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Ballpark Solutions

Yisroel Besser

Behind the hype and the banners surrounding the Citi Field event (the “Internet Crisis Event”) is the thoughtful, soft-spoken mechanech who brought the Zilberman educational derech to American shores before becoming a full-time consultant helping parents navigate the confusing world of advanced technology so familiar to their savvy children. Rabbi Nechemiah Gottlieb is convinced a solution can be found for the “challenge of the generation”: “The starting point for any discussion is accepting that for a T

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

meetingIt is likely that if you were in shul for Seudah Shlishis last week, it was the topic of conversation around the table.

Possibly, as you shared challah and gefilte fish, someone said, “What’s up with this thing at Citi Field?”

One imagines the chorus of voices against the strains of Yedid Nefesh.

Why now? Where were they five years ago?”

“It’s all a money-maker.”

“How can you say that, if the gedolim are behind it?”

“Why should we believe that?”

“They’re shlepping us out there to tell us about a filter?”

“If this what the mashgiach says, who are we to think we know better?”

“Why can’t they make small gatherings in each neighborhood?”

“They want to take the joy out of Yiddishkeit. They refuse to face the realities of today’s youth.”

There are the cynics and the faithful, the defenders and the I’ve-seen-too-much head-shakers, who see everything as another scam. As sesame seeds fall from challah and someone stabs at the final slice of fish, the debate continues.

So here’s the thing you need to know about Rabbi Nechemiah Gottlieb, the trusted lieutenant of Rav Mattisyahu Salomon in this campaign.

He’s normal.

A regular fellow, with a warm smile, calm demeanor, email address and cell-phone. He doesn’t have wild eyes and doesn’t speak in a thundering voice. He radiates intelligence and practicality. He doesn’t reject the arguments of the men at Shalosh Seudos: he validates them, and then responds.

He and the other gentlemen gathered around a modest table in a converted home on Lakewood’s Route 9 may not have impressive business cards, but they clearly mean business.

They, and the leaders who inspire them, are calmly, coolly, facing an enemy that, so far, has been largely unchallenged.

The vision that fuels them, however, was expressed on a memorable spring day some fourteen years ago.


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