Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The (Yeshiva) World (in the 50's and 60's) according to Schneur


Pic From Here

I'm a bit hesitant to post this, simply because it totally missed the point I was trying to make, but it's an educational piece nevertheless.)

Schneur commenting on Circus Tent: Bored? Bash Lubavitch

Treyf! Wow! you are projecting the new Bnai Towra -Yated Neeman -Maran- Degel HaTore ideology upon the Agudas HoRabbonim and American Yeshivas of the the 1945-1980 period. That is the "problem" with youth . They think the world never changed and started when they began to read and understand. thus, to the youth Chabad was always like today, the Yeshiva world was always the same, the Conservative movement never changed. Hob nit kin Faribel, but this shows a total lack of perspective on history and events.

Rav Moshe was the Rav's first cousin and the Agudas HoRabbonim, whose president he was, stood in awe of the Rav. Bnai Tore from all American Yeshivoth went to the Rav's public shiurim that includes people from MTJ, RSA, Tore VeDaas, RCB, RJJ etc. Of course there were Chilukey Deioth between the Rav and some other Roshe Yeshivas, but please remember the world did not start in 1987 with Degel and Maran. In the 1960's American Bnai Tore went to college, were clean shaven, played basketball, wore straw hats and went out on dates. And the rabbinical world was marked by people like Rabbis Teitz, Rabbi Lazer Silver, Reb Moshe, Rabbi Sheinkopf of Springfield, Rabbi Tobias Geffen of Atlanta and other Litvishe Rabbonim many of whom were Mizrachi and others were very left wing Aguda "legabe" Zionism. The same openess that led Reb Moshe to step inside 770, permitted him to be Machshiv the Rav .

Yes, in all honesty there may have been a few kanoim then in DA Mir and Beth Hatalmud and Telz, but believe me, the Gedole America like Rav Silver, Rav Henkin, Rav Moshe held very much of the Rav. Even Rabbi Dovid Cohen who made a Macho'eh in one of the Rav's Droshes (Hesped on Rav Velvele of Brisk) actually went to this Drosheh and received no support from the other audience members. In circa 1945-1980 there was no Yeshiva community in the USA. There were yechidim who considered themselves learners, and perhaps at most 150 yungeleit in Lakewood, 150 !!!! There were no Bnai Towra and no Chayolei Bais Dovid either, if you get my drift. Treyf, man dikar shmay !!!!



Part II:

Tzig, You just don't get it . There was no Bnai Tore community in the US until the late 1960's for Rav Aaron to lead. When he died there were at most 150 yungeleit in Lakewood. Perhaps half that amount in Monsey and VeSu lo. The Yeshiva Basketball league consisting of Chaim Berlin, Tore VeDa'as. MTA, Flatbush, and HILI etc. played in a league that included at least 1 team with females - yes live girls - acting as cheerleaders ! Zeire Aguda Israel sponsored "mixed" activities. Exactly what "Bnai Tore" are you speaking of, the ones who went to College at night, or is the ones who dated real live girls ? Who ever heard of shadchanim in the non Chasidic world until the 1970's. Do you mean the yeshiva boys from RJJ or MTJ spending summer in the Rockaways on the beach ?

The Olam Hatore in those days was the Agudas HoRabbonim, the hundreds of Litvishe Rabbonim, Shochetim, and talmide chachomim across the US, and Tzig, they all stood in awe of the Rav. These community was led by Rav Henkin, Rav Moshe and the Rav. Do you realize that until the early 1970s the premier gathering of Orthodox Jews and Rabbonim was the annual Mizrachi convention in Atlantic City not the Aguda convention which was attended by a few clean-shaven Gerer and Tore VeDaas chevra? Tzig, who was the guest speaker (keynote) every year at this convention? yes, the Rav. By the way reading his "Finf Droshes" would be very worthwhile for all your readers. These were all delivered at Atlantic City at the Mizrachi convention.

By the way I am certain kevodo has seen the famous picture of Reb Aaron sitting NEXT TO THE RAV at the Chinuch Atzmoi dinner. Since you are good at fishing out pictures put out the bait, and I challenge you to print this one too !!!

