Monday, June 15, 2015

Shabbat.Kiruv and New Update

     Recently, a good friend reminded me about this internal email sent around a while back to Shabbat/Shabbos hosts, allegedly from Rabbi Klatzko, the head of Shabbat.com--a kiruv organization that sets up hosts and guest for Shabbos meals and observance. What follows is a set of guidelines for hosts to follow in order to promote orthodoxy. My comments follow after each suggestion. The suggestions from the email are indented but I added everything within the [brackets.] Additionally, in my commentary, I use the word "allegedly" since I was given the text of this email and not actual screen shots.
From Rabbi Klatzko - Suggestions for Hosting guests at your Shabbos Table

1- NEVER speak about these four things:
1- Women's issues- eg. agunah, [married woman whose husband refuses to grant a religious divorce, despite her request for a divorce,] mechitza, [separation of men and women at synagogue]
2- avoid speaking about denominations (reform, conservative, etc.)
3- don't speak about homosexuality
4- don't speak about Chareidim [ultra-orthodox Jews] and the army
     When someone suggests that you never speak of something, the first thing you should ask is "why are these topics forbidden?" Let's take a brief minute to go through each forbidden topic.
      Why shouldn't ultra-orthodox hosts discuss women's issues? This leads to dangerous territory for kiruv professionals. Modern educated women and men are not going to be happy when they learn that women's separation is about women being a distraction, about women being possibly considered impure if they are menstruating, and about women being held captive by husbands who refuse them a get (a Jewish divorce) that will permit them to remarry within observant Judaism.
     Why shouldn't Shabbos hosts discuss non-orthodox denominations of Judaism? Ultra-orthodox Judaism does not accept non-orthodox denominations of Judaism as legitimate Jewish practice. Notice how the text says "about denominations" and not "about denominations of Judaism." Why not speak about these denominations of Judaism? Perhaps because they want to avoid having to denounce them, and thus turn off non-orthodox Jews. Let them find out later how you really feel, after you've hooked them.
     Why shouldn't Shabbos hosts discuss homosexuality? Ultra-orthodox Jews believe that homosexuality is wrong (the term "abomination" is often tossed around casually,) and some have pushed gay people into programs such as JONAH, which attempt to make gay people straight. Obviously, a discussion of how the Torah claims that homosexuals should be stoned to death is not something they want to discuss at the Shabbos table with people of various backgrounds.
     Why not discuss Chareidim and the army? Non-orthodox Jews who may or may not be Zionists might find it a bit odd that ultra-orthodox Jews get a free pass from the Israeli army, while non-(ultra) orthodox Jews are risking their own lives for the safety of ALL who live in Israel. Regardless of one's position on Israel, most people would probably find this to be extremely unbalanced.

2- General Rule- NEVER GO NEGATIVE
people don't remember arguments- they remember IMPRESSIONS
were you disparaging, bullying.
BE POSITIVE!
- don't assume people have preconceived notions about being frum
- Stay in your element- don't try too hard, be yourself- don't put on a show
- Stay away from stories that are difficult to believe! They can't relate to them.
Speak about moral ideas- how to have compassion, how to treat others, etc
Suggested reading: Zelig Pliskin- "Love Your Neighbor" - moral in each parsha
     Number two starts off fair. No matter who you are, it's a bad idea to bully and belittle your guests. I hope this is common knowledge everywhere. The fact that he has to remind people of this makes me wary of how well the hosts on this site are screened before people are sent off to their homes. My only real issue with this section is this line: "Stay away from stories that are difficult to believe! They can't relate to them." In the secular world, many stories that are difficult to believe require the suspension of disbelief. We usually refer to those as fiction.

 3- Things that make big impressions:
- seeing the husband helping out- eg setting or clearing the table
- wife should thank husband for buying flowers OUT LOUD
- Thanks to guests for coming AND thanks to your wife for making the shabbos
      This section leads me to believe that it's assumed that men are not helping their wives out on Shabbos. Otherwise, why the need to suggest that they do? Is it because in many modern households there's a pretty even division of labor that may not necessarily exist in ultra-orthodox homes?
     In suggestion 2, Klatzko allegedly states "Stay in your element- don't try too hard, be yourself- don't put on a show," so then why the need to stress that the "wife should thank husband for buying flowers OUT LOUD" and that the husband should thank his wife for making Shabbos? Are these simple expressions of gratitude a foreign concept in these homes when impressionable kiruv projects guests aren't present?

4- Everything you do on shabbos should be done with PURPOSE and JOY
sing with feeling, say kiddush with feeling; make them feel comfortable.
      Again, let me mention the point about not putting on a show. This sounds very much like a scripted production.

5- Don't flinch if they do something against halacha. They are not chayav for aveiros- [guilty of transgressing/breaking Jewish law] should they turn on a light, use cell phone, let it go
     I appreciate number five. However, I believe it should always be like this. Accept people for who they are without the need to deceive them (by avoiding topics that may be uncomfortable or emotional.)
6- Don't sing your usual zemiros [Shabbos songs]- they will tune out. Choose a popular Hebrew song,
eg. Oseh Shalom, Haveinu Shalom Aleichem, David Melech Yisroel,
Ushavtem Mayim Bsason, Moshiah Molshiah aya ya ya ya yae,
Lo yisah goi el goi cherev, Adon Olam, Hava Nageela, Hine ma Tov,
Siman tov umazel tov, Am yisrael Chai, Etz Chaim Hi....
OR: Teach them a new song without words, hum along.
     Are the real zmiros really that bad? In all seriousness, this makes sense. Without accepting non-orthodox Jewish denominations, Klatzko allegedly accepts that guests may have familiarity with some of the songs and prayers. I wonder if women are allowed to sing or if women aren't informed until much later that their voices shouldn't be heard.

7- Goal is that they should want to incorporate this experience - yahadus-into their lives:
People choose religion because of:
1- who our heroes are (Rev Moshe Feinstein, gedolim in Eretz Yisrael)
2- what is the ultimate vision of our religion for the world. Judaism- vision of peace
3- they look at the user experience- are people enjoying practicing their religion
4- do ideas translate into action- the proof is in the pudding- does it work?
5- people are looking for truth- Judiasm is emes [truth.] If you don't know an answer to their question, be honest- say you will find out. But only give honest answers.
 Last but not least, number seven. The second point tries to sell Judaism as a "vision of peace." I keep thinking of the Amalek--the group that Jews are commanded by the Torah to smite in every generation--and how anti-Zionists have made claims that Zionists are also the Amalek. I am also reminded of the infighting within orthodoxy and I really have to wonder.
     The list of suggestions mentions "user experience--are people enjoying practicing their religion?" The fact that just a few sentences ago, people were instructed that "everything you do on shabbos should be done with PURPOSE and JOY, sing with feeling, say kiddush with feeling" makes me think that perhaps people are not enjoying the practice, otherwise, why the need to remind them to be joyful? Usually, when people enjoy something, they don't need to be reminded to exhibit the joy. It comes naturally.
     The question is raised that "ideas translate into actions--the proof is in the pudding--does it work?" Does what work? What does this refer to?
    Finally, number five. Judaism is only truth to those who believe it is truth. I like the idea that honest answers should be given, however, that's after manipulating the conversation to avoid certain topics that Klatzko allegedly doesn't want you to talk about.
     Here's my question to kiruv professionals and ultra-orthodox hosts. Why not be honest in the beginning? Why not discuss the difficult topics? Is it that you're afraid of turning people off to Judaism? Or is it that you fear that you may discover certain truths that might taint your personal vision of ultra-orthodox Judaism?


UPDATE
     I was recently contacted twice by Rabbi Benzion Klatzko, once via Facebook and once as a comment on this blog. Since the comment thread is very long, I've chosen to
Comment from Rabbi Benzion Klatzko.
Click to enlarge.
post the comment and my response within the body of this post.
     As those of you who have been reading this blog from its inception are aware, I believe very strongly in integrity. I stand behind my words and I won't write anything that I wouldn't say in person. Additionally, I cite my sources and post screen shots when available.
     In his response, Rabbi Klatzko states that "This was NOT an email sent to "kiruv people" [sic] This was a phone conference that someone eves [sic] dropped [sic] on and then "summarized" for the OTD [off the derech--people who've left orthodoxy] crowd on a different website." 

     I admit to being curious as to why he might blame someone for disseminating this information to the OTD crowd, why he'd assume said person "eavesdropped," and what would motivate him to lay blame so casually. But then I moved on to the body of the comment. I want to express my gratitude to Rabbi Klatzko for taking some of his valuable time to write up a response to this post addressing words that he claims were written by an eavesdropper for the OTD community. Except that there's a problem here and it's not with Klatzko's explanation of his host suggestions. The problem is that I was recently sent the exact same "summary" in an email that came from the Far Rockaway, New York synagogue Agudah of Bayswater on October 23, 2014 at 9:40:18 AM EDT.
     Someone should inform Agudah of Bayswater that the information that was sent out by them was actually taken verbatim from an eavesdropper for the OTD community, based on Klatzko's comment. I don't know Rabbi Benzion Klatzko from a hole in the wall (although I'm guessing he's the one with legs) and so I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt here. I can't imagine that Rabbi Klatzko, a rabbi and head of a huge kiruv organization, would lie in a comment on a public blog (in which he references a message he sent previously in his name) about this information. And yet, here are screen shots of emails received.
Click to enlarge.


Click to enlarge.

83 comments:

  1. > This section leads me to believe that it's assumed that men are not helping their wives out on Shabbos.

    It could be that the men help out anyway, and this is just an encouragement to make sure your guests see it (though I have been to many homes where it's assumed that the women serve and clear). The lat point, though, "thanks to your wife for making the shabbos," assumes that it's the women who make Shabbos. In my circle, the guys cook as often as their wives.

    > 6- Don't sing your usual zemiros [Shabbos songs]- they will tune out. Choose a popular Hebrew song,

    I get why, but it seems patronizing.

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  2. When do you tell the ladies about rabbinical panty inspections?

    Jane Eyre

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  3. Thanks for coming back. I missed you! And yes, this is what it's like. He could have added another suggestion, and that's to make sure you have plenty of newly religious people where the wife doesn't have so many children that she can't easily manage and where the wife has a wonderful professional job that she's still visibly involved with. This creates the impression that Orthodoxy (and not Modern Orthodoxy) is completely compatible with a demanding job. As older adults we were easy marks for the kiruv crowd. Even though we consider ourselves pretty savvy, we were no match for kiruv professionals. It was much, much later that we understood that the women and men who had careers we admired and social attitudes we agreed with were not born into the system; our hosts, and almost everybody else we met along the way, who were out-and-out frum did not educate their daughters to standards we would find acceptable (actually, I'm don't think sons were educated to that standard either) and the views expressed around tables where we encountered those people were offensive--and frankly didn't seem "religious". That did it. We were out of there and happy to be gone. Happier still to withdraw financial contributions to this outfit. dgb, Dallas

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    1. Thanks for the warm welcome back wishes! I hope to be blogging more regularly at this point.
      You wrote "It was much, much later that we understood that the women and men who had careers we admired and social attitudes we agreed with were not born into the system . . . ." What potential recruits don't realize until they're often head over heels involved in orthodoxy is that very often, the more liberal or progressive attitudes on display are not found across the board in the communities that many BTs end up joining. Usually by the time BTs are ready to move into these communities, they've already invested time and money undergoing a religious transformation, and sometimes find themselves married with children involved. Unfortunately, these close-minded views are kept hidden until the BT is accepted into the community. I saw this from sending my own children to an ultra-orthodox school at one point. They finished out the year and that was it.

      Delete
    2. I'm also glad to see you back and blogging... Though I often find myself disagreeing with much of what you write, I find you consistently insightful and thought provoking... And, as a "kiruv rabbi" I find myself at times questioning myself to maintain a level of integrity that would stand up to your scrutiny...

      That said, I think you're being a little rough and nit-picky on some of these issues...

      If I have guests at my table who I've never met, I don't think it's unreasonable to make a concerted effort not to raise issues that are bound to be contentious or more complex to deal with. He didn's say to shut people down if they ask, he said don't raise them yourself. If you have a couple visiting with you who are struggling to work through one partner's infidelity, would you happily launch a discussion about statistics of infedelity on the internet? Choosing to not introduce topics that you know will strain conversation is sensitive, not deceptive. If students are discouraged from ever asking those questions, that would be problematic, but save your cririque for more appropriately placed situations.

      Similarly with his point about singing. Yes, he would allow women to sing at his table. At some point, they may learn about the prohibition of kol isha, but since there are varied opinions on the topic, he is choosing not to make issues of things that are less critical and more contentious.

      All of that said, I do have to agree with you that if the husband helping, expressing gratitude, etc is a complete show, the lack of sincerity will come out and better to not host at all... But I guess if you need to be hosting people, better to fake it and act nice, than to be an open, abrasive, jerk. There's no mitzvah to be honest to that extent I imagine...

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    3. Here's another little not-so-nice bit from kiruv circles. My husband was a great kiruv catch; me not-so-much. He was gently but repeatedly asked what his life would be without me in the picture.

      Delete
    4. Thanks, Anonymous #1.
      I may have been rough and nit-picky, I can't deny it. :) Also, I think we may have looked at the list differently. I looked at it critical of kiruv, so I may have understood the idea of not discussing certain topics as stopping the discussion of such subjects before they got started. Also, good point about kol isha at a kiruv-type shabbos table.

      Delete
    5. Wow, Anonymous #2, that's pretty harsh. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. Having once witnessed a conversation in which a kiruv person mentioned wanting to break up a couple for the sake of one person's continued involvement and move towards orthodoxy, I can only imagine how painful being in that situation must be. That's truly awful.

      Delete
  4. Glad Bec has decided to write. Kiruv reminds one of BAIT and SWITCH.

