Why People Leave
Before I get to the post, let me ask a question: Is there any point in life in which you’re old enough to be around girls? I just had a great shabbos, and at shalos seudos I jokingly asked if we could come back every week. They laughed and said they’d love to, but their house is usually filled with seminary girls at shabbos. I said that was fine. I’m taken, and my friend needs to get married anyway. And they laughed again.
But seriously, those girls are going to be dating when they get back to New York anyway. It’s July, which means they’re probably only a few weeks away from being in a hotel lounge with Yanky for the first time. My point being, doesn’t it make sense to let yeshiva boys and sem girls meet each other if they’re both dating anyway? A shabbos table with a family seems as kosher a place to start as any other. (Incidentally, I’m not kidding when I said my friend needs to get married. Anyone interes ted? He’s 5’10, athletic, dresses well, polite, likes to learn. But he’s 26, yet looks 21. Which means if you’re a beard lover, you’re out of luck. He’s in Israel through July and will be back next September.)
The family I stayed at made aliyah for the second time a few years ago. They originally lived here through yeshiva and sem and stayed when they got married. They said they lived in Neve Yaakov and Ramat Beit Shemesh in the mid nineties. They said they left when they sensed that the religious communities were becoming polarized beyond what they considered comfortable. The first straw was when his wife was told that if she continued to wear denim skirts and tennis shoes, noone would want to be friends with her. The second was that the kids started coming home from school with stories about violence that their friends were involved in (stone throwing, protests, tzniyus patrol…). The last straw, so he said, was when someone wanted to open up a trade school for wayward teenagers. Get them involved in metal and woodwork, as he described it. The community rabbis forbade it, out of concern that the kids would enjoy it too much, and therefore never return to learning.
He said that he figured their kids could go one of two ways. They could stay and be over is issur of sinas chinam, or leave and risk the possibility of them being over giluy arayos. They returned to America and later made aliyah to a settlement where all types come together without polarization of any kind. And they couldn’t be happier.