43 comments:

psol said...

When you tell it to the kids today, and they just don't believe you.

Hirshel Tzig said...

why should they? all the (Artscroll) books say otherwise...

Schneur: Can you tell us who the Rabbonim behind the Rav are?

Choni Hamageil said...

shneur: tell us the level of frumkeit of chabad and satmer of those years, and give us a clue of your age

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

Although I wasn’t around in the sixties, I am well aware of a lot of what Schneur says is the truth. But he is definitely exaggerating. Even then, most Litvish Rabbonim were in Agudah (albeit a more left wing one re Zionism). Even then, Rav Yosher Ber was both respected and suspected. Rav Aron did NOT arise in a vacuum as the Torah and Maad folks would have you believe. And even in the FIFTYS, the cream of the crop yeshiva guy did NOT go to college. And in the sixties, Rav Moshe was giving public drashos AGAINST college. And MOST shidduchim came around through a shaddchan, though usually a nonprofessional one. But yes, the world changed.

berl, crown heights said...

yosher ber... lol

Hirshel Tzig said...

count on Berl to find the extra R in Yosher....

LOL.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

“There was no Bnai Tore community in the US until the late 1960's for Rav Aaron to lead. When he died there were at most 150 yungeleit in Lakewood. Perhaps half that amount in Monsey and VeSu lo.”

Hmm… Apparently, Torah Vodoth, Chaim Berlin, Telsh, Ner Yisroel, Chaffets Chaim, Mir, MTJ, and Bais Hatalmid all didn’t exist. Not only were they all active, they all had larger kollelim in relation to Lakewood than they do today. Today, Lakewood is the Microsoft of the world. Then they were much more evenly matched (although Lakewood was the biggest even then).

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

yosher ber... lol

How would YOU spell it?

Hirshel Tzig said...

Twisty

Schneur did mention all those institutions of higher learning, he just said that they had different standards than today. Many today would not exactly call them "Yeshivish."

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

“why should they? all the (Artscroll) books say otherwise...”

I don’t get my history from Artscroll, but from my parents and grandparents, who were in the thick of it. Strangely enough, normally I am on the Schneur side of this, trying to give over the true history to all these naïve Artscroll educated (if educated is the right word) fools. I can do the same for Chabad also HT if you would like….

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

“Schneur did mention all those institutions of higher learning, he just said that they had different standards than today. Many today would not exactly call them "Yeshivish."

They all had Kollel Yungilite, and bochurim, who considered themselves yeshivah lite, and look at Rav Aron as the leader of the Yeshiva world. Yes they were not as Yeshivish as todays yeshivaliet. (Neither were the ones in Lakewood). In my life time I have seen dramatic shifts, but not as Schneur would have us think. And by the way, HT the same is for the entire world, including Chabad. And chassidish world. If you think all those Rebbitzens in CH were the same fifty years ago when they were in bais Yackov with my mother, you got something else coming

Yossele said...

Although I wasn't around in the 60's, I would say that by then there was definately a noticeable and up-and-coming yeshivishe community in a few major areas, although obviously - though totalling in the thousands - still far smaller than what we are witnessing today.

Don't forget - back in the 60's, you still had hundreds if not thousands of choshuve alte heim Rabbonim and Admorim walking around the USA, gelernte in the citadels of Eastern European yiddishkeit.

Though many children of European immigrants, and many immigrants themselves, were slipping of the path of Yiddishkeit, the heimish world of yeshivaleit and frum baale battim certainly existed, although far cosier, smaller and more varied than today's kehillah.

Anonymous said...

why are you so upset when ppl dig up about lubavitch.
while you feel so good doing it on others?

schneur said...

