Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Hat tip: Non-commenting friend.

When we were in high school, my friend Groovin' used to wear a T-shirt that said across the chest: Unsponsored. That always seemed quite clever to me. I wish we had something similar when it came to Judaism.

I was talking with our non-commenting friend earlier, and she was noting some of her frustrations with a frum women's forum she is a part of online. There was much discussion about being "yeshivish" and the like, and while she was getting fed up with it, she was very inspired by the following story (reprinted with permission and slightly edited to clean up the grammar et al). It occurred in a school in Flatbush.
My little sister is in 6th grade, and her class was fighting the "yeshivish" girls clique - where all the fathers are still learning - refused to have anything to do with the "modern" girls who they said were modern because their fathers work. Well, the teacher overheard them, and one of the yeshivish girls came over and asked, "Are you gonna teach us next year?" to which the teacher said, "I doubt you will want me as a teacher." The girls said "Why not?" The teacher said to them "Well I'm not yeshivish, and you aren't accepting of others who aren't like you." The girls said "Well your husband is a rebbe, so you are yeshivish", and the teacher said "No, I'm not, I don't have a label across my front that says I'm yeshivish. So I feel I'm just plain frum." My little sister came home so happy - she was like "See, I don't have to be yeshivish to be frum!"
We need more teachers like this.


  1. Unfortunately, I could've gone through that as a kid (without the cool teacher :-) ).

  2. Good for that teacher!

    These past few years I've been labeling myself an "Orthodox Reconstructionist." Its basically my own personal movement (although all are free to join) [actually many have joined, but dont even realize it, or dont use/know the label] to redefine orthodoxy after the perversion it has undergone over the past thousand years. Its a return to ACTUAL halacha and movement away from chumras, minhagim and various forms of superstition that have somehow become mandatory in today's frum world.

    I know many will/do disagree with me, and I also know that I am not honestly as knowledgeable as I should be (specifically in halacha) to undertake this properly, but I dont really have a choice. With what I have experienced and seen, and continue to see on a daily basis, if I dont do this for myself I'll probably eventually be reconstructionist anyway... just not orthodox.

  3. "her class was fighting the "yeshivish" girls clique - where all the fathers are still learning - refused to have anything to do with the "modern" girls who they said were modern because their fathers work."


    Hashem Yerachem

  4. Anon X- join Rabbi Dr. Marc Angels' new institue, Institue for Jewish Ideals and Ideas- I met him at the presentation of his new book by Urim, The Search Committee, a good book if you think Orthodoxy has moved way beyond true Judaism, and he said basically the exact same thing you said, only as far as he is known, he knows a bit more halacha than twe probably do.
    and the book at

    Also, about creating your own labels. Why bother? I do what my father does and say my [grand] father has a shul but I am who I am. No one can replicate me! :)

    Also, I think it was Rav hutner who disliked the use of the term "frum Jew", which the teacher quotes. He (if it was him- it was someone, at any rate) used the term, "Torah Jew." I think that includes it all, don't you?

    Anyway, I'm at Neve now, and really getting it in the head that "frum", not "frum"- we are all bnei aliyah (hopefully), we all have shares of God's world to come whether or not we cover our elbows or not, and our mistaken notion that somehow we each have the ONLY true path to God and the lack of unity and brotherhood we have is one of greatest tragedies of our generation, and one of the greatest obstacles to Mashiach.

  5. Sigh...we need more teachers like that. Otherwise, G-d help us all...

  6. That teacher ROCKS!!!

    Awesome post.