If we would stack up the small town outreach of the yeshivish community versus chabad we would all be laughing out loud, it’s quite pathetic really, mostly because chabadnicks do kiruv because the Rebbe told them to (they call it shlichus and hate the word kiruv) and yeshivish people do kiruv because it pays well and being a kiruv professional is a pretty good job if you want to stay in the yeshiva system. Chabad takes over small towns, while yeshivish people have only scratched the surface, going to places like Dallas, Denver and the Bay Area trying to “spread Jewish literacy” as the local kiruv folks like to call it.
When I first heard about SEED (nothing to do with masturbation I assure you) I was living in Albany, someone from one of the shuls happened to be a Ner Yisroel alumni and he basically got the program to come to the town – a little contention involved because some folks felt that if you needed a bunch of 19 year old yeshiva boys to bring torah to a town it implied that torah Jews didn’t exist in your town – I completely understand.
SEED is super interesting, you show up to shul one day to find 4 or 5 yeshiva guys standing there, davening for the amud and shuckling like madmen trying to outdo the other few frummies in the shul. These SEED Boys come to learn with folks b’chavrusa – I doubt they learn with the women – but I do know that it’s great marketing for the yeshiva system.
For instance, the people of San Jose think that every yeshiva guy is smart, courteous and well mannered. I find this extremely strange, since no one I ever knew who went to yeshiva really fit that description. Maybe Shar Hatorah boys are different (San Jose gets Shar Hatorah because the Rabbi learned there, Palo Alto gets Ner Boys because the Rabbis son learns there). I guess the boys are handpicked and probably not from New York.
If I were to hand pick boys for the SEED program, I would make sure they had good handshakes. The farther you get from New York the better the handshake, the firmer the grip and the nicer the greeting – well not really – Texans are nicer than Californians – but most of the people in California are from NY or Israel.
So, while chabad is off getting Jews to put on tefillin, shake a lulav or kasher their kitchens every Friday afternoon, the Yeshivish communities’ answer to out-of-town kiruv is to send a hand full of yeshivish guys to learn b’chavrusa with a few people from a shul – sounds like the Snags have a long way to go.
Oh and my facebook friend and fellow Rochester alumni Moty Raven tells me that the Winter Seed program is called WEED.
While googling the Summer Seed Program for pictures I found a yeshiva world news post that explains why chabad (despite the hours of criticism I could devote to them) will always be better than yeshivish people who will probably never take the kishke out of their trucheses of seriousness.