Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The latest trend - the modern Jewry.

I saw what was happening once in a yeshiva. The student was speaking to his English principal about his Rebbi, and the way he spoke was the way anyone of our age people would not dare to speak in public. He's dorky, his appearance is not as cool, he is stupid because he makes him do more than what's fair, and he should get fired for... being an idiot. What's wrong with this picture? When the boy went away, the secretary asked, how could this boy be possibly talking about his teachers that way; the reply was simple. The kids are different today, what we can't even imagine of doing or saying about or to our teacher, kids just don't feel embarrassed. In our days if you did something like this you'd get it, if not from the school then from parents, what can we do with them now?
That hits it right on the button - students are not humiliated or punished or even judged, upon mouthing off on their teachers and not only teachers, anybody who is halachically an elder in our society, or a respective individual. I grew up when it is just started but these kids were in the minority, and you would always see their parents backing up their actions like "You judging my kid, my kid is really innocent, he just had his emotional reaction, he is challenged, oh... it is all your fault not his, etc., etc.
While yeshivas have to teach our kids almost everything especially for arm and leg they charge, but the foundation of learning must be provided by parents. Your job as a parent not just to protect but guide your children through the life. What do I mean? Senseless protection takes guilt feeling away from child, he is being told that somehow he is an angel whatever he does. Parents always say bad things about teachers even if not true. Especially if they happened to go to same class as kids. Everyone is so much into having a perfect name that when some kids went on shoplifting in Boro Park, parents were covering it up, so their families could have a good name. When principal tells you that you playing an appropriate music in this school, you go off the Derech only to find a sympathetic radio show that will bring principle to apologise in front of the entire audience?! What message does that bring? And finally, one Yenta in a business suit and published in a chareidi newspaper, decides to call your "so called good kids (or easy) - autopilot kids", plus don't PRAISE your autopilot kids in front of your trouble making kids (oops, teens in pain), they might FEEL BAD OR JEALOUS, oh yeah and please praise your teens in pain for at least coming out of their gutter they spent the last night in and coming back home for breakfast. In other words "Thank you living and breathing, my pained one".
Today, if a student does not feel like going to school we don't hesitate to attack Principal's lack of Armani sucks and demand that he puts them on if he is not to be blamed for that student's drug problems than to ask ourselves question - can we also demand something from our kids? I mean if you see some boys or girls today on streets what is your reaction for someone who is approaching them to correct them? Who are you angry at today? Yes the guy who judged them. Did I mean he sentenced them? No. He just thought they were engaged in inappropriate behavior.
And there is more to parental problems, that is before we came to mention our institutional or school problems. Lets just take a short look at those.
Where did this all start? In our institutions? Schools? Rabbis issued it? No. The roots are elsewhere. It starts with American elite families and elite schools, the most influential force on social issues. They brought up students (since 50's) or even their own kids in a post-WWII era that we won't have any challenges after that war and that no major threat to our economy will ever come from second half of 20's century on. We only needed the religion to keep the spirit of population before our common enemies, now that reason ceased to exist and religion should be looked upon as something of a burden and a stop to a great progress of the next stage of human development, the post industrial age of reasoning, where people are sophisticated enough to reason what's best for them without any interference of old dogmas or doctrines or religious beliefs mixed in the process. And what about all these wars and conflicts that we had since than? They could have been avoided (according to them), if we did not stand up for our prejudices of our past. Like our belief in capitalism caused the Cold War, our preference to our western heritage and for Israel caused 9/11, Vietnam could be avoided if we did not stand up for some democracy in the far east. Yes, you guessed it - the hippies. Many of you will be surprised of this finding, but why would all hippie events took place in most prestigious places in US and around Western Europe.
Well although we did initially jump on the same wagon with them, we rejected them later on (within 10 years or so). Our complains: too much crime, unwanted children, disorder in streets and so on, but most of all high divorce rate and attack on morality.
Hippie movement did not really die, it took another approach, these rich kids became our politicians, lawyers, doctors and most of all scientists and college professors. Now our politics and science is in their mercy, especially psychology and social science, out of all things.
