web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



‘We Want To Return Young Israel To Its Roots’: An Interview with Rabbi Perry Tirschwell

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell

Share Button

“We’re a victim of our own success,” said Rabbi Perry Tirschwell, Rabbi Pesach Lerner’s successor as executive director of the National Council of Young Israel. “The reason it’s called Young Israel is because it was started by young people 100 years ago who weren’t connecting to the shuls because the speeches were in Yiddish and the shuls were recreations of Galicia, Lithuania, Romania, and Hungary.”

These young American-born Jews, Rabbi Tirschwell said, “created a different type of shul – a shul where there was singing, a shul where the rabbi spoke in English, and a shul where there was social programming.” But with nearly all community synagogues now featuring many of the components that Young Israel once championed, what is the purpose of the organization today?

The Jewish Press spoke with Rabbi Tirschwell about this topic, among others.

The Jewish Press: What’s your vision for Young Israel? What is its purpose as we enter 2014?

Rabbi Tirschwell: We want to return to our mission of servicing synagogues and inspiring people in their 20s and 30s. We’re going to bring Young Israel back to its roots because you have a whole generation of singles living in Manhattan who are not really connecting religiously after they’ve left college or yeshiva.

Aren’t there already organizations and shuls that cater to the singles crowd?

There are definitely efforts, but it’s not nearly enough. Leaving Yeshiva University aside, you have 1,500 singles in Washington Heights. There are four, five, six times that number on the West Side. The numbers are overwhelming. Some shuls try to reach out to them, but there are so many and they’re transient. You can’t blame the shuls for not investing a lot in them because many of them don’t pay membership. They belong to the “free generation.” Also, their goal is to get out. They don’t want to stay in Manhattan. They want to get married and move to the suburbs.

So I think the shuls need a lot more help.

What kinds of things do you have in mind?

We want to hire couples who are going to reach out to singles to become their spiritual leaders and introduce them to someone of the opposite gender because there’s a lot of casual relationships but not nearly enough serious dating going on. This generation – even if they had rebbeim in yeshiva or seminary – they’re not connected anymore. There isn’t really anyone looking out for them at this point.

There are outreach organizations in Manhattan focused on inspiring people who did not grow up in the Orthodox world, but there’s not really anyone who’s trying to deal with the frum-from-birth singles.

What other ideas do you have to help these singles?

These young professionals – you’re talking about people in their 20s and 30s who are building up their careers now – don’t have a lot of free time during the week, so it really revolves around Shabbos: onegs, meals, and then personal relationships will come out of that.

But Young Israel is a synagogue service organization, so our first and foremost focus will be helping shuls be the most they can be – helping them cut costs, run more inspirational programs, reach their youth better, etc….

Thirty or forty years ago, people’s charitable dollars generally went to the synagogue. That switched over at a certain point and the focal point of the community became day schools. People are very concerned about their children. But when these kids grow up, their connection [to Judaism] is going to be through a shul. It’s not going to be through learning, it’s going to be through davening, and I think we’ve sort of missed the boat on that. We need to make shuls more inspirational and help them reach more people.

Share Button

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and holds a Masters degree from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “‘We Want To Return Young Israel To Its Roots’: An Interview with Rabbi Perry Tirschwell

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Putin-Obama Meme 1
Egypt Signing Unprecedented $3 Billion MiG-35 Deal with Russia
Latest Indepth Stories
Al-Aksa Mosque was claimed to be the site from which Mohammed ascended to Heaven, but it was built nearly 50 years after Mohammed died.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Israeli police enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

Imam Suhail Webb who boasted his Muslim community persuaded Brandeis President Fred Lawrence to withdraw an invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

Text of anti-Semitic flyer distributed to Jews in Donetsk, Ukraine on Passover 2014.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

As support of their messianic dream, Halevi and Antepli approve dishonoring Hirsi Ali as a ‘renegade.’

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Rabbi Zevulun Charlop

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Zalta with Mickey Mantle in 1990.

With the new baseball season underway, The Jewish Press chatted with Zalta in his Flatbush home about some of his other memories.

Rabbi Hammer recently spoke with The Jewish Press about his new book, Derash Yehonatan: Around the Year with Rav Yehonatan Eybeshitz (Koren), and his work in teaching Torah to secular Israelis.

Halpert doesn’t know why he was fired, and YU apparently won’t explain

There’s also the issue of accusing the Jews of being excessively materialistic and exploitative of non-Jews. You see a lot of that in far-left propaganda – that the Jews are overwhelmingly concentrated in the petty bourgeoisie, which in itself is an archaic class form, and thrives on tricking people and squeezing money out of them through illicit methods of trade.

Recently dubbed “the greatest living figure of chassidic music” by NPR, Shenker still composes several new pieces every year. He is currently recording an album of some of his Haggadah compositions, which he hopes will be out before Pesach.

Schanzer, who holds a doctorate from King’s College London, is currently vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and has testified before Congress on Middle East affairs on several occasions.

We want to hire couples who are going to reach out to singles to become their spiritual leaders and introduce them to someone of the opposite gender because there’s a lot of casual relationships but not nearly enough serious dating going on. This generation – even if they had rebbeim in yeshiva or seminary – they’re not connected anymore. There isn’t really anyone looking out for them at this point.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/we-want-to-return-young-israel-to-its-roots-an-interview-with-rabbi-perry-tirschwell/2014/01/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: