Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tuition Rates are just Off the Charters


It’s always quite gratifying to see somebody who agrees with me. It happens so rarely!

Of course, it is more likely to happen through somebody who hasn’t read my blog and doesn’t know that he is agreeing with me.

In this case, I am referring to an issue that is not exclusive to the chareidi camp and, as such, my newfound ally is not a member of the chareidi camp. Yet, he is addressing a crisis that affects all shades of religious Jews and so we are all in the same boat.

The issue at hand is the prohibitive cost of day school and high school tuitions in the United States. I wrote about it back in January, 2016  (click HERE) from the comfort of Eretz Yisroel where we are not overwhelmed by this plague. I made two suggestions:

1.   Get out of the US and move here (works for me)

2.   Drop the secular education from the Jewish school system and replace it with state funded and accredited online education (distance learning).

Well, I am gratified to see a fellow oleh to Eretz Yisroel get on to a blog site (click HERE) and preach what amounts to almost the exact same two suggestions. His name is Reuven Spolter formerly from Oak Park, Michigan. This is what he suggests:  

1.   Get out of the US and move here (works for him)

2.   Drop the secular education from the Jewish school system and replace it with state funded and accredited charter schools.

A number of commenters have challenged his charter school idea as being discriminatory. There are numerous other issues:

·       Such schools, as a physical facility, will need to be located somewhere other than the religious school and will thus force students and parents to have to deal with two school locations on a standard school day.

·       The states are not likely to set up a parallel secular school for each religious school, but rather large regional ones to deal with a big population. As such, the charter school serving Lakewood and Deal, for example, may wind up in Freehold.  

·       The hours will need to be unconventional.

·       It is questionable if religious needs for being gender segregated or other thing will be upheld by the government.

All of these concerns do not apply to my online distance learning plan. The only problem with my plan is that it is currently not operational in many of the most vital states. I wrote that I think this problem can be fixed.

As I wrote, it is very gratifying to see somebody from a different sector take up this issue and propose a similar course of action. This is for two reasons:

·       If you would like to consider my proposal a harebrained idea put out by a radical free-thinking farfrumta chareidi from the dark ages, I can now point to somebody who isn’t a radical free-thinking farfrumta chareidi from the dark ages who seems to be just as harebrained.

·       If somebody who isn’t a radical free-thinking farfrumta chareidi from the dark ages makes such a proposal, maybe somebody will actually listen.

Rabbi Spolter and I do have one thing in common. We are both living in Eretz Yisroel, out of the loop. Far away from all of the American askanim who really count, and who must know better. Who is wiser? Is the sun getting the best of us or is the pollution (and GMOs) getting the best of the Americans?

Of course, I (and Rabbi Spolter), am still advocating the preferred course of action: make Aliya.

You know why?

Not only because health and education is so much more affordable, but also because:
אווירא דארעא מחכים!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mesira XVI: Putting the Peh before the Ayin – Building a Case


Like many fine Jews, I spent a significant portion of Tisha B’Av listening to inspiring speakers tell us how rotten we really are. Boruch Hashem, I skipped breakfast that morning or I might have gotten an upset stomach.

The speakers at the Har Nof Tisha B’Av event were all outstanding but, for me, the most inspiring of the bunch was Rabbi Imanuel Bernstein. Among the ideas he expressed was an explanation to a well-known anomaly that occurs in the Alef-Bet sequence of Megillas Eicha which is noted in the gemara in Sanhedrin 104b.

In every perek of Eicha except the first, instead of maintaining the true order of the letter ayi”n followed by the letter pe”h, the order is reversed wherein the letter pe”h comes first and is then followed by the letter ayi”n. The explanation given in the gemara is that this is a reference to the meraglim who told with their mouths – peh – things that they didn’t see with their eyes – ayin.

The gemara does not elaborate further, and so, Rabbi Bernstein asks: In what way did they say things that they did not see? Everything in their report was based on an actual sighting.

He answered by saying that when the meraglim referred to the land as ארץ אוכלת יושביה - a land that devours her inhabitants – they were purposely distorting the truth. Rashi says that they made these remarks because wherever they went, there was always a very major funeral taking place. Rashi said that HKBH orchestrated this unnatural occurrence so that the citizens would be too preoccupied to notice the spies. But, says Rabbi Bernstein, they chose not to see it this way and to “see” it as the natural characteristic of the land. This is despite the fact that other criteria prove out that this cannot be the normal tendency, they still used it to substantiate their claim.

What was going on?

Well, the frightening report that they delivered, for whatever their motives, was precisely the report that they had previously determined that they wanted to deliver. They only needed to amass the true facts that will support their assertion. Thus, they devised the report first. Only afterward did they look to see what is useful to corroborate it. They told over with their mouths – peh – what they did not see with an objective eye. Only with what they wanted to see with their subjective eye. First came the “report”, and then came the looking.

In our parlance, this is known as: building a case.

As such, many people have a tendency to first decide what is happening and only then to evaluate the evidence. Anything that does not support their preordained conclusion is disregarded despite its integrity. Things that can be used to support their foregone conclusion are magnified and enhanced and overvalued way beyond their scope. And oft-times, they are even fabricated.

This is building a case.

