Saturday, May 14, 2011

Urban Legends Gush Students Believe

I had the pleasure today of talking to a current Student in "The Gush" (Yeshivat Har Etzion) as well as to an alumni who is a few years older then I am. Within a few minutes two commonly believed stories that have passed through all three generations of students emerged:

1. Rav Lichtenstein stated that no one should read books by Ayn Rand. - I've heard this one in several variants ranging from an outright ban, to just a general statement of dislike. Of course this story has lead to the fact that all self respecting Gush students have read "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged".

2. At least one former Gush student is now a priest.- I've never heard of anyone actually claiming to know who that priest is, but everyone has heard it once. Personally I think statistics would more or less make this story likely for any religious institution with the the amount of students and alumni the Gush has.

I find the fact that these stories keep getting passed down as Gush lore to be fascinating. I can just about understand why the Ayn Rand comment keeps getting passed down. Yeshivah students are in that slim window of age where Ayn Rand is thrilling (And even they probably skip 100-200 pages of John Galt speech - anything else is Bitul Torah).  However as to why the urban legend of the priest keeps being considered interesting, I have no idea.
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