Thursday, May 10, 2007

NCSY

Oh, let's just talk about it (they're on the tangent anyway:)

What do you think about NCSY?

Comment to this post, preferably.

33 comments:

Jewish Atheist said...

They seemed to me to be black-hat (right-wing) Modern Orthodox. They are very good at what they do, which is get Jewish teens to become Orthodox.

Josh M. said...

Based on my experiences from 4 years in NCSY in the 90s (Long Island region), I don't believe that NCSY as an organization has any one vision for a "successful" alumnus. I'm sure that individual leaders are pleased moreso when a student chooses to follow their own chosen path, but the goal of the organization is merely to convince students to become frum, broadly defined.

It seems to me that many people who complain about the charedification of certain Jewish organizations are conflating the "Engaged" Orthodoxy built around the ideologies of RYBS and RAYHK, among others, with a "Modern" Orthodoxy which is characterized by a skeletal frumkeit coupled with periodic smoothing.

Ezzie said...

They're not even black-hat generally, though some certainly are. You won't see anyone from Telshe, Philadelphia, or even places like Chofetz Chaim and Ner Israel in NCSY, generally. They stick with programs like JEP (single-sex).

It's primarily YU/Stern types with some Touro people thrown in.

Erachet said...

I agree with Ezzie. I did NCSY in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade and basically all the advisers were from YU/Stern.

DK said...

We have to separate policy and the professionals at the top from the volunteers.

NCSY's offical policies are problematic, and disrespectful to secular and liberal Jewish parents who do not understand their goals.

These goals include:

1) Alliances with and recruitment for hardline haredi institutions.

2) Discouragement of full-time study at regular colleges, which is absolutely their official policy. See their education guide, and he essay "Poison Ivies" within.

3) A general anti-Intellectual stance, such as their promotion of their national director crowd surfing.

Methods

NCSY is not open about their goals nor are they honest even about who they are, such as with their JSUs, the dean of which is the national director of NCSY.

The bottom line of NCSY, to "make kids frum," has proven destructive.

Lanner was protected because he made kids religious, even though he also molested them and kneed many, many boys (50 were recorded at his trial). This only stopped when the secular Jewish Week finally reported the story. While NCSY finally stopped sanctioning physical abuse (after first claiming such legitimate concerns were "Ortho-bashing ?!?), they have never addressed the underlying problem, of respecting other considerations besides conversion to Orthodoxy.

The deceipt and the alliances and celebration of dubious achievements for Jews from public school backgrounds is troubling. NCSY continues to be irresponsible in many ways.

I would note that the only people I have met who defend these tactics are frum people (and not all do, by the way) not secular or liberal Jews.

We should not have to suffer this disrespect. Frummies have no right to decide on their own what is or is not acceptable for liberal Jews.

Erachet said...

dk,

First of all, no one forces anyone else to join a youth group. If a kid decides to join NCSY, that's his decision. From my own experiences with NCSY, I know they have programs for the more religious and programs for the more secular. They try to cater to all who are involved with them.

Secondly, I have never before heard that NCSY hides what their ideology is. Everyone knows NCSY deals with kiruv and the spreading of Judaism and Torah amongst other Jews, usually reaching out to the more secular ones. However, they do not force an ideology onto anyone. Their Shabbatonim and programs are run in an Orthodox manner, but they, under no circumstances, force Orthodoxy on anyway, nor do they preach being chareidi or not going to an academic college.

You bring one case of abuse from NCSY which has been dealt with by the Jewish community and which NCSY I'm sure is EXTREMELY careful not to let happen again. You are also condemning the entire movement for the actions of one person. I remember specifically the head of my region stating they are not affiliated at all with what happened (which was in a different region), that they do not approve and are embarrassed by it, and that they hope never to hear about behavior like that from NCSY again.

Additionally, NCSY is not the only Jewish youth organization out there. There is also USY, for people who are more secular, and I'm sure there are others I don't even know about. So to blame NCSY for bringing people closer to Orthodoxy and religious Judaism just because you don't agree with it is an issue with yourself, not with the organization. Those kids who have moved from secularism to Orthodoxy made the decision on their own and I'm sure do not regret it, either. If they did not want to become religious, they wouldn't have.

DK said...