There is another powerful ally, who by their claim have a right to hate America (though admire their freedom), Hollywood. The secular Jewish elite, who saw the cure to anti-semitism in destroying all religious values and old political institutions that represent original cultures that look different, like Irish, German, Russian, Jewish. For as long as we had our uniqueness, they reasoned, we stand out as Jews (bingo!) and there is room for anti-this and anti-that and anti-semitism. They saw any religious person as a danger, even a Frum Jew.
So after losing battle in 60's, they wanted to shake a strong fundamental that held our identity of origin - family. In late 60's and early 70's a bunch of media releases about family violence flooded our media, movies about worthless fathers, enslaved mothers and promises of emancipation from what we call a hell of family life, (OK may be it isn't that good, but is there a better option - just something to think about), useless monster we call father, or the act of extreme selfishness we call having more than one child. All this was portrayed as typical life in American family. If they lied about the scope of abuse or usefulness of the father, what else did they make up? The laws and the way the students were taught about outlook on education, family attitude on authority and so on. And all this is sipping slowly into our communities. Now keep in mind, this is not to make a family safer, that is mantra, the real deal is that our social engineers are in a progress of destroying everything old and build all things anew.
So what did we accept from them? The child is not brought up right if: he has limitations, being told "NO", experiencing any feeling that is uncomfortable, has to obey the so called authority, or being criticized, disciplined, or being told what to wear or eat (which goes directly opposite of what orthodox Jews are practicing). Where do you think we are heading with this? Sodom and Amara. And didn't my first two paragraphs described Sodom, where Youngsters are pushing elders, elder pushing the authorities. Since its nine days - one of the reasons why temple was destroyed was precisely because youngsters pushed elders and elders the authority! I like to share the Rebbe's thought on that. The reason for naming Jewish children's organization as Tzivos (ARMY) was not done for violence of it but for discipline and respect to your superiors, what bothered Rebbe the most was what Rebbe observed as moral decay of America since the time he came here until that letter was written (in late 70's) with reason for calling it Army. Rebbe's legacy to children was to have what we lost - the discipline and respect.
It should finish right here, but one more thing, we did not even start mentioning our yeshivas for FFB kids ...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The latest trend - the modern Jewry. (part two)

Many people have a tendency to think that Orthodox Judaism looks just the way it was 3,000 years ago. What we fail to realize is that we only same in principle, but not in the way we do things or even look like. The difference between the way orthodox people are changing and reform is that reform change is about changing into whatever direction your surroundings take you. You just go with the flow, with something new, period. Whether for better or for worse. As centuries go by that movement loses its identity and disappears, the only reason why it still exists it is because of newcomers who join that movement from elsewhere, once there it can go either back to orthodoxy or complete disappearance.
Example is by Shabbos, in some of those congregations worship on Sunday or on Saturday with gay or women Rabbis and to what purpose? Just because the issues of feminism and gay rights are in style today. Did it bring them closer to God? No. But it did bring them closer to those specific issues of the day!
Now picture a shwarma over a wine (and the amount which must make you tipsy), the rap inside it is a goat meat, much like popular version of the Arab shwarma today. If you think it is Purim time you're only one month off, it is a holyday of Passover. So, what happened over 3,00 years in orthodox world that changed it to only maror with burned crackers? Oh yeah and the wine is different.
Well, originally matzos were supposedto be different from regular bread in the fact that it must be baked within 18 minutes, no crunch, no holes required - It just never was, as Gemara Psochim describes it. Alter Rebbe has a tremendous discussion in his shulchan aruch about all the shaalos you can have with this kind of matzos after they were baked. He conludes however right at the end of the laws of Gebrochs and bent matzos, that the vast majority of these laws do not apply today, yes even Gebrochs is more of a custom than real chometz.
You see, the laws of real matza are so complicated that you need alot of practice and not just theory to know how to check if it is kosher one or not, did it become chometz or not, that if you do not know these laws intimately, then you should only let the expert do it. Well, we all started out in a jewish place of Israel and who did not know of all these shaalos with matzo and chometz?
Everyone knows it, right? Even women and children knew that passover bread needs special checking and care, they even knew how to care for it.
