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January 18, 2017 / 20 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘boy’

Working Boy: A Mother-In-Law Responds

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Editor’s Note: Rebbetzin Jungreis, a”h, is no longer with us in a physical sense, but her message is eternal and The Jewish Press will continue to present the columns that for more than half a century have inspired countless readers around the world.

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Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

My husband and I read the letter to you from the young man who is upset that “working boys” like him are not considered prime marriage material by many girls, parents, and shadchanim, who place a greater emphasis on learning than on earning. We also read your response with great interest.

I would like to present a different perspective on this problem.

When my daughter graduated high school, she, like many of her friends, went to study in Yerushalayim for a year. When discussing her hopes and dreams for the future, she expressed the desire to marry a “learning boy.” With our blessings, she chose a seminary that advocated that lifestyle. My husband and I had no problem with that. We were in a position, Baruch Hashem, that enabled us to undertake full-time support.

Our daughter is a beautiful girl who throughout her school years excelled not only in learning but also in acts of chesed, and was always in the forefront in spearheading bikur cholim projects.

When she returned home after a year of study, we were bombarded with shidduch recommendations. Friends as well as shadchanim kept calling, suggesting boys of the highest caliber. Baruch Hashem, she found her basherte, and like many other young couples they moved to Yerushalayim, where her husband continued learning full time.

Our in-laws are lovely people but are unable to participate in supporting the couple (they weren’t even able to contribute to the wedding). My mechuten is a yeshiva rebbi with a large family and struggles to make ends meet. However, this was not a cause for concern to us. We were pleased that our daughter had found her basherte and that she was happy.

Our son-in-law is an outstanding Torah scholar with fine character traits, and we have much to be grateful for. We rented a lovely apartment for them in Yerushalayim and gave them a credit card (which they never abused). Everything seemed to be fine.

Today, six years later, with three small children and a fourth on the way, there are major problems. Unfortunately my husband has had severe business reversals. It’s much harder now for us to support our other six children – yeshiva tuitions, camps, clothing, etc. – and to keep up with our many other expenses.

Sadly, we were forced to inform our daughter and son-in-law that as reluctant as we were to do this, we would have to discontinue our support. This came as quite a shock to them. What was my son-in-law to do? What sort of employment could he possibly find?

He was anxious to continue learning and my daughter was determined to make it possible for him to do so. She was prepared to go to work, but then who would care for the children? Hiring help presented an additional expense that the meager salary she would earn could hardly justify. Our hearts broke, but what could we do?

My daughter came up with an idea. She started a small business out of her home, providing services that were much needed by other American families in Israel. Since she would be working from home, she would not need to engage help to care for her children. Baruch Hashem, she’s been managing, although it hasn’t been easy.

My son-in-law has taken on some tutoring jobs but, as you can imagine, the income from that is very small. He says that this year he will try to find full time employment as a rebbi. But not only are the salaries of rabbeim in most Israeli yeshivas inadequate, most of those yeshivas are in the red, and months can pass before rebbeim get their paychecks.

So yes, while my husband and I are all for learning, I am also deeply concerned with what I see going on in so many frum communities. I feel this entire mindset about full-time learning needs to be re-examined, especially given the uncertain economic times in which we live.

I realize there are no easy solutions, and for most of those who are determined to stay in learning or in chinuch, there are no viable options. They have already made a life commitment to learning and teaching Torah. But I wonder how this lifestyle will be sustained on a mass scale, especially when the parents who are supporting full-time learners begin passing from the scene and the current generation is faced with the dilemma of how to make a living.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Working Boy (Part II)

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Last week I published a letter from a young man who felt he was treated unfairly in his quest for a shidduch. A yeshiva graduate who excelled in learning, he was also determined to become a professional and that is where his woes commenced. He complained that the Torah community was intolerant of someone who earned a livelihood and was not a full time learner.

Born into a good, observant family in which he witnessed his parents’ devotion to Torah and their commitment to the work ethic, he wondered how earning a livelihood could be regarded as a negative.

This young man never anticipated that he would encounter difficulties finding a shidduch. To his dismay, however, shadchanim informed him that “good girls” were simply not interested in “working boys” even if they followed a disciplined regimen of daily Torah study.


My Dear Friend:

I understand and sympathize with your disenchantment. It’s very hurtful to be treated unfairly. Obviously, you are devoted to Torah study and are at a loss to understand why you are being labeled. But in all fairness, aren’t you doing some labeling yourself when you write, “All the good girls are looking for full-time learners”?

Is that really a fair statement? I happen to know many girls committed to Torah who come from excellent families and who are desirous of marrying young men like you who maintain a regular regimen of daily learning, daven with a minyan, and at the same time have become professionals. So it’s not as black and white as you make it out to be.