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  5. The anonymous kiruv rabbi wrote: If students are discouraged from ever asking those questions, that would be problematic, but save your cririque for more appropriately placed situations.

    Students have no idea that singing is not allowed. Why would they ask about it? They have no idea that women's panties are presented to rabbis for inspection. Why would they ask about that? They have no idea that they will be "encouraged," to give up their non-religious friends & family who are destined to become labeled anti-religious, unsupportive, or even hostile if they don't join on the religious bandwagon. Why would they ask about that? Students don't know that they will be encouraged to either leave college or dumb-down their ambitions in favor of more kiruv-friendly careers and ambitions. Why would they ask about that?

    Kiruv has an entire agenda laid out for kids that is not revealed to them or their families at the start. This deception in it's ugliest form, cloaked under the guise of "politeness." I am appalled to hear a rabbi misuse his position of trust in this way. In fact, this is just plain scheming and lying.

    Not Falling For It!

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  6. What a tumult based on a mistaken premise!

    OK. So here is the reality.

    This was NOT an email sent to "kiruv people" This was a phone conference that someone eves dropped on and then "summarized" for the OTD crowd on a different website.

    This phone conference was advice given to lay-people looking to invite guests for the Shabbos Project that took place last year.

    The gist of the talk being, stay out of a fight and put your best face forward. It's Shabbat!

    Reminding people that they represent and each of their words and actions will be scrutinized and analyzed (sort of like this blog did to me). This is prudent and wise advice in many different areas in life!

    We all fall short on occasion, so this reminder is well placed.

    As far as tackling difficult subject matters at the guests first encounter, my advice has always been to discourage it. Many of these issues are quite complex and the average lay person may not be able to explain them to the uninitiated. They may not know the answers (very possible), and even if they do, these issues cannot be served justice within a short, two hour, Shabbat meal.

    Many concepts in Judaism only makes sense within the context of the rest of Judaism. To tackle a difficult subject where there is no context or background is a recipe for misunderstanding and hurt feelings. It makes no sense to do so, so "keeping it light" allows all to enjoy the Shabbat festivities.

    Of course a Rabbi, who's job it is to teach Torah, is quite capable to respond, and answers these sort of questions daily. And he or she most certainly don't shy away from them!

    A lay person does not. That's what make the entire premise of this blog article unfortunately misguided.

    Here is my question to you, dear blogger. Before saying something over in my name and putting it on your blog, in the interest of accuracy, why not contact me? My information is readily available all over the internet and you can safely verify that this script is accurate and in quoted in context.

    Awaiting your phone call (I sent you my phone number on Facebook)! Shabbat Shalom!

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    1. Thank you for your response. After reading your words I felt that an update to this blog post was necessary. Shavua tov!

      Delete
  7. He is right to have been contacted first. However, he does not successfully address the thrust of the criticism in your post and some of the contents.

    I hear he is a nice guy, etc. I will buy that. However, I take exception to his explanation for avoiding issues of women's roles, gay rights, Charedi entitlement to exemption from military service, and their attitudes to non-orthodox movements. I think the deeper reason for avoiding these topics is that the average host will not be graceful and will instead display the deep prejudices of the community. He is determined to save those delicate topics for their skilled apologists. Perhaps the true sore point is women's roles. Hence the exagerated attempt to show husbands helping and thanking their wives. It is interesting that in spite of a better than average attitude of being themselves, this is one area where he does advocate putting on a show.

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    1. While I don't see any reason for him to have been contacted, I can understand why some feel it might have been beneficial. However, other than my admittance in the comments above to being nit-picky, I know that even if this advice was attributed to Joe Shmoe, my criticism would have been the same.
      This line stands out for me in your comment: "I think the deeper reason for avoiding these topics is that the average host will not be graceful and will instead display the deep prejudices of the community." Sadly, I have to agree with you. I am lucky to know a handful of educated, enlightened thinkers within these communities, and I'm proud to call them my friends. Unfortunately, they seem to be the aberration.

      Delete
  8. And what's this phone conference and not an email excuse? Sounds like a difference without a distinction.
    Why the need for a memo at all? Why not just be yourself, if your lifestyle is all that great. Sounds like a car dealership, get the customer to sign the dotted line, don't disclose any unpleasant details. Sham.

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  9. This paragraph caught my eye & raised my blood pressure, (not that the rest of Klatzko's letter is any better):

    Many concepts in Judaism only makes sense within the context of the rest of Judaism. To tackle a difficult subject where there is no context or background is a recipe for misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

    This sounds like textbook cult talk. The impression Klatzko gives is that hosts are enlightened and guests, (shall we call them little brains?), are simply not enlightened enough or far enough along on their spiritual journeys to comprehend the complicated concepts like the panty inspections that someone mentioned above. Craziness does seem perfectly normal when you're brainwashed, I'll give him that.