Thus, Darwinists promote unprovable and unsustainable theories and accept as gospel truth the flimsiest of evidence as well as a few hoaxes (google: Piltdown Man), all the while shrugging off more substantial evidence to the contrary, in an effort to substantiate their theory of evolution.

And, of course, case-building is the hallmark of criminal prosecution. In a society where an accused miscreant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution needs to “build a case’ against the accused in order to win a conviction. In some cases, there is no question in anybody’s mind as to the guilt of the accused such as where there is a voluntary confession, several objective eye-witnesses or irrefutable forensic evidence. In such a situation, the prosecutor can win his case without resorting to subversive means.

Unfortunately, he does not always have this luxury. Moreover, all too often there are no valid grounds to assume the accused is guilty at all. And in fact, he or she isn’t. But this never stops a dedicated prosecutor. His job is to convict the accused regardless of whether they are truly guilty. It is his record and reputation (and perhaps his job) on the line. And so, they are driven to convict the accused, guilty or not.

They have already determined that the accused is a danger to society. They merely need to convince those in power to pass judgment. Problem is, it is very difficult to find compelling evidence or elicit a confession from an innocent person. Undaunted, they pull out a whole bag of dirty tricks including coerced or false confessions, tampered evidence and lie detector tests, scare tactics and plea bargains, buying witnesses with reduced sentences for their crimes, unsubstantiable and third party testimony (i.e., he confessed to me privately in jail), withholding exculpatory evidence, character assassination, and the like. It doesn’t matter what the truth is. The main thing is to nail the ba****d.

And with these tools they build a case. And we become a society fraught with wrongful convictions. And, when things like this happen, we can never be certain that a convicted felon is really guilty and a danger to society. Can we?

And so, the spies put their mouth before their eyes. This means that before looking objectively, they already passed judgment with their mouths that the land is dangerous – ארץ אוכלת יושביה. They only needed to look now to seek out the supporting evidence. They needed to build their case.

Rabbi Bernstein intimated in his speech that this is the foundation of sinas chinam.  A person is infected with sinas chinam when they bend over backwards to build a case against the other person. Even when an objective look at the situation indicates otherwise.

People have a tendency to pre-judge situations and to pre-judge other people. This is sinas chinam – prejudice. When their judgments are challenged by other voices or contrary evidence, many prefer to question the evidence rather than the judgment. And to “silence” the other voices. They must build a case.

This tendency is rooted in arrogance and narcissism and a feeling of superiority. “Only I or those who think like me are in position to judge!” And, in many cases, it is fed by paranoia.

This is what I wrote about in my post about Midas HaDin. Among a short list of Human traits I wrote the following:

  • The human being firmly believes that good should be rewarded and evil should be punished and, as such, has a craving to administer justice and to exact revenge.

  • The normal human being (not a psychopath) cannot conscience unjustified violence. As such he must have some battle-cry or pretense which he will swear by to justify his actions.

Combined, these say to us that a Human being is driven to pass judgment. Yet, when a Human being passes judgment on somebody else, it must be couched in virtue, altruism, and righteousness. He must justify his authority to pass judgment on another. He must have a case. But, as Major Tetley teaches us in The Ox Bow Incident, the judgment does not need to be altered to fit the case. If anything, we must tailor the case to fit the judgment.

This is using the peh (mouth) to “pronounce” the sentence before using the eye (ayin) to check the facts. This is prejudice. This is sinas chinam.

The follies of the meraglim were performed by…the meraglim. These were not simple people. The Baal HaTurim says they were officers and judges at the Sarei Chamishim level. The most esteemed 2% of the population. Regardless, they were on par with Yehoshua and Kalev. They were learned and wise. Rashi tells us they were very chashuva people. And yet they fell prey to the Human failings of narcissism and paranoia that cause people to pre-judge and “speak” before they look.

So this tendency of case-building can affect anybody. Even very chashuva people.

Very recently, I put out a series of posts concerning an accused sexual offender (she has been called a “child molester” even though she hasn’t even been accused of molesting any children). My main purpose was to enlighten my readers that, as I understand the Halacha, once any Jew reaches Eretz Yisroel, no matter how evil they are, they cannot be sent out. Whatever evil is in effect must be dealt with here. 

As an additional element, I “built a case” to suggest that this person may not be as evil or dangerous as the Internet makes her look. Thus, unless we learn otherwise, there is no justification for mesira to non-Jewish authorities even here and certainly to the outside of Eretz Yisroel.

Since then, there has been a lot of publicity about another alleged offender. One who is much more “closer to home”. The circumstances in both cases are remarkably similar. In both cases the accusations were made after a substantial time lapse from the period of the alleged offenses. In both cases the alleged victims are touted as "children" but were at or beyond puberty, which does not indicate pedophilia. In both cases the accused denied all allegations. There are no confessions. In both cases there is absolutely no physical evidence or objective witnesses to support the allegations. There are only the claims of the accusers – nothing more. In both cases the alleged offenders relocated to Eretz Yisroel and in both cases there have been no complaints of repeat offenses as of the relocating.

In the initial case, there were no trials or dinei Torah by which one could say that the offender’s guilt was ever properly (or improperly) judged. In the second case, the offender was convicted in a bench trial (single judge) based solely on the testimony of two out the four accusers (the other two were quashed by the prosecution for being unreliable). From the superficial checking that I was able to do, it seems the defense claimed that the accusations were fabricated although it couldn’t prove they were fabricated (since this is next to impossible). The prosecution claimed that the accusations were not fabricated even though they could not prove that the accusations were not fabricated (although it should be possible as well as imperative in order to obtain a conviction). The solitary judge decided to convict the accused.

