New York – Shavuos The Yartzeit Of Chassidic Movement Founder ‘Der Heyliger Baal Shem’ Zt’l A Wake Up-Call About At-Risk Teens


    New York – With a heavy heart, I feel compelled to write to the greater community as we prepare for Matan Torah and commemorate the yahrtzeit of the founder of Chassidus, Rabbeinu Yisroel Baal Shem Tov zy”a. As I write the following I beseech the Bais Din Shel Maaleh for divine assistance during the tumultuous times that we find ourselves in. I chose this week because all Jews are now preparing to once again accept the Torah on Shavuous, which is also the yahrtzeit of the holy Baal Shem Tov. Kabbolas HaTorah was the highlight of the leadership of Moshe Rabbeinu, when we were given the Torah by Hashem on Har Sinai. Indeed Moshe Rabbeinu is the true paradigm of a manhig yisroel. In more recent history, the holy Baal Shem Tov, whose yahrtzeit we commemorate on Shavuous as the founder of chassidus, focused on every person’s ability to connect to Hashem, regardless of his learning capability, through simcha and ahava.

    Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ruchie Freier. I am B”H the mother of a wonderful Chassidishe family and the wife of a Talmid Chochom. As a young married woman, to support my husband in kollel and our growing family, I worked as a legal secretary; eventually I decided to pursue a law degree. Today, with incredible Siyata Dishmaya, my dream has come true, B’soch Ami Ani Yosheves, I am a practicing attorney in the heimishe community.

    As a heimishe woman working in corporate America and in the courts, I have found myself in the unique position as advocate for Chassidim and frum people. Whether a particular group of Chassidim or a Chassidishe institution was experiencing legal problems or negative media coverage, I voluntarily took a public stand to make a difference. While, many people have criticized and disparaged me; I never wavered in my goal of trying to make a Kiddush Hashem by providing the public with the knowledge who true Chassidim are and what we represent.

    How B’Derech Began

    Last year on Lag Ba’Omer, during my annual trip to Meron, I befriended a heimishe woman. She tearfully relayed to me the sad story of her 16 year old son, who was expelled from yeshiva many years ago, after many failed disciplinary methods. Today, he is addicted to drugs and Torah and yiddishkeit were too painful for him and thus cast away. I was shocked and horrified and assumed this was an exception to the rule, an unusual case. I assured her that when we return to the states, I will use my professional connections to help her son. But, lo and behold, when we returned home, she introduced me to many friends, all in the same predicament. I realized then that to save her son, Klal Yisroel had to be saved. I realized that many children have been expelled from yeshivas and now live bereft of essential Torah values; for example, Chilul Shabbos, treif and arayos have become the norm among these children. While society calls these children “Kids at Risk” it’s really our Kehila that’s at risk of losing our children. The seeds for B’Derech, the movement to keep kids happy B’Derech HaTorah, were planted.

    Several weeks later in July, a horrifying, damaging, awful article appeared as a front page cover story of one of New York’s famous magazines. It was the story of a young formerly Chassidish woman who grew up in Monroe and strayed from the Derech HaTorah. She maligned Torah and Chassidus and denigrated the core values of Yiddishkeit. I contacted the Times Herald Record reporters in Monroe that I had befriended and they agreed to help me. After several extensive interviews, my article appeared debating all the negativity attributed to Torah and Chassidus by the New York magazine. But, the reporters made me give my word and find an answer to the following question. “If your lifestyle is so meaningful, why do so many Chassidic children rebel?”
    At risk teens at the charedi world is booming and has been ignored for to long.
    The Painful Truth

    As any lawyer knows, before presenting a case, extensive research must be done. As any askan knows, to be effective, one must work relentlessly to help others. I lost no time doing both. Parents began calling me to advocate on behalf of their children so that their children either to be accepted or not be expelled from yeshiva, thus becoming a child advocate. I was asked to raise thousands of dollars for tutors, who were vital, lest many boys fail in their learning. I’ve spoken to all parties and have followed the instructions of my law professors, namely, learn to argue all sides of a case. The parents complain that the yeshivas cater to the top learners, the yeshivas correctly claim, that if they don’t maintain a high learning standard, parents would pull their children out. The parents complain that children are not allowed any recreational outlets and the rebbeim lament how they are overworked and underpaid. Both sides of the argument are valid.

    I’ve also listened to the children and B’Derech has become their voice. I must apologize to all my law professors as I ignore one very important law school lesson, namely, never get personally involved in any case or client; do your job, remain aloof, distant but professional. In that I have proudly failed. After hearing the broken-hearted, painful stories of the children – I will never be the same. Their stories are of discipline, medication and its side effects, humiliation, rejection and the pain associated with being expelled from yeshiva, which ultimately led to the following internalization. I have been thrown out of Yeshiva – the yeshiva doesn’t want me, the Rebbe doesn’t want me, and Hashem doesn’t want me. I have cried myself to sleep many a night and have been awakened many nights by children roaming the streets, because their parents have locked them out.

    I ask! When Hashem commanded Moshe Rabbeinu to prepare Klal Yisroel at Har Sinai, was there a separate section for learning disabled? Did ADD, ADHD, reading disabilities, etc. disqualify any Jew from receiving the Torah? I remember learning that all the Yidden accepted the Torah, K’Eesh Echad B’Lev Echad. In today’s world, learning has become the focus so that those kinderlach who can’t meet the standard are unwanted. I remember learning that Hashem chose Moshe Rabbeinu as manhig when he went to pick up and embrace the little lamb that was flagging behind the flock. Maybe that little lamb was disabled? Readers, didn’t Moshe Rabbeinu, suffer a disability; a speech defect? Perhaps, today he would not be accepted in a yeshiva, unless his parents would commit to an extensive regimen of speech therapy, tutoring and medication if all else fails.

    I ask another question: Didn’t the Baal Shem Tov, found chassidus, with the intent to bring all the illiterate, dispersed and simple Yidden closer to Hashem and Torah observance through simcha? Wasn’t his goal to be “mekarev yidden” regardless of their learning capabilities? With a heavy heart, I will share with you some stories I have heard from these broken neshomas, who have been rejected or expelled, because our heimishe yeshivas want to be proud of a student body of metzuyanim. We need to reintroduce the Baal Shem Tov’s approach to serving Hashem, so that all these kinderlach can be saved!
    File photo no relation to any of the stories
    True Stories

    Sruly is a 16 year old boy from Boro Park. His mother called me, as a last resort to try to help him. Sruly starts off our conversation like this. “Mrs. Freier, let me tell it to you straight. I don’t daven, don’t put on tefilin and am mechallel Shabbos.” His story unfolds and he was expelled from a heimishe Boro Park yeshiva because he was caught selling cigarettes. He admits that was a mistake, but he has vowed never to return to Torah or yeshiva. I gently tell him, “Sruly, I’m so proud that you haven’t cut off your payos.” He explained that he loves his little brother and often gives him bike rides, if he would cut off his payos, his little brother would be embarrassed when he rides the bike with him. I cried that day and I cried that night, and am trying to befriend Sruly.

    Shloimy, is 16 years old and comes from a Chassidishe family in Monsey. His father always emphasized the importance of the mikveh for Chassidim; it was more important than davening, he said. Though Shloimy was a very smart little boy, he had a learning disability. He earned the ire of his rebbeim and was painfully punished daily. But worse, when he was very young, Shloimy was violated in the mikveh and vowed never to return there regardless of his father’s admonition. He also stopped davening and was eventually expelled from his yeshiva and the community. Today, shmiras shabbos is still a challenge for him, but he’s trying very hard.

    Yitzy, is an 18 year old boy from Canada who holds a decent job in New York. He tells me that he still loves learning and was one of the good learners in his class. He was expelled together with a group of boys when they were caught smoking. When I asked him if he is shomer shabbos, he asked if he has to answer such a personal question at our first meeting. But, with a smile he ironically admitted that he can’t keep shabbos because he smokes! He told me that while he wears a yarmulke during the week, on shabbos, he and his friends go to Manhattan in jeans without their yarmulkes. He laughed and told me that a couple of weeks ago, he and his friends went to a strip club in Manhattan on shabbos. They were shocked when, despite their non-Jewish attire, the owner said to them “You boys are Jewish and today is your Sabbath, I’m not letting you in!” They argued it was discrimination. Undaunted, the owner adamantly said they could sue him, but he’s not allowing them in the club.

