Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ahh...Thank you Ohr Naava?

Ohr Naava is a women's program. It is a program headed by Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein. The program has shuirim, and many other activities, free of charge. Although I have personal issues with the program, I do beleive the program is a very good idea, however I do not beleive it deserves all the praise it gets. The following is a letter written to the Readers Write forum in the Yated.(I will not copy the first part it, because it is on a different subject, and is therefore irrelevant to this post).
My comments are in italics:

On a different topic, the shidduch parsha is truly a crisis. Ask girls who graduated high school 6,7,8,9 or even 10 years how many girls from their grade are not married. They all give a similar response: 5 to 7 girls.
I'd like to publicly thank Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein for making the shidduch parsha much easier to bear. By arranging shiurim Sunday through Thursday, for approximately four hours a night in Flatbush ok...Ohr Naava is NOT in Flatbush. I do not understand what the obsession with frum people and "Flatbush" is, but 23 str and ave V is NOT Flatbush, it is "sheepshead bay". Sheepshead Bay people pride themselves on not being part of the "flatbush" community. Sheepsheadbay people are more accepting. They ENCOURAGE girls to seek careers and discourage them from marrying full time learners. They actually want what is best for the girl, not for the girl to "take upon the new trend" which ends up leading to financial crises and tuition crises, he has changed the lives of many girls. Rabbi Motti Miller, Rabbi Label Lam and Rabbi Skaist, each of you has made the parsha easier for the many girls you inspire weekly. I heard Rabbi Miller, he really is good, but maybe because I'm not an "older" single, but I cannot fathom how he could have possibly "made the parsha easier" to bear.
To those who claim that the girls will become too knowledgeable and scare off bochurim, let us see you fund and organize something else! Seriously? What are these guys going to get intimidated off? The fact that this girl was inspired? There is nothing intellectual being discussed at these shuirim, except at maybe Rabbi Freiman's shuirim because he actually discusses ideas and halachos, as opposed to the other guys who basically just try and inspire the girls with far-fetched reasons as to why keeping certain halachos are actually good for them.
Kudos to Rabbi Wallerstein for providing a kosher place to go for all the girls who finish working at 5:00 p.m. and would be bored otherwise. Why won't these girls just go and get themselves hobbies? Maybe read a little bit? he has made the waiting process a learning and growing experience.

I don't know how many of you have been to Ohr Naava, but if you've seen how many girls come for Rabbi Wallerstein's shuirim you would realize that in order for him to really help these girls, he would bring in some guys. He would make atleast one event per month that is co-ed. What better way to "change" the lives of these girls?


flatbush gal said...

Oh that makes me cringe. single girls bored past 5 pm... The shiurim sound nice but they shouldn't be viewed as a way to pass time while WAITING. erg.

Orthoprax said...

Not meaning to sound crude, but it sounds like these girls need less inspiration and more of a social life.

yomtova said...

Ohr Naava isn't just shiurim, it also has fun exercise classes like simcha dancing and yoga and kick-boxing. And you don't have to stay for the shiur that follows. Which means you can socialize, meet new people, etc. It's not just for "older single girls," either. Old women and newly married girls, women with kids in elementary school and girls just back from seminary all come, to classes and/or to shiurim.

Re: Flatbush, I guess if it's in Brooklyn and not Boro Park, it must be Flatbush. :)

frumskeptic said...

ortho: absolutely. the girls do need social lives.

yomtova: I know its not just shuirim. And its meant for seminary and post-seminary women. The letter to the Yated was talking about the older singles. Just because they're yoga and kick-boxing doesn't make the situation any more acceptible. These girls who are so "bored" should be out socializing with different people all the time. Ohr Naava is more/less the same crowd. It's truly pathetic, we complain how there's a "shidduch crises" yet we socialize with boys less and less with each generation. MAKE OHR NAAVA COED!!
and I can say with authority, the members of the shul that host Ohr Naava would not mind ONE BIT (except for the 2 token blackhatters...yes 2)!

I live in sheepshead,and it's terribly annoying when people refer to it as flatbush.

Anonymous said...

You can never make a lasting friend there. You come and you leave alone. No one gives a hoot about anyone else there. The rabbis are so into themselves and love listening to themselves. No friendships develope between girls, and meeting boys is considered evil. Torah need not be yelled. The speeches are shallow.

Anonymous said...

I am a single man and have heard about Ohr Na'ava. I cannot attend it's classes because it's only for woman. However,from listening to others I have an understanding of what it gives and what it is not giving.

It will give you dinner,shiurim but not much else.

No friendships are developed there. Most of the girls don't even know each other and will never know each other. They do not create any ways for the girls to actually befriend each other.