Erachet,

NCSY is absolutely deceptively recruiting even for itself. It's called the JSU. Parents don't know this is the Orthodox Union's youth group, NCSY.

This is wrong. Parents must know. And when they do, things will change. Not only will it be understood who the JSU really is, but also what NCSY is really about.

NCSY is about deception.

"You are also condemning the entire movement for the actions of one person."

You don't appreciate what happened. If it were one person, it would have been stopped say, ten years into it, when Rabbi Willig squashed the bais din, and made his accuser (who had been molested) APOLOGIZE to Lanner. On Yeshiva University grounds, by the way. Oh, well, no big whoop. They just wanted to help kids become frum. Right?

This was hardly one person. Where did you get that idea? Is that what NCSY is saying to people internally? That this was the fault of one man? This was an entire organization that protected hum and enabled. Do you seriously question this?

And yes, they did decide that sexual abuse and kneeing many many boys in the groin would no longer tolerated as it was when the secular Jewish community explained that this had to stop when they finally found out about it, but this was a symptom. They are only preventing this specific symptom. The underlying problem of "making them frum" trumping all other issues (except (now) physical and sexual abuse, is still the rule.

DK said...

Erachet,

I think you better read this: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Lanner_Baruch.html

A little bit different than how your NCSY advisor explained things, huh?

Josh M. said...

Discouragement of full-time study at regular colleges, which is absolutely their official policy. See their education guide, and he essay "Poison Ivies" within.

I haven't read the essay, but as a recent alum of an Ivy, I'm not sure that discouragement is a bad idea (although my opinion is probably more nuanced than the opinion of the education guide - and there are many shades of discouragement).

A general anti-Intellectual stance, such as their promotion of their national director crowd surfing.

I don't know what this means or why it's anti-intellectual, but any movement that expects mass appeal cannot take a stance of pure intellectualism and hope to attract many participants (granted, anti-intellectualism is different than non-intellectualism).

I agree that the Lanner affair is a blot on the organization, but does not directly connect to your other complaints against NCSY.

DK said...

Josh M,

You wrote,

"I haven't read the essay, but as a recent alum of an Ivy, I'm not sure that discouragement is a bad idea"

Then NCSY needs to be up front about it, and not just pretend NCSY is about fun and shabbos, or the JSU about pizza. Explain that one of the organizational goals is to discourage ivy league attendance in favor of places like Touro, whom they are heavily allied with and recruit for.

"I agree that the Lanner affair is a blot on the organization, but does not directly connect to your other complaints against NCSY."

The underlying problem organizationally was that between a teen's religious (so-called) needs and his/her needs for general well-being, the religious needs were determined to be more important.

Whie this no longer holds true for physical and sexual abuse as it did under Lanner, it still holds in other ways. Frumkeit is considered paramount in ways which are inappropriate for this population, and are directly against the parents wishes.

Stern Alum said...

dk -
Why are you so angry and so bitterly anti- frum? NCSY is an othodox institution which of course promotes orthodox values and ideas. I have know many, many secular Jews who have had their children involved in NCSY and all investigated it before hand(as all parents must when their children participate in any organization). Some of these children ended up relgious- some did not. As far as I know, none found the organization nefarious or anti- intellectual. As far as the Ivy league goes, if you are so concerned with the negative messages the kids are getting towards these school, be equally concerned with the negative messages about family, religion,frunkeit that these kids are getting at those same schools.

Josh M. said...

Explain that one of the organizational goals is to discourage ivy league attendance in favor of places like Touro, whom they are heavily allied with and recruit for.

One can argue over whether secular schools should be discouraged in favor of YU and Touro, as well as over the primary reason for this discouragement (I assume that NCSY's reason is from a sur mei-ra standpoint of what one can lose in the secular college environment; my reason is from an asei tov standpoint in terms of what one can gain at a place like YU ) - this is a side discussion. However, if one acknowledges the point of view that attendance of secular schools should be discouraged, then it is not an independent organizational goal, but is rather a part-and-parcel of imparting a frum ideology to the participants in the program.
[I'm not saying that people who choose to attend secular colleges are definitionally not frum, but rather that a frum person would look at the choice with a greater nuance before making their choice in either direction]. Whenever one is trying to sell an idea, one focuses on the general idea and its larger benefits rather than on its specific smaller costs. This is true even for ideas where it is in the best interests of the public to take up these ideas, e.g., public health campaigns, which if one views frumkeit as being a positive thing, would be a better analog to what NCSY tries to do than, e.g., cigarette advertising.

