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Were you a yeshiva rebel (kid at risk)???

Two of my posts Singles Weekend and Guide to Labeling Frummies have been nominated for best humor post in the JIB Awards Click the JIB link to vote.

Your strutting down the street smoking a cigarette wearing 30 inch wide leg Jnco jeans, have one of those No-Fear T-shirts on and are headed to another night of drinking dodging spies and trying to get some action. Its 1997 and you are a yeshiva Rebel, reject, kid at risk, fry, drop out, etc and the numerous other terms that the Jewish Observer coined in their famous article that discussed the phenomena plaguing frum Jewish communities everywhere, it is in this issue which my buddy is trying to find, that we finally learned that frum kids also enjoyed sex, drugs and partying. Until this point it was an underground movement on the streets of Flatbush and Baltimore, this article pushed the issues of kids at risk to the forefront of Judaism. They made a lot of profit from it too, by making camps, yeshivas and after school programs that all had the same ad line. Is your child unable to cope with a normal class size blah blah blah.

I myself was not a yeshiva rebel but since I did attend a reject school as it was known back in the day- and many of my friends were at some point yeshiva rebels or the types who got thrown out of good schools I figured I would reminisce about the good old days.

The days when Black Hattitude was cool and every punk love Metallica, when these kids shopped at stores like Gadzooks, Pacific Sunwear and Hot Topic and the pants had to be wide legs, shoes had to be airwalks and sweaters had to have a stripe across the top and the arms. You had to have been thrown out of multiple good schools before you arrived at schools such as Hamilton, Rochester, McKeesport, OTI, Shaya Cohens Yeshiva, Rodinsky, Adelphia, RITS, Richmond girls reject school and Bat Torah, Natan Eli, Ohr Chaim.

If you lived in Monsey you hung out in Viola park and Visznitz on shabbos afternoons and smoked weed at night. If you lived in Brooklyn Playboy and Primetime were the pool halls of choice, as well as any spot in front of the pizza shops on Avenue J. In Detroit they even banned sitting in the pizza store on Saturday nights because it was becoming a big hangout- so the crowds of cracked out rebels went back to 7-11 on Lincoln and Greenfield and paid the cracked out black dudes to buy them 40s of Mickeys and Old English. In Toronto you chilled in front of Markeys and in Hamilton you blazed in the tunnel of love.

You also lived for the chief rebel events of the year. Purim at Chaim Berlin was huge as well as simchas bais hashoyevas in Crown Heights- that got so bad- that they took out full page ads in the Jewish newspapers to announce that mingling will not be tolerated. Woodbourne was the biggest event of all, when every Saturday night especially shabbos nachamu would be a huge scene of yeshiva guy/girl rebels looking for weed, pussy and fights, Woodbourne was also banned for teenagers- all the papers always had ads that said dont le your kid go to Woodbourne. In LA it was all along Pico blvd and especially in front of Warm Stone Pizza.

The look was unanimous- you had to grow your bangs long and shove them underneath your little black velvet yarmulke that barely clang to the front of your head, the farther up front the more rebel you were. You had to wear the wide leg pants- especially the ones with little characters on the back that made it look as if your pants were hanging all the way down. Chain wallets were common, as were t-shirts from companies like stussy, quicksilver, no-fear and billabong. Everyone had to have their airwalks or airwalk look alikes. The girls just dressed like they do now, except the big thing back then was tight black stretchy skirts that showed the panty line with a pair of sneakers. They also loved wearing really tight denim skirts from Stevenson that we guys referred to as street sweepers.

You also have heard some version of the Sternberg Hot Dog story- I will not go into details- but if you have heard it- you probably grew up in the mid 90s and were a yeshiva rebel.

{ 88 comments… add one }
  • April 30, 2007, 8:28 PM

    Where on earth do I even begin to start commenting??? I’m getting teary-eyed and getting goosebumps all over just from reading this!

  • April 30, 2007, 8:47 PM

    So you can relate eh? Because I was worried that no one would get the irony of the post.

  • April 30, 2007, 8:54 PM

    what about growing up in Israel when it was cool to wear those stupid jerseys “Mighty Ducks” or some other chit. I had to import them from the US , cost me like 400 shek.