I believe we have altogether too little tolerance for anyone who doesn’t fit into our mold. So while you may have been unfairly judged, I am afraid that you are also judging unfairly.

As for your claim that most girls who spend a year studying in Israel are inculcated with the notion that “the only way a girl can obtain the kind of yiras Shamayim required of her as a Jewish wife and mother is to marry a boy who will learn in kollel or, at the very least, for several years after marriage,” here again it depends on how you view things.

Certainly, rabbis and teachers have the right to impart to their students the values their institutions represent. Girls and their families generally do their homework when choosing a seminary, so they are aware of and agree with the values espoused by the school of their choice.

Today, Baruch Hashem, there are many seminaries in Israel reflecting various shades and attitudes, and people are free to choose the school that best reflects their priority. What is important to remember, however, is that even if we do not personally subscribe to that particular point of view, we should regard it with respect.

We read in the Torah that even though each of the tribes of Israel had its own flag that symbolized its own unique gift and mission, the tribes were united as one. They were united because at the center of their encampment was the Mishkan – the Tabernacle of Hashem. Similarly, we too must forge our unity through our common love of Torah. The classic example of this is Yissachar and Zevulun. The tribe of Yissachar was devoted purely to Torah study, while Zevulun undertook to support Yissachar, but the Torah regards them as equal – as one.

So let us not deride those rabbis or seminary teachers who focus on learning, and by the same token, let us not label yeshivas and seminaries that are supportive of programs committed to learning and work.

We are too few in number to allow ourselves to be further fragmented by finger pointing and labeling. The Torah is the center of our lives and every Yid has a place in the great mosaic of Klal Yisrael.

After our liberation from Bergen Belsen, my beloved father, HaRav HaGaon, HaTzaddik Avraham Halevi Jungreis, zt”l, with tears flowing down his holy face, would say in Yiddish: “Noch a zoie churbon, men darf kushen yeden Yid” – after such a catastrophe, we have to kiss every Jew.

Now let’s get down to tachlis – a shidduch for you. May I suggest you come to our Hineni Heritage Center in Manhattan. We offer Torah classes, lectures, singles events, and so much more. As I mentioned above, there are many fine and good girls who would cherish someone like you, someone committed to learning, davening with a minyan, and giving tzedakah, and at the same time pursuing a profession.

B’Ezrat Hashem, we would be honored to help find your shidduch.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Working Boy

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I am a single male in my mid-20s. After learning all my life in mainstream yeshivish schools, I decided on a professional career and enrolled in college. I recently graduated and am currently working. A few years back, when I was learning in beis medrash during the day and pursuing my undergraduate degree in the evening, I began going out on shidduch dates and quickly realized I had an obstacle to overcome: I was labeled a “working boy.”

My parents raised me with a sense of responsibility and it was always expected I would have a career so that I’d be able to support a family comfortably. I was brought up with the idea that working is a good thing and not at all contradictory to living a proper Jewish life. Little did I know how much resistance I would face when seeking a mate.

Shidduch candidates, as well as shadchanim, asked and continue to ask whether I’d be willing to take time off to learn full-time for an unspecified number of years. I reply that while Torah is my life, I prefer to stick with my profession rather than create a glaring gap on my resume. That answer brings me rejection after rejection.

I have always taken my learning and Yiras Shamayim very seriously. I maintain the same level of Torah observance I grew up with. I daven with a minyan three times a day, maintain a daily seder with my chavrusah, and now that I have the means to do so, I have become a regular donor to several charitable organizations and yeshivas.

I keep up with my rebbeim, seeking their guidance at every step of the way. I attend occasional shiurim and regularly listen to Torah tapes. So, am I any less frum now than I would have been had I remained in yeshiva for an additional few years? Our community’s shidduch standards seem to shout “Yes!”

Despite my stated preference for a very frum girl, shadchanim call me and talk exclusively about girls from fairly modern families. When I reiterate that I am looking for someone from a more yeshivish background, they insist that such girls just don’t go for a “working boy” like me. They only want “learners.”

But look at the boys who are engaged in full-time learning. Undoubtedly many of them are fine young men, striving to grow in Torah and yiras Shamayim. But are they the best learners and the most “ehrlich” simply because they have remained in yeshiva well into their 20s (or older)?

Recently, a friend told me he would be entering a prestigious yeshiva for men who learn full time. He had always wanted to become a doctor like his father, so I asked him why he was putting off his dream for probably several years.

“I need a good shidduch and this is the best way to get it,” he said.

