening. Thus, IHO the Ravs psak was based on extra halachik grounds as part of the fight against mixed pews-now that is not the fight perhaps he would have ruled differently.

      • mycroft says:

         
         

        “when conservative judaism was on the rise and employing some YU musmachim;”

        A YU musmach taking a position in a Conservative synagogue-BTW Torah Vaddath musmachim also took similar positions-for money can be argued two ways -one he is a musmach not believing no big deal just doing a job, or the musmach is just a money hungry person will state anything even things he is opposed to for the Mammon.

        Reason why doesn’t exist  today JTS has more than enough grads to supply their needs

      • mycroft says:

        It is not disputed that the Rav would not legitimize a synagogue that had mixed seating. I do not believe his basis was whether or not they supported NCSY or NEFTY it was the mixed pews that he would not agree with.

        Note mixed pews was his big issue. He would not say that one could not daven in a schul wo a mechitzah-he would say one could not daven in mixed pews.

      • mycroft says:

        The unique aspect is the Rav treating a Conservative synagogue as some positive value-despite his clear opposition to mixed pews. He was complex and nuanced.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Again,  a reading of the letter in question for its full “nuance” and “context” , to use two terms that are consistently invoked here, should lead any reader with an average level of comprehension to conclude that RYBS was sending his best personal wishes, but declining to attend the dinner because his attending would be sending a message of legitimizing a heterodox house of worship. There is nothing in writing from RYBS that he ever told anyone that he changed his advice about staying home rather than attending services in a heterodox house of worship.

  5. larry says:

    In an article entitled “Criticizing Rabbi Levenstein,” you conclude with “his remarks cannot be condemmed?”  That does not sound like the warmest of support.

    Perhaps if one reflected on what life might be like for a young Orthodox Jew, attempting to hold their Torah values, while serving their country in an army that supports lifestyles antithetical to Torah values, one would speak more forcefully. That is the heart of this issue.  Whatever YCT said is, as always, halachically irrelevant.

    • jr says:

      Perhaps if one reflected on what life might be like for a young Orthodox Jew in high school grappling with SSA, and hearing R Levenstein compare people like him to animals (the young man reported that he subsequently considered comitting suicide, and his friends stopped him. Look for R Benny Lau’s remarks on R Levenstein’s comments), one would speak with more sensitivity and caution.

      • larry says:

        We are discussing Rav Levenstein’s verified recent public comments and the overwhelming support he received from the Orthodox rabbinate for those statements.  We are not discussing what R’ Lau suddenly alleges Rav Levenstein said two years ago or what R’ Lau alleges happened after those comments, when R’ Lau was not present for any of it.  The time to discuss that long passed.

      • DF says:

        “the young man reported that he subsequently considered comitting suicide,”

        Even if that’s true, its irrelevant. It means the guy is overly sensitive, not that R. Levenstein is wrong.  That comment encapsulates perfectly the flawed thinking of current secular society.

      • Richard says:

        You think that R. Levenstein shouldn’t reconsider how he speaks even if his students commit suicide as a result? You can maintain both that we need to change the way that we raise kids today to make them be less sensitive and that we’d rather they not kill themselves.

      • DF says:

        Of course we’d rather no one killed himself. But no one has to modify his remarks because of the possibility of someone mentally unstable over-reacting to them.  Let the sensitive listeners develop a thicker skin, and let not the speaker censor himself because of them .

         

  6. dr. bill says:

    How the Rav ztl expressed himself 50 years ago is not necessarily how he would express himself today.  Most think differently about the LGBT community.  You might assume it is the result of modern ideologies; others assume it is the result of advances in science and medicine.  Time will tell.

    In any case, the Rav talked about christian influence in the appearance of orthodox synagogues as well.

    • mycroft says:

      As Dr Bill points out the Rav was opposed to stained glass windows in schuls because of the non Jewish source. I am aware of some Rabbis who  BTW were students of the Rav who followed that while building new schuls. The Rav was opposed to having less than 13 year olds be involved in leading services eg ein keloheinu, aleinu etc as a bush to davening-how many people follow him in that way.

      • dr. bill says:

        mycroft,  RMF ztl would spend summers around 55 years ago in Hartford.  interestingly, he asked for one change in the shul – young boys should not take over at ein kelokeinu.

    • Steve brizel says:

      Proof please?

      • mycroft says:

        Those who trust my credibility will trust me-those that don’t won’t. I believe that I have been commenting on blogs for about a decade. You recite establishment talking points all the time wo proof. You trust RHS statements in mipninei harav wo documented sources-you  and others can choose not to trust mine or not. It is your choice.

        You are aware that here I could give examples which BTW are not examples of the Rav being a meikil. In the course of my statements if I were false repeatedly people would have proof the reverse way and call me out on it. You can continue to write proof please but unless you give a reason other than you don’t know that I will not answer it. If you give an apparent reason why you believe I am incorrect I will attempt to respond to the extent that I can-which usually depends on the sources of my info.

      • mycroft says:

        Steve;

        I occasionally davened at Maimonides minyan in Brookline-the Rav would getLevi -the gabbaim were HS students-no under 13 participated-I heard in course of my life a few times about that being the Ravs position about children. Stained glass windows I am aware from davening in a schul where the existing edifice had stained glass windows-move to new  location Rabbi stated new edifice could not have stained glass windows based on Ravs position copied from a church. You have different evidence put it forward. I will attempt to answer any question/challenge if you state the challenge/question rather than proof please.

        Everyone can trust everyone’s credibility by whatever means they wish

      • Steve Brizel says:

        RYBS’s position on shul architecture and stained glass windows is well known and documented. What is your point and how it is relevant to the current discussion?

      • dr. bill says:

        i heard the rav ztl respond to the question about the windows (stained glass) in lamport auditorium with a smile, saying it was built before my time.

        way to the other extreme, there is a teshuvah permitting chazzanim to listen to music behind a church in order to adapt the music.  It’s referenced in Elbogen’s book on the history of tefillah.

      • mycroft says:

        Your stained glass story is consistent with my story the RAv would not say an old building with stained glass windows was improper for a schul but he was opposed to new buildings having stained glass windows.  BTW the Ravs position on old schuls with separate seating but not a proper mechita. The RAv would state that a new schul had to be built with a proper mechita but one could davenport in an old schul because lack of mechita in a separate pew synagogue is a pegam in the schul but it still has kedushas beis Knesset

      • Steve Brizel says:

        In RHS’s sefarim, IIRC, RHS is careful to cite his sources where the same are available.  What RYBS stated with respect to Minhagei Tefilah , which you have cited from your own recollection, has no bearing on what RYBS said in the drasha quoted verbatim by R Gordimer. In all of your posts re RYBS and RHS, you indicate that while RHS is a great Talmid Chacham , he lacks what you think renders RHS a “true talmid” of RYBS. When pushed to the wall, you never provide a basis other than your own POV, and the same citations to the same quotes, all of which have been disproven in prior discussions here.

        I don’t know what “establishment talking points” are, but I do reject political views that reflect the liberal left view of America as hopelessly racist , suffering from irreversible climate change and economically unjust-IMO, those views deserve to be rejected for the junk science that is inherent in the same. I have always linked sources wherever possible.  Reliance on anonymous sources hardly renders your POV credible.

         

      • mycroft says:

        “”In RHS’s sefarim, IIRC, RHS is careful to cite his sources where the same are available.”

        You of course, admit that there are statements  by RHS that have no available sources.

        “In all of your posts re RYBS and RHS, you indicate that while RHS is a great Talmid Chacham ,”

        He is a great talmid chacham

        “he lacks what you think renders RHS a “true talmid” of RYBS. ”

        I am not the one who defines what is a true talmid-I state who follows the Ravs hashkafa- the Rav himself states that many of his top talmidim rejected his hashkafa.

        When pushed to the wall, you never provide a basis other than your own POV, and the same citations to the same quotes, all of which have been disproven in prior discussions here.

        They have not been disproven-I have asked you for citations disproving my cites. I have not seen anything other than your POV or personal attacks on the writers of those points.

        “establishment talking points”

        I don’t believe that CC is the place to discuss science or secular politics-I am referring to Orthodox establishment talking points-you attack the objectivity of writings by people who were around during the period but defend as accurate histories paid for by the organizations. As far as junk science take some free online courses either on edx or coursera on climate change and learn the science before accusing it as junk.