This is how judgement is passed in the U.S. of A. (and elsewhere).

The bottom line is that it has not been established through credible means that we are dealing with dangerous people. This does not mean that we should be complacent and disregard common sense safeguards in the presence of these people. It likewise does not mean they should be allowed to continue to teach or tutor or replicate the type of circumstances that provide fertile ground for unsavory activities and foment allegations.

But it does mean that there is no justification for punitive measures that supersede basic protective measures, such as malshinus, harassment, slander, mesira to goyim, “running out of town”, and certainly, extradition to chu”l for the sole purpose of mesira (based on unproven misdemeanors).

Now, I fully expected my position to be misunderstood, misconstrued, and basically opposed and challenged by liberal minded people, “consumers” who are unfamiliar with Torah oriented thinking. The erev rav אשר אינם יודעים בין ימינם ושמאלם. Those who do not know how to evaluate facts and will pass judgment first and look later at all the “evidence” that supports their conviction (and disregard anything else).

What is totally astounding as well as appalling is the number of “chashuva” people, Sarei Chamishim (and even higher), judges with beards and black velvet yarmulkas who cannot hold back from being motzi dibah. Who pronounce with their mouths (or blog and Facebook posts), what they refuse to look at with their eyes. Who bend over backwards to build a case that the land – or the alleged unproven offender – is unequivocally dangerous.

For those who delve into the sewer of the blogosphere, you may notice that I have not restricted my diatribe to my own blogsite – although it is the only place where I can express myself properly. I have ventured to bring a bit of sanity and open-mindedness to some other blogsites that specialize in this schmutz (in the Comments section). This is because, since their material is much more aggressive and coarse (i.e., spicy), they have a much bigger readership - so I can spread a bit of gospel.

In the “whitewash” section of my main Malka Leifer post decrying extradition, I challenged the claim asserted by Yerachmiel Lopin of Frum Follies that the Adass school was aware of her (alleged) activities earlier than reported. I decided to access the said FrumFollies post and assert my challenge on site as well. We carried on a respectful give-and-take the last week of June. As you would expect, neither party convinced the other. This carried on until early July when he challenged me:

BTW, will you revise your claim that there is no public safety purpose in prosecuting her because according to you she only molested Australian girls because she missed …her husband who was in Israel. According to this story (click HERE) she is abusing her own children in Israel?


Let’s overlook the fact that he is misrepresenting my “claim”. I wrote many times that if you have grounds to prosecute, go ahead. Just don’t send her back to Australia. What he is now doing is presenting a lone news article, which was obviously researched and written by an antagonistic person for the purpose of maligning the accused, as proof that she is currently a danger. He needs to justify his call for extradition to Australia.

I responded (slightly abridged):

Personally, I never take anything I read at face value. I also make an effort to read between the lines. This particular article that you linked to is clearly on a vilification rampage. Of course it quoted people who vilify her – as well as Manny Waks. If it interviewed people who say she’s an angel would it quote them as well?


I never made a judgement whether she is a good person or not. My mission is to stand up for Kavod HaTorah and kedushas Eretz Yisroel. The Halachos of mesira forbid it (mesira) no matter how evil the person is unless they are a menace to the society that wants to be moser them. There is a special Halacha of not extraditing people out of E”Y, even criminals.


Despite the above, it looks clearly to me that you and The Age and many people are bending over backwards to make a case to justify a mob lynching.

I will not be a party to it.

There, I said it straight out. He is building a case. The amazing thing is that he didn’t give up. It must be that he knows for a fact that she is definitely as evil as described. I don’t know how, but he certainly does. So he writes:

As always, you find every possible reason to believe she is not a risk to others, and every halachic angle to argue against prosecuting her, in spite of the terrible toll of her molesting. Will you now correct your claim…? 

Get this? This person calls himself a frum Jew, yet he criticizes me for finding “every Halachic angle to argue against prosecuting…”. Note that he does not invalidate or dispute the Halachic angles. They may be perfectly valid but I am at fault for finding them!! (They weren’t very hard to find, by the way.)

Well, not exactly. All the Halachic angles must be invalid due to the “terrible toll of her molesting.” You see, the terrible toll is proven and indisputable so it trumps all halachic angles – even those that apply regardless of whatever terrible toll took place.

This is somebody putting his peh before his ayin. And I am not sure it can be called an “ayin tova”, either. He knows she is currently dangerous. She has to be dangerous because her being dangerous fits his agenda. He just needs to find the evidence.

Incidentally, I asked him, in my response, to quote precisely what words of mine need to be revised, instead of crudely [mis]paraphrasing me. I did not receive a response to this.

The next case-building meragel, the Sar Meah and (self-proclaimed) advocate of the down-trodden is the Fied Feifer of Rockland, the Great Avenger, Harav Yaakov Horowitz. His gripe involves the second offender in this discussion. The one who lives close to me.

Now, I have already written that this case is far from iron-clad despite the apparent conviction. Only somebody who is intimately familiar with all the details can make an informed judgement.

