Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Taking Action

Last week, one of my neighbors came over for Shalosh Seudos. Mike has always had beefs with the chareidi/yeshivish system, their schools, etc. and last week was no exception. He was ripping the yeshivos for telling everyone to become learning guys, saying that the system benefited the richies while it screwed the poor, who can't get any shidduchim because they can't support the young kollel couple. In the past, Mike has ripped the local yeshivos for being obsessed with money and image rather than focusing on properly being mechanech the kids.

Yet Mike would fall into the "do as I say, not as I do" category. He sends his kids to the same yeshivos that he's been ripping apart for years. Plus, two of his kids are the same "learning guys" that he has a problem with. Why isn't the guy consistent?

I think it comes down to the fact that almost nobody out there wants to take action. Obviously, Mike alone couldn't do anything. With his chassidish background, he's not about to convert to MO. Aside from all the difficulties in switching frum cultures, he's probably got his share of beefs with the MO system, too.

But let's say Mike wanted to join with like-minded people and form a group or put together some sort of protest. First off, many people drink the kool-aid and have no problem with the yeshivos and their mehalchim. Second, even if people have beefs similar to Mike, do they care enough to do anything about the situation? Most of them are too busy running their businesses and dealing with the stresses of everyday life. And many of them are more interested in sports or the latest gossip going around the neighborhood.

You do have some people out there who take action by themselves, such as Jeff Kirschblum (with the life insurance for rabbeim) and Marvin Schick taking on the high price of tuition. But to deal with some of the messier issues, you've gotta stay anonymous.

Interestingly, perhaps this is where the blogosphere comes in. I keep thinking back to UOJ, who could not have done what he's currently doing 5 or 10 years ago. Sure, he could've sent his mass mailing and filed his lawsuit. But how else could he have publicized his articles? How else could he have created a forum where others could share their experiences and opinions on the system?

Of course, I don't agree with much of what UOJ says or believes, but you've gotta admit that he's had a strong influence on the community. This just might be the best way to take action with some of the thornier issues among us.


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Action is futile

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