A trailblazing new project Hanhaga Tahorah was launched by the Merkos Chinuch Office some 18 months ago. It is dedicated to writing curricula, training teachers and sponsoring programs which will help are growing young men cope with the challenges they face.

The time when our boys could be shielded from the worst that American culture has to offer, has long passed. The street has invaded our pockets and is now available with the click of a button. Boys are being exposed to visual stimuli which are poisoning their minds and hearts. It is clear that we do not have the luxury assuming a position of a benign kind of neglect, a wait and see attitude. We have been doing that and it is leading us to potential disaster; something different has to be implemented and we must act urgently because the very lives of our children are at play.

Chassidic literature has a great deal to say about what talmidim need to learn and internalize to be able to meet the challenges posed by this insidious yetzer haraah but we have always taken the approach that certain things are not discussed in public. In discussions with Rabbonim both here and in Israel it became clear that in the present situation, the very reason for privacy, which is to promote “tzniyus”, demands that we pay it more open and direct attention.

Hanhaga Tahorah will initiate programs in Chabad mosdos to inoculate talmidim from a very young age with carefully chosen Chassidus ideas and thoughts and activities to confront an old/new insidious enemy.

After a number of initial meetings with select mechanchim, the Chinuch Office created a commission which included the menahalim of the major Chabad mosdos and a number of carefully chosen concerned mechanchim of teen age boys, to find appropriate approaches to helping adolescents understand and cope with the issues associated with their physical maturity from a Torah and Chassidic perspective.

Many months of discussions, a Kinus HaMechanchim, and input from multiple sources helped the Chinuch Office accumulate a wealth of material and Rabbi Mendel Edelman was retained to do the actual development of a curriculum. It took a year for the full curriculum to be developed. It was formally unveiled on Monday 9 Elul, August 24.

In the Beis Hamedrash on the second floor in Oholei Torah representative from six Chabad mosdos hear Rabbi Nochem Kaplan discuss the underpinning of the curriculum and Rabbi Eidelman go into the details.

The quintessential nature of this Hanhaga Tahorah program limits involvement to mechanchim who understand Chassidic Chinuch and also the psychological underpinnings and this group of the more than 30 7th and 8th grade mechanchim sat at rapt attention interrupting only with pectinate questions through the first seminar of its kind. They will pilot the Hanhaga Tehorah project in their respective classes this year. They all understand the problem and its urgency and are willing to adopt a new direct approach.

Plans are for a full program which will extend from the third grad through the second year of Mesivta (10th grade). The Chinuch Office has also begun to assemble a parallel group of mechanchos to develop a similar program for girl’s schools.