    Moishe, is 15 years old boy from Boro Park, who cried to me, that no matter how hard he tried, the highest mark he could muster on his test was in the 30’s. Everyone kept telling him to try harder and harder, and his classmates made fun of him. His parents took him to every tutor, specialist and therapist, in search of a solution. Moishe finally had enough, he left yeshiva and wanted to put and end to the humiliation, pain and rejection. Today, he is recovering and in a yeshiva overseas with a warm, supportive and caring staff.

    Yitty is a young woman from a balbatisha family in Monroe. After her divorce, she was reluctant to use the same covering of her sheitel as her family’s custom. Her brother called her a “shiksa” and instructed her father to evict her from his home. Today, she has fulfilled her brother’s prophecy and living with young, single man from a heimishe family, without chupah and kiddushin. I met with Yitty and tried unsuccessfully to befriend her.
    file photo teen smoking
    One Friday night in middle of our shabbos seuda, there was a knock on the door. Levi Yitzchok was brought to our shabbos table by a friend. The friend politely asked me where Levi Yitzchok can put his cell phone and wallet. Levi Yitzchok left his home in Williamsburg and was wandering the streets and needed a warm meal. He joined our seuda and sang zemiros and returned motzei shabbos to retrieve his muktzeh belongings. His father followed shortly angrily looking for him. His father insisted that through force, fear and punishment, his son would come home. Levi Yitzchok is now abroad and calls me from time to time. He is so sad and pitiful and in so much pain.

    Chany, is a beautiful young woman from a Boro Park chassidishe family. She has no problem explaining that she abandoned Torah and has created a new world for herself. She is a neshoma that got lost to an organization that helps frum children go off the derech, run by a formerly frum woman, Malkie S. Chany is filled with anger towards Chassidim, and a few dedicated volunteers are trying to bring her back.

    Toby called me and we met several times, she too is a pretty young woman from Boro Park, who graduated from one of the prominent chassidishe girls’ schools. She begged me, “Inspire me!” She confided that she’s dating a non-Jew and wants to be convinced that the chutzpa and intolerance she sees from young frum children and adults, are not representative of yiddishkeit.

    Yanky, is a handsome, mature 18 year old boy from Williamsburgh. His relationship with his parents and community are strained. He strongly wants to be connected to Torah and is shomer shabbos. But, he can’t live at home and no yeshiva would accept him. He too is abroad and asked me to please help organize a program for him and his friends. I asked him if I could please speak to his father to explain his feelings and he objected saying, “My father has to learn to accept me, even if I don’t wear the hat and jacket he wants me to. I don’t want you to convince him that I need to find my place in Yiddishkeit.”

    Shmily, is a cute 17 year old boy from Canada. He was at a kumzits I hosted and made the following point: It says in the Torah that going to secular court is assur. It also says in the Torah that we must keep shabbos. I see rabbonim in court, so maybe if that mitzvah isn’t valid, then maybe keeping shabbos isn’t valid either!? Maybe being Jewish is about doing what’s convenient for each person and we can pick and choose what we want to follow.

    When R’ Yom Tov Glaser was here from Israel lecturing for B’Derech we spoke to a group of (formerly) chassidish young men in Monsey. They all exclaimed that they have no idea what it means to be Jewish. In their view, it’s all about money and a dress code. As long as you either give money or wear the right clothes and appear on the outside as frum, then you are accepted, regardless of what is going on inside your heart. Rabbi Glaser, who is a Baal Teshuva, returned to Eretz Yisroel shattered by what he saw and heard. Rabbi Glaser said that Chassidim have 90% of Yiddishkeit intact; but, that we’re missing the first 10% — the essential foundations of Yiddishkeit!

    B’Derech’s Progress

    I reached out to the kiruv professionals in America and Eretz Yisroel, to help bring our kids back by using the methods that bring secular Yidden back. B”H in addition to R’ Yom Tov Glaser, we have earned the support R’ Nuchem Chaimovitz, R’ Elyahu Bergstein, and R’ Yaakov Yisroel Wenglin. These prominent rabbonim are lecturing for B’Derech and assisting in parenting and chinuch concerns. We’ve been to many heimishe communities offering lectures on how to teach children the foundations of Yiddishkeit which seem to have been lost. Our community has become so focused on the chumras and gedarim of Yiddishkeit, have placed such an emphasis on the externalities, that the treasure we are protecting – true Torah values such as, Ve’Ahavta Es Hashem Elokecha, Ve’Ahavta L’reyacha Kamocha, the timelessness and truth of torah sh’baal peh, the joy of shabbos, etc., are lost to these children.

    Volunteers have been recruited to form a supportive network for several children. What we have learned is that children who are straying are not rebelling, rather they are being pushed out. They need large doses of tender, loving care “TLC” so that the pain can be released and the healing process can start. So many tears have been shed by these broken neshomos. I’ve been asked how can I allow these children into my home, what message am I giving my children? To that, I’ve replied, “My children see that we take care of those less fortunate, brokenhearted kinderlach, who are also Hashem’s children.” It is my goal to inspire others to follow.

    I have had meetings in Israel and we are working on a program designed for each child. We have gathered some children off the streets and offered them courses to earn a high school diploma in America and in Israel. We are offering a series of lectures by R’ Elyahu Bergstein this month in Boro Park and Williamsburgh, separate for men and women. We hope to have one of the therapists affiliated with B’Derech speak as well. For further information on women’s lectures call 917-509-9518 for men’s lectures call 347-598-6527.

    B’Derech HaTorah Neylech – The Finish Line

    People are asking me, “Where do we go from here?” I remind everyone that B’Derech is a movement, not an organization. A movement is a phenomenon that propels everyone into action. Kol Yisroel Areivim Ze L’Zeh. It’s not about professionals, principals, Rabbonim, politicians, therapists or Roshei Yeshiva doing something to deal with the crisis of our precious children going off the derech. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent by funding organizations and employing professionals; yet in the past decade the crises has reached epidemic proportions. As one mechanech told me, Eyn Bayis sh’eyn shom meys.

    Each of us must do our share to bring about the change that our system so critically needs. We need to decide what “average” is and accommodate every child Al Pi Darko. No child should feel labeled; no longer should a child be told that he is shvach and needs to go to a special yeshiva. Perhaps classes should cater to the “average” and require the metzuyanim be taken out of class for advanced tutoring?

    Moshe Rabbeinu, you know firsthand the irreparable damage that machlokes can foster! Korach and his cohorts were prominent members of society and as the earth swallowed them they cried “Moshe Emes V’Toraso Emes!” Unfortunately, our generation is riddled with dissention; our leaders are plagued by financial woes as well as litigation and din torahs. Our children see this – even more, they are directed not to talk to children aligned with another group or whose parents daven in another shul. We need to set the example for our children and prove that D’racheha Darkei Noam, v’Chol Nesivoseha Shalom.

    Reb Yisroel Baal Shem Tov, you founded chassidus, surely a tzaddik of your stature, can provide a safeguard for the machlokes which ensued between different factions of Chassidim and is threatening the beauty of Chassidus and the lives of our kinderlach. Surely, you can send us a wake up call that Chassidus is about kiruv – bringing our kinderlach close to Hashem through ahava and simcha; not about rejection, expulsion and stringencies which make them cry out from too much “pressure.”


    As we approach Kabolas HaTorah, I conclude with the following question: While secular law guarantees every American child a public school education, did Naaseh V’Nishma guarantee every Yiddisha Neshoma a Torah education in a mainstream yeshiva? Can our children stay B’Derech HaTorah with Simcha and Ahava without being labeled “shvach” or “at risk?”

    In the zchus of Moshe Rabbeinu and Reb Yisroel Baal Shem, I humbly and respectfully beseech the Bais Din Shel Maaleh for Siyata Dishmaya. B’Derech HaTorah Neylech. I rest my case.

    Ruchie (Rachel) Freier, is a prominent Charedi attorney at law, and can be contacted by email at, she maintains her offices at the following locations:

    1716 56th Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11204
    Tel: 718-259-4525
    Fax: 718-259-4039
    581 Route 17M
    Monroe, NY 10950
    Fax: 845-781-8141

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    1. Gr8. Where do I sign up? How can I help? I heard from those who sat at a presentation you gave for parents. How does one join this movement? Other than rioting outside the palaces of our presumptive rabonim, tzaddikim and gedolim for leading us astray, I can’t thing of anything else productive.

    2. Wow!!! How powerfully and well written. It behooves all of us, to look inwardly and rectify what needs to be done.
      May we be zocheh to the Geulah Sheleimah bekorev.

