Monday, July 14, 2014

Recommended Reading: Rabbis and their female followers – how close is too close?

 Sharon Shapiro posted a very interesting post on her blog Kol B'Isha Erva today, and I wanted to take a quick break from my hiatus (I'm working on several projects which have had to take the front seat these past few months) in order to mention her article. She writes about kiruv (outreach) rabbis crossing lines that are better left uncrossed, and often taking on the role of parent in the student/rabbi relationship. This isn't the first I've heard of this, but it is interesting to see it from the perspective of a woman who happens to have gone from non-orthodox Judaism to orthodox Judaism during her college days. 
     She writes in Rabbis and their Female Followers--How close is too close? that she "was shocked at how quickly this rabbi took over a parental role among [her classmates], almost acting in conspiracy against the biological parental protests. The girls were encouraged to keep certain secrets from their parents, in some cases in order not to cause hurt or machlokes (argument)."1 A close friend of mine told a similar story--her own child had begun to explore Judaism in college, causing a fast transformation to orthodoxy coupled with secrecy during the process. These scenarios do exist, no matter how much kiruv rabbis try to convince people that they don't. When people start speaking up, maybe these tactics will change, and perhaps those interested in doing Jewish outreach will begin to act more responsibly towards their students, the families of their students, and to the Jewish community as a whole. Please read Rabbis and their Female Followers. It's definitely worth the read.

1. Shapiro, Sharon. Rabbis and their Female Followers--How Close is Too Close?. Kol B'Isha Erva. 14 July 2014.


  1. Wow! I'm honored to have brought you out of your blogging hiatus! Thanks for reading and sharing the post.

  2. What's the goal with this site?
    If there is no divine command,
    We are just randomly mutated acted upon by natural selection. Does anything really matter?
    It seems childish to believe in santaclas, after you openly express your knowledge of his fiction?

  3. Jacob, I think Bec is very clear that the goal of this site is to educate people about deceptive recruiting practices used by kiruv.professionals.

    I'm not sure what you're asking with regard to natural selection, although if it's what I think you're asking you may want to read Charles Darwin's book On The Origin of Species. He writes at length about natural selection.

    As to your question about anything really mattering; why are you asking that here? It's a Debate 101 question or a Philosophy 101 question, but not a question for a blog whose goal is to educate the public about deceptive kiruv practices.

    I agree, it's childish to believe in Santa Claus. It's one of the joys of childhood. Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are all wonderful, fantastical, childhood beliefs. Kids figure it out by the time they're six or seven, but it's fun for them while its lasts. I happen to think believing in God is childish too.


Your respectful comments are welcome.