NCSY Funneling Recruits To Haredim? Seems So

My friend and co-author David Kelsey exposes the ties between NCSY and Aish HaTorah and Ohr Somayach in this new post on Jewschool. Kelsey rightly points out that both Aish and OS oppose Modern Orthodoxy and that NCSY – supposedly a Modern Orthodox organization – is feeding recruits to these haredi organizations, organizations that oppose secular studies, evolution, much of modern science and modernity. The OU, NCSY’s parent organization, has been moving steadily rightward in kashrut and other areas. (Perhpas the only significant exception to this is the OU’s executive VP Tzvi Hirsh Weinreb.)


Filed under BTs, Haredim, Modern Orthodoxy, Outreach

14 responses to “NCSY Funneling Recruits To Haredim? Seems So

  1. Nigritude Ultramarine

    I’ve always felt the kashrus side has been filling up with charedim — it’s sad to see the other side get involved with these types.

    Ohr Somayach punks are the worse. Some of them ended up in my yeshiva for a time — they really grind my gears.

  2. Nigritude Ultramarine

    David Kelsey attended Ohr Somayach upon graduating high school.

    OTOH, David doesn’t sound like one of the typical OS punks I’ve known.

  3. Isa

    I attended Ohr Somayach summer of 1985, best thing that I ever did. Please realize that I ‘voted with my feet’ by not attending certain classes cause those certain instructors were ‘retarded’ Some classes I enjoyed attending.It was like a buffet there were good things to ‘eat’ Yet there was ‘crap’ too.

  4. Yochanan Lavie

    FINALLY! When I was in Ncsy, I noticed how they encouraged people to become haredi. They downplayed Zionism, even though back in the pre-Intifada day that was a big attraction for Jewish youth. They praised to the skies kids who started wearing skirts only (despite Rav Yosef Soloveitchik’s ruling) or black hats. This from a supposedly Modern Orthodox organization that follows Rav Soloveitchik. They tried to brainwash us with emotional coercion during long harangues that took place during havdalah, using tear-jerker stories, dim lighting, music, and charged language (ex. assimilation is is as bad as the Holocaust, etc.). In Frisch, the modern Orthodox High School were Lanner taught, he fostered a cult of personality and blatantly played favorites amoung the students.

    I am a believing Jew. I am all for exposing Jews to their heritage, and encouraging greater knowledge/observance. But NCsy (at least as I experienced it) was a cult. It was amoung my first disappointments about Orthodoxy, but surely not my last.

  5. Doc Hantarish

    Ah, yes, this happened to the son of a person I know. They are red-hot conservative Jews, but sent their kid to the OU-affiliated “community” day school (because it was the only school imn town.) The kid got affiliated with NCSY which the parents didn’t mind, because the alternative might involve pot or sex, or whatever. But by now, the kid has totally frummed out, is in his second tour in Israel at a yeshiva, and even though he got a college degree at YU, he doesn’t seem to be too interested in getting a parnassah, but he does seem interested in getting a frum shidduch, though with his lously yichus (evil Conservative heretic parents, after all) I’m not sure what the matchmaker will find for him.

    It’s a shame, the kid’s a genius. He could probably make some major contribution in his field that could be of major benefit to humanity. But he’s going to spend his life wasting his talent on Gemara.

    Thank God they opened a non-Orthodox day school in town a few years back. At least my kids won’t be recruited into the hareidi cult.

  6. Nigritude Ultramarine

    (despite Rav Yosef Soloveitchik’s ruling)

    Could you clue me in on Rav Soloveitchik’s ruling?

  7. Noclue

    Waste his time learning? Is the field of Torah so narrow (in your view) that a person can not make a major contribution to it? Has this person been “brainwashed” or has he simply made a choice of which you disagree?

    If he had become an English professor at Harvard, would that be better than what he is doing? And why?

    Plaese respond rationally, if possible.

  8. Anonymous

    when i was in NCSY they made me slow dance with a baby goat. then the rabbi forced me to paint his entire house IN MY UNDERWEAR. thank you Shmarya for exposing this evil, we need more men like you in the Jewish world.

  9. Yochanan Lavie

    Rabbi Soloveitchik ruled that women can wear pants tailored for women, because they are not men’s garments. (The torah prohibits cross-dressing).