        Economically unjust is a value judgement my values are that it is not right to limit Orthodox Jewry to the above average income-you may disagree eg our recent disagreement on a financial test to become a ger, We disagree on values but that is not a factual dispute. I probably have kinked internet sources many times. You don’t believe I am credible fine-one can simply check my accuracy over the decade and see how often I have been dis proven on a factual matter.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Commenting without setting forth links to substantiate your conclusions and setting forth the same POV based on the same quotes that we have questioned and challenged repeatedlywould lead at some to comment whether the same are credible or geared towards your POV. I invite the reader here to make his or her own conclusion.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      The above quoted shiur was given in 1972, when the US was ( and still is ) in the throes of the so-called sexual revolution that led to feminism and then morphed into the LGBT movement. Why, in the absence of proof to the contrary, would the average reader think that RYBS would engage in self censorship of his views on such a subject which he had expressed the same or similar views in all of the public shiurim and drashos that have been available for years? Taken to its logical conclusion,  such a statement would imply to the average reader that RYBS simply would have waved a magic want and simply abolished all of the Parshihyos and Issurim of Arayos.

      • dr. bill says:

        When you write “….RYBS simply would have waved a magic want and simply abolished all of the Parshihyos and Issurim of Arayos.” as a logical conclusion of what was written is making me believe you might not really exist and are attempting to troll as a caricature of a chareidi.  that is my attempt to be melamaid zechut.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Look at what you wrote  compare it with the social and societal facts on the ground and then you can tell what is the basis of your comment besides your unsubstantiated opinion.

      • Steve brizel says:

        We are both alumni of the same college. I think that you graduated years before I was a freshman.

    • mycroft says:

      “In any case, the Rav talked about christian influence in the appearance of orthodox synagogues as well.”

      Besides stained glass windows the Rav was opposed to any copying of the church in our synagogues-there is plenty.

  7. DF says:

    “[I don’t speak like that] due to public sensitivities and society’s hypercharged atmosphere, which usually render such remarks counterproductive on a pragmatic level.”

    In your heart of hearts, you know that’s just an excuse. You don’t speak the way rabbi Levenstein did because you don’t have his courage, not because he doesn’t have your manners. You’re afraid, just like everyone else is afraid. People have enough guts to make tiny little jabs, but not to throw the roundhouse knockout punch. That’s the problem with public intellectuals of the right. You don’t win fights with jabs.

    לא תגורו מפני איש.

    • larry says:

      Perhaps, Rabbi Levenstein only lashed out because he is responsible for the spiritual guidance of a yeshiva of army recruits.  Perhaps, Rabbi Gordimer’s constituency does not need similar protection.  Rabbi Levenstein’s remarks are highly productive, raising the morale of Orthodox soldiers put in halachically untenable circumstances.

  8. mycroft says:

    Steve Brizel
    July 21, 2016 at 5:15 pm
    RYBS’s position on shul architecture and stained glass windows is well known and documented. What is your point and how it is relevant to the current discussion?

    Depending on what stage of the discussion-originally to show that the Rav had many positions that many don’t follow-we don’t see attacks on Rabbis by CC writers who built edifices with stained glass windows-thus I find the selective quoting of the Rav misleading. Later on in discussion more details in response to a proof please.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      There you go again-claiming that if and when RYBS said something amounting to a Psak on any issue that might offer guidance today-we are limited by the code words that you invoke of” nuance”,”context” and “complexity”, regardless of whether the Psak on the issue might offer guidance to the Dor Asher Lo Yada Es Yosef, or the absence of documentary or other proof that would support your contention. You are really engaging in limiting and censoring the application of the public statements of RYBS, regardless of whether they were published in his lifetime and/or posthumously or  hanhagos, piskei halacha, kulos and chumros as recorded by Talmidim Neemanim, as opposed to relying on MO intellectuals or cutting and pasting from comments made by family members themselves that almost are oblivious to the fact that at least two of RYBS’s own grandchildren clearly were Charedi in their outlook.

      • mycroft says:

        I am not the one limiting following the Ravs psak-I have constantly stated that we should look at what the RAv did in his lifetime rather than limiting one to recollections by people whose primary knowledge is shiur. Shiur has the problem that it could be chakirah that may not reflect his actual beliefs.

      • mycroft says:

        You refer to at least two grandchildren of the RAv- yet when I quote a child of the Ravs WRITTEN statement you downplay it.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The statement is inconsistent, to say the least, with the evidence on the ground to the contrary within her own family.

      • mycroft says:

        Show how her statement is inconsistent with her. Children’s and grandchildren’s actions are no rayah to what their parents/grandparents would have done.

      • mycroft says:

        Are you implying that grandchildren are proof of what the grandfather followed. Just to use the RAv as an example-no one would claim that R Chaim was a Zionist, encouraged many to go to post grad studies for PhDs, because the RAv did.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        No-I am merely raising the issue that at least two of RYBS’s grandchildren deserve the wide brush of condemnation passed on some of his talmidim by a family member.

      • mycroft says:

        Tal eider née an is a term of yours. On what basis do you determine who was more loyal to the RAv. Let’s see how about flippant about the RAv is that a talmid Neeman?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Lomdus, Yashrus and Tzidkus and familiarity with  the Hanhagos, Minhagim, Piskei Halacha, Chumros and Kulos. You are edging beyond the pale of reasonable comment if you are somehow implying that RHS is flippant about RYBS.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      We dissagree-you have to learn the various Piskei Halacha, Minhagim, Chumros and Kulos to see which is a Hiddur, Lchatchilah, Bdieved, Bshas Hadchak and which were never said in the first instance. The application of the same can only be explained by Talmidim Neemanim. I stand by my comments and those of R Shmuel Landesman who has ably refuted your claims as to why and how the RIETS of today is obviously different than the RIETS of the 1960s, and as RAL ZL noted , Ashreinu Shezacuino Lkach.

      • mycroft says:

        The truth can be found  and proven by anyone. BTW it is my experience that your bogeyman MO intellectuals rely much less frequently on supposed private conversations of the RAv than do his revisionists on the right do. 

        Unrelated to our differences but the RAv was a Brisker and had brisker min haggis that does NOT mean that he felt others should follow Brisker minhagim

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The truth as to secular knowledge in any secular discipline can be found and proven by anyone. We recite Atah Chonantanu not just as Havdalah,  but to also emphasize that Torah knowledge is a Matanah Min HaShamayim .

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Many who do consider themselves talmidim of RYBS follow many of his minhagim because they accepted the same as being part and parcel of being such a talmid.

      • mycroft says:

        The RAv did not expect that people would follow Brisker minhagim percent se-see eg the RAv telling someone whose parents did not put   On Trillin to put ontfillin chol hamoed. This despite the RAv being a Brisker not putting on chol hamoed

      • mycroft says:

        Source for changing minhagim. There are situations where people have changed their practice based on the RAv but that is based on Svara not cases of different communities minhagim

      • mycroft says:

        Current RIETS the same as 1960s. RAL would go to conferences with roughly equal amounts of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform theologians. You believe RIETS RY would do that today. More important it is not the median RY which counted in the 60s the RAv was the clear cut hash kafik leader. Obviously, RIETS had a large proportion of those who rejected Dr Belkin, and the RAvs haskafa. At least back those RY didn’t pretend to be following the RAv-in General those who rejected his haskafa were not his students. Although there were exceptions such but no one would have come up and made statements off the Ravs beliefs when he was stillaround

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        The 1960s were quite different-Orthodoxy, whether MO or the yeshiva world was  just beginning to stop its decades long retreat and attack by CJ. RYBS”s stances on mixed seating and interfaith ecumenical dialogue and refusal to participate in a Tanach that would not have been authentic , and the insistence on a rarely used veto in the SCA  were far more important than all of the conferences that you refer to, especially in the spiral of CJ and RJ from any pretense of adherence to Halacha.Today, RJ and CJ are desperately looking for members, merging empty houses of prayer and are becoming almost indistinguishable in  their ideologies. The issues faced today by the MO world are apathy, disdain for learning despite the availability of high quality sources in Lashon Kodesh and English and those who are kovea itim LaTorah, the reliance on a year or two in Israel as a last ditch insurance policy, and the inability to develop curricula other than those on a pre professional track.

