I’m a long time reader, part time commentator on your site.
Also, I’m a former denizen of the Bay Area (I even once got a shout out from you in one of your posts in one of your initial trips out to the bay area… you were accurate in your assessment)
Anyways, I noticed that you sometimes put up people’s stuff. I don’t have a shidduch resume or anything. but I did have this idea that came to me today while driving to work.
Its about solving all of the Jewish Crises (SP?) with one little change.
I banged together a bit of prose, i’m not witty or a particularly good writer, but and I’ve attached it below.
Maybe you’ll post it (PLEASE ANONYMOUSLY – I don’t want my father-in-law to hear about this)
I would like to propose a theory to solve all of our crises in one fell swoop.
It’s rather simple actually. Impose quasi academic standards on our kollel yungelite.
How? In academia it is publish or perish.
In Learning it should be the same. Wait, here me out.
After say 7-8 years post High School a bochur should have accumulated enough Torah to put together a coherent publication – a sefer preferably. Of course it can’t be just any sort of Torah publication, it should be peer reviewed to prove that it meets some objective criteria where it can provide value to Klal Yisrael.
So how does it solve all the problems?
1) Our Kollelim are overflowing, and many have already suggested that this idea that everyone belongs in Kollel, and that working is not the default, but only for those poor kids that can’t figure out how to learn – is wrong and misguided.
Instead, only the best should be learning on a full time basis. What qualifies you as good enough to be the cream of the crop? Well, its hard to say, but if you can put together your chidushei Torah in a coherent fashion such that the rest of the Klal can benefit from your erudition, that’s a good starting point.
If you can’t pass this bar, then you are asked to leave your institution.
And, back to publish or perish, it’s not a one time bar. Every subsequent 3 to 5 years you need to be putting out something of value that shows that our money to the moidois is worth it. And if you’ve been sitting and spacing those last couple of years (guys you know who you are, and those other batlanim, I’m being generous here with the ‘spacing’) then you are also out. The system is designed to constantly keep the Kollel guys on their toes, making sure that they can’t just camp out in the beis medrash indefinitely.
Pushing the academic model a little further, the guys who put out the really good stuff could apply for grants, based on their past performance and future plans. By providing positive incentives to be really good we again bump up our quality and also force out the bums who realize they can never be really good and get the better funding.
By witling down our Kollels we can put out Tzedaka money to other purposes. Which brings us to Crisis #1
2) The money saved by not supporting those who can’t publish can be better funneled into creating scholarships and endowments for our schools – those ones that charge crazy tuitions because they have no other sources of income (e.g., more tzedaka, or more endowments).
Not only is there more money available from those people who would have otherwise been supporting huge kollels, but those people that are now not in Kollel are hopefully working. Working people can put more money towards their children’s tuition, driving down overall costs for everyone: tuition typically factors in carrying those people that can’t pay but we can’t turn away. And those people who are now working are now making money that they will hopefully also add to the pot.
3) With serious beis medrash bochurim focusing on frantically trying to put out their first publication, they won’t have time to date – a de-facto shidduch freezer. And, with serious beis medrash bochurim perhaps putting a little more effort into learning, they may appreciate the other qualities of girls, perhaps even older girls who may be a little more mature in thought. Crisis #2 averted.
3b) Also, now we have a new good measure of how good a guy is: his Torah CV or TCV. ™
3c) This system is also designed to eliminate bias in the current Kollel environment where having money skews the system. So now it’s not good enough that your father-in-law can support you and your grandchildren’s nephews for life. Even if you have all the money in the world to sit and learn – you can’t do it in kollel unless you publish. This not only relieves much of the pressure on fathers-in law to support sons in law (put that money to a better use! buy yourself a new hat or tie.), but it helps to further solve the shidduch crisis: hopefully the boys won’t be able to justify their money-lust by saying they need a father-in-law to support their learning full time forever, leaving the daughters who’s fathers are either too poor or ignoramuses, or both, scraping the bottom of the boy barrel, but rather those boys that demand a rich father-in -law will have to just come out and say that he needs the money so he can buy that new Lexus every two and a half years. Good luck finding that girl!
4) Hopefully this publication bar will be sufficiently high that only the serious guys remain in learning full time, and those that do remain are focused on Torah. With more serious guys learning and less serious guys hopefully working we’ll have less batlanim on the streets. Less batlanim means less restless young men that are prone to violence when the opportunity arises (i.e., those violent riots in Meah Shearim or Beit Shemesh) These guys won’t have time to worry about how high the girls’ socks are, because they will be working. (Hopefully) Sinas chinam (Crisis #3) averted.
I will be the first to admit that this is just an off the cuff first assessment – itself not objectively worthy of a publication. But hey I’m trying. What have you done recently? (Not you H, your readers)
It’s a win-win-win situation for the Jews. We get better guys learning. We get more disbursement of Torah through publications. And we solve our crises. (I’m sure the other crises that we create on a biannual basis can also be solved via this great system, just think a bit)
The only losers are the trees; think of all those new seforim shanks and seforim!
Find more jewish crises on 4torah.com