Friday, April 30, 2010

Attempt at a story

We all experience difficult times in our lives, when things get us down. I wrote this story to outline one approach that helps me see things in perspective. It's called, "If I knew what G-d knew."

There once was a girl named Tzippy and she was not happy with her life. Although there were many good things in her life, there were many challenges that she faced. Tzippy turned to G-d to cry out and she exclaimed, "G-d!! I don't understand why you are doing this to me! It seems that everyone else I know has it so easy! How come everything is so hard for me? Some get along so easily with their family, while my family always has conflict. Some had several job offers after only weeks of searching, and it took me close to a year to receive even one job offer. I don't understand!"

Filled with deep pain, Tzippy broke down sobbing. After Tzippy cried for a long time, G-d turned to her and said, "Ok. I will let you see the world from my perspective and you can come up to my level (K'Ilu) and then you can change whatever you want to change about your life."

Tzippy stopped short. "Wha-a-t?" she asked curiously.

G-d replied, “Come up to shamayim for just a minute, and make any request you want. I will fulfill it.”

In shock, Tzippy could barely respond. "Ok," she managed to answer.

Tzippy then saw the world from G-d's perspective. "Alright," G-d said gently. "What would you like to change? You see yourself, your good deeds, your faults, your past, your future. You see everyone else, their struggles, the great things about their lives. Change what you wish."

Tzippy looked down at the world and stared long and hard. It was as though the world below her was a large checkerboard. She put her hand on the piece that represented herself, and began to move it around to see what would happen. Each time she moved it, other pieces moved around, depicting the consequences of her actions. Every time she tried to switch her life with other people’s who seemed better, she took it back, since their struggles were way worse than hers and by far outweighed any positive aspect to the switch.

She thought and thought and thought. Hours passed by. After reviewing all the options, the possibilities, the alternatives, Tzippy was ready to make her request. Finally she said quietly, "I would keep everything exactly the same. I wouldn't so much as change one second or one small thing."

“Are you sure?” G-d asked, smiling kindly.

“Well,” she paused. “There are some things that I would change, but none of them are things that I would ask you to do. They are all things that I need to change about myself. I need to daven harder and change myself so I will deserve the things I want.”

She glanced down one last time and repeated firmly, “Knowing what you know, G-d, I wouldn’t change a thing. I want to keep my life exactly the way it is.”

Tzippy returned to the world. I would love to say that Tzippy was always happy and never had a complaint about her life again, but that would not be true. There were still many things that she didn’t understand. But how she viewed her life was different. She was more content with her portion in life, and she was able to realize that even the things that she didn’t understand were from G-d, and He knew the reason. If she knew what He knew, she wouldn’t change a thing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"The Shidduch Crisis"

It seems like there is always someone ranting about “The Shidduch Crisis.” To sum it up: There are many people who are not married and looking to get married, but cannot seem to find the right person. How can we solve this problem? There are a lot of suggestions as to what the problem is exactly and how we can solve it. Two that I’ve heard are that singles these days are “too picky” and that people are focused on insignificant details. Some say it’s because the entire shidduch system is messed up, and the reason it’s messed up is because people is because people focus on insignificant details.

The typical example that is used is when a person asks, “What color tablecloth does he/she use on shabbos?” I think most people can agree that is a ridiculous question, and I have never encountered someone who actually asked that question or cared what color table cloth a person a person used.

In terms of being “too picky,” what qualifies as “too picky”? For example, there are things that don’t matter- such as the tablecloth example mentioned above. Then there are things that you’re not going to give up on, that you need in a spouse. For example, a guy who believes that women are obligated to cover their hair after marriage, is not called “too picky” for refusing to date someone who does not plan to cover her hair after marriage. You have to stand up for what you believe in and not compromise on what’s really important to you. But what about examples where it is less clear?

Let’s say a guy keeps chalav yisrael and a girl is suggested to him who does not keep chalav yisrael? Is that enough to say no? Let’s say a girl grew up out of town and only wants to live in a small Jewish community outside of New York, and there is a guy who a shadchan says would be perfect for her, but only wants to live in the New York area. Should she compromise?

I was thinking about this because there is a couple I know who has been happily married for a long time, and at the time they met and got married they were less religious and began dating simply for fun. After a while they decided to get married, and discovered they had huge differences in how they felt about certain issues. Without going into details, the issues were so big that if I had been either one of them, I never would have compromised on those issues. But they were in love, so they worked it out and decided to get married anyway.

My point is: If they had gone through the shidduch system, no one would have ever set them up. Hashkafically they were on completely different planes, but they were so in love that they were willing to make huge sacrifices. They have been happily married for a while.

Those who give dating and marriage advice are always saying that marriage is about compromise. How big of a compromise though? What if he wants to learn and she’s looking for someone who plans to work? If they were meant to be, would they find a way to work it out? We’ll never know because they won’t get a chance to meet.

The problem is that there seems to be no good solution. Should everyone just date anyone at all as long as it seems like their personalities will click, because only then will they truly know what they’d be willing to compromise on for true love? That doesn’t make sense. There has to be some reason for people to go out with each other, they have to have at least some shared values. Should we keep the system the way it is? Well, many people seem to think that it is not working. Maybe each person just need to define which issues are important and which ones are not.

So: What’s considered “too picky” and what’s considered holding on to your beliefs?

Monday, April 26, 2010


A friend once asked me what kind of kippah I’m looking for when it comes to shidduchim. "It doesn't really matter to me," I replied.
"Really?" she asked. "What if he wore a black velvet kippah? What about kippah sruga? What about a black hat? A big white kippah?"
"As long as he wears a kippah, and we have the same values, that's what's important." I answered honestly.

Different head coverings for men (and women who are married, but that’s a different story) are just ways for Jews to separate themselves from other Jews. It adds to the judgmental mentality and increases negative feelings towards one another. "Oh, he wears *that* kind of kippah. Tsk, tsk. That's not my type of Jew. I don’t associate with those types."

I think that all Rabbis/ Gedolim of all movements, denominations, whatever (Chassidish, Yeshivish, Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Conservadox, etc, whatever you want to call all those categories)- all Jews, should get together and pick one type and color of kippah, and declare that all Jews should wear it, as an attempt to avoid Sinas Chinam.

The main opposition to this idea would be: Which kippah do you pick? If you pick black velvet, those who wear kippah srugah or are prejudice against chareidim will refuse. If you pick a kippah sruga, the black velvet wearers would never agree. And picking one of those colorful conservative type kippahs that stand up on guys heads like a triangle, well, those just looks odd.

I was thinking maybe white velvet would work- kind of a combination. The main problem with this is that those who wear black hats will still want to wear black hats, and those who don't wear hats at all will not want to wear hats, so that will create division. And people wouldn't go for the white velvet idea because someone will claim that it is "against tradition" and put a ban on it.

Perhaps this wouldn’t solve anything, as those who are determined to be prejudice would find other ways to be discriminatory. Perhaps those wearing jeans or colored shirts would labeled by some as “modern”, and those in white shirt black pants would be labeled by others as “frummies.” But at least everyone wearing the same kippah would be a step in the right direction. It would facilitate the realization that, “Maybe this person doesn’t keep Torah in the same way I do, but we wear the same kippah, there is something the same about us, we are all part of Klal Yisrael.”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Parents and dating

Recently a friend of mine was telling me how her parents are always trying to find reasons why she’s not married yet and giving her advice on what she should do in order to get married. “Did you try talking to this shadchan?” Other friends’ parents always seem to be telling them how they need to get married, or making side comments implying that they hope their children will get married very, very soon.

What kind of message are these parents giving to their kids? Is marriage the most important thing in life? I understand that they want their children to get married, all parents want that. But is it urgent for them to be married as soon as possible, right away? Is it more important for them to be married than to be happy? These friends have enough pressure on them to get married, when there are people younger than us getting engaged and married and having babies left and right, and they don’t need the added pressure from their parents, who they want to please.

It’s as though it doesn’t matter if they are the top of their class and become a doctor; if they are not married, the parent isn’t fully satisfied. This is unreasonable because marriage isn’t in our control; it’s up to Hashem as to when we will find the right person. Wouldn’t these friends be married if it was up to them? Of course. It’s not that they don’t want to get married. They are putting in effort and doing the best they can. It’s not their fault that they aren’t married. The only thing that happens when parents pressure their children to get married, is the children become resentful and more frustrated about dating, which is hard enough as it is, unless you are lucky to find the person right away. Unfortunately, that is not the case most of the time.

Thank G-d, my parents are great when it comes to dating. Of course they want me to get married, like all parents, but they make sure to tell me and emphasize that the most important thing to them is that I’m happy. If I don’t get married for a while then the only reason this would upset them is if I’m upset about it. Whenever my friends express frustration about their parents, it reminds me how thankful I have to be for my parents.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Office Issues

Keeping kosher is way more difficult to do with Jews than it is with non-Jews. If you are eating a meal with non-Jews and they ask, "Why aren't you eating?" you can reply, "Well, I'm a religious Jew and I keep kosher and this food is not kosher." Most people have heard of Kosher even if they don't know exactly what it means. As one person once asked me, "Is your food blessed by Rabbis?" The first time I heard that one I was like, "What? No. That's not what Kosher means." Many Americans are very interested in diversity and learning about different religions so the practice of keeping kosher is fascinating.

When it comes to non-religious Jews, however, things get a little more complicated. I work in an office that is mostly non-religious Jews. There are some non-Jews and there are a few other religious Jews, but we are the minority. Today my department had a lunch meeting and they ordered food from a restaurant. I knew about this meeting for a little while, but didn't want to ask where they were ordering food from because I didn't want them to order special food just for me. Also, there is one guy in my department who is also religious who has been there much longer than I have, so I figured there was a chance that they would be ordering kosher food anyway. The last time we had a lunch we went to a restaurant outside of the office which was Kosher.

I was one of the first ones to arrive at the meeting, since I am a fairly on-time person and for some reason I don't run on "Jewish time," the special time zone that the rest of the Jewish world runs on, that apparently includes non-religious Jews as well. There were a few other people there including the religious guy and I casually asked where the food was from, trying my best to appear simply curious, not as though it would impact me in any way. They of course figured out that I was asking to find out if it was Kosher. The problem is when people insist, "it's kosher, it's kosher!" and have no basis for that. They mentioned the name of the store it came from, which was a place I have never heard of at all.

Upon seeing my hesitation, someone added that the religious guy was OK eating the food. I found this was true when I spoke to him, but unfortunately what he said did not do anything to reassure me, and in fact what he told me made me more likely to believe that the place did not have an acceptable kashrut certification. He held that the food was OK, but made sure to tell me that I shouldn't rely only on the fact that he said it was OK. I felt it would not be appropriate to leave and run back to my computer to look up whether that particular establishment was up to my standards, so I simply decided not to eat the food to be on the safe side.

This would not have been a difficult decision (the food wasn't that tempting), except that like I mentioned, most people in my company are Jewish, so the women have the "Jewish Mother" syndrome. Each person had to individually ask me, "Why aren't you eating?" "Don't you want to eat something?" I couldn't say that the food wasn't kosher, since they would have pointed to the religious guy and said, "Well, he's eating it, it is kosher!" So instead I was stuck hemming and hawing and saying, "Oh, um, it's OK, really, um, don't worry about it." I couldn't even use the excuse that I usually use when we have cake for birthdays, that I'm on a diet. And in my head I always think, "Yeah. The kosher diet..."

Despite the fact that the entire situation made me uncomfortable, (because I would have rather explained my beliefs, which is easy, but I didn't want to embarrass the religious guy), I walked out of the situation relieved. I could have easily given in and said, "Well, he's eating it." I could have rationalized, "Well, I could just eat the fruit/vegetables." Instead I decided to stand my ground and say "Unless I'm sure, I'm not going to eat it." After the meeting I looked up the restaurant online and could not find a website that listed it as a kosher restaurant. It said "kosher" on the restaurant's website, but did not say who was giving it hashgacha, as most restaurants do. And it was equally unclear if all of their chains were kosher or only certain locations. The only thing I hope is that I didn't give off any "holier than thou" vibes to the religious guy and that I didn't make him feel bad eating food which he thought was acceptable (which it very well may be, just as far as my research goes it was not), simply because I was not eating it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Be yourself"?

People are always saying, “Be yourself.” Especially in the context of dating, right before a date- “Just be yourself.” I never fully understood what that means. You are yourself, how can you be anything besides yourself? I understand that often people put on facades and act a certain way just for show, but their choice of how to act reflects who they are.

Human beings are complex and are not one certain way. A person can act one way in one situation and a different way in a different situation and there is no problem with that. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t being themselves. They are just choosing to express or emphasize a certain aspect of themselves.

Perhaps people mean don’t pretend to be a certain way just to please people. For example, don’t say you’re interesting in something that you have no interest in, simply to get a person’s attention. But to me that is not a matter of “being yourself” but rather a matter of honestly. In which case people should say, “Don’t lie.”

Maybe what “Be yourself” means is be active in expressing all aspects of yourself. Don’t hide a part of yourself because you’re afraid that people won’t like it or approve of it. Don’t over-emphasize or build up a part of yourself that isn’t so important to you. There are many facets to each individual, and we each choose which parts we like and which parts we don’t.

This can be hard to do on dates if you’re too focused on what the person thinks about you and if they like you or not. I think instead of “Be yourself” we should say “Express all aspects of youself,” or “don’t hide certain parts of yourself.” You are who you are, all the many components combined together. If you only show the world one slice of yourself, then they are missing out on seeing the real you.

Hashgacha Pratit vs. Bechira Chafshit

It seems to me that there are two main approaches when it comes to Hashem’s involvement in our lives and from each one has pros and cons. Note: I do not know the exact sources for these approaches, they are just what I have learned, unfortnately I do not remember from where from where. Let’s take a simple example situation to explain the two approaches: Reuven hits Shimon. How involved was Hashem in this action?

Approach #1 would say the following: Gam Zu L’Tova. Everything is good. Shimon deserved to be hit, and Reuven was just the messenger. If Reuven had not hit Shimon, someone else would have done the job. Hashem wanted Shimon to be punished for whatever bad deed it was that he did, so He actively intervened and made sure it happened. Therefore it was good for Shimon to suffer in this world so he would not have to suffer in the next world. (There are a lot of sources for this approach, the most recent place I read about it was an excellent book that I highly recomment called “The Garden of Emunah” by Rabbi Shlomo Arush.)

Approach #2 would say the following: It was a bad thing that Reuven hit Shimon. Shimon was innocent and did NOT deserved to be hit. The reason he was hit is because Hashem allows for there to be Bechira/free will in the world. Hashem did not want Shimon to be hit, but He in some sense removed himself and was passive, allowing Shimon to be hit, in order for humans to have free will.

Here’s my problem with approach #1: How can you possibly say that something that is bad is good? It might be OK in a small, simple example like the one mentioned above, but what about when it comes to something like the Holocaust or a tsunami or earthquake. How can you say that this is a good thing? A person dying is not a good thing. How can you say that Hashem wanted millions of Jews to suffer in the Holocaust?

Here’s my even bigger problem with approach #2: How can you say that something happened that Hashem does not want to happen? If Hashem didn’t want it to happen, it wouldn’t happen! He is G-d, He is omnipotent. Additionally, how is that fair to poor Shimon? Shimon was hurt all for the higher cause of allowing for free will? This is saying that Shimon did not deserve to be hit, but Hashem allowed it to happen. That bothers me greatly.

This is an important issue to resolve because we need to know how to react to things that happen in our lives. Someone insults you. Was this Hashem sending you a message or does it have no meaning at all because Hashem has taken a step back to allow for bechira?

Where do we go from here? Where is Hashem in all of this? Is he actively involved in bad things or is He passively allowing bad things to happen?

I don’t know if any sources say this (if you know of one, please let me know!), but what I believe is closer to approach number one. Certainly, Reuven hitting Shimon was a bad thing; you can’t say it was good. But it has a purpose. For some reason Shimon needed to be hit, although we will probably never know the reason. The earthquake in Haiti was horrible. Hashem is actively involved in our lives and in causing things to happen to us. Whatever happens to us in our lives is directly from Hashem and He wants it to happen. It’s not always good, but it has a purpose. I think that’s what Gam Zu L’Tova means. Not that it was good, but FOR the ultimate good. Looking at things on a case by case basis, Hashem does things that are bad, but they have a purpose and that purpose is the ultimate good.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"What's her dress size?" "Um, Excuse me?"

In my previous post, I wrote about my recent experience of being a shidduch reference for a friend of mine. One question I was asked, which I expected, was about her physical appearance. This reminded me of the time when someone I know was asked the question about a friend, “What dress size is she?” That question bothers me a great deal, since dress sizes are not an effective way to determine attraction, which is the intention of the inquiry, for a few reasons:

1. I find that guys have no clue what a dress size actually means- it is just a number that they cannot use to correctly identify to a certain body type. After hearing the dress size, therefore, they will be no better informed as to whether the girl is thin or overweight.

2. Sometimes a girl doesn’t look as big as her dress size. This is especially true if the girl is tall. What might be considered a large size for a short girl is actually healthy for a tall girl. I have friends who told me their dress size and my reaction was, “What?? No way. You are definitely smaller than that.” Dress sizes don’t mean that much.

3. There are women and men who are overweight who are still attractive, and there are very, very think women and men, who for other reasons are not attractive at all. Dress sizes are not a good determination of this.

4. If a potential date sounds like a good match in every area- hashkafa, personality, background, etc, but you are told that they are overweight, or you see a picture of them and they are not 100% unattractive, I really think you owe it to yourself and that person to at least try it out and go on one date. If after a few hours of talking to the person, you can’t stand to look at them, I understand not going on a second date. You might not think that a person is attractive right away, but once you get to know them, they become more attractive to you. Additionally, pictures are not always reliable. People do not always look the same in person as they do in pictures, so the only way to know for sure that you are not attracted to them is to meet them in person. If everything else matches up perfectly (which, I might add, is pretty hard to find), then I think refusing to go out with them solely based on looks is not right.

Luckily when it came to being a reference for my friend, the question I was asked was “What does she look like?” and not “what is her dress size?” Baruch Hashem, I had only good things to say in this area, and I described her as best as I could, though I’m not sure how it helps the guy to know what color hair and eyes she has.

Being a reference

Yesterday I had an interesting experience. A friend who I have known for years called me to tell me that she had put me down as a reference for a possible shidduch and that I should expect a call from someone. I received the call later that day and the person asked me questions about my friend.

This reminded me about a discussion I once had about references. Some say that you should only put down married people/ married friends as references, and that it’s not a good idea to put down single friends as references. The reasoning, as I understand it, is that single friends are also in shidduchim and therefore might succumb to jealousy and be tempted to give a more negative report.

When I heard the explanation I was outraged that someone would even think that a person’s close friend might do something of that nature. What kind of a friend is so bitter about the possibility that their friend might get married before they do, that they would speak negatively about their friend to prevent them from getting married? Who would be jealous of their friend that much?

I admit that as time went on began to have some small amount of insight into this, as I unfortunately experienced a slight tinge of jealously upon hearing of someone getting engaged. But I still remain horrified by the logic that jealousy would drive someone so far.

Now that I have actually had the experience of being a reference for someone, I have a basis to say that the logic that “maybe she will be jealous and say something falsely negative” is completely outrageous.

When this person called me up to ask about my friend, I was beyond excited to share what an amazing person and friend this girl is. All I could feel was happiness at the prospect of her finding the person she is meant to be with. If anything, the biggest nisayon might have been focusing on remaining honest and not building her up too much, but I think I gave as accurate a description as I could. After I hung up the phone, the only thought in my head was, “Wow! I hope it works out! If it does then I will be zoche to helping one of my friends, which would be so amazing!”

There must be another explanation for why some don’t put single friends as references. After all, isn't someone who knows you really well a better choice to be a reference than someone who is only an aquaintance but happens to be married?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sefira: "Don't just count the days; make the days count."

As I was counting Sefira, I was thinking about the cute line that I once heard about Sefira, “Don’t just count the days, make the days count.” In addition to being catchy, it made me think about these particular days and how Rabbi Akiva’s students were killed because they did not treat each other with respect/honor/Kavod. Perhaps this is why Rabbi Akiva is the one who says that “V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Kamocha” is a Klal Gadol BaTorah.

One thing that bothers me a lot is when Jews are not respectful of one another. That is the reason that the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed- Sinat Chinam, baseless hatred. It’s OK to disagree with people. Sometimes people are wrong, and sometimes they do bad things, but that is no reason to hate them or treat them disrespectfully. Hashem loves all Jews, no matter how fall they might have fallen. If Hashem has mercy, how can we not have mercy on our fellow Jew?

Sometimes it is difficult to separate people from their actions. Sometimes it’s difficult to love all Jews no matter what, the way that Hashem does. A while ago there was someone who I was having a difficult time getting along with, and so I started making a list of ways I could improve myself when it came to getting along with them. I realized as I was making the list that the ideas were not only applicable to that particular individual, but that they were really ways that I should be treating everyone.

I find when it comes to Sefira and also the Three weeks (when people focus on the fact that the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed because of Sinat Chinam), it is difficult to find practical suggestions of what to do to work on having Kavod for others. Here is the list that I made. I wish I could say I was even close to being on the level of all of the items on the list. I’m not posting it because I am there, but because I was looking for practical suggestions in order to make an effort, and thought this list might be useful to others who were looking as well.

10 suggestions for Kavod HaBriyot and Ahavat Chinam:

1. Always judge people favorably. The source for this is in Pirkei Avot. This doesn’t mean always assume that a person is doing something good. Sometimes people make mistakes or don’t make the right choice. No one is perfect, we still we are good even when we mess up. Judging favorably means judging a person to be a good person, even if they do bad things.
2. Accept them for who they are. Don’t try to change who they are. We can’t change people, as much as sometimes we might want to. Maybe they have an irritating laugh or an annoying habit that bothers us. Hating them for a small reason like that is Sinat Chinam. Move past it and accept that is who they are.
3. Treat everyone with honor and respect. Think of how we treat great people or famous people. We would never be rude or say something hurtful to a great Rabbi or a distinguished politician. Try to hold everyone to that high level of respect.
4. Care about them. V’Ahavta L’Rayacha Kamocha. I once learned that this means that you should want what’s best for them. If you really care about another person you are happy for them when good things happen to them, and are upset when bad things happen to them.
5. Give to them. Different people need different things from us. For one person it might be listening to them when they want someone to talk to, and for another person it might be giving charity. While it’s obviously impossible to give to everyone in the world, when opportunities to give to others arise, our immediate reaction should be, “Sure!” or “I wish I could,” instead of “They aren’t part of my social circle” or “They aren’t as frum as/ they are more frum than I am, so why should I give to them, if they don’t give to me?”
6. Overlook people’s faults. This is really hard because often we are critical and people’s faults are obvious. Remember that it’s not our job to correct other people’s thoughts; it is only our responsibility to fix our own flaws. If this seems impossible, remember that we often do this for friends and family. Although we are perfectly aware of their flaws, because they are family or because they are our friends, we ignore that and maintain a relationship with them anyway.
7. Focus on their positive aspects. Although this might seem remarkably similar to the previous item on the list, the truth is that even if you overlook someone’s faults, you might still not realize what an amazing person they are. Everyone has positive qualities, and there is something to be learned from everyone.
8. Realize that they have difficulties in life. I find that I see people in a completely different light once I think about this point. Sometimes we forget that people are struggling with their own issues, and perhaps that is the cause of their negative behavior. We jump to the conclusion that because they act a certain way it is because they are a certain type of person. We never know a person’s struggles or what their life is really like.
9. Believe in them, in their strength and their ability/potential to be great. Hashem created every human being for a reason. Each person has a unique person and each person has the potential to achieve greatness. The way you approach people and the way you treat people will be different if you realize that they could become a Tzadik/Tzadeket one day.
10. Be forgiving and let things go. Sometimes people insult or offend us and we are hurt and out of stubbornness insist on holding on to it and constantly bring it up. “Why should I trust you to be on time this time? Last time you were 45 minutes late!” Even if they haven’t apologized, let things go.

Why do people blog?

A little while ago, a friend of mine suggested that I start a blog. Why do people start blogs? I wondered. I admit that I still don't really know, and I assume there are many reasons, but it seems to me that people create blogs because they want to share ideas and discuss things. I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but every time I would sit down to start it I would say, "Um, hmm, well, what would I write about? I'm not sure I have anything to say." Well, I decided to start a blog anyway, so here it goes.

I decided to call my blog "Life after Stern College," because I graduated Yeshiva University's Stern College relatively recently, and so most of what's on my mind is what's going on my life since then. Also, saying that I graduated from Stern gives you a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from. Those who are hashkafically to the right of YU say that it teaches heresy, while those on the left will claim that YU keeps moving to the right. I respect that everyone has the right to have their own opinion, even if I may disagree with it.