Irrespective, Rav Yaakov has decided on his own that there are no flaws in this case. Hence, it is the biggest mitzvah to slander and harass this person regardless if such actions will do nothing to protect any “children”. Also he believes b’emunah shleima that he ought to be extradited from E”Y to chu”l to be mosered to the goyim to face charges for a phantom misdemeanor which, according to the American defense lawyer, is not on the books. (Doesn’t really matter if it is.) This great mitzvah outweighs all halachos of motzi-shem-ra, malshinus, ona’ah, mesira, Gonev Ish u’Mecharo, Lo Tasgir and a host of others. 

According to Rav Horowitz the denials of guilt and lack of any substantial evidence is immaterial (pun intended). So are the letters of countless supporters at post trial. Rav Horowitz has a lynch mob agenda just like Major Tetley and so he tells all his thousands of Facebook friends on Aug. 3:

[The offender] is a very, very perverted and dangerous person, perhaps the most dangerous I've ever met.

From all of the fully confirmed unmarried molesters that really did molest real children (little ones) and not just “inappropriately touch” pre-teenage boys (allegedly), and who has a stable marriage and no complaints since he left NY (and before), this fellow is deemed the most dangerous!

Well, he has to be dangerous and continue to be dangerous because this is the only way to build a case to harass him and his family for no good reason. Of course he also needs to throw in other unsustainable claims, “He has a reputation as a serial pedophile” and that he “is a murderer.” (FB – Aug.5).

But why is he really so very dangerous? Is it because he will eat your children alive?

No. It is because he has the temerity to defend himself against all this wanton harassment by suing Yaakov Horowitz for the slanderous comments and tweets that Rav Horowitz actually generated and dissipated. Because of this personal affront, Rav Horowitz is appealing to all his chassidim to join him in his lynch mob. Because he is so very dangerous. (If he gets away with this, he may sue somebody else!)

So to prove he is dangerous, he builds his case. In a personal message to me on the Daas Torah blog (Aug. 3) he proudly announced:

[The offender] is a serial pedophile who has been molesting kids since at least 2000 in numerous schools and Shuls in 3 states and 2 countries that we know about.

So I both emailed him and posted publicly (ibid.):

…please provide me with details about the molestation that "we know about" that took place in any states or countries besides NY, USA. (I.e., which other two states and which other country and how do you know?)

I am still (patiently) waiting for his response.

The last case-building meragel is the Sar Haelef himself and unparalleled master of Daas Torah, Harav Daniel Eidensohn, Shlita.

My online debate can be found in the comments on three Horowitz vs. YW posts on the Daas Torah blog (HERE, HERE and HERE). I obviously lost the debate because Rabbi Eidensohn said so and it’s his blog.

Rabbi Eidensohn and his chassidim clearly subscribe to the belief that: Once a rodef, always a rodef. And consequently, anybody who has ever been classified as a rodef or mitza’er ess hatzibur carries that status for life, wherever he goes, no matter how nicely he behaves. Hence, it is always justified to harass and slander him or her. Moreover, this perpetual “rodef” status means that it is always sakanas nefashos so it is muttar to extradite, for the purpose of mesira, any ex-molester from any point on the globe to any point on the globe to do him in.

They also firmly believe that any type of offense is capital giluy arayos – even 2nd degree seksual abuse (Class A Misdemeanor – non-felony) which typically precludes force or “penetration”.

Lastly, they firmly believe that any type of conviction, even a misdemeanor conviction in a bench trial on very shaky ground (no confession, evidence or witnesses) in NY State, is absolute irrefutable proof that the offender is truly guilty as charged. (And they call me naïve!)

I valiantly tried to direct Rabbi Eidensohn to all the Halachic sources and legalistic flaws that prove otherwise, but alas, I was too ignorant, misguided, naïve, and terribly wrong. Although he neglected to demonstrate how or why. Every Halachic source I quoted was “misapplied” even if it is pashut pshat. He hasn’t read any of my 18 or so Mesira posts and he never will. They are all too long for him and he is a very busy fellow. He has a blog to maintain.

But I suppose the truth must be that this alleged offender is definitely exceedingly dangerous because I don’t know anything about these types of people and he knows so much more than I do. And besides, he was convicted, and assessed a high risk level (by the same judge)…

So despite a lack of real hard evidence, any recent incidents, or even Rabbinic approval by any Rav who is truly familiar with the case, the judgment is passed by a consensus of bloggers and self-proclaimed child abuse advocates. Anybody can build a case when the “nation” is cheering them on.

And so, these chashuva people, the fied fifers, Yerachmiel Lopin, Rabbi Horowitz, and Rabbi Eidensohn are so intent on ridding the world of our “vermin” that they are afraid to look at the halachic structure or the true [sorry] state of the evidence in each case. All of these people are tenaciously holding on to a philosophy of: “Once a rodef, always a rodef!” despite the fact that it’s possible they were never a rodef in the first place and that, even if so, extradition and mesira overseas is still forbidden.

So in light of Rabbi Bernstein’s remarks, as we look back at Tisha B’Av we take out this lesson:

As long as the Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, Chofetz Chaim, the facts on the ground and the guidelines set by the poskim listed in Rav Zvi Gertner’s kuntress (Dam Reacha – Yeshurun Vol. 15) are irrelevant, as they are to Yerachmiel Lopin, Rabbi Horowitz, and Rabbi Eidensohn, these meraglim will declare the subject “dangerous” and the case will be built. The judgments will be made before the facts are evaluated and the harassment, motzi-shem-ra, malshinus, the sinas chinam and the churban will go on unabated.