  • April 30, 2007, 8:56 PM

    The sterberg hotdog story is quite a gem. Every version of the story was pretty much the same except for the part about which camp it was. Some people said Sterberg. Others forcefully argued yelling, “I’m telling you bro, it was camp bnos. My cousins friend was there the year that it happened.” Others claimed that it was a chassidish girls camp. But when you would challenge them saying, “oh yeah? WHICH chassidish girls camp?” They never had an answer. Which leads me to believe that it didn’t happen at a chassidish girls camp. They just add that in there to make the story hotter. Chassidish girls have that same naughty sex apeal that you find in Catholic school girls. Anyways its quite the legend and I’m glad to see someone keeping the story alive.

  • April 30, 2007, 8:58 PM

    Jacob, I believe we’re talking about american kids at risk here. The israel scene was a whole different ballgame

  • April 30, 2007, 8:58 PM

    I am glad someone can shed some light on the Sternberg Hot Dog story- it has plagued me for years.

  • April 30, 2007, 9:08 PM

    What on earth is this hot dog story? I’m very confused here.

  • April 30, 2007, 9:17 PM

    The cool at risk kids never liked Black Hatitude. Black Hatitude was listened to by those same dork posers who never touched weed in their life but would walk around pretending to have munchies while talking like Jim Breuer in HALF BAKED just so people would think they were stoned.

  • April 30, 2007, 9:22 PM

    Someone should do a “WHERE ARE THEY NOW?”
    documentary on the real over the top infamous kids at risk from back in the day. I don’t need to mention names, but some of you know which people I’m talking about

  • April 30, 2007, 9:33 PM

    Oh man you had me laughing like crazy- tis the truth- I remember when they woke us up in the morning with either black hattitude, that yo ya song or the oyoyoy gila rina- the shitty Men At Work remix.

    You forgot to mention the other variation of the sternberg story- the one with the hamster- how it got stuck.

  • April 30, 2007, 9:37 PM

    A hamster? Now you’re just making that up on the spot. No such version of the story was ever told back then. And trust me, probably at least 8 dozen people related that story to me. Never heard a mention of a hamster

  • April 30, 2007, 9:39 PM

    Yeh the hamster sounds a little extreme- you sure you weren’t tripping behind Kiamesha lanes when you heard that one?

  • April 30, 2007, 9:44 PM

    Heshy! PLEASE TRY TO USE NICER LANGUAGE! “PUSSY” is not acceptable! You are a good guy! I know you well! And your blog is a freakin riot!!!

    Keep up the good work!
    PS-99% of the guys that stayed in rochester for 3 or more years turned out to be A-OK. Rochester ruled and made me who I am today!

  • April 30, 2007, 10:12 PM

    I wanna know more abouit this hotdog story. Please give us some details.. I never heard it before… (I was already in Israel in the ’90s)

  • May 1, 2007, 12:31 AM

    This is hilarious…;)
    I remember those days real well… thing is they’re not really over. I think the Yeshivish bum scene has only grown if anything. What really incourages it is that these guys go to Neve for a year which basically teaches them that it’s ok to do all this sh*t and actually incourages it. After that they come back home and bum around brooklyn for the next 5 years. The girls go to Michlelet Ester and get the same experience.
    The core of the problem obviously is the Yeshiva world’s lack of modernity, negation of pleasere and forced seperation of the sex’s . If these guys grew up in a more normal and relaxed environment in Queens or Teaneck the might end up spending their Shabbat afternoons at Bnei Akiva learning about Torah and Zionism instead of smoking pot on the corner of Ave J. and Coney.

  • May 1, 2007, 5:46 AM

    “The look was unanimous- you had to grow your bangs long and shove them underneath your little black velvet yarmulke that barely clang to the front of your head, the farther up front the more rebel you were. You had to wear the wide leg pants- especially the ones with little characters on the back that made it look as if your pants were hanging all the way down. Chain wallets were common, as were t-shirts from companies like stussy, quicksilver, no-fear and billabong. Everyone had to have their airwalks or airwalk look alikes.”

    I really miss that whole look. Of course if all your No Fear shirts were dirty you could put on a Soundgarden t shirt or a thermal greenday henley with the pot leaf necklace to top it off. On your preppy days you would wear the oversized Boss jeans with a cardboard starched button down Tommy Hilfiger shirt with Doc Martin boots.

  • May 1, 2007, 5:50 AM

    Does anyone remember in the late 90s when the punk look was to have really short hair with a large kiddie kippah? Some had aleph beis, some had luchos, some just had a wacky border.

  • May 1, 2007, 8:44 AM

    Right on Steve those white Hilfiger shirts with the blue inside the collars were all the rage in my first year in Rochester- as was anything that was featured in that months GQ magazine. I always thought the preppy bums were kind of gay myself.

  • May 1, 2007, 10:40 AM

    This is without a doubt the best blog post in the entire history of blog posts! Please keep this topic alive.

  • May 1, 2007, 3:05 PM

    Wow, this is too perfect and true.

    Its awesome how you put in the specific mentions of different cities. I can definitely say that the references to my hometown are true 🙂

    I agree about the “Where are they now?” post.. How many of us, “straightened out” or “frummed, flipped out”? It’s be cool to hear.

  • May 1, 2007, 3:43 PM

    still waiting for thehot dog story

  • May 1, 2007, 4:36 PM

    yeah, can someone post a link to the hotdog story?

  • May 1, 2007, 6:22 PM

    The hot dog story is basically about how some girl in an all girls camp was playing with a hot dog and it got stuck in her VG. Its a classic yeshiva guy urban legend and totally crap. C’mon a hot dog is not thick enough to get stuck up there. Jeez!!!

  • May 1, 2007, 7:01 PM

    According to most versions of the tale, the hot dog was frozen at the time. It then proceeded to break off inside of her with her vagina subsequently closing up, hence getting lodged inside. She needed surgery to get it removed.

  • May 1, 2007, 7:02 PM

    Now Mr. Ice Horse aren’t there other versions of the story?

  • May 1, 2007, 7:17 PM

    Thats the basic plot of every version of the story that Ive heard. Some people throw in little details like how mortified she was when she was trying to explain to the nurse what had transpired. Some change the details about which camp it was. Ive even heard people say it was Camp Moshava. A girl from Moshava playing with a frozen hot dog wouldnt really place her in the at risk category. She was probably just another chick with a modern orthodox name like Dorit or Leora trying to get off. Im assuming when a modern tzioni schoolgirl does this stuff, the community writes it off as normal and doesnt start dedicating Jewish Observer issues toward the topic. Actually come to think of it, thats an issue that would sell like hotcakes. I can just picture the centerfold now.

  • May 1, 2007, 7:22 PM

    Wow thanks for the run down- I guess if they did that it could be classified as frum porn, unless whip cream were used in the process creating issues of bassur v’chalav

  • May 1, 2007, 8:11 PM

    I don’t think theres an issue of bassur vchalav when you’re vaginally consuming something.

  • May 1, 2007, 8:14 PM

    todays kids at risk are the frumbutwithit grownups of tommorow

  • May 2, 2007, 12:17 PM

    GET AN EDITOR! seriously, great post, but you gotta work on your writing.The comments are even funnier. what was the pool hall in BRooklyn that evryone used to hang out in? it was on the second floor of a building.

  • May 2, 2007, 12:54 PM

    Primetime or Playboy-
    dude I have an editor its called Word and Firefox 2.0 that is all.

    I unfortunately do not have the time to catch all the mistakes as Levi did- he must have spent a long time looking. I write extremely quick with stream of thought- if I slow down to correct I lose my thought- its called ADD.

  • May 2, 2007, 4:13 PM

    yoni, sod off. Go play with levi.

  • May 2, 2007, 4:46 PM

    That poolhall was primetime. Its another location for touro college these days

  • May 2, 2007, 5:24 PM


  • May 2, 2007, 6:07 PM

    A blog has been dedicated to the infamous tale.

  • May 2, 2007, 7:03 PM

    You have got to be kidding me

  • May 3, 2007, 12:24 PM

    I just voted for you for best humor post.