      • mycroft says:

        The 60s were probably the last time that more traditional Orthodoxy believed that it had a duty to have outreach to those who were less wealthy and less traditional -precisely the target group of Talmud torahs-as the Orthodox movement became more insular synagogue by synagogue stopped supporting its Talmud torahs.

         

      • mycroft says:

        The rarely used veto in SCA was rarely used only because both C and R knew that certain actions that wished to pursue would not have Orthodox concurrence and very action required unanimity of the 6 groups-R,C,O Rabbinic and lay groups

      • mycroft says:

        It might surprise you that outreach was probably more important in Rabbinic skills than today. In the old days a decent percentage of non religious Jews occasionally showed up to synagogue and they were among others who were the people who Rabbis tried to reach. Ir was considered more important back then that there were musmachim who the RAv felt would be better suited to become  Roshei Yeshiva but became Rabbonim for the outreach potential. I know it is counter to the mythology which you subscribe to and institutions that developed later

    • mycroft says:

      Steve You state that there is no imperative to join the club. You don’t believe that all Jews should be frum? You don’t believe assuming one comes in contact with a true her zedek-ie where no ulterior motives are around such as marriage one does not have a requirement to make it easy on a potential ger and welcome them. Or do you believe in theory that money is the requirement to seek God.

      • Steve brizel says:

        All Jews should be frum but each of us has to find a rebbe or rav, mentors friends shul yeshivos community and haskafa that is right for our families not just ourselves. One of the most common and tragic mistakes in the MO world is the assumption that only professionals who make are at the top matter. It is tragic that the MO world offers no vocational type curricula in the same manner as a wonderful charedi yeshiva in the Five Towns. It is also a fact that tuitions in the charedi world are far less than in the MO world.you bemoan the absence of MO talmidei chachamimm

        Unfortunately the MO world values a committed professional more than the importance of the values and attitudes of single minded dedication that are the raw materials of any Talmud Chacham and is still learning how to respect the learner-earner despite the fact that Torah as opposed to malchus and Kehunah can be acquired by anyone who wants to .I really think that by focusing on financial issues you are sending a message that financial realities dictate your approach to Avodas HaShem. most of my friends have moved from job to job are not well off but have paid tuitions given tzedaka to the mosdos of our choice walked our kids through shidduchim and down to the chupah and Shep naches from aineklach. Financial issues are present but they don’t dictate or control our lives.

      • Steve brizel says:

        I think it is a tragedy when  a  MO family sends a kid to public school because of his or her difficulty in handling the dual load in the MO school of their hashkafic prerogative when a far better option in both a Torah and learning a trade exists within a relatively easy commute. That tragedy could be avoided if the parents didn’t elevate their hashkafic comfort level above the proper chinuch for their children.

      • mycroft says:

        i think it is a tragedy that our. System is one that is only for the above average both economically and intellectually. Please explain how a median income American can afford an Orthodox lifestyle which includes day schools.

        In the past week I have spoken to a Rabbi who is a teacher in my local special Ed Torah program-he agreed with me that those who are really special Ed we have programs for, but those with verbal IQs od about 90-110 can’t succeed in a day school-no matter how hard they try and we are pushing them outside of Yahadus. They could have done OK in a regular public school but our Yeshiva system which uses the term Yeshiva first problem thus imitating European yeti ot which were for elite rather than Cheder system which were for masses is dangerous-many can’t read a sod due yet we insist on Gemarah

      • mycroft says:

        The chareidi school would’ve even want the average child of MO parents-they would be afraid that they would be influenced by the MO student

      • mycroft says:

        It is an easy statement for one who does not believe in MO to say. Show me a statement where a chareidi Rav recommends an MO school for parents for proper chinuch of their children over their preferred hashkafa. If someone believes MO is the proper hashkafa not a bdieved hashkafa better be consistent with wht they believe. If not so, children will say a plague on both your houses.

      • mycroft says:

        If financial resources aren’t important to people-why do you insist that we must pay mechanic him well-they have needs.Steve our general population has needs-one must pay for those needs. I hope legally-sadly we all aware of the many who have been caught with a desperate need for money doing what they need to do. Such behavior has been found in both chareidi andMO.

         

      • Steve brizel says:

        Are you maintaining that grandparents and parents have neither a right nor an obligation to  have any expectations that their children will follow their examples as role models and spiritual personae?

      • Steve brizel says:

        Ask  R Y Bender

        Parents who subjugate the education of their children to hashkafic considerations as opposed to where their kids will thrive educationally and socially expose their kids to becoming kids at risk.

      • mycroft says:

        If Rabbi bender has recommended students to attend Brandeis I would be shocked to hear it. I would appreciate a link to any published statement of his advocating students from his haskafa going to HAFTR or HANC or NSHA. I don’t know everything. He is quoted in the local Jewish papers often as are all local institutions.

        i mean as a general policy not as a polite way of pushing his problems out-eg a free thinker

      • mycroft says:

        Parents would hope that children follow their viewpoint but by teenage years children define themselves as part of their preparation for independence as separating from their parents. I was informed that years ago by a frumProf of Social Work who had a great background in Torah including Torah she alpeh

      • mycroft says:

        Steve agree with your 3PM post but would add that probably more children have been pushed out by Rebbeim and Yeshivot than by parents. Yeshivot insisting that their model of limudei kodesh is appropriate for most children. Most of those commenting on CC are likely to have had the verbal skills to be satisfactory students but a very high proportion of children DON’T

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        I don’t that one should join any club that doesn’t want me as a member-to quote Groucho Marx. That being the case, I don’t look at hashkafa in the rigid way that you do-there are elements of both the MO and Yeshivish worlds that I admire and appeal to me-That factor and the best interests of our children  were the keys in how we approached the issues of chinuch with respect to their schools, seminaries, colleges , understood and validated their  choice of careers and their shidduchim .We avoided the rigid expectations that are all too prevalent and are based on having real lives conform to hashkafic ideals-which in far too many cases can lead to a full fledged disaster.

        I do feel that RAL ZL was correct in his two published articles that critiqued the present state of MO when RAL ZL all but stated that MO in theory was a wonderful and legitimate hashkafic option but in practice was a mile wide and an inch deep, especially in terms of priorities for its leaders and the next generation, when compared with those of the yeshiva world.As of this date, I don’t believe that I ever saw a rejoinder to the concerns expressed by  RAL ZL except for the predictable disdain for the yeshiva world and its emphasis on Kollel ,  and the claim that the legacy of RYBS is the most important issue facing MO today, an issue that each day is just another example of MO inside baseball.

        As far as Gerus is concerned, I think that a Ger Tzedek should of course be welcomed in accordance with proper adherence to Mitzvos. Why not spend a Shabbos in Passaic? I have met Gerim in Passaic from all backgrounds whose Dikduk BMitzvos is as or more impressive than many FFBs.

      • mycroft says:

        You probably are at least as rigid on hashkafa as I . I doubt you’d accept YCT musmachim as mechanics or Rabbis that you would wish to have as your RAv. I doubt you’d go to a Chabad Centerfor yamim Norris.

        if I am wrong correct me.

      • Steve brizel says:

        I admire much of the positives of the committed MO and charedi worlds. I reject their excesses. I would have no hesitation in recommending anyone to spend a Shabbos with any Chabad family in the world. I can’t say the same about a shul with a YCT ordained spiritual leader. I stand by the contents of my previous post

         

    • mycroft says:

      Steve median wage carpenters of about 40k is less than median wage electrician,  plumber of 50k all below any figures deserving of claiming one can belong to MO

  9. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-One quote from RYBS does not prove your point. Are you not aware of the fact that the evidence disputing “climate change” has been suppressed and that the interpretation of the data was skewered to meet the preexisting conclusions of environmental extremists?