כל דור שאינו נבנה בית המקדש בימיו, מעלין עליו כאלו הוא החריבו!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shidduchim XIII - A Shadchan's Customer's Wish List - Part 6: Resumes 103 – If You’ve Got it, Flaunt it


Most of us know the Mishna in Taanis (26b) that states:

There were no better days for the Jewish nation than the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur. For on those days the daughters of Jerusalem would go out wearing white dresses that were borrowed so as not to shame those who did not have their own dresses… And what would they say? Young man, raise your eyes and look at what you can choose… Do not look at beauty but rather look at family pedigree…

Later on, the gemara elaborates (31a – Ein Yaakov version):
The pretty ones would say, “Set your eyes on beauty for a woman is only for beauty.” The pedigreed ones would say, “Set your eyes on pedigree for a woman is only for children.” The affluent ones would say, “Set your eyes on those who are wealthy (for a woman is only for Kollel – YH).” The simple (poor) ones would say, “Make your acquisition for the sake of Heaven but you must adorn us with jewels.”

Who said there is no place for speed dating in our tradition?

In any case, there is something a bit odd about this gemara. Initially it tells us that the girls must only wear dresses borrowed from another girl so as not to shame one who is lacking. In other words, the gemara seems concerned that there should be a level playing field. Yet, immediately after this, the gemara is encouraging each girl to flaunt their unique strong points. They would specifically compete for a husband by declaring what benefits that they have and that the next girl doesn’t. No more concerns about shaming those who are lacking!

What gives?

One easy answer is that without anything decent to wear, the impoverished girls would not show up at all. We at least would like all eligible candidates to show up. But, perhaps, we can say something more. Anybody can masquerade. We can all dress up as a doctor or soldier or policeman but this does not mean that we are one. Clothes can be deceptive and give false impressions, and they may distract the suitors from the true attributes of the candidates. With this edict, the boys play the market in full knowledge that whatever each girl is wearing is not hers and they must look deeper into her true essence.

Still and all, we learn from this gemara that as far as personal character traits as well as wealth and yichus are concerned, there are no holds barred. Each girl is expected to make the most of their positive attributes and be competititve. All is fair in love and war.

In short, the message is: If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

Let’s see another gemara. This one is in Sota 10a. The gemara is discussing the adventures of Shimshon the Gibor and a place called Timna. The gemara notes that, regarding Shimshon, the pasuk tells us, “And Shimshon went down to Timna…” Regarding Yehuda and his daughter-in-law, Tamar, many years earlier, the pasuk says, “Behold your father-in-law has gone up to Timna…”

The gemara is puzzled, does one go down to Timna or go up to Timna? Among the various explanations, the third of which – the one quoted by Rashi in Chumash – is that Timna was located on a sloping plane. One who is originating from the higher side is going down to Timna. One who originates from the lower side is going up to Timna.

We learn from here that it is not always enough just to know where somebody is. To get the complete picture, we must also know where this person has been. Has he come up from a lower place or gone down from a higher place.

I noted in an earlier post that shidduch resumes are very similar to employment resumes. An employer wants to see from the resume a number of things. One of which is: What makes you more suitable for my purposes than the next person? What can you bring to the table that somebody else cannot?

Another is: I am not only interested in where you are. I am interested in where you’ve been. Why? Because it is only by way of comparing where you are now against where you have previously been that I can make a judgement about where you are headed!

This is the basis of my personal philosophy about shidduch resumes.

(1) The resumes should be selfishly ruthless about highlighting your unique selling points and don’t feel sorry for anybody else.

(2) The resume should present as complete a background of the individual as is safely possible.

With this in mind, we can now delve further into the secrets of a shidduch resume.  Until now, we analyzed how to present the basic information that applies to everybody – Name, address, age, height, position. We can now discuss family and education where some people have “assets” that other people don’t.

Note – It goes without saying that all of the ground rules and notes of the previous resume posts (see them HERE) are still in effect. Also, you are urged to refer to the sample shidduch resume that was provided in the previous posts. Click HERE for the sample.



Education

This topic is relatively straight forward. Just list the schools that you’ve attended in chronological order. I have seen a few resumes where the writer added the year of graduation after each school. I have not done this for my children but it is still a very good idea.

Here again, it is best to give a complete picture so start at the beginning - elementary/primary school. Obviously, the reader is mainly interested in the hashkafic status of the schools and he wants to see which hashkafos the schools adhere to and if the trend of schools is consistent. Has the family or girl/boy gone from modern to strict or strict to modern? Chassidish to Litvish or vice versa? Was the day school Chabad? Was there a change in communities or neighborhoods along the way?

Quite obviously, the earlier schools indicate the hashkafic views of the parents. The later schools indicate the hashkafic views of the girl/boy.



Camps

Many resumes list camps and, frankly, this is meaningless to me. Firstly, from where I am at, I don’t know one camp from another. Besides that, it doesn’t say much about the girl unless the hashkafa of the camp is a clear departure from the hashkafos of the schools that she went to. It does say that the parents either had the money or scrounged up the money to send the kids to camp. But since many resumes leave it out and there can be so many reasons for one not to have gone to camp, I think this topic is expendable.



Work

If you are currently working this really belongs in the next topic. What I want to discuss here is even if you are not working now, it is a good idea to list any past work experience that you may have, such as if you had summer jobs or worked in a camp as a counselor or lifeguard or whatever, or if you are a school substitute. Firstly, it gives the impression that you are not spoiled, that you capitalize on your spare time, and that you may have a few bucks salted away.

These may all be false impressions, but false impressions count in this game!



Currently

Of course, after all of your history, the reader wants to know what you are doing now. Are you still in school? Are you working? Both? Neither? Are you career oriented or just doing something to look respectable while you await Prince Charming (or Moshiach)? Are you in the middle of a higher education program which will need to be either carried on after marriage or else wastefully scuttled? Are you doing something that can easily be transferred to another location? And, most important, what kind of earning power do you have?

Since these are what the reader wants to know, it is best to present this in its best light. Also, it is vitally important that your resume be as up-to-date as possible. I received one resume in late 2015 where the most recent activity of the girl was 2012-2013. It wasn’t merely that this was an old resume, it was more than two full years out of date. In truth, the shadchan did tell us it was an old resume, but she never came up with an updated one.

This girl did not get a date!



Special Interests

Almost no resumes had a field for this. But why not? If you are talented in music or graphics or can sew or bake, it is only going to make you more desirable. I wrote the foreword to this post to exclaim that there is no room for humility in shidduchim. If you’ve got something special, flaunt it!



Parents

Honor thy father and thy mother – no less, when you are preparing a resume. So I ask: Why are so many resumes skimpy on details concerning the parents?

The answer is simple. Most of the time it is one of the parents who is preparing the resume. And they do not have the presence of mind to honor themselves! And, all too often, they don’t have the presence of mind to honor their own parents, either. We will discuss grandparents a bit later.

Most of the resumes that I have seen do not tell us much about the girl’s – or boy’s – parents. This is sad because, if the apple does not fall far from the tree, you really want to have a good look at the tree. Personally, I want to get a look at the entire orchard but this seems to be asking a bit much. The sample resume that I have dutifully provided will tell you the minimum that I think a resume should divulge about the parents. Here goes.



Name

In this department I have more or less the same expectations and complaints as I wrote in the last post about the girl’s name. For all of the same reasons: Derech eretz, hakpados, tefillos, and mazal. So the parents’ names should be formal and complete. One important thing is that we are currently discussing resumes for the chareidi/yeshivish/Torah-oriented tzibbur. The least you can do is look Jewish!

I have seen far too many resumes where the parents are listed as Fred and Wilma, Barney and Betty, Ralph and Alice, Sheldon and Amy, and Max and 99! Secular names indicate that the parents are secular people. I am not sure why people are not hesitant to project this kind of image. One recent resume where the mother was named “Ellen” prompted me to insist on checking four doros of mothers. It took a few emails to the shadchan to find out her name is Chava. Why couldn’t the resume just tell me that??

It doesn’t really bother me or disqualify the shidduch if the father’s name is Ira or Jeff (got both of those), especially if they’re loaded; but, come on – put the cards on the table. I couldn’t start to guess what the Jewish names are (for “Ira”, I never found out). If “everyone calls him Mitch” then put “Mitch” in parentheses.



Born In

I suppose we cannot expect a complete profile on the parents (although I would love it), but at least if we know where they started off, and we know where they are now, we can get an idea of where they’ve been in between. Of course, we definitely want to know if either parent is Israeli or European or from Mexico or South America which may indicate, among other cultural issues, that the girl’s mother tongue may not be English.

This also can be a good tipoff if either parent was not raised religious (How many frum Jews were there in Albuquerque in 1970?)



Mother’s Maiden Name

Certainly, 90% of the resumes are thoughtful enough to indicate the mother’s family name. What bugs me is the other 10%. We all like to play Jewish Geography and Name Association especially with shidduch suggestions. We may just find a link. The father’s family name only tells us half the story. What about the other side? Was the mother conceived in a test tube?



Yeshiva (for Father) and Schooling (for Mother)

Just because I used the analogy of “apple not falling far from the tree”, this does not mean that I think a girl’s parents should be presented as if they are planks of wood. Every scarecrow has a brain and, if not, this shidduch is not for us. I want my son to marry a bas Talmid Chacham (as a preference) so a resume that gives me an idea that the father is a Talmid Chacham will trump one that doesn’t. Did the father have a strong Torah education? Did the mother go to a Bais Yaakov type school or something more to the “left”?

I am not interested if the parents are college educated because if they have professional careers, it means they are and if they don’t, it means that a college education wasn’t a factor for them anyway.

I understand that if your parents went to public school you may not want to put that in. But if your parents went to prominent yeshivos and girls’ schools, it will help you, so why leave it out?

In addition, knowing what schools your parents went to makes it much easier to find common acquaintances (Oh, my chavrusa went to that Yeshiva. He probably knows the father!) This will always give a shidduch suggestion a running start.



Occupation

Every resume is good on this and this is self-explanatory.



Where Father Davens

This is likewise a standard for resumes, but there are some that let it slip. Be sure not to let it slip, and if your father has no shul, then “build” one!



