There has been discussion recently on other blogs whether the Agudah is a worthwhile organization. While all agree that they certainly were very successful in the post WWII years in aiding refugees, setting up summer camps and the like, some have questioned what role they play today.
I glanced at their yearly calendar to get a feel for what services they offer. COPE, Professional Career Sevices, Daf Yomi, Advocacy and Civic Action, Pichei and B’nos for youth, Invei Hagefen for shidduchim, Bikur Cholim, and the Benevolent Society, just to name a few. Although one may not necessarily be worried that he will be fired for not working late Friday, the very fact that Agudah exists serves as a deterrent for employers. In my opinion, there definitely seems to be an abundance of good emanating from 42 Broadway.
The name “Agudah” by definition is one of their better successes. True that there are fringe elements on the left and on the right, but Agudah has managed to conglomerate the majority of the Yeshiva World and speak through their Moetzes, with one voice. Serving on the Moetzes leaves very little personal time. It is much easier to lock oneself in the Bais Medrash and study all day. Yet these rabbis shoulder the public burden 24x7. My hat is off to them.
Calling for an end to their reign reminds me of The Rock
In these lyrics, Harry Chapin eloquently describes this phenomenon. To summarize, a little boy “cries wolf” that the huge rock hanging precariously over the town will fall. The elders laugh at him, but in the end, the boy sacrifices his own life to keep the rock from falling. It is very easy to criticize, but perhaps those bloggers should first spend a day in Lower Manhattan.
Disclaimer: I am not a member and have no association to Agudah whatsoever.