Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Prodigal Son (and Daughter)

Scribblers the world over, just like rabbis, utilise the intersection of the outgoing and incoming year to provide a stock-take of where we are and some analysis on where we may be heading and so let me not shirk in my duty and I'll get straight to the point.

The greatest issue facing our communities is not housing benefit cuts or Ofsted school inspections in the UK, education challenges to yeshives and metzitze be'peh in the US or coalition shenanigans and the compulsory draft in Israel. The greatest challenge is our youth that has given up any hope on our intractable and blinkered system and is voting with its feet in increasing and confident numbers. Technology is neither the symptom nor its cause though it suits our leaders to blame everyone but themselves for the state we are in.

The world around us is changing and rapidly so. Our model of bringing up boys in total ignorance to be supported by a mixture of state beneficence for the majority and inherited wealth for the lucky few is broke. Bringing up girls as breeders and feeders, with or without some perfunctory grades, is no longer viable either. And our superglue of bringing the ignorant and the fertile together in blissful marital union while in their clueless teens is also coming rapidly unstuck and horribly so.

I know the clever ripostes and well-rehearsed responses to these charges because they once formed the stuff of my weltanschauung. We've been doing it for 2000 years, we will say, people like me have been predicting our downfall over and over again and we've survived them and we'll survive this too. One columnist even enlightened his readers by opining that having a child 'go off' is the comeuppance  for denigrating da'as torah, which is the best example, should any be needed, of our total oblivion to the world orbiting right in front of our collective blindfold.

This comfort food may fool the gullible and trick the ignorant who know of little beyond our ghetto walls but I'm awfully afraid to disabuse you. The evidence is there in your family, your neighbours and wherever your care to look.

Let me spell out clearly what I am on about. We, that is Chareidi Jewry, are facing a brain drain. We can breed as much as our 3'3" beds will permit us, we can retain as many of our offspring that care to stay and we can flex all the political muscle that our numbers can muster but we can no longer prevent our brightest and most intelligent from leaving and it is they who are scrambling for the exit.

Once again some will retort and highlight the druggies and alcoholics and a variety of life's detritus amongst the leavers to try and prove the point that a life outside benefits' dependency is bound to fail. Torah equals life, we will gloat, and so it must follow like gemore follows mishnyayos that if you leave Torah you simultaneously forfeit any vestige of a civilised life.

But there is another side to it and one which is developing before our eyes. Those brave individuals who are unable to face a closeted life where intelligence is measured by the disingenuity employed to defeat reason and where Torah has become a means to stifle rather than excite intellectual curiosity. These young men and women have been brought up in the same world as ours and face the same challenges in adapting to a world that has been shunned on their behalf from birth. Yet despite these obstacles, which are indeed insurmountable to some, and in the relatively short period that the OTD movement has been gathering momentum, they have been making an enormous mark.

Chareidi Jews are still a small minority of Jews as a whole and of them the OTD community, if one can call it that, is still very small in number. Yet this tiny statistical nonentity and many of who had no secular primary or secondary education to speak of has gone on to produce in its relatively short lifespan Cambridge and Harvard graduates, many more Ivy League and red-brick alumni, a BBC journalist, published authors, artists, cartoonists, bloggers, a Fulbright Scholar and these are only the ones I know of.  Round the globe chareidim generally and chasidim in particular of all ages are waking up to a world of opportunity and are fascinated by what they find. Some unfortunately turn inwards with bitterness and spite at the life they were denied and are being prevented from offering to their children but many are able to shake off their shackles and grab the many opportunities life has to offer. You may not enjoy reading this but they are lapping up every minute of it.

And our response to this? Bemoan the brutality of the callous teens towards their grieving and shamed parents and tsk tsk for the spouses some of them spurn and the children they abandon. None of this supposed concern for the 'poor kids' is on show when rampant child abuse is covered up, nor is it there when boys are sent daily to decrepit buildings to sit for hours in front of decrepit rebbes chanting senselessly by rote texts which most of them will never master if even understand. For the bright ones who stay behind and are intrigued by words and ideas rather than by mammon there awaits a fascinating life of exploring bugs in lettuce, measuring the length of skirts and the density of hosiery and determining the appropriate pixelation of a 3 year old's face if it has the misfortune to be born into the wrong gender. Because such are the wonders of the Torah that it is the women who are less exposed to it who end up running most of the institutions round here that actually matter.

Our scaremongering is totally at odds with the world these young people encounter. They enter schools, universities, places of employment and entertainment and meet people who are welcoming, open to new ideas and alternative lifestyles and willing to share the fun and freedoms which they take for granted. Not your closeted stale world of saturated fats and sealed minds but one thriving with ideas, where difference is cherished and openness embraced.

Our idle threats and finger pointing at those unfortunates who fail to survive in the wider world also has no effect. In order to maintain our rotten edifices we set up our youth for failure. Should they then try and and scale those high walls we have constructed for them we dare them to jump and wish them to fall. And when our prayers are answered and they do exactly as we prescribed for them we wring our hands in despair and blame the web, the phone, the text, the street and practically anything but ourselves.

But that too is failing. Those who can will ask the questions and if our supposedly brilliant leaders cannot provide the answers they will seek them elsewhere. They will leave us to wallow and kvetch to our heart's delight while they migrate to places where questions are encouraged and replies carefully probed. And for every leaver there are numerous left behind who feel unable or unwilling to make the transition. They look and dress like the rest of us but that is where the similarity ends. We can expect little of children brought up by parents whose Yiddishkeit is forced, faked and resented.

Save for yourselves those pitying glances you waste on the latest parents to feel bereaved because a child has left their phantom citadel. Ask yourselves why Yeshivas are no longer a place for an inquisitive mind and curious soul. Why those with brains leave us to discover the frontiers of a world heaving with innovation while those left behind are growing ever more dense. Boredom has spurred us on to create a multitude of chesed organisations for every conceivable misfortune but we are incapable of seeing the calamity of our own making unfolding before our eyes. A rotten and corrupt leadership with a total disconnect from those it purports to lead having hemmed itself in almost literally in their sown up slits and buttoned up blouses.

Feed your kids the best of the junk food the kosher market has to offer and your benefits fuelled economy will afford you, marry your kids off and dance away in the hall supporting another of our communal scams and put them on the housing ladder where from the very first rung they will descend into a life of dependency if not outright crime and then kid yourself how wonderful it all is. But do not be surprised when it will no longer fool those with minds to think.

But I know us lot. We will not listen. We will go searching our mezuzos for a typo resulting in a bad pun, engage in pop psychology on how better to brainwash our young, visit charlatans for holy rings and blessed water and try even conventional medicine for supposed 'ailments' which know no name. The ailment is in our body politic and the cure lies with those who dare to question and refuse to accept stock answers. But none of this will occur to us while the House of the Lord functions as the house of the sick and that's when it's not the house of the bent and perverted.

Try your hand at prayer, by all means, but remember what Hashem said to Moshe, ma titzak eiloi dabeir el benei yisroel v'yisou. There comes a time when yelling our heads off in prayer will make not the slightest difference and it is time to move on. And what followed from there was the miracle of krias yam suf and the revelation at kabolath hatorah.

A Gemar Chasime Toivo to all of you!

32 Comments:

At 22 September 2015 at 14:08 , Blogger Eli said...

Dear Mr Tickle

Thank you for channeling your frustration into a constant source of entertainment for the public.

The issues you describe is something I can personally identify with and I'm sure it resonates with more members of our community than you care to acknowledge. However, It springs to my mind a famous quote from Winston Churchill: " however beautiful the theory, occasionally one must look at the results".

You seem to suggest that the desired solution to this flawed system is an apocalyptic collapse of our systemic segregation, followed by an epic enlightenment where our Kollel Yungeleit will become acclaimed physicists and our Yeshiveh Bochurim world famous artists, a community blessed with protected sex and unprotected paedophiles, free from benefits dependency and post dated cheques and a society where women are treated equally and Rabinoc authority is abolished.

Beautiful theory.

Problem is, the first batch of results are in and it makes for grim reading.