The underlying problem organizationally was that between a teen's religious (so-called) needs and his/her needs for general well-being, the religious needs were determined to be more important.

This is/was a failure of the organization, but I don't believe that it's unique to NCSY. Many organizations of all types unfortunately feel that scandals are best covered up for as long as possible. One can rightfully challenge the passivity of NCSY in this context, but I'm defending its activity in other contexts.

Frumkeit is considered paramount in ways which are inappropriate for this population, and are directly against the parents wishes.

This is a broader question that underlies any kiruv geared towards children. The question becomes at what stage a child can think for himself and make some of his own decisions. One should consider also how much of what regular children choose to do, especially once they reach high school age, can be considered to be in complete consonance with their parents' values.

Josh M. said...

bitterly anti- frum?

I'm not sure that your definitions of frum are identical.

all investigated it before hand

Investigation is useless beyond a certain superficial level.

DK said...

"This is a broader question that underlies any kiruv geared towards children. The question becomes at what stage a child can think for himself and make some of his own decisions. One should consider also how much of what regular children choose to do, especially once they reach high school age, can be considered to be in complete consonance with their parents' values."

Great -- so then I am sure that the Orthodox kiruv community which supports offering kids "choices" and supports teens "making their own decisions" will allow secular and liberal Jews to come into their schools and offer different approaches both to Judaism and towards the world, since they are such big supporters of the marketplace of ideas.

Right? (Snark)

"One can rightfully challenge the passivity of NCSY in this context, but I'm defending its activity in other contexts."

Again, there was nothing passive about NCSY's behavior. It was quite active.

"However, if one acknowledges the point of view that attendance of secular schools should be discouraged, then it is not an independent organizational goal, but is rather a part-and-parcel of imparting a frum ideology to the participants in the program."

NCSY is not open about their frum ideology generally, particularly in the JSUs, who operate under a false "cultural" and ecumenical pretense.

Erachet said...

dk,

http://burgncsy.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/40/

It seems that JSU is NOT really NCSY, it's just that NCSY runs some of its programs. Additionally, there is a statement made on there that JSU is not exclusively Orthodox.

Also, if you go on the JSU website, their mission statement talks about getting more Jewish teens at public schools to do something Jewish, and not JUST eating pizza. They don't seem to hide that they are a kiruv type of organization at all.

"JSU facilitates regular club meetings in public schools that meet during the lunch hour, before or after school, providing food for the body and soul. Programs include speakers from a variety of Jewish organizations, discussions on timely topics of interest to the participants and interactive activities (such as the ever popular "Jewpardy Quiz Game"). Kosher pizza, falafel, holiday foods or other snacks are always served.

In addition to the regularly scheduled school club meetings, JSU sponsors activities outside of school and school hours including Shabbatons, Latte n’ Learning sessions, community service projects, ski trips, Friday night gatherings (Oneg Shabbat), the annual New York Experience trip and others. JSU also participated in Jewish community-wide events such as Super Sunday, Mitzvah Day, Israel Independence Day celebrations and Jewish Community Festivals."

So I don't see why you think JSU hides that they are a kiruv organization.

DK said...

JSU hides that they are a front for NCSY proper, which they are in most JSU locations. Active recruitment to Orthodoxy and even haredism is quite different that getting kids to "do something Jewish! That's it!"

Josh M. said...

Great -- so then I am sure that the Orthodox kiruv community which supports offering kids "choices" and supports teens "making their own decisions" will allow secular and liberal Jews to come into their schools and offer different approaches both to Judaism and towards the world, since they are such big supporters of the marketplace of ideas.

Not supporters of an open marketplace as an independent value, but rather willing to take part in the current environment. Is there any organization that aids the spread of ideas antithetical to what it believes in - is NARAL willing to support the spread of anti-abortion literature, or is the NRA willing to support speakers who condemn gun ownership?

Again, there was nothing passive about NCSY's behavior. It was quite active.

