Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A word from our sponsors

And once again I've stuck my foot in a hornet's nest and boy, does it sting. Reading LdT's comment made me feel terrible, though frumhouse's comment did assuage the pain a little.

Funny, I always say to myself, "If only I could blog about the many issues facing Lubavitch, my life would be so much easier." The reason I can't blog about many of these issues is because of societal constraints; e.g. I would hate to have certain people read certain things I write. But here is a heaven-sent opportunity to blog about something that no one could possibly object to, and to top it off, I might even have something good to say on the subject.

Let's go through this, shall we? I walk into Chabad house, and am greeted like a BT, simply because I came in with one. Even though I shattered expectations, some preconceptions die hard, and the one that remained in this case was the assumption that I couldn't possibly be an honest to goodness lifer. And so, as LdT points out, I got to experience what it means to be a
BT, if only a little. I suppose that his assertion is correct; BTs are never fully accepted, but I would like to think that it's not because they're not trusted but rather because there's such a great gap between the lifer and the BT.

I mean, sure, the BT could possibly sin, but so could anyone. Rather, I think the explanation is that the lifer, in this case the Shliach, is coming from such a different place; the Shliach, in most cases, grew up in a certain lifestyle, and he has many basic assumptions about the way life works. Even a Lubavitcher who fries out has this worldview. A BT, on the other hand, will never understand where the shliach is coming from. Even if he knows it intellectually, he will never feel it in his bones.The shliach doesn't know how to relate, and therefore there's a certain amount of patronization, or at least distance, in the relationship.

I remember listening to a lecture about shlichus, and the speaker said, "You can't open up to a mekurav the same way you can to a fellow Lubavitcher. You can discuss certain problems, for example your money issues, but matters of hashkafa, difficulties with the education of your children? You talk to a Lubavitcher, not a member of your community."Again, I don't think this is a matter of trust, but rather one of life experience.

And how about me? As the son of baalei teshuvah, I have my own niche to fill. Not that I'm particularly interested in going into the subject on this particular forum, but I know that my possibilities in life are very much defined by my own circumstances. All right, everybody, whether they like it or not, is confined by factors that are beyond their control. It's not anyone's fault. Heck, I know people, as gezheh as they come, who would love to be in my situation. I'm not ashamed at all, nor do I feel like i've been hard done by. I'm proud of where I come from, and I wouldn't have it any other way (unless of course Bill Gates or Warren Buffet is looking to adopt). Consider that a paid message by our sponsors.I suppose you could compare my situation to that of the child of an immigrant. Yes, I was born here in America, but am I fully integrated? I'd like to think so, but at the end of the day...So at the end of the day, life is what it is, and that's about all there is to say for it.

36 comments:

Nemo said...

Your mission, as a BT child, is to make the next generation of Lubavitch progeny into progressive Democrats.

The Real Shliach said...

explain to me why I should do that exactly?

Nemo said...

Because all the freaks that spent the last eight months supporting Obama seemed to have found meaning in their otherwise uneventful lives. There must be some substance, an attribute terribly lacking in today's Lubavitch.

e said...

Non-Gezhes shouldn't feel like outsiders, because they're the majority of Lubavitch. How can most of Lubavitch be outsiders?

Then again, what does a Neveler/Klimovitcher/Duckshitzer like me know anyways?

e said...

I'm still waiting to hear the hard facts of this upheaval-wreaking Shabbat.

SZB said...

TRS, Remember: you only have one chance to make a last impression.

E, Where does the fourth dimension of your ancestry hail from?

I personally am a purist who believes that one the "fabric has been compromised" with any outside blood ones entire Gezhe status is questionable.

Us true-breeds are a rare species indeed.

- Sieg Heil

e said...

Actually the three cities I mentioned were all from my mother's side. To maintain my shred of anonymity, I won't say exactly who came from which city.

My father's side isn't as cool. My dad is half-Yekke and half-second generation Lubavitcher Russian.

Nemo said...

I think E's other 1/4 were a hard-working family of steel workers in Pittsburgh. Good middle class folks, if there ever were any ...

Personally, I'm a highly evolved hybrid of the best Yichus. I was created with only the best traits of a lurid ancestry.

e said...

Here's my rough estimate: 40% of Lubavitcher bochurim have BT parents.

Of the other 60%, 90% have at least one non-Lubavitch-from-birth grandparent.

That means that four out of every hundred Lubavitcher bochurim has four Lubavitch-from-birth grandparents. So, for all the racists out there, we already have been heavily compromised.

Nemo said...

Um, talk about bad math ... it should, according to your percentages, be 6 out of every 100 bochurim.

e said...

RE: the bad math. Whatever.

Let us define Gezhe for my father's generation as having two Lubavitch from birth parents and gezhe for our generation as having four Lubavitch grandparents.

I just had a chat with my father. He listed his classmates and their wives as they came to mind and said if both their parents were Lubab or not. 19 have 2 Lubavitch from birth parents, and 17 do not.

Based on the statistics my dad and I collected, we can assume that among my father's peers, the ratio of Gezhe vs. non-Gezhe was around 50-50.

However, among the descendant of my father and his peers (i.e. all of us who are not children of BTs and other tzukeumaneh) the ratio is much lower that 50:50, because the 50% gezhe of my father's peers did not always marry from other gezhes. The 36 people my father mentioned included approximately 16 couples. (There were approximately four bochurim whose wives my father didn't know.) Of those 16 couples, only three marriages were gezhe-to-gezhe.

What's the point of these statistics? Gezhe is already dead. A non-Gezhe family is already considered a "choshuveh name." Take for example my family name.

Nemo said...

Wait, what is considered your father's class? My class must have hundreds of members. How many yeshivas can one have their class from?