Local unemployed junkies and depressed OTDs are not collateral damage to an ultimate end of a romantic fairy tale, they are the final product. You see, despite our genetic superiority, the majority of our youth don't have the intellect or the stamina to graduate a Russell group university nor do they wish to dedicate their life to a quest of knowledge and the pursuit of unanswerable questions. All they want is a decent job, a free mind and the ability to interact with wider society without a chip on their shoulder.

The only way to achieve that is by embarking on a demoralising and soul sapping journey to enhance the quality of secular education for these youngsters. This can only be achieved by supporting the government and the inspectorate to continue their sterling work in our local schools and to raise awareness with parents and other stakeholders.

Unlike you, I have thrown in the towel yet.

Thanks again for another brilliant 'scribble'.

Gear Chasime Toiveh

Eli

 
At 22 September 2015 at 15:13 , Anonymous uncle j said...

Mr Tickle,
I couldn't wait till kol nidrei to read your excellent post, I genuinely feel its one of your best posts to date.
Having said that, after reading 'Eli's response, I feel he's actually has made a valid point.
Instead of moaning and 'raising awareness' its time for action.
Ofsted,not some orphanage, believe it or not, will be the one organization I will be rooting for in my prayers this evening.

May I humbly suggest, Elis point deserves a response from Mr tickle?

...well over the fast.

J

 
At 24 September 2015 at 20:34 , Anonymous Reb Shimon said...

My name is Rabbi Shimon Yehudah Harris. I spent six years in Kollel and received from among others Semicha from Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Kolitz Zatzal. I also have a bachelors and masters from university in Jewish Studies. I love learning Torah, nothing gets me as excited. We must stop the brain drain of our best Torah students. I am establishing a Yeshivah in Wembley, North West London. A Yeshivah where I want to be challenged and challenge you. You should only contact me if Torah is your "craft". I don't want hangers-on or people who want a Guru. Google my name and read about my Open Yeshivah commencing the 6th Sivan. Let's create a dynamic centre for Torah study and establish a new enclave - not the "Hill", GG, Hendon or Edgware - a place of excellence in Torah study not behaviourism. I believe I can make this happen with the help of my Rosh Yeshiva, Hagaon Yaakov Moshe Poupko Shlita who will travel every Zeman from Eretz Yisroel if there is the demand for exacting textual analysis. rabbi@wembleysynagogue.org.uk or phone 8908 5835.

 
At 24 September 2015 at 22:06 , Anonymous Reb Shimon said...

Reb Shimon realises...
Small mistake Zeman starts 6th Cheshvan corresponding to Monday October 19th

 
At 24 September 2015 at 23:45 , Anonymous Bengy said...

A rehash of years of bitter bleating from Tickle. Sure there are problems, but the way you paint it it's all the supposed complete lack secular education. Nothing is to do with living in the most immoral decrepit world that has ever existed, while preserving Torah values.

And at least you managed to avoid mentioning Pinter for once ... oh wait - sorry. My mistake, your ugly obsession continues. What have you ever done for your kehilla in action, not weasel words?

What I would only give for some decent commentary that doesn't fawn exclusively over our world, like the chareidi press, and doesn't fawn exclusively over the secular world like Tickle.

You're as closed minded and bigoted against Chareidim, as you profess they are about the Western world.

Part III, to come:
Why I Hate the Society I Live In but Am Too Scared To Leave It.

Can't wait for the next mealy mouthed instalment.

 
At 25 September 2015 at 07:44 , Anonymous if keddassia rabonim do it, it must be ok said...

Dear Bengi,
Stamford Hill is in complete denial

As long as you all follow each other like sheep, wear your uniform (except for on holiday when white polo necks are permitted if your away from too many yidden), act the ultra chareidi part all is good

Whilst most chareidi/chasidish people are quite genuine, they have lost focus on whats write for a frum yid and whats sadly wrong

Shokling away with a wide atorah, no shower after mikvah (not to wash off the holy water) and not eating snowcrest crisps on peisach is of course a high priority for the chasidisher family in stamford hill.

