Sunday, September 07, 2008

Can we talk seriously about poverty? A response

The following letter was printed in this past week's Mishpacha magazine in response to Jonathan Rosenblum's article about Charedi poverty. Here are some excerpts:

Jonathan Rosenblum is so close to solving the problem of poverty in the frum community. He mentioned 3 common solutions to this crisis: greater government support from taxpayers: who WORK, increased contributions from abroad (meaning us rich Americans who are up to our own eyeballs in debt and sinking fast but who WORK) and a simpler lifestyle. Are you getting a hint of the answer? If you need more money and Hashem is not handing it to you perhaps you need to go out and WORK.

Not working but expecting money to come in is like not cooking and expecting dinner to be ready that evening.
Instead of making bochurim who choose to work feel like failures, we need to promote a balance of working and learning
My husband Akiva had a friend Reb Ephraim on the Monsey bus to Manhattan. One day, Reb Ephraim did not appear on the bus. Six weeks later, Reb Ephraim returned appearing pale and gaunt. Akiva asked how he was and what happened. Reb Ephraim said that he had had a heart attack but b"h recovered and was returning to work. Something about the answer didn't seem right so Akiva asked, "You are certainly past retirement age and you are obviously not completely recovered. Why don't you retire and go home to guard your health?" Reb Ephraim replied , "I would love to but I am supporting my married children and must continue to work."

Some months later Akiva returned from work head hanging low. Reb Ephraim was niftar from a second heart attack. Akiva with tears shining in his eyes said: " I want to go the shiva house and tell the children they are murderers for doing this to their father. This is kibud av v'eim?"

It will be interesting to see if anyone in Mishpacha (or letters) responds to this letter.


Rafi G. said...

wow. what a letter! I am surprised they printed it, though they have taken the issue of buying apartments for kids and have been trying to deal with it...

bluke said...

Me too. Just remember, this is Mishpacha in English, I doubt that they would pubish a letter like this in Hebrew.

Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

People are selling Rav Rosenblum short. He's well aware of the "work" solution. If that's so, why didn't he suggest it?
Because he can't. Think about it:
For 50 years the Chareidim have been telling themselves that their "gedolim" have this special hotline to God called Daas Torah. They know exactly what He wants and He wants them to all sit and learn on someone else's dime.
So how can Rav Rosenblum suggest working as a solution to Chareidi poverty? That would mean his gedolim are wrong in their ongoing insistence that work is treif and learning is all a real Jew can do. And as a card carrying Chareidi, he's forbidden from even contemplating that.
That's why it wasn't in the article.

Orthonomics said...

I put this post up on my blog. Just letting you know.

Such a sad state.

bluke said...

Thanks. Last week Mishpacha published a response to that letter which was inarticulate but tried to say that we can't blame the children.