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Monday, December 26, 2005

Lakewood Auction Update!

In an update from Yeshiva Orthodoxy on the topic of my previous post:
Text of Lakewood Yeshiva Retraction
On behalf of Beth Medrash Govoha, we apologize to the Tzibbur for the Ladies Auxiliary "Home" auction book that was mailed out this past week.
Beth Medrash Govoha, with over 4,500 talmidim who are moser nefesh for Torah each day, epitomizes the very essence of ruchnios. The "Home" book clearly sent the wrong message about who we are, what we represent, and our standards.
We erred by allowing it to go out.
We thank all our yedidim who took the time to communicate with us on this important issue. We also thank the partners of House and Home, as well as the auction sponsors; their intentions to help the Yeshiva are sincerely appreciated.
We have canceled the auction and are refunding all those who already participated.
Thank you,
Rabbi Aaron Kotler

Wow. Can't accuse BMG of Lakewood of being hypocritical any longer. They certainly held true to their beliefs, after a fashion. Kol HaKavod to those who wer involved in making this surely complicated decision.

34 Comments:

Anonymous mycroft said...

"Can't accuse BMG of Lakewood of being hypocritical any longer.
Not necessarily-they got caught with their hands in the cookie jar-they can't afford to give up their image.

They certainly held true to their beliefs,
what are their beliefs? besides institutional survival


after a fashion. Kol HaKavod to those who wer involved in making this surely complicated decision.
wasn't so complicated-consistently a profit-maximizing situation-when the heat got too bad they folded.

12:10 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

wasn't so complicated-consistently a profit-maximizing situation-when the heat got too bad they folded.

It has to be quite complicated to return all of the donations and sponsorships, and eat all the costs that they can't recoup.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

Hopefully those who entered the Chinese Auction will be mentchen and tell the Yeshiva to keep their DONATION.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Notice who got blamed; "The Ladies Auxiliary"

:-)

1:16 AM  
Blogger gabe said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:41 AM  
Blogger gabe said...

gabe said...
Being a cynic sucks. So, I'm going to choose to believe that the Roshei Yeshivah aren't involved in the day to day dealings of the fund raising apparatus, and probably never saw the book before it went out. That being the case, one may choose to blame the lay-administration for bad judgement, and getting caught up in the whirlwind of covering thier budget.
I'd assume the pressure to cancel the auction came from the Roshei Yeshivah, once this was brought to thier attention, if it made it that far (meaning the administration didn't realize thier mistake on thier own after the uproar). That being the case, one can only find the lay people in the administrative office guilty of bad (terribly bad?) judgement. Ok, they're fallible, they realized thier mistake, and had the guts to cancel. You want to kill them for making a bad call?

1:43 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

Gabe:
So you really want us to believe that Roshei Yeshiva don't know what is happening in their own institutions-but of course they know everything else to give a Daas Torah edict?

6:07 AM  
Blogger NohrMaal said...

I don't see the hypocracy here (in any case since when is hypocracy a jewish vice? Which mussar sefer speaks of hypocracy as a vice please tell me. Aderaabeh, the gemarah says 'Kabayl es ho'emes mi'mi sh'omroh'...)

If chas ve'shalom the community should have a case of an orphan for hachnasas kallah, would it be hypocritical to raise funds for her and arange a wedding with all the trimmings. Or should we become frum and correct on the account of this Kallah and arranege a puapers feast?

I don't think raising money thru this book is any different. Come to think of it; Isn't the entire Chinese Auction thing just a night out gambling. What about the gambling aspect of the whole thing.

One should ask oneself why do we need all these enticments to jerk out of few dollars for a worthy cause? Why?? Because we as humans -and yes some orthodox are human- and only the dream of "getting something for nothing" helps to loosen our money wads.

I don't see why a yeshivah should not use 'any means' possible to raise funds. Whats the alternative?
Fudging the books? Coledge Programs? etc..

I am depressed that the yeshivah dropped it.

8:33 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I don't see why a yeshivah should not use 'any means' possible to raise funds. Whats the alternative?

I hear what you're saying, but don't fully agree. That attitude has gone too far in the Yeshiva world, in my honest opinion. And while I don't think this chinese auction specifically was any big deal, the members of the BMG community seemed to have felt strongly enough against it that the administration of the Yeshiva felt it necessary to cancel.