Likewise benefit fraud is of course ok for the following reasons:

I have no choice, everyone else does it, geneivas achum is mutar, there is no chilul hashem as I wont be caught, and I am sure we can find many more heteirim

Benefit fraud is most certainly not for a chasidisher yid but since most keddassia rabonim allow it (all their einichlech are on it, so no choice) it must be ok

One of the rebbes said the chasidim have 3 kulas, hot mikvah on sabbos, shacris after zmal tifiloh and ?, anyway I would like to add a fourth a new official kullah compliments of keddassia, massive kehilah wide benefit fraud

 
At 25 September 2015 at 12:07 , Anonymous kedassia emloyee said...

You ain't seen nuthin, mate.
Just look at who actually works for kedassia and compare it to their official payroll records.

P.S. The Snowcrest crisps and the S&J crisps are exactly the same thing. Made in the same factory at the same time. The only difference is the foil wrapping.

 
At 26 September 2015 at 19:40 , Blogger Izzy Posen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 26 September 2015 at 21:26 , Anonymous kedassia employee said...

Izzy.
I assume you are in the UK, otherwise sincerest apologies for the following.
There is no damnation like self-damnation.
Your post appears to have been posted before the z'man of Motze Shabbos.
I probably have as many beefs against the system as you do (maybe not all the same).
There are many like me but what we all (or most of us) do still believe in is keeping Shabbos.

 
At 27 September 2015 at 11:13 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kedassia employee, you clearly don't have the same beef as Izzy does. You keep shabbos and he it seems, does not. What is your point?

 
At 27 September 2015 at 12:36 , Anonymous kedassia employee said...

Why are you anonymous?

I wouldn't be at all surprised to hear that we do, in general, have the same beefs. It's just that our reactions are different.

More than one of my friends have "left the community" because of the conduct of some of our (so called) Rabbonim.

 
At 27 September 2015 at 15:05 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rabbonim are the problem - not the solution.
In a world that has moved so fast in the last 20 years, they find themselves increasingly marginalised through lack of knwowledge, and more importantly how to fold these innovations into our lives.
Their response has been pathetic. Ramp up the znius - blame the women. Issue ever-more-bizarre edicts that our GrandParents would look at as though from another religion.
They have to somehow be relevant, and their response to this is to build barriers and walls - and trying to hold back the flood.
Like Izzy, I too have left the community and am no longer shomer shabbos. Whilst not encouraging anyone to take this step, let's not ostracise those that do? It's not helpful and just eccourages others on the fence to jump.

 
At 27 September 2015 at 15:08 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way - the best ever post. I loved it.

 
At 27 September 2015 at 17:46 , Anonymous kedassia employye said...

Yes. We should ostracise those who do not keep Shabbos.
We should not ostracise or even criticise those who have internet or smartphones and whose wives drive or wear nice sheitelech etc.
The difference? Shabbos is in the Torah and in Shulchan Aruch etc. and yidden have for thousands of years sacrificed themselves to keep it.

These new crackpot rules dreamt up by self-styled so called Rabbonim, who have never done anything for anybody and are only interested in self aggrandisement, power and money, have never produced any reliable source for these new rules.
More to it but it's getting late. I DO keep Yom Tov.

Good Yom Tov. Good Yohr. and a Good Kvittel.

 
At 29 September 2015 at 19:48 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many so called observant Jews. Ignore a most fundamental law "six days shall you work" and this commandment precedes the instruction to keep the seventh day holy. So spending the six days idling about and claiming benefits is totally trief. Tickle is right that youngsters need to be given an education that will allow them to work

 
At 30 September 2015 at 17:02 , Anonymous BARNET FC said...

Surely there is a fairly straightforward solution - move to golders green where you can have you cake and eat it. Be frum and still get an education go to uni, have a profession etc.

 
At 30 September 2015 at 17:09 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shabbos finished 19.37 on the 26th according to LBD so technically Izzy did not transgress Shabbos at 19.40

 
At 30 September 2015 at 19:54 , Anonymous Zmanim geek said...

And 7:37 is for the (universally accepted) chumra of kochavim ketanim. Me'ikar hadin, we only require kochavim beinonim, which was at 7:27, according to Rav Tukatzinsky's calculations.

 
At 1 October 2015 at 13:21 , Anonymous halocho geek said...