    3. “It says in the Torah that going to secular court is assur. It also says in the Torah that we must keep shabbos. I see rabbonim in court, so maybe if that mitzvah isn’t valid, then maybe keeping shabbos isn’t valid either!? Maybe being Jewish is about doing what’s convenient for each person and we can pick and choose what we want to follow.”


      • You are partially correct. Hashem gave yidden the sechel to analyze a situation and decide when it may be necessary to deviate from a strict reading of halacaha or a particular mitzvah so as to achieve a greater good such as the heter to be mechalel shabbos if it is necessary to protect a life at risk. This should not be the norm but we are not robots who should blindly follow a mechanical set of rules without regard to their real world ramifications.

      • This person’s comment is a huge part of the problem that we have. How do you answer this? Hiow do you answer when someone says, the reason that the boys are in jail in japan is because women walk on Ocean Pkwy for exercise or wear a long sheitel? Maybe the reason is because men steal and cheat? Maybe it’s because chasidishe rebbes are caught doing illegal acts by the government. The comment above that maybe Judaism is about convenience, you choose yours and I’ll choose mine is a major issue. My answer has always been that just because another Jew does something wrong, that doesn’t mean that I should stop putting on tefilin. I have never been influenced by these things. But I had friends who were and did go off the derech. We have dozens of kiruv organizations ands schools who bring back Jews to yiddishkeit. But for every baal teshuva coming in from their past cold life to the warmth of torah we have who knows how many frum from birth children becoming estranged. We pat ourselves on the back for Aish and Ohr Sameach et al. Why aren’t the organizations such as Be’Derech as successful? Maybe it’s because the baalei teshuva looking in from the outside see the beauty of yiddishkeit while the frum from birth who are inside see all the warts from up close. We have huge issues which are constantly swept under the carpet by rabbonim and askonim in the name of fairness and we don’t want a chilul Hashem etc. excuses. You don’t think these kids see this? You don’t think these kids see chasidishe rebbes, brothers, cousins, fighting. For what? Power? L’Shem Shomayim? And where are the fights? In goyishe courts. Isn’t that the comment made above? Mrs. Freier has a tremendous organization doing the best they can under trying circumstances. All I can say now is Hashem yazorchen and your supporters. Klal Yisroel needs a huge yeshuah.

    4. This only reinforces this need for positive outreach to our disenfranchised yinglach. We need to understand their alienation and gradually provide a positive reason to bring them back to yiddeshkeit. The strident and mindless dismissals of any derech other than a strict halachic based approach will not work. We can go step by step and not demand that they “return” to the fold and immediately be mekayem taryag mitzvot. The Lubavatcher rebbe wrote many times about how when you fish, you pull the line softly and slowly reel in the fish and the same technique works for bringing back lost yiddeshe neshamas. You bait the line with their favorite treat, and once you hook them you slowly pull them in to klal yisroel and not pull too hard so they don’t fight to get away and you lose them forever.

    5. One and all K’ish Echad B’lev Echad, let’s get on the bandwagon and help our people. These are G-D’s children as we are. Don’t you think G-D wants us to help his hurting children? As Ruchy so eloquently puts it, this is not an organization, this is a movement. There’s room for everybody to join in their own way. Please people, do what you can to help out. Speak to your Rov, ask him to speak out about the problem. Speak (Beseech) to the menahalim, mashgichim, rabbonim of the yeshivas. Tell them we won’t stand for this anymore!!!! We need reform. Yes we can become REFORM jews on this matter. We have to realize where we have strayed for so long allowing this to go on and REFORM REFORM REFORM. Beg for peace between one chasiddus and the other, beg for peace within one chassidus. Don’t be afraid to go in to your rebbe and cry your heart out about the machlokes that goes on. Let the rebbes see how bothered the hamon am is and they will do something about it. Don’t wait. You be the one to foster REFORM. Let your rebbe take that first step in reconciling with the other side. Just the other week a young boy was hit by a car and knocked into a brain dead situation R”L. Rumor has it that he was being chased into the street by another young child fighting about the two factions of one chassidus. How much can we bear??!! Enough is enough!!! Peace Now. Let’s forget about all the political correctness and do the Ratzon Hashem. There are too many bleeding hearts for us to stand on the sidelines. EVERYBODY MUST DO THEIR PART!!! If you’re not sure how to help get in touch with Ruchy Freier and see how you can maje a difference. With Siyaata Dishmaya we will succeed in bringing back G-D’s children to him and we will all greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu speedily in our days. Amen

    6. there always has been dropouts thruout the ages and there always will be. not c’v that each one is not a chorbin..but there are 10’s of 1000’s who are going in the right way who are building a bais naymon beyisroel. just pointing out its not doom and gloom as described. yes, each one is heart attack for the parents. and what about the gentile world where there is no disipline whatsoever why do they do their thing?

      • Having lived in both worlds, I can assure you that this apparently self-defensive view that the gentile and/or reform Jewish world is undisciplined and full of drug-addicted aimless youth is completely false. This is a country full of good, wonderful, decent family-oriented and ambitious people who love learning and ideas that may be different from ours but come from the same interest in finding and leading the best life possible.

        More importantly, I’ve also come to realize how dangerous this is in driving kids off the derech. At a time where the outside world is a click away online, or a subway stop from Willi. its easier than ever for our kids to realize their parents have lied about the massively over-stated “dangers” of the modern world. Their next question? “What else have they lied about?”

      • Below is an excerpt from the life of the Bal Shem Tov, it seems he was also judged but at least the community found a job for him as a teachers helper.

        “The Bal Shem Tov benefactors gave up the hope of him ever becoming a rabbi, and made him a “helper”, who took the children to and from school and rehearsed short benedictions and prayers with them. His sentimental nature, to which his later success was in great measure due, now stood him in good stead; for he could win children and attach them to him by explanations suited to their understanding. Later he became shammash (sexton) in the same community, and at about eighteen, he married”

    7. for the past 7 years i have been involved with helping ‘teenagers at risk’ as a director of the Clubhouse in London. i was disturbed my this article which seems to imply that the this problem has it roots solely in the chasidish community.

      this is certainly not the case in our experience. the teenagers we have dealt with over the years come from the entire spectrum of the community, chasidish, litvish, sephardic, modern orthodox etc. in fact we have seen many problem teenagers come from what most people would consider to be model families.

      it is all to easy to say that the yeshivas are to blame or that a particular lifestyle is to blame and i am always suspicious of articles such as this one where the writer appears to have an agenda.

      • Bigmoe, Kol Hakavod to you for your work and efforts. However, I believe you are misinterpereting here. Mrs. Freier has absolutely no agenda here. I know her personally and I know that this is entirely L’shem Shomayim. The fact that she’s stressing the chassidish community is because that is the community where she is from and she sees these boys and girls first hand. Also I believe she is trying to fill a void. While the community at large has different people and organiztion trying to make a dent in solving this problem, the chassidish community definitely lags behind in even acknowledging that there even is a problem, let alone deal with it. However of course she means every color and stripe.

      • Without knowing the facts about Rachel Frier, you are already assuming that she has an agenda. For someone who is dealing with at risk children I’m surprised that you seem so judgemental. The first rule of the day, when dealing with any Jew, is to judge them positively. Perhaps you need to work on that aspect of yourself.

      • Mrs. Freier.To who I now stand in awe of. Is a lawer she is presenting the facts. We as well is she is pointing to one of the many directions of the source of the problem. As a lawyer she is elaberating to one of the most misleading componants of the problem. which is that the place where we expect the most of, (The Yeshivs & School system) That “we” set up.Is FAILING!
        The foundation of her article and why she is writing it now. Is the point that she is making !There was one condition that hashem asked for. It wasn’t to wake up for Visikin or to dip you bread into salt before you eat it. “Ke Ish Echud Be Lave Echud”
        Remember (as she touched on the Meron topic) R.Akiva lost 24000 Talmidim who were on a far higher level then anything we can imagine today.WHY? Shelo Ne Hegu Kovod Ze Lu Ze.

        That is what Mrs Frier is saying

      • #16, I am sorry to say this but it would appear from this post that you could not be much help to teenagers at risk in any capacity if you can read this and see an agenda behind it. This is the only agenda:

        K’lal yisroel must wake up and make changes because WE as a society went way off the DERECH of proper yiddishkeit, ahavas yisroel, chinuch bonim, mitzvos ben adom l’chaveiro and ben adom l’makom. In our zeal and zest to out do, out perform and out frum each other we left no room for the ordinary, normal Jew and most importantly, the ordinary normal child.

        Yeshivas and even parents are competing in a race for perfection, neglecting of course to look into the mirror while blaming others for the imperfections and what they see as faults and failures in others.

        We give our maiser money, but forget that tzedakah also encompasses gemilas chasodim. We have changed our diet from praise and pride in our fellow Jews to loshon horah and competitive put downs and dissensions between sects. We forgot what it means “kol yisroel areivim zeh la zeh” and have taken it to mean WE have the right to judge others, correct them, humiliate them, and show them how wrong they are.

        And at the worst scenario which we are currently experiencing we are told to follow our gedolim like blind mice even though they are causing tremendous chilul hashem and agmas nefesh as shown here in this article by allowing children to be forced off the derech and by referring to victims of sexual abuse as bloggers, picketers, and presumptuous promoters who think they know what is best for k’lal yisroel; noch a potch in punim.

        Ruchie, welcome to my world!! I have been doing this for 7 years now. Over the past few weeks alone, right here on VIN I have been called Jew hater, chareidei hater, daas torah hater, etc. I was told to go back to where I came from as if it was up to that individual to tell Hashem it was my time to go!

        I have also never met a “bad” kid; only kids with bad problems. B”H I have tremendous nachas from all the children that walked through my life. Some for the simple fact that they are still alive and that alone breeds hope. Others because they have become our extended family. So hang in there! Hatzlocha Rabah. if you need me please contact me at

        • Your continuing Gedolim bashing is a disgrace.

          What is your connection with the Kids Count Foundation of Texas?

          Where do you come off making these sweeping pronouncements about what Klal Yisroel should do?

          Rabbi Lipner indicated that the majority of professionals involved in this issue feel that the primary cause of the problem is the abuse of some form whether sexual or not of the person going off. If there is a need to change the basic derech of Yiddishkeit, I would look to the Gedolim to direct me.

          We should follow the Gedolim like blind sheep because they are the ainay haaidah, the eyes of the people. Who then should we follow, social workers who are emotionally affected by the sad events?

    8. I completely disagree with Ms. Freier assessment. Unfortunately her article tackles the symptoms and not the disease. The reason why many “Off the Derech” (OTD) groups have become popular is because they are not afraid to introduce dialogue. I firmly believe if Ba’al Shem Tov would try to introduce Chassidus today and not 200 years ago, he would be ostracized and thrown out of the frum community he was in (Monsey/Boro Park, etc). The question she should be tackling is why orthodoxy is moving so much to the right and leaving no room for centrism.

      • The question she should be tackling is why orthodoxy is moving so much to the right and leaving no room for centrism. ”
        You are so correct. Each chassidus is moving more and more right, we are being stifled, and our kids are being stifled. The restrictions are becoming more extreme day by day.
        Some families/kids can accept this new lifestyle. Some CANNOT.

        I stand in awe of Mrs. Freier, I think she has very noble intentions. May Ha-Shem grant her continued success.

    9. Maybe these people need to find where they are most comfortable with Judaism? Perhaps they wouldn’t live satisfactory lives as Chassidim but would as modern or even very modern orthodox? We should encourage them to find mitzvot they feel are meaningful and practice them in a way that will be fulfilling to them. Who cares if they dress in hats and sheitels? If they will keep kosher, shabbat, mikva, and send their children to Day School, and they will feel connected to Hashem and the Jewish people, it will be a success story.

    10. Shmerel:

      Here’s some cold water. The problem of drop outs (or throw outs) in the heimishe community is accelerating. It may not be doom and gloom, but it is heading that way at highway speeds. Mrs. Freier has begun to address the problem in ways that are obvious but have been hard to find. Here are some tips that I gathered from her article.

      1 – Stop rejecting these kids. They are not really bad, despite having made several bad choices or decisions.

      2 – We can help these kids by offering them some frum connections that are nurturing and welcoming.

      3 – Our chinuch systems did not work for these kids. We need to explore how this occurred. Sometimes it is a child who has limitations that the yeshivos could not accommodate. Other times, there were rejections that were simply bad chinuch.

      4 – These kids are rebelling. We need to help them redirect their anger away from Yiddishkeit – it is not the culprit.

      There is another global problem that is addressed in Mrs. Freier’s article. There are system issues with the manner in which we handle kids that do not fit well enough into the mold. This is an issue for parents as well as yeshivos. We do not have the resources to manage this. Sure, there are tutors to help those talmidim that have academic weaknesses. But there is more than raising report card grades. There is some shifting that needs to be done, and such changes are not easy. We need guidance from gedolim, and we need expert mechanchim to help direct the process. Something serious needs to happen because we are losing too many neshamos to the lure of the streets. And this is our loss.

    11. who is not letting them? maybe you mean every househald ,chassidish, litvish should tell their dhildren do what ever you please you dont have to wear peyous,can go in shorts, just play around with the girls..and do what you feel is good? or do mean when its too late to tell them? so if you can explain how we go about it.

    12. #16 if one will say it has to do with our lifestyle, its treading on dangerous what does that person suggest we should abandon the derch of our avous? the other lifestyles have much more teen risk

    13. well said
      At least the Rabbonim in Lakewood put a stop to the nonsense of not accepting children ,

      Speak to the parents in Boro Park , Williamsburg , Flatbush who try enrolling kids in to schools , NURSERY kids , and yet they are not accepted , SHAME ON THE SCHOOLS !!!!! just imagine when the bucher is 14 and sees that he has not been accpted in 4 or 5 yeshivas , not because he is a bad child , because every yeshiva says i only take metzunim !! amazing how all these metzunim grow up as normal children …from a yeshiva of 100 metzunim i have yet to see a R, Akiva Aiger , a Marshu …. But we all know that its a game by these yeshivas ..come in beg and beg and if you have MONEY you will get accepted

      How do they sleep at night , while they learn with children and need to be respected f and thanked for that …For every child that they said NO to .. they will give Din Vchesbon .. How many tears have been dropped many heart attacks could have been prevented ?
      and what lesson does that give to the “child” that wants to enter a yeshiva … that its all about MONEY ..of course all they want to do , is make alot of money ..since the GANEV who has a lot of money gets his children in to schools easily

      from the 60s thru the 80s when we had true RABBONIM every child that wanted to go to a yiddish school was accepted , are we smarter then our parents and grand parents

      Would the late R’ Shlomo , ( Bobover Ruv ) or The Divrei Yoel say no to a child .. they had children that parents were on the border line . BUT THEY KNEW THAT THEY CAN SAVE A GENERATION FOR EVER by taking in chidren and being them mechanech all derech hatorah , yet we take children and throw them away for generations

      Look what happened with the chidren that grew up in bobov or satmer , parents in both yeshivas let their beards grow , the kids go with shtreimlech and run a chasiddesh house , the eineklech go already with vase socken and are even frimmer then the parents .. It goes to show that the Rabbonim were right

      But in today day in age even our rabbonim think they are smarter .. Just last week I heard of a story , A perent in Boro Park ( normal chassidshe mispacha ) tried putting in there first child in to a school … they ended up in playgroup for a full year since NO school accepted them.. the excuses ran from we have no place , we only take in bobover children .. we dont like were you daven ,, so forth and so forth I

      I just wonder were we took so much rishus ..Does today Bobover Ruv or Satmer Ruv think that there Father are proud of what they are doing …

    14. this article touches on some basic valid points bottom line if we dont change drastically our approach to chinuch in today’s society we will lose more and more of our frum kids to the lure of the street
      unless (as pointed out in the article) we focus on the ahava, geshmak beauty of yiddishkeit/judiasim an uplifting shabbos a motze shabos melava malka(yes kumzitz)a beautiful yomtov seuda a beautiful singing davening
      the chesed &caring we all do for each others, our elevated lifestyle we choose and are honored to live how the torah is a blueprint on how one goes about his day from when he gets up in the morning untill one goes to sleep. how we have the oppurtunity to speak to g-d 3 times a day where chazal have written a prayer that encompasses all our needs lest one not be able to express himself how we r able to talk to hashem whenever we feel the need how hashem watches over us each and every minute how we go over our day before we go to sleep
      as they say in marketing “everything is in the packaging”
      living, leading and following a torah way of life isnt at all a drag or boring or stifiling,oppressive
      the opposite it gives meaning to our every thought or act we do thruout the day.
      the more we connect our everyday (seemingly) mundane living to g-d
      a)puts us on a higher level, naturally elevating us to a higher spiritual level feeling closer to hashem and seeing the hand of hashem leading us and feeling closer to him
      may we all be zoche to impart our love of hashem and his torah to our children
      and the need for this wonderful organization be superflous AMEN

    15. we seem to always reinvent and create more infrastructure in our community, that is now already in crisis mode, financially and organizationally. i am sure ms f is doing wonderful work and is to be congratulated; however their are great groups out there with wonderful experience and trackrecords who have been in this business for years. for example—project extreme has ten years of sucessful work in this fielld. shouldn”t go with the professional proven horse when we think about our children. it makes senses to coordinate our efforts for everyone’s sake.

    16. I have previously publicly criticized Ruchie Frier on this Forum and i now apologize for doing so. After reading this article all i can say is “Chazak Ve’ematz!” Continue in your Avodas Hakodesh!

    17. May they have a lot of Hatzlacha. Its intresting to note that his reminds me very much of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s ideas. To bring ppl closer to hashem and the torah and at the same time on a lesser scale finding a balance with the secular world.

      Hats, Jackets, and gartels are all extra Chumras and not what judaism is about. A Cd was made years ago its callled Black Hattitude wherew it talks about all these problems and that was in the 90’s.

      Its time to infuse judaism in our life. and make it more than our clothing food and routinized rituials. make the Torah come to life put its true principals to work.

      Moderation is the Key, Striking the proper balance is the question.

    18. OTD activity occurs in the chassideshe and modern otthodox community without distinctin. It is more painful in the chassideshe community because what will the neighbos think and it will ruin a shidduch for the siblings. In the modern ortho community it is not that unusual to have more and less frum siblings and they are not that tied in to shidduchim. Why is it so unusual to lose 5-10% to non Frumkeit? Not everyone is spiritually guided or oriented. Also, some want college education which is anathema in the chassidishe community. So I suggest if you find a child turning off to Yiddeshkeit, instead of ostracizing him/her and throwing them out the door to fend on their own (so they dont spoil the other siblings), tell them its ok to live at home and go to a trade school or college. The key is to be productive, not do drugs or drink or hang out in clubs. If they do that and they are old enough to fend for themselves, sure kick them out but stay in touch and provide support in a reasonbable fashion. They may come back. Bottom line, its ok not to be Chassidesh, go to college or tech school as long as they are respectful of shabbos and kashrus while at home. For teens, I suggest a “boot camp” type atmosphere away from the City. Again, the rules should be study, be productive. No pressure on religion away from the home. they want to be mechallel shabbos or eat treif, doesnt make them a bad person. It makes them a bad frum Yid but not a bad person. They can live productive ives, get married, work in a trade or profession, and still remain in close contact with the Family without being ostracized.Not everyone is cut out to be a chasid. I was one once, and am now a professional , Frum, Shomer Shabbos, have a beautiful Frum family who go to Yeshivos. But I dont go to Rebbes and I dont have the Livush anymore. My siblings accept me and have stopped trying to convert me back and while the cousins may not have much to with each other, we all get together at family simchos. Chassidim need to be more accepting. A yid is A Yid. Where is Ahavas Yisroel?? Stop putting everyone into a smaller and smaller niche. Yes vosse socken, no vosse socken. Who cares?

      • Reb Aharon zt”l did not agree with the following
        ” So I suggest if you find a child turning off to Yiddeshkeit, instead of ostracizing him/her and throwing them out the door to fend on their own (so they dont spoil the other siblings), tell them its ok to live at home “

        Sorry to bust you r bubble, but this has nothing to do with a chssidishe view.
        I know many chassidishe buchirim who are not shomer Torah on the inside, and their parents let them live at home.

    19. I believe
      “Most of the teens at risk have an abusive parent behind” I was involved in stories where the parents was demanding that the child should wear a “gartel” while he eats. When the boy didn’t wear, he use to call him with names like bomb, “liedigier” ‘oasvorf”.


    20. “His father always emphasized the importance of the mikveh for Chassidim; it was more important than davening, he said.”

      Perhaps we should work first on correcting this chinnuch.

    21. Ms. Freir’s work is incredibly inspiring to me. The care and concern she has for the young people in our community should be a lesson to all of us. Not only the help she provides people, but also the time and energy she spent researching the problems.

      There is one piece of information that needs to be considered in the discussion of the teens at risk. MOST teens that develop anti-social and counter-culture behavior in our community have been hurt by some kind of abuse, whether it is phsyical, emotional and very, very commonly sexual.

      I am not speaking without doing some INFORMAL research on this matter. Let me quote the experts who deal daily with hundreds of children:

      Rabbi Yankie Horowitz has told me that he sees that 80% of the teens he deals with have been molested.
      Rabbi Shimon Russel, the most successful therapist in Lakewood, also says 80%.
      Rabbi Yerachmeil Milstien’s estimate from his work at Project Chazon: 80%
      Ruchama Klapman, director of MASK, the premier moysad helping families with kids with issues, gave me the more conservative estimate of 60%.
      Rabbi Abadi of Lakewood who deals with problem kids there told a friend of mine 90%, in his experience.

      The good news from all of this is the following: Contrary to the conventional wisdom that it is the lure of secular pop culture in America, the “challenges of a frum lifestyle in the 21st century”, or as some rabbis have pointed to, the goyishe invluences in our own culture such as the Jewish music industry, that is causing the most children to alientate themselves from our tradition, these are NOT as big a problem as we have been led to believe. The vast majority of children will be happy to continue on with out traditions, if we simply protect them from being preyed upon by adults who have no respect for children and treat them as their personal objects of abuse.

      If we would once and for all STOP the abuse, the vast majority of our children would find Yiddishkeit a beautiful and meaningful lifestyle worth living for.

      To find out more about what we can do to stop the abuse, please visit our website at, or contact me directly at

      To understand what we need to be demanding of our communal leadership, please visit the webiste of the Jewish Week which today has in the op ed section 2 differing opinions of what needs to be done. One was written by myself, and one by the Executive President of Agudas Yisroel, Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel.

      What a shame that we need so many organizations and community resources to bring kids back to the Derech, when we could easily stop them from leaving by creating an environment of zero tolerance for abuse.

      Asher Lipner, Ph.D.
      Vice President, Jewish Board of Advocacy for Children

    22. #28 you have already such movements its called MO,some moderate even more, actually way overboard its called reform, conservative etc… now do you think gartel hat etc is the problem? maybe it shmiras shabbos or any of the taryag. one thing doesnt occur to you that maybe its the haspahu from the decadanceof the goishe gass and the chorbun the internet is doing and not the torah is at fault the torah way

    23. The question is not so much about having moved to the right left or center. The focus has to be on basic “middos”, human intellect, warm family, correct assessment of childrens’ learning abilities, etc. We have become robotic creatures in desperately attempting to live a lifestyle beyond the means of an average large family, trying to come across as the “frumste” un “shenste” when we cannot fulfill the basic duties as parents and mechanchim, force-feeding our children with all kinds of extreme minhagim whithout addressing the beauty in basic yiddishkeit, busy with all types of distractions (albeit important) instead of building strong warm homes. In short we have created a disasterous situation ourselves and now we are grasping for the lifeline (never mind those who are still living in la la land).
      All this has no source whatsoever in torah chassidus or mussar, it stands as the complete opposite of what the Ball Shem Tov taught us, it is an out-of -control social monster.

      It is time for a REVOLUTION! in a positive sense. It seems to be taking root, a few good responsible manhigei yisroel would surely help.

    24. Well I myselfe was off for quite some time and the only thing that made me come back to our precious roots was LOVE. My parents learned to accept me and that was that. These days Im studying in a Heimische Seminary and I hope one day to be able to help many yiddische kinderlach which are going threw such tough times.And please dont ever blame the parents it has nothing to do with them. My parents are the most wonderfull people I just struggled innerly. PLEASE HELP AND SUPPORT ALL THOSE TEIRE NESHUMES OUT THERE……………….

      • welcome back home….hope u continue feeling loved. love and respect is very important to your emotional health and well being…bravo to your smart and caring parents and family. may they continue seeing nachas from you 🙂

    25. #36. as Rabbi S. R. Hirsch said in his days when the reform were at its peek in germany. its not the Torah that needs a reform, Rather its the jews that need to reform. By teaching our children that Hashem loves us and expects us to do the best we can.

      We put so much into our looks that we forget its not our clothes that makes is Jews but rather our Souls. Jews of yesteryear wore turbans and robes, so what are they not jewish. wearing jeans dosent make u a bad guy, maybe ur not following the norm but ur not a bad person and u can still be close to hashem.

      A Rabbi once told me, If Moshe Rabenu were to come back down to earth and look for the jewiish ppl he would have a hard time finding them, and once some one points him to our direction he will tell himself these are not jews that I knew.

      We have gone through a lot, good and bad times. but if u look at it we have remained faithfull, no matter what goes on in your world its all from Hashem and we must try to understand.

      Be understanding and passionate and show the ppl the right way. Rav Hirsch was right. and about the M.O they do not follow Rav Hirsch but rather a colluge of his. do ur research.

      Moderation is the Key, striking the proper balance is the question!

    26. I recently asked a Rabbi in kiruv why he thinks there are so many kids today who leave the derech and he replied simply “yetzer horo” and “taavos.”
      It is true that the forbidden fruits are more accessible today, and the yetzer horo is in overdrive. Although there are some cases of abuse and children mishandled by Parents and Yeshivos, the fact is that most of these children are tempted by things in the secular society which are easily accessable, but were not so accessible in previous generations.
      Read any of the websites run by the formerly frum and you will see that they are immersed in their ta’avos, do what they want and the apparent guilt is displaced towrds their parents and Yeshivos.
      Lets deal with the root cause which is recognizing the allure of society and large and let us start teaching children at a young age that the world and its temptations are alluring indeed, and teach them techniques to avoid the temptations.
      I disagree with condemning and holding out institutions, as imperfect as they are, responsible for an individual’s free choise.
      I went to yeshivah in the 60’s and 70’s, and I felt I was mistreated on occassion by the hanhala, but it did not occur to me to chuck everything, follow all of my ta’avos and blame others. Many in my generation went through the same experience and yet did not abandon our traditions; and for those few who did, had enough derech eretz not to do so openly to avoid shame for their parents.
      Matbe the solution is to demand more derech eretz for parents, Rebbe’s and the older generation and more personal responsibility. It worked for hundreds of generations; why change now?

      • To #38. The reason why people go off the derech is not only yetzer horo and taavos. This is a ridiculously simplistic way to form an analysis. How about the fact that 60s and 70s did not have the Internet and the information was not as widely available. The fact that many rabbis still try to keep their followers in the closet is the main reason why people go “off the derech”. You want a prime example? Assuming you live in Lakewood/Monsey or Boro Park, try sitting in front of your house and reading a book on Greek philosophy for instance and see what the response from your neighbors will be. Furthermore, try sending your kids to college and you will see how quickly you will be ostracized. How do I know this? I communcate with many Litvishe yidden and know what their attitude is. They live in a box and are afraid to come out.

      • A TRUE loving, supportive, and caring foundation from the parents is all that counts, if that is there a child will not stray too far, or will come back after straying.

        99.9% stray due to abusive or un-supportive, un-loving, controlling parents, or sexual abuse.


    27. I’ve seen boys who were turned off by seemingly insensitive acts by menahlim and roshei yeshivos. When i was 13 and learning at a major yeshiva the menahel made me cut off my long payos because i had been chewing on them. What did I do? I said to myself he has no right to do that so I will regrow them. How far was I from going off? At 17 I was at a different yeshiva and had received hitztainus marks in each and every end of zman test and had the highest high school average. The valedictorian honor was taken away because I planned on going to college. I didn’t rebel, I returned to my previous yeshiva. I’m really not trying to brag although it seems so, after all I’m writing this anonymously. Kids who have a solid background of love and support will not be turned off even though some rosh yeshiva did them an avla. I’m not talking straight out abuse. Nobody can remain unaffected by that. But most kids go off because they didn’t have the support needed as a foundation, way before anything was done to them to turn them off. I was lucky. Some of my friends were not and did go off. Parents must be educated in giving their kids strong love and support from day 1. And educators must be educated in continuing this in school. Only then can our kids not be influenced by outside factors that truthfully can turn even the strongest baal emunah off.

    28. #41 please where did he say that? can you give specific examples where jews have to start reforming,should i start to wear jeans what next , observe only 32 melochos on shabbos instead of 39?. by the way, you had already jews who reformed thruout generationd so which ones would you suggest i should join, christians, reform reconstructionists, consevative ? or maybre you have your own ideas of a new movemt .so if you can post in details what exactly you want to reform besides wearingin jeans it would be helpful.

    29. # 32 its not so simple, there were plenty in previous generration .who advised to throw out as not to influence the rest. and there were plenty who did not do it and the others fell into the bor shachas. medresh tanchuma ‘avroham had to throw out yismael he shoudlnt influence yitzchak see rashi ‘shma bekolo’

    30. I am Lubavitch and my son was thrown out of Lubavitch Yeshiva like he was the garbage. This was after Gimmel Tammuz, when the Rosh yeshivas and Teachers no longer had to look the Rebbe in the eyes, so they now did as they wish. Once this happens, it is like a self-fulfilling prophesy, they say you are bad, so you act it out. However, Rabbi Leibel Groner, the Rebbe’s secretary, told us that the Rebbe told other parents (apparently children went off the derech sometimes in the old days, too) to unconditionally love the child and NEVER send them out of the house, but keep them close. It was very hard and painful to watch my son’s downfall, but we stood by him. He always lived at home. He BH returned and brought back other boys with him, even helping to start a minyan for such boys. We are very proud of him, he is one of the Rebbe’s diamonds. Just wanted to share a happy ending…

    31. a few points
      there are many many rabbeim, moros, askanim, therapist, admorim, counselors,relatives & friends that have & continue to accept & try to help these boys & girls everyone has been matzliach to an extent & one never knows when & where the hashpoah will take root
      THE RATIO OF SUCCESS IN COMPARISON TO THE EFFORTS PUT IN ARE NOTHING TO BE PROUD but as maaminim we continue to try ( there are many boys & girls who got plenty of therapy sessions, unconditional love, concessions in yidishkeit…

    32. #38 had much to say, but much of it was simply irresponsible and off target. The issues of taavos and yetzer horoh are red herrings. This is certainly NOT the root of the problem. I’m not even so sure that kiruv, which works with baalei teshuvah who are newcomers to Yiddishkeit, who are emotionally motivated to pursue this path, is the field where I would find expertise for this question. The accessibility of taavos is certainly astronomical thanks to technology. That poses increased risk to someone with the leanings towards these forces. And, yes, there is lure.

      However, we are dealing with people who are fully aware of what is right and wrong. These kids are not cognitively impaired, and educating them about right and wrong is useless. Their problem is that they are willing to do what they know full well is against their values. In order for someone to do this, there must be a reason why they wish to cross the boundaries into that territory that is ossur. One general explanation is that the lure is not enough, but it takes something that is somehow painful on the positive side of the fence to be abandoned. The bottom line is that these kids are rarely, if ever, pursuing attraction to these outside elements. No, they are running from us. They are seeking to escape from the values, lifestyle, and community norms that they find excruciatingly painful. Our mission is to gain some understanding into the causes for that pain.

      In any of the programs that work with youth at risk, there is a specific focus to allow a relationship that is not judgmental or disciplinary to grow. To quote the Mesilas Yeshorim, the best form of rebuke sometimes is to say nothing. This may mean that we need to hold our tongues and not give tochacha when we witness some gross violations such as tzniyus or chilul Shabbos CH”V. If we simply give our knee jerk discipline, we are pushing one of HKB”H’s precious neshamos away, and that is not our mission here. The art of this Kiruv Kerovim is unique, and some who do this are extraordinarily talented. They are also incredibly generous with their time and resources, being mekayem nefesh achas mi’Yisroel.

      It is far more than the lure of the street, taavos, and yetzer horoh. These all existed before, and we have never witnessed anything close to what we see today. And it is infantile to blame it on cell phones and internet. I place the blame on all of us, as parents, mechanchim, members of the frum community, for our contributions to making our lifestyle replete with things that push children away. As some of the experts in the field have wisely noted, “These children are not drop-outs, they are throw outs.” We have met the enemy, and he is us.

    33. I am still crying inside from the stories contained in the article.

      L’maaseh. I think we should start with the HOMEWORK load, that the schools burden the kinderlach with.
      R’ matisahu salamon shlita, published a article in mishpacha begging our mchanchim to ease up on our kinderlach. After spending a full day in school, sometimes not coming home until six o’clock. Lman hashem give them some time to play, air out,or just bond with mommy.
      Let’s join together and demand change from our moisdos regarding homework

      • I agree. Kids need time to be kids. They need physical activity, excercise, fun and outlets for some individuality and creativity — whether art, music, dance, etc. as well as some simple down time to hang out with friends, read a novel, etc.. Too much sitting – sit in shul, sit in class, sit doing homework, etc. is not healthy and can breed frustration and boredom.