Assarah Yuchsin

For those who do not understand what this means, this is a term adopted from the gemara in Kiddushin that indicates the family status in the Jewish “Caste” system. Is the father a Kohen, Levi, or Yirsroel (or Ger, Mamzer, Slave, Democrat or whatever)?

I have never seen this in a resume but I think it is a must. Especially on a boy’s resume. I suppose it is often overlooked because the default is a regular Yisroel and many Kohanim or Leviim have surnames that give them away. Still it is definitely vital to indicate if a boy is a Kohen for Halachic reasons that I hope to discuss in the final installment of this series. It is a good idea to indicate if one is a Levi as well. I am a bit perturbed that the best of the Jewish people really live with the mindset that moshiach will never come in their lifetime. It will happen in some far off generation.

Well, many chashuva people, weirdos, autistics, NDEs and bloggers are convinced that the big day is right around the corner and the Assara Yuchsin will really mean something. Kohanim will have to live like true Kohanim (in addition to what they need to observe today) as well as Leviim. Every girl who marries one needs to know that this is for real and they need to be up to the task.

Once we understand this, even a boy (Yisroel) should be aware if he is marrying into a family of Kohanim or Leviim, because, even though the geula will not have a direct impact on him (he won’t change), but his in-laws will become different people and he also has to be prepared.

One more thing. If your name is Cohen or Cohn or Kohn or Kaplan or something like that and you are not a Kohen, it is a very good idea to make this clear. (This is for Halachic reasons which I will not discuss here. However, it may even be an obligation to do so to avoid gneivas daas.)



Siblings

You may notice in my resume that this is the department where I chose to cut corners (and save some space). Obviously, this has to do with the fact that my children have, Bli ayin Hara, a very long list of siblings.

Of course, it is best to list each sibling one by one and to state what he or she is currently doing. I am also a big fan of posting ages, even though I did not go through the trouble. This tells us the precise order and spacing of the siblings. For those who do so, it is better to just write the Year of Birth for each sibling than the current age. This is because ages change and YOBs do not. You don't want to have to update your resume every time a sibling has a birthday. 

It is important to be specific about the older siblings because we definitely need to know who is already married (hopefully all the sisters are) and to whom. The younger siblings are not so much of a factor but we certainly want to know how they are being educated. In my resume, I saved a few lines by bunching the younger ones together.



Grandparents

This topic inspired the title of this post: If You’ve Got ‘Em, Flaunt ‘Em. And it is probably the most contentious topic. This is because this is where the playing field goes multi-level and one can be light years ahead of the competition.

If you are fortunate enough to have two sets of living grandparents who are religious (and have always been) and who jointly sired your parents forty or fifty or however many years ago, and who are still married to each other today, you have a gold mine of assets.

Tell the world about your grandparents! You won’t be sorry!

What signals are you broadcasting if you have such grandparents and you include them?

First and foremost, just including them indicates that they are a part of your life. There is a chain of filial attachment in your background and there is no reason why you will not continue it. It shows that there is a history of family pride, Jewish tradition, continuity, and stability. Secondly, it indicates health and longevity. Thirdly, it indicates a tradition of shalom bayis. And, finally, it indicates an additional layer of parenting benefits including moral and financial support and challahs and cookies!

Trust me, these are what every decent person wants the most in a shidduch and these “signals” will be read. You will be a catch!

Even if the grandparents are infirm and no longer active and totally destitute, if they are alive, make a point of their existence! You do not need to mention that they are infirm and penniless and have bickered with each other their whole lives. Just their being there is going to send all these wonderful signals whether they are true or not, and it will put you ahead of the pack.

Unfortunately, for many people, some or all of the grandparents are no longer with us. In many cases, the grandparents did not have good health or shalom bayis (were divorced). Likewise, many sets of grandparents are not or were not religious. The longevity isn’t there, the stability and continuity isn’t there. The Jewish tradition isn’t there. The moral and financial support isn’t there. And, the challahs and cookies aren’t there.

All this is very unfortunate and it is nobody’s fault. These families are clearly at a disadvantage. So the question is, do we say: Let’s leave out the grandparents שלא לבייש את מי שאין להם?

As I have said numerous times, my position is: Take no prisoners. Put your best foot forward. When you have something as valuable as grandparents, put them on full display!

Indeed, aside from my children’s resumes, from all of those in my dataset, only four other resumes listed the grandparents. As you would guess, they all came from well-established FFB families. In two cases, the grandfathers on one side were no longer alive but were prominent people. And all of them potentially interested us. (Two we had to turn down for other reasons but the other two we gave a green light. One turned us down flat and the other nixed the shidduch simply because the father’s name was the same as my son’s first name.)

After all this, even if some or all of the grandparents are no longer with us, it sends some very good signals to still refer to them. Aside from this, the information of family origin (grandparents originally from Poland or Russia or Iran and they came before the war or after the war or during the war or before the American Revolution, or whatever) is also useful information. You can refer to the sample resume to see how I presented the details about the grandparents.

Sof davar, good grandparents are a rare commodity and, as always, squeeze them for all they’ve got!