I find this so ironic. One can strive his entire life to be the best Jew possible, yet the moment he decides to pursue a career he is no longer “good enough” to marry many of the girls in our community.

What is behind this trend? As any girl who has studied at a mainstream right-wing seminary in Israel can confirm, teachers in such schools stress that the only way a girl can obtain the kind of yiras Shamayim required of her as a Jewish wife and mother is to marry a boy who will learn in kollel or, at the very least, for several years after marriage. Anything “less” is unacceptable, to be looked down upon and shunned.

Those who accept this approach might argue that although it is understood that some working boys are “shtark” and “ehrlich,” the foundation of the home is built on the first years of marriage and the husband should spend those years learning full time.

At face value, it may sound plausible to some. Does this mean, however, that nothing else will do? Do people really believe a young man who wakes up at 5:30 in the morning in order to learn Torah before going to work and then, after a full day at the office, learns late into the night is somehow not “good enough” for the girls in our community?

Additionally, what kind of precedent do we set by raising an entire generation of Jewish youth who have not worked a day in their lives and are accustomed to accepting handout after handout?

I understand the beauty of learning and the lifestyle that follows if done properly. It is my hope that after I find my kallah, guests who enter our home will not see any difference between it and homes where the husband learns full time.

Rebbetzin, is it too much to ask that at least some of the girls in the frum olam (and their parents) make an effort to get past the stigma they’ve attached to young b’nei Torah who work?


(To be continued)

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

A New York Boy Becomes an Israeli Farmer

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

Israel is the only country in the world where there are more trees in the ground by the end of each year than at the beginning! I am proud to say, that Baruch Hashem – in my small way, I am a part of that reality. How does a boy born and bred in New York grow up to help plant over 120,000 new fruit trees in Israel? Let me explain.

In 1999 I received a phone call from Ariel Ben-Sheitrit who lives in the beautiful town of Yitzhar. He had a dream of becoming a wine-maker and wanted to start by planting 4,000 grape trees in the land that was given by Hashem to the sons of Yosef Ha’Tzaddik. He had the land, the equipment and the strong body to do the back-breaking work. There was one thing missing… money to buy the 4,000 young saplings.

At that time, I was very active with the Yeshiva in Shechem (located at the burial site of Yosef Ha’Tzaddik). Ariel studied there and was one of our Kollel students. When we spoke he told me how much he wanted this and I told him that I would do whatever I could to help him fulfill his dream. I made a few calls, sent a few emails and within a short time, I had the money he needed! He planted the trees and over the years planted 6,000 more and recently won 2 Gold Medals in Israel’s wine competition!

That initial act of helping Ariel gave me an idea. I’m sure there are lots of “Ariels” out there who want to plant fruit trees but need help with the funding. I started making calls and – before I knew it – became the central address to help young, idealistic Jewish farmers fulfill their dreams! I had just two simple rules; 100% adherence to Jewish agricultural laws (with no short-cuts) and that no Jewish enemy can be involved whatsoever. (Aren’t you proud how “politically correct” I wrote those words??)

Since that day, back in 1999, the project I started – called “Israel Trees” – has planted a bit more than 120,000 new fruit trees all across Israel. This includes: grape, olive, mango, date, fig, pomegranate, peach, lemon, plum, almond, apple, strawberry, passion fruit, clementine, moringa (very rare tree), guava, avocado, argan (used to make a very healthy oil), nectarine, orange and cherry!!

In addition to planting all those fruits, it is very important to note where we planted as well. While I won’t list all of the places allow me to point us just a few: We planted olives in Moshav Tifrach (near Beersheba) where the farmer is the grandson of Rav Moshe Feinstein! Ever heard of Mitzpe Ramon with their natural, amazing craters? Well, we planted there a few thousand argan trees which produce a nut that is used to make very healthy oil. Currently, the entire argan oil market is centered in Morocco but very soon, thanks to “Israel Trees” many Jewish farmers in Mitzpe Ramon will be profiting from this unique product.

What about the Israeli farms that border with Gaza? We take care of them too! These towns don’t make the news since all the focus is on the heavy populated Sderot but these Jewish towns are closer to Gaza and many have been hit harder than Sderot. We helped them by planting 4,000 clementines and 400 peaches in Moshav Yevul.

How about the farms on the Jordan Valley? This is another area that has been hit hard in many ways and the people there are suffering economically. We planted 600 date trees, 400 mango trees and 3,000 olive trees in Einot Kedem, a farming community of just 4 families who host many teens-at-risk. They teach these young teenagers how to work the land and they give them skills to make something of themselves. You have to see it to believe it.