Then exile happened, so evben before Gemara started, Jews were so "busy" with these troubled developments that they began to forget most of these laws - and you can't just let people having a sin of eating chometz on Seder! So this is how we came to crunchy matzos, and different wine, and due to absense of a Tample, we no longer have a goat. and with the comlition of the Writing of our ORAL law (for similar reason), we even stick holes through them, so as to eliminate almost all problems that real matza can present to us.
Did it make us cool or brought us closer to issues of today? No. Now we're stock with discusting crackers. Buit it does bring us closer to God.
Orthodox people also use some good ideas from the outside world, for the same purpose as modifying certain laws or customs. For it has some benefits for us as well as for the rest of humanity, you see Orthodox population is not the one that rejects the world, but rather rejects of floating with flow of developments even if they are wrong. This is why so many of frum people don't watch television. They also know what is happening in the world, but they just need the time to filter out the events or findings or trends as they occur, so they have this filtered view of the world to keep up with their roots and to take in only those that make us better, not just "cooler".
There is still one problem remains - are orthodox filters always filter out garbage or not? No, not always and this is why every now and then we do get into problems and higher antisemitism.
So, what is the difference between 70-80's and 90's-now? That is my desperate attempt of provision of explanation in part three.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The latest trend - the modern Jewry. (part one)

I saw concern on some blogs and generally in our midst about a new sight that is becoming all too common, and not just in Lubavitch, but everywhere. I remember during late 80's, early 90's, it was really an era of spiritual awakening, there were some people that went OTD, but not many, regular bochur, might not have been smart, but was a good Jew, definitely not on drugs (oh yeah that was insignificant problem in Frum communities). Lets just subscribe you the worst yeshiva in Chabad - ULY. While we know that "misnagdim" used this yeshiva to send their troubled kids there , then there were "simple" baalei batim, who sent their kids there... But do you also know that most of our Rabbonim families came from there.
Well I know what typical Baalei loshon hora have to say about this yeshiva even then... but in reality it was bad class juxtaposed next to learner's class. OK his blog is not about history of that place, so back to the point - the OTD rate in that place was BELOW average of the rest of Yeshivish world!!! Yes we always had our problems and in our worst case scenario the highest rate of OTD was 18% in that Yeshiva (that I also went to).
Now before you are going to stop laughing at the bunny rabbit (of 18%) that I seemingly pulled out my sleeve - there are organizations who try to keep up with this statistics - based on drop out/expel rate of students, per yeshiva (excluding OTDs of 1 year after yeshiva or later). Jewish board of Ed. is 1 of them. Now that means that overall picture of Chabad was - you might be am hooretz, but 80% you'll be frum.
Bochurim that were off the derech and left yeshiva and were struggling in "special" programs had problems of not being able to answer to their own Apikores or mostly philosophical problems, reading other philosophies once in a while (or at least as Rabbi B. put it - I wonder, would that include me too? Since one of my awards in College were in philosophies), anyways they dressed secular, were trying to find the meaning of their life, a more respectable picture of OTD then now.
Ever since the appearance of the first article about this growing trend in 94-95(?) it even invented this new terminology - "Youth at risk". It was posted in 770 even on the door through which the Rebbe used to come out to the main shul, then came out complains about the way our youth looks, eats, does etc.
Then every once in a while, you would see "that" in quantity that is hard not to notice. Now you snags don't lough at Lubavitch just yet I've been in Ave J and Bowling allies in Boro park!
And now what surprises me is that this blog of "Where have you gone" by Real shliach blog is not all too uncommon. This part of discussion is not concerned with questions about individual bochur why he did this or that, it is just a symptom (or sign of the disease), I am concerned about understanding the trend of our generation (the cause of the disease).
Anyways, our risky youth now had big drug circulation on its list of deeds, crimes that frum Jews were not even profiled before, from just cheating on taxes(70-80's) that is typical in every community to stealing, mugging, prostitution etc. (90-now)
So the question is what was there in 70-80's that is not there today? Or what is there today that was not there before?
This is just a question raising post no answers yet. Would help if I hear any of your ideas.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

So far so draft.

Today - Working overnight from Motzei shabbos to Sunday morning, then sleeping on the job place to be ready for a day ahead with my family. Yes I love to sleep in a place where I work. At least in that basement roaches don't scream and mice don't kvetch. You really get to appreciate the lack of windows in that place - it is so lovely. If everything depends on quality of sleep no wonder I get perky only after two hours. It is like nightly cave in the jungle. Then go home, daven, start the day. You see four two-legged animals screeching and screaming, demanding. Well at least they just as good as teenagers. When you ask them question, they don't reply with coherent answer, "Where were you?" - "There.", "Who did you see?"- "People.", "What were you doing?" - "Stuff."
They say that life goes in circles but may be it just never a circle but a straight line. And where are you heading with an old age? Back to diapers, alright. Don't try to argue with someone who tells you that we are all kids to an extent - he is right. Then we had a maximum of trip with minimum embarrassment, I am really proud of them! Guess where did we go out of all places? What did we lack in life? That's right more zoo! We went to the zoo in Manhattan. Had a great time really, though I still miss the Bronx zoo. We watched animals there! I still like big zoos better, it is next good thing to the nature - the lions are there but they're not eating you.
Then back home we got our kids to bed as soon as we could and then it is just us... and some stupid meeting that was organized by our building management. Just when you want to have time for your wife someone finds something else for you to do. So I did it for two hours. And now I am here having time with my computer instead! That is just the day of my life.
Now I did what any blogger would do - had a diary of my life for today.
But I also like to write serious stuff. The problem begins when I feel like writing about history of these and and the prospective on that.
As of today, we find ourselves in three weeks, nine days are approaching, it is also anniversary of Israeli heroes like A. Sharon deposing other Jews from territories (I can write the whole story on how is it that people who gave us this land are also the people who try to destroy parts of it), destruction of two temples, our problems and achievements in modern times, some reminiscences of farbrengens with the Rebbe that I remember, even if just a little. And if you want to know some military history or battle chronology, history of modern civilization - fine, and to tap it off our basic body functions and different organs fine - but that is more of question oriented. Yeah, I am not a doctor and don't ask me for remedies though, just if anyone is interested in knowing general questions - ask. Or should I just stick to bragging about my daily life? that is my unresolved dilemma.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Interesting thing, When I sit down to write something on my blog my mind goes blank. There are so many things on my mind that I don't know where to start. Everything needs to be understood and discussed by human mind, that's our nature and there is plenty on my mind. How do people do blogs?
O.K. lets start somewhere - There are many blogs Jewish, non-Jewish, Family etc. My interests are ranging from vacation to comparing perspectives of different people on day to day issues that is why it is a club. Why Jewpublic? Because I am a Jew living in decaying republic of USA, also because, ALTHOUGH I am not a Zionist (I never was in Israel) I do like the ancient Confederate Republican form of Government in The Land of Israel, which partially inspired the creation of separate states of US under loose authority of central government sort of a Jewish republic. Unfortunately as Shmuel (Samuel) saw our moral decay he crowned our first king Saul... It took us long way from there and now we're here in exile.
One question remains - is it only for Jews? Hell, no - it is for everyone. You might be right or might be wrong but you might say it!
One more thing I do have a weird education in - biology, anatomy, political science, philosophy and history that I learned in secular college plus my degree from Rabbinical college, so there you have it. I also like hikes, wild places wished to live somewhere else, busy with my family of six, as poor as a church's mouse, want more money, you know, pretty much like you... Yeah what about you!?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First release.

This is my first release, so don't get too excited. I can't even put my own picture in there and any random pictures that I post comes out to be that of strangers (Honestly I don't even know who these people are and are they doing in my computer). Blog is definitely a good idea, but I do not know how to properly run it.
Enough kvetching, anyways, what this blog is all about is more of philosophical and ethical concerns than just my diary about what I ate or what kind of stomach upset I went through. It might be wise in the future to consider whether or not to read this blog at all - it is for mature minds only. Well learning along ... or moving along this new prospect of communication I have posted and established this blog. It WILL look better as my experience grows with it. As for all the bored souls in the world who come across this blog - I salute you for all this time that you and I might dedicate for sharing our private parts of life. See you next time!