    You also wrote:

    “Economically unjust is a value judgement my values are that it is not right to limit Orthodox Jewry to the above average income-you may disagree eg our recent disagreement on a financial test to become a ger, We disagree on values but that is not a factual dispute:

    First of all, you have asserted  on numerous occasions, the MO lifestyle has become an upper middle class lifestyle. I disagree-you can live a middle class lifestyle, pay tuition and support the institutions of your choice, and answer quite positively that you were were involved in Torah, raised a family and hoped for the ultimate redemption. I seem to recall a comment by Milton Friedman Zl when he was in Stockholm when he received a Nobel Prize for his work. A Swedish and very LW economist claimed that his LW theories worked well in Sweden. Friedman cleverly responded that such theories worked well among Swedes in America. I think that it is evident that anyone who lives in our communities knows that there are affluent people, people making due and people out of work. That is a function of mazel and luck-not economic injustice-which is a classical Marxist argument. The notion that anyone out of work or who is having problems make due is not deserving of assistance is false. Yet, no one in the latter two categories think orthat they are entitled to a free lunch.

    • mycroft says:

      “Are you not aware of the fact that the evidence disputing “climate change” has been suppressed and that the interpretation of the data was skewered to meet the preexisting conclusions of environmental extremists?”

      Suppressed-have you learned the basic science and basic arguments. Have you seen the evidence cited or just articles by deniers. For what its worth I first got exposed to this the early 70s and the past 40+ years so fat the evidence is in general in agreement with global warming

      “the MO lifestyle has become an upper middle class lifestyle. I disagree-you can live a middle class lifestyle, pay tuition and support the institutions of your choice”

      What income do you believe one requires to be able to afford that lifestyle. What per cent of Americans, Jews earn above that income level.

      ,” and answer quite positively that you were were involved in Torah, raised a family and hoped for the ultimate redemption.”

      Before I retired I earned above the median US income and could afford the expenses for our 1 child. I didn’t earn as much as many mechanchim, some RY but earned above the median US income

      “well in Sweden. Friedman cleverly responded that such theories worked well among Swedes in America”

      since he won hsi Nobel Prize the evidence has shown that Friedmans belief that money supply is essentially everything has been discredited. Money supply matters but not everything

      . “That is a function of mazel and luck-not economic injustice-which is a classical Marxist argument. The notion that anyone out of work or who is having problems make due is not deserving of assistance is false.”

      So anyone out of work or having problems deserves to starve to death, die because can’t afford medical care, or apparently in your belief not be welcomed as a traditional Jew because they can’t afford day school

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft-we obviously disagree  as follows:

        1) The dystopic myth of climate change has been challenged conclusively by scientists who were present at the early stages of the development of the theory and who denounced it as not meeting the objective standards of scientific research, but rather agenda driven in nature. I previously commented elsewhere that most environmentalists are green on the outside and red on the inside because their utopia is preserving this planet in a NIMBY manner while dictating to us what they think is the best course of action with respect to how we heat and cool our homes,  change our light bulbs, take out our garbage and family size.  That is exactly what Hayek called the march to serfdom of the regulatory state.

        2) Friedman’s theories as to government regulation and the minimum wage as well as government spending have been contested, but never disproven.  Like it or not, there is a direct correlation between free markets and free minds-which was one of the reasons why the FSU collapsed even after Glasnost and why China can best be described as a totalitarian dictatorship that raids the US for technological improvement, with poor air quality and which has imperialist policies towards major portions of the South China Sea and many of its neighbors. The recognition of Cuba does not change any of the facts on the ground-Cuba is also a Communist totalitarian state that ruthlessly suppresses human rights and dissent and has no appreciable economic exports.

        3) We live in a society that values the  contributions of mchanchim. They deserve as much a living as any UFT/NEA card carrying member, or anyone in a secular counterpart, whether in a laboratory or in a college classroom or specializing in research that may or not ever bear fruit, especially when one compares the out of school and summer contributions of the average mchanech to the average student in a summer camp, or youth program

        4)  Read my last quoted comment-I said that there is a  fine line between communally and individually based chesed for those in need and not being entitled to a free lunch- but that the notion of economic injustice which is Marxist shorthand for levelling and destroying the initiative of anyone to do well in his or her chosen career should be rejected. You apparently have never met anyone of the many in our community who help and who have been helped during their economic distress and are very much welcome therein.

        5) The issue of income level really isn’t all that relevant. If economic issues were the sole determining factor, together with periodic elements of persecution, it is highly unlikely that we would be sitting here today debating the issues of the future of the Jewish People.  The only thing that money brings is comfort in doing what you want-I don’t see it as having an inherently negative or positive impact on one’s Avodas HaShem unless you define the same as simply being a Gvir-which I think is an aspiration that is irrelevant to the average MO middle income person. You can live a committed MO ,yeshivish or Charedi lifestyle without the obvious bells and whistles and excesses that we all read about( such as Pesach and travel to exotic locales),  walk your children to the chupah and enjoy the true nachas of Aineklah.  Perhaps, if MO encouraged and valued their children as plumbers, electricians and carpenters and owning their own businesses as much as they are in love with the false promises of being high flying professionals,  the MO community would not be charging tuitions that are far in excess of Charedi mosdos.

      • mycroft says:

        Give me the minimum income level that a household with 1 child could live as an MO in the US?

        You refer to business as a source making money-it is likely that you are  guilty of survivorship bias. It is far from a way that most people could support a family. Ex post one can see many businessman who apparently do well financially ex ante you have no way of predicting.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Plumbers and electricians do quite well.

      • mycroft says:

        MEchanchim paid extra for their summer work-camps etc Most people work far longer work years.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        That is their choice. Mchancim are paid for their summer work. Aren’t teachers who teach summer school paid as well. together with their full union benefits?

      • mycroft says:

        Per two recent web searches a minute ago I found the median wage for plumbers and electricians to be 50k Not a bad salary in American context but please explain how one supports a family in MO on those figures. Use a search engine and type in separately median wage plumbers and median wage electricians

      • mycroft says:

        is it your opinion wo the ability to earn an above average income especially per hour mechanic him would not have the incentive to teach. Are you not concerned that the whole system of day schools prices out of the ability to be MO those of a non  above average income/wealth. Apparently you are in favor of a wealth/income test to become a get. Does that test exist also for Jewish born people need income assets to be admitted to the club

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Simple answer-there is no imperative to join such a club, especially if you lack the financial wherewithal.  I strongly think that the income based arguments that you are so enamored with would dissapear if the MO world looked as favorably on the plumber, carpenter , electrician, real estate developer and contractor as it did on Wall Street, medicine , some sectors of academia and law as carriers.

      • mycroft says:

        Steve. I am puzzled do you really believe that people could earn high incomes no matter their innate talent just by wishing to enter high paying fields?

      • Steve brizel says:

        Self employed individuals such as contractors electricians and plumbers do quite well and if union members have excellent benefits.

      • mycroft says:

        Self employed limiting one to those who stay in the field is basing the sample-while you are talking about Union benefits let’s discuss mechanic him benefits- many receive much of their income exempt from income taxation due to parsonage exemption, many certainly where I live don’t pay real estate taxes on their homes-which are substantial in my case well over 10 per cent of AGI Many schools have funds for their expenses similar to what Rabbi Bender just raised for a simcha fund. Quite often they are given courtesy discounts by Yeshivot for their children’s tuition.

  10. David Ohsie says:

    Addressing just one aspect of this post, there is nothing defensible about calling homosexuals “perverts” which is intentionally an extremely derogatory noun imply that a disgusting and detestable individual.   Homosexuals are people born with same sexual drive and desire for intimacy with the same sex that the rest of have towards the opposite sex.

    People who are born as homosexuals have historically been forced to lead a life of shame from a young age as soon as their sexuality developed.  While this horrifying phenomena has changed for some people, it is almost certainly still widely true in those growing up Orthodox.  This shame is not even theoretically attributable to anything in any way sinful, immoral or against halachah since it can develop in adolescence or earlier.

    Thus, anyone increasing the shame appears to be violating the prohibition against “whitening the face of his friend”.  When this shame reaches the level where suicide is contemplated or acted on, those shaming the person bears a deep responsibility.  Suggesting instead that, for example, a 14 year old adolescent simply develop a “thick skin” is the height of absurdity and irresponsibility.

    As a result, I believe R. Levenstein’s remark to be indefensible.  I further think that anyone who copies his methods is causing much harm to other including much irreversible harm and should be warned against copying his methods.