  10. Neo-Conservaguy


    On one side, we have a full-time Talmudic scholar that may some day find some proof text for a new and exciting chumra while living in near-poverty off of his father-in-law’s back. How wonderful – he’ll discover a new reason why no one is allowed to eat any vegetables at all.

    On the other side, we have a well-educated (both Torah and Madah) MO doctor or scientist finding a cure for a disease – and studying Talmud a few hours a week at night with his learning group. He davens daily at his shul and sometimes leins a few aliot on Shabbat.

    The choice seems clear to me – just as it was to the sages of the Gemara, most of whom lived lives far closer to the latter example.

  11. Yochanan Lavie

    As an English PhD and part-time adjunct (my full time income is teaching public High School) I can answer NoClue. There is room for theoretical thought. Both English professors and Talmudic scholars enrich society in their own way, as do poets, astrophysicists, philosophers, and other “impractical” things. However, there is a difference between an illuy in Talmud who is supported by the entire community, and whose insights enrich our understanding of Gemara, and a kollel bum who sponges off his in-laws who impoverish themselves to support him (while not adding any chiddushim to our sum total of knowledge). David Weiss-Halivni serves his community better by being a professional scholar rather than being a plumber (although we also need good plumbers). For that matter, Harold Bloom contributes more as a literary scholar than as an advertising executive.

    What I detest is a sense of entitlement that allows others to live off of others. That is why I became a Libertarian. I appreciate any contribution, even intellectual ones, as long as they are not parasitical. Also, I deplore a snobbishness which looks down upon secular Humanities as a waste of time (or for that matter, looks down upon religion.)

    Science, the Humanities, and religion all have a constructive role to play. The Jewish and non-Jewish greats of the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance knew this. Today we are heading towards a new Dark Ages of the clash of Fundamentalisms: Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Secularist.

  12. Noclue

    I too, have a Ph.D.

    I disagree (strongly) with neo-conservative. We were discussing a particular person, who is not even married, and are condeming him for living in near poverty on his not yet father-in-laws back.

    Would you be more satisfied if his future father in law was a multi millionare who wants his future son in law to learn and perhaps lead clall yisroel to new heights (or at least uplift them from present levels)?

    I also vehemently disagree with the English Ph.D.’s perjorative “Kollel bum.” Whatever you think of the state of kollel (I have my owm opinion, which I choose not to disclose now and here) learning, the persons who comprise this system are ideological or pressured into it. They do not deserve to be called bums.

    In fact, it is often the father-in-laws, many of them college educated professionals, who insist on son-in-laws who are learning. “The thief is not the mouse but the hole.” The same goes for the girls who want only someone who is learning full time.

    There is also a substantial question of free choice. I suggest that Milton Friedman, may he rest in peace (and most free market oriented economists) would argue that if actors choose what they do with good information and without coercion then they are maximizing their utility and should be free to make their own choices. (This, of course, assumes that all actions are legal.)

    i suggest that criticisms be tempered with tolerance and humility (do as I say, not necessarily as I do).

  13. Neo-Conservaguy

    “In fact, it is often the father-in-laws, many of them college educated professionals, who insist on son-in-laws who are learning. “The thief is not the mouse but the hole.” The same goes for the girls who want only someone who is learning full time.”

    I don’t believe your assessment of the first case, and thank God, the second case is starting to change even in Israel. The young women who have been brain-washed into admiring full-time Gemara scholars are starting to realize that perhaps living in poverty isn’t all that good for your children. Some Gemara scholars really have a talent for that field of study, and that’s great, but there’s no way it should be the default “vocation” of choice in any community.

  14. Noclue

    I disagree. There are clearly father-in-laws who want son-in-laws who are learning. I admit to not knowing the percentages (I do not believe anybody has taken any scientific poll) but I have met persons like that and they are not a small number.

    I agree that full time learning is for those who have a talent and just as importantly, a strong desire for it, and if the girls are starting to realize that, all for the better (in my opinion).

    However, the example that was given was a person who was described as a genius. For anybody who thinks that such a person is precluded from making an important contribution to society, I suggest that they look at the obituaries for Rav Waldenburg (author of the Shailos and Tshuvos Tzitz Eliezar), zecher tzadik lvracha, who was niftar today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s