Modern Orthodox man not allowed to be counted in minyan

This kind of behaviour so sickens me. I read this story somewhere else. A woman’s husband works a lot in Lakewood. The family themselves are Modern Orthodox, and live near but not in Lakewood. He had made enquiries about going to a shacharit minyan in Lakewood as he is there so often. He was told by a Lakewood contact that:

he needs to be careful to only go to a minyan that already has 10 men because they may not be able to count him in the minyan due to his “heretical beliefs.”

This family keeps Shabbat, Kashrut, Taharat Hamishpacha and the husband learns as much as he can. But, he wears a kippah srugah – a knitted kippah, and his wife doesn’t wear the Lakewood “uniform”. Their kids go to Modern Orthodox schools and are allowed to watch TV… Surely this is no reason to exclude anyone from a minyan? Because he is not a black hatter? Seriously, people, I want to believe that this is not true. Because if it is then my boys will never be accepted as part of a minyan in Lakewood. But, if they don a black hat, all of a sudden it’s all good?? And, aren’t there other Modern Orthodox folk in Lakewood? It’s not totally yeshivish, to my understanding.

I want to think that the person that spoke to the husband was just projecting his own concerns and issues, and didn’t speak for Lakewood as a whole. I cannot believe that there would be such unwritten rules in a place of such deep learning as Lakewood.


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  1. Rachel Ann says:

    Too mad now (as you may have noticed on the board) to respond cogently. Can we leave it at disgusted? Or I’ll rant away.

  2. Ita says:

    While I agree wholeheartedly that it’s disgusting.. Could it be that it’s just the opinion of this one contact?
    My father is MO and he was given an aliyah at my husband’s aufruf in lakewood.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      that’s what I’d like to think, that it is one opinion. But then, look at what is happening in Emanuel…

    • sheldan says:

      Ita, I fear that there may be more who share this individual’s prejudice against fellow Jews who don’t fit the stereotype.

  3. Mark says:

    Lakewood (and many Charedim out there) are slowly forming a new religion.They can have it, but I prefer to remain Jewish.

  4. RubyV says:

    Not surprised at all.

  5. E' says:

    have you thought that maybe, “his erretical beliefs” were not related to his modern orthodoxy per say but might have been related to other issues.

    I do not belief that because he is not wearing a black hat that he wouldnt be counted. maybe if he was a super duper extremist zionist, he might have burnt some bridges, but there has to be a whole lot more to the story than just that. doesn’t make sense.

    • blog follower says:

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. We are very quick to judge without knowing all the facts. I think we should all remember that when we point a finger at someone – 3 fingers are pointing back at house.
      I would really like to know the whole story, we have only a small part of it.

    • sheldan says:

      E and Blog Follower, that may be so, but I have heard about all kinds of snubs for all kinds of reasons, and unless more facts come out this still stands as shameful behavior on the part of the “excluders.” We are still Jews…

      • batya from NJ says:

        sheldan, i think it’s important to refrain from judging the lakewood (& other chareidi communities) unless more facts come out. as many posters (myself included) have said above, this story does not seem to ring true & is certainly not true in general but perhaps was done/said by 1 misguided individual. we must not judge until the full story becomes known & just b/c something is written somewhere does not automatically render it the truth!!!

        • sheldan says:

          Batya, I am willing to suspend judgment here. However, I still stand on my statement that there are people who are still willing to exclude those who don’t meet a particular standard. I may revise my earlier stands to state that the INDIVIDUALS who do this are shameful.

  6. Mel from Monsey says:

    I hope this is not true. This would cause a serious problem. To the best of my knowledge Moshe Rabbeinu did not wear a black hat, therefore, he would not have been counted as one of the ten minyan men.

  7. Daniel Schwartz says:

    I would never join any country club that would have me as a member-Groucho Marx

  8. vushie says:

    this is why chabad are successfull at kiruv where chareidim fail…so sad

  9. The accusation in this story is untrue.

    I have davened, in Lakewood, Bene Beraq, Netivot and at the Kotel amongst Chareidim. I’ve led services and had aliyos and never been told “Sit in the back boychik, you’re not one of us”. And I wear coloured shirts and a large knitted kippah so it’s not like I’m not a visible minority.

    This person was either exagerating or joking.

    • Garnel’s right. I’ve never been rejected from a minyan for wearing my small kippah srugah, whether in boro park, lakewood, or meah shearim.

    • Z! says:

      Although my father has never been ‘turned away’, he was discouraged or just not invited when it was minyan time with friend’s in Brooklyn.
      I do not believe it was a choice on the other congregants part, just the one friend who I think might have been embarassed to have my father around. My dad is very learned and can lead davening, although he is conservative.
      My hubby always takes him to our shul- when my parents are around- and there has never been any indication that he is not welcome.
      IN FACT, we spent a shabbos in Lakewood with my parents and they were very welcomed into a very “white shirt” community.
      I do not like the idea of painting an entire community with the same brush, especially because Lakewood is really as diverse as Brooklyn and Monsey.