  • May 3, 2007, 1:30 PM

    Thank social worker

  • May 4, 2007, 5:46 PM

    wow great. it was fun then man

  • May 5, 2007, 7:16 PM

    Wait for the next post which will b a follow up to this one.

  • May 5, 2007, 10:15 PM


    Speaking of yeshiva rebels how many of you hooked up with a michlelet esther girl? If you did you can join my facebook group.

  • May 8, 2007, 2:19 AM

    yo man i must of been in the 1% that stayed in rochester but didnt get so messed up till after i left in 2000

    i think ive been at risk since day tho

  • May 8, 2007, 5:32 AM

    Well you should be proud because you are the only kid I went to yeshiva with that has a tattoo

  • May 8, 2007, 8:08 PM

    The hotdog story is so old, it dates back prior to when i was a teen at risk in woodbourne. That was 1987.

    It’s also been around the web in a multitude of versions. Check this link on Snopes.com:

    Not a lot changed from 1987 to 1997 to 2007. The at-risks do their thing. Some straighten out. Some stay at risk for a good 70 or 80 years or so. But the REALLY at risk ones? They become Rebbeim at Neveh and Michlelet Esther.

  • May 15, 2007, 6:27 AM

    Damn dude I’m a white collar stuck behind a desk today and this is the perfect antidote 🙂

  • May 15, 2007, 12:30 PM

    Hey thanks a lot man- I am sure many of readers are white collar desk job types- since they tend to have comment wars in the middle of the day. I on te other hand have sporadic schedules which allow random internet time though not all at once.

  • May 15, 2007, 3:57 PM

    Hesh, I am a white collar number cruncher myself and the stuff here cracks me up. I work with a bunch of Europeans and the office environment is pretty anal.You should feel lucky, you are not a desk monkey like some of us.

    I just checked out the “I-banged-a-ME-girl-and-now-I-am-in-her-network” on Facebook. (Rebelgirl’s link) All I can say is……. yawn.*rollseyes*

  • May 16, 2007, 10:04 AM

    123 memory lane!

  • Class of 98 August 23, 2007, 2:52 PM

    When do we get the follow-up post already????

  • abandoning eden February 23, 2008, 11:19 PM

    lol just saw this post. Was bat torah a school for rejects? Cause…well..i went there in the late 90s, and I was one of the more “rebellious” students, and I gotta tell you…there was like 5 or 6 other girls like that, tops (and none other in my grade). The majority of girls who went there at that time were cookie cutter marriage-obsessed girls who were more “modern” than bais yaacov and yet managed to look down on other people in the school who weren’t religious enough or who didn’t buy their clothes from j crew (and yeah, I did buy my clothes from hot topic…hahaha ). After school I used to drives over to rudinsky where my bf cut his afternoon classes and we went and made out in kakiyak park

    Incidentally, I’ve never heard this hot dog story. But I did go to sternberg for 2 years, before I was asked not to come back 🙂

  • Hesh February 24, 2008, 12:17 AM

    You are a girl, the hot dog story was made for dumb yeshiva guys to pass along to future generations of horned-up-believe anything types.

    Good comment and at least it confirms my belief that rudinsky was a reject school- because everyone speaks so highly of it nowadays.

  • abandoning eden February 24, 2008, 12:45 AM

    I think when my ex went there it was in transition…at the end of that year (99 maybe?) he got kicked out, as did a whole bunch of other boys that were deemed “problematic.” I think they were trying to change their image as a reject school and apparently it worked (partially)

    bat torah did the same thing btw the entire time I was there…anyone deemed a rebel was kicked out, sometimes half way through the semester. You could get kicked out for dying your hair black, or having more than one earing in an ear, or wearing the wrong kind of skirts (too tight), and one girl they kicked out for being a “lesbian” (which was bs, and now she’ s happily married to a man). They tried to kick me out once, but my parents had none of it. Although I think the only reason they let me stay was cause I scored really high on the PSATs and SATs and got nominated for a merit scholarship, so they wanted to keep me around to brag about 😆

  • stacy April 6, 2008, 7:20 PM

    i just saw this post. brings back memories

    my high school expelled an entire class freshman year. i was actually the first one and the rest followed.
    the official reason? apparently i asked to many questions and had no respect for “members of the hanhala” lol.
    schools have way to much power though

  • Hesh April 6, 2008, 9:30 PM

    Stacy I cannot figure out your age, are you able to divulge that- I think you said 6 years younger then me- that means you are part of the new school yeshiva rebel circuit.

