Is that the same thing as a non observant parent dealing with a child that became observant?
There are similarities. But I think there is a major difference that justifies a religious parent being more upset by the move to the right than there is for a non observant parent being upset that their child became a BT.
One might argue that the opposite is true since the break from the past is greater in the latter than it is in the former. But if one looks at it from a Halachic perspective (of all Jews being responsible for each other) convincing a fellow Jew to become observant is far more important than convincing him to be more Machimir. Or worse changing his Hashkafa and in the process denigrating the Hashkafos of his parents.
There are those who say that the term ‘Flipping out’ is a misnomer. That young people coming back from their gap year in Israel are not flipping out at all. They are just becoming more serious about their Judaism and more conscientious about Halacha. If that is the case I would have no problem with it. We should all be more serious about our Judaism and conscientious about Halachic observance.
But what happens in far too many cases is that young people coming back from Israel adopt an entirely different set of values that are anathema to the values with which they were taught at home. And if they go far enough to the right – these values that can harm them. Even though their children might see these values as the ultimate expression of their Judaism.
For example what if a child had always aspired to any given vocation or career because of an aptitude and interest in it. And therefore sought the higher education required to achieve it. But while in Israel he is convinced to abandon those aspirations as secondary to the ‘true calling’ of every Jew to sit and learn 24/7. And he is also encouraged to have as many children as humanly possible.
That child will be harmed. He will miss his true calling. He will lack a decent well rounded education. Aand perhaps most importantly he will be unable to support his large family. He will have to rely on charity, free loan societies and the generosity of their parents that in many cases bleed themselves dry financially to help that child. (Who wants to see their children starve?)
So it is quite understandable to upset at ‘Flipping out’. Because that can very easily lead to a life of poverty. And worse a dysfunctional family where children go OTD.
So when it comes to ‘Kiruv’ by the right of children from Modern Orthodox backgrounds I behooves us to know the score. Parents must do their due diligence and find out where recruiters from Israeli Yeshivos are coming from. They should find out what their real intentions are… and what the actual Hashkafos being taught there are. Recruiters can often mislead parents about their real intentions.
Look at their products. What are their ‘graduates’ like when they come back? Was there any change? What was that change?
They should also talk to parents whose Hashkafos are similar to their own that have sent their children to a Yeshiva in Israel. Ask them if they are happy with the result… and see what that result actually is.
The gap year can be a very positive and productive period of growth in ones Judaism. Nothing wrong with becoming more serious. But when it leads to a radical departure from the Hashkafos you tired to instill in your children. The consequences could be devastating.