    While this is sufficient, I want to address one possible objection to my comment.  One could try to argue that R. Levenstein was not referring to homosexuals but to people who violate halachah.  I think this is a distinction without a difference because all homosexuals will bear the brunt his his remarks.  In addition, as described above, the word “pervert” indicates a lot more than a violation of halachah, but a disgusting and detestable individual.

    However, I would also go one step farther, with the understand that many here may object.  Halachah presumes celibacy is generally a human impossibility and mandates marriage to avoid what would otherwise be inevitable sin that an attempt at abstinence would result in.  Halachah also presumes that even after marriage, the sex drive is extremely hard to control and therefore legislates against two people with potential sexual attraction being alone with one another.  Thus, halachah presumes that a person born as a homosexual will act on this whether or not halachah condones this behavior.

    As a result, even if the word “pervert” was only intended to apply to someone who violated halachah and even if you remove the element of disgust, it is inappropriate here.  The halachos around marriage and yichud imply that these kinds of violations of halachah will be as common as Lashon Hara.  However, if this argument is a bridge too far for some, the first half of this comment still holds.

    • Larry says:

      So we are all working from the same text, can you please show me where Rav Levenstein used the word peverted and in what context?

      • David Ohsie says:

        I’m relying on what Rabbi Gordimer was quoting and the links that he gave.   But to make it clear, I’m not attacking R. Levenstein personally, who I don’t know, but the following idea which he appeared to express and that has been to be defended here and in the comments:  That it is both correct, albeit impolitic, to characterize homosexuals as perverts, and that, according to some commenters, it is the job of those insulted to be thicker-skinned.  That is the notion that I’m strongly objecting to here.  If R. Levenstein did not make such remarks, then I don’t hold him accountable for promoting that idea.

      • larry says:

        I think Rabbi Gordimer owes it to Rabbi Levenstein to be absolutely 100% certain that nothing is being lost in translation.  Rabbi Levenstein was not speaking in English and was addressing the suitability of certain people teaching in the IDF. The army of Israel is holy and it is critical for our Rabbis to oversee what Orthodox soldiers are taught in the army.  I think much of the discussion on this site has been influenced by taking translated remarks out of context and by third party heresay.

        I am exceedingly disappointed that greater care has not been taken to clarify what was said and in what context.  I really hope that Rabbi Levenstein’s honor and reputation have not been tarnished needlessly as the result of yet another clumsy attack on YCT.

      • David Ohsie says:

        Larry, I think that part of the the problem here is the the defenders of R. Levenstein there think that the quote as stated is eminently defensible if impolitic, and thus don’t reflect poorly on him.   You are taking a different tack: you find the quoted comment lamentable, but doubt whether they were taken out of context.

      • Larry says:

        I am not going to judge what 500+ highly esteemed Rabbis think.  I fully  support their letter and I fully support Rabbi Levenstein’s right to voice his opinion.  I question whether or not anyone on this site, author of the article included, knows exactly what Rabbi Levenstein said in Hebrew.

      • Avrohom Gordimer says:

        Yes. Lengthy original quotes and a full video of the original Hebrew version appeared on the internet last week.

      • larry says:

        Can you please provide us with the exact phrase in Hebrew that was said that some found controversial?

      • Avrohom Gordimer says:

        Rabbi Levenstein called the homosexual speakers “sotim”, understood in modern Hebrew to mean “perverts”. Here is a link to the speech: http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4829374,00.html

    • Dr. Max says:

      David,

      Yes, I agree with you that we should refrain from using the word pervert in the context of natural born pedophiles. And, as the halachos around marriage and yichud imply, the term pervert is even inappropriate if only being applied in the case of natural born pedophiles who have violated halacha.

       

      • David Ohsie says:

        Dr. Max, you are 100% correct that a prevalent Orthodox attitude towards pedophiles (people with a sexual attraction to children) is similar to the attitude towards homosexuals: denial of their existence.   As you can imagine, the denial is doubly effective when we are dealing with a pedophilia toward the same sex.  The result is that accusations of child sexual abuse are disbelieved, especially when made against a “great” person, and those who bring such abuse to light are ostracized.   When the abuse can’t be denied, it is sometimes imagined that the pedophile can be “watched” or “managed” and continue to work with or be around children, since pedophiles don’t really exist. (Links below provide evidence for my claims *).

        It is possible, although certainly not proven, that if society was more open to law-abiding people who came forward to admit their pedophilia and sought help to prevent it bringing harm to children, that this might result in prevention of child sexual abuse in some cases.  As a result, I agree with you that calling pedophiles “perverts” is almost certainly counterproductive.   The goal instead should be to have them come forward and help them to help themselves from harming children, and this goal is made more difficult when they are shamed simply because of their nature.  If we showed the same disgust towards  people coming forward with acute abdominal pain as we do towards a law-abiding person to admitting pedophilia, then we’d have an epidemic of people dying from appendicitis.

        *Orthodox victims of child sexual abuse who faced a wall of denial and went public with their abuse.  The second one led to the eventual arrest of the perpetrator:

        Ruth Krevsky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEjrha4Qglc

        Sima Yarmush: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wffN3mYWCCw

        Video of inappropriate behavior by a school principal (not for the squeamish), denial by school authorities and FBI followup:

        https://archive.org/details/VID20160501WA0003

        https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/satmar-issues-slick-pr-statement-about-the-video-of-rabbi-hirsch-and-the-child

        http://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/new-york/2016/05/12/kiryas-joel-raids/84279058/

      • Dr. Max says:

        Right, in light of the halachos around marriage and yichud, you are approached to pedophilia makes a lot of sense.

         

        In the case of a natural-born beastialist, also, it would be unproductive to use the term pervert or deviant. I would strongly object to any rabbi using that term in most instances (even if the person with that particular struggle has violated halacha). Wouldn’t you?

         

      • David Ohsie says:

        Dr. Max, unlike the other topics, I’ve done no research on bestiality nor do I think that this is a pressing problem, as child sexual abuse and proper treatment of homosexuals are.   So I’ll refrain from offering an opinion and leave the field to you.

  11. Weaver says:

     
    Rabbi Gordimer –
    “Homosexuals, at least in the Orthodox world, are in terrible distress, and they did not have complete free will to develop or not develop their inclinations upon which they must not act. While legitimately defending the Torah and mitzvos, it is important, IMHO, to be very careful with the delicate souls of these unfortunate individuals who are in a perpetual struggle, the likes of which most of us will never know.”
     
    Exactly. And, from the above incident in the high school, Rabbi Yigal Levenstein has shown himself to have poor judgement and has disqualified himself as a legitimate public spokesman on this topic on behalf of Torah Jewry. 
     
    I think there is a time and place for strong rhetoric in opposition to the constant and unrelenting assault on sexual norms by the media, academia, the entertainment industry, and liberal government.
    I would like to think that you would not be defending Rabbi Levenstein after hearing more of the things he has previously said.

     

    • Larry says:

      We have 300 of the finest Rabbis in Israel defending Rabbi Levenstein and we have one third hand story from two years ago criticizing him.  I weigh those two factors far differently than you.

      • dr. bill says:

        on a rather frum broadcast a few hours ago, the host mentioned 50 suicides this year in the frum community already due to sexual abuse, something denied a few years ago in the frum community.  It will take longer but the results of the anti-LGBT community rhetoric in the orthodox community with all the talk of therapies, the impossibility of a God being so cruel, etc. has quantifiable impact.

        my suspicion is that some view the problem as creating a challenge to the Torah’s Divinity and as a result can either deny reality or be forced to abandon basic tenets of faith; hence they naturally choose the former.  how sad when primitive (and unnecessary) principles of faith trumps the necessary compassion required for individuals in need.

      • larry says:

        According to the Torah and according to secular law, sex abuse is a crime.  The Jewish people are holy.  Therefore the Torah forbids certain sexual relations, among them homosexual relations.

        Victims of sexual abuse are victims.  Individuals having inappropriate sexual relations are acting of their own free will.  Rabbi Levenstein is again homosexuals justifying their lifestyle as part of the IDF training curriculum.

      • dr. bill says:

        Larry, I am fully aware of the halakhic and legal distinctions.  My point is only about the ability to keep reality hidden under the rug.  The exact percentage of born pedophiles or same attracted is also not my focus.  as the astounding level of  pedophilia is exposed, so too will the prevalence of same-sex attraction.  While I worry that pedophilia may be more prevalent in communities that deny its existence, I do not know how denial impacts LGBT statistics.

      • DF says:

        Dr. Bill – as the ADL scaremongers about the anti-Semite behind every corner as a means to justify its existence, there are now individuals scaremongering about abuse for the same reason. In most cases of suicide, we have no true idea what causes it. When I say “we” I mean even the immediate family, and for sure outsiders. Sometimes it is a drug OD that is characterized, for different reasons, as a suicide. Often it is simply mental instability.

        We see the exact same excuse being offered as a reason why people go “off the derech”: because of abuse. You see the pattern? It’s all made up out of whole cloth. People see a new idea, and rush to attach it to everyone of their pet issues. I know people who use “climate change” for the same ends.

      • dr. bill says:

        So let me be more specific about your “ADL scaremongers.”  It was Dovid Lichtenstein asking sheailot of the Gaavad of the Eidah Hachareidah, Rav Moshe Sternbuch.  why don’t you listen to the hour program, as I did last night driving back from the catskills motzai shabbat.

      • Weaver says:

        I don’t care who defends him – I care what the facts are. (And unfortunately, the track record of who Rabbonim have defended in the past is not exactly stellar.)

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote:

    “If Rabbi bender has recommended students to attend Brandeis I would be shocked to hear it. I would appreciate a link to any published statement of his advocating students from his haskafa going to HAFTR or HANC or NSHA. I don’t know everything. He is quoted in the local Jewish papers often as are all local institution”

    R Bender is known and renowned as a Mchanech who thinks outside the envelope on all issues, including vocational training for those not equipped to learn at the Beis Medrash/Kollel level. AFAIK, his door is open to anyone who wishes to discuss chinuch issues, regardless of hashkafa. We attended a Bar Mitzvah of a young man whose parents and grandparents had a close relationship with RYBS and who graduated Darchei’s elementary school and then attended DRS, IIRC, and R Bender attended and spoke at the Bar Mitzvah. The schools that you mentioned are even more MO than DRS. I would note that two very prominent RIETS musmachim in the Five Towns have spoken in the Darchei Beis Medrash-on Tisha BAv and at the haschalas Gemara shiur of the year. Your hypothetical is illustrative of thinking about Chinuch with Hashkafic blinders instead of the best interests of the child being the governing factor.

    • mycroft says:

      Are you stating that schools that are more MO than DRS are not within acceptable hashkafa-I believe you’ve stated that YCT musmachim are not acceptable. Thus, you have hash kafik boundaries-but object to those who have different hash kafik boundaries. Unless you would consider sending a child to those other schools if in the best interests of the child you can’t accuse others of  being involved with hashkafic blinders

      i would be impressed with the implication that R bender has toleration of MO hashkfot if you told me of MO Rabbonim who spoke at Darchei- there are many RIETS musmachim in the 5ts who are from MO. In fact I can only think of two or three al regel a hat who are MO.

      BTW there is vocational training and vocational  training. I am curious if there are studies on what jobs those who went to a vocational program actually had a year and  ten years later and what they were earning. Placement offices of universities play games to give false impressions of how much their grads earn. I would recommend a program only if they had independent studies of their success- not anecdotal stories.

      • ISteve Brizel says:

        I made no such statement about the hashkafic state of MO yeshivos in the FT, but if you are a parent  or have been a parent looking at a school or looking to transfer into a school, the differences are well known . Asking whether a Charedi mchanech would reccomend sending a child to a MO school is irrelevant when the issue is whether a MO child would benefit from a Charedi approach but the parents view MO hashkafa as sacrosanct. The issue is the best interest of the child-as opposed to hashkafic blinders.

        I know of at least two RIETS Musmachim- one of whom is a Rosh Beis Medrash who has organized wonderful shiurim in his shul  and another who is a wildly popular rav of a shul  who was  a Sgan Mashgiach in RIETS for a number of years who both  have spoken in Darchei. Your litmus test based on what you consider MO and your openly cynical view of vocational training speak volumes as to your closed mind on the subject. I guess flunking out of a MO school and blaming it on the expectations of the school is more important than investigating an alternative and speaking to a Mchanech who is renowned for thinking outside the envelope who just might have some insight that might be extraordinarily beneficial for a child simply because you disagree with the hashkafa of the mchanech. That IMO is an example of hashkafic blinders dictating a poor educational experience.

      • mycroft says:

        “Asking whether a Charedi mchanech would reccomend sending a child to a MO school is irrelevant when the issue is whether a MO child would benefit from a Charedi approach but the parents view MO hashkafa as sacrosanct. The issue is the best interest of the child-as opposed to hashkafic blinders.”

        If best interests of the child is important consistency would mean chareidi parents sending their children to MO institutions-for many children I can think of a non 5TFR-about 5 miles away from 5T  one that is even better educationally for the non superior.

      • Steve brizel says:

        Why not ask R Bender yourself instead of taking what a reasonable person would view as a cop out position? Why assume that R Bender would not tell you the absolute truth?

      • mycroft says:

        I judge institutions by its micro level-BTW in general I would give Darchei a good rating on the issues we have discussed. Just don’t over play the hand. Sadly , they do more than other mainstream day schools in the area-but no where near what one could get the impression from some of your posts.

        why I say sadly, is that most aren ‘t the least bit interested-but as an inside source told me we do much more than others but not nearly as much as it might appear.

        so much to your surprise I am not anti Darchei-in sum they do more in the area than others.

      • Steve brizel says:

        R Bender is one of the most outspoken advocates for all who require more or different than the standard yeshiva curriculum. When you talk to R Bender let us know.

      • mycroft says:

        “R Bender is one of the most outspoken advocates for all who require more or different than the standard yeshiva curriculum. When you talk to R Bender let us know”

        I am interested in what the person did not his ability to speak.I have already written in sum Darchei does try more than most to do what you suggest he does.I have discussed with people who are employed by Darchei and by parents. Obviously,I am not goinjg to write more details. In sum I have written positively about Darchei what are you complaining about.

  13. ISteve Brizel says:

    I suspect that given today’s cultural climate that if R Levenstein had merely said that engaging in a homosexual relationship violated Vayikra 18:22 and many other Issurim, he would have received the same reaction.

  14. ISteve Brizel says:

    Mycroft-let me respond to your latest posts:

    1) a Talmud Torah education has never been seen as a proper and adequate means for the transmission of Torah knowledge and values, especially when it has to compete with what attracts kids on their screens. It was an inadequate system in the 1960s and certainly is as well today.

    2)I see no difference between how I phrased the right of the RCA and OU at the SCA which I emphasized was rarely exercised but which ensured that nothing of a theological nature was discussed or emerged from its discussions

    3) You want to believe that local rabbis had an impact on kiruv before NCSY and TLS-you are entitled to believe in such myths. The facts on the ground indicate otherwise. As I have pointed out, and as indicated in the most recent surveys, the non observant but Orthodox affiliated or oriented moved to the suburbs where their children assimilated as they went to the public schools. In its place, the MO and Charedi world created a community rooted in shuls,. families and attending yeshivos for both genders as the best means of creating committed Jews in an increasingly varied system from K-to the most advanced level. Like it or not, the one consultant to a special ed program whose views you invariably cite on language difficulties is but one opinion-you should seek a second opinion-from Mchancim who think outside the box such as R Bender.

    • mycroft says:

      “a Talmud Torah education has never been seen as a proper and adequate means for the transmission of Torah knowledge and values, especially when it has to compete with what attracts kids on their screens. It was an inadequate system in the 1960s and certainly is as well today.”

      For those who can afford a day school and have the ability to succeed in it I will agree that day schools are preferable to TalmudTorahs-BUT you dismiss as inadequate something that served a need in general for those whose parents can’t afford day school and thus were able to stay within the Jewish fold with Talmud Torahs and those whose parents have the money but are regular non superior students who day schools are destroyed by day schools. The union of both sets is a very decent percentage of our potential population.

       

      “I see no difference between how I phrased the right of the RCA and OU at the SCA which I emphasized was rarely exercised but which ensured that nothing of a theological nature was discussed or emerged from its discussions”

      generally agree with a perhaps variation the veto just prevented the SCA from taking positions that did not have unanimity-it did not prevent internal discussions that people had among themselves-but you are correct that theological action was deemed outside the pale.Of course, they did get involved in things like defending shechita from attack. Thus, they defended religious rights of Jews.

