Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Comment of the week.

Pulled from the orthomom comments:

One very unfortunate result of the yeshivishization and shteibelization of any community is the narrow-mindedness of those educated in the yeshivas. Their products have no patience to sit through a Drasha (unfortunately, some Rabbanim are not capable of giving good ones anymore) and they are turning to their Roshei Yeshivos for psak and guidance. So, it is no surprise that shul Rabbanim are now irrelevant.

The larger shuls have been reduced to a place where people can dispense with their obligation to “daven with a minyan” a couple times a day. This is a far cry from the lofty goals of prayer being “tefillah b’tzibbur” and “b’rov am hadras melech”. In many cases, the leadership of the yeshivos is to be blamed for rendering larger full-service shuls irrelevant, either explicitly or implicitly. The sense of kakaras hatov is sorely lacking, because “after all, the shuls are dying and under-attended and we Bnei Yeshiva are keeping the shuls alive”.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon... exists elsewhere.....

It may take some time to realize this, but the value of a full-service shul (albeit in some perhaps modified form) in addressing not only the spiritual needs of a community but the serious problems within it, will soon be appreciated. Unfortunately, by that time, their infrastructures may have been so weakened that it will be too late. For example, how many of the teens at risk could be prevented if they could participate in boys or girls youth programming? Such a forum would give them opportunities to participate in davening, learning, and social activities. It could also give them an opportunity to take on leadership and responsibility. How many of the achdus problems could me ameliorated if different segments of a community would not be davening in their own virtual daled amos (i.e., people their age, who learned in their yeshiva, who send their kids to the same schools and summer camps), but would have a forum to come together as part of a “cross-cultural” tzibbur?

And what about the women? I presume that many see their role as looking good and hosting their husband’s chevra for Kiddush. Any appearance in shul is reduced to shmoozing outside of it with their clothing from Cedarhurst, furs from Manhattan, and custom sheitels from Europe. This increasing sentiment is limiting the number of appropriate role models for girls in how to behave in shul or on Shabbos.

So, until a community grows up and sees where people daven as more than place that caters exclusively to married males, we have a problem.

I wish I knew who wrote this, so I could shake his hand and congratulate him. He is spot on.

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