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Op-Ed: Fretting Over Inevitabilities

Photo Courtesy Basil

RETRACTION AND APOLOGY: a previous version of this letter alleged that the op-ed in question was slanderous. The letter writer retracts the allegation being that it was hyperbole. The letter writer also apologizes that the letter was taken as a personal attack on the op-ed author’s. It was not intended as character attack, rather as a sharp criticism of the op-ed author’s ideas. It has been edited in this new version for clarification.

An Open Letter to Mottel

Dear Mottel,

Your op-ed, A Fire Burns in Crown Heights: An Essay on Religion, Modernity and Pizza, was based on false pretenses. It misunderstand everyone attacked in the long and erroneous expose (with its ensuing comments) on the current tensions between the so-dubbed zealots, the restaurants, and the men and women on the streets of Crown Heights. Its view of the situation is narrow; its ability to influence is limited; and its solutions may be effective in Nevel or Never Never Land, but not in Crown Heights. Your advice is not helpful.

The notion that a loving mass re-education is going to change the face—err, the body—of Crown Heights is naively optimistic. Everyone has heard whatever it is you want to tell them and most people do not care. You will not change them no matter how you sugarcoat and repackage your message.

Your pristine picture of Lubavitch as a model for all Charedi communities is not going to happen without chasing away everyone who does not adhere to the Rebbe’s instructions and the tznius/Chassidish rulebooks. Crown Height will not be a safe place to raise a chassidishe child as long as people identifying themselves as Lubavitchers are conspicuously violating basic obligations of frumkeit. The “fire” you perceive will only be extinguished if the message advocated in an interview by the Zealot Ringleader is shoved into everyone’s faces, “live like a Chosid, or move out.” He rightly insists that the best solution to Lubavitch’s image problem is to make life uncomfortable for those who do not conform. Make rules like other communities have done that force people to abide by them if they wish to be accepted. Harass them in the streets and ban their children from learning in chassidishe schools. Alienation is the only effective method, even if it means that most of the population and money will leave the community.

If you believe change is required on a communal scale, quit hiding behind Ahavas Yisroel and take a stand. Enough with this insistence that the Rebbe would mekarev people in kind and gentle ways hoping that they will come around. These stories about shopkeepers who were open on Shabbos and eventually decided to shut down are irrelevant. We are not dealing here with ignorant Jews who are open to Jewish growth. The Rebbe’s supposed approach is inapplicable and futile in the present circumstances. The people in question will not be conquered or appeased.

These are graduates of Tomchei Temimim and Beis Rivka. They know all about the importance of wearing sheitels, covering their legs, keeping their beards, and dressing in a chassidish manner. They have made the conscience, capable, and informed decision to reject these requirements of frumkeit. That is right, reject. No amount of nudging, lecturing, farbrenging, pleading, or guilt laying is going to change their attitudes. It is condescending that you suppose people just do not know what is expected of them.

Lubavitch bochurim are trained from a young age about wearing chassidishe levush, keeping a beard, and iskafya. From at least as early as mesivta, they are told about the importance of chassidishe hanhogos and levush. They were all instructed by older chassidim not to go to this place or that and they learned what is acceptable behavior by immersion in Lubavitch society. Some take these lessons more to heart than others, but everyone has heard the pitch.

Lubavitch girls are told repeatedly throughout their school-lives how long their skirts must be, how high their blouses have to be buttoned, and how to cover their legs. They have meetings and classes where the rules of tznius are expounded, its observance is lauded, and the cataclysmic effects of not keeping tznius are forewarned. The rules and reasons are not a secret kept by the chassidish-enlightened for those that return to the fold. Far from being ignorant, Lubavitch women are inundated with the idea of tznius by the time they reach adulthood.

The people you intend to reach out to do not reject these aspects of their upbringings because they are lagging behind and need a boost. They do it because these things are inundating. They have lost the hergesh that makes someone on their own volition go beyond what makes them comfortable. It is unpleasant to walk around in stockings and turtlenecks in ninety-degree heat. Sophisticated young people do not want to look like Tevyeh the milkman or some sloppy old woman from the same time-period. Do you not understand that people are uncomfortable looking otherworldly and nerdy, which is true of most of the people in our community lauded for their tznius dress? (If you think this untrue, just ride a train in the dead of winter and see how easy it is to spot the Frum people.) Has your limmud haChassidus truly contained your ta’avas halevush?

Face it; our rules have nothing to do with modesty and formality. If they did, plenty of contemporary fashions are out there that fit those requirements but do not include black felt fedoras and woolen skirt suits. Our society has added norms of tznius and fashion that go well beyond halachik requisites. Our rules are about looking different from society, conformance, and suppression – if not, why are things like blue shirts and jean skirts stigmatized?

The dogmatic things that we do as frum Jews and Chassidim are suffocating – both literally and figuratively. There is nothing emotionally wrong, as some commenters on your op-ed have suggested, with people who cannot resign to do things that do not make them feel good or do not agree with them. Dressing “down” or un-tzniusly is not necessarily a promiscuous thing that people – married and single, men and women – do only to attract the opposite sex. Young people want to achieve some level of comfort, normalcy, and uniqueness. Comfort for themselves, normalcy toward the outside world, and uniqueness in their own Chassidic world. (This discussion carries over into their modes of thought and behavior, but ein kan hamakom liha’arich bazeh.) Accompanying these desires is an overlying desire to achieve status in all sectors.

Mendelson and his crew understand young people, notwithstanding their intolerance for them. They know that you will not change those who are not interested in being changed. People will not embrace the way of life that they shed – to whatever degree they have shed it – just because they receive the message from a community leader, teacher, or even a loved one. It is something stifling and unappealing and no one can force them, or make them love, to do what they do not want to do. The only option left then for those wishing to fix the image of Crown Heights is to somehow get rid of these defiant individuals, or rather, segments of the community. The only way to practically accomplish that is through serial harassment to make people’s lives so uncomfortable that they will leave on their own. It is not pleasant or mentchlich, and probably not legal, but it works.
Your calls for restraint and acts of loving kindness are commendable but naïve. They simply and demonstrably do not work. For as long as people in Crown Heights are left at peace, the problems of tznius, lack of chaddishkeit, and failure to keep basic frumkeit will be intractable.

I admit that I would be a prime target for this harassment given my personal state of observance and dress (thankfully I have somewhere to run away to).

To be sure, I do not support such a draconian approach. I brought out this extreme to show you the absurdity and impracticability or your proposal or any proposal that seriously wants to solve the problem. It is too late. Besides the fact that many of the people that would be chased away are the financial backbone of the community, Crown Heights would cease being a community when it becomes exclusive and family, friends, and the people who have always defined this community leave.

There is another approach, but it will not satisfy you. It does not involve putting out the Crown Heights’ fire, but I recommend it anyway. Accept the people who do not follow the rules as: your own, the Modern Lubavitch, or what have you. Whether you consider them brothers or the monsters that Lubavitch created, they come from the same homes, schools, and backgrounds as you do. You can either own up and accept that they live in your midst or cast them away like Mendelson. Without digging too deep, you can surely find that you share more common ground than differences. With a little work, understanding, and compromise, you might realize that we can all be a community, just as we have been until now. And maybe by seeing you continuing to live a chassidishe lifestyle and raising children with the same values, they may come around.

Granted this does not accomplish any of the goals that one would wish a solution would accomplish. For that, you need the Mendelson approach. Instead of a solution, you may just have to accept mediocrity. Sure, Lubavitch will be the laughing stock of the Charedi world and earnest chassidish people will not be able to raise their children in a perfect frum and tznius community. The attraction to the modern world will only increase as this young, carefree Modern Lubavitch evolves into a beast that hardly resembles chassidishkeit. Or, maybe they will change for the better and collectively decide to draw a line. Who knows?

I am not telling you to accept it out of arrogance, but out of inevitability. Accepting it as reality would at least lighten your stress, realizing it is out of your control. You can then stop making such a himmel geshrei every time you walk on Kingston Avenue.