They don't have any type of ice breakers for the girls. By not doing anything for the girls in getting better acquainted with each other. One could go to Ohr Na'ava and feel extreme loneliness and sadness. There is no warmth there.

Girls ! ask yourself how many of the other girls do you really know? Isn't it possible, if you knew each other better some of you may have brothers or male relatives you could introduce each other with?? How many matches could be made? And how much is being lost.

How wonderful it would be if all the o girls knew each other? how greatly enriched your lives would be.

This should be a place primarily where friendships develope and last a lifetime. You are not getting this there.

YOu need this to change-- for it to give meaning to your life.

Anonymous said...

How can all of you people say such things about ohr naava? Especially you guys?!?!?!?!!!
You were never there so how can you say that you don't approve???
Frumskeptic, Why does Ohr Naava need to be coed? Why is it that people these days think that inorder for there to be fun at an event, there has to be both boys and girls??? I have been going there for the past 4 years, and let me tell you there is no need for boys...
If you have gone before and you claim that it is a place where ne real freinds can be made then i think you are not trying your hardest to make any friends. You can't just wait around for someone to come to you, you want friends then go make them. Do the first move...
The last thing that I would like to say is that Ohr Naava has done so much good...Why would anyone want to say something negative about it...Its a place where so many people meet and DO MAKE LASTING FRIENDSHIPS. Its a place that offers help left and right, all you got to do is ask for it...If not for them i would not be the kind of person i am today. They teach you how to be a thinking person, and if that is a problem you you all, then i have nothing left to say!!!

frumskeptic said...

"Frumskeptic, Why does Ohr Naava need to be coed? "
No one said Ohr Naava HAD to be coed, just a suggestion to make it more useful. What better way to end the the so-called "shidduch crisis"?

"Why is it that people these days think that inorder for there to be fun at an event, there has to be both boys and girls?"

It's not about fun. It's about the fact that the letter writer THANKED RABBI WALLERSTEIN for giving something for the girls to do!! I mean, if that isn't pathetic I don't know what is. PEOPLE, OHR NAAVA is in NYC for heavens sake, there are SO many things to do, to
"kill time" during the "shidduch parsha". And since it's all about shidduchim, the environment really really should be coed, so that maybe some shidduchim will actually come of it. You have no idea how many people meet at coed shuirim that are quite frum!

Anonymous said...

Frumskeptic, its not about how frum you are, or anything of that matter...Ohr naava is made for girls of all ages, not for boys and they are doing quite well without guys...
Im not saying i am against coed lectures, don't get me wrong. i'm just saying there is no need for them...why are you worried so much about the shidduch problem...let the rabbi and ohr naava worry about that...we have so many other things to worry for example how to stop blaming other people for the problems that we have...Let ohr naava be...
Let me ask you something...can you please define "kill time"...What should the girls be doing instead?

frumskeptic said...

Anonymous, you are missing the point of the post. The letter writer to the Yated specifically wrote to thank Rabbi Wallerstein for giving the single girls something to do while they wait [to be wed]. It makes it sound like "nebech" older singles got nothing else to do. Which is why I said they should make it coed, because if that were the case, then maybe some "nebech cases" would make their 'waiting' that much shorter. I honestly could not careless about if it were coed or not. And by kill time, I meant in the sense of something to do while waiting.

and based on this letter, and the common knowledge of the fact that there IS a shidduch crisis, we really shouldn't be wasting precious time in which we should be "doing our hishtadlus" by going out and socializing with a crowd of people that is mostly the same, how does that help? Wouldn't networking be a better use of time?

Anonymous said...

frum skeptic...i am not missing the point...i think you are making a big deal of this...
I don't think you are getting me... why would their waiting be shortened if there were guys?? thats what i don't understand!!! what will change??? nothing will change because the girls go ther to specifically that is why there is no need for them...
Ohr naava is not a place where people "kill" their time...its a place where people spend their time wisely...
And no offense, but socializing is not an answer to the shidduch problem... if anything it may make it not saying that it doesn't saying that ever since people got out there, if you know what i mean, thats when the problems come...
I see what you are saying but i just don't see how it will work!

oh yea one more thing, ohr naava does not have the same kinds of girls going... there all kinds of girls going...from the most religious to the most not religious...If you have questions you can go there to get them answered...thats the beauty of the place!!!

frumskeptic said...

lol lol. about my going there, because I do go there (for Rabbi Freiman's shuirim), and I'm NOT an older single (I guess that may be relative to the community), and I definitly don't view it as a means in "killing time." Oh, I do hate the place, but for personal reasons.

Ok. I understand they're not going there to "kill time" but that is defintly what the letter writer implied, and so I took her tone and played with it. I really don't care WHY they go there, thats totally their business. But like the letter writer said, some DO go because "nebech" they're not married and what else will they do after 5 if they don't have to cook for their husband?

By "the same crowd", I didn't mean hashkafically, I meant literally, the same girls go all the time. I know for the shuir I go to, its always the same people. If a new face shows up its because they arrived early for some other shuir.

Anonymous said...

i stumbled on this argument going on here and all i want to say is im discusted with u (frumskeptic) whoever the heck u are u sound like an incredibly bitter person with nothing better to do than bash good erlich people who want to spread torah to others.
u dont like the style of their teaching- fine dont like it- no one said u had to but there are others in the world gain alot from their program
i think that it would be much more worth ur time to go to a seforim store and buy a copy of sefer chofetz chaim and learn in then maybe ull see the ramifications of loshon harah (for starters 17 lo taasehs 14 asehs and 3 klallos)
and as for the shidduch crisis- u may not be an older single now but if u continue to maintain such hate and scorn i can assure u that your chances of finding the right one will be greatly reduced
one more thing- the rabayim at ohr naava are teachers and mechanchim and many are talmidai chachamim. how dare u so openly attack pple who stand and uphold torah? and how can u go to their program and sit in one of their shiurim that they pay for and go behind their back and attack them like this? iv never seen a more hypocritical ingrate in my life. you should be ashamed of yourself. go work on your middos for ten years and then come bak if u have something worthwhile to say

frumskeptic said...

“i stumbled on this argument going on here and all i want to say is im discusted with u (frumskeptic) whoever the heck u are u sound like an incredibly bitter person with nothing better to do than bash good erlich people who want to spread torah to others.”

Not exactly bitter, and I wasn’t blaming anyone. If for ONE minute you would stop and think about why I wrote the post you would see that I was making fun of the concept of it being a “kosher place to go for all the girls who finish working at 5:00 p.m. and would be bored otherwise.” Yes, I find that pathetic. If you would be bored otherwise, that is really pathetic. If you want to go there, because you feel like it, fine. But to assume it’s the only place to go because you are an older single and you’d be “bored otherwise” IS pathetic. Hate me, see if I care.

”u dont like the style of their teaching- fine dont like it- no one said u had to but there are others in the world gain alot from their program”

I don’t think I ever made acomments specifically AGAINST their style of teaching. I do have something against FRUMMIES generally keeping everything segaragated by gender, but the TEACHING style, nada…

”i think that it would be much more worth ur time to go to a seforim store and buy a copy of sefer chofetz chaim and learn in then maybe ull see the ramifications of loshon harah (for starters 17 lo taasehs 14 asehs and 3 klallos)”

WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO MAKE JUDGMENTS ON WHETHER OR NOT I GOT TO SEFARIM STORES? And if you go by all the “halachos” of loshon hara, u basically cannot talk at all…so umm… SHHH! b/c here u are attacking me on a Public website … I do believe that is also loshon hara.

”and as for the shidduch crisis- u may not be an older single now but if u continue to maintain such hate and scorn i can assure u that your chances of finding the right one will be greatly reduced”

Well...thanx for the bracha… right back at you…if you’re no longer single…good for you, I bet you acted like you weren’t really bitter/judgmental on your dates. And I’m not a bitter person, I just have low tolerance for stupidity, and if you READ THE LETTER, you would recognize how stupid it was for her to say women would be bored after 5! And if you don’t think its stupid…well…I do

”one more thing- the rabayim at ohr naava are teachers and mechanchim and many are talmidai chachamim. how dare u so openly attack pple who stand and uphold torah?”

Remind me WHEN I attacked any of them? Please !! Please lady…do go work on YOUR terrrible midda of judging others sooo quickly. Then, maybe we should take lunch and discuss other issues we need to work on.

Anonymous said...

" And if you go by all the “halachos” of loshon hara, u basically cannot talk at all…so umm… SHHH! b/c here u are attacking me on a Public website … I do believe that is also loshon hara."

if a person openly is doing something wrong and hurting others which what your doing definatly constitutes that then one has an obligation min hatorah to repremand them and if not for the persons sake then at least for the sake of others reading and internalizing what your saying and u can answer me if youd like but i wont fight with you anymore about this

Anonymous said...

im having a very hard time understanding the nessecity to "make fun" or "mock" or at all imply the "stupidity" of anyone who'se gained from the program. whoever showed the hakaras hatov by thanking ohr naava and its staff should not be repromanded, or laughed at the stake! im defintley not one to say people ought not express themselves, so although your opinion is clearly just that, an opinion - i cant be upset with your opinion or u for that matter for having one that is different than mine --- im worried about the potential consequences: what if the person who wrote the thank you read your post... what if it made them feel as though their means to escape the shidduch crisis - whats worked for them (aka ohr naava) - is a mockery! what if you made them feel that they WERE "pathetic", as you called it, and youve surely implied that showing hakaras hatov here was not only according to you unnecessary but STUPID.
why? why would you take that away from them? why couldnt you have just disagreed withOUT making them REALLY feel stupid. i surley hope they dont!
ive seeen ohr naava at work - with young, old, single, married, sephardic, ashkenaz, "frum", "modern", "co-ed-tollerate", not eetc - hashkafic levels of ALL kinds... of all levels.
somone gained something from ohr naava. someone felt that those ewho work hard to make the program happen deserved hakaras hatov.
you tried to take that away, and i think THAT'S why everyone here may be upset.
What "issues", if i may ask, do you have with ohr naava?
TO THE PERSON WHO WROTE THE THANK YOU NOTE: yasher koach for expressing your hakaras hatov and setting a greaet example of beautiful middos. i hope that, with or without ohr naava, you find the right shidduch for your at the right time!

Anonymous said...

How can u talk bad about that place it has brought ot so much good in girls girls have been learning and growing there for so long. besides everything u saying not being an bit true this is complete lashon hara !! you think ur such great people and your taalking bad about rabbis who are good people and try so hard. well then ull have to take that up wiht gd after 120 who do u think you are...thats wat happend to Korach this parsha if u even know any torah bec all u do is bash rabbi. i hope you dont go around telling ppl ur frum its an embaressement!

frumskeptic said...

Anonymous (all of you):

Ppl like you are the reason why i make fun of Ohr Naava.

You guys can't read. It amazes me.

Anonymous said...

Why the need to "make fun" at all?

frumskeptic said...

I can't explain it.

Making fun of retardo frummies is kinda like people who collect stamps. Its a hobby. Its only meant for those that really want to do it.

Many try and "make fun" but they're no good.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ohr Naava!
I have been enjoying all you have to give for 3 years!
During the past 3 years, I have made what I hope to be 2 live long friendships. (True friends, not just acquanitancship), and I have made lots of those.
I have learned to take pride in who I am thru the dance & yoga classes. Loved every shiur I have atteded.
They do this all free of charge with a smile on thier faces. You want to host a meal, Great! Have something to donate, Perfect! Can you give someone a ride, even better! The instructors know everyones name, & the Rabbi's get to know you even when you don't attend thier shiurs!
For those of you who think this needs to be Co-ed, this is 3 - 4 hours a day, that us women can be ourselves without the masks!

frumskeptic said...

anonymous: No masks? Are you immplying that you wear masks on dates?

If so, you really do need Ohr Naava to be coed. Being more comfortable with guys is crucial to marrying normally, or atleast comfortable enough that you shouldn't be "wearing a mask"

Goodluck dear, and next time you attend a shuir at ohr naava, please open your eyes to all the make-up the girls wear while there, then explain to me how thats not trying to suck up to the shadchanim that are rumored to be there.

They're masking all right, don't kid yourself.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all those that make Ohr Naava possible: for the lives you have changed, the deep impact you have had on so many individuals, the everlasting healthy relationships and friendships that have bonded through Ohr Naava, the life you have given to so many girls, the spirit, the meaning, fulfillment, connection, direction, family, and of course much else like fun, good times, happy memories, meals, trips, laughter and smiles.
True giving to others is a fine art that is developed by letting go of what is holding us down and feeling negative and through looking outside of ourselves and our own wants and needs to see how we can make a real difference in the lives of those around us.
OHR NAAVA is built upon this. They stand on a strong foundation of true ahavas yisrael, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE for our fellow jews. They seek to provide what the participants need most, and they do a PHENOMENAL job at that. Thank you Ohr Naava for all you do!
Thank you to the writer of the article. Expressing your Hakoras Hatov inspired Ohr Naava to keep up their unbelievable work and so many others to take part and join in what has given so much to you.
FRUM SKEPTIC: I hear your pain and feel for you. May God be with you in all that you do and may He allow you to experience His love and warmth.
One must first open their heart to let the sun shine in. For many this is painful. Sarcasm and negativity is far more comfortable. The investments you make are the returns you will reap. If you invest in sarcasm, bitterness will follow. If you invest in truth, fulfillment will find you. May you have much success and happiness in all you do.
Your Sister and friend,

frumskeptic said...


B said...