Okay fill me in on the numbers of yungeleit learning in New York in the period of 1955-1972 Kollelim. Exactly how large was Kollel Gur-Arie. When did Tora veDaas start its Kollel program ?
Did the Mir have a Kollel in the 1960's ? Beth hatalmud with all due respect that was a community of European learners.
Lets not get angry but in many of the American yeshivas it was not until the 1960's after the draft and the Vietnam war that a majority of bachurim contimued in the BM after high school and only in the mid 1960's did a majority of bachurim graduating from the high school stay frum.
I continaully meet professors in their 50's and 60's who attended these Brooklyn yeshiva high schools adn they are as frum vi der kotter.Speaking to TVD and RCB alumni in Flatbush today sort of confirms my suspicions. Of course in YU not until the early 1970's did a majority of YC grads remain shomer Shabbes.
Of course there were some serious learners (I never denied that lakewood had 150 and Monsey had some too. And you are correct there were some "alte Mirrer") How large was Telz in 1960 ?How many talmidim were in the Kollel Lehoraa in MTJ ?
Reb Aaron was respected for his Tore knowledge and leadership abilities (especially by the Lithuanian rabbonim in the US who knew him as the Kletzker rosh yeshiva)) but men like Rabbi Teitz and rabbi Silver were not afraid of challenging Reb Aron publically on matters of public policy.. Who said Reb Aron came out of no where ? he was a presidium member of the Agudas Horabbonim but the Manhig hador in America ??? That title was held by people Rabis Silver, Soloveitchik, Henkin and Reb Aron. the new Lubavitcher rebbe . Of course there was a slight shift to the Right each year and Rav Moshe's leadership and psak was geting him a higher profile.
Finally can the readers name me a example of pre War American Litvishe rabbonim who were pert of the Aguda I mean city rabbis and shul rabbis. Only rabbis Silver , Teitz and perhaps a few others lesser known (if we consider reb Yankev a shdot rav.) were in the Aguda. See the Gerer rebbes letter(published) in the 1930's why he could not visit America, because he did not wish to give kavod to the Agudas horabbonim which was domianted by Mizrachi.
Also check out the unpublished Yoman 1929-30 of the Rayaatz ZTL and what he says about the political ideology of the American rabbinate.
Even many of the Chassidic rebbes in thsoe days were card carrying Mizrachi members. Which rabbis led the Aguda in those years they include : Dr. leo Jung ( a Hildesheimer grad), Dr. Herbert S. Goldstein ( a JTS grad) , Dr. Phillip Klein and others many college educated.

on the mountain said...

after hearing a recording of the levaye of reb ahron ztza"l I was amazed that you can clearly hear that the rabanim weren"t being maspid a manhig hador they were being maspid a gaon hador. and I came to to relize that his impact on america was only recognized many years later

SDR said...

on the mountain,
Where did you hear the recording and how can I get a copy?

on the muntain said...

"uvlechtecha baderech" tape company has it, I picked it up several years ago in a beis hamedrash (I think it was in the viznitzeR beis hamedrash in monsey, but that was a while ago)

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what Schneur said though TT also scores some valid points. A few small points. I don’t think Chaim Berlin or Torah Vodaath had basketball teams, unlike MTA and Flatbush. Even in 1960 the idea of women’s participation was already understood as major. I also agree there were shiduchim . The core distinction was between dating for tachlis and stamm dating which was not considered yeshivish even then. I don’t know about everybody being in ‘awe’ about the Rav. I would tone it down a notch…they saw the Rav as one of their peers, with 2 major disagreements his more active form of Zionism and Torah U Madah ideology. An extreme analogy might be the attitude to Rabbi Saul Lieberman. They thought he was one of them; they didn’t like what he was doing and they held the place where he taught in contempt.

I would also quibble with the idea of ‘holding from.’ The rabbanim you mention Rabbis Silver,Teitz, Henkin, Feinstein, Kutler were such confident, strong personalities and in some instances such charismatic and somewhat cynical personalities they were not the type to do too much ‘holding’ of any contemporary. The same is true of Rabbi Soleveitchik. I have seen many photos of Rabbi Feinstein sitting cordially with the Bluzhiver Rebbe. I doubt if he thought of him other than as a ehrliche yid and good man. Socializing, being cordial and holding from are two very different categories.