    You don't want to tell new recruits at a Shabbos dinner that the only reason you invited them is to get them to join your crazy ultra Orthodox sect of Judaism. They'll run for the hills. And you certainly wouldn't tell them about how women are treated, what happens to secular families who don't jump on the religious bandwagon, that BT's career choices will be limited, their clothing choices dictated, that woman won't be able to sing, that they'll have to endure humiliating inspections at the mikvah each month, or any of the other horribly restrictive, controlling and limiting rules that will be imposed on BT's once they're in this up to their necks. No, just take them to a fake Shabbos where everyone is on their best behavior & pretends it's always like this. Then assign someone to buddy up to the poor sucker who came to the house without knowing that you had a plan for them. Lie to them. Schmooze them. Love bomb them. Weep when you tell them how their grandparents all lived like this, every weekend, even though you never met their grandparents and they never heard about this stuff before. What's a lie if it makes someone frum, right? All's fair in making people frum, right? It's for the greater (your) good, right?

    You don't want to talk about that ugly stuff because clear headed new recruits will leap from the table and run for the door, right? And your feelings might be hurt, right?

    AEM

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  10. Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt. The fact that Agudah of Bayswater says something over in my name, doesnt mean that I wrote it. Unless you have a screenshot with me sending this out with my email address, please take me at my word. This was a phone conference, that someone independently transcribed.

    As for the other comments, haters gonna hate. There is no dialogue possible, so I wont try.

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    1. Rabbi Klatzko, I so appreciate the fact that you don't shy away from this arena and take these people head-on. We need more people like you who aren't afraid to tackle the nonsensical people demonizing kiruv. All you and others in kiruv want is to help bring people closer to Yiddishkeit, do some good for the Jewish people outside themselves. What is so nefarious about that? So I say Kol Hakavod(even though you obviously don't need the validation!)

      If people really saw what the Klatzkos do for kids who are not only coming upon Yiddishkeit for the first time but also kids who are completely off the derech, they would never question it's all out of pure emesdik ahava.

      Delete
    2. You sound like a member of Klatzko's psychological harem. He can do no wrong. He is wonderful, magical - damn, if he were Catholic you could nominate him for sainthood. If only the world understood how exceptional he is.

      Wake up. There are serious problems with what Klatzko does. Stop kidding yourself and stop apologizing for him.

      AEC

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  11. Rabbi and Mrs Klatzko are the kindest and most loving people in the world.They have literally inspired and uplifted thousands of Jews from around the world.Before you go ahead and attack him please come spend a shabbos by his house in monsey and see for yourself what goes on there.

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    1. How does this criticism of this list of suggestions "attack" either Mr. or Mrs. Klatzko?

      Delete
    2. Wow! You are kidding right? You can't be serious!
      You called the Rabbi a liar.
      You twisted his words to benefit your blogs agenda.
      You wrote about a man you don't know "I may have been rough and nit-picky, I can't deny it. smile emoticon" as if a "smiley" emoticon at the end makes it kosher.
      You incite other commentators to spew their venom, and then you hide behind "It's just criticism of a list, what's your problem?"
      That's such typical spurious negative blogger tactic!
      You say what you want, hurt who you want, don't check out facts with sources (of course your "integrity" is paramount!), and then feign innocence in the name of discourse!
      This is why your agenda will ultimately fail. Hating on good people like the Klatzkos sinks your cause in the public's eye.
      And if you think by attacking the Rabbi, you have not hurt his wife, then you know nothing about relationships.
      And you are the spokesperson for adult bullying???
      PU-Lease! God help us!
      "Focus on the actual issue and try to stay on topic. Thanks!"
      How condescending!
      BTW, he is a "Rabbi" not "Mr".

      Delete

    3. Ari Malowitzky said: "You called the Rabbi a liar.
      You twisted his words to benefit your blogs agenda."

      ^^I said "I don't know Rabbi Benzion Klatzko from a hole in the wall (although I'm guessing he's the one with legs) and so I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt here. I can't imagine that Rabbi Klatzko, a rabbi and head of a huge kiruv organization, would lie in a comment on a public blog (in which he references a message he sent previously in his name) about this information." What's the problem?

      Ari Malowitzky said: "You wrote about a man you don't know "I may have been rough and nit-picky, I can't deny it. smile emoticon" as if a "smiley" emoticon at the end makes it kosher."

      ^^When a commenter stated that it seemed like I was nitpicking, I actually agreed that I did seem to be nitpicking. What's the problem?

      Ari Malowitzky said: "You incite other commentators to spew their venom, and then you hide behind "It's just criticism of a list, what's your problem?"
      That's such typical spurious negative blogger tactic!"