    34. A couple of pointers:
      –> DONT JUDGE– at this stage of life, many teens are becoming independent, Thereby choosing their lifestyles of which they wish to plant seeds during this time. This takes thought, and deep down self searching, and with it comes a lot of questions. ALLOW THEM TO ASK! DONT JUDGE WHEN THEY DO! Just because they’re asking, doesnt mean he or she is an apikores. It can just mean that he or she wants to build the foundation for their lifestyle, attaining the most knowledge to its reasoning.
      –> BE OPENMINDED– One of the most inportant keys for keeping children from going off the derech, is to have an open line for communication. If a parent is so closeminded, the child will feel uncomfortable speaking to them, thereby seeking others that will understand and wont judge. And often, that someone might just be a person you will not want your child interacting with.

      –>CREATE A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT– 3 factors affect many teen’s choices: Parents, Friends, and rolemodels (esspecially the last two). It isnt for nothing that it says “uknei lcha chaver” and “asei lcha rav” = or as the Lubavitcher Rebbe Z’L said as a bekosho nafshis that every man, woman, and Child should get a mashpia, a positive role model. If a child has a positive role model, he or she will view him or her as an example of by which to live his life, taking the measures needed to be sure his or her life matches with the standards of that of their role model. Whereas, if your child’s role model is some basketball player, celebrity, or some head of a street gang, they are going to look at what it takes to get there and do negative things in the process.
      Friends: peer pressure influences a child’s decisions greatly. If you see your child hanging around the wrong crowd, dont say “Stay away from them”… if its early enough, gently show your child that they should be a postive influence on them. Your child does not need to force his or her views on his or her friends, but by being a good example, accepting yet firm in his or her beliefs.
      Parents: Create a happy, loving atmosphere at home. Because this way, your child knows that when all doors close on him or her, there will always be one door open. This way, they wont turn to other sources for love and happiness.

    35. I am really confused. Its not an attorney that these kids need, its a Psychologist. Part of the problem is that we have many do-gooders who insist on meddling where they don’t belong. I am an attorney and can unequivocally tell you that this issue (kids at risk) is NOT one where an attorney should be trying to fix things. Thank you Mrs. Frier but if you really want to help, refer them to a mental health professional.

      • Only a small percent need psychologists. Most of these kids are not mentally ill. They are normal adolescents and teenagers seeking to gain independence, figure out their place in the world and how they want to live their lives. There is nothing wrong with a lawyer being involved. Adults of all professions and occupations should be involved since the community’s behavior, norms and attitudes affect whether these children/young adults will stay, leave or be pushed out, and if they leave whether or not bridges will be burned.

      • Mrs Freier is not acting in her capacity as an attorney – she is acting in her capacity as a Yiddishe mama and baalas chessed. Sometimes true ahavas Yisroel does a lot more good than a fancy degree (or a degree in the requisite field).

    36. Dear Bearl,
      If you read what I wrote in the name of Rabbis S. R. Hirsch you will I never said anything u r thinking. Here it is again, this time in simple english.


      Enough with this fakeness,enough with the Hat and Jacket replaced the Torah..

      Torah is not our clothes but our soul. To live a Torah Life and fulfill all the Mitzvos. To be a good Jew and a Good person.

      Although this is not universally true, I have met many Black Hat ppl who sin in many more ways than ppl with no black hat. (im not bashing hats and jackets, I wear it myself) all what I’m saying its time to reform our ways where we have become misguided. and instead learn how to be a Torah Jew.

      Moderation is the Key, Striking the proper balance is the question!

    37. There have always been people with an inherent more modern trend or need to express themselves differennly, but the frum community then was more diverse and accepting of such diversity. In my elementary school and high school, it was normal for boys to wear knitted yarmulkas and colored shirts. Every single one of them today are fantastic frumme yidden today and most are in Chinuch in prominent Yeshivas. Heaven forbid that a boy walk into Yeshiva today with a blue shirt or a knitted yarmulka. As long as the boy, or girl, behave and try, why is that they ridiculed are not accepted?

      Perhaps if we exhibited more tolerance for youg people to express and be themselves, within, of course, acceptable parameters of frumkeit, without forcing them into the same cookie cutter machine, the kids at risk problem, if not solved, would be significantly diminished. Chanoch l’naar lefi darcho!

    38. I cried like a baby thru out the whole article. not only cuz of the stories which are heart-breaking, but because I could have been a teen at risk, AND my son who is a teenager has every earmark for becoming one. I was paraded around in grade school with signs of “dummy” among other things because I got failing marks on my tests. I stayed the course because I felt loved and wanted and had deep roots. Why could my son be a teen at risk? My son is ADHD. His yeshivah had NO idea how to deal with him because he doesn’t fit the mold. Thank G-D (i truly thank hashem for it) he is a very charismatic child and both his peers and adults adore him. He wasn’t thrown out of yeshivah but he didn’t feel like he belonged. and they didn’t know how to deal with him. We B”H found a smaller yeshivah. He is so happy there. He no longer feels imprisoned. If only mechanchim understand that “NOT EVERYONE FITS THE SAME MOLD” things could be a lot different. thou its not the only problem it does account for a lot of kids going off. and from personal experience once kids do start to slide”DONOT THROW THEM OUT” they will eventually come back. I know its a painful wait, but the chances are better

    39. #64.. a major problem, parents wont give a child into a shvachere school because of stigma..and you cant ask a school thats geared for eilium to accept them. the acreious of chinich habonim is not the yeshivah its the parents see shulchen urech . if parents dont have time he has to hire melamed.but where in shulchen urech is it pakened the malamed has to take just anybody. if he feels its not for him ? where does it say if i open a yeshivah that i have obligation to take in everybody. does harvard just take in anybody? if there are yeshivas for shvachere boys, but the parents dont want as mentioned above thats not my problem

      • Do yo have a contract with hashem that all of your kids (if you have any) will be loimdim and have hatzlacha in limud hatoira. Shame on you. You are a disgrace to klal yisroel.

    40. At ma’amad Har Sinai Eliuim stood together with the pruste Yidden. Also being a Ilui is no predictor after all Korach was a big learner and see what became of him.
      What matters is what is inside how deeply is one feels their connection to G-D, Torah and the Jewish people. There is need to rexamine what core values do adults transmit to the younger generation.

    41. In searing pain says; my son is going off the derech and taking marijuana. He clearly suffered in school by rebbeim who worried more about their ego thn the talmidim but I am a fraid to say tht once he tried it from a group of friends he could not stop. That was the time to intervene not 3 yrs later when he deteriorated so badly. IT seems that the marijuana really pulls the brain away fro m trying to get off the drugs/. Since we are going through this nisayon and the pain is searing hot we want to help . I think we need a crisis center in every comm to guide the families and kids at risk I t mst berfree. We can than use professionals after a mentor finds the child and convinces him oto get help. I also beleive that the marijuana is so destructive it took our son away from torah HASHEM tefilin friends family on and on.. I DONT THINK ITS ALL THE SCARS FRO M YESHIVA DAYS BUT WE DID NOT KNOW THAT DRUGS WERE WAITNG

    42. I cant thank ruchie enough the only way our zaros wil ever stop is when we all really reach out and help each other in any way that we can. I think ruchies org needs to raise money for families that cannot afford to pay professionals to help them. I think we need to work very hard to realize that smoking has attacked our kinderlach and that very often leads to groups of kids hanging out and it leads to cravings for smoking marijuana. I would like to start a serious war on marijana and getting it away from our kids. I t is a substance that causes them to feel free and loose and slowly they give up torah rebbis family friends etc. I think we can entice these kids who are taking it by lets say offering clothes if you go to the nearest rehab . We need atype of hazala that can come immed if a parent says I SMELL marijuana in my kids pocket we can help hm immed and get to the source of it and work on showing familie how to keep kids away from it, I F we can control a flu we can work onthis. I t could reall y save alot of neshamos. When my son began 3 years ago he was still learning now he is so far away and he admits the marijuana pulled him away and we did not find any urgent help avail. Ruchi youre a true zadeikes and any parent who knows this searing pain knows that this is the emes.

    43. Enough with the ADD mishugas!


      ZDD = Zitzfleisch Deficit Disorder.

      Don’t give the kids drugs with serious side effects, give them exercise, fresh air, healthy food, and a healthy lifestyle.

    44. Reply to #30,34,44. I do not know Mrs Freier or her organisation and i am happy to accept that they are good people doing good work. if she is working specifically within the Chasidisher communities of Monroe and Willy what benefit is there in posting an article on a public forum such as VIN? i don’t see how it opens ‘up the eyes’ of target audience. All it does is paints these communities in a bad light on a public forum.