Incidentally, when I was growing up, we didn't have any kids with even a single Lubav from birth parents. However, in the class above and the class below mine, their were a few of your cousins on your father's side.

The Real Shliach said...

I apologize that I'm only answering y'all right now, but I've been busy at a "smicha" farbrengen vd"l. Anyway, you seem to have worked this out pretty well anyway. Hopefully tomorrow I'll put together a post on the whole issue.

Anonymous said...

Did you forget about the new gezhe i.e. being the child of shluchim? If not for that fact, my name would be cloaked in anonymity, but because my father is a well known shliach Im treated with a little more respect than if he hadn't been...

e said...

RE: what's a class. This was a very nonscientific study. We chose classes just as a way to come up with names of people of a certain generation. The members of the class above you and the class below in all the yeshiva you attended are considered to be your peers for this study.

Based on the data Nemo has supplied, we can conclude that in Pittsburgh, in Nemo's generation, gezhe is near 0%.

RE: Anonymous and his new gezhe
That's precisely my point. The old gezhe is already dead.

Anonymous said...

RE: Anonymous and his new gezhe
correction: her
Ha! I sound so intellectual you thought I was a guy!
Score!

The Real Shliach said...

E: the gezhe is dead; long live the gezhe.

Anon: typical female inferiority complex

SZB said...

E: Gezhe is not dead; it has been regulated to Secret Society status.

Anon: perhaps E. thought you are male due to how nonsensical your comment sounded, so your logic eats itself.

Besides, אינו דומה a Shliach who is Gezhe to a Shliach which isn't וד''ל.

e said...

TRS, WTF did that mean? It's dead so it should live long? That reminds me of some other people who say "long live" about a dead person, v'ein kan hamakom.

SZB, Secret Society status? Huh? It's no secret who's from the real gezhe and who are the recent additions.

Nemo said...

SZB: "Besides, אינו דומה a Shliach who is Gezhe to a Shliach which isn't וד''ל."

Incorrect. None of the head-honcho Shluchim are Gezhe.

E: You also have to consider the geographical issues:

Gezhe and LFB people generally seem to flock to places that are seen as more chassidish than Pittsburgh, or to places more materially attractive.

The BT:LFB ratio is lower in places like Crown Heights and Montreal, Detroit, Chicago, London, because of their long-established ultra-chassidishe communities, and also in places like Miami, LA, Melbourne, for their material attractiveness. Towns like Pittsburgh, Twin Cities, Toronto (sorta), New Haven, Sydney, Johannesburg, as well as some smaller pockets of Chabad Chasidus, tend to be more BT-populated. These are the historic "out-of-town," Lubavitch populations. Of course, there are plenty of LFB's there, but they usually tend to be Shluchim, or only second generation LFB's.

The Real Shliach said...

e: when the monarch of a kingdom passes on, they proclaim, "the king is dead," followed immediately by, for the new king, "long live the king!"

SZB said...

Nemo,

None? Really?

[Besides, i don't want to catch you speaking out of both sides of your mouth. If you ever have beef with the infallibility of Head Shluchim i will have my answer already prepared: The reason why they abuse their power, and more likely then not to be in the wrong (i view i myself do not necessarily subscribe to, but one that i can see you advocating) is because they are not Gezhe.]

The Real Shliach said...

aderabe, SZB, the reason most head shluchim abuse their power is because they think they've become gezheh, and they imagine that this gives them a godgiven ability to terrorize their underlings.

Nemo said...

I don't have beef with head shluchim, I have beef with subverting losers that think its cool not to follow the demands of head shluchim. Those individuals often tend to be Gezh.

The Real Shliach said...

nemo, you're in law school, who are you trying to lekk?

Nemo said...

You think I want to be a lawyer? No way ... this is my ploy to get Shlichus!

You see, in this day and age, everyone's a rabbi. No qualifications needed. It makes it nearly impossible to get Shlichus unless you lekk or are related to one of the great Infallibles.

So, I've found a back door into shlichus, and even to the top of waiting list. There isn't a shliach out there that doesn't want to woe his Ballebatim with big Oxford words.

Not only that, but today's Balabos is, on average, more educated and finicky then the Ballebatim in the 70's and 80's. They're looking for rabbis who know where they're coming from. They are demanding that their shluchim are university educated.

But your average rabbi is uneducated and can barely read the Oxford words, much less pretend to pull them out of his hat when he's giving a shiur. There is a dearth of educated BT's willing to drop everything and give up their finance careers, for a life of mesirus nefesh.

But I've now got the best of both worlds: the fortitude of a shliach and the education of a gentleman. What shliach wouldn't hire me?

The Real Shliach said...

there's only one problem with your plan nemo. How will you pay I your student loans? You won't have a job, and your baalebaatim probably won't be interested in helping you out

Nemo said...

Shluchim get salaries these days man. Especially the ones with fancy degrees.

And if my plan doesn't work out, I'll just get a job in some fancy shul in England.

e said...

...or worse come to worst, you'll practice a little law.

The Real Shliach said...

worst comes to worst, eh? From what I'm hearing, now is not a good time to be a lawyer. If you move to India maybe.

Nemo said...

Maybe I'll dabble ... a little personal injury work on the side. A necessary evil.

Nemo said...

There's also good 'ol fashion pirating on the high seas. Someone just made $100m on it this week ...

The Real Shliach said...

Is trying to make. It's not like they can sell the goods anywhere like in the old days.

Nemo said...

Too bad for them that they can't bury it on an island somewhere, because oil might be a worthless commodity in another ten years.

They can sell it to their countrymen or local government who don't seem to care much for the rule of law.

newchossid said...

hi

what does "gezhe" means?

The Real Shliach said...

Gezhe is generally defined as being a descendant of one of the old Lubavitch families.