Some people will find anything to critisize. Never in a million years did I think it could be possible to find any critisizm in an organization like ohr naava. Why is being bored and filling your time with ohr naava a pathetic thing? What intellectual pursuits are you busy with all evening, may I ask? While I greatly endorse and support the idea that a woman should be well rounded and knowledgable, the need to be constantly inspired far exceeds the former. And if you think for one moment that being intellectual and knowing a lot of facts is more important than being kind and learning all the "fluff" that inspires you to be kind, then you are so greatly misinformed, my friend. All the brilliance in the world is not gonna make you a wit of a better person. Ohr naava helps and inspires girls to be better people. It's something you can't get at work or at college. In addition, I beg to differ on your opinion that nothing intellectual is being taught at ohr naava. What may I ask do you consider to be intellectual studies? Only factual study is considered intellectual? Not pondering the abstract? I find a number of the shiurim to be very mind stimulating. I always leave ohr naava feeling like I learned something new and that I can help the whole world just by doing something small and seemingly insignificant. I honestly feel so sorry for you that you have such negative feelings toward an organization that I consider to be so warm and open to such a vast variety of Jewish girls.
And about the co-ed thing- I think that time and again, society has proven that the more co-ed the society the less marraiges. (However, maybe "other things" are going on.)Anyway, ohr naava is about "girl power." No boys allowed! And on a personal note- about the flatbush thing- really honey, get a life. Take a chill pill. What difference does it really make? Bayridge, flatbush, boro park? We're all Jews! Don't be hatin'. Start loving people who are "frummier" than you and you'll see they're not so bad after all. Seriously, find more "intellectual" things to occupy your zealotry. I hope and pray that you take it easy, girl, and that you start coming to Rabbi Wallerstein's shuir too.

Anonymous said...

It can't solve every problem a person has, but yes it is a great place to catch a shiur for teh mind and soul, do some physical exercise via yoga, dancing, kick boxing, or pilate, grab a bite, and be surrounded by others who it is your decision to befriend or not. All this at a nominal cost or no cost.
Yes the shidduch situation is not solved but the lonliness is alleviated and networking is available, so meeting the Rabbis one on one or introducing yourself to others may ease the search to anyone who tries. Someone is bound to have a brother, cousin, son or neighbor...

Anonymous said...

who are you guys anyways?

Anonymous said...

I don't know why anyone would criticize the program. My wife never got a chance to go to israel and is always busy with the kids. She went to Ohr Naava for the first time last night and enjoyed it. There were women of all ages and backgrounds there. It is not represented as a place specifically for young people.That being said, providing a place for younger single girls to grow is not a bad thing. I'm sure the reason there are more young people is that older people have more responsibility and to a certain extent have less luxury/inclination to pursue spiritual growth. In addition, young people probably are in greater need of chizuk. It is my observation that older singles tend to drift away from strict observance. Marriage and family often keep you too busy to expand your boundaries of acceptable behavior, as well as providing emotional fulfillment. The flip side is that older people tend to stagnate in their observance.They don't have time to devote to spiritual growth.
I hope my wife continues to enjoy the shiurim.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I just stumbled on to this blog by chance, and Frum Skeptic I feel sorry for you. You are perhaps the most bitter, angry and saddest person I have yet to encounter. Online or in person. I pray that you one day become honest enough with yourself to look deep inside and get the help you so clearly need. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Dont spread around lashon harah about a program that bring Jewish ladies closer to Hashem , keep it to yourself DONT BLOG IT.

sara said...

hi i just feel \upon this site i just wanted to say how those who oppose ohr naava, i pity you. im a 17 year old from flatbush and just fyi, rabbi wallerstein personaaly save my life litteraly\. ive attempteed suicide more than once and he was the only one who gave a hoot and showed me that he cared. please dont say things you \re not even sure are true. my [parents themselves r not happy that i go there, but 1 thing ican say is that its the only place in the world where i actually felt safe,where pple were kind and friendly to me. my friends and my school and everyone i knew and trusted turned their backs on me but not ohr naava

Anonymous said...

When Rabbi Motti Miller, an ON rabbi, and teacher and 'mashgiach ruchani' at Kushner HS, comes clean about his indiscretions with a single girl, and resigns from all posts involving teaching girls and women, then and only then might ON have even a shred of credibility. All these scandals breaking, and this one has yet to break. Let the truth come out. And let other victims come forward. It's time we stop burying our heads in the sand. Rabbi Wallerstein, wake up. Do detailed background checks on the rabbis you hire. Frum girls ought to not be groupies of rabbis, following them around as if they're rock stars. Or do the rabbis like this attention? And possibly take advantage of it. Heaven forbid.