      At risk teenagers is a global phenomenum. The only common denominator is that many of our children are growing up and with little self-esteem. Our Rabbonim are not wrong.Our education system and our Mesoirah need not ne abandonned. we just need to continusously seek to improve and adjust to the challenges of our times.

    45. # 65 You didn’t address my issues. so intstead of ranting with unintelligeble statements please address. and what has it got to do with ‘contract with hashem’ so #65 let me repeat ..if i open a yeshivah for metzionim i dont have to take in shvchere bochorim. the chiave to learn torah rests on the parents not on me. i have no responsibility for them . the problem ,besides what i mentioned in #64, is we have the ‘blame someone else’ mentality from the permissive goyishe gass. #66 you also abi geredt ..what has your observation of korach got to do with my statement ‘if i make a yeshivah for metziyonom i dont have to take in shvacere bocherim’ theres a yeshivas for shvchere ..again refer to #64. how many parents put in koichos into the children, bocherim and learn with them, chazer with them, those who do usually one sees the, you send them to yeshivah and ,poof, its the yeshivas achreious 100% no . i also had one that wasnt wanted, no i didnt blame the yesiveh…was misbinon how the bais looks maybe braught in house what shoudnt be in ehrliche steib etc etc a subject arich maeretz mida.. .shas, mussar sforim, there’s a lot of ingredients how to have ehrlicha kinder and not 1 reason is mention the yesivahs, rebbes etc

      • If you solicit or accept funding from the community at large,you do owe the kehillah in return to accept even less than brilliant talmidim. With your writing skills you ought not call anyone else shvach: haposel bemoomo hu pose!

    46. #73 no such thing,also i dont solicit from the ‘community at large’, i solicit from individual donors , it does not make my moised publc property so dont be silly. and which kehilla are you talking about?.. your last statement is really immature so i wont bother to taneh kasil…

    47. We have a dropout problem? Parents / mechanchim cannot inspire today’s youth? Good morning. But despite that, we (you, me and every other parent) need to do what we can (and even some things we cannot) to make sure we are setting a sterling example. Don’t rely on the “system” to do it for you. DO IT YOURSELF! Make sure your kids want to be like tatty, not like some other gold standard that they do not see at home. And tell your kids you admire them, not “why can’t you be more like XYZ”.

      And if you make a mistake (which we all do) tell them you messed up, and will learn from it how to avoid repeating it in the furure. Cover-ups don’t work; owe up to your human side, earn the trust of your kids and they will repay you ten-fold

    48. I think the boat is being missed. So much talk of saving the kids. So much talk of reeling them back. So much talk about who or what is at fault. Yet almost no thought as to what are you reeling them back to? Saving kids and bringing them to where YOU are or want them to be? Maybe there is virtually nothing to offer in today’s Yiddishkeit? Maybe the world of the average Frum Jew is actually pretty empty?
      All this talk with regard to “changing the system” never really delves in to the beef. Only what are we doing wrong that causes them to leave the fold. How about looking deep into the fold itself? What’s it got to offer? Just because you know deep down that Shmiras Torah Umitzvos is the correct way, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Frum life today has anything to do with it. On the contrary. The life of the AVERAGE American Frum Jew is so empty, that there is no wonder. Of course when they are lost you will find symptoms like abuse which actually chased them away. But to begin with, the real question is why should they stay? For a life of lies where Mikvah going is more important then Davening? Where Davening itself looks like it looks today?
      Let’s not even get into the Pelah, why any one from a Chasidishe home (of today’s average American Chassidim) should wish to continue with this false life of complete emptiness. Does the life of the average Yeshiva Bochur really contain all that much? Sure he learns and even enjoys the intellectual acrobatics. Yet as a whole, does it contain much substance? Is it a wonder that he looks at the secular world where goals and a sense of accomplishment are mainstream, versus the complete brainwashing of the Yeshiva system? Where the AVERAGE Bochur can so called “learn” for 10 years, and not only know nothing, but has not really become a better person in any substantial way. Of course if he becomes a Magid Shiur then he has made it. Made what? A Marbitz Torah? Or a brainwasher, bent on convincing the boys to look at him and become like him. To what end? Is this Magud Shiur really the complete person who really became a better person from his learning? Generally speaking – not.
      I could go on and on, but there is no reason to bash other then to bring home the punch line. The current AVERAGE Frumeh’ Jew’s life is actually pretty empty when compared to what the master plan intended. Fix that, and there really won’t be any other issues to fix.

      • Your entire startling rant indicates your total lack of understanding of the fulfillment of the average Jew’s life and certainly of the average Yeshiva bochur.

        Every average Jew has moments of supreme fulfillment out of attaining spiritual heights be it through the deep understanding of some point in Torah, the appreciation of the harmony of the world under the beneficent control of Hashem, the connection with Hashem through tefilla, the appreciation of the significance of every act in life performed under the guidance of Torah, the beauty of peaceful Jewish family life etc. etc. etc.

        Compare this to the average life of a non religious couch potato or exercise freak that has indulged in every passion and lust and is burned out by their low 20’s with nothing left for life to offer.

        You need some serious correction of your false and corrupt attitude.

        • So if I understand you correctly, Jewish life is about “moments of supreme fulfillment”? And again if I understand you correctly the correct way to gauge successful Torah Veavodah is versus the “non religious couch potato or exercise freak”? Wow! That really does it for us. Now we all know what it’s all about.

          • It certainly is a more realistic depiction of “ordinary” Judaism than your bleak landscape distortion of Yiddishkeit.

            What are you contrasting to the boring average Orthodox lifestyle if not the 2 “exciting” extremes of non Orthodox living?

            Do you think that the average American lifestyle is so much more exciting?

            • Hmm. I don’t recall mentioning what the Yiddishkeit landscape should be. What I did mention is that it’s definitely wrong the way it is currently.

              I think you’ve been blogging a bit much. “Blogger syndrome” represents itself when one’s fingers fly over the keyboard a few moments before the brain actually registers the thought process of what the blogger just read or didn’t read.

              Did I mention something about “True Orthodox Life” being boring? Did I mention the issue of boring at all? Please reread my words if you care to comment on them. What I did say is, the current average Orthodox life is with very little meaning. However the true Orthodox life, the way it was meant to be, is a far shot away from today’s reality.

              “Do you think that the average American lifestyle is so much more exciting?” It’s not built on empty falsehood, illusions, and brainwashing. What you see is what you get.

        • “Is it a wonder that he looks at the secular world where goals and a sense of accomplishment are mainstream”

          Yeah, right. All of the dropouts immediately enroll in a program to go to Ivy league colleges and strive to become corporate lawyers. The average dropout, from what I’ve seen, lives a life of debauchery and pursuit of corporal pleasures.

          Goals and a sense of accomplishment are only found in a small limited segment of the secular world. This is easily matched and surpassed in the average Jewish world.

          • The point is this. The message of the secular world, (regardless if your facts are correct or not as to how large the actual segment is,) is definitely based on clear successes and accomplishments. This in turn raises a flag in their subconscious / conscious brain, that something is terribly wrong with where we are and have been going. Once our so called system doesn’t work by them, nature takes its course and the material and animal worlds simply take over. I’m sure any intelligent person not bent on “habitual blogger back and forth” can accept this.

            • I have no idea which secular world you mean. Perhaps you mean life itself which teaches by the school of hard knocks.

              In what arena is this credo followed? I myself had a high management position in the corporate world. Certainly there is a basic approach of success and accomplishment. However, this was available to me as a fully committed Orthodox Jew so I don’t see where this is related to a secular world outlook.

              If you examine the world of relationships and/or spirituality, then even the imperfect Jewish system that we have no far surpasses whatever the secular world has to offer.

              In short, you need to better identify what aspect of the secular world you are referring to.

              Additionally, I feel that your condemnation of current Judaism is far too severe and sweeping.

              The current state of affairs has plenty of leeway for people to find a satisfactory way of life. The ones that leave Judaism generally do so because of family turmoil and some form of abuse. There are also some that leave to pursue their desires. I don’t see them finding a more logical or satisfying form of life in the secular paradigm.

    49. wow is totally on the mark
      look into most yeshivas and most bucharim do not know what they are doing there and are waiting for the day they will be out of there.
      that’s years and years of waiting

      look into most homes. the picture repeats itself , when can i get of “here” ? is what is on their minds

      look into most shuls, same thing

      the question still remains , what and too where are we really bringing them back to ?

      nebech ahin and nebech aher


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