Volume 27 Number 33
                      Produced: Mon Dec  8  6:30:15 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kiruv and Day Schools
         [Binyomin Segal]
Kiruv and Schools
         [Nadine Bonner]
Kiruv in NCSY
         [Binyomin Segal]
Lying for shidduchim
References for shiduchim
         [Janice Gelb]
Talmud Torah--A prerequisite for Keyruv
         [Russell Hendel]


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 12:21:36 -0600
Subject: Kiruv and Day Schools

David I. Cohen asks about the role of jewish schools in kiruv:
*It would also appear that the majority of the
*Orthodox day schools in the US adhere to that philosophy and actively
*encourage (or at least don't discourage or turn away) children of
*non-observant families to attend and take part in a day school
*education.  (Studies apparently have shown that a day school education
*is the single most significant factor in preventing inter-marriage.)
* The question that puzzles me, therefore, is why don't the Orthodox high
*schools follow the same policy? With very few exceptions, most high
*schools require a prospective student to already be fully observant
*before the student will be admitted. In many cases, the entire family is
*examined to see if they pass the administrators religious scrutiny. Are
*we not missing something if we stop organized kiruv work at the high
*school door, and relegate to the inconsistently effective "youth groups"
*which reach such a small percentage of Jewish youth? Is this policy

i believe that this policy discussion is older than the jewish people.

in the torah we read that sara is concerned about the influence that
yishmael will have on yitzchak, and avraham wants to keep him around for
the affect it will have on yishmael. (granted this is not the only way
that rishonim read the events, but it is one way)

as a teacher who has often argued in favor of keeping a student in
school, i know what is going on, and i do not envy the administrator's
their difficult decisions. an administrator is bound to do what is best
for all the students in the school. if one student will adversly affect
the other students, by what right can the school expose the other
students to that adverse influence? schools work very hard at trying to
properly balance the needs of each individual student to get a jewish
education with the needs of the group as a whole. it aint easy.



From: Nadine Bonner <nbonner@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Dec 97 11:06:00 PST
Subject: Kiruv and Schools

Daniel Cohen's comments on kiruv and Orthodox high schools raise some
interesting points. As the parent of one high school senior and one
upcoming freshman, I think there are several points to consider.

High school students are far more vulnerable to peer pressure than
elementary school age children. Although parents may be interested in
kiruv and would welcome less observant teens or adults into their homes,
it is different when it comes to exposing your children on a daily basis
to teens with different values regarding dating relationships, media
exposure, etc. While parents may be strong in their beliefs and
practices and able to initiate kiruv, teenagers are still
exploring. Therefore I can understand why most parents prefer that the
high school their children attend has students who reflect their values
and practices. A successful school cannot afford to go against this
trend and accept other kinds of students -- parents would simply remove
their children. I think this is why co-ed Centrist Orthodox schools are
struggling to survive.

However, this trend has extended to the point that high schools also
present only one stream of Orthodoxy as correct. My oldest daughter
attends a small all girls high school -- the only one in town -- where
there is discrimination against girls who graduated from a more Centrist
Orthodox elementary school. Although when you look at them, they all
apprear modestly dressed, they are subject to a constant barrage of
criticism about sock heights and neck length that ventures on the
absurd. For this school to be successful, it must attract enough girls
from all three Jewish day schools in town to fill the classes.  But I am
so uncomfortable with the attitudes my daughter is bringing home about
other observant girls that I have chosen to send my second daughter out
of town rather than expose her to this atmosphere. I really don't want
my girls going through life judging people on the length of their
sleeves. I guess my question is, where do you draw the lines? (Of course
the answer to the dress problem is uniforms, but the question of
attitude still remains).


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 12:11:55 -0600
Subject: Re: Kiruv in NCSY 

Jordan Hirsch's experience as noted:
*As someone who has been involved with Kiruv
*for almost 20 years, I must say that this view is not as prevalent among
*younger Kiruv workers such as might be found in NCSY, and similar
*organizations. I chalk this up to the age and for want of a better word,
*naivete of these sincere young people.

is very different than my own. i too have been involved in kiruv for
many years, and with ncsy since i myself was in 7th grade. (about 20
years ago) the attitudes i saw and eventually modeled myself were/are
very much in keeping with the discussions here.

when i was one of those younger kiruv workers, (about 10 years ago) a
rebbe in my yeshiva asked me if i really thought ncsy was worth the time
and effort. my answer (which follows) i think summed up the attitude i
had learned:

in every graduating class there are yichidim (individuals), that go the
distance. and everything we did is worth it for them. besides that,
every kid that comes to ncsy is touched, brought closer in some way and
everything we do is worth it for them

(for those of you that need to quantify everything, a recent survey done
with ncsy and the lilly foundation found that 99% of ncsy alumni marry

it might not agree exactly with my adult sentiments, or the semtiments
of the list, but i think it is typical of young ncsy advisors and
refutes jordan's experience.



From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 02 Dec 97 17:44:36 EST
Subject: Re: Lying for shidduchim

On Tue, 2 Dec 1997 06:21:37 -0500 (EST) Aaron Gross said:
>there are many late 30-something and early 40-something women who can
>and do have children.  A potential husband who is expecting a large
>family could be quite upset if his kallah-to-be is discovered to have
>limited reproductive years.
>On the other hand, youth, alas, is no guarantee of reproductive ability,

Very true, and it is also true that childbearing is in many respects
riskier both for late 30-something and 40-something women, and for their
offspring, than is earlier childbearing, although early childbearing
also has its potential downsides.

