Thursday, July 12, 2007

Charedi Hooligans

Toby Katz on Cross Currents, Charedi Hooligans, writes

Even in the most insular chassidishe communities, little boys didn’t used to throw stones at cars for entertainment. I don’t know when we started having this plague of young hooligans somehow sprouting up from our most charedi communities.

and wants to know why this is happening.

I believe one of the main reasons is that there are no permissible outlets for Chareidi male teenagers and young adults. They aren’t allowed to play ball, read books, etc. only Torah. They can never let loose at all. Teenagers have a lot of energy and need an outlet. Protests, throwing rocks are something that is seen as fun, lets them burn off energy and run wild with the participant feeling that he is doing a mitzva and being a kannoi (zealot) for Hashem.

When you combine this with the us vs. them attitude of the Charedi community, the complete delegitimization of everything non-Charedi, and the feeling that everyone is trying to get them the phenomenon is understandable.

I went to the Morasha Kollel for a number of summers both High School and College. The schedule (College) was as follows:

7:30 - Shacharis
8:15 - 9:00 - Breakfast
9:00 - 12:30 - preparation for shiur
12:30 - 1:30 - Shiur
1:30 - 1:45 - Mincha
1:45 - 2:15 - Lunch
2:15 - 5:00 - free time, most people played ball (basketball, softball, tennis, swimming), some days R' Willig would play with us
5:00 - 6:30 - Bekius seder
6:30 - 7:30 - Dinner
7:30 - 8:30 - Chavrusa with a HS guy
8:30 - 10:00 - Night Seder
10:00 - 10:15 - Maariv
after night seder you were officially free, most people kept learning, I personally had a seder until 12:30.

I was learning over 10 hours a day in the summer. For me and many others, what made it work was the 3 hours in the afternoon that we could play ball. That free ball playing time gave us the ability to sit and learn the rest of the day. Not everyone needs it. There were a few guys who learned during the break as well. But for most of the guys, the free time and the ball playing contributed to their learning by giving them an outlet for their energy etc. and gave them the peace of the mind to sit and learn the rest of the time. This is something that is sorely missed in the Israeli Charedi world.

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