web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell

Rabbi Perry Tirschwell

“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.

About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and author of “Movers and Shakers: Sixty Prominent Personalities Speak Their Mind on Tape” (Brenn Books).


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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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
A would-be preacher delivers his message of hate from the Muslim"holy site" on the Temple Mount.
Al Aqsa Mosque ‘Stand-Up’ Preacher Calls for Annihilation of the United States
Latest Indepth Stories
Greiff-112814-Levaya

My son is seventeen; he didn’t want to talk about what happened, or give any details of the Rosh Yeshiva’s words of chizuk.

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri

All involved in the Ferguson debate should learn the laws pertinent to non-Jews: the Noahide Laws.

Charley Levine

Prominent Jewish leaders acknowledged that their predecessors had mistreated the Bergson Group.

Cravatts-Richard--new

Abbas has been adding new layers of rhetoric to his tactical campaign to de-Judaize Jerusalem

The Jew’s crime is his presence.

Hamas’s love for death tried to have as many Palestinian civilians killed as possible

Israel recognizes the fabrication called a Palestinian nation; So what do we want from the Swedes?

Arab attacking Jews in the land date back a century, long before Israel was created or in control.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Unfortunately, at present, the rabbinate does not play a positive role in preventing abuse.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

More Articles from Elliot Resnick
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

You can’t say “Jewish French,” “Jewish British,” “Jewish Italian.” They are “French Jews,” “British Jews,” and “Italian Jews” – because they’re seen as Jews first and residents or citizens of their countries second.

Joshua Klein

Another thing they have been covering up is the nature of the building that was attacked. To this day people refer to it as a consulate or an embassy, but it wasn’t.

The reality is that civility is less important than clarity, and right now only very few people on the Left are interested in having a civil conversation about the merits of particular policy solutions.

Rabinovich is the author of several popular books on Israel’s wars, including The Battle for Jerusalem, The Yom Kippur War, and The Boats of Cherbourg.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

If you remember, in 2006, a Jewish kid in Paris, Ilan Halimi, was abducted, beaten, and held hostage for three weeks… These are the kinds of people attending these Gaza solidarity rallies.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

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: