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Op-Ed: In Response to R. Shea Hecht’s Editorial

by Miryam Elisheva Segal

I read Rabbi Hecht’s opinion piece this morning and I want to state that I wholeheartedly concur with everything he said. As a resident of Crown Heights, I look forward to the crush of guests and the warmth of Tishrei. There is an excitement in the air that can not be replicated at other times of the year. Each year the number of guests in Crown Heights continues to multiply and multiply.

I have seen highly organized programs, with dedicated madrichim, and serious learning. I have had wonderful guests who continued to stay in touch even several years later.

On the flip side, I have seen countless children arrive at 770 with a “program” that is poorly organized and the height of “tzuflegenkeit”. I have received phone calls every day of Tishrei, “Maybe you could take two or three girls? For tonight? They will even sleep on the floor.” Bochurim walking drunk in the streets at all hours of the night. I have seen Bochurim eating moldy pita because they did not have enough money to buy fresh food. The seminary girls we took from overseas who proceeded to get drunk on Sukkos, vomited all over our bathroom, and refused to clean it up. The groups of mixed teenagers going to Manhattan late at night.

Maybe the worst moment was when my doorbell rang at 2:30 in the morning during Tishrei, with two Israeli Bochurim looking for a place to sleep. They were simply ringing the doorbell of every home with a mezuzah until they found someone to take them in. Do you want that to be your child?

I believe that perhaps Rabbi Hecht did not go far enough in stating what both parents should expect in a program and what Crown Heights residents should expect from the programs. If I was sending my own child half way around the world (or anywhere overnight) PRIOR to their arrival I would insist on knowing all the details of their time in Crown Heights. These program details should include but are not limited to:

a) Who is organizing/sponsoring the program – is it your child’s Yeshiva? Shul? Hachnosis Orchim?

b) Who will be supervising your child during the program (yes, even a madrich/a has a yetzer hora)? Will the Rabbonim who are organizing your child’s program see him or her at least once a day? Is there a program Mashpia?

c) What accommodations are provided for your child and what do you need to arrange BEFORE YOUR CHILD ARRIVES IN CROWN HEIGHTS? i.e. where will your child be sleeping and eating – are they sleeping on the floor of the gym or lunchroom in a school? Are they staying in private homes? Do you need to make sleeping arrangements for them? Will they be fed three times a day or do you need to make arrangements for some meals? What about on Yom Tov? Chol?

d) What is the schedule of the program? What will be accomplished in learning? Hiskashrus? Chassidus? Davening?

e) How is ”free time“ or ”activities” supervised? Are you going to just let your child go to Manhattan unattended? Is there a choice of activities? Mivtzoim to several different locations?

f) What arrangements are there for contacting your child or contacting yourself (especially in case of an emergency)? Will your child be allowed to have a cell phone? Is it a “kosher” phone? How much will it cost and is it included in the price of the program?

g) Who is making sure that children are not: smoking, drinking, or doing drugs? If a participant is found doing one of these things, how will the program handle it?

h) If you are sending your child to stay with relatives or friends, what is your expectation of your hosts? Are they to treat your child as if they are their own? As a guest? Will you have a curfew? How can your child assist you with yom tov preparations (i.e. help put up the sukkah, watch the small children, do the shopping, help cook, etc.)? This needs to be discussed BEFORE your child arrives.

i) Does your child have clothing appropriate for the weather in New York? Sukkos is halfway into October this year – your child will need minimally a coat, hat, and scarf. The need warm clothing, comfortable shoes (tahalucha is long walk!), and be prepared for rain and/or snow. There is a Payless on Utica Avenue and Empire Boulevard if you need cheap shoes or boots. I can’t tell you how many visitors I see insufficiently dressed for the cold, wet weather.

j) Have you sent your child or the program with sufficient pocket money? Do you have a way to get your child more money mid-Tishrei if an emergency arises?

k) If your child gets sick, how will the program handle it? Have they made arrangements for participants to be seen by a local medical office if the need arises? Does your child have travel insurance if chas v’shalom something serious happens?

l) If you are going to allow your child to go on shidduchim while they are in New York, is there someone who they can speak to about such matters (other than the shadchan)? Is there a program Mashpia who will be accessible to your child?

m) If your child does not speak English, does your child at least know a few words so they can get by and have derech eretz? Please, Thank You, Excuse Me, and I’m Sorry, go a long way with both Jews and Non-Jews.

While this is looks like a long list, really, if your child was traveling anywhere else in the world you would be just as careful if not more so.

If you would do this for a small child, so much more so for a teenager. Please, before you send your child to Crown Heights, from Israel, Chicago, California, England, etc., KNOW what your child’s itinerary is and what they will be doing here. Be honest with yourself – if your child is struggling, ONLY send them to Crown Heights with a highly structured program. There is a whole world of temptation out there. And even if your child is doing fabulously, ONLY send them to Crown Heights with a highly structured program.

