3:01 PM (16 hours ago) to me
Why would you be against furthering observance of Torah by Modern Orthodox Jews? Is that not a noble goal? I am all for furthering observance of all Jews, reform, conservative, orthodox, chassidic. We ALL need to grow and improve. Whatever it takes to get us there is fine. I would love to be deceived into higher levels of yeras Shomayim. If you know anyone who can deceive me please let me know. I need much more Yeras Shomayim and I will take from wherever I can get it!!
What are you afraid of?
Thanks for your email. Before I can answer your questions, we need to settle something. You talk about "furthering observance of Torah." But we'd have to agree on a definition of that terminology. Do you mean that Reform and Conservative Jews should be the best Reform and Conservative Jews that they can be? Do you mean that Humanist Jews should be the best Humanist Jews that they can be? Atheist and Secular and Non-Practicing Jews should be the best Atheist, Secular, and Non-Practicing Jews that they can be? In what context do you mean this "furthering observance of Torah?" What makes you think I'm afraid?
Have a beautiful evening.
MC 10:16 PM (9 hours ago) to me
I don't really believe in labels. All Jews are responsible to serve G-d and guard the commandments of the Torah as best as they can. There is no such thing as reform, conservative, atheist secular or orthodox Jews. Everyone acts like all of the above at certain moments in their lives. Those are modern, shallow labels that mean nothing. All people have to come closer to G-d to love and fear Him as best as they can.
Anything that furthers this endeavor is positive and should be encouraged. Anything that discourages this endeavor should be avoided.
Again my question remains, what is so bad about improving levels of observance of the so called "modern" Orthodox Jews?
We can all use a boost, why not them?
Are you afraid increased levels of G-d consciousness will harm these people?
Do you not believe in labels because ultra-orthodoxy rejects all other types of Judaism as not actual Judaism? In my experience, it seems that many ultra-orthodox kiruv professionals are instructed to "reject labels" in an effort to create a sense that we're all equal as Jews, when in fact they really believe that all other factions are not legitimate Judaism. Is there a reason why you feel that Modern Orthodox Jews must be "improved?" What exactly is wrong with their observance? Does it not meet a specific criteria? Please explain.
MC 5:43 AM (1 hour ago) to me
Of course what you call modern orthodox needs to be improved. Chassidim also need improvement. Kollel men as well. Each group has its strengths and weaknesses. Thats all I am referrring to.
There is no group that has perfect shlaimus and G-d consciousness. Lets say a person keeps shabbos to the letter of the law but after shabbos watches films that cause him to transgress commandments of the Torah such as lo sasuru. Lets say a persons wife wears two head coverings and very thick stockings but if you do business with this person you notice that he is dishonest. Lets say a Jew gives thousands of dollars per year to Chai Lifeline or another fine organization but also marches in the NYC toivah marraige [gay marriage, ed.] parade wearing womens clothing.
So you can seevwe all need serious help!!
Whatever gives clarity and resolve to grow into better Jews we should grab onto and hold on tight. Its a lifeline. If someone is drowning and someone throws you a rope you dont say sorry but I dont take ropes from guys who wear black hats or guys who wearing no hats.
Thats my point. No agenda except to help Jews come closer to Hashem.
We have so much to be thankful for as Jews that to worry about labels and modern orthodox or right wings or left wings is so silly and counterproductive. Lets just love Hashem and smile.
Give someone a big hug.
You state: "Lets say a Jew gives thousands of dollars per year to Chai Lifeline or another fine organization but also marches in the NYC toivah marraige parade wearing womens clothing." This is what you consider "having problems?"
Yes, you're right.
Anyone who would have a problem with this has problems. Let me explain. Your concern for someone's sexuality is a big problem. I support equal rights and marriage equality. As a Jew, my people have been denied equal rights, and so, I support equal rights for others. That is a Jewish value. It is a problem when people put their so-called "religious" values ahead of people. Why do you have a problem with this? Who are you to judge? Perhaps you should focus on bettering yourself before you set out to "better" others. I think you may inadvertently end up alienating a lot of people in your quest to make people "improved" Jews. I wonder if Chai Lifeline is in the habit of denying much needed donations because some donors may support Gay Marriage. Maybe you should ask them
Let's look at this series of emails critically to see what MC is really about. Remember, MC has taken it upon himself to represent kiruv and orthodoxy. It is easy to be outraged here, but let's see where MC gets it wrong.M C 8:35 AM (1 minute ago) to me
I threw in the example of the parade just to find out where you were holding. I now know where you are holding and now that I see you aree on the side of the immoral gay rights crowd there's nothing left to talk about. You are not even at The level of moral clarity of regular decent non-Jews.
I hope that in the future you will convert back to judaism and then we could have a discussion about some of the issues you brought up. I wish you well. I wish you clarity to accept the Moral values of your grandparents great grandparents all the way back to Mount Sinai.
- MC does not represent Modern Orthodoxy and makes it clear that the Modern Orthodox need to "further their observance." He covers himself by suggesting that everyone needs to further their observance.