On 26th September the shkia was at 6:50 pm. 7:27 pm was 37 minutes after the shkia making your submission impossible.

 
At 1 October 2015 at 13:53 , Anonymous Zmanim geek said...

Halocho geek - sounds like you need to do some brushing up. It is not only not impossible, it is exactly correct. If you look at the expanded myzmanim page for the 26th of September in Golders Green, you'll see that R. Tukatzinsky's nightfall, which equates to around 6.45 degrees, was at 7:27:03. This is commonly used for the end of derabonon taaniyos where, as the Shulchan Oruch (562:1) states, we only wait for three medium, and not small stars. As the MB there, in seif koton gimmel, writes, the reason we are machmir on motzoei shabbos for three small stars, is because of "chumro deshabbos".

 
At 1 October 2015 at 17:36 , Blogger Izzy Posen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9 October 2015 at 15:31 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moshe writes
What about the CPZ in Stamford Hill. If it goes ahead will seriously inconvenience many residents and shuls like satmar 86. Pinters and many others.
What are our Jewish Councillors doing about it.
Thank you

 
At 11 October 2015 at 20:51 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moshe carries on.
The Jewish Councillors are scared to oppose it because they have to rely on the goyishe vote as well. They get 10 to 50 thousand each so its not worth their while to upset them. So is anyone going to do anything about it?

 
At 16 October 2015 at 09:14 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moshe carries on.... and on.

In the update there is now a letter from the 'Councillors' without their names about the cost to the kehilla of this scheme. They reckon 1 and half million plus. They want volunteers to phone an anonymous number to help distribute most likely new forms and give them to the Councillors. Since the present forms do not have to your name on them or even a signature just the address anyone can print off thousands of them and add this to them. The council can always say they were 'forged'.
It ought to be done in the form of a petition where everyone signs their name.
These Councillors should also go 'public' and tell everyone in the Hackney Gazzette
not 'some' Jewish people in the update about the cost. But they are scared of losing their 'seats' which since they get 10-50 thousand a year is more important to them for them to keep. They dont realise that if this goes through many Jewish people will not be voting for them. Since the whole reason we have this problem is because Labour is getting their revenge on the Jewish people. If they would be Labour members this would never have arisen.
The roads at least on the East side of Stamford Hill are not used by through traffic and there is really no reason for any controls. Cazenove Road the main, main road running through it is empty from through traffic.

 
At 16 October 2015 at 15:14 , Anonymous keddasia employee said...

Anonymous
Cost to the kehilla?
And who in the kehilla is going to pay this £1.5 m.

 
At 18 October 2015 at 09:19 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moshe says
To the kedassia employee. Have you read the update Everyone in the kehilla will have to contribute if the council force it on us.
Here is a condensed view of the article. Without the Jewish aspect of it.

As you are no doubt aware Hackney Council have now issued a consultation document for the introduction of a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in the Stamford Hill/Clapton area.
In short it will mean that family cars may have to pay in excess of £200 a year for the privilege of having a permit to park outside their own home. Visitors and tradespeople will have to pay £3.50 per day or £2 for just a few minutes which will have to be paid in advance.
It will create havoc for anyone wishing to visit friends, relatives or those going about their daily lives and doing local errands.
A CPZ will not allow even paying residents to park anywhere in Hackney and will only allow residents to park in front of their own house. Yellow lines will be painted and will result in wholesale reduction of available parking spaces.
Anyone found in contravention of these new restriction will face a penalty of £80 for each offence.
In short our local residents will have to fork out in excess of £1 million a year for the permits and vouchers, for the visitors and tradespeople. This excludes the likely £1/2 million in fines likely to be levied.
It is essential that each and every member of every household in Hackney reject these proposals in their entirety and answer NO to Questions 2 & 3. Your name should be filled in even though it is only optional and ensure that the forms are returned to our local Springfield Councillor to ensure that they are not ' lost in the system'.

When it comes to getting 'votes' these councillors manage to find their way to go from door to door to make sure they get them. But when it comes to something serious like this they are scared of upsetting some of their voters and are not prepared to do anything or put their name on anything.