  • stacy April 6, 2008, 10:20 PM

    im 19 but i was skipped a year. i dont know what the new school yeshiva rebel circuit is but i doubt im part of it. i basically spent the next 3 years reading college level books and amassing my 500+ cd collection. i took my regents and started college at 17 so there.

    btw- some of the girls i knew who were expelled for no reason are no longer shomer mitzvos.
    i think schools should take some responsibilities for that. im just saying

  • G3 May 29, 2008, 10:40 PM

    I also went to a “reject” high school, but I was one of the ‘good’ kids – I wasn’t there because of behavior problems, I was much too clueless for that. I was there because at some point my teachers in elementary decided I was an idiot. Meanwhile, I graduated college and grad school with high GPAs. Go figure.

    The problem is the monolithic structure of the yeshiva system. There is only one “right” way to do things, and everyone else is going to hell. When I started noticing things that didn’t add up, and asked my rabbeim about them, the response I got was, “Yiddishkeit encourages questions, but don’t say these kinds of things where other guys can hear them. Don’t burden them with your questions.” In other words, “We don’t want to alienate you, but its bad enough you don’t accept everything that we tell you at face value. Don’t make anyone else start thinking for themselves.”

    I was in Toronto for a while, and I’ve never heard of Markeys. Could just be a result of not being one of the cool kids.

  • Y July 22, 2008, 11:49 AM

    Wow. Memories.

    I am not sure if my story is unique. I started my mesivta years in a good yeshiva–like Baltimore–got thrown out, went to a bummy place to finish my ninth grade year, switched to a more normal mesivta and did really well there. I learned for many years, became a pretty successful attorney and spend a lot of time learning. I don’t know why a lot of adults with my background did not make it, so to speak. A cogent explanation would make a good post.

  • Frum Satire July 22, 2008, 12:00 PM

    You know what, I happen to know a bunch of frummy rebel types that are successful. They tend to become real estate machers for some reason.

  • Y July 23, 2008, 7:18 AM

    Very interesting.

  • Phil August 5, 2008, 9:25 PM

    Benn there, done that back in the late 80’s / early 90s. Hung out with the Crown Heights crowd for a bit, although I’m Canadian.

    Style was a bit different, bottom line was the same, have a good time, forget authority, matallica, maiden and Ozzy were the tunes we snuck into the dorm out in LA and NY. Sometimes get nostalgic when I “bump” into old friends from that era online on sites like facebook.

    BTW, the hot dog story was around every since I can remember, it was supposedly frozen. A couple friends also had the one about the one who tried the “spanish fly” and ended up on the shift stick of the sports car.

    Your site is a riot, I just found it tonight after doing some research on the “disturbed” lead singer being a yeshiva bochur.

  • Scott September 29, 2008, 1:20 AM

    Why would that lead you to this?

    By the way, way to go chicago, representing with draiman. He kind of went to rebellious after attending all chicago schools. His brother is hanging on, although he might get kicked out of his apartment soon.

  • Anonymous September 29, 2008, 12:12 PM

    LOL!!! this is a riot- i always wondered about who had come b4 us. i guess you could say that i help girls go off- i am the most experienced one they know. i went to sternberg, and the hot dog story sounds totally false- you are always with people there and if you were trusted to cook on a campfire you lived in a tent.
    and btw, schools have majorly wised up thanks to all you snitches. you should be ashamed of yourselves- why didja snitch?

  • Frum Satire September 29, 2008, 2:04 PM

    Snitch!!! Hell no- thats whack

  • s(b.) September 29, 2008, 3:06 PM

    just an fyi — public school kids have the hot dog story, too. It’s not a yeshiva thing. It’s a teenage thing.

