Meir Levine - an old friend of mine who became an outreach worker
Date: May 21, 2008 02:01AM
Meir Levine (Marty in English) was an old high school friend of mine who became an Orthodox Jew and I met up with him in Israel back in ’78 – ’79. We were both in the Beit Shean Valley. I was at a Kibbutz Hadati (Modern Orthodox kibbutz) specifically Shluchot. Meir was at a non-religious kibbutz, which was part of the Hashomer Hatzair (“Guardians of the City”) movement.
I had tried unsuccessfully to get Meir to go to Ben Yishai. I guess he was more “loyal” to Judaism. I don’t want to get into a whole flap about that.
Anyway, Meir was later on at Chaim Berlin Yeshiva and if I am not mistaken that’s where Shlomo Carlebach got his smicha (“rabbinic ordination”). He told me that living at that seminary was very hard for him.
In ’95, I wound up back in Israel and Meir was teaching for Aish HaTorah. They were testing the waters with him.
He had changed quite a bit. He kept saying some punctuation words to his phrases and sentences in slang that made him seem quite strange to me. I had a hard time sorting all of this out.
He gave this speech about how “All the churches are rolling in dough, and all the yeshivas are as poor as dirt!” Aish HaTorah is definitely not poor. And I am sure the rabbis at Aish are compensated well. Maybe Meir wasn’t but then again I don’t know. I was there and the dorms and food were good.
I have to thank Aish for making sure I didn’t starve one day. Also, I stayed at Heritage House as Meir brought Rabbi Meir Shuster over to look me over with a microscope. I was at the youth hostel for about 10 days before I went to the dorms at Diaspora Yeshiva. Aish wouldn’t let me stay at their dorms because Gershon Unger (a BT) thought I was “too negative.” Well, I am not the only one broadcasting negativity in his neighborhood right now.
Quite frankly, I wish and I am sure that Rick Ross agrees with me, that these people should find a more honest and upstanding way of making a living. These “outreach workers” have played havoc on many people’s families. And this is similar to how my inflexible, Orthodox grandmother drove my father up a tree. All of this led me down the road to ruin too.
I heard similar typecasting speeches in terms of this “us vs. them” mentality between the African Americans and Jews in Crown Heights as someone was talking about how the Chasidim in Chabad were fighting the African Americans in the area monetarily and politically, because the African Americans want money to build bars and discos and the Chasidim wanted the money to build yeshivas and synagogues. Obviously this type of thinking is more than just somewhat distorted and biased. There is Medgar Evars College near Crown Heights and they also build churches.
And to finish off this posting, I am wondering if Meir is still at Aish. It’s anyone’s guess.