Normaal, to what extent do you think Yeshivas should use "any means possiblr to raise funds"? Are you espousing the honoring of a convicted felon? A "casino night"?

8:40 AM  
Blogger NohrMaal said...

Anything that does not speciffically violate a clear halacha.

But if other mosdos do have these type of auctions, why should the Yeshiva refrain from havign one too. Honoring a convicted felon is against halahcha? Only if we are honoring the 'felony' itself.

Of course a 'Talmid Chacham' and by extension a Yeshiva should allways act above reproach and even when the act itself is technically acceptable it should not be done.

But in our case here no matter what was offered in the book, I could not imagine anything illicit was offered.

The very concept of the 'gamble' to get something in return for the mitzvah is questionable but we are not living in lala land. The Yeshiva must raise funds somehow.

Is a Rav being 'hypocritical' when he gives a mussar shmooz against engaging in glultenuos indulgence of food and then in turn gives Hashgacha on candy and chocholate?

To my mind, no!

The persuit of luxuriuos living is wrong. The persuit of money for a worthy cause by utilizing the unlealistic dreams of luxury by many, is perfectly legit.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

This whole controversy is the pathetic result of unrealistic educators painting themselves into a philosophical corner with their own rhetoric.

If Lakewood would be a little more realistic in the messages they espouse to their students and anyone who doesn't agree with their anti-education, anti-thought campaign, this whole event would be a non-issue.

The retraction and apology underscores the issue, it barely resolves the underlying problem.

10:32 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"gabe said...
Being a cynic sucks."

Gabe, you've got a golden neshomah. My comment to you is that:

1) Cynics look for problems and thrive on them.
2) Realists recognize problems and seek resolutions.
3) Ostriches (at least we think they do) stick their heads in the sand and refuse to see problems that are as clear as the nose on their face.

Who are you?

10:36 AM  
Blogger gabe said...

mycroft said...
"Gabe:
So you really want us to believe that Roshei Yeshiva don't know what is happening in their own institutions-but of course they know everything else to give a Daas Torah edict?"

I certainly believe that they don't know everything going on in thier institution. I'm sure they don't know how many cans of corn the cook used in making yesterday's lunch, nor do they know what the heating bill was last month. It's not thier job. In yeshivos of Europe, the Rosh Yeshivah was the sole person responsible for all of these aspects of the yeshivah, but no more. There are administrators, professional fund raisers, and, yes, concerned Baalhabatim that are sometimes overzealous in thier methods.
As to your second point: far be it from me to annoint anyone as the posessor of "Da'as Torah", but for one who believes that a particular Rosh Yeshivah posesses "da'as torah", they don't neccesserily believe that they have to know every detail of every occurance that ever happens. What they do believe is that one who is immersed in torah so deeply has a certain 'Siyata d'shmaya' when giving advice or rulings. When I ask my Rav advice, I don't just ask him the question superficially and say "well, that's da'as torah", I go through every detail, every pro and con, and ask him to explain the thought process which brought him to whatever conclusion he has come to. If this makes me a 'Kofer', so be it, I can live with that.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

>Honoring a convicted felon is against halahcha? Only if we are honoring the 'felony' itself.

By honoring a convicted felon, one is essentially honoring his crime, especially when his generousity is a by-product of his crime.

10:53 AM  
Blogger gabe said...

Still Wonderin' said...
"Gabe,...
1) Cynics look for problems and thrive on them.
2) Realists recognize problems and seek resolutions.
3) Ostriches (at least we think they do) stick their heads in the sand and refuse to see problems that are as clear as the nose on their face.

Who are you?"

If I had to label myself I guess I'd call myself an optimistic realist. I don't think that making the assumption that in an institution the size of BMG, the Roshai Yeshivah are not involved in the day to day finances of the Yeshivah, Constitutes sticking my head in the sand.
I'm not saying that they are right in every instance, and where there is a serious concern, such as: financing those Kollel Yungelite that are not willing to sacrifice for thier learning, nor are they planning to make a life of Torah, (but to chill out for a couple of years before waking up to address thier responsibilities), I do feel that they are remiss.
Definitely not an ostrich, certainly would hate to be a cynic. But one who lays the blame for this one at the feet of the Roshei Yeshivah, simply has it in for them. If the caretaker forgot to shovel the yeshiva's walk, would you blame the Roshei Yeshivah as well?