All the way up north, we planted in Kfar Shammai, a Jewish town on the Lebanese border and in Moshav Nov, a religious town on the Golan Heights. We also planted hundreds of trees in the Galilee in a farm called “Derech Eretz” (how’s THAT for a name??). This farm is located near the famous Kibbutz Lavi and we helped with a major project of new olive trees.

Many of our farmers produce amazing wine and we planted over 50,000 grape trees in Bet El, Eish Kodesh, Shevut Rachel, Sde Boaz, Bat Ayin, Itamar, Sussya, Otniel, Kochav Ha’Shachar and Maale Amos.

Baruch Hashem, the list above is just part of what we have done and I thank Hashem each and every day for giving me the opportunity to help these great heroes. Today’s Israeli farmers are generally young, idealistic men who are not looking for major profits. Yes, they have families whom they need to support, but their main goal is to build, settle and grow the Land of Israel. They work in the blazing sun day after day and come home exhausted but very satisfied, knowing that they have conquered and improved Hashem’s one and only land.

I must state that 10 years ago, my dear friend Shloime Walfish heard what I was doing and volunteered much of his time and energy for this cause. Today, Shloime and his family live in Israel and he has become my partner in the “Israel Trees” project. Shloime helped take this idea to the international level and I could  never have reached the numbers I did without his unbelievable efforts. It just proves that when you start something for the sake of Heaven, you will receive tremendous bracha and hatzlacha.

I must point out that while typing this article, I received an incredible phone call. The call was from a guy named Eldad who lives in the Golan Heights. He and his partner, D’vir, just received a large piece of land in a place called Tel Farris which is literally on the Syrian border. As you know, the Golan Heights was liberated by the holy soldiers of the IDF during the 1967 Six Day War. In 1973, the Syrians desperately wanted the Golan Heights back and when the Yom Kippur War began they sent 1,400 tanks and 60,000 soldiers to attack Tel Farris. The battle was fierce and lasted 10 days until Hashem’s messengers were able to defeat the Syrians. In that exact place of Tel Farris, Eldad and D’vir want to plant a vineyard of 22,000 grape trees. They asked if I could help them and I told them I would do the best I could. What an honor to be a part of Am Yisrael!

Allow me to conclude this article by clarifying the title. Although I am definitely from New York… I am not really a farmer. Of the 120,000 trees that “Israel Trees” has sponsored, I personally planted only about 50. That ratio clearly qualifies me as a NON-Farmer! However, I am proud to have created this project which – together with Shloime Walfish – helps REAL farmers get the work done! I guess you can call me an “Honorary” Farmer which is a title I gladly accept.

If you are interested in finding out more about this project or if you want to plant trees in Israel, please visit our website: www.IsraelTrees.org

Shmuel Sackett

ISIS Executes 7-Year-Old Boy for “Blasphemy”

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Arab news source report that an ISIS Sharia court in the northern Syrian city of Al-Raqqa executed a 7-year-old child for “blasphemy” on Thursday.

Mu’az Hassan was playing ball in the street on Monday, when an ISIS terrorist walking by heard him say a curse word.

ISIS police arrested the 7-year-old, and the boy was taken to an ISIS Sharia court on Thursday.

The Islamic court pronounced judgement and the boy was then shot in the head in front of his parents who collapsed in shock, and several hundred onlookers.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Hebron Boy Allegedly Killed in Arab Riots

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

An 11-year-old Arab boy has allegedly been killed in violent Arab rioting Sunday morning in Al Fawwar, on the outskirts of Hebron.

Gaza-based Hamas agitators and their sympathizers in Judea and Samaria have been urging Palestinian Arabs and those with Israeli citizenship to increase participation in violent incidents as much as possible in order to expand a budding third intifada.

On Sunday morning, the IDF soldiers were trying to contain the violence around Hebron, which included Arabs in the mob hurling bricks and other items at the Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian Authority sources claimed the child was killed by Israeli gunfire. An IDF spokesperson told TheJewishPress.com the IDF is “checking the report.”

Hana Levi Julian

NY State Police Find Missing 10-Year-old after 15-Hour Search

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Police and rescue workers have found 10-year-old Shimon Zorger from Brooklyn Monday morning after a 15-hour search.

The boy, who has Down Syndrome, is in good health, the Hudson Valley Times Herald–Record’s website reported.

He had been visiting his grandparents in Kiryas Joel before  he was reported missing.

Residents, rescue units, police dogs and rescue boats combed nearby woods and the Shadow and Lebanon Lakes before the boy was found at a girls’ school, not far away from where had had last been seen.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ny-state-police-find-missing-10-year-old-after-15-hour-search/2013/07/29/

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