Just an opinion.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

OK Schneur, here goes;
My father was in Gur Arye Kolle in 64-67, and in MTJ thereafter. There were around 25 yungelite in each.
Bais Hatalmud in the sixties probably had a majority of American yungelite in the sixties, among them my Father in law, who is a FOURTH generation American. Around thirty ‘yungelite’, AND a number of older European members, many of which had positions in the Yeshiva or other yeshiva. The MIR did have a Kollel, but I know nobody with first hand knowledge of how many etc. But the number 200 is extremely low. Assuming all the yeshivas mentioned had kollelim of similar size, that would mean there were around 400 kollel guys in the 60’s at any one time. Rav Arons funeral was attended by around 3,000 people, as per my fathers recollections, at least 60% were American. Probably a good idea of how many ‘yeshivlite’ there were in America then, although I agree that many would not be considered ‘spitz yeshivish’ today.
Yes, a great many of the talmidim of the 40’s and 50’s (and to a lesser extent the 60’s) did not remain frum. In fact, a talmid of Rav Shlomo Hieman told me that HALF the talmidim of Rav Shlomo in his shiur are not frum!!!! But I don’t see the relevance, of course there were many none yeshiveliet then. BTW, many of these boys came to yeshiva from public school, not exactly the most committed background.
Other than Rav Silver, there was NO rabbi in Aguda who thought himself the equal of Rav Aron, INCLUDING Rav Moshe. And by Rav Arons levaya, it was understood that the Godal hador had passed away.
Yes, the Vietnam war boosted yeshiva attendance.
Truthfully Schneur. We are not really arguing, it is just a question of degree.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"Finally can the readers name me a example of pre War American Litvishe rabbonim who were pert of the Aguda"

I have TWO grandfathers who were Young Isreal Rabbis prewar that were Aguda members. Both were American born, who went to study in Europe.

chchick said...

What comes around goes around. Love that picture of those boychicklach. It looks like they are wearing Converses.

Hirshel Tzig said...

I guess it takes a woman to notice that. I saw that too, and was tickled silly by it. Can you imagine a kid today wearing a hat like that with what looks like jeans and is converse sneakers?

Those 2 are twins, I wonder if one our Williamsburg readers can fill us on who they are.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Twisty

you're dropping too many hints....

Gordon said...

Twisty
Just wanted to explain to you(nicely)what Berl,CH was mocking you about:R'Soloveichiks given name was Yoisef Dov, in Litvishe circles Yoisef was nicknamed Yosheh, without an R.Dov=Ber in yiddish, hence Yoisef Doiv=Yoshe Ber.

Yiddish has someone strange equivalents for names, for example Yekusiel Yehuda=Zalman Leib as in R'Zalman Leib Teitelbaum of the 'Zalies' fame.Actually I don't know how Yekusiel=zalman, but Yehuda was often nicknamed as Leibel.
Zvi=Hershel
Ze'ev=Volf, etc..

gordon said...

Also,Twisty,
Your version of the yeshiva history is more accurate than Schneours, probably because your dad attended a kolel at the time while Schneour, though quite knowledgable was in a different enviroment.
Btw, the pic you have looks like it's taken out of Chaim Potoks movie, The Chosen, which always looked fake to me, but with this pic, maybe not.
If I had to guess I would say the pic is from the Tzeilemer Chaider in Willy.It was the first Chasidic leaning chaider in America, was opened up around 1940,when you had some frum Oberlander and others, they had very good secular studies and the kids were from Hungarian style backrounds.Satmar kids never looked like this

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

Just to make this clear, I don’t disagree with Schneur, I just think he over states his case. RE dating. In the 50’s and 60’s, MOST yeshivaliet meet their spouses throw an intermediary, usually a friend, relative, rov or rosh yeshiva etc. But since there was less gender separation than now, it was common, although not anything NEAR a majority for a couple to meet each other and get married.

“Twisty

you're dropping too many hints....”

You are right, I should be more careful. But just for you HT, a close relative of mine [see I am being mare careful already] was the FIRST talmid in Lubavitch. In fact, the yeshiva was opened for him!!! The previous Rebbe told his father that he couldn’t open a yeshiva without Limude Chol, as no one (including I presume his own Chassidim) would send. To which his father said “I’ll send my son”. And did. (No, my relative is NOT Chabad, if fact, while chassidish, he views Chabad as a bunch of crazies. You got to clean out the junk in your basement!!!!)