      ^^How is being critical of kiruv practices "inciting other commentators[sic] to spew their venom?" Is it because I allow comments on this blog and allow and encourage questions and independent thought? Why does that upset you?

      Ari Malowitzky said: "You say what you want, hurt who you want, don't check out facts with sources (of course your "integrity" is paramount!), and then feign innocence in the name of discourse!"

      ^^I admitted where my information came from and even updated to provide additional information after contacted by Rabbi Klatzko. Additionally, Rabbi Klatzko even explained this information as well as how he believed it was disseminated, and didn't deny that it was his. Do you think that this isn't his information? Are these suggestions wrong?

      Ari Malowitzky said: "This is why your agenda will ultimately fail. Hating on good people like the Klatzkos sinks your cause in the public's eye."

      ^^What agenda do I have? Criticizing kiruv? Criticism is very different from "hating on good people." Do you believe that critics of Sense and Sensibility are "hating on" Jane Austen?

      Ari Malowitzky said: "And if you think by attacking the Rabbi, you have not hurt his wife, then you know nothing about relationships."

      ^^You still have not shown me where people were attacked, unless you feel that a response to a comment is an attack. Are my words here so powerful that whole families are being affected? That's very generous of you, Ari, but I'm just a "dear blogger," as I was called earlier.

      Ari Malowitzky said: "And you are the spokesperson for adult bullying???"

      ^^You think that because I was interviewed on this topic, I am the spokesperson? That's very generous of you and you're making me blush.

      Ari Malowitzky said: "PU-Lease! God help us!"

      ^^Do you think that God is reading this blog or even has time for this?

      Ari Malowitzky said: ""Focus on the actual issue and try to stay on topic. Thanks!"
      How condescending!"
      What's condescending about requesting that you stick to the topic? By the way, I've indulged you here. From here on, feel free to stick to the topic. This is about a list of Shabbos suggestions. You seem bent on making Rabbi Klatzko look bad here, especially when he so graciously commented back and explained the whole situation. Your comments make you seem, with all due respect, hysterical.

      Ari Malowitzky said: "BTW, he is a "Rabbi" not "Mr"."

      ^^That comment just made me laugh. I'm glad you ended this exchange with a bit of humor to defuse your angry rebuke.

      Delete
  12. Klatzko - are you saying that Agudah of Bayswater transcribed a phone conversation for the OTD crowd, then mailed that transcript to their congregation for the Shabbos Project?

    I'm going with option B, that you're lying

    Let's suppose you aren't lying though. What parts of the email that Agudah sent out are misrepresent what you said?

    AEM

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  13. I am fortunate to be connected to the Klatzko family for five and a half years now. They have made a tremendous impact on my life and on the lives of so many people that I know personally. The Klatzkos are givers. They spend all their time and energy helping others and just trying to make this world a better place! After reading your blog I am just noticing resentment and negativity. This tells me that you have been hurt or are angry at Judiasm. Here's one question. Why would you waste your quality time bashing and hurting a Rabbi and his family who have only done good for so many Jewish people?

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    1. That's wonderful for you. I'm really glad that the Klatzko family has helped you find your path and that they are such wonderful people. However, this post has nothing to do with the Klatzko family--it is a criticism of a list of hosting suggestions. How did you make the leap from discussing a list of suggestions for hosts to believing that this was some sort of attack on this family's character? Why would you even think that anyone would attack the Klatzko family's character? It's very disturbing that you would try to discourage healthy criticism and questioning of the actual issue by trying to make it seem like a personal attack. That's a typical reaction to criticism in the kiruv world: build a straw man and address it instead. Focus on the actual issue and try to stay on topic. Thanks!

      Delete
  14. Do you really think these Jews will never in their whole lives be exposed to any of the points raised? Of course they will, but for someone not so knowledgeable and just looking to have a fun Shabbos experience, Rabbi Klatzko's points make sense.

    I noticed for a number of points raised, you mentioned that since Rabbi Klatzko has to "remind" families on certain points, that it must be assumed they don't typically act in this manner. Rather than assuming and instead critiquing and defaming a very warm human being as well as many loving Jewish families, go to some families for Shabbos and experience this first-hand. In fact, you should go to Rabbi Klatzko for a Shabbos - almost every week he hosts many many Jews. You should know that you are defaming a very good person, who cares a lot for this world.

    Perhaps rather than being critical of Rabbi Klatzko, try learning from him, particularly point #2: Never go negative.

    There are plenty of bad things that go on in this world, unfortunately, a rabbi trying to give some Jews a fun and meaningful Shabbos as oppose to an uncomfortable one, is not one of them.

