To recap what happened, a kumzitz was planned at which bochurim would be able to relax and unwind. Included in the event was a siyum and divrei chizuk by a renowned rav.
For a select few this was unacceptable, and they ran to roshei yeshiva to spread false information about the event. Consequently, the kumzitz was cancelled, leading to a massive protest by hundreds of bochurim, with one ultimately being arrested and three others hospitalized after being pepper sprayed by police.
So, how did we get here? How on earth did we reach a point where our teens, our future, are taking to the streets to protest? It’s mind-boggling and should cause every one of us to look deep inside and consider what we have done to make something like this possible.
Regardless of the particulars of this case, there is one thing that the incident has made clear: our boys have no outlets. We live in a society that is bereft of morality, condoning of the worst kinds of behavior, and supportive of those that a short time ago would have been left to rot in society’s dustbin. Every distorted worldview and morally reprehensible behavior is now accessible to our teens at the click of a button, and it’s high time that we faced that. If we want our kids to remain pure and to stay on the right path, we must provide them with kosher outlets, because if not, the luring “outlets” of the modern technological age will grasp them. And when technology takes hold of a youngster, it rarely lets go.
I can’t speak to this particular kumzitz, but let’s be real – generally, a kumzitz is not a threat to our children or their upbringing. The same applies to many other outlets that our bochurim like to engage in. I fear that we have become accustomed to letting a few rabble-rousers ruin every possible kosher outlet for our children. While I’m sure these individuals who invariably find issues with any enjoyment a teen might have believe they are doing what is right, the fact is that they are causing irreparable harm to our children by depriving them of any and every practical and kosher outlet. By doing so, they are pushing our kids not to the bais medrash, but to smartphones (and worse) to unwind.
To expect our kids to remain at home with nothing to do and not cause any trouble is like expecting to find a unicorn in Pine Park on a chol hamoed outing. It’s not going to happen. What will happen is what we’ve seen from our teens the past two evenings – protesting and loitering around looking for a way to burn off their energy, causing a massive chilul hashem in the process.
It’s about time we as a community woke up and smelled the coffee. We’re living in 2019, not 1995. The worst inclinations are readily available to our kids. Give them something kosher to enjoy so that they may have the courage and fortitude to resist these brain-frying temptations. Stop searching for problems with activities that are completely harmless. It’s doing more damage than good.