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Yeshiva Memories: How they would obstruct our free time

They always told us that it was not on purpose, but we knew better. They would make up excuses like you have to have your seder some time, or that you cant go that long without staring into a gemara, but we all knew their ulterior motives. They had planned to interfere without free time in any way they could, and while they probably wanted to just keep us inside all day, forcing gemara and mussar down our throats, they just knew the parents would call up and complain. Rabbi my son tells me he has no free time, how do expect him to get any exercise? Or whats this I her about not being able to go outside and do something other then learn? Or maybe its what the parents wanted, but they feared a mutiny from the students, I could always remember in college when the teacher was 5 minutes late, everyone would agree to leave. Well that never happened at mishna brura seder, there were always a couple of really goody goodies, who would insist on staying, not wanting to get in trouble, they were almost always in-towners or Rabbis sons- bastrads!!

It would be Sunday and you would be gearing up for an all day excursion and suddenly they would announce shmuz or seder would be at some random whacked out time. I mean we were in school from 7:30 till 2:30 already, and all the sudden we would have to be back at 5 or something, because God forbid the dorm councilors do their job and follow people to the movies or to go meet up with girls. Instead the dorm councilors would sit overlooking the door where people entered and exited and if you didn’t “check out” you got in trouble. Checking out was another way of saying, I am going here or there, but the trick was you had get receipts, trouble with that was, well haven’t they ever heard of window shopping. I rarely bought anything at the mall, I just went to look at stuff, well mostly at all the hotties that flock to the mall on Sundays. They probably realized this, but banning the mall was just too crazy even for them.

It was funny with regards to girls, they would ban any place that the girls school in town was going. So if we wanted to go get ice cream or go to the JCC and they were there, forget it. Its funny because I never understood their reasoning, the girls school was tiny and besides for one or two girls, they were not very good looking- especially compared with all the other girls at the mall or JCC. I think they felt, wrongly may I say, that were more willing to chat up a bunch of frummies, than a bunch of public school hotties, and they were dead wrong. There was always that fear that the frummy girls would snitch, so why not get away with talking to random girls, which you could meet up with at a later time and get away with it too.

So some years it got real strict and you had to get a receipt every half hour or so, that was to prevent you from seeing a movie. It was also used to make you so poor, that the next time you had free you would jut bum around the dorm and talk loshon harah, then we would learn chofetz chaim and understand what we were learning- it was all one big conspiracy in my mind.

In later years people just stopped going out, I think it happened around the same time obesity became such a hot topic on the news. Funny because we never even had gym, sometimes on Saturday nights if the girls weren’t there, the yeshiva would rent out the JCC and we would swim and that would be our gym. Legally though I think they used our going up and down the stairs as our gym time, I am dead serious by the way, legally you had to have gym and that was it. They might as well have included thumb dipping and shuckelling as part of phys ed.

Surprising enough the school was located in a an area that was real trendy, I mean house parties open air cafes and nice little boutiques lined the street. I feel that this was used at their advantage to make our lives miserable, I can imagine the hanhalla telling parents to look around at how beautiful the “campus” location was and coming back to little Yossella and saying, oh its so nice and there are so many nice little stores to by your parents gifts at. Great, but all the sudden Yossi would sit down at the weekly mussar shmuz and get bombarded by this beat down Mesilas Yeshurim style of “looking down when you walked down the block” because there were naked women outside. My Rabbis loved the word naked, when you saw a girl without a burqa, she was naked, when you wore blue jeans you were also naked- it was quite funny as I recall, I mean I hated jeans and all, but I admit I liked my women naked back then, now I prefer them a little dressed up- but a 14 year old kid dreams of short shorts and tank tops, mussar be damned.

Weeknights were similar, until they started banning going out all together on most nights, you had a couple hours before night seder and maariv. I used to ride my bike, rollerblade and skateboard, but I felt real bad for 90% of the kids who didn’t have an outlet, I think that is what led to many of them falling into the clutches of “off the derechness” they just had nothing better to do, drugs, girls and just plain old bumming around, so much so that many of my old classmates have taken the term bumming around and used it as their current profession.