Sincerely, YKW

P.S. Basil’s existence and misbehavior are symptomatic of the condition of Crown Heights and, likewise, inevitability. There is a demand for an upscale, fashionable restaurant where all the people who are not worried about iskafya – a good portion of the Crown Heights population – can go indulge their palates, flaunt, and watch other people. See also: Bunch-O-Bagel. While I think it would be nice to respect the sensitivities of the Schuna – and they have by caving to some demands – they ultimately are providing a service for which there is no shortage of local consumers.


  • 1. noch my namE you nEEd? wrote:

    honEstly. whoEvEr wrotE this should rEalizE what hE’s saying – and no, thEsE arE not typos. vEhamEivin yovin.

  • 2. yossel and wrote:

    the food is not importint its ambiance a fashion show

  • 3. A G wrote:

    I thought April Fools was months ago. Two words: ‘Free Society’

  • 5. concerned wrote:

    I can’t believe that even the most barely holding on person doesn’t value their Judaism in some way. If they decided to go to school to get a degree to make the kind of money they want, they would have mesiros nefesh staying up late, missing out on fun to fulfill their requirements. I understand the youths immaturity, but at a cretain age don’t people get that any thing worthwhile you have to give of yourself,go beyond yourself, have a little mesiros nefesh, be it marriage, children, starting a business. Same with being Jewish! Also, the rabbis put a fence around the halacha for good reason. I’ve seen in my family how internarriage takes only about 2 generations.In 2 generations you could end up with very few Jewish relatives. Small shifts seem benign and personal but I’ve seen how fast it can go.

  • 6. Larry Zlotowitz wrote:

    This guy almost knows how to write English. Rambles on incoherently. And…makes an interesting point.

  • 8. CMA wrote:

    Why does your article have to drip of teenage sarcasm and barely disguised disdain? It made me quit reading after four paragraphs.

    It seems to me that the main purpose of this article was to demean and belittle “Mottel”.

    It’s not a mature way to get your point across. Be mature and don’t make it personal.

  • 9. happy wrote:

    the letter is true they go about it the wrong way today is not yesterday the kids are not the same. so the part in this letter that keeps on saying they now already the beard the way of dressing ect that part has to be tought how i dont know. hashem bles all

  • 10. Time to move out of Crown Heights wrote:

    Dear Writer,

    Your unabashed squashing of Lubavitch is appalling. While both you and Mottel wrote of extreme solutions, you are clearly not coming with Chasidishe perspective. I am someone who would be “kicked out” of Crown Heights should your solution be implemented, but then really what will you have accomplished? You will have succeeded in kicking myself and others like me to the curb to “create my own community” as befitting my ideals. But, perhaps you haven’t really examined the subject thoroughly enough. While it’s true that the halachos of tzniyus have been drilled into me since I was old enough to speak, the main reason I simply disregard them is the way they were taught. We are a new generation-a generation of people who need to question and be given answers. We need people willing and able to sit down with us, and explain rather than evade.

    I grew up in Los Angeles, and was fortunate to have Rebetzin Schochet A“H as my teacher, and as a mentor. And let me tell you, I will never forget the way she would speak to us girls about Tznius. She would always tell us tat she is speaking in English, and to please correct any incorrect words because the message was too important. And you know-it’s because of her, that I would never dream of walking out in a tichel! That while it’s true I may show parts of my lower legs during the summer, my feet themselves, my knees and up, my elbows, and collarbone are ALWAYS covered. And all this is credited to rebetzin Schochet who would speak to us with such love and caring. She told us herself that in her time, there were no questions-people did things with a much greater sense of Kabolas Ol, but that she saw that nowadays, things are different.. We are a part of a generation that has been so exposed to the outer world, that hasn’t been exposed to the pure simple yidden of yester year, that we need to be able to question, and we need to receive answers.

    Rebetzin Schochet was someone who didn’t originally come from a Lubavitch home if you’ll recall, so the fact that she recognized the wisdom in the Rebbe’s approach, and she understood what the Rebbe said that there are no such Jews that are ”rechokim“, should teach you a lesson, that yes-we did go through the lubavitch school system, but no-we didn’t have the opportunity to ask and be answered, and therefore, we are just as ignorant as the college students who are meeting Shluchim around the USA, and getting the first ”taste” of Yiddishkeit. We too need Shluchim in Crown Heights, to teach, discuss, and introduce the mitzvos Be’Ahava.

  • 11. E? wrote:

    I’m not a mayvin but I am curious.
    What’s the secret code of Capitalized Es?

  • 12. Sad wrote:

    When such a large portion of Crown Heights youth have rejected the standards that you mentioned, Your solution is to reject them what will crown heights be left with? a considerably smaller population? and that will make you happy?

  • 13. Shliach wrote:

    Shluchim have enough work, you attitude and tactics will only increase their job.

    Instead of harassing people and getting them mad at the Frum community why don’t you take some time and deal with them as Shluchim do, it is a proven method, known to work.

    This way is just a cop-out and you may be fixing one temporary problem but you are creating a more permanent one.

    What you suggest or condone in this article is not the Lubavitch way.

  • 14. Disgusted by the language wrote:

    “Your op-ed… was pretentious baloney. You and your sympathizers misunderstand everyone attacked in your long-winded, slanderous, and erroneous expose… Your view of the situation is narrow; your ability to influence is limited; and your solutions may be effective in Nevel or Never Never Land, but not in Crown Heights. Take your advice, along with your truffle pizza, and eat it.”
    Talk about trash talking, couldn’t you have at least been more civil? I couldn’t even read the rest of the article, I was so sickened to the stomach – how can a person talk like this to another human being?

  • 15. What about Beis Shmuel?????? wrote:

    Time for all of us to boycott and protest outside Beis Shmuel.

  • 16. Fed up CHtsr wrote:

    At least he is saying it as it is.

    The comments on the this blog and similar blogs indicate that there is a large element of yidden living in CH that dont want to follow torah misinai. it is not about tznius. This is a general hashkafah issue as seen from the comments regarding woman and voting.

    Their hashkafah is the issue. Nothing to do with lubavitch. They need to figure out who they are, because their hashkafah is somewhere south of modern orthodoxy north of conservative Judaism and socially they associate with lubavitch.

    These friends/supporters of lubavitch want to run CH and our schools it just cant work no shliach or non lubavitch Rabbi will let his supporter decide on policy in his synagogue.

    Let them set up a community defining their values but they cannot expect to run the Rebbe’s community which first and foremost stands on halacha

  • 17. TO THE AUTHOR wrote:

    why don’t you write your name? if you honestly believe in what you wrote and the goodness of the suggestions and solution that you stated, why the anonymity?

  • 18. Ein Am Ha-aretz Chossid(a) wrote:

    I believe that there is still yet another solution.
    EDUCATION. Without shunning the people and without accepting mediocrity and less, it is well-evidenced that when people see the written law in black and white it is harder to transgress it.
    Classes should be started in every format possible-to educate the masses about the basics: Kashrus, Shabbos, Taharas Hamishpocho, Tznius etc. There is too much ‘oilem goilem’ wherever you turn.
    We have to go back to the basics.

  • 19. To 15 chill wrote:

    to fifteen.
    Poetic license my dear. As he said he is a close friend of “Mottel”

  • 20. Moishe wrote:

    to 13

    “I am someone who would be “kicked out” of Crown Heights should your solution be implemented, but then really what will you have accomplished?”

    That others will have a chance of being mechanech frum kids

  • 21. feivel wrote:

    to 13

    First you write about how much love rebetzin Shochat delivered her tznius speech then you say that if someone would teach tznius with love you would listen.

    You are full of baloony you had the love when will you listen.

  • 22. Appalled wrote:

    Are we not ashamed to clearly come out and say that in the Rebbe’s daled amos we have conciously decided that being chassidish (going the extra step in frumkeit) and even more, following the shulchan aruch is “stifling and unappealing …. what they do not want to do” ?
    How can one write, and even more publish “Young people want to achieve some level of comfort, normalcy, and uniqueness. Comfort for themselves, normalcy toward the outside world, and uniqueness in their own Chassidic world.”
    Are we now excusing our own frum from birth, gone through the system youth for breaking with Toras Moshe MiSinai?
    Are we now supposed to be ok with this -everything goes- attitude??
    How can we “…live a chassidishe lifestyle and raising children with the same values,” when those children see the opposite around them every day?
    What we lack is leadership, a strong uncompromising leadership both in gashmius (the council) and ruchnius (the Rabbonim), but we all know what kind of leadership we can expect in this day and age.

  • 24. The real e (TRe) wrote:

    It has come to my attention that certain people think that I’m the dude with the capital e’s. Please. Everyone knows my pride in only using a lowercase e.

  • 25. To Feivel wrote:


    Get your head out of the gutter.

    Look at the men (and not in the mikveh)

    PS you misread her post. Hater.

  • 26. Ed wrote:

    If we are starting this revolution, maybe the “frei people” are going to kick the “chassdish guys” out of CH, Who says the Taliban will win?

    “The only way to practically accomplish that is through serial harassment to make people’s lives so uncomfortable that they will leave on their own…and probably not legal, but it works.”

    So you advocate doing something illegal in the name of religion? You have such a unique way of thinking.

  • 27. MODERNS wrote:

    The Moderns are moving to Los Angeles and infultrating our young children’s minds with their TV, Movies and Goyishkeit. Keep them in Crown Heights!

  • 28. Modern Shluchim wrote:

    Even Many Shluchim are Modern! What chance is there in Lubavitch?


    Maybe the problem is not the teenage kids but the community.
    The lack of education from the yeshivas, to prepare them for the real world.
    For all those ignorant people that think, by yelling and chasing the rebels away, thats going to solve the issue. look at Bais Menachem of Wilkes Barre pa. they have a 100% success rate, and how do they bring the students closer to yidishkeit, by love,and realness.
    Next time your about to walk over and yell at them for the way they dress, turn around and walk into 770 and yell at all the leaders of the community to start behaving like real Rabbonim.

  • 31. Kingston Onlooker wrote:

    Someone should make a website and take pictures of all the woman that are not dressed properly and put them up so they will be ahsamed in the future to dress that way

  • 32. me wrote:

    What a mockery to make of the rebbe…
    yes, we flaunt the flag of Chabad; of Lubavitch; Chassidim… the list goes on.
    Yes, if you feel the heat get out of the kitchen! You don’t belong in the shchuna of the Rebbe. You are bringing shame to the Rebbe and to toras Moshe.

  • 33. to #8 and 9 wrote:

    You people are not reading the whole post- yes it was long winded, immature and sarcastic. But he wasnt saying to make them miserable to leave, he is saying ACCEPT, too bad on us all. dumb dumb and dumber

  • 35. ah poshitar yid fuin shcunah wrote:

    menelson and co, kushh ah bear untern eck

    go back to willmsburg ,

  • 36. A parent-s perspective wrote:

    All this discussion, all these attacks on one another & nothing changes. Except perhaps the disdain gets worse.

    My solution? I don’t have one, I don’t pretend to. But here’s my SUGGESTION:

    It’s up to each family to work with their kids. The statement “so-&-so does it” isn’t relevant. So-&-so’s parent’s aren’t yours. You are OUR child & this is what we expect. Now let’s sit down & have an open discussion, each one listening to the other & let’s work towards a compromise.

    My second suggestion: Our Rabbonim need to get the sand out of their eyes & beards. They need to acknowledge we have a tsunami-like crisis here. It’s not a crisis of Tznius, it’s a crisis of FAITH. The values we were taught & hopefully adhere to don’t impact today’s young people. Why? Maybe they are more in tune with hypocrisy than we were. Maybe it is just the lure of the outside world. Whatever it is, we need to find the reason & address it, fast.

    But again, it comes down to families working TOGETHER. It’s not the job of the schools to raise your kids. It’s OUR job, we’re the parents not the schools.

    We need to TALK AND LISTEN, not dictate & not fight. Start doing that & you will succeed. I can say this because we raised all our children, boys AND girls, to be aidel, frum, TZNIUS young people. Not one boy trims his beard, they all wear Titzis, no jeans, daven with a minyan, learn etc etc. The girls NEVER go out in a tichel, no sleeves or stockings, or low necklines.

    Our children have varying degrees of “chassidishkeit” inasmuch as some will watch a ballgame on line whereas others will not. Some only go out in a hat & jacket but others only wear them to go to Shul. So what? We learned very early on to pick our battles. But it’s a testament to their upbringing that FOR EVERY SHIDDUCH WE DIDN“T HAVE TO MAKE ONE SUGGESTION. Every one wanted OUR children. Some married real, bona fide ”gezher“ & we are BT’s.

    What made us successful parents is that we LISTEN. We were (and are) there for them. I’m not blowing my own horn, I’m just telling you what worked for us. I have to also be honest & say this. When our children were young my wife wanted to take a parenting course. I thought she was crazy…why pay good money to do what comes naturally? But being a smart lady she persuaded me to ”sponsor” it and we never looked back. She bought books, listened to tapes, and we discussed different techniques. Now my wife has other mothers calling her for advice on childrearing.

    Mottel, Mendelsohn & this writer need to step back and accept that it’s not their business to tell other people what to do. Look out for your own families, look at yourself and see what you can do to improve your own situation. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time but with love and effort every family can see their own kids grow in the right way. Chodesh Ave, especially these days, is a time for introspection. Make it count.

  • 37. disgusted. wrote:

    crown heights will not change because some people are upset with the younger generations way of is what it is. the only thing people can do about it is 1)live together as a community and try to get along.2) leave. no one has the right to kick anyone out of crown heights thats not how things work in america.

  • 38. YKM (You Know Me) wrote:

    To #13, Time to move out of Crown Heights:

    I did not say that you should be kicked out. Read again.

    You raise an interesting point, which demonstrates the failure of the “kindness” approach. It might also be useful for empirical research on the topic.

    Take your Los Angeles class of Lubavitch girls who benefited from Rebbetzin Shochet’s A“H classes and tell me how many of them today do not live up to the strict tznius requirement demanded by halacha and the Rebbe. You, admittedly, do not (you say you would be ”kicked out” and give details), despite the loving lessons from your Rebbetzin. How many other classmates consistently fail to live up to these exacting standards? Remember, we are not talking about completely shedding your clothes; that is not what is going on in Crown Height. We are discussing showing a little hair, neckline, elbow, and knee.
    To #21, Appalled:

    Hey, don’t shoot the messenger! I am only explaining why there is a phenomenon of Lubavitch people who do not follow the rules they were taught.

  • 39. In the mikveh wrote:

    26 – why not in the mikveh?
    You want to teach our children that mikveh is something to be ashamed of? Feivel – in the mikveh too.

  • 40. To # 13 wrote:

    I would love to sit down and inspire you to dress more modestly,I grew up on shlichus and I agree with you 100 percent the only way is through alot of love and warmth.I have been inspiring jews of all ages my whole life to fulfill thier potential.Unfortunetly if I was to sit down with you it wouldn’t be very modest im a single bachur.Maybe one day after I get married, I just wanted to say your totally right,I hope someone inspires you to dress more modeslty best of luck.

  • 41. MISSING THE REBBE wrote:

    The main problem today is that we Lubavitchers do not have one leader to inspire us and lead us the way the Rebbe did. It is that simple. Since Gimmel Tamuz our communities values and hashkafos have declined and people’s yiras shamayim and hergesh to do the right thing have declined as well. the fact that every leader/rav in crown heights can not get along and are so focused arguing with one another, they are losing sight of the hundreds of people and neshamos that they are hurting and neglecting. throughout Jewish history, unity was a major issue when things were going wrong for the Jewish people. It is time for our community to unite and for rabbanim to put their ego’s on the side and take responsibility to serve the community and not themselves.
    In addition, schools need to realize that they are educating a generation that never saw the Rebbe and do not really know (unfortunately, some do not even care) who the REbbe was. It is time to educate our children to really teach them and not tell them and preach them. A change of attitude and curriculum in the school system is necessary to educate our kids to CARE and value our traditions, halachos and be proud to be frum and be proud to stand out in the subway.
    TO THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE: it is not embarrassing to have values and stand for something. However, it is embarrassing to embrace a culture that has no values and stands for nothing which the writer of this article proudly does. It is sometimes uncomfortable to be tznius, it is also uncomfortable to wear leggings in 90 degree weather. It is also uncomfortable to wear clothes that squeeze your body. It is also uncomfortable to wear clothes that make every construction worker stare at you as if you are a piece of meat. today’s culture also has values that it indoctrinates on those who follow the trends. All social groups have rules and regulations that those who want to belong have to follow. Crown heights lubavitch community has rules and regulations (just like every social, or cultural group has). Those who do not embrace it and choose to embrace values of their choice should also choose to live somewhere else and send their children to schools that embrace their chosen values. It is actually the worst hypocrisy to dress untznius and send your kid to Ohelei torah and Beis Rivkah.

  • 42. like it is wrote:

    Agreeing with you no. 13. You were fortunate to be taught tznius by Rebetzin Schochet. I was fortunate to be encouraged to keep tznius because of Rebezin Yehudis Heller a’h. When she spoke about tznius you WANTED to keep the laws of tznius. In the most encouraging non-condemning and non- mussar words she made you want to be tzniusdik. The way tznius is approached in our mosdos today, there is no surprise that tznius is such a big problem today. They are a big part of the problem. Their mechanchos, their teachers, and their speakers don’t have a clue as how to address this issue and as long as they continue to follow this same path , you can say good-by to tznius

  • 43. bubbyfaygy wrote:

    what is your problem #14? beis shmuel is devoted to mitzvos and maasim tovim! if you don’t like it you can daaven elsewere! instead of wasting your time protesting!do something constructve,i.e. say tehillim,help a fellow yid!

  • 44. bubbyfaygy wrote:

    what is your problem #14? beis shmuel is devoted to mitzvos and maasim tovim! if you don’t like it you can daaven elsewere! instead of wasting your time protesting!do something constructve,i.e. say tehillim,help a fellow yid!

  • 45. wrote:

    It is well known the Rebbe wanted his Chassidim to have wealth and he also wanted Crown Heights to spread its boundaries. Basil restaurant is in an area that was formerly only recently mostly not Jewish, so it is adhering to the Rebbe’s wishes. And the Rebbe also wanted Crwn Hts to be attractive to outsiders. It seems to me that Basil offers a very important role in presenting the face of Crwn Hts in a nice manne., It is not the fanciest restaurant, it is just a medium nice place, not a dive or dump like many Crwn Hts people are used to. And it is easy to make sure the hired help there dresses tzniosdikely, but don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Kan tziva Hashem es ha brucha also means making the schuna a nice place to visit b’gashmias. Now with Basil people have a decent place to meet for mivtzoim and or business in Crwn Hts. Since when is the Lubavitch way to bring people closer by chasing them away. What happened to approaching them with love? They are not the problem, the system is the problem and we must fix what is wrong with the system that is producing these results.

    On our recent visit from Australia we ate at Basil. As former residents of Crwn Hts we were delighted to finally have a decent clean place to eat out nicely. What about that is not Chassidshe?

  • 46. Eddy wrote:

    #39 has a mature and patient and logical way of looking at things.
    A cool head will go far when dealing in these important matters.
    The problem doesn’t just exist in C.H.
    It can be found in many communties around the globe.
    Need to take an analitical look and see “what has and why we have such a turn off in our community ???”
    What was it that didn’t inspire and didn’t complete ?
    What makes us question?
    Then we need to ask ourselves what we are seriously going to do about it?
    And do we care enough to make a change within ourselves to do something about it?
    Change is possible, it takes great strength, strides and patience . Isn’t this what the Rebbe asked of us when we go out to enlightened and help those who have know knowledge of Yiddishkeit???
    Why not start with our own?
    We need to inspire, instead of critisize , show patience instead of intolerence.
    FInd people who really inspire and fill us with respect for being a Yid and loving who we are and what we are .
    And as 39 said it helps to educate yourself and be strong and be involved and committed to your own family first before you go out to change the world.

  • 47. TO THE AUTHOR wrote:

    Can you explain to me how his op-ed is slanderous and your’s is not? Because actually i find the opposite is true.

  • 48. ... wrote:

    What did Mottel say? Something about how these people who are kicking out the “Modern Lubavitchers” are only worried about their own ruchniusdige safety. If you really cared about these people, you would be talking to them out of love. If you kick them out, then chas vesholom they might bring their issues with HASHKAFA (thank you #18 for that) elsewhere, and all that would happen is that chas vesholom somebody else’s kids might get hurt.
    REMEMBER: PATIENCE. We all have our nisyonos, and these are theirs. It doesn’t take one day for them to listen and do.
    Another thing to REMEMBER: Somebody great and wise once said that if a person gets angry when you criticize him, it means you hit the nail on the head. People are taught that politeness is the way to go. Even if they are upset that you got them, they have no excuse to show it and lash out at you. And if you speak to them calmly, instead of walking home hurt and closed to the suggestion, they might actually start thinking about it afterward.
    To #39, A parent’s perspective: Kol Yisroel areivim zeh lazeh.

  • 49. Chiller wrote:

    According to this letter writer, we should all just give up and forget about making this world a better place for Hashem and bringing Moshiach. There’s no hope because no one is interested and we’re all losing it, so why bother???


    Do you really think that little of yourself and the rest of us who have been educated in the Lubavitch system? I may be one of those who are “ruining the image of Lubavitch”, but I can’t forget that the Rebbe believes in us – perhaps more than we believe in ourselves. Despite the challenges, I don’t *really* want to succumb to the temptations. At the end of the day, I do believe a Chassidishe levush reminds us of who we are and makes us proud (if we are doing things that we can be proud of).I do believe that being tznius is a backbone for a healthy community and family life. And I know that TV and certain parts of the internet are destroying the fibers of our morality. Let’s be honest. I may not be keeping up with the standards right now, but I know it to be true and worthy of my aspirations.

    Yes, every single moment is a struggle, and we fail many times, but the fact that we are even marginally frum in today’s crazy world is a miracle we must keep trying to duplicate and expound upon. How can we give up now?

  • 50. jxldo wrote:

    i think that at some point we (all of us who are lubavitch and choose to be untzneius) just have to honoestly face up to our own failures.

    We don’t want to be different. we want to look ‘cool, look good’ despite a very good understanding of why we shouldn’t and many other similar reasons.

    Is it someone else fault?! Probably not bc at some point (mainly somewhere after seminary) you choose your own path and make your own decisions. Its your choice, not your educators how you dress. teenage rebellion is one thing, but adults with children blaming their teenage mechanchos for their lack of tznuis is slightly problematic and brings with it many nuances of immaturity.

    Lets admit it to ourselves many of us are just not strong enough/willing enough to not be influenced by the outside world.

  • 51. anon wrote:

    one of the reasons i moved out of crown heights is because of the judgmental attitude everyone has, and that everyone buds into everyone else’s business

  • 52. hurting wrote:

    I agree with you no.42 all the way/. Our mechanchos in our schools are called mechanchos, but they have no clue on how to guide our girls. Why would a young girl want to listen to a hypocrite morah who displays not a drop of ahavas yisroel. And these holier thatn thou woman the stop girls in the street with their snide remarks. You are making it worse. So you if you are one of those ladies and you stop the next person in the street with your non ahavas yisroel snide, mussar speech let me tell you right up, you do not good and you only make it worse. So if you read this and do you shpeil again that is a true sign that you don’t really care in your heart of hearts and love this mussar performance. Just hope noone I ever really care about runs into you

  • 53. About time wrote:

    Thank you for posting. It well writen, and it needed to be said.

  • 54. Elki wrote:

    One repetitive comment: Your op-ed is meaningless without a name. Perhaps your friend Mottel knows who you are, so speak to him privately. If you are expressing a provocative, perhaps controversial opinion, write your name. Otherwise, your essay, regardless of its quality, has no meaning to me.

  • 55. So many didn-t understand the article wrote:

    The point of the article was that since you can’t force anyone to move out (unless your willing to go to jail…) then you might as well suck it up and get used to it cause we’re here to stay and there’s nothing you can to about it :-)

  • 56. Hate to be the self righteous one..... wrote:

    But we are in the 9 days and this is the very reason the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed – SINAS CHINAM. Look at all the venom and hatred in all the comments and article. Please stop it.

  • 57. To Missing The Rebbe wrote:

    I see your point. However is it fair to remove children from our schools because of their parents choice of dress and/or behavior? I can’t imagine that it is. It is bad enough that the parent’s do not live up to chabad standards,but at LEAST give the children a choice to deciede how they turn out when they get old enough.(and it just so happens that their are children who turn out a lot better then their parents, thanks only to the education they received)

  • 58. hmmmmmmm wrote:

    ok this is actually very sad that this letter came out during the 9 days when we are consintrating or sapose to be aleast thinking about how we can get the temple to be rebuilt as a crownheights person i do see all the problems that we unfortionately have here. mothers that show up to lubavitch schools not dressed right, know better and when girls walk on the streets not tznius in the community they also know better. the problem is that unfortionately alot of the education was not filterd properly wether it be at home or at school you cant have a mother who dresses tznius all the time not talk to her daughter about why she dresses tznius al pe torah and just expects her to do it just bec ???? if the community really wants to change and fast the the schools like bais rivkah and ohlei torah must put there foot down . no more excuses you cannot have your kid in the school i dont care who you are if you cant step up to the plate . goyem do it when it comes to academic and we must do it when it comes to standerds that are al pe torah.that will change the way some wives dress when there going to shul…. and shopping and to pick up there kid from schoolthey will no longer be able to psh the envelope when running an errand..and i ahve to say thatthere are certain shuls in crown heights where the woman come out on yom tov with long sheitals and mini dresses way over the knee you know which shuls you are!!!!! hopefully these 9 days should make everyone reflect on there yidishkite men ,hanhalas of schools wives , mothers , and the community . yidden the world is watching us now is not the time to fall apart . may we not have to fast tisha b av and may these days of sadness turn into happiness with mashiach.

  • 59. dont hurt yourselves! wrote:

    untznius women are in fact highly selfish. with no regard for the Rebbe, their children, their husbands, all the men, and the rest of the community. they bring shame and embarassment to all of us. its not easy teaching our kids:you cant go to your classmates house, cuz they are not frum- and dont keep torah and mitzvos. one who lacks tznius, lacks in every area, and we cannot trust what goes on in their homes. besides the fact that they are blocking he vessel of Bracha from coming into their homes, marriages and children, Baruch Hashem, its comforting to be part of a group of women who are strong and know what’s right. IYH our kids won’t be influenced by those in the community who claim to be lubavitch.

  • 60. TO jxldo wrote:

    You are spot on. ppl run away from saying that because they feel it is a cop out when in truth blaming others is the cop out.


    keep it real and try to grow in Judaism

  • 61. The little voice wrote:

    Chabad as a whole in its “chassidishness” is decreasing CHABAD IS MODERN.
    Oh no I said it. Wait…. why don’t you eliminate me before anyone else finds out…..

    Because everyone knows and are to afraid to admit it.

    Don’t blame our situation on the fact that we don’t have a Rebbe. Because look at the way we where before the Rebbe passed on fedora (modern) Kapota (modern) out reach (modern).

    The Rebbe was modern ( not g-d forbid in a “fry “ way) but the Rebbe’s ideas about most things where modern that is to say different from the mainstream frum way of thinking up until the Rebbe showed us the right way most of these ideas have been excepted by frum Jewry as a whole.

    Sorry to be a realist/pessimist but the progressiveness of the Chabad youth will not stop or slow down it is to far gone.

  • 62. Mottel wrote:

    For all of those asking about the Op-Ed on CrownHeights Info supposedly written in response to mine: I have no plans to respond to it at this time.

    This new Op-Ed deals on tangentially with the matters discussed in my article. It needlessly attacks me in what results in little other then bombastic screed with a proclivity towards verbosity during the opening lines. The author seems to have failed to understand both my central thesis and conclusions as to how to best address the situation at hand. While my friendship with him, as of now, remains unshaken, I would recommend that he rethink the meaning of friendship – in my books it stands for something more then using the work of your fellow as a springboard for expressing your own personal agendas.

  • 63. Fear that CH will never change! wrote:

    The problem all begins with the school system, unfortunately.

    I am a mother of 3 boys KY“H and I grew up out of town, thank G_D. MY first and only experience with one of the school’s here was so bad that all my boys do not go to Yeshiva in CH anymore. There was no Morah or Rebbe that was able to promote their self-esteem or give them the positive reinforcement that they needed because they couldn’t sit still and focus like ”all the others.“ I read these op-ed articles and realized that I am so thankful that they didn’t ”fit in” because the system is not set up for kids like mine.

    All these op-eds lately about respecting the community, I mean, it’s really hard when the community offers nothing to you.
    The Lubavitcher Rebbe was a Tzadik, and noone will deny that, but times have changed.
    The other big thing to mention is the lack of English. Again I’m thankful that my kids are in a program where they are learning Hebrew AND English. C’mon people we don’t live in a little Shtetl in Russia. My kids need to support their families one day. I would love to buy them each a big house and financially set them up but I am not able to.
    Fix the inside of the community and then we can come up with a solution!

  • 64. Sick of this wrote:

    Your crazy!! That’s what you learned on shluchus? It’s NOT modest to talk to a single girl as a single bochur, but it’s ALLOWED after you get married?! You got it all wrong! Stop thinking backwards…Talk to her now, maybe you’ll inspire and marry her! Once your married, please stay away from single and married women!

  • 65. PestoEater wrote:

    I share people’s concern about the decline in tznius, but at the risk of sounding naive, I want to ask something:

    What is wrong with liking good food?

    I ate at Basil this evening–not out of desire to appear “with it,” but because I wanted something beyond standard deli or Israeli fare. Also–take note, frummies–I wanted to do something special for Rosh Chodesh, & bentsch over bread with the extra Rosh Chodesh section. And the restaurant, albeit pricey, was near 770, where I was waiting for the shiur on Chilchos Beis Habechira. While eating at Basil, I must have blinked my eyes while the hanky panky was going on. I think it’s what Basil represents that bothers everyone.

    Granted, as a ba’alas teshuvah I was exposed to a wider range of tastes, so maybe I’m desensitized. Apparently, though, “being frum” means embracing bad food, bad books (e.g. frum novels!), bad music. Or the idea that there’s something wrong with me for NOT liking any of that. This hand-wringing over a simple restaurant on the outskirts of Jewish Crown Heights is part of a reactionary movement, where some Old World types feel bewildered by the New. Maybe the real question is how much of the outside world is permissible? There must be limits, certainly, but there should be some leeway as well.

    As far as driving people out out of Crown Heights–I hate to say it, but this is legally impossible. Crown Heights is not a private, gated community. Whether or not someone wishes to remain frum, or with the Lubavitch community, is up to him or her. I think most Jews stay here because deep down, regardless of the shorter skirts or beards, there is a Yiddishe neshama wanting to stay connected.

    My only suggestion is that people or places desiring a stricter level of dress or conduct should post a sign, like many restaurants that require shirts and shoes.

  • 66. You are Full of Pretentious Baloney! wrote:

    Hey Mr. “You Know Who”! Let’s see how pratical and effective you think “Mendelson’s way” is after he stops YOUR wife/sister/mother/daughter and asks her how much she charges! But then again, after reading all the garbage in this letter, I’m sure you’d find it OK if the women in YOUR life were harrassed and degraded. Who knows? Maybe your even the one doing it……

  • 67. A REAL SOLUTION! wrote:

    For girls: Start teaching tznius in a modest way! Not by measuring girl’s skirts as they walk into BR or BM or wherever, but by teaching them VALUES that are modest. Seeing whether they are wearing tights is soooo vulgar and untznius that such behavior in and of itself is enough to turn a girl off from tznius. Teach them to love and respect each other (and teach by example, maybe impossible in our community), and teach them – by example – that you truly believe that neshomo is more important that guf. The teachers should teach them – by true example – that jewels and fancy boro park type dress isn’t important to them and yet they are down to earth happy fun people who derive true happiness and satisfaction from life and they are not tortured, miserable, sad, frustrated people who are frum only because their parents were and they don’t have the guts to change.

    Teach the boys true integrated chassidishkeit with the modern world. Teach them tachlis how to deal with sexual frustration, how to control themselves while on the net, and some the personal and practical benefits of having genuine values that transcend momentary pleasures. Allow them a safe haven to express their frustrations and questions with no pressure that the yeshiva will then use the information against them. Allow them to discuss what passions are pulling them, and help them use the value system you helped teach them, to learn to self govern their own desires.

    Have great teachers deal with real genuine issues that teenagers face as they are growing up. Don’t duck and pretend these questions don’t exist; they do. Don’t be like one who says the emperor is clothed when he is really naked.

    Once someone is a 20 something and married, it will be much more difficult – albeit not impossible – to help them change themselves. (BTW, you can never change someone else; with luck, they may be able to change themselves.) And don’t fool yourself into believing that since you have forced a teenage boy into a fedora and short hair and a girl into a BR uniform that you have changed their insides. All you have done is stuff them into some garment that doesn’t suit them and cause resentment.

    I could go on and on, but I have no more time.


  • 68. YKW wrote:


    You opened yourself up to public criticism when you posted your article, just as I have by posting my open letter. All day long, I have received both positive and negative feedback regarding my choice to criticize you. There happen to be many people that I spoke to from many different corridors in Lubavitch that found your comments unworkable in today’s society and found themselves agreeing with me in one way or another.

    I find your central thesis — that the new Crown Heights zealotry will not have a positive outcome on the people being protested — to misunderstand the goals of these individuals. Their goal is precisely not to have a positive outcome. They are not trying to better people, they are trying to rid Crown Heights of those who do not step up their behavior. I only say they are right in the sense that they are in touch with reality and seek to provide an effective solution to Lubavitch’s image problem. I categorically disagree and I am a big fan of Ahavas Yisroel. I just do not think it will get anyone hoping for a change in the face of the community anywhere.

    There also seems to be a sub-thesis — that Crown Heights has an embarassing tznius problem that has to be taken care of — that I do not disagree with except to the extent that you believe these people think that they are “whole in [their] chassidishkeit.” With only a few exceptions, most of these men and women are not so deluded to believe they are anywhere near whole in their chassidishkeit by acting this way. Many of them do not care.

    Furthermore, I find your humble conclusions for how to best address the situation at hand — that individuals work to address the tznius situation with those they are close with — to not be useful. I point out that these are people who knowingly rejected some degree of tznius and will probably not mend their ways because of a little positive reinforcement from anyone, even a loved one.

    For these reasons alone, your article was worthy of public comment. I have long heard similar points made and similar approaches taken, but have seen Lubavitch spiraling downward over the years.

    You are right that I did not stop with criticizing your thoughts. I took the opportunity to explain to this community the reality of Modern Lubavitch. Given my sympathies for both extremes in Lubavitch, I feel that I am uniquely able to comment in a way that <i>might</i> be heard by those who need to hear it. This was written in the form of an open letter because it goes beyond you. You wrote in an attempt to speak to the community at large and I am providing them with a counter argument. I am not writing to scold you; I am writing to put balance and competition into the Lubavitch marketplace of thoughts. I would welcome anyone else who has intelligent comments to chime in and I embrace relevant criticism.

    I have only one thing that I would retract from this entire article: the word slanderous. Upon reviewing your article, there may not have been anything slanderous in there.

    (Ok, there is a spelling mistake that ought to be retracted too!)

  • 69. I see The Love! ;-) wrote:

    No, we are no judging you for how can I? if I was never in your place; we love you for who you are and what you represent whether you have a short beard long beard short skirt long skirt show some skin or are dressed as if it is always winter we still love and we are not judging for we where never in your shoes.

    We do not know what you have been through or what has brought you to this place or know of the options you have had we do not judge for we do not know what you feel or how you look at this world and what you observe and take from it.

    We will only help you and encourage you to do what you feel is right.

    We know something is guiding you and there is a purpose in front of you to witch you are following.

    We know only good can come from you even though it is not clear to all.

    We know you will give and you will teach and you will help others create a better world for our children.

    We all look at the world we live in from different angles don’t be upset, bothered or angry because you do not understand your fellow people.

  • 70. Aaron Bless wrote:

    The previous Rebbe once told somebody “ehr knakt semetchkes um Shabbos un taanet er iz an Apikores”
    Let’s do the litmus-test; whose grandchildren are going to resemble our Zaydes ? from the so called frumies or from the SO CALLED ufgeklerteh and if you tell me who cares ?! so why the whole op-ed do what you want un zay gezunt. (but in reality you want to “double-dip) ukvar hoyo in the city of Lubavitch there were SO-CALLED ufgeklerteh and that’s all that”s left of them
    (that they WERE (past tents)).
    I don’t know who wrote this op-ed but I would like to wish you a happy life as happy and life is seen by our holy Torah.

  • 71. Apikores wrote:

    The Good: Well Written (as usual); some good points

    The Bad: (1) Mudslinging at the beginning may have been humorous for those in the “know,” and even thought of as called-for by some who aren’t, but it went on for too long, and detracted a lot from your credibility. (2) It was very repetitive. The same points could have been made just as well in a third of the space. (3) Your sarcasm and cynicism didn’t come across as such (see the comments for what I mean); you were clearly trying to show the absurdity of both extreme approaches, but it ended up sounding like you were emphatically endorsing the far-right one.

    But as long as you had fun…

    I’ll share other (constructive, of course) criticisms — and there will be others — with you as I think of them…

  • 72. Lokel Yokel wrote:

    Let’s call a spade a spade.
    The word “modern” is not a synonym with “irreligious.” Modern might mean wearing the colors that are in style in a particular season. It doesn’t mean a man not wearing tzitzis oa a woman not covering her hair. Those, and the manu other examples mentioned, are failings to live by the standards of Shulchan Aruch and Chasidus (regardless of whose fault those failings are).

  • 73. Both fake wrote:

    Two sides of a coin look opposite, but, after all, it is the same coin. You are both the same – fighting to prove your “unique” personalities. Both are fake: one looks like a chossid – but not a chossid; another look like a pederast – but not the one.

    Don’t waste you time building you personalities; instead, try to build your character. Don’t see the difference? Place these two chochamim in a middle of the concentration camp, G-d forbid – then observe their behavior: “Basil” and the dress code are not important any more. What would stay important is “in the place where no humans – stay human”. Or what the people going to say about you at your leviyah: “He knew how to dress comfortably?”

    Sorry for being so extreme. But you must cool off a little. Focus on purpose and meaning of YOUR life, not your neighbor. Make mission statements, not the dress code statements.

    Don’t let your jeans or kapota to define who you are; rather, spend your time fulfilling your mission. “Build you character and the look will follow” – my grandfather’s often saying.

    Without a character – you are laughing stock. It’s funny to see a bochur grown up in CH – dressing like a pederast from “Maxim” front page; it is funny to see a bochur in fedora and kapota engaged in “Yechi” rituals. So here is a chose: “funny” lives vs. lives of meaning and achievement.

    Recently, I discovered that Rebbe played crucial role in Dr. Victor Frankl work. Rebbe encourage and blessed him. Everyone must read Dr. Frankl’s book “Man’s search for meaning”. I read it while in a battle field. It change my life around. It brought me to Judaism, to CHABAD. I truly believe that Judaism is all about building strong character and Chassidus is the best way to do it. “Short, but long way” – polishing rusty personalities; “long, but short” – molding characters of steel.

    With Blessing,
    Menachem Zevin

  • 74. mmb wrote:

    I kinda like to see Kingston Ave the way it is, women and girls nice modern and up to date. Motel if you don’t like you have choices: 1) Close your eyes. 2) Look up to the sky as you walk on Kingston Av. 3) Move elsewhere.

  • 75. wow. just wow. wrote:

    Dear Crown Heightsers:
    If your comments on this website are any reflection of yourselves, I have some observations to make:

    You are all intolerant, ignorant, over-indoctrinated, narrow-minded, insufferable bible-thumping morons.

    I really, really hate this “schuneh.” But alas, I can’t afford the rent anywhere else…

  • 76. Fiddler on the roof type. wrote:

    It looks like the author is attacking Lubavitch the way it is meant to be. I would not be surprised if his real name would be Mendelson. This article is full of hate and I bet that he thinks of himself as the most compassionate. Just look at the way he is referring to real Lubavitchers that live in the way that Rebbe wanted – Zealots. And it is my suspicion, though not for sure, he probably means to call Rebbe a Zealot Ringleader. Was not he the one that indicated the standards himself?

    And why create a beast out of Lubavitch? If some of this “Basil crowd” wants to leave Chabad, why not? Yes, may be “…’tis time to part” as was once said by T. Paine in 1774.
    The separation between moderns orthodox and real Lubavitchers does not have to be unpleasant. Just don’t wed real chasidishe crowd with modern, build another yeshiva or sunday school for them, and yes it works too. I know many Litvishe people and few poilishe chasidishe people who have friends and relatives in modern orthodox communities and they are not hostile to one another. So did that ever occured to this hate monger who authored this slandeous article?

    Now, the question is is this what Lubavitch would OK? Indeed, yes. The first Zealot Ringleader of Chabad stock the word Emes into his letter Kotanty (it will come up in Chitas on 6 of av this year, hey does he do Chitas too?) If he would not “stick” this word there, the Ringleader would have 50,000 more zealots in his ring, however, He wanted real zealots, not the fake ones.

    One more problem, is this like causing same kind of machlokes as Korach? No, not if it is done in pleasant and peaceful way. And please don’t threaten us with money. Or give us hate advice to threaten or be unpleasant to those modern people – it could only be said by some one like You the hate monger zealot, since you wrote it in state of hate, there is only hate that comes out of your article and not much else.

    Finally, you think that Lubavitch would be separated for the first time? Read your history and you’ll see that After #rd Ringleader was dead, most of rich and smart ran to other chasidishe rings and only a part stayed with the fourth Maharash, that is. So? Did we die out? You know what else is apparent? I am not preaching hate here for ‘zealots’ or open minded modern people. I am just saying that it is time for us not to force anyone to leave the place, but to realize our differences and move on as we should, so modern people, stand up for yourselves and declare what you are, but don’t hate monger, yes both you and the zealots. And declare the fact – we are different but we can peacefully coexist just like in Boro Park or Flatbush, modern with chasidishe, litvishe, yeshivishe or whatever is out there – together as one nation under God indivisible.

    Good Night.

  • 77. ABUSIVE MEN! wrote:

    Any man who could be that cowardly, to pick/abuse on a women.
    Is a direct result of the man feeling small, and unfortunately feels in some sick way, more powerful when abusing women.

    and therefore he is NOT a man.

  • 78. Chana wrote:

    #72 SPOT ON!!!!

    Now, if only all people in key educational positions would read and learn from what you wrote!!

    Until then, I’ll keep saying as much Tehillim as possible!!!

  • 79. Gave me chizuk wrote:

    Dear #39:
    You really inspired me to work harder on my own children. After reading all the comments on this article, I feel that no one is really suggesting anything practical i.e.working to change themselves which is so hard today.
    Thanks again,
    You’ve given me chizuk!

  • 80. to #76 wrote:

    MMB- is that menachem mendel something?
    If so your comment is creepy; it makes me, as a woman, feel that guys are looking me up and down when I’m on Kingston. Ew.

  • 81. hurting wrote:

    No. 72. I wish you did have the time to go on. Right on. Why aren’t you my daughter’s pricipal

  • 82. sheichen hashchunah wrote:

    This debate, including comments from the peanut gallery, is similar to the discussion that follows upon the diagnosis of a tumor that has metastasized. Do we perform radical surgery? Is a course of chemo or radiation the way to go? Perhaps the patient should abandon standard medicine and venture into the wilderness of alternative treatments. Or, do they with grave resignation advise the patient to accept reality and put his worldly affairs in order before the inexorable progress of an untreatable disease?

    If one accepts the dictum that the aibershter provided the refuah before the machla then tracing the course of the disease to it’s origins might likely lead us to it’s cure. In fact the only way one will be able to recognize the cure is after we probe and search through the nature and etiology of the disease. In short we all, individually and collectively, need to conduct a cheshbon nefesh on how we behave in privately and in public.

    The disease is selfishness; each side accuses the other of it so we have a consensus, a diagnosis. The cure is relatively simple, is and was always available. The cure arises from having the mesiras nefesh to love the other person; the courage to sacrifice our petty self interests when confronting the other person – a brother. Of course people will complain that is too general and while I agree it is general it is not too general. Excepting one who is hopelessly narcissistic, then the rest of us have the capacity to identify and weigh our own selfish and negative individual motivations, inclinations, proclivities, etc, etc. and do the opposite. After all, if you are unwilling to change yourself then why expect it from others?

  • 83. Ohel Noson Inc. wrote:

    We here at Ohel Noson adhere to all the guidelines of being tznius, but what it means to be tznius has changed from what it used to be.
    The times have changed and we no longer have to cover knees and elbows. Its OK to show the collar bone.
    What is really important is good Midos and this is what we should be focusing on.

  • 84. to YKW wrote:

    If you had only written your original article like a mentsh (like you did in comment 73). To me it seemed your main point of your original article was to show off your writing skills (very poor), and your wittiness (very sad).

    Please understand the irony: If you are mistaken in calling someone “slanderous”; guess who is the real slanderer?

  • 85. Pinchus Ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:

    Mottel and YKW,
    It is my opinion that there are two or three different groups of tznius slackers/violators, and our goal (for now) for each of these groups is different.

    Group #1 – This group is the overwhelming majority of our community. They are the ones that Mottel describes as people who feel they are whole in their Yiddishkeit except for a few minor violations. This group wants to be part of Lubavitch and is slacking mainly due to the general atmosphere of Prikas Ol that has infected our community.

    Groups #2 & 3 – Although these two groups are a minority, their presence is strongly felt. Group #2 being modern orthodox and group #3 being rebellious/frey. These two groups couldn’t care less about what anybody else thinks of them and the damage they are causing. They are at best Lubavitch sympathizers.

    Both of these groups need to be treated the same way. The moisdos need to start REALLY enforcing their rules about tznius and yiras shomayim even if it means kicking someone out. those of us that are on the right track have to speak up when we witness an infraction of Halacha or its spirit and support/encourage our moisdos in these matters.

    The results will be different for each group:

    Group #1 will fall back in line very quickly – remember, these are good people with good intentions that just can’t stand up to all the negative peer pressure and atmosphere of Prikas Ol. None of this group will send their children away to other schools – they will have no choice but to follow the rules. Some tough love is exactly what the doctor ordered.

    Group #2 & 3 – the result in these two groups will vary. Some will fall in line and some will be distanced even further. As bad as the second result is we have no other choices. We need to draw the line and stop this terrible epidemic. We need to make it clear that they are not part of our community.

    The solutions I am presenting will not solve the underlying lack of Yiras Shomayim that is causing this. That has to be done in a more individual and Penimiusdike way – along the lines of what Mottel suggested. However, in the present environment Yiras Shomayim cannot flourish – we must first create an environment where people act Al Pi Torah regardless if it’s real or they are doing it just to keep their kids in school.

  • 86. Jewish Woman wrote:

    This article reeks of pompous arrogance. End of story.

    It is derisive, hateful and ugly, regardless of which side of the coin you prefer. This writer has managed to insult anybody and everybody.

    Today, everyone is a writer and a chochom and hence the narishkeit flows endlessly.

    At least Mottel seemed sincere though I disagreed with him, this write just wrote to aggravate and get attention.

  • 87. YKW wrote:

    To #82:

    Slander is, by definition, malicious. Malicious means intending to do harm. Therefore, if one says something by mistake, it is not slander.

    By the way, don’t you know that it is not becoming to make silly grammatical errors when criticizing people’s writing?

  • 88. Pinchus Ben Elozor Ben Ahron Hakohen wrote:

    Clarification to my comment

    The approach I advocate is for the community as a whole. If you are chas v’sholom a parent, sibling or close friend of somebody in group #2 your approach to him/her has to be one of acceptance and love – making them feel that they can always come home.

    Our Moisdos and the community as a whole cannot have such an approach, since by doing so it would by default be validating this behavior, which would make it impossible to raise frume/chasidishe children.

  • 89. CONCERNED wrote:

    To #81 Ohel Nosson Inc.

    Would you please tell us what “Halachik authority” has pasken’d that the laws of Tznius have changed to allow what you say is allowed ?

  • 90. MWHK wrote:

    The difference between this and the former opinion piece are telling about why so many young people are leaving the community. Whereas the original op-ed is well-written with proper syntax and prose, this one is rambling and often incoherent. Whereas the original op-ed is sobering, level-headed, and truly decent, this one is mean, spiteful, and arising from a deep source of bitter discontentment.

    You decide which approach has more appeal.

  • 91. Ahavas Chinom Please, Not Sinas Chinom?! wrote:

    Does anyone here remember that we are now in the midst of the Nine Days? That exactly what we are doing here, bashing each other, is exactly the reason that the Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed? Please — it is bad enough that we have problems with observance of tznius, kashrus, etc. in Chabad. We do not need sinas chinom also!

    Having had children off the derech, and working with young people, I know that while education must come both from the home and the school, for the most part, unfortunately, the reason a great many young people are dissatisfied with our way of life is because they were never given the proper answers — neither in our schools or in their homes. Simply setting rules and demanding observance is not what this generation needs. They need the same or similar answers that we give to baalei tshuvah. Learning Gemorah, Gemorah and more Gemorah does not tell them why they should be frum. They need an expanded curriculum, and trained teachers who teach with LOVE.

    I think we do need very special shluchim to Crown Heights. And programs for girls as well as boys. I have seen a number of our youth go to our baalei teshuvah yeshivos or help shluchim who were lovingly mekarev them, and B“H they have ”come back.“ Chasing them away is NOT the right way! Their parents are having a hard enough time as it is, often with one needing to be mekarev while the other is merachek, and trying to prevent them from affecting their siblings, chas v’sholom. Once they are out of Crown Heights, and especially feeling that those who admonish them represent Chabad, it is SO much harder to win them back!

    I used to be really upset with our tznius (I still am) but became more tolerant of the women and girls (and guys,) when someone said to me ”you don’t know what they were like yesterday — maybe they are one step higher.“

    Please, set a good example. When we can afford it, dress with tznius and style, or at least not sloppily — unfortunately too many of us think we are tzniusdik and also are not!

    Go out of your way to say something nice to someone, and to help someone. CARING ABOUT THEM will both bring them back to within the fold, and I”YH help bring about the revelation of Moshiach Tzidkeinu NOW!

  • 92. elvis wrote:

    oifen ganiff brent dem hittel!
    because “mehn hut zei ongerir’t ahn eiver”….therefore the guilty ones start screaming “live and let live” and all this other shmutz from klipaland.
    if you guys “choose” to blatantly disregard clear laws of the shulchan aruch b’noigeiah to tznius – then you should be able to handle the zealots who don’t accept your “expression” of goyishekeit and pritzus.

  • 93. Night Activities wrote:

    I got to tell you guys, all of you from the author of the original op-ed to the latest one and all you lovely commentators this is the most hilarious thing i read in years!! Boy talk about entertainment You guys made me roll till my kishkes hurt, I was very chasidisch tonight, I read all the articles and comments instead of watching a flick, I laughed harder than any other video i could have rented! OOoop….that reminds me , Can i read all this in the 9 days..its making me laugh alot!! please let me know.

  • 94. too late wrote:

    Good article (or letter). A bit long-winded, but worth plowing through. Thanks for posting.

    I wonder about an overall common thread in such posts and responses. Most are concerned with global or communal “problems.”

    Few or none write about their personal struggles or triumphs with hergesh, dress, public behavior, etc. It’s all about what someone else or many wore, said, did, made…

    People should judge no one else except themsleves, and respect everyone else and themselves.

    Oh. I just realized the last post on this thread was 7/14, so I’m going to stop my ramble. no point in writing to myself.

  • 95. Henny wrote:

    I thought we weren’t supposed to drop names- Isn’t that Loshon Hara? Oh yeah- it’s spelled bologne, but I’ll let that slide since it isn’t kosher.
    The original article is well written, this one is attrocious.
    The original article is considerate and thought-provoking, this one is angry and sloppy. Comparing comments, I think it’s safe to say the jury is out on this one- it’s the Rebbe’s way or no way, and the Rebbe’s way was sensitivity and love.

  • 96. sholom ber wrote:

    “The only option left then for those wishing to fix the image of Crown Heights is to somehow get rid of these defiant individuals, or rather, segments of the community. The only way to practically accomplish that is through serial harassment to make people’s lives so uncomfortable that they will leave on their own. It is not pleasant or mentchlich, and probably not legal, but it works”

    not written by a lubavitcher; not written by the rebbe’s chossid, and never ever will this evil become reality in crown heights.

  • 97. sholom ber wrote:

    kick them all out, you fools.
    simple tanya says that ur hoichouchu was full of it.

    these are not chassidim
    this is not chassdius.
    the writer o9f this article is not a follower of the rebbe or of chassidus or of lubavitch

  • 98. Chochom wrote:

    So to sum up; If this were happening in the times of the shevotim, say for example, and Dina was taken by Shechem, and then (the zealots – Shimon & Levi {NOT!!!!Hecht}) came along, and wanted to bring back thier sister from the goyishe house & goyishe surroundings – Dina would have said….“You are all intolerant, ignorant, over-indoctrinated, narrow-minded, insufferable bible-thumping morons”. Or ….“one of the reasons i moved out of crown heights is because of the judgmental attitude everyone has, and that everyone buds into everyone else’s business”.

  • 99. please explain wrote:

    “not written by a lubavitcher; not written by the rebbe’s chossid, and never ever will this evil become reality in crown heights.”

    Why are social sanctions for violating community standards “equal”? Without sanctions, standards are not standards, just as without police to enforce, laws are not laws.

  • 100. unbelievable wrote:

    I agree with you no. 44 “ hurting” It’s all about the ahavas yisroel. If all these tznius preachers would have an ounze of ahavas yisroel and not be such total hypocrites we would not be in this mess. Our Torah tells us “dvorim hayoitzim min halev nichnosim el halev” Their preaching is not sincere and they really Do Not care, It’s all about an image. And the same is true for the pricipals , mechanchos, and tznius police ladies that they set up in the schools. Where in halacha does it say that girls have to wear mi-calf skirts. I amm 58 years old . I grew up in Lubavitch , with the Rebbe in Crown Heights in Bais Rivka. We were taught to keep halacha, COVER YOUR KNEES. That’s halacha. Why are we forcing our children to keep Boro Park, Williamsburg traditions. When did this happen and why? All of A sudden our girls have to wear midcalf skirts, only black shoes , no jewelry. Why? We were taught the halacha , not to follow other groups and there you have it. Our generation grew up to be a tzniusdike generation cuz they werent’t forced a tradition that has no place in our world and THAT is causeing rebellion. You do not have to look like a nerd to be tzniusdik. But the schools here are not giving that message. They are so out of touch it is scary. I wish one of them reads this and wakes up before it’s really too late


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