I'm contrasting its passivity in taking action against Lanner (even when expressed through actively enforcing this passivity) versus its activity in encouraging frumkeit. Let's not quibble over semantics.


NCSY is not open about their frum ideology generally, particularly in the JSUs, who operate under a false "cultural" and ecumenical pretense.


I'm not familiar with the JSUs on anything more that a superficial level, so can't respond to that, but the activities of the organization itself are clearly emanating from a religious ideology, even when they're just social events.

DK said...

"I'm not familiar with the JSUs on anything more that a superficial level, so can't respond to that, but the activities of the organization itself are clearly emanating from a religious ideology, even when they're just social events."

Parents and teens need to know that. They need to know that the Orthodox Union has infested our public school system through disguise, and is doing so with the backing of some regional Federations.

"Is there any organization that aids the spread of ideas antithetical to what it believes in - is NARAL willing to support the spread of anti-abortion literature, or is the NRA willing to support speakers who condemn gun ownership?"

No, which is why secular and liberal Jewish parents will throw these charlatans out when they understand who they really are and what they really stand for.

They can go do kiruv at their local Young Israel.

Ezzie said...

Parents and teens need to know that.

They DO know that, which was the point of the comments above. JSU doesn't hide what they're doing.

JSU hides that they are a front for NCSY proper, which they are in most JSU locations.

That's not true.

Active recruitment to Orthodoxy and even haredism is quite different that getting kids to "do something Jewish! That's it!"

But they ARE just getting kids to "do something Jewish" and that's it. Some actually (gasp) enjoy it or (GASP) get meaning out of it, and want to do more. Nobody is brainwashing or forcing them to do anything. That you had a bad experience with kiruv [correct me if I'm wrong] does not mean that most people are like you.

Explain that one of the organizational goals is to discourage ivy league attendance in favor of places like Touro, whom they are heavily allied with and recruit for.

NCSY does NOT recruit for any school. Some of its volunteers DO recruit for those schools, which makes perfect sense: People generally like the schools they are at, and in this case in particular, may think that those types of schools would be a better fit for someone who is looking to become more religious. [Side note: If you really are interested, you can check the Harvard study from a few years ago which measures how people do in the future based on what university they attend; they determined that kids who did well in HS will do as well in whatever university they attend while kids who were okay will only do okay even coming from an Ivy.] But in terms of what they can pick up religiously, I'm with Josh that they are far better off in Stern/YU/Touro. (See the author of this blog as an example.)

Frumkeit is considered paramount in ways which are inappropriate for this population, and are directly against the parents wishes.

I'm not sure why you're deeming it "inappropriate" for this population (kids who wish to become more religious). Moreover, I'd be curious as to your stance regarding Charedi kids and their parents' wishes. I'm assuming that in that case, you would be okay with their being restricted from a secular education.

I obviously wholeheartedly agree that the Lanner situation was dealt with horribly and there is NO reason he should have been around kids after the accusations began. It's mind-boggling.

1) Alliances with and recruitment for hardline haredi institutions.

Alliances with some, which have certain qualities that NCSY can't have as a primarily youth organization, such as higher-level speakers and the like. NOT recruitment for. That some students CHOOSE to go on to some of those because they think it makes sense for them is (again) their own personal choice, and not what most of their kids do.

3) A general anti-Intellectual stance, such as their promotion of their national director crowd surfing.

What does that mean?!

The bottom line of NCSY, to "make kids frum," has proven destructive.

Wow.

I would note that the only people I have met who defend these tactics are frum people (and not all do, by the way) not secular or liberal Jews.

That's a ridiculous way of looking at it. That's like Democrats in NYC being shocked that Bush win because "nobody I know voted for him". Duh.

We should not have to suffer this disrespect. Frummies have no right to decide on their own what is or is not acceptable for liberal Jews.

...and liberal Jews should have that right when it comes to "frummies"?

Honestly, though, how do most kids get into NCSY, JSU, etc? Do their parents have no clue? Do they sneak out to go on weekend-long Shabbatons? Does it take so long to look at the NCSY website? And, more importantly, are the more secular organizations on schools (BBYO, etc.) drawing these kids? Why or why not? If you're truly interested in drawing secular Jewish kids into secular Jewish organizations, try and put some meaning for them into those, not making up facts in order to attack NCSY.

Ezzie said...