Even when you were perfectly innocent you were accused of wrong doing. I can remember hours spent riding my bike only to be interrogated and roughed up as to whether I was at the evil movies or not. It funny as I look back on it, that my average movie attendance per year is all of about 2 or 3. I actually never went to the movies during high school until 12th grade, I was a darned good kid and most of things that happened like the drugs I was totally impervious to, until many years after I “graduated”, in quotes because like many of my fellow classmates, we walked the aisle but never actually graduated, I got a high school diploma after several years of college.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Ice February 4, 2008, 7:36 PM

    love these yeshiva posts man. they wouldnt actually ruff you up would they? and they were breaking the law, and everyone knew it? hell of a role model.

  • Ben February 4, 2008, 9:36 PM

    I’m in sophmore year of college and I still wait for the day that perhaps my diploma will be mailed. After all the threats about passing your classes and making sure not to fail a regent, you’d think they’d actually supply us with proof of this success in life. What was the point of high school if you can’t prove you finished to anyone? I hate ytv.

  • anonymous February 5, 2008, 12:41 AM

    you spelled the word counselor wrong.

  • Upstairs from Jacb Da Jew February 5, 2008, 3:00 AM

    It wasn’t so bad way back when. I used to work at the comic shop in village gate (all the way down Goodman St.) on Sunday afternoons for years. Only the bais medresh guys knew, and as long as I gave them comics to read on Friday nights, they didn’t have any problems.

  • ice Horse 2: the revenge February 5, 2008, 5:39 AM

    I was distracted with thoughts of getting some anal from the michlelet ester girls.

  • Jack February 5, 2008, 4:45 PM

    Can’t say that I am sorry that I missed out on all this.

  • heshman February 5, 2008, 7:55 PM

    Ice Horse- watch it, not as bad as recent comments, but c’mon.

    Hey I used to trade cards on shabbos afternoons at the Village Gate Square trading days- I know there was no eruv and you can’t do business on shabbos. The comic guy also had cards, I think he was this bushy curly haired dude or something.

  • Reader February 6, 2008, 8:05 AM

    Comment number five- hello? Please keep your thoughts to yourself.

  • heshman February 6, 2008, 12:42 PM

    I tried, but as any regular reader will know the Ice Horse is a bit crude, I regularly monitor what he says- this was nothing.

  • Reader February 7, 2008, 3:50 AM

    If this was nothing I don’t want to hear something….

  • Reader February 7, 2008, 3:52 AM

    If this was nothing, I don’t want to hear what something is.

  • heshman February 7, 2008, 4:06 AM

    Don’t worry you wont, because I edit and erase comments if they are over the edge

  • David February 7, 2008, 4:49 AM

    I remember when I went away for yeshiva they used to do this whole thing of before they let us out before shabbos to go ‘play’ they would give us this big long story about how going to town would apparently make you go off the derech, we were young and didn’t know. Looking back, had many of the same experiences that you did.
    keep up the good writing!

  • heshman February 7, 2008, 4:28 PM

    Ah the mussar about how when you go outside you should always look away whenever passing a women, because they are probably wearing pants, or don’t look at advertisements or billboards.

  • x-chester February 9, 2008, 9:32 PM

    I remember going to the library on Shabbat, because that was the only time you could use the computers without the fear of Sroya + Neil coming in when your on the internet. I understand that the internet has porn, redtube, youporn, megarotic… they are all great. But who the hell jerks off in the library?

  • Beizer4Life February 11, 2008, 2:57 AM

    Hesh you dont realise how good u had it, my yeshiva was so bad they actually put mics in the classrooms so they could bust kids making plans 2 go to the movies….and then the Mashgiach would park in front of the mall on Saturday nights so he could bust kids coming to the mall, which was assured too…….our idea of “going out” on a Saturday night was hanging out at the local Coffee Bean so we could hit on the local BY girls who came in.

  • heshman February 12, 2008, 3:32 AM

    Hey Biezer it sounds more like the interrogation rooms at Gauntanamo Bay

  • AK September 24, 2008, 5:44 PM

    Hesh the whole point of the receipts was really to give the freshies something to do. e.g. go to regal but take a freshy along to get a receipt for you, even from down the block.
    The real hard part was for the guys who came back with a lot of stuff but no receipts at all…

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