I look forward to squeezing myself into Shul with all of the guests from “out of town” and to all of klal yisroel receiving Hashem’s brochas this Tishrei with joy. May Hashem inscribe and seal all of us for happy, healthy, good, sweet, and SAFE New Year this Tishrei!

Miryam Elisheva Segal,

This Op-Ed reflects the views of its author. It does not necessarily reflect the views of CrownHeights.info nor of its Editors.

A reader that wishes to make his or her voice heard on any topic of their desire is welcome to submit his or her Op-Ed to News@CrownHeights.info.

58 Comments

  • 3. Shmuly Cohen wrote:

    tishrei is a time to h ave fun..teenagers who are in ch that want to go to manhttan, say l’chaim etc…WILL do it regardless-they will find a way..we only live once- and from this op-ed it seems like that we should also have to have a mashpia come to the bathroom with us and tuck us in at night…yes- there should be ‘limits’ but this babysitting is not going to mature these teenagers- it will in the long run push them further away…

  • 4. Put some Bite to your Beef wrote:

    I Love the Response!!! Now… Can We get the Beis Din of Crown Heights (even 1 Rov) and make a PSAK…. that no Boy/Girl can come to CH without a program… and must have a signed letter from their Hanholah that they can go! If the Guests do not have their approval and signed letter from their Hanholah … then stay home! Make this now, before they buy tickets!

    Rabbi Shea & Mrs. Segal can you get this done in next couple of days? Put some bite to your beef! This way .. I can refuse unwanted guests from making CH a blemish to the Shchuna of the Rebbe.

    But if you have the signed papers … My home is open to all!

    A Proud Resident of Crown Heights

  • 5. BTW wrote:

    by the way….

    the phone calls you get continusaly on tishrei asking for places to sleep, is part of the fund raising scam. numerous times when i said that i have space no one showed. i have said this to a few freinds and they confirmed the same thing.

    when i asked about this by a boy who i know that made some iof these calls. he told me that there is a system, first they call the person for space, then a day or two late they are called for a donation.

    like mike savage says “just follow the money”

  • 6. suggestion box wrote:

    very well. but this needs to be give to all program directors to give out to each child WELL before he leaves for his trip. quite honestly, this letter (and shea’s) came out too late as people are already beginning to arrive. but this shoud be poseted on ALL chabad website and maybe a copy of basic rule and regulations should be printed out and give to each person (kid/teenager and adult) as they arrive into 770.

  • 8. out-of-town wrote:

    What a wonderful op-ed. Hopefully the people who sent unaccompanied minors will read it. Someone should translate it in to Hebrew and put it on COL. I wonder why all of the American and Canadian yeshivas who flood CH with busloads of bochrim don’t put color coded name tags so that if a kid with a green tag is running around and out-of-seder, and green is the color for Toronto, someone could notify the hanhala of that yeshiva. The Israeli kids should have tags that have their names and where they are assigned to stay.

  • 9. CSC wrote:

    Teenagers aren’t the only problem. What about the adults?

    I’ve had them phoning me out of the blue, saying they just came in from Israel & could I put them up? They had maybe heard about me through a friend of a friend.

    I don’t have that kind of accommodations, especially for someone older, who is generally higher maintenance. For someone to just show up, expecting to be taken care of, shows either tremendous emunah or tremendous chutzpah.

  • 10. idea-s man wrote:

    Dear out-of-town….
    I cant believe what a ridiculous idea you have. I believe the last time your idea was done was 1939-1945.

  • 11. sick of it wrote:

    someone has to translate this letter(and shea’s) into hebrew and put it on ASAP!!!!!

  • 12. Llama wrote:

    I repeat the point about translation, but stronger –

    Writing this in English is venting.

    Write this in Hebrew and French, post it in every shul and local orthodox/lubavitch periodical in France and Israel and it might be constructive

  • 13. unitedwestand wrote:

    very nice, well-written article.
    Are all the guests connected with a program? There seems like there is a lot that can be done in Crown Heights in Tishrei to strengthen yiddishkeit.

  • 14. Thanks Rabbi H., Mrs S wrote:

    Great practical advice. Thanks to both Rabbi Hecht (always the voice of sanity in a sea of madness) and Mrs. Segal for raising and elaborating on this topic.

    And to “Bite/Beef”: great idea about getting a psak. At least those who care about halacha will take it seriously and that should reduce the problem.

    Another suggestion: KA”H our Crown Heights Kollel is full (over 100, from what I understand) of talented, capable yungerleit. Maybe they want to take on themselves a project for Tishrei to organize some shiurim and do some street patroling during Tishrei. Remember when a few yungerleit put together that incredible Yud Alef Nisan program on Eastern Parkway? We have some great talent and leadership among our young people. Since most of the kollel men are not yet busy with their own kids in the whole Tishrei scene, they seem like likely candidates to take on this project.

  • 15. Me. wrote:

    Maybe this can be translated into hebrew for the neighbouring sites like col.org.il or shturem.net?

  • 16. Alter Mechanech Mit a Kop wrote:

    Does R’ Hecht’s article imply that our teenage bochurim and kallah meidels(including those who act as counsellors for our children in camp, and go on shlichus) are so irresponsible and empty of values that they require full time supervision, without which they will c“v be ”seriously harmed B’Gashmius and B’Ruchnius“?

    What does that say about the chinuch these teenagers received for nearly a dozen years?

    I feel they deserve far more credit than the article claims. Yes, there are always a few rotten apples in the bushel, but our fruit is sweet and satisfying.

    I trust these teenagers to be Dugmas for my young children in camp. I trust them to go on Shlichus to places that lack kedusha – without fear that they will be ”“seriously harmed B’Gashmius and B’Ruchnius“.

    Many educators believe that teenagers need a measure of ”freedom“ – placing them under 24 hour supervision tells them that they are ”untrustworthy” and smothers them, pushing them into a state of rebelion.

    This article paints all teenages with a wide brush and deals witha problem some might have by using a chainsaw approach. I suggest using a scalpel!

    Remember: Those teenagers you talk about now will be the Rabbonim and Rosh Yeshivos and “Head” Shluchim of tomorrow (not to mention, potentially, our son/daughter in laws)!

  • 17. to Shmuly Cohen wrote:

    Shmuly,
    I really feel badly for you
    Is that the only way you can imagine “fun”? Yes, all this supervision is necessary, and especially for teens, and if they will be turned off by doing the right things, there is something very wrong to begin with, and those parents should think long and hard before sending that child away for this type of trip
    Coming to the Rebbe does not translate to touring Manhattan, hanging out, and meeting the opposite gender
    Do you know that when bochurim went on Merkoz Shlichus, they were expressly instructed NOT to combine these trips with touring, etc?
    you need to get your priorities straight, best of luck

  • 18. moishy wrote:

    If something bad happened to one of the children I wouldn’t want to be the resonsible person in CH that was supposed to look after him or her.

    Maybe that’s why Ray Kelly was visiting CH to check the security.

  • 19. parent wrote:

    Very well said, both Rabbi Shea and Mrs Segal
    If these children, and teens are part of our school system, the hanholo of the school should be somewhat responsible. I know that there are schools in Israel that do NOT allow their students to come to NY for the enitre Tishrei without certain conditions. If the student is not in attendance during certain days (means that they went away), they are not allowed back in cheshvan. They should need to EARN the priveledge of coming to the Rebbe, it’s not a free-for-all

  • 21. been there... wrote:

    Re: “Put some bite to your beef” and “Out of town”
    Thats a bit harsh and going a bit far. Trying to turn crown heights into a ghetto?? Do you want people walking around demanding to see authorisation papers?? Should these tags be in the shape of a magen dovid??

    AS per both the articles there are alot of good points in them but it is not so clear cut, I went numerous times sometimes the program were very well structured and organised and others not so but I wasnt unduly affected because of the attitude i had towards going and the reasons i had for going.

    Parents have to be a 100% sure their child is going for all the right reasons, to be oleh regel, to be in the Rebbe’s schunah for tishrei and to be inspired by that.

    If is not that clear, if there is abit of doubt. if your child wants to go because he heard how much fun it is or because all his friends are going, it doesnt matter how good the program is. Things can be served on a silver platter but if you don’t want it and arent looking for it you wont take it. There can be good shiurim organised, interesting people organised to farbrengen for the group, amazing trips but if that isn’t the childs 100% focus then they will get caught up in the wrong things.

    Parents have to make sure there child has a 100% positive attitude towards the trip, is going with 100% chayos to make the most of it only then will it be a successful experience

  • 22. a concerned chassid wrote:

    while their may be some valid points it is not a Hefker veld here in the Ch. HAchnosas Orchim In the last several years has become very organized for Bachurim & girls alike. The bachurim have to attend Seder here have a set curriculum & get tested on what they Learn. they also have to give a deposit for a bed & do their turns in the kitchen etc. instead of playing the blame game like the one who insulted the Rabbonim & the beis din.(obviously someone who has no respect for himself , his family or authority!) get up off your keister & do something. Hachosas orchim meals are open to one & all at any meal so no one should go hungry!!If they don’t want to keep Seder & want to bum around stay home!!!! we don’t need you. Give your place to someone whois willing to follow the rules. help Hachnosas Orchim finish the building & there will be more place PUT UP OR SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 23. concerned resident wrote:

    out-of-town,
    we can’t treat them like they are animals in the wild. and who says they will wear their colored tags anyway???

  • 24. a mother wrote:

    To Shmuli Cohen:
    It may seem like over-doing it to you. May Hashem bless you one day to be a parent of teenagers and then you’ll see that it’s not overdoing it at all.
    Have a safe and happy Yom Tov.

  • 26. crown heights wrote:

    You are so right i defenenly agree with you.
    I have children and i will 100% will only send them with a program.

  • 27. PARENTS CAN HELP wrote:

    THE BOTTOM-LINE IS
    THAT EACH PARENT MUST MAKE SURE NOT TO PUT THEIR OWN TEEN (PRETEEN) IN HARMS WAY!
    LEAVING CHILDREN UN SUPERVISED IS NEVER A SAFE THING
    ESPECIALLY IN THESE LAST DAYS OF GALUS (WHERE YERIDAS HADOROS, AND CHUTZPA ARE TAKEN TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL)

    BTW
    IF YOU INVEST IN YOUR KIDS (PLENTY OF TIME/LOVE) WELL BEFORE THEY BECOME TEENAGERS, YOUR MUCH MORE LIKELY TO SEE TRUE NACHAS,
    IF YOU ARE NOT BORN PERFECT IN THE PARENTING DEPART. REMEMBER OUR REBBE’S WORDS “TO GET MY ANSWER” -“ASEY-LECHA-RAV”
    IF YOU IGNORE THE REBBE’S INPUT, CAN YOU EXPECT HIS GUARENTEES?!

  • 28. NoMoreMess wrote:

    BS“D

    In addition a website should be set up to match legitimate guests with willing and welcoming hosts before the guests arrive. Said site should require references and contacts.

    No one should arrive in CH without a place to stay, whether this is arranged by family, ”sponsoring” agency, or the guests themselves before arrival.

    And sorry, but we have no business welcoming guests who are coming to have the kind of fun that makes us all look bad. Nothing wrong with going shopping in Manhattan – at midday on Chol Hamoed, or saying lechaim – FOUR times on 30 or 50 ml shotglasses!

  • 29. Wandering the streets wrote:

    Bs“d
    How sad, but how true…

    Last year, second days of Sukkos, I was walking down Kingston Avenue with my family and as I approached the Kingston Avenue side of 1414 (boys dorm)there were a whole bunch of young boys (I would say 11-13 years old!!) speaking in Hebrew, just sitting on the wall and checking out all the people that passed by.

    And then something crazy happened. One of these boys kicked my six year old daughter IN THE HEAD ON PURPOSE and then started laughing away. My daughter cried out in pain and began to cry. I approached the boy to ask him what in the world he was thinking. He simply proceeded to make these disgusting rude faces to me. Even his friends began shoving him and telling him to stop.

    My question is:
    Who will claim responsibility for this boy’s behavior?????

    What in the world are groups of young boys (or girls) doing miles and miles away from their parents, unsupervised, hanging out on street corners and doing who knows what else?

    Even if they do learn some of the time, and see beautiful things, in most cases, the NOT good outweighs the good in this situation.

    Even with a program-you can’t watch kids or teens for a few days let alone an entire month. It’s almost impossible.

    It is a disgusting thing that large groups of teen boys and young adult males hang out right by the stairs leading up to the women’s section of 770 and litterally check out every female that passes by.

    We must have a va’ad hamesader that will guarantee that women don’t have to feel uncomfortable to go into Shul, or to walk down Kingston Avenue for that matter.

    I know that there are local guys who do these things too, but many of those ”hanging out on the corners“ are from out-of-town, specifically from Israel and France.

    The problem is not, chas vesholom, Israelis or vistors from France or elsewhere. The problem is that many bochurim and girls come here from out of town and just end up doing things that are completely inappropriate. In one Tishrei they can, chas vesholom, end up doing things that may regret for the rest of their lives.

    Certain actions are very hard to undo.

    Being involved in many small little ”no-nos” turns into an ever increasing comfort that this is fun and it’s not so bad after all.

    Unfortunately, fun does NOT mean ok. There are many things that are fun and exciting that lead to a spiraling downward fall.

    Negative peer pressure is very hard to fight.

    This is all very sad. Who would ever think that a guest would be encouraged not to come. But one has to face reality-

    If you, as a parent, can’t answer YES to the following question, you should NOT send your son or daughter to Crown Heights for Tishrei!!!

    Here’s the question:
    Do you or a responsible adult know and approve of where your child is AT ALL TIMES during their stay?????????

    One thing is sure:
    Hashem we need Moshaich NOW!!!!

  • 30. shalom wrote:

    in every jewish community it is known that kids should be home with there parents for yom tov. they should go to shul with there parents.do these kids go to shul do they daven.whats going on here .there is no reason for all of this happening .all we are doing is taking the rebba and abusing him by saying they are coming to the rebba. they are not .once and for all this has to stop. this what goes on simchas beis hasheva is a disaster . drugs pritzious etc. this is not lubavitch .this is just like the labor day parade. STOP THIS AND STAY HOME .DONT COME TO CROWN HEIGHTS ….

  • 31. CH resident wrote:

    i think you all miss the point.
    The point is the kids want to come without any guidelines or any perimters. They want to “let their hair down” and live it up. I do not blame the kids. Where are the parents and hanhola? What is the purpose of their coming to CH for 6 weeks?
    Also you speak of a vaad or an organization to keep them in control. Why is that the responsiblility of Hecht or Segal why not the people who send them? They make such a chillul Hashem with their loudness and running around. CH has a name for the place to come to Simchas Bais Hashoeva for drugs, drink and girl/boy relationships. I am embarassed when I see other Chassidim in CH and the way they look at the kids. OUr kids are not Tzadikim but the guests make it a free for all and call it Kedusha.

  • 32. zak wrote:

    I would like to point out that we should also make sure that each buchor knows how to tie his shoes.

    The knowledge of how to tie a shoe is essential to safety.

    I for one would never send my child across the world, unless I knew for certain that he could demonstrate his shoe tieing ability.

    I mean what if he where to trip (G-D forbid)?
    I hope you get my point.

    Guidelines are great.

    Micro management sucks.

  • 33. Fun Flirt and Drugs in CH! OH YEAH BABY! wrote:

    People writing this article and all other articles are wasting their time.

    If you want to do something about it, don’t allow any boy/girl or anything in between to enter your house without speaking to the parents first

  • 35. 17yo GIRL beis Riv. wrote:

    YYASHER KOACH CROWNH.INFO FOR A FRANK DIALOUGE

    THE FOLLOWING POST I FOUND VERY INSIGHTFUL AND RELEVANT!
    =======================================

    its very tempting to blame ONLY the foreigners!! (TEENS)

    THE FACT ISHOWEVER: Most of the troubled teens are AMERICANS!!

    1) typically from disfunctional HOMES!
    or
    2) super NAIVE parents (clueless re Chinuch)
    or
    3) parents who were always too bizzy to shower them with LOADS of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE/ATTENTION/TIME!!! well before they became (desperate-aimless) teens,

    = a child starving for LOVE/AFFECTION/SATASFACTION is 1000times more likly to fall pray to the “DAMAGING” street-love, that often takes the most desperate ones to places/behaviors they forever are haunted by,
    and many never recover, any self respect or hope for TRUE YIDDISHE JOY in there future!

    btw

    if as a parent you cant influence your teen! get an older WISE friend who CARES to MENTOR him/her! ITS MAGIC!!

    KvChT to all!!
    ========================================
    AND THIS NEXT ONE ALSO ON THE MONEY!!
    ========================================
    Dear parents,
    THIS IS HOW IT WORX! (FORMULA DISASTER)

    1) Take teenager,
    2) Add Raging hormons
    3) Add lots of free time
    4) Add no supervission
    5) Add bordom,
    6) Add bad friends
    7) Add curiosity
    8) Add thrilL
    9) Add Rebelousnesness (teen instinct)
    10) Add CH street view (fuel-up the YH)
    11) Add equally desprate op-Gender teens
    12) Add exposure to “movies” = UPs YH!!

    DEAR PARENTS!!
    DEAR PARENTS!!

    OPEN YOUR EYES, youall have no idea how much pain and sufferring awaits them after they stumble into the street-love TRAP!!
    it always results in MISERY and deep REGRET and irrevesable DAMAGE to the mind and soul of a teen BOY/GIRL!!

    once they’v fallen many get traped in the downward spiral of Promisquity, drugs, etc destroying there future Happiness in Judaism! (and Dignity/Self respect!)

    HAVE MERCY ON YOUR UNSUSPECTING TEENS!!!

    if u dont succeed get GUIDENCE in how to parent your teen!!!

    they (the dropouts) wear big smiles!!
    but
    under those smiles is DEEP ANGUISH!! REGRET!! DISTURBANCE!! RESENTMENT!!

    WE ALL WISH WE COULD START OVER!!

    WE ALL WISH WE UNDERSTOOD THE STEP BY STEP PLAN OF THE YH!!

    INTICING TRAP OF HELL W/O EVER ANY SATISFACTION!!
    PARENTS DO ALL YOU CAN TO PREVENT THIS STUMBLING BLOCK IN FRONT OF A BLIND MAN!!
    ========================================

  • 36. Rivkie Schwei wrote:

    You guys don’t get it. It will continue until Hendel gets a job. He does this for a living and makes enough to live all year off of. He has all his chassidim working for him to keep it going and doesn’t care the least of our children.

  • 37. already exhausted wrote:

    You’re preaching to the choir…with amazing technology today, it takes 5 minutes to get translated versions sent to schools & homes all over France, Israel, & S. America.

    If that has not been done, as I suspect,we are wasting our time. The only way we could stop these waves coming is for Homeland Security to refuse them entry to the US. Many of these kids get a toe in the door & stay for years with expired papers. Refusing them entry wouldn’t be a bad thing to happen.

  • 38. TEENAGER wrote:

    AS A TEENAGER IF WE WANTO GET DRUNK, HANG OUT WHERE WE SHOULDN’T WE WILL DO IT ANY WAYS!!!
    LETTERS AND ALL THIS NONSENCE WONT HELP!!

  • 39. Nevermind wrote:

    I remember coming to CH for Tishrei from UK as a bochur. It was so hard. So lonely. So cold. No day no night. If I could go back in time and not do what the done thing was..I would stay home in my comfortble house and enjoy mums delicious food and just chill and be mekusher from there doing mivtzoim in the west end!

  • 40. peda-who-lia? wrote:

    a side note:

    there is a level of “closeness” that can be seen between madrichim and little boys. it is disgusting and innapropriate.

    if you see something, say something.

  • 41. seen it all wrote:

    To all the wonderful CH’ers commenting on this blog.
    Most of your comments are correct and well-intended. But I have to add one point.
    CLEAN UP YOUR OWN HOUSE BEFORE YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT VISITORS

    When I visit CH, I’m scared to let my daughters walk on the street and see how supposedly lubavitcher women dress R”L. Stop blaming tishrei problems on teenagers from outside. I wouldn’t let my teenager come for yomtov to CH without and organized program, and I suspect neither would 99% of parents around the world. It is CH teenagers who are doping in the alleys, come to shul on yomtov dressed for clubbing in manhattan, vechulhu, vidal.

  • 42. anon wrote:

    you can write it in any language you want but it is going to happen anyway. The only way to stop it is to stop allowing them into your house. I have had orchim in the past – I wont go into the details but I was very unhappy. There was damage to my home. And I felt betrayed by Hachnosis Orchim organization that sent them. But I did feel happy to be able to host the Rebbes children, I just with they represented the Rebbes values.

  • 43. mmmm wrote:

    Not so long ago I was a Bochur. Now I have children of my own. My view on this topic has not changed much over time.

    The programs are very nice. They give structure to those looking to do good, advance in Ruchniyus and spend their time productively. Like Seder in Yeshiva. Those that don’t show up, don’t gain.

    To those worrying about these Bochurim being Dugmos for their children: These articles are not about the Bochurim being mashpia in camp or going on Merkos Shlichus. Those bochurim are spending their time productively or at least harmlessly. These articles are about those who came without knowing why they came, or for the wrong reasons.

  • 44. out-of-town wrote:

    Uh, It looks like a couple of people think that name tags are reminders of yellow stars. If you go to a place of business and the workers are wearing name tags, are they marked for the gas chambers? Some people love to get dramatic and over-react. If that is the way you feel, you deserve the throng and hoard of nameless kids that crowd into your community each Tishrei. You deserve to have no one to complain to when some irresponsible and disrespectful teenage brats infiltrate your community. When kids come to kinus-ha-shluchim, aren’t they ever given these little tags that say “Hello my name is … and I am from …”? These kids are not planning to stay home. They already have tickets and they will make the lines in your stores long and push and crowd and you will just have to live with it. Of course that is far superior to handing out name tags. After all, they wore yellow stars during the war. Clearly we all see that name tags are equal to yellow stars.

  • 45. Yunger mechanech wrote:

    To the Alter mechanech who thinks that everyone is overeacting, and “many educators believe that teenagers need a measure of ”freedom“”. Respectfully, you are wrong. They need responsibility, and then they can be trusted as counselors, shluchim etc. b/c nothing works better for a teenager then achrayus and a structure (that he believes in and thinks is fair).
    Teenage freedom unchanneled, is like a live electric wire.
    Beware

  • 46. cH resident wrote:

    It is not the responsibility of CH people to monitor the kids who come looking for fun and good times. either send a mashpia (or many) with the kids or keep them home. There will never be enough supervison for the amount of kids KYH who come. As the kids come looking for a good time ONLY they will find ways to find it.
    Yes, there are shiurim and obligations for these kids. I have had quite a few at my house over the years, but whoever wants (most of them) finds ways to by pass that. and it is a game who can outwit the organizied shiurim etc.
    It is unheard of that for 6 weeks there is no yeshiva, no school no structure. I have seen first hand kids who have come being very tmimesdik and innocent. by the time they left, they had many questions and came back after Tishrei to continue the life they had here. They thought it is always Yom Tov.
    Rachmona Litzlan.

  • 47. Shmuly Cohen wrote:

    I stand corrected. However, I was referring more towards American bochrim, Crown Heightsers etc. I 100% agree that Israelis, Frenchies,and all of the other noise makers need to adhere to some level of responsibility. (an easy way to identify them..if you see anyone carrying a Zara bag, there you go : )

  • 48. I-m worried about you, Zak . . . . wrote:

    B”H
    Zak,
    You need a bug-ectomy! Just wait until you are a parent of teenagers, and you’ll see what everyone’s talking about here.
    Ksiva vachasima tova, l’shana tova u’m’suka!

  • 49. An Out of Town Mom wrote:

    My 16 year old bochur who goes to an out-of-town yeshiva (we are “outoftown” too) asked me last night, over the phone, if he could go to CH for Tishrei, or at least just Sukkot. I said, “NO.” I of course gave him a loving explanation as well as to my reasons. But he still knew it was a firm NO.

    I also told him that I am proud this is something that he *wants* to do, but only when he has a program and it meets all of MY requirements as a parent.

    Our family was in CH for Tishrei on year and our wonderful hosts/friends were shocked (as was I) at the young children- boys of 11, 12, 13!! all the way from Israel showing up to her table for meals. Her sons felt sorry for them and asked them over. WHO are these boys parents that they would just allow them to come to this country and have no idea about them?

    Thank you for this excellent OpEd!

  • 50. BigBen wrote:

    Great suggestions, a little too late.

    To CH residents: What’s all this hand wringing and guilt about guests? If you don’t want stangers in your house
    “Just say low”.

  • 51. PRACTICLE ADVICE wrote:

    PRACTICAL SOLUTION!

    PARENTS GET “TRAINING” IN PARENTING FOR THIS GENERATION!

    IF YOU THINK YOU KNOW IT ALL!
    BY THE TIME YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE (NAIVELY) WRONG = TOO LATE!

    HELP SOCIETY BY NOT CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROBLEM (AKA INVEST LOTS OF TIME WITH YOUR KIDS!)

    SHANAH TOVAH TO ALL!!

  • 52. Grew up in CH wrote:

    I remember my father bringing a boy into our house one shabbos afternoon…. Problem was, that we did not eat at home that shabbos, so the food we had in the house was not your typical shabbos fare. The boy was so famished, he was thrilled to eat whatever it was that my father took out from the fridge. So many of these unsupervised kids are good kids, who wont do things that they shouldnt (ie, drugs, girls/boys, alcohol.) but their schools fail them, and they are left STARVING! They wont tell their parents, because then next year they will not be able to come again….. I was in Israel, last week talking to my neice who is coming to CH for Tishrei to be with the Rebbe,, and I asked her what it means,, and then my husband, myself, and her parents started to recount what tishrei reallly was…. OY MEH HOYA LONU,, Hashem, please bring Mashiach NOW!

  • 53. what does the Rebbeh say! wrote:

    ATT. ALL PARENTS:

    (stop complaining/blaming!)

    FOCUS ON PROTECTING YOUR OWN KIDS!

    THE BEST INOCULATION AGAINST THE STREETS IS,
    TO DEVELOP STRONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR CHILDREN! -WELL BEFORE THEY ARE AT RISK!
    (IF YOU DONT KNOW HOW SEEK GUIDANCE! LEARN)

    UNFORTUNATELY FOR TODAY’S DAY N AGE

    THE STREETS ARE “DEFAULTED” TO CHAP OUR CHILDREN, (REGARDLESS OF BT/FFB)

    UNLESS, UNLESS! PARENTS UNDERSTAND, AND “PROACTIVELY”
    FOSTER SOLID-OPEN-LOVING RELATIONSHIP WITH THERE (PRE)TEEN!!

    IT CANT HURT TO FOLLOW THE REBBE’S SEGULOS FOR NACHAS!
    1=T’hilim Shabos Mevorchim,
    2=30min aday pondering your kids chinuch
    3=Mashpia (Asey Lecha Rav)
    4=Hidur mitzva re tznius/sheitul
    5=Ahavas Yisroel (time with your kids)

  • 54. resident wrote:

    I think as someone else mentioned, we need to SEPERATE the concept of a bochur or bochurette from Crown Heights going to a remote location on Merkos Shluchis or to help a Shliach, from Israeli parents simply allowing their kids under age 16 to travel to the USA, NYC, and too be honest, a neighborhood in Brooklyn with an increase rate in Crime, even though it is Crown Heights.

    There is no comparison and when people say :Come on, the other neighborhoods allow our children in for Merkos Shluchis“ it is distorting the truth and a major disservice to our own children and kehilla. It is Barack Obama style political spin

    In Merkos Shluchos, maybe two three kids will go from NYC to let’s say, Little Rock Arkansas. They have a program, they stay in the shluchim’s home..most people not involved in the Chabad Hose have no clue they are there. These kids also shower every day, dont start fights with the locals, and obey local ordinances. In the end, these kids enhance the image of Chabad when they go on Merkos Shluchos

    When kids go on Merkos Shluchis there are NOT thousands of kids who are starving on the streets of one city, living like hobos invading little rock, or wherever, begging for money, pushing like JERKS during Tashlich and injring 4 year olds in the process, vomiting in front of houses of worship, ie the Chabad House, hooting and hollering at girls, and exposing themselves to ”danger” with the neighbors, and turning the city/neighborhood into Tijuana, Mexico.

    I am willing to bet, that even the most hard core parent pushing their kid to go on merkos shluchis in the most remote locations would be SHOCKED and considering a din torah if G-D forbid their kids were put through what the Israeli parents are allowing their kids to participate in here in Crown HEights with the Rabbonim on all sides DOING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

    So we as a kehilla need to realize that there is a clear difference between two kids going to a city on Merkos Shluchis and thousands of unattended vulnerable kids coming to Brooklyn for no reason other than to tour.

  • 55. CH Tznius! wrote:

    I do not allow my kids to go to CH for Tishrei, not because of ruthless out-of-town guest, who btw many of them are coming to truly recharge their inspiration and hiskashrus for the whole year. There is despite all the other issues, a spirit of the avir of tishrei as as it wass, albeit very different, as when the Rebbe was there. There is nothing wrong with coming to CH for that purpose and I’m surprised at the new sentiment of Crown Heightsers which lacks the aspect of hospitality that once existed there. People there have become, at least according to the posts that I’m reading and what Rabbi Boteach has written not very long ago, senseless to the concept of hachnosas orchim with joy that once proudly existed there when I grew up. When I was a kid in CH my parents always gladly welcomed guest for the festive Yomim Tovim and never uttered a single complaint, despite the less comfort that we endured for the price of the great mitzvah of hosting guest of the Rebbe.

    The reason my teenage kids will not be going to CH this year is beacuse it has become from a community of which I was proud to grow up in as a dugma chaya of what it means to be a chosid into a licentious slum of harlotry. A spade must be called a spade. I’m not here to delve into how it has become that way, who is to blame, lack of achdus, respect, chinuch, chasidus, etc. However the fact is that is a dangerous place to send my kids. Instead of them seeing the shcuna in which the Rebbe and frierdiker Rebbe have settled to lead world Jewry to the Geula sheleima, their eyes must see the incredulous blatant lack of tznius that is prevalent there today. This is embarrasing. Is that what the Rebbeim were moiser nefesh for?!

    Whenever we come to CH I get more and more embarrassed at the situation there, what has become of such an exemplary community that was once a shining light? Is it that difficult to dress in a tznius way. I’m not a shlucha, yet I live in a neighborhodd of frum Jews who all dress tznius and fashionable, it’s no conflict. I buy nice clothing for myself and daughters that is tasteful and does not look slutty.

    For all you moms who want to do good for your kids, don’t send them to CH until this sever terrible matter is rectified. Hashem Yeracheim!

  • 56. CSC wrote:

    The total hefkerness brings in another element: the “drop-out” types who wander in Flatbush, Williamsburgh, Boro Park, etc., or were thrown out of the house by their parents. Where do they go? Crown Heights, of course.

    I used to live on Kingston, where a bunch of them, boys & girls together, would hang out on my stoop, smoking & drinking until all hours. The next day I would find mementos of my nocturnal visitors: cigarette butts & beer cans.
    I won’t mention the total bacchanal going on under my window or in allies.

    There does have to be more enforcement, but — this goes for the rest of the year, as well — the assertion that CH will not be a dumping ground for other community’s problems.

  • 57. to the Alter Mechanech wrote:

    Thank you for your insightful comments. What you wrote, in my opnion, perfectly shows the problem with our Chinuch system and one of the root causes of the problems a hefker velt in Tishrei in Crown Heights.

    With respect – Our Chinuch system is a disaster and unable to cope with the challenges and influences of the outside world. The reason? The leaders and (Alter) Mechachim have their (respectful) heads buried in the sand.

    Unfortunately our teenagers DO need supervision BECAUSE they are NOT equipped by the school system to deal with real world.

    Of course parents have a final responsibility for their kids, but many rely on their kids getting this education from the schools where it is sorely lacking.

    As to your question:

    “What does that say about the chinuch these teenagers received for nearly a dozen years?”

    My response?

    “Exactly!!”

    P.S. There are good kids, but they are born/bred like that notwithstanding the ‘system’. BH Lubavitch is growing so you will always find the top 30% in the top schools. But the reality lies with those fallling OUT of the school system, but as a mechanech perhaps you don’t have to deal with that reality and the sand is cool and blissful.

    With respect,

    A CH Citizen.

  • 58. moish wrote:

    before 3 tammuz, one had to have written permission from his hanholo to come to NY, if not the Rebbe sometimes sent them back

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