Oh, and sorry, Chana :)

Erachet said...

"Parents and teens need to know that."

Just to repeat what Ezzie said, because I think it needs to be made clear to you, Parents and Teens KNOW THIS ALREADY. If you don't, then I'm sorry you have a hard time reading the website. But it says STRAIGHT OUT on the JSU website that they have shabbatonim, onegs, learning activities, etc. If that isn't informing parents and teens about what they do, then I don't know what is.

Also, my previous point from before was that JSU isn't NCSY. NCSY just runs some of their events. Therefore, it stands to reason that kids involved in JSU will be exposed to NCSY and, IF THEY SO CHOOSE, can get involved in NCSY itself. Again, IF THEY SO CHOOSE.

You are doing exactly what the chareidim do when they don't want their kids exposed to secular ideas. You don't want secular kids to be exposed to religious ideas. I disagree with BOTH views. The secular and the religious both exist. To deny exposure to either one is wrong. No one is forcing anything on anyone. Teens DECIDE ON THEIR OWN what they feel most comfortable doing, how much they want to grow. They head towards what draws them. If NCSY is what draws them, if they become close to their Orthodox advisors and want to try being Orthodox, if they try it and - shocker - actually LIKE it, they'll stay that way!

I don't understand why you can't accept the fact that plenty of people enjoy being religious and that it brings meaning into their lives, even if it doesn't for you. Not everyone is you.

DK said...

Ezzie, you wrote,

"NCSY does NOT recruit for any school."

What are you talking about? What kind of game are you playing?

"Rabbi Dave" Felsenthal is the Director of Alumni. His main job is not, in fact, to have an annual shabbaton at Aish Passaic (just for the not so religious recruits, of course), but rather, to faciliate study in yeshivas and seminaries.

He negotiates packages. He PRESENTS packages -- to places like OHR SOMAYACH and other hardline yeshivas and seminaries. Want the link to prove it?

What do you think the "recommended" yeshivas and seminaries section is for? To look pretty? They recruit for these places!

You asked,

"Honestly, though, how do most kids get into NCSY, JSU, etc?"

Through pizza, and pretending there is no agenda when there is. Through deception.

Erachet wrote,

"NCSY just runs some of their events."

NCSY should not be running ANY events in the public school system. None. That has to change, and I think with education, about who NCSY is, and what they seek, it will change.

Erachet said...

dk,

"pretending there is no agenda when there is. Through deception."

Explain to me how they pretend there is no agenda. By making it clear on their website that they DO have an agenda? That they DO provide Jewish experiences for public school teens? I don't see any deception here. Nor is it deceptive to expose teens to what's out there, so that they can make the decision whether or not they want to try it.

An administrator of the NCSY boards (in the thread I linked to in my earlier response) made this statement: "JSU is an accrediting organization that accredits NCSY’s school clubs. Many JSU clubs are run by NCSY, but they are not exclusively run by NCSY."

You said, "NCSY should not be running ANY events in the public school system. None. That has to change, and I think with education, about who NCSY is, and what they seek, it will change."

http://www.ou.org/ncsy/basic.htm

Why don't you check that website out? It describes what NCSY does, part of which is to bring awareness to Jewish public school teens of their Jewish heritage. Where should they do that if not in a public school?

For some reason my browser isn't letting me back onto the JSU website, but if you go there, under FAQ, I think it's the very first question/answer that explains how it is legal for JSU to bring Jewish activities to public schools for the Jewish teens there. So there is no legal issue, either, even if one were to bring up separation of church and state (I believe that was the wording of the question - if it was a violation of separation of church and state. The answer explains how it isn't).

The NCSY and JSU websites bring education of who they are, like you talk about people needing to know, and if someone does not wish to be a part of that, he/she doesn't have to. No one's forcing anything. NCSY and JSU just want Jewish teens to know that the option is out there, that Judaism is out there, that they can get closer to their Jewish heritage and Jewish identity if they WANT to.

Ezzie said...

What are you talking about? What kind of game are you playing?

"Rabbi Dave" Felsenthal is the Director of Alumni. His main job is not, in fact, to have an annual shabbaton at Aish Passaic (just for the not so religious recruits, of course), but rather, to faciliate study in yeshivas and seminaries.

