The Vanishing American Bochur

You can still spot them, now and then: Friday morning, clambering aboard a Mitzvah Tank, blaring Nichoach on loop; ducking out of the Kollel late at night, sefer securely tucked under the arm; or massing outside the NCFJE international headquarters Wednesday afternoons. But in many ways, the American 770 bochur is a breed endangered, disappearing fast.

Don’t be fooled by some op-ed on your favourite Chabad news site harping on about the shidduch crisis. There is no yeshivah bochur glut, but a serious shortage: ‘Bochur’ doesn’t connote marital status, but a transcendent idealism, a carefree, yet impassioned, single-minded devotion to things like Torah, Chassidus, and the Rebbe; unfettered by constraints financial, social and familial. So in a certain sense, the guy with the natty Borsalino tilted just so and smoothly tucked-in shirt in front of you in line to buy sushi, isn’t necessarily a bochur.

And in case you were wondering, the young men spilling out of the Mikvah at 7:25 in the morning, towel slung over the shoulder, bounding across the Parkway, to the disapproving frowns of morning commuters, may well be 770 bochurim, but invariably, they aren’t American.


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