  • bsd October 5, 2008, 10:20 AM

    hahah funny, i was also doing research on disturbed singer, david draiman being a yeshiva boy…and somehow i came across this site..great site..i went to TAB btw, anyways i just finished reading this site from top to bottom, so peace out

  • ipitythefoo November 18, 2008, 12:29 AM

    My personal favorite ‘yeshiva rebel-ette’ memories:

    ~These really high steve madden platform boots – in all pleather.
    ~ Pizza shop spies (this is probably the only religion where it is badass to hang out in a pizza shop… or where people spy on pizza shops to weed out the ‘rebel’ community.)
    ~ Having whole sets of rules added to the student handbook in my honor. “wait – we cant go downtown during our free periods? bleaching hair is only okay if its above your upper lip? ” )(skunk stripe highlights anyone?)

    Truthfully though, i think its hit or miss with YHSRebels – it all depends on whether you said to yourself
    “These people are clueless and Im going to pursue my unique path and be successful and frum and love my life.”
    “I cant deal with this. These people are stupid. Authority is stupid. Jews are stupid. I am stupid. Well at least I can have fun….”

  • Frum Satire November 18, 2008, 12:37 AM

    Good to hear what it was like from a girls perspective- I was always interested in the spies- I thought it to be hilarious- even in Woodbourne they had spies – it was the freakin summer.

  • Anonymous May 7, 2009, 11:43 PM

    oy brings back memories….

  • JH May 8, 2009, 12:07 AM

    I loved the scandalous tight black stretchy panty-line skirts!!! Wow – to think so many of them are now married with 2+ kids. I feel old.

  • Moish May 8, 2009, 12:57 AM

    OTI we are (were) high

  • Shira May 8, 2009, 6:50 AM

    I went to public high school in Florida and we had the same hotdog story….I think its an urban legend that kids in school all over the nation are probably STILL talking about. “The frozen hotdog got stuck and they had to call 911 to get it out!” hahaha

  • Janet May 8, 2009, 8:21 AM

    That one may not be trouble, but worse ones are. See this Dan Savage column:

  • Boomie May 8, 2009, 9:09 AM

    Hesh, and other former “rebel-types” and wannabees. As a father of teenagers, I’m interested to know: If your Rebbeim and teachers had been warmer, more affectionate people (in a good and healthy way) would that have positively affected your lives, or at least your school careers?

  • C- Guy May 31, 2009, 3:29 PM

    Wow, Boomie!

    Talk about a conversation killer… lol

  • Boomie May 31, 2009, 4:34 PM

    I thought it was time to put the hotdog talk to bed.

  • Frum Satire May 31, 2009, 10:26 PM

    Boomie – I never rebelled, but if you would like – you could have me over for a weekday meal and we could talk about it.

  • jimmy37 June 1, 2009, 12:35 AM

    I bounced around because I wasn’t into learning. My parents wanted me to become a rabbi, so I went along for the ride, but my heart wasn’t in it. My rebbeim realized what I was about and finally left me alone. Right before I graduated, they tried to warn about all those untzniusdike girls, even if their medos where proper, their dress wasn’t.

    Well thank goodness for that!

  • Rebecca Weiser August 4, 2009, 9:12 PM

    Yeahhh…. too bad BT’s can’t quite relate. I can talk all about pre-tzniut, though

  • sam August 11, 2009, 7:54 PM

    i am looking 4 such guys if you r 16 like me im going 2 adelphia next yr into 10th grade give me a call 848 525 6378

  • Black Hattitude August 31, 2009, 11:42 AM

    I agree with you but kids of today are very… inteligent…

  • Loma Fialkowski June 20, 2011, 9:01 PM

    Hi, I cant realize how you can add your site in my rss reader. Can you Aid me, please

  • Anonymous July 29, 2011, 2:09 AM

    So, That “Richmond Girls Reject School” now has a Yeshiva high school also, and the hanhala totally has the shopkeepers in the area call him and spy on the kids for him…

  • peetum haclitoyris October 1, 2014, 1:37 AM

    Hahahaha who hasn’t heard the sternberg story.
    Every guy I know swears that they’re sister/mother/aunt was there when it happened.
    And every hacker swears that they know the hatzolah guy that took the call????????

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