The kehilla is not prepared to do anything either. Why is there no notice from them. They seem to find a reason to publicize, every shtuss that they do. True they can never sign their rabbonim since they dont know if Halpern is on or off. But at least the president and executive can do something. This concerns them as well. They also live in this area. Will the council give them special dispensation for keeping quiet. Or are they scared of the council grants.

True it is a lost case if no one does anything. And for those who are still living outside this area your turn will also come. Just because you live now on the other side of the common dont think you will get away with it. The money hungry council will get you as well one day. And anyway you also cant come and park over the common.

Another idea would be to split the area. And only make a CPZ where there is through traffic on the west of Stamford Hill. What I mean is that if a CPZ is 'forced' on us at least the east of Stamford Hill shouldnt be included. The councillors should demand this. The Cazenove road Mosque is also involved they have no parking spaces
and the same as with the coroner it should be possible to work with them as well.

The problem is there is no one who is interested to do anything.
The councillors because they will lose their seats and their 10-50k a year.
The kehilla because we dont really have proper representatives of people living in the area. Rabbi Dovid Frand a great talmid chochom is more interested in the kedassia kashrut and writing his seforim than doing anything for the people he represents.
It has never been the practice of having a rov a talmid chochom who learns day and night as president of a kehilla. First of all he has no time to do anything and second of all his head is in the Torah and not down to earth.
This is a matter which should concern him but apparently doesnt.

 
At 18 October 2015 at 13:40 , Anonymous kedassia employee said...

It was signed by "Your Heimishe Councillors" which means nothing. No name so it could have been put in by anyone.
R' Dovid Frand is a fairly decent guy but remember he hasn't been elected and in real life doesn't represent anybody. Most of us haven't even heard of him. Actually quite understandable as there is no kehilla in London.
The only connection most of us have with UOHC is in consuming Kedassia hechshered products which, as we all know, is not a community service but a profit orientated commercial organisation.

 
At 18 October 2015 at 16:02 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moshe says

The councillors are going to the yidden but they are understandably scared to approach the goyim fearing they will lose their seats. They are only holding on to them by a hairsbreadth.
So they ought to get other people to go to the goyim instead. They are not prepared to do this. They have asked for volunteers but dont seem to have found any.
This is really a kehilla problem and its not right to force the councillors to subject themselves to it since they can lose their 10-50K a year.
We have many organisations of volunteers hazolo chaverim shomrim. Surely some of them can also volunteer for this.
Unless an appeal is made by R Dovid Frand for volunteers under the kehilla banner we are unlikely to get any.
As the matter now stands with only yidden being asked to sign there doesnt seem much hope. I dont know how well read this blog is but there doesnt seem to be any other.
This is what happens when one forbids the net. Everyone is using it even kedassia in their offices but no one admits to it.
Most goyim are also reluctant to pay this amount. But not having the above 'update' letter are not aware of exactly how it affects them. This letter should be distributed to all residents but the councillors are too reluctant to do it themselves. So it is up to others to do it.
The councillors will say in the end they tried their best and couldnt succeed so please vote for me again. They are not trying their best. They could get volunteers if they tried harder.
I dont know Mr Tickle if there is a blog or paper on the net who would make it more available for goyim in hackney to see.
I shall try to put it on the citizen.

 
At 18 October 2015 at 19:40 , Anonymous kedassia employee. said...

Why was the letter not printed in the Tribune and Hamodia?

 
At 19 October 2015 at 20:04 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moshe again.

May I make a suggestion. Perhaps the kehilla should pay the 1 and 1/2 million and the CPZ should not go through. Then everyone will be happy.
This is similar to Jews of old who had to pay a 'residents' tax.
What is better to pay and have a CPZ or pay and not have it.
That seems a fair choice.

 
At 20 October 2015 at 15:49 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you define the "kehilla"?
Who (or what) is the "kehilla"?

 
At 26 October 2015 at 20:18 , Blogger Dave said...

Hi, I'm a journalist with the Hackney Post, if anyone wants to comment on the CPZ in Stamford Hill or any other issue for that matter, please feel free to get in touch. david.moore.3456@gmail.com or @davidcmoore1 on Twitter.

 

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