Thursday, July 4, 2013
The Innocent Face of Kiruv: A Guest Post
I can't post this with my name or identifying myself in any way- it has to be anonymous. If that is ok, and you think this could resonate with someone and help them think twice about getting involved- then feel free to guest post it.
(Name Withheld By Request)
"Though I could not caution all, I still might warn a few…"
She will be young and cute, wearing a denim skirt and an expensive sheitel that will take you a while to figure out is not her real hair. She will try hard to give off the impression that she is interested in your life- the boyfriends, finals you think you failed, spring break plans. Actually most of your typical secular American life repulses her. But she will be non-judgmental, responding with lots of uh huh’s, and then redirecting the conversation to the amazing “coincidences” between whatever you have just told her and the theme of this week's Parsha.
Her husband, despite the beard, comes off like a sweet, slightly dorky, regular guy. He seems friendly and easy-to-talk to, except that he won’t shake your hand or sit directly next to you. In another environment, he would have avoided contact with you completely. But he has been trained to override this for the greater good of not scaring you off.
They have been selected for their personalities, looks and charisma to slowly retrain you to accept that whatever you believe is important, healthy and normal really isn’t. They will exploit the normal doubts and vulnerabilities that you have as an opening to get you to doubt yourself entirely. And open the door to being remolded in their image. They will offer you a Shabbat meal, a trip to Israel, free classes, and little packages of holiday food that will remind you of Hebrew school or summer camp. One on one “learning” with a partner who will become your friend, mentor, life coach. An ear to listen and a person to lean on…. Perhaps the promise that “at the right time” they can help you find a nice Jewish boy.
Behind the easy friendship and “anything goes” attitude is a well-funded organization, with big donors and lots of market research. You are the target and the goal is total indoctrination. If you fall for it you will be alienating your parents, the friends you have known your whole life- and yourself. And if you don’t fall for it, you will soon be replaced by another eager college student or lonely single professional.
"...Don't lend your hand to raise no flag, atop no ship of fools." ~Grateful Dead