    I know many ba'ale teshuvas who are very happy with their transition towards orthodoxy and still maintain a healthy relationship with their families. In fact, yeshivas for ba'ale teshuvot insist their students keep on good terms with their families, to write home, and they will teach how to keep all the Jewish laws in their non-observant homes. If you insist on posting negative views on kiruv, please be fair and post positive ones as well.

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    1. I don't think anyone is defaming Rabbi Klatzko, however, comma, there is a certain level of disingenousness going on in the kiruv movement, and this table of guidelines which was apparently inspired/directed by him is indicative of that. Good for you that you transitioned well to Orthodoxy with no regrets, but that doesn't obviate the fact that many did not, and woke up too late to the fact that they got into something that wasn't obvious to them from the get-go. It's kind of like the car salesman analogy, some folks are happy customers, but some are not, and with hindsight fume at the dealer who hid certain facts at the time of purchase.

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    4. The problem, Anonymous, is not whether Jews will be exposed to the blogger's points ever, but rather WHEN they will be exposed. Figuring out what's wrong with becoming a BT years down the road is not acceptable.

      You make it sound as if one single isolated act of deception, (for instance, pretending that the husband normally helps with dinner), is not a big deal. It IS a big deal. It's deception. Deception is not alright if it helps someone become religious. It is not alright if it helps sells a car. It just isn't alright, ever. When that deception is pre-meditated and promoted by the head of an organization it qualifies as lying.

      It's wonderful to hear that many baal teshuvas are happy with their transition toward orthodoxy. What about the other ones? The BT's whose personal relationships with their friends and family were strained or severed? The BT's who bailed out after a few weeks or months or years. Do you ever think about what deceptive kiruv did to their lives?

      Maybe you and the blogger can make a deal; kiruv organizations own up to their deceptive practices and problems created by luring kids into ultra Orthodox Judaism, and she'll look for something positive to say about kiruv.

      AEC

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    5. You make it seem as if religious Jews do NONE of the things Rabbi Klatzko mentioned and that is not nice of you to make such accusations, especially since you are very very wrong. I know many many families both in my community as well as many others that are very warm, kind, and have a very appropriate Jewish atmosphere during Shabbos and during the week.

      In fact if you look at the secular world, the family structure is often not to the same standard and the deception is unbelievable.

      Have you ever cleaned your house right before guests come to make it looks neat, even though it is usually messy? Or maybe you've dressed a little nicer on certain occasions to put on a better impression, such as for a date or an interview - is that also deceptive? Rabbi Klatzko wants "beginners" to have the best possible first impression, and the things he asks hosts to do is clearly appropriate, and in my experience, things that are done anyways.

      In any case, based on my many many years in Jewish communities and eating by many families, I have always found the atmosphere to be warm, the families to be loving, and the experience to be pleasant - so please stop condemning the Jewish people it's not nice.

      And fyi, usually when a ba'al teshuva leaves Judaism, it is because it was too difficult for them to keep up, sometimes they make excuses and try to blame this or that, but if you dig deep, they're usually just excuses. It is much easier for guys and girls to touch, to work on Shabbos, to eat whatever and wherever you feel like, to dress immodestly, all you need is a down point in your life and you can go straight back to who you were before. And rather than admitting you were weak, it is much more convenient to place the blame on someone.

      But MOST importantly is, regardless of how the individual may act, that does NOT change the religion. There are religious people who do terrible things, that does not make Judaism terrible. Judaism is based on the Torah which sets a given value system. If someone drops Judaism, it better be because they disapprove of that value system and not because they saw one or two people acting inappropriately. The environment Rabbi Klatzko wants is a Torah atmosphere, nothing more.

      If you consider family love and respect not to be Torah values, I can assure you that you are 100% incorrect - even if it just so happens some families are not strong in this, that does not change the Torah. As for the topics to avoid for beginners, that makes sense, as it will be too heavy for them, but after a little more exposure, believe me, they ask the questions, but now they are more comfortable with hearing views that oppose their own - it requires having an open mind, which most people do not have, they are only interested in their perspective on life and knocking those they disagree with in public forums.

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    6. Thank you so much, Anonymous, for weighing in here and for feeling comfortable to freely state your opinions without holding back.