Anonymous said...

zalman is solomon or shlomo in yiddish.

Twistelton-Twistelton said...

"Yekusiel Yehuda=Zalman Leib as in R'Zalman Leib Teitelbaum of the 'Zalies' fame."

When he came to Lakewood, the signs said "Yekusiel Yehuda", and nobody knew who that was. They had to go all around Lakewood and put on stickers saying Zalmen Leib.

Just how do you spell Yosher in Yiddish?

Hirshel Tzig said...

I think the point is that Yoshe really has no R at the end. It's sort of like a Brooklyn guy saying idear, or Cubar, The R is superfluous.

snag said...

" the Tzeilemer Chaider in Willy.It was the first Chasidic leaning chaider in America, was opened up around 1940"

What about Yeshive R. Shlayme Kluger ???

Hirshel Tzig said...

I'm not YRSK was Chassidish, AAMOF I'm sure it wasn't. It was more like RJJ. Only later did YCS merge and incorporate the YRSK name into its own. But I disagree with Gordon that these are Davka kids from Tzeylemer Cheder.

Hirshel Tzig said...

=not sure.

snag said...

AAMOF ?

"It was more like RJJ." So why did they need their own maysed ?

I think it was made by Galitzianer, hence the name after R. Shlaymeh, and since most Galitzianers were Chassidish, so it was Chassidish or so leaning.

Why do you think it later became part of YCS ? Presumably there was a tzad hashoveh, something in common, for there to be such a shidduch.

Schneur - vos zogt ihr?

Hirshel Tzig said...

AAMOF= as a matter of fact

It merged probably because YCS got their building al tnai. It was known as Solomon Kluger, not Shlayme.

snag said...

"It was known as Solomon Kluger, not Shlayme."

You mean like the Bobover Rebbe R. Shlaymeh used to have that English version of his name printed on his stationery ? Iz vos ? How did the hamayn am call it??

Hirshel Tzig said...

no, as in Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, it was never known as the Reb Yankev Yaysef School.

snag said...

"no, as in Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, it was never known as the Reb Yankev Yaysef School"

???

Farkert, it was known as R. Yankev Yayseif.

Anyone want to chime in here and back me up ?

Just because when the President writes in a modern paper he writes 'Rabbi Jacob Joseph School', it doesn't mean that that's what the hamayn am calls it.

Anonymous said...

The students said they went to RJJ. The rebeeim used R. Yaankov Yosef. They were Litvisher so whichever way you spell their phonolgy.

I don't remember any Solomon Kluger. I remember Sholoima Kluger, which btw was a wonderful place. The guys who might remeber are those who show up for the Steinwurzel yahrzeit shiyur in Brooklyn, if it still exists.

Hirshel Tzig said...

who gives the YZ shiur, his son?

In any case, the Rabbeyim calling it Yankef Yasef is like The Rabbeyim at YU calling Yitzchok Elchonon, it means very little.

Anonymous said...

The boys in the picture are actually from the Satmar Chaider in Williamsburg. The twins are the Dym brothers, a"h, originally from Willy. Some of these boys were my friends.

Hirshel Tzig said...

Dym? and they both passed away already?!

In Spinka we had a principal named Reb Meir HaKohen Dym z"l, was he their father?

snag said...

Limayseh, anonymous supported me that it was R. Shlaymeh (adjusted for Galitzianer or other pronunciation), not Solomon Kluger. The talmidim weren't going around saying 'I go to Sol Kluger', Rachmono litzlon. R. Slaymeh Kluger is geven a grayser gaon.

Re RJJ - some said R. Yankev Yaysef and others used the roshei teivos RJJ. I have heard both. And I am not talking about the Rabbeim.

Mottel said...

Listening to R' Aharon Rekeffet's shiurim online tonight, he said very clearly that R' Chaim Soloveichik's statements about his father are his own misplaced emotions on the situation . . .