He negotiates packages. He PRESENTS packages -- to places like OHR SOMAYACH and other hardline yeshivas and seminaries. Want the link to prove it?


Huh? You're basically arguing that because they suggest people coming through their program would probably like/be comfortable with certain programs afterwards that they are officially recruiting for them? That's the most twisted definition of "recruiting" I've heard.

Do you call it "recruiting" when people suggest Ivy or state schools to prep students? Or when Catholic schools suggest Catholic universities? Or when Jewish schools suggest yeshivos, YU, Touro? Are they "recruiting" for those schools? Or are they telling people what they think they might like, based on what they seem to be into... which, if they're in NCSY, may very well be places like YU, Touro, Aish, or OS.

You've basically set up a bunch of extreme definitions of terms so you make the following statement - which, to others, who you know define those terms differently, will find shocking and appalling:

NCSY recruits for hardline Haredi organizations in our public schools against their parents' wishes and without their knowledge!

This requires one to believe:

NCSY = JSU, which has some of the same members as NCSY and has activities occasionally run by NCSY

recruits = offers optional programs to students which they choose to attend

hardline Haredi orgs = loose affiliation with YU & Touro in that many people from each - primarily the former - volunteer for NCSY (though rarely if ever JSU) and loose affiliation with two of the largest Kiruv organizations worldwide (Aish & OS) that have programs that NCSY does not, and have more RW leanings.

in our public schools - which is really only JSU, which again, has a loose affiliation with NCSY, and merely direct interested kids to Shabbatons which they choose to go to

against their parents' wishes - which assumes that their parents all want their kids to have nothing to do with NCSY, JSU, et al and that they are going on Shabbatons and the like against those wishes

and without their knowledge - which assumes that the parents have NO clue what JSU or NCSY are about, though it is stated plainly on their websites and in their literature.

That's quite a set of jumps in one statement, don't you think!?

I think I'm done with this conversation.

DK said...

they recruit, no one denies that except people not a part of NCSY. NCSY makes no such denial.

The conversation will ultimately take place with the parents of the public schools. You will have no place there, Ezzie. So it is good you are bowing out.

Stay out of our public schools. Go do kiruv at Touro.

DK said...

erachet, I would note what TM of Jewlicious said on my site about that exact explanation:

"It’s not your place to take the upbringing, values and Jewish identity that we parents provide and undo it to meet your ideals. Here is how you describe yourselves: www.ou.org/ncsy/basic.htm. Nowhere there do I see any suggestion that you will take our children and brainwash them or direct them down paths that we would reject out of hand. That is simply not your role."

Horrified said...

dk:
You are scary......
Charlatans?
I agree with Stern Alum- you are bitter and angry and make statements that are bordering on bigoted and unacceptable.......
I think all should bow out of this.

Anonymous said...

"dk:
You are scary......
Charlatans?
I agree with Stern Alum- you are bitter and angry and make statements that are bordering on bigoted and unacceptable.......
I think all should bow out of this. "

I don't agree. I think we should continue to discuss this. I don't believe that DK is alone. You can't shut people down. Who does it serve? I'll be back. And definately to address the "crowd surfing" crack. I was there. I'm thinking that you may have been too. I've got my sleeves rolled up. Let's continue. Shabat Shalom again!

DK said...

anonymous,

Though we have disagreed on the previous thread, thanks for not insulting me on a personal level and for sticking up for me here. Your menschkeit is really appreciated.

I wasn't there. I saw the much touted video and was really horrified. But then, I'm a Litvak. We hate that sort of thing.

Have a good shabbos.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha. That is so funny. Over Shabbat, my husband and I were talking about you and your concerns and he says, "He doesn't get the crowd-surfing because he doesn't get the Chasidus of all of it. NCSY was never the intellectual approach. It's all emotional stuff." And here's the bottom line. MO kids are running off to be accountants, doctors, and lawyers. Nobody is going into Rabanut or Chinuch, definately not Chinuch. So we don't have the manpower. My kids' teachers in their MO school are almost all UO. It's starting to get on my nerves, but it's our own damn fault. We aren't cultivating it. So who exactly is supposed to run your suggested MO outreach program? And who exactly is supposed to gently acclimate them to Orthodoxy (with Hebrew ed) post High School? I'm willing, but then I'm a former UO who got educated and married the son of right wing Litvak BT's, a guy who loves a substantive Halacha Shiur and a rocking Chasidish Tish. I'm on board if you do make it happen, but in the meantime, I'm at those NCSY Shabatonim because those kids need me and my hubby. FTR, no one has ever told us what to say and where to direct these kids, although in NY there are those that do as you say. We absolutely love Judaism and Orthodoxy so anyone who is putting up is worth supporting. And, by the way, I'm with that guy AJ on your Jewschool blog. You are losing the forest for the trees. I don't agree that the trees are poisonous. Chareidism is better than being unaffiliated. Really. It's funny, but in your assertion to the opposite you betrayed a non-Litvak emotion-biased opinion. You betrayed your personal Negiot (biases) and probable past pain. Objectively speaking, your opinion doesn't hold water. Your welcome for the defense and post when you get some kind of support for a positive forward-thinking initiative. But, please just try to stay proactive. If you can't work within the current infrastructure, then set something up as a complement. The negativity is just that and you're a dime a dozen with the rants. I mean do you ranters have kids? I'm nearing middle age and I can't afford a red convertible so I just have little patience for the 90% bitching and moaning and the 10% action of these blogs. There's stuff that needs to be done. If the house is dirty, clean it. If you don't like the neighborhood, move. If your kid is failing, get him a tutor. I mean just do something already. Use the blogs to publicize it and move on.

Anonymous said...

On a positive note, passionate people get things done that others can't. The truth shall set you free, but you must then set your course.

DK said...

Anonymous, you said,

"My kids' teachers in their MO school are almost all UO. It's starting to get on my nerves, but it's our own damn fault. We aren't cultivating it. So who exactly is supposed to run your suggested MO outreach program?"

This is a major issue, yes, one Dr. Heilman has examined at length. Essentially, the traditional-secular and liberal Jewish community should recognize that they have a significant portion of the population that has never been satisfied with "Liberal Judaism," and create a program to service them. This means hiring (and cultivating) qualified MO Jews who have skills (like Hebrew, wouldn't that be nice for the kids?). This would also serve he MO community outside of such a youth group. But it takes money, and te secular/liberal Jewish community should pay the bulk of it, and also maintain oversight to avoid the shenanigans going on at NCSY, where they have no oversight.

"Chareidism is better than being unaffiliated."

That is your preference, but it is not mine, and it is pretty clearly not the preference of most non-Orthodox Jews, or more would live differently. Of course, we would need to define "unaffiliated."

But. If they understood who and what NCSY recruits in terms of the hardline places (which were essentially the only places they sent public school kids to for years, and had no problem doing so), they would never allow their kids near NCSY, never mind allow NCSY into their public schools without going nuts.

And thus the divide. Not only between you and me, but between the Orthodox and the liberal Jews. They just don't understand this from NCSY's most accessible content, or from their activities.

Anonymous said...

Not such a great divide. I have agreed with you or chosen to remain silent on some of your claims regarding the "bait and switch." I'm just curious. What prevents a liberal MO outreach program or USY for that matter from getting into these student union meetings at public schools? Nothing, I would assume. I have always been a big supporter of USY too. It serves a great purpose. As does Solomon Schechter, especially the high schools (although, read this week's Jewish Week story about that). I am unclear as to why other organizations can't take their piece of the public school pie. You must be distracted by the recent abstinence initiative at NCSY. I will be looking into that. I am confused and at the same time concerned by the whole thing. Someone on the Canonist had an interesting take on it. I don't know. By unaffiliated, I mean does not affiliate oneself with any denomination/synagogue. I know others who are plugged in in their own way, Solomon Schechter, Camp Ramah, USY. I just happen to think Orthodoxy is rich and has a lot to offer a family. But plugged in to any Jewish educational system and congregational system is good. Experiencing Shabbat and living a Halachic life (liberal or otherwise) is better. I believe in it, hence I want to give others the opportunity to learn about it. I am well aware that in the end parents must make their own decisions for their minors and older teens should make up their own mind. I can only choose for my own family. I also believe in going on RV vacations. If you think I'm not gonna try and sell that to people who prefer a nondescript Holiday Inn in Orlando, you're wrong. But I am very up front about it.