There are certain things that just make no sense to us. Actually, correction, there are many things that seem senseless. We do not even think that we are the only ones who grapple with the route that the Haredi community has taken in so many of their everyday life challenges. It is comical that when we were married we were all Haredi or one could say that we were all frum. There were no gradations other than being Chasidic. It was not until we came to Montreal that we began to find out that we were not as “religious” as those who went to more right yeshivas. Many in the community actually never even went to yeshiva but they learned that in Hungary or wherever they came from there were certain ways to exhibit who you were in public and in private. We found out that choosing one’s clothing was of utmost importance. It was not a matter of the skirt length. Instead it was more a matter of how much the clothing cost. Emphasis on furnishings, clothing, hair coverings became the epitome of how to determine the measurement of a person’s frumkeit. Certainly Nina in her jean skirt with her three-quarter sleeve t-shirt and tichel did not exhibit any of the necessary showings to be included in the “frum world.” Mordechai, for sure, was a castaway as his semicha from YU was considered to be a sign of modernization.
We, over a period of time, became accustomed to the differences and tried not to let them bother us. It was certainly hurtful when a woman made a comment at a parent-teacher meeting at Beis Yaakov that the school should be sure to keep an eye on “the bad apples.” She referred to children attending the school and not living in the yeshiva community. As Nina sat there with her good friend Judy Pachino whose husband was also a recipient of YU semicha, Judy raised her hand and suggested that we were talking about children—and not apples.
More and more of the nonsense has continued throughout the years. Who could believe that there would be newspapers and magazines that refuse to place pictures of women in them? One of the biggest jokes in our office was what some of these publications would do if Hillary Clinton became president. Does anyone really believe that there is something “untznius” about looking at the picture of an innocent girl who was killed by terrorists in her home in Israel? What about the outstanding work of teenagers working with Chai Lifeline participants, Camp HASC campers or any other amazing chesed organization?
Recently Nina was on the phone with a potential client for The Link. They very much wanted to advertise their college degree program with our paper. Sadly, the lady in charge of advertising told Nina that her boss will not allow them to advertise because of the fact that we have women’s pictures in our paper. The woman herself was embarrassed. Is there anything normal about this kind of behavior.? How much further is this supposed to go? We spoke recently with a lovely young girl who is in the “seminary circle.” The only colleges acceptable are the Jewish ones, either online or once or twice a week in Brooklyn, Far Rockaway, Monsey etc. and she had absolutely no idea of anything going on in the world. The consulate moving to Jerusalem, huh? A horrible terrorist attack in Manhattan where cyclists were mowed down, huh? News is not listened to or read in newspapers. Help us understand how this is what gedolim thought the world should become. There is no way that the Rav and Rav Moshe and the Bostoner Rebbe and Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld and everyone else that we have always felt were the people that we looked up to most would give their approval to the ridiculous ways that the frum world is interpreting halacha today.
By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick