By a mother
I’m writing this letter since the summer is approaching and I would like both parents and bochurim to read this.
My son has gone through the system, excelling in enough areas to land him in one of the best Yeshivas. As the years progressed he went to help a Shliach whose many responsibilities didn’t allow him time to be active on the local campus as well. So he had my son and his friend run programs for Jewish students there.
Perhaps naive of me, I wasn’t too inquisitive about the nature of their activities. I was proud of him for helping bring people closer to Yiddishkeit. But with time, it become clear to me that a bochur regularly mingling with boys and girls his age, from a secular background, was having a negative effect on him.
The more I thought about it, the more dismayed I became. Here is a boy that has been able to stay on the up and up and was now being put in a situation that might affect him in the long run. As a young person, he was not an appropriate chaperone for others of his own age.
Baruch Hashem, and to my knowledge, nothing against halacha was committed by my son and his friend. But the impact, which I now hope and pray will not be lasting, was felt – even over the phone. When I raised the issue with the Shliach, he immediately dismissed any responsibility.
These experiences, had they been on a few occasions, I believe would be fine, and honestly, I am not so strict in these things. However, seeing the same people on a regular basis builds relationships that they have no experience with. Even a good bochur can be tempted. I don’t believe we should test our children in this way.
I appreciate the opportunity to expose our children to all situations and it is a great learning experience. However, we must safeguard our children, as well.
When we send our boys/girls out to a Shliach, we have confidence that the Shliach will keep our child’s well-being in mind. And if he can’t do that, he should not hire bochurim. Or at least make it clear at the outset that they are on their own.
Perhaps it should be official policy of Merkos / Chabad on Campus that single bochurim and girls should not be operating on campus for a period of time without a Shliach directly supervising. Hatzalah, for example, only accepts married men into their volunteering service.
As the summer approaches please do not take for granted that the environment your teen is headed to is appropriate. Shluchim take note that we appreciate all that you do on the forefront, however we ask you to please think through the situations you put these young adults in, as well.