Special Yichus

Even though this might come across as a bit boastful, I really do not see any harm in mentioning in a note that you are a Tzanzer Einikle or your family comes from the GR”A or Chasam Sofer or the Maharal or, as is our case, from the Golem of Prague. It’s okay if a shidduch resume is a little bit self-aggrandizing.

Although I have not really ever seen special yichus in a resume itself, I have gotten it as a follow up on some shidduch prospects.



References

This topic, as well, is a standard. Every resume has references - the usual suspects. But even this topic should have a few tips.

·         Don’t overload it. One resume that really turned me off was a one page resume that was almost nothing but references. It had phone numbers for everybody except for the girl herself. The message I read into it was: “I am not going to tell you much about me. Here, go call these folks and find out for yourself.” We didn’t bother.

·         Make sure the references are not hard to reach. If people are hard to reach, have limited hours, or only take messages, say so in the resume.

·         Don’t forget to include Mechutanim! – The first people that I want to contact when looking into a shidduch are the Mechutanim. Why? Because if this shidduch works, this is what I am going to be.  Another mechutan! So I want to know from existing Mechutanim what it’s like. How well do they get along with these people and how smoothly the wedding arrangements came off? Also, it is the best way of finding out if this family is financially supportive of the previous young couple(s) and to what extent. Lastly, since the Mechutanim are usually not lifelong friends of the family in question, there is a better likelihood that they won’t sugar-coat the “sordid” details and I may get a more realistic report.

Of course a typical resume includes the number of the family Rav (although in some cases, the head of the family is the Rav). I usually do not call the family Rav unless I have a specific concern such as yichus (for Baalei teshuva parents) or a suspicion of health. Otherwise, there is no point since all I will hear is a mi-shebeirach.



Extras

By now, we have covered all of the standard features of a decent resume and we threw in a few extras such as Special Interests and Special Yichus. As you can see, I am a firm believer in padding a resume with whatever extras you have reasonable space for. I have seen some unique features on some resumes and these features always make this resume call for attention.

What other extras will help a resume?

Support

Well, one girl unabashedly put on her resume:

We are prepared BS”D to help with support


Let me tell you that this called our attention and actually went for three dates! I highly recommend it.



Dor Yesharim

One girl only (I think) put her Dor Yesharim number on her resume. I don’t do it with ours but I do like the idea.



Languages

If you speak multiple languages, you may want to mention it. Of course, this may intimidate a potential one-language suitor, so you may not want to.



Location Preference

If you have a strong preference to live in a certain place or not to live there, and especially if you have a strong preference to live in Eretz Yisroel, you may want to make a note of it.



Weight and Dress Size

Just kidding!



What I am Looking For

Although I haven’t seen it so much in the “Yeshivish” resumes, the more open ones like to put a “What I am Looking For” paragraph. I personally think this should be more in vogue in Yeshivish resumes, and I wonder why it is not. I suppose that many girls (and boys) are reluctant to be too descriptive about what they want for fear it will cost them some opportunities. Also, it could be that lots of people don’t really know what they want. All told, I personally don’t see how it could be anything but helpful. Your call.



As I stated in my previous post, the most interesting and unique resume that I have yet to receive came from the Israeli based girl “Devorah Nechama”. It was full of unusual extras. She wrote all of the following (mildly edited):

Personality/Appearance:  Very kind, giving, fun loving, strong sense of emuna and emunas chachamim.  Dresses fashionably with a sensitivity to being tzanua.

Plans for the Future: I am presently learning in a course…  I am also learning in a course to become a medical secretary, while simultaneously working...

Geographical Preference:  Eretz Yisrael.

Health: Good, BH

Family Health: Good, BH

Dor Yesharim:  Yes



What I am Looking For in Marriage:

  • To build a bayis ne'eman B'Yisrael, to grow with my spouse in middos, chesed and Avodas H-shem. 
  • I would like my husband to learn full time for the first few years of our marriage…
  • It is important to me that my husband is sensitive and caring with a fun and upbeat spirit.
  • I am looking for a litvish boy who will feel comfortable with my family’s connection to chassidut.
  • I am fine with doing litvish minhagim(e.g. Pesach, etc)



Spare Time:  Listen to Jewish music, help with our family organization for helping kallas from needy families, help around the house, and help sisters with their children, exercise

Strongest Midda: A good heart:  Giving and able to be מוותר for others. Eager to help.

Parent's impression: Very considerate of and sensitive to other people’s feelings, emotional and caring. Fun loving with a good sense of humor. Strong emunah.



Even though for whatever reasons, this girl was not a priority match for Yossi, I was very impressed with this resume. She didn’t just throw information on a sheet of paper. She sat down and thought about what the person who is receiving this resume would want to know. And she delivered. She is telling the reader, among other things, that she means business. It was certainly a one-of-a-kind resume and it screams loud and clear that she is a one-of-a-kind girl.

Incidentally, I wrote earlier that this was one of only two girls who had a 2-page resume. By now it should be abundantly clear that any well-written resume will require more than one page (unless you have very few siblings and no grandparents and not much education). Of course, it is not a wise thing to go beyond two pages. 

If all resumes were similar to this it would make a shadchan’s life much easier and help get shidduchim off the ground a lot quicker. I believe if there would be more resumes like this then there would ultimately be less resumes like this because more people would be married and the resumes could be permanently archived.

So, as a customer of a shadchan, if I could get my wish, perhaps many others could also get theirs.