The Matzav Shmoooze: They Say “Awareness” Is The Cure


kids_at_risk1Dear Editor,

They say “awareness” is the cure, but is it always? Are there not people out there who ignore these warning signs?

You know what else they say? They say that today there is more Yiddishkeit than ever before. But what they don’t say is that, today, there are more people going Off The Derech than ever before. OTD (as they call it)is so fast growing and so big already that even OTD have different sects; there is the half OTD semi OTD and full OTD,

Used to be that when we walked down the street and saw a guy with tattoos and body-piercing we would look away and be afraid that the “GOY” would hurt us. We may have even mumbled something in Yiddish to our friend walking with us: “hey look at this goy”. Today “this goy” speaks a perfect Yiddish, today this goy is someone that went to the same yeshiva as you. Or in many cases, even more ultra yeshivas.

What is bothersome to me is that we are busy doing kiruv to bring Jews to Yiddishkeit; but how busy are we in bringing our own back? Where are the organizations for the people that were frum but are now OUT OF TOUCH. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking any kiruv organization! Just the opposite. I support them and applaud them for their work, but can I get a partner in this war against the “devil” who is grabbing our innocent children and tearing them away from amongst us?!?

Why are we using up all our resources to build new roads while ignoring the roads we are traveling on that are “crack”ed – “broke”n with “pot” holes everywhere.

This past Rosh Hashana I saw, firsthand, the best society has produced, beautiful souls, gorgeous neshomos – but their covers are black and torn, their outside is covered with tattoos and body-piercing. The only thing that keeps them connected is the warm Yiddish they speak and the love for a good piece of kugel. I found that the solution to this epidemic is not to be judgmental of people and if someone is not in the same league that you are, you should still give them support and love, in the hopes that they will come back.

The truth is that all of us, even the greatest among us who go on vacation for the summer know that it is only temporary and at some point it will be time to go home. And we go home.

And all of us get a certain great feeling, a feeling of being missed when we go on a short vacation and we come home to a big welcome home sign on the front door; can we all put a big welcome home sign for these men & women (they’re not kids, they’re adults) and make them feel wanted and missed, in the hopes that it will warm them and they will return?

So they say “Awareness” is the cure, but that’s not always the case. We are all aware what’s going on out there but is that stopping the devil from entering our homes? Is awareness helping us cure this epidemic that has quietly infiltrated our community?

Now that you know what is going on out here, will you help me do something about it?

Y. B.

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  1. Actually, you are knocking the kiruv organizations, which is a good thing. Their message has always been kiruv is important and nothing else is. These kiruv organizations, while we agree with their goals in theory, have conveyed the message that our priority is kiruv and everything else is totally subordinate. Why care about your neighbor with his religiuos issues when you should only care about the totally uninformed.

    The kiruv people cite the Ramban in ki savo, but the Ramban does not distinguish between totally secular and OTD.

    Instead of this mehalech of going all out for kiruv and ignoring what goes on in your own backyard, we should inspect our priorities. First our families, then our own communities, then the broader Jewish community. All our important, but like anything else, we need to prioritize.

    Unfortunately, kiruvism in its present state, like all the other isms, is a powerhouse and it will take much strength to tame and properly channel it. Until then, we need to make it known that the kiruv organizations, although theoretically good, have used media to direct our efforts in the wrong places. Y.B., thank you for your important piece.

  2. OTD is a major problem but there is little that can be done to bring back those who aren’t interested and frequently openly hostile to Torah.Most efforts to do so will go nowhere.But as Rav Hutner writes in a letter to someone whose brother went off “You feel there is nothing you can do? Do you have no tears left?”

  3. BS”D
    Discussion with Moishe’la (with his family)
    A Handicapped child
    Tishrei 5 ‘5774 (Sept 8 ’13)

    Our Last Journey Before
    Reaching the Geula Sheleimah

    Mommy, Mommy what can I say?
    I don’t know what else to say.
    My heart is heavy.
    My stomach is churning.
    I feel something huge is coming, and I’m so excited about it. On the other hand, in the pit of my stomach I am so afraid. My heart aches, even though I know that Am Yisroel will be saved.

    I am also so afraid of all the terrible things that are going to happen in this world. The evil must be destroyed. The evil is bubbling up and oozing out of every crack and cranny. It is covering the world. It is in the water. It is in the air. It is creeping into us, or coming out of us. It’s everywhere. It’s so thick that it’s darkening the world and making the air thick and hard to breath.

    We search for faces that still have truth in their expression. We search for other Jews whose faces are Temimusdik and pure and close to Hashem, close to the truth. We grope in the darkness looking for any small fragment of Emes. Those who search do find!

    Soon with a strong wind Hashem will blow away all the darkness and all of the smoke and all of the heaviness of Sheker and of the Sitra Achra. Soon, very soon we will see the light of Emes, of the Geula Sheleimah. We will be able to breathe deeply once again, and be truly happy by serving Hashem 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and this will be the ultimate happiness.

    But this year, Mommy, ???”? will be a year to remember-
    A year of wars and terrible destruction
    A year of violence and death
    A year of hate and vengeance
    A year of closing accounts and punishing the wicked for their sins throughout all of history
    A year of economic collapse and social unrest.

    We must remember one thing that can save us, Teshuva. Come back to Hashem in total submissiveness, with our heads down, with our hearts aching, with our minds ashamed of all of the Aveiras that we did against Hashem’s great name, and come back to Him as wayward children do when they realize that they have gone wrong and want to come back to the truth.

    ???”? – our last journey before reaching the Geula Sheleimah, Be’ezras Hashem.

    Gemar Chasima Tovah.

  4. “Or in many cases, even more ultra yeshivas.”

    This line reveals a lot about you, Mr./Ms. YB.
    What does “ultra yeshiva” mean. Whats a non-ultra yeshiva?

    Here’s the deal. Sadly, 52% of those who attend self-identified Modern Orthodox high schools, stop keeping Shabbos and Kashruth within two years.

    That’s a very serious problem within the “non-ultra” “yeshiva” system; and a very serious problem within the MO lifestyle. Kindly, and respectfully, deal with that.

    Yes, unfortunately there is about a seven percent failure rate within students who attend yeshivos. That is very sad, and something that each family has to seek every venue and avenue to deal with on a personal level. We must take personal responsibility and not seek to blame everyone else.

    Do these blame and claim games make you feel better, Mr./Ms. YB? What will it do for your soul? What will it do for you this Yom Kippur? Please, some self reflection is in order here, sir/madam.

  5. hashomer ochi unochi what happened to kol yiroel areivim zeh lozeh It makes no difference if we lose a neshama through an illness or through another loss every neshama counts when one yid is hurt when one yid suffers we all do
    there are many tzadikim gemurim working yomam veloyla to save the neshamos of yiddisha kinder who go off the derech we need more funding for professional intervention and just like every area that needs all or our help whenever we can shidduchim tzedaka bikurcholim misaskim this is nt personal its an eis tzoroh and just like we tried to save every yid during the holocaust we have to try and save every kid during this ais tzoroh we want to help in any way we can yasher koach to you yeshuas hashem kiheref ayim

  6. I went to a high school and a Beth Medrash where there were different levels of shiurim. It all depended on your capability of course.

    In today’s day and age we need different tracks of Hashkafah in the frum world. Meaning for the different tracks we would have different Rabbonim to follow. For those who are in Kollel that would be one track. For those who like to watch movies that would be a different track etc…. The multiple tracks cannot and will not judge each other.