Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
Furthermore, prohibitions and the harshness of some of our pronouncements and actions make it more difficult for us to retain or reach out to our youth who are at risk. We could retain more at-risk children and reclaim some who have moved beyond being at risk if we would show more kindness, more patience.
This is probably the most troubling aspect of what is happening within our community. There is spreading discontent over the culture of issur.
In all my years of klal activity I have never seen similar pain or heard such words of criticism as are now being expressed in yeshiva-world families among whom obedience has been the hallmark. I have heard nasty words about Torah leaders from outside of our four cubits and I have been the target of nastiness and hostility because of my advocacy of the primacy of the Torah world and its leaders. Never has there been such anguish and even discontent within our own ranks.
I cannot adequately express the pain I feel now over this brief essay. This world has been my spiritual home and much more. It is what I have given much of my life to. I am crying inside as I write these lines. Something is terribly wrong. The culture of issur is wrong. The alienation of too many of our young is wrong.
About the Author: Dr. Marvin Schick has been actively engaged in Jewish communal life for more than sixty years. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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