18 June 2006

Derech Reunion Shabbaton 2006

This past שבת, I went to Kew Garden Hills for a reunion of where I went to spend my first stint of learning in Israel (see my education page for more) - Derech. Aside from sleeping, the whole shabbaton was held at Yesvhiva Chofetz Chaim. It was the third annual reunion of Derech, the first having been in Far Rockaway two years ago, which I attended, and the second being also in Kew Garden Hills, which I missed as I went back to Columbus for a bat mizvah.
Let me say at the outset that it was a fine time. One thing that struck me the first time was that the group is somewhat self-selecting in that it's largely yeshivish, whether people are learning in yeshivos now or are in YU, and it was also true this time, as well (though I heard that last year's group was a bit more diverse). In any event, it was interesting to respond to people about which yeshiva I attend and pretty much nobody had heard of it, which was kind of interesting.
Of course, the best thing about reunions is seeing people one knew from years back and I did, indeed, enjoy that. Also, Rabbi Nachy Brickman, who runs the program (okay, so he's probably the only one there who knew anything about my yeshiva) was enjoyable the whole time. Among the things that went on was (just like at the first reunion (don't get me wrong, it's a good idea)) there were different breakout sessions Shabbas afternoon - one for married men, one for dating guys, one for single guys who aren't dating, and one for the wives. Rabbi Brickman ran the one for dating guys and had some pretty good tips to give, including that when guys get engaged, other guys often seek the newly-engaged guy on tips - but, what Rabbi Brickman said, was that one should really be asking people who've been married for years about these things, not recently-engaged guys. There were other good things, but I'll leave it at that for now.
An interesting thing that Rabbi Brickman said towards the end of shabbas was that us people learning in yeshivos, or even who have learned in yeshivos, are somewhat at the top as far as being learned Jews. I don't think he meant it any sort of we're-better-than-you-are sort of way, but rather a recognizing of oneself, such as, for example, how one conducts oneself. He also mentioned about שנאת חינם (commonly translated as 'baseless hatred') and that Jews, especially frum Jews, shouldn't needlessly look down upon one another, as we are all Jews, and lead an observant lifestyle, etc. As we was speaking this point, I was thinking about being a Modern Orthodox Jew among this crowd and hoping that a lot of the yeshivishe guys would get this message about not looking down upon their fellow observant brethren.
Lastly, it occurred to me that, as I was there for only four months (a half-year) rather than being there for the full one or more, my experience was rather different than a lot of others', in addition to my having been in college for a year already, rather than having come straight out of high school. So, my connection with the program and the guys might not have been as strong as most of the other guys'. I reflected somewhat on this during the shabbas, and may eventually write up about my experience.
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thanbo said...

>it was interesting to respond to people about which yeshiva I attend and pretty much nobody had heard of it, which was kind of interesting.

Well, if they're yeshivish guys mostly, why would they be familiar with YCT? It hasn't been in existence that long, and if RIETS is kinda off the radar except as "that place where the moderns go", YCT would be even further off the map, somwhere where "here bee dragones".

By the way, thanks for the recordings from the Scranton conference. As a relative of Joseph H. Cohen (founder of the Jewish Center, who a) forced Kaplan out, b) was the driving force on the RIETS Board of Seven in refusing to merge with JTS in 1929 as long as Kaplan was involved with JTS), I found Sarna's talk interesting, and a rather different take than anything I had heard.

Drew Kaplan said...

I knew that most of them wouldn't be familiar with it, but I was rather surprised that none of them were familiar with it.
As far as the recordings go, sure thing.

torahandmitzvot said...

Sounds like you had an interesting shabbos. In my experience if there is no particular reason why a yeshivish person would know of YCT like having a friend there then they most likely will not know of it. However, most will have heard of R' Weiss.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that when addressed about sinas chinam your first thought is about how the other guy might view you rather than introspecting about how you view/treat others.

Anonymous said...

Trust that more of the yeshive world is aware of YCT than previously - it's been the subject of some scathing letters in the Yated the past several weeks.

Drew Kaplan said...

Although it may be interesting, as you typed, but I think I seem to treat those to the right of me acceptingly, but I think I even do that even with those to the left, as well. I think it's because the more yeshivishe often aren't very accepting is why my mind went to them rather than so much about the reverse.

Anonymous said...

Precisely what I said - "the other huy is the problem, not me...".

Drew Kaplan said...

It's not "the other guy" that's the problem, per se. The more liberal segments of Judaism are usually pretty tolerant, it's usually the UO and yeshivishe elements of Orthodoxy that are usually not as accepting or welcoming.

Anonymous said...

From your perspective, that's "the other guy", Drew.

My, isn't "Open Orthodoxy" refreshing.