    • sheldan says:

      Garnel, RBBC, Z!, and Rachel Ann,

      I don’t think that the man would be joking.

      However, I do agree with Z! that there are probably individuals who give the entire community a bad name.

      On the other hand, I can attest to the fact that there ARE Jews who will greet you on the street and ignore you in shul. Sadly, especially when “cliques” have been well established and it is hard enough to break in, even when you have lived here for many years. Whether or not the story is anecdotal, I don’t think it can be ignored, and we do so at our peril.

  10. G6 says:

    Are you sure this story is true?
    As plausible as events of late might make it sound, I tend to be very skeptical of these “anecdotal” stories.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      Not at all – I read it on a frum messageboard…. it was posted by the wife. Does that make it true? I don’t know.

  11. The biggest threat to the Jews is NOT from the outside but from within.

  12. lady lock and load says:

    This is an unverified story and I don’t think it’s true. All it does is create sinaas chinum (Jews hating one another) and we sadly have enough of that in this world. :(

  13. batya from NJ says:

    i agree with all the posters who question the veracity of this story. quite frankly, i agree with the others who wonder if this in fact is the WHOLE story b/c somehow i find it doubtful. my husband who wears a knitted kippah has never experienced anything like this in all of the more chareidi-yeshivish or chassidish minyanim that he’s been to be it in Williamsburg, New Square, Passaic or wherever. Sounds quite untrue to me & i’m sure we are missing some facts here…

  14. Duvii says:

    There are stupiud people out there.

    They are all over.

    Most of them don’t realize that they are stupid.

    Some of them wear black hats too.

  15. kisarita says:

    what starts as a few loonies has a way of ballooning into a movement

  16. e says:

    I know many many people who live in Lakewood, and none of them would even entertain the notion that a jewish man, especially one who keeps shabbos, cannot make a minyan- These kinds of things are usually said by people who are prejudiced against black hatters

  17. Ari says:

    Sounds like either a hoax or we’re not getting the full story.

  18. sheldan says:

    I think that this is what the Sages said when they said that the Messiah has not come because there still is sinat chinam (baseless hatred).

    This is so outrageous it isn’t even funny. As long as both sides are on the same side of halacha, it shouldn’t matter about what yarmulka he wears or what dress she wears. Unfortunately, this is too typical of people today, and the relative tolerance I remember growing up is rarer now.

    Regardless of whether a fellow Jew dresses differently from the norm, he/she should be considered part of the community–end of story. I wish that more of us would look in the mirror and ask ourselves whether we are unconsciously ostracizing fellow Jews and take action to unite our communities.

  19. It just bothers me to see Jews divided, period. I grew up in a Reform Jewish congregation and the fact that I would be looked down upon or even considered not Jewish by very observant Jews bothers me to no end. Even now, I am not Shomer Shabbos, I don’t keep Kosher and a bunch of other things, but I still have a very strong Jewish identity and it bugs me to think that anyone, especially a member of my own religion, would consider me not Jewish. The only so called “Jews” I would consider not Jewish would be Messianic Jews because their fundamental beliefs just do not fit with the Jewish belief system, but other than that, everyone from Reform to the most observant Jew is Jewish to me. Jews are only approximately 1-2% of the world population and 3-4% of the US population. With numbers so small we shouldn’t be so divided and arguing about who’s Jewish and who isn’t (with my one previously mentioned exception).

  20. HaSafran says:

    Yes, there are idiots of all stripes and colors. This story may or may not be true. That this story CAN be true should not be denied by anyone. If you’re denying it, I please ask that you take your head out of the sand now.

    There are plenty of second-hand stories floating around about this sort of thing. I have seen one first-hand, as it happened to a friend of mine.

    Long story short, we were in a Chareidi area and needed to make a mincha minyan because my friend had a chiyuv. We found a minyan close by, where we (Dati Leumi, wearing “srugies”) were the only ones NOT wearing kapotes or black hats/shtreimels. The gabbai asked if there was a chiyuv present, and my friend said that he was. The gabbai looked at him, then asked again.

    My friend went up to the gabbai, and quietly explained that he had a chiyuv, which was our entire purpose of being at that minyan. The gabbai thanked him for the information, and then sent someone else up to the amud. We left to find another minyan (which we found several blocks away) where my friend could daven b’chiyuv.

    Do I resent all Chareidim for this? No.

    Do I think they all think this way? No.

    Does it happen? Yes.

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