…What really irked me this week was when a father wrote to the court that his wife, my client, was violating his religious freedom by forcing him to leave Kollel and seek employment in order to pay his child support obligations…
Now it may be true that not everyone today in Kollel belongs there, and the system is probably not sustainable, but the argument that Kollel should be only for the gifted few is somewhat flawed. There is no comparison in religiosity between someone who only attended Sunday Hebrew school and one who attended a day school full time. There is a difference between one who attended day school and one who continues through high school. There is a difference between one who merely attends high school and not a Beis Medrash program, and finally one can not compare a family built on a foundation of Kollel and a family whose father only attended Beis Medrash.
When a young woman agrees to live the life of a Kollel wife in agreement with her husband, why should a separation force the Kollel man to go to work? If he was in medical school, wouldn’t the judge understand that he should finish his schooling rather than go to work to support his paternal obligations?
In February of this year, I put up twoposts waxing nostalgic of the pre-internet days when the Jewish Observer was the magazine of choice in Orthodox homes. Nowadays we have so much variety regarding Orthodox themed periodicals, yet none come close to the clarity espoused by the JO. The current assortment of reading material consists primarily of current events and Who is Who in the Jewish world, yet Hashkafic articles, written by the leadership of the Yeshiva World is sorely lacking.
My dear blogging Chaver, Rav Yosef Gavriel Bechofer, has staunchly taken up the gauntlet in reviving this noble publication. I ask that my readers join his google group in the effort to bring this revival to fruition.
As mentioned in the past, if the reason for ceasing publication was truly monetary in nature, then I put forth the suggestion that the magazine be published electronically, saving the cost of paper and transport.
I was gratified to see a news release recently reporting on the completion of the Woodridge, NY Eruv. This is very positive news for the inhabitants and would be inhabitants of this little town in Sullivan County.
The town of Woodridge boasts the century old Congregation Ohave Shalom synagogue which is known to sport a Minyan 3 times daily throughout the year. This beautiful Shul with stain-glassed windows and wall and ceiling murals has been led for better than a Yovel by Rabbi Goodman, and for the past several years by Rabbi Grossman.
Recently, many changes have been made to strengthen religious life in the area. The Mechitza was upgraded, the Mikvah was renovated, a small Kollel was begun and now the Eruv. A full service grocery runs year round and the Pizza store has been relocated to a newer facility after a devastating fire. There are even plans that a full time Yeshiva will be housed in the towns’ environs.
One idea that I believe has merit would be to form a Yissachar/Zevulun house partnership between summer-home owners and Kollel Fellows. The KF will babysit the Upstate residence for 10 months of the year, living rent free. The KF will then relocate during the summer months to the vacated homes of their partners in Brooklyn. This is a win/win situation whereby everyone benefits.
Way back in the day, I was introduced to the music of Safam. It was their beautiful melodies that hooked me.
Recently I discovered that their music has finally been uploaded to YouTube. Not only are the melodies heart-warming, but the lyrics are very uplifting. While the band members may not be fully observant, their music conveys a strong cultural tie to the land of Israel and other Jewish themes.
World of our Fathers depicts the story of an immigrant family chasing the American Dream. Leaving Mother Russia tells the story of the Russian Refusenik Anatoly (Natan) Sharansky. Natan was incarcerated from 1977-1986 in a Siberian Labor Camp before an international group secured his freedom. Natan went on to serve in the Israeli Knesset in several capacities.
When Natan heard the song that was dedicated to his struggle and written in his honor, in the days before Glasnost and Perestroika, his reaction was somewhat to the effect of “Mother Russia? Why Mother Russia? No mother would treat her children this way.”