11:26 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

Knowing how some other organizations work, I can tell you that often, such events are run by people "outside" of the organization. Sometimes they are hired consultants, sometimes they are people who have taken it upon themselves to do a chesed for an organization. In my example, I am close with an organization who does tremendous work, and who sees a large part of their donations come from a certain community. The organization does have an annual chinese auction, but this particular community has taken it upon themselves to run this event and they do so in a way that they feel it appeals to them. In fact, I'd even go so far as to state that I believe this particular community wants to run an annual auction and they need an organization to do it for and they chose this organization.

In this case, the auction certainly goes to benefit the worthy organization, but the organization doesn't really have that much of a say in the event (they do have to authority for final sign off and approval). But for example, if the people running the event felt they wanted to make the event extremely extravagant, the organization couldn't really change that.

I'm not saying that's the case with BMG -- but I just wanted to offer a different perspective.

On the topic of getting money from "questionable" sources -- that's a very tough one to answer. Sure, one's immediate feeling is that it can't be done -- but when an organization needs cash and someone is offering it, it can be all too easy to look the other way. But I have a completely different view on this because it involves something that is unlike any other -- MONEY. Money corrupts people in odd ways. Do you believe that every frum person who has money has gotten that money in an honest fashion? Sure, there are plenty of honest yidden who are B"H able to support many mosdos, but the only difference between the ones who are dishonest and the ones who are convicted is that the convicted ones got caught.

I only say this to turn and ask another question -- say you run a yeshiva and you want to honor someone who you KNOW has been dishonest in business but who has never been caught. What do you do? In a court of law (both jewish and civil), one is innocent until proven guilty, so maybe that is the defining factor. I don't know.

11:31 AM  
Blogger NohrMaal said...

Yes if the felon got the most of donated money by criminal activities one should not honor him.

Nieter should we honor a guy who thru his chilul shabbat got his wealth and is now donating part of it to feel good about himself.

The list goes on an on...

11:32 AM  
Blogger JH said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:06 PM  
Blogger JH said...

Not sure how many homes can actually handle the huge crown moldings on their ceiling without looking rediculous... (www.jewishpros.blogspot.com)

12:08 PM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

LOL jh -- someone in shul this morning commented on what a 15k party would be like in a basement apartment...

12:44 PM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

I think that expensive and lavish parties are exactly what the Rosh Yeshiva's wanted to get the frum community to get away from which is why so many Rosh Yeshivas signed the simcha guidelines.

While I haven't seen this particular Chinese Auction brochure (suprising since I thought I was on every list by now!), I'm just glad to hear that the Yeshiva backtracked and made what I'm sure was a difficult decision.

I would hope that at a very minimum, those who run Chinese auctions could reconsider prizes that give away fancy parties. While very few people in the community would know if we bought an expensive dining set for our home, the entire neighborhood would know if we put on a lavish kiddush or a lavish Bar Mitzvah party.

I think the in your face materialism is much more damaging to our community than the fact that many people own nice china.

12:54 PM  
Blogger gabe said...

This just in..... cost to BMG for cancelling.... (drumroll)....$250,000.00.
I feel sorriest for the vendors, they probably fronted thier costs, confident that the money which would come in at the time of the auction would go to pay them. Now that it's cancelled, how fast do you think BMG can come up with that kind of money. I'm sure they're going to sweat a while before they get paid. If I were going to make a donation to BMG, I'd give it on the condition that it went to pay the vendors.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous charliehall said...

Speaking of a self-identified Orthodox Jew who supports gambling (along with some other possibly non-kosher activities):

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/28/AR2005122801588.html

The contrast between the last line of the fifth paragraph, and the very last line of the entire article, chilled me. Yet I've seen almost no comment on this anywhere, even in the normally feisty Jewish blog world.

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just in..... cost to BMG for cancelling.... (drumroll)....$250,000.00.

So now a fundraiser is needed to pay for the canceled fundraiser!

1:23 AM  
Anonymous Cardash C. said...

Not to get off topic, but am I the only one who is concerned about spelling in these comments?

I mean thier, specifficaly, enticments, coledge, rediculous, neccesserily, persuit just to name a few.

Are there five-year-olds commenting? if you want someone to take your comment seriously, at least use proper grammar.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you equate a poor Kallah to Lakewood. The poor Kallah doesn't bash gashmius and would openly wish she had more of it. Lakewood on the other hand...

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