Obviously, pirya ve-rivya (procreation) is an important mitzvah, and
primarily incumbent upon men.  However, the notion of a husband-to-be
"expecting" a a large family and being "upset" if his kallah's
"reproductive ability" is limited, while understandable as far as it
goes in its halachic aspect, worries me.  It seems to suggest that the
primary criterion for an acceptable "candidate kallah" is her
reproductive potential and to discount other important qualities both in
the candidate kallah and in the hatan-to- be (notably, in both
instances, middot, or character attributes, including compassion and the
ability to deal with not always getting everything one wants, or to
which one feels "entitled," in this life).

It is not at all rare days to encounter women with outstanding middot
who are looking to get married but who are of "relatively advanced"
(mid-30s+) years, or in whom there is reason to suspect fertility
problems, or who have other health problems which limit or preclude
childbearing.  Should the "Torah-observant world," however we choose to
define it, relegate these women to second- (or lower-) class status just
because they are not, not, to be altogether crass about it, "top-quality
breeding stock"?  Is this truly the intent, k'vyachol, of Ha-Kadosh
Baruch Hu? (As an aside, we ought to bear in mind that approximately
half of all "explained" infertility is due to male factors.)

This is of particular concern to me in view of my increasingly strong
perception that, within the Torah-observant world, the primary if not
sole way for a woman to find acceptance is through marriage, preferably
very early in life, followed by very often repeated, very closely spaced
childbearing.  On the one hand, the chiyuv (positive obligation) of
marriage and procreation devolves, per the letter of the halacha, upon
men. On the other, women have far fewer options than men for gaining
acceptance in the Torah-observant world if they aren't, for whatever
reason, engaged in these pursuits.

If it becomes known that a particular woman has any of the
above-mentioned problems, it is in many circles impossible for her to
find a "decent" shidduch: she may be set up, if she is set up at all,
with men who by many standards would be regarded as serious misfits.
I've had such women tell me about being set up with men who didn't
bathe, who had no clue about socially acceptable behaviors on any
dimensions, and/or who were currently active alcoholics, abusers of
other drugs, or severely mentally ill.  These women are also told,
explicitly to their faces or more subtly, that they can't expect really
"good" guys but have to "settle" for what ones like them can get.
Obviously, this is far from universally true, but IMHO it happens far
too often to be ignored.

I have known several women who have become so embittered over this state
of affairs that they have left the "frum" fold entirely.  Others of my
acquaintance, while still shomrot mitzvot (religiously observant), are
struggling desperately to cope with the pain and anger they feel over
the ways they have been marginalized by the "Torah world" due to
circumstances entirely beyond their control.  How are they to deal with
the situation as it presently exists?

Also, at the risk of appearing to be in "rant mode," IMHO it shouldn't
devolve solely on these women to cope for themselves.  In view of their
health-related and other life circumstances, they no doubt have plenty
else they have to cope with.  IMHO, the Torah world should commit itself
in present time and for the future to dealing more sensitively and
humanely with these issues, as they won't go away.  However, I'm not
sure how this is best done.  Would anyone care to comment?


From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 09:32:52 -0800
Subject: References for shiduchim

David Herskovic wrote:
> It is common practice when a shiduch is proposed to enquire with the
> rosh yeshive/magid shiur/sem head about the character of the proposed.
> In many cases the person being asked for information will give negative
> information or simply nod with their head to imply that all is not well.
> Assuming that they are being truthful and that it being a shidduch there
> is no loshen hore involved, what about breaches of confidentiality?
> As the rosh yeshive or the like gained their information by being
> employed in the institution do they not have an obligation to consult
> the parents of the proposed or the proposed him/herself before giving a
> character reference.

Are you proposing that a rosh yeshiva ask parents or the potential match
for permission to provide negative information about the person?  How
often do you think such permission would be granted? And how do you
suggest that anyone get realistic information about a potential shidduch
unless it is by going to qualified, upstanding non-family members who
know the person well and have no ax to grind?

> If a doctor or a lawyer were to impart with information about their
> clients in this way there would no doubt be an outcry due to the breach
> of confidence involved, so why should a teacher or school head be any
> different?

Because a doctor or lawyer is only dealing with financial implications
that affect the individual and have only that individual's welfare in
mind, so that individual's rights and permissions are the only ones that
should be consulted. However, a teacher or school head providing
information on a potential shidduch is not only dealing with the person
in question but with the future of the potential mate as well. That
person has a right to complete and unbiased information.

-- Janice
Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janice.gelb@...>      | message is the return address. 


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 18:48:55 -0500
Subject: Talmud Torah--A prerequisite for Keyruv

An additional thought on what Keyruv should and should not do.

First some history: Several hundred years ago the Baal Shem Tov founded
Chasidus--its purpose was that non Torah scholars should be able to come
close to God by involvement with Mitzvoth (Until that time it was
expected that anyone who was very close to God should/must also be very

The Vilna Gaon (and many others) visciously opposed Chasidus because
of its deemphasis on Torah. A sort of cold war evolved which was
settled (without any physical violence)--the conclusion universally
held by both Chasidim and Mithnagdim today is that all Keyruv no
matter WHO it is addressed to and no matter WHAT its initial goals
are MUST have a Torah component in its program.

Some examples:
	The Hinani movement of Rebetzin Jungreis 
	Aish Hatorah movement (as well as movements that emphasize the codes)

In other words everyone agrees that independent of WHAT turns you on and
how desparate you are the Keyruv program must have a Torah component.

Every known keyruv movement has kept to this goal. And indeed, it is
Talmud Torah -- the learning of the law...the perception that the
reciting of regulations is Divine service... that distinguishes Judaism
from other religions and other cultures.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d;ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


End of Volume 27 Issue 33