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  15. So why does Klatzko put up such a kerfuffle and try to deny that he authored the memo? "If you don't have my name on the letterhead, you can't prove it was me", nyah nyah nyah. He should proudly affirm that yes, he wrote it and he stands 100% behind it.
    In regards to you calling those who are return to secularism "weak", I would define them as "human." I was watching a documentary a few nights ago about the Jim Jones massacre (if you had a typical yeshiva education, your grasp of history might be substandard, but you can always google it), and the episode was dealing with the groups of folks who wished to leave the cult and return home (Very few were successful in escaping in the end). Were those folks who wanted to leave "weak?" No, they were the normal ones who realized the scam and the fraud they had gotten themselves into. It was those who stayed, and died miserably, who were weak, because they couldn't find the mental stamina to escape the la-la loonytune ideology and cult of a deranged lunatic.
    Undoubtedly the internet is a tremendous danger for those who wish to keep their flock in the dark, and thus the internet is villified and feared by the flock herders. Kudos to the author of this blog who sheds light on the deceptive and manipulative practices and modus operandi of the kiruv movement. At least now potential victims have an inkling of what they're getting into before drinking the sweet kool-aid.

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  16. Klatzko didn't write this list as far as I know. It was a phone conversation on October, 19 2014 sponsored by Project Inspire for the Shabbos Project. I was on the line so I know. It was actually quite friendly and open. The transcript is found on the website Frum Satire dated Oct 25th. This is probably where he thought it came from.

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    1. God didn't write the Torah, He transcribed it to Moses. A distinction without a difference.
      Glad that the line was quite open and friendly.

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    2. The difference was whether this was a protocol letter for outreach workers or advice for newbies. That's a distinction with a difference. Klatzko explained it earlier. Pity some cant follow logic.
      He is a good guy who helps thousands with jobs and dates and more. My neighbor's daughter was going to commit suicide and he "talked her down." He tries so hard not to badmouth people. He didn't deserve this. The blogger should remove this post.
      Look at his site UmaAlert.com.

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    3. Nice to hear he's a good guy who helps thousands. So does the Church of Scientology. People have a right to know what they're getting into. The internet is a death knell for cults and secretive ideologies such as yours.

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    4. E, I love how anyone who doesn't agree with you is in a cult. You know, people scream cult when they are faced with things that make them uncomfortable or challenge their beliefs. It is so much easier to dismiss it as a cult. Unfortunately, you don't know the first thing about cults. If you did, you wouldn't keep using that word so freely. To call observant Jews a cult is just ignorant and racist and narrow minded. And it defames your grandparents and your parents before them for thousands of years. They must be proud to have a grandchild like you!

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    5. Anonymous, what's the problem here? Posting the words that were attributed to Rabbi Klatzko in an email from Agudah of Bayswater? Or posting a criticism of these words? Rabbi Klatzko has very kindly explained what was meant by his words and the correct context. It seems that you have less than good intentions with your comments. Do you feel that these suggestions for hosts are wrong? Should hosts act differently? Do you feel that people shouldn't interpret and offer differing viewpoints on people's words? Should Hillel and Shammai have been punished for debating and offering criticism? Surely you realize that criticizing words and ideas is not the same as criticizing a person. I'm sure Rabbi Klatzko is a great guy. I know many wonderful orthodox and non-orthodox rabbis. That doesn't mean that I agree with all that they say, and I'm sure that they don't expect me or anyone to agree without critical thought, questioning, and debate over their ideas. In this case, Anonymous, since you feel so strongly, why don't you offer your opinion on this list of host suggestions? Do you have any to add? Anything that you feel that hosts could or should do differently?

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    6. Incorrect. Try again.
      A religion is a system of beliefs that people have which include laws of morality as well as tradition, customs, and bylaws. Everyone has a system of beliefs, even an atheist. It is what they believe to be the essence or the reality of the universe. You may not agree with one religion or another, but to call it a cult is ignorant and damaging to people who are actually in cults.

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    7. My previous comment was meant for e

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    8. Hang on - an atheist does not believe in God. Period. It is not a system of beliefs. It is not a religion. It is the absence of a belief in God. Got it, Anonymous?

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  17. The difference between a cult and a religion is the number of folks involved. May the third temple be speedily built, and in our day, so we can go back to animal sacrifices and stone sabbath violators to death!

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  18. bec, here is my issue. This blog and the commenters pretend that the issue is about tactic, when the real issue is they don't agree with Judaism entirely. As e just said, he feels it's a cult. Therefore, anyone who defends traditional Judaism is a marked individual. I honestly believe, that some commenters on this blog would rather Jewish people simply intermarry and disappear from history. Therefore, when we say that Klatzko is a good guy so take him at his word, that will not suffice. Because good guys who do good things to make the world a better place are irrelevant. Getting rid of observent Judaism is the real agenda. At the end of the day, Klatzko is advocating for Shabbos and feels that giving people the best experience will enhance thei connection to Judaism. And this is a problem for the commenters on your blog who wish Judaism and its laws would disappear from the face of the earth. Do you disagree with what I said?
    If you do, here is a thought experiment. What if you agreed with all of the methods of kiruv and the Jewish people began to observe the torah laws en mass. Would you do that as a positive because they went about it properