One Woman’s Agudah Convention Takeaway

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10 Responses

  1. Steve brizel says:

    What a great article! Once again we see that issues about parenting and relationships  as opposed to power issues are the issues that count.

  2. Lakewood Resident says:

    How sad that she was expecting anything different.

    • Yossi says:

      Lakewood Resident,

      Let’s look at the positive, not the negative. She took away a great message- that’s fantastic. I have to admit along similar lines- I’ve avoided the convention because I thought it would be what she thought and over the pst few years, while I wasn’t able to go, I noticed how relevant it is becoming and indeed would like to go in the future.  I listened to some of the talks and they were excellent.

  3. joel rich says:

    very nice post. perhaps someone might study how the sentiments articulated are translated into day to day resource allocation (time and money) by the gedolim, the agudah, agudah related rabbis and congregations……..kol tuv

  4. A.S. says:

    Nice to hear about the positive changes. I attended 20+ years ago and it was different. First of all, most of the speeches were in Yiddish. To the degree that a well-connected friend sneaked me into the back of the women’s shiur because that was the only English one at the time. In addition, many of the speeches were fire-and-brimstone variety, attacking whatever the perceived threat of the moment was (e.g. TV, Modern Orthodoxy). I remember one concerned woman asking about the financial stress on families because everyone wants to be in kollel, and the unsympathetic response was,”Isn’t it wonderful how much Torah learning is happening.”  I take issue with her characterization of the “undisputed gedolei hador,” there are many great talmidei chachamim and poskim here and in Israel who do not fit under the Agudah’s umbrella, as the Siyum haShas dais clearly demonstrated.

  5. Shades of Gray says:

    Speaking of  this year’s Agudah Convention, I would recommend the video of “Raising Healthy, Happy, and Resilient Children” on the convention website(Womens Sessions section).

    I skipped around, but some excerpts from Mrs. Rachel Roth from Hamodia about their value of respect:

    Even the second or third time(beyond standards of secular media) elected officials are referred to with titles because of values of kavod habriyos and Tzelem Elokim, particularly leaders, even if such elected officials are bad for the community(34:45).

    Hamodia writes “five people” injured rather than “five injured” because of Tzelem Elokim(36:00).

    At 37:00 she says that Hamodia’s  goal is that people should think of others with respect in the first place, rather than just  avoiding certain terminology  when an African American is present. Similar examples of sensitivity are about a giyores’s  original family(39:30) and regarding going beyond media standards regarding Vietnam war victims(46:45, from a questioner).

    At the end of his speech(17:00), Dr. David Lieberman has a powerful story about an autistic child that  illustrates the power of a single word or moment to sum up a relationship.

  6. david z says:

    First to A.S.: she wrote “some of the undisputed gedolei hador.” That is an inclusive statement not an exclusive. Now if you disagree you’re the schismatic not her.

    Second I might be one if those people to always complain but the answers while fine aren’t the problem. The questions are kind of sad. Weren’t we all raised with stories that “done of the undisputed gedolei hador” were really into sports themselves at least as kids? We’ve lost a lot in the critical thinking and common sense of the masses if not the leadership.

    Really cool about mixed seating though. I stopped going to my schul dinner when they went separate. Come on man.

  7. Aviva Gopnick says:

    Oy.

    Where to begin? I read this and wanted to be positive, I really did, but….

    How sad that a father or mother needs to ask a rabbi what to do if a child would like to follow sports.

    How depressing to hear that mothers need to be told by a rebbetzin not to tell their daughters that the way they dress causes men to sin.

    How  pathetic that there is a need for a rabbi to tell someone not to park in front of someone else’s driveway.

    We need to spend hundreds of dollars to attend an Agudah convention to be told to be polite to neighbors (Jewish and non-Jewish)?

    Here’s how I raise my children:

    We use common sense. If something is not an avayra, or destructive, or dangerous, or unhealthy, we allow our child to do it. No questions asked of rabbis.

    We tell our daughters to sit like ladies when they wear skirts. We send them to a Bais Yakov school and encourage them to dress according to the school’s expectations; but they know the halacha mandates a more minimum standard. They know some women don’t dress the way they do and respect them for who they are anyway because they are also Jews.

    We do not litter, park illegally, cut off other drivers etc. We wear our seatbelts and tell our children to obey all traffic laws and parking rules.

    We are nice to all our neighbors, Jewish and non-Jewish. We stepped in to see our neighbors’ Xmas tree and told them it was pretty. (And no, none of our kids asked for Santa to come to our house.) We wish strangers a good morning, Good Shabbos etc.

    I personally don’t have any friends or relatives who have time or money to attend one of these conventions. I don’t imagine the people there are a representative sample of religious Jews, they aren’t even typical black hat Jews. I think we as a community have much to be proud of – we do much kindness, slave away to pay tuition etc. But having rabbis with normal ideas shouldn’t be exceptional, and I am afraid that’s the  implication of this article.

     

  8. Raymond says:

    My understanding of the expression “Derech eretz kadma L’Torah” is that before we can even think of fulfilling the endless intricacies of Jewish law, that we first have to make sure to be morally decent human beings, for Torah in the wrong hands can become like poison.  And at least one explanation I have heard for why the Torah begins with the entire book of Breisheet rather than right away getting into the law in Torah portions such as Mishpatim, is because studying the lives of our Forefathers is thought to be quite an effective way of learn how to be morally decent human beings.  I realize that such ideas are pretty basic, yet I have found that some people who are so smugly convinced that they are spiritually superior to those around them, too often lack basic moral decency.

  9. Raymond says:

    My understanding of the expression “Derech eretz kadma L’Torah” is that before we can even think of fulfilling the endless intricacies of Jewish law, that we first have to make sure to be morally decent human beings, for Torah in the wrong hands can become like poison.  And at least one explanation I have heard for why the Torah begins with the entire book of Breisheet rather than right away getting into the law in Torah portions such as Mishpatim, is because studying the lives of our Forefathers is thought to be quite an effective way of learn how to be morally decent human beings.  I realize that such ideas are pretty basic, yet I have found that some people who are so smugly convinced that they are spiritually superior to those around them, too often lack basic moral decency.

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