Thursday, December 18, 2008


I read this post by Mordy K. over at A Hasid and A Heretic.

He talks about his involvement with Footsteps, an organization that gives "educational, vocational and social support to those seeking to enter or explore the world beyond the insular ultra-religious communities in which they were raised". Basically to frum 'rebels'.

Mordy K. (maybe it's the same guy I know?) writes about how a lot of people in the Orthodox community think negatively about the organization.

My thoughts?

I think it's great that there is some kind of network out there for people who come from homes where they do not equip their children with the necessary tools to live in the 'outside world'.

I think it shows poorly on the Orthodox community for its failure to properly integrate these people within the community, and also within society in general.

There are many yeshivahs that do not even give their students a high school diploma. How is a 'graduate' of one of these schools supposed to find a decent job to earn an honest living? And even if these schools do provide a diploma - do they also provide their students have the general math and language skills to sustain a serious employment?

If employment is not their goal, and I'm assuming that in these cases that the objective is to turn out future Rabbis or Shluchim or Lakewood or Monsey or wherever Kollel Learners, then why are so many students failed? Why are students not enlightened and not enthusiastic about being part of a 'holy' mission?

Just as not every student excels at math - how can we expect every student to excel in Torah study? Not everyone is cut out to be the next Belzer Rebbe. So why sideline those who don't make the cut?

I'm not promoting rebellious behavior in any way. I am, and have always been, very much a 'good girl' - whatever that means! But I think it's interesting how a lot of these frum 'rebels' go really extreme. It becomes not just about NOT doing what their parents and school have told them to do. But about taking it all a step further - eating treif meat, going to clubs on friday night, doing drugs, sleeping around at an early age... In my opinion it shows a real desire to get as far away from 'home' as possible.

Many 'rebels' eventually realize the 'error' of their ways, but lack the necessary skills to effectively integrate in any 'world'. Their frum community does not want them back - but without an education or social network, how can they expect to live normal lives?

That's where Footsteps comes in - and although I do not know too much more about the organization other than what I've gathered based on 'hearsay' and their website, it seems like they are (unfortunately) a much-needed group in today's world.

(sorry for length - I'm practicing for my Thesis)


daughtersintheparsha said...

today one of my students told me everyone cheats on the Regents, and he was giggling as he said it. Ha Ha, yeshiva bochurim cheating. They go to the bathroom and text cha-cha for the answers. see my blog for more on this