Wednesday, June 08, 2005

shades of frum

There is a large number of disenfranchised former yeshiva boys walking
around who don't really feel they have a religious identity. I suppose
this probably happens to girls as well, though I don't know if it
applies to them as much. Going through a yeshiva, you are told certain
disdainful things about the non-yeshivish world and when you get there
it is sometimes difficult to attach yourself to that "lower realm."
For example, yeshivas often talk disparagingly about "balei batim,"
such as "that is a balei batisha question", or "daf yomi is for balei
batim." The inference is that balei batim are people who aren't really
frum, can't learn and have no depth. A boy now leaves yeshiva, goes to
college gets a degree and gets a job. He has stopped
wearing his black hat, because he is not part of the yeshiva world
anymore and does not associate with that crowd. On the same token,
the yeshiva prefers not to associate with him, as he went off the
derech, in their view and they do not want their boys seeing this as a
viable option.
The boy now does not feel comfortable walking into the yeshiva,
because he knows that he will be scorned, if not publicly then
privately as a Balabus, the worst kind of Jew.
He is also not part of the Modern Orthodox world, as he is a learned
individual who wants to be shomer torah and mitzvos. His wife will
cover her hair and dress in a tznius fashion. He would not send his
kids to the mixed modern orthodox school, except he doesn't really
feel part of the yeshiva world anymore, so he is in a quandary there.
He has an hour to learn a day, but he can't go to a daf yomi shiur,
because that isn't even learning. So he doesn't learn at all.
His yeshiva training has taught him that Modern Orthodox isn't frum,
so he would never join that crowd - if he isn't going to be frum, why
The boy is lost at sea.

However, there is a vibrant community of non-yeshivish, yet very frum
balei batim who are just like this boy. The boy has to forget the
stereotype that was pounded into him during his yeshiva days. It is
common to be frum and not yeshivish. Yeshivishness and religion are
not connected at the hip. It is a tough concept to overcome, but once
over the hill a world of opportunity opens up.

1 comment:

2R said...

Here Here! Now if we can only get this message out there...wait...that's your job...