- MC seems to take offense that I "label" Jews when I asked him to clarify if he wants non-orthodox Jews to be the best non-orthodox Jews they can be. Suddenly he states "Everyone acts like all of the above [Reform, Conservative, Humanist, Atheist, Secular, etc.] at certain moments in their lives. Those are modern, shallow labels that mean nothing. All people have to come closer to G-d to love and fear Him as best as they can."
- Notice how warm and fuzzy MC is when he suggests that we just "love Hashem and smile" and advises me to "give someone a hug." And then notice how quickly he turns on me when I call him out on his intolerance of gay rights. I can understand people disagreeing, but the amount of disrespect and vitriol are disproportionate to the issue at hand.
- MC initially asks me "What are you so afraid of?" He is trying to make the argument that by opposing kiruv, I must therefore be "afraid" that people will become orthodox. Unfortunately, MC doesn't realize that I am opposed to deceptive tactics and opposed to deceptive recruitment. A person's religious observance is their personal choice.
- As soon as I call MC out on his intolerance for a group of people, he denounces me as "not even at The level of moral clarity of regular decent non-Jews." Well, that just shows the world that MC has a superiority complex when it comes to people who are not Jewish. I find it frustrating how MC feeds into the stereotype that Jews think they're better than others. He is not being "a light unto nations" and by coming out with a morally superior attitude, he serves to turn people off to orthodoxy (and, quite possibly, Jews in general.) Remember, in MC's previous email to me, he was all warm and fuzzy about the love we should all have for each other. He quite adequately illustrates how often within outreach, when a person who has become a "kiruv project" fails to conform to the standards of the kiruv professional, the same kiruv professional will completely turn on the person he/she was trying to reach. Perhaps they believe that by rebuking someone, they will suddenly guilt them into getting involved. Or maybe they believe that it's their God-given right to rebuke. (To get into it for a second, assuming a person believes in what the Torah says, here it is: "You shall surely rebuke your fellow man" [Kedoshim 19:17] But for the record, a rebuke coming from someone who has already demonstrated intolerance for his neighbor and fellow man really means nothing in the great scheme of things.)
- Because I defended equality, MC has deemed me not Jewish and states "I hope that in the future you will convert back to judaism." If MC, someone who staunchly defended kiruv in his earlier emails, believes that I am not Jewish because of my beliefs, then how does he view the very people he wants to "further their observance?" Perhaps to MC and others of his ilk, people who are not just like him and who don't espouse the same beliefs that he holds at his core, aren't Jewish.
- Ironically, MC states "Its a lifeline. If someone is drowning and someone throws you a rope you dont say sorry but I dont take ropes from guys who wear black hats or guys who wearing no hats," yet has a problem with someone donating lots of money to Chai Lifeline (an organization that provides support to families with gravely ill children suffering from serious pediatric diseases) who also supports gay marriage. I thought he just made a whole analogy about drowning people not discriminating against those providing help.
- MC says "Lets say a persons wife wears two head coverings and very thick stockings but if you do business with this person you notice that he is dishonest." What does this man's wife's level of tznius (religiously sanctioned modesty) have to do with his own honesty in business? Why are his business partners (and MC) judging this man by how much skin his wife doesn't show? From which business model is this thought process taken?
- MC writes "I wish you clarity to accept the Moral values of your grandparents great grandparents all the way back to Mount Sinai." First of all, MC is assuming an awful lot here. He's assuming that 1. my grandparents were "moral" people; 2. my grandparents' code of morality is equivalent to what he considers an acceptable code of morality; 3. my grandparents would agree with him. He also makes a classic kiruv mistake. The mistake is in thinking that the current generation has/had orthodox grandparents and/or orthodox great grandparents. This type of kiruv tactic relies on being able to prove somehow that if you go back far enough, the potential recruit had orthodox family who would want the potential recruit to become orthodox. Kiruv professionals who use this tactic also employ guilt and work on people's emotions in order to bring them to orthodoxy. In fact, we don't know what our ancestors would have wanted. They may have been miserable. Another interesting point is that the ultra-orthodoxy of today is radically different from our observant ancestors in a variety of ways. For one, young people used to be skilled in a trade or in some way to be able to earn a living. (Okay, that was a low blow. But it's an issue that shouldn't be ignored.)
- MC asks "Are you afraid increased levels of G-d consciousness will harm these people?" If "increased levels of God consciousness" means becoming a hate-filled, morally superior, anti-human person, then yes. I fear for all of us, especially those at the hands of kiruv professionals who are looking for new recruits.
- Notice in the last email, MC brags about throwing in the example of marriage equality to trick me in order to find out my beliefs. He says "I threw in the example of the parade just to find out where you were holding." This is a blog that deals mostly with deceptive kiruv. MC admits to using deceptive tactics to get information. In what other ways does MC, or other kiruv workers, employ deceptive tactics? He's just shown us that yes, deception is definitely at work.