    • mycroft says:

      “You want to believe that local rabbis had an impact on kiruv before NCSY and TLS-you are entitled to believe in such myths. ”

      Myths-a Rabbis activities are primarily in the area of trying to make and keep people shomer mitzvot-it has always been their duties in the US. It is a myth that you always spread that wo organizations that believe kiruv has to be done in a manner of a Baruch Lanner there is no kiruv. Steve his modus operandi was known for decades.

      “The facts on the ground indicate otherwise.”

      You state your conclusion but on what basis

      “As I have pointed out, and as indicated in the most recent surveys, the non observant but Orthodox affiliated or oriented moved to the suburbs where their children assimilated as they went to the public schools.”

      Some did but I am aware of those who attended JSP and are now in their 70s who came from Talmud Torahs and have frum grandchildren all because of what you call the failure of TalmudTorahs. I would wager that the vast majority of JSP students in the 60s were from Talmud Torah background. They are not the only ones to become frum.

      “In its place, the MO and Charedi world created a community rooted in shuls,. families and attending yeshivos for both genders as the best means of creating committed Jews in an increasingly varied system from K-to the most advanced level.”

      “Like it or not, the one consultant to a special ed program whose views you invariably cite on language difficulties is but one opinion-you should seek a second opinion”

      I speak to many people in fact this Shabbos after davening I spoke to another mechanech who also states that our system is good for the top 1/3 of our students.

      -“from Mchancim who think outside the box such as R Bender.”

      I have spoken to many people in Jewish education and the vast majority have agreed with my basic idea.

      BTW the Rav once stated how are educational system is not good-we go to a physician and trust him with our lives and he had 4 years of medical education we train people for 16 years and they still are not capable of adequate learning. He was talking about people who are coming to his shiur a fortiori others  are even worse.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft-please allow the following to serve as a response:

        1)NCSY , both before and after Lanner, has achieved superb results in serving as a port of entry for adolescents to explore a possible commitment and growth in Torah observance in a judgment free environment. You seem to have some sort of unreasonable and unwarranted  antipathy to NCSY even in its formative days ( and in its present programs) despite the fact that NCSY has cleaned house. Halevai that the overwhelming majority of the American rabbinate in the 1950s and 1960s saw Kiruv as one of their fundamental responsibilities with respect to the continue continuity of the American Jewish community in the same fashion, passion and vigor as did the founding directors of NCSY.

        2)JSS’s ( which was its proper name, not JSP) student body may very well have had a Talmud Torah education-but that was certainly not inclusive of the ability to translate Rashi or Ramban on Chumash or to make a leining on a blatt Gemara.  It is to JSS’s credit that many of its alumni are textually literate and are Shas Yidden today.

        3) Why not speak to R Bender-whom it seems you have not done so? R Bender is renowned for thinking outside the envelope on a wide variety of issues with respect to Chinuch.

        4) The fact that some of your contemporaries who attended a Talmud Torah have grandchildren who are frum is nice but irrelevant to the discussion unless you mention that they went through the yeshiva system and participated in NCSY.

      • mycroft says:

        “NCSY , both before and after Lanner, has achieved superb results in serving as a port of entry for adolescents to explore a possible commitment and growth in Torah observance in a judgment free environment. ”

        Are you implying that assuming you get “good results” one can excuse an organization/director that hired Lanner and kept him on when they knew he was engaging in inappropriate behavior for decades?

        How could anyone no matter how chareidi who knowlingly tolerated Lanner because he got good results be a person who one honors for his kiruv activities

         

        “You seem to have some sort of unreasonable and unwarranted  antipathy to NCSY even in its formative days ( and in its present programs) despite the fact that NCSY has cleaned house.”

        You are the one bragging about NCSY during the Lanner years which is most of the time since NCSYs founding.

        “Halevai that the overwhelming majority of the American rabbinate in the 1950s and 1960s saw Kiruv as one of their fundamental responsibilities with respect to the continue continuity of the American Jewish community in the same fashion, passion and vigor as did the founding directors of NCSY.”

        Halevi that most Rabbonim would NOT operate in the same way as those who tolerated Lanner for decades-all because he was charismatic.

        I believe that is why Rabbonim went into the business much more Kiruv as part of normal outreach

      • Steve brizel says:

        You are using Lanner as a pretext to criticize a great Marbitz Torah whose leadership created NCSY when and where no one thought of a national youth movement to enable Jewish teens to explore Shabbos kashrus and many basic mitzvos. If you can’t accept that great people make mistakes then you really ought to read some biographies of great leaders-a great leader mistakes because he goes where the timid refuse or consider it foolhardy. When you decide to acknowledge the important work of NCSY without either engaging in a pretextual dismissive tone or in dredging up ancient history I am sure that your tone and POV won’t read like a rerun of your previous comments. FYI RYBS spoke at least one NCSY national convention in 1972 and urged his friends to support NCSYs important work. I was a high school senior in 1972 , I was prrsent at that conventioon and I was amazed that such a great rabbi would speak to 500 teens many of what did not have even a day school education.

      • mycroft says:

        “to criticize a great Marbitz Torah whose leadership created NCSY when and where no one thought of a national youth movement to enable Jewish teens to explore Shabbos kashrus and many basic mitzvos.”

        Rabbi Stolper became the first national director of NCSY in 1959 “the Torah Leadership Seminar, created in 1954 by DCS of Yeshiva University under Dr Abraham Stern, developed the Shabbaton model.” both fromWikipedia

        “in a pretextual dismissive tone or in dredging up ancient history I am sure that your tone and POV won’t read like a rerun of your previous comments.”

        You are the one who keeps sprouting the myth that beforeNCSY people weren’t interested in kiruv and did little about it.

        “If you can’t accept that great people make mistakes” a mistake would be hiring Lanner when one did not know what type of person he was-it is something different to model an organization and keep him as your main attraction because he was charismatic after you knew what he was doing.

        In 1972 Lanner wouldn’t have even received smicha yet. That the Rav was involved in kiruv is a given-he deemed it important.

        He was not making a saint about an individual that you always try to do. People spend their lives doing positive and negative discuss the work wo the cynicism of a party hack attacking all others who may have preceded the narrative you write..Stop evaluating people both positively or negatively-deal with what you think was done positive or negative-usually don’t even need the name of the person or organization.

      • mycroft says:

        2)”JSS’s ( which was its proper name, not JSP) student body may very well have had a Talmud Torah education-but that was certainly not inclusive of the ability to translate Rashi or Ramban on Chumash or to make a leining on a blatt Gemara.  It is to JSS’s credit that many of its alumni are textually literate and are Shas Yidden today.”

        JSS before the Striar family gave money to rename it was called the Jewish StudiesProgram-theoretically just coincidental that only one letter different-agreed that those students were not knowledgeable to do those thins before JSS but they were kept in the fold by a talmud Torah and some went on to more advanced education. Not having that option eliminates any potential of non day schools stayinf frum

      • Steve brizel says:

        When I mentioned an outstanding marbitz Torah I obviously meant  R Stolper

        I stand by the remainder of my comments from last night and will not waste space or time in reiterating the same.

      • mycroft says:

        You like many are impressed with him-many people are impressed by many different people. Each person has a right to be impressed by their impression of what is important and what isn’t. Many people are impressed by Rabbi Weiss-you aren’t. Nothing is gaine by having testimonials given by bloggers about any person. If there is an idea that you feel is worthwhile to spread of Rabbi Stolper publicize the idea. God after we are all 120 will judge us all-nothing is gained by either criticizing one individual or praising another individual. If they have a good idea it should be evaluated no matter who stated the idea and argument.

      • mycroft says:

        There are probably thousands of good marbeitzei Torah-nothing is gained by evaluating one vs the other-listen to them all  . Obviously in psak one has a right to choose the person who they wish to be the one to answer the question. It is ones right to choose. We don’t have a Sanhedrin-thus I have no problem with anyone differing with their Rebbe-as long as they are open about it. I do have problems of stating anyone is a saint especially when they successfully pushed away competition.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Obviously, the founder and dean of JSS R Moshe Besdin ZL viewed textual literacy in the classical Jewish texts as his modus operandi.

        BTW, I stand by my assessment of R Stolper as a great Marbitz Torah whose record was that of a great founding leader of NCSY who rallied the OU behind him and NCSY’s members during the formative pre Lanner years and was one who helped make Torah observance seem like an attractive alternative for many Jewish teens. You just can’t accept the fact that R Stolper was a creative and pionering individual who mobilized Jewish teens all over the US and who they themselves accepted being Shomer Shabbos and separate dancing upon themselves without coercion. Did R Stolper make mistakes-undoubtedly-but then all great people do, or they wouldn’t be great people, they would be angels.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        JSS was never called JSP by anyone after the Striar family’s wonderful and great donation. My class in JSS had many who attended Talmud Torah, some who attended day school K-8 and a few who had gone to yeshiva K-12 and who were seeking to coast in YC while majoring in pre med-R Besdin ZL made it clear to all of his students that he was starting from scratch with all of us and presumed that all of us knew precious little about how to read Rashi, let alone Ramban , translate a Mishnah or make a leining on a Gemara. The ultimate achievement of any JSS talmid was to become textually literate and  a Ben Torah and Shas Yid. Those of us who attended JSS in the 196os and 1970s can attest to that fact.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mycroft wrote in part:

        “He was not making a saint about an individual that you always try to do. People spend their lives doing positive and negative discuss the work wo the cynicism of a party hack attacking all others who may have preceded the narrative you write..Stop evaluating people both positively or negatively-deal with what you think was done positive or negative-usually don’t even need the name of the person or organization”

        What an obvious attempt to stifle and curtail discussion- You just continue to use any pretext to dismiss the work of NCSY and offer no explanation why YU’s TLS failed to compete with NCSY.  You are historically correct in a limited sense of the term-but I invite you and anyone to compare how many events YU’s Youth Bureau ran on an annual level at its peak in comparison to the events run by NCSY on a chapter, regional and national level. That IMO, in addition to going on the offensive, especially outside of NY, and helping create role models who inspired many to attend YU, SCW and other yeshivos as well , will always be R Stolper’s unique legacy.

        I have mentioned that R Stolper was and is a great Marbitz Torah who made mistakes. You obviously don’t even wish to acknowledge that fact. That is how any historical figure is objectively evaluated and judged.That is evident from great figures in Tanach and from any biography of such personae as Lincoln, Grant, Churchill, Patton and MacArthur-great people who made mistakes.

      • mycroft says:

        “Why not speak to R Bender-whom it seems you have not done so?”

        I have spoken to a few of his Rebbeim and many who have gone there. I generally like to find out from lower people what goes on in an institution rather than listen to the administrator/ founder/ controlling interest

        R Bender is renowned for thinking outside the envelope on a wide variety of issues with respect to Chinuch.

        4) The fact that some of your contemporaries who attended a Talmud Torah have grandchildren who are frum is nice but irrelevant to the discussion unless you mention that they went through the yeshiva system and participated in NCSY.

      • mycroft says:

        “The fact that some of your contemporaries who attended a Talmud Torah have grandchildren who are frum is nice but irrelevant to the discussion unless you mention that they went through the yeshiva system and participated in NCSY.”

        What is irrelevant that they  are frum despite or because of the fact that they did not go through the Yeshiva system and were not involved in NCSY.

      • Steve brizel ir says:

        You misread my post in its entirety. I never considered myself either a devotee or fan of Lanner. You are intent on throwing out the baby with the bath water when at worst what happened was a mistake in judgment which great leaders and people make

      • mycroft says:

        “You misread my post in its entirety. I never considered myself either a devotee or fan of Lanner.”

        But you do consider yourself a fan of those who hired him and kept him on for decades knowing how he operates.

        “You are intent on throwing out the baby with the bath water when at worst what happened was a mistake in judgment which great leaders and people make”

        A mistake in judgement would be hiring a loudmouth like Lanner in the first place-it is beyond the pale to set upan organization that treats Lanner behavior as desirable or tolerable. It is not just NCSY-he was a star of OU-less than a month before the scandal hit he was a guest of my schul pushed by a big macher of the OU. I was turned off by him because on his bio put out by OU speakers bureau they listed him as “talmid muvhak” of the Rav-it was laughable on its face and I told people besheas maaseh. I had no idea of what Lanner was doing in NCSY-he was tolerated. To believe that OU cleaned house-there were many leading or top officers who were machers of the OU during Lanner and they became the leaders post Lanner-one would have to believe they knew nothing while it was known by a lot of people in the field.

        NCSY like many other organizations always has done some good work-but we should not believe IMO that the “ends justify the means”

      • mycroft says:

        Rabbi Besdin was a great man. He like most of classical education treated knowledge of textual literacy essential. One would have different requirements in Jewish textual knowledge for those attending a university. In itself to pass the basic requirements of English Comp, English Lit requires a basic verbal IQ above average. Certainly no one should receive simcha who is not textually literate-but I refuse to make textual literacy the basic requirement to enter Orthodoxy. I am not aware of such requirement.

        BTW IMO schools certainly in 12grade and senior year in YU should not treat these exit years as simply being an opportunity to teach another 20 blast or so-they should recognize the exit year and prepare students for issues and halachot post Yeshiva/day school

      • mycroft says:

        BTW YU founded JSP in 1956. Rabbi Stolper came to NCSY in 1959.JSP was renamed JSS in 1965 after the Striars gift.

        Still maintaining no Kirov before R Stolper. YU had started TLS in 1954. By the 50s they were heavily engaged in synagogue services.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote:

    ” I refuse to make textual literacy the basic requirement to enter Orthodoxy. I am not aware of such requirement.
    BTW IMO schools certainly in 12grade and senior year in YU should not treat these exit years as simply being an opportunity to teach another 20 blast or so-they should recognize the exit year and prepare students for issues and halachot post Yeshiva/day school”

    Textual literacy is the key to becoming a knowledgeable Jew, not just showing up in shul. Take a look at how none less than Rambam and  the SA HaRav formulatesthe mitzvah of Talmud Torah.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      AFAIK, there are many shiurim given in many MO yeshivos and YU with respect to life after graduation. OTOH, while this is also the case in YU, look at it this way-the senior year for such a student is his last formal opportunity to learn Torah in a formal and organized manner. I think that the senior year should also be looked at a time for maximizing one’s Limud HaTorah and especially in Gemara. But, unless such a student is religiously motivated, such shiurim and the needs to veiw Limud HaTorah as an intrinsic part of his life, may very well fall on  deaf ears.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Mycroft wrote:

      “BTW IMO schools certainly in 12grade and senior year in YU should not treat these exit years as simply being an opportunity to teach another 20 blast or so-they should recognize the exit year and prepare students for issues and halachot post Yeshiva/day school”

      I think that all of the RY in RIETS and rebbes in many high schools know that for many , the senior year in high school and YU represents a unique challenge. Contrary to what many have written, the RY in RIETS do not advocate kollel for all and realize that their job description includes encouraging their talmidim to be Kovea Itim LaTorah as learner-earners, regardless of their choice of a career. They are as proud of such talmidim and Baale Batim as they are of the future Talmdei Chachamim who are in the kollelim and smicha program.

       

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    Mycroft wrote:

    BTW YU founded JSP in 1956. Rabbi Stolper came to NCSY in 1959.JSP was renamed JSS in 1965 after the Striars gift.
    Still maintaining no Kirov before R Stolper. YU had started TLS in 1954. By the 50s they were heavily engaged in synagogue services.
    Your chronology proves my point. Who says that YU was representative of the entire Orthodox community? Again-compare JSS before R Besdin ZL was appointed dean-it was nowhere what R Besdin ZL made JSS, who was undoubtedly aided by his superb choice of faculty and appreciation of many NCSYers who chose YU because of JSS. Compare the accomplishments and structure of TLS and NCSY. Obviously, on a communal level, being “heavily engaged in synagogue services” for the shuls that sought a connection with YU and only YU, and viewed YU as the source of their programming for the same was important. OTOH, the OU had and has many shuls that had their own ideas and leaders with views as to why NCSY which has been founded before R Stolper, and almost closed by the OU, was viewed as a critical necessity by major lay leaders within the OU such as Harold Boxer, the Feursteins and many others, Zicronam Livracha.

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