Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Of All the Dishonest....

The Beacon's logo.
I have a problem with ultra-Orthodox Kiruv. I have a problem with the full-color glossy Kiruv, sold with carefully worded posters, programs, videos, and double standards. I have a problem with the Kiruv that loudly declares that they welcome all Jews, but then denigrates their backgrounds when they think that nobody is listening. That’s the Kiruv that I find to be problematic.....

Read the full article over at The Beacon.


  1. I agree.

    I actually did hear some anti-Reform and anti-Conservative comments during my journey into Orthodoxy, and it bothered me. A lot.

    On the one hand, I was being asked to honor my connection to the Jewish people, a connection that existed by virtue of the fact that I was born into my family. On the other hand, my family's version of Judaism was being put down and dismissed. The put-downs always left me stone cold.

    This brings up a related topic - the bubbe/zaida card. You know, where the rabbi invokes the image of the pious bubbe or zaida, which is supposed to melt the hardest of hearts? Well, my bubbe and zaida didn't exactly fit the mold. On one side, they had been staunch pro-Communist atheists. On the other side, my Modern Orthodox bubbe told me stories of her super-left-wing Modern Orthodox shul where the rebbetzin wore a tallit every Shabbat. After a while, I learned to use that story to prove that my legitimate family minhag was feminism and progressive attitudes.

    1. I imagine that must have been really hard to deal with, JRKmommy. Did you ever address the anti-Reform and anti-Conservative comments? I can see that being difficult. There's the need to conform and not rock the boat, something difficult for those of us who are naturally boat-rockers. Instead of speaking out, you end up not saying anything in order to be accepted in this new world of orthodoxy. And yeah, it hurts to keep biting one's tongue and conforming. Other people embrace the orthodox viewpoint in order to conform and be accepted. In some ways it's like they adopt a whole new persona.
      I really like that you mention "the bubbe/zaida card." That phrase is great. I hadn't really thought about it much until you mentioned it. My grandparents also didn't/don't fit the mold,and I'm not so sure that they saw orthodoxy as a good thing. With kiruv, there's a huge appeal to the emotional side of people. There may not be a good or logical reason for a person to become orthodox, but a good dose of emotion and guilt might bring him/her back.
      And for the record, that's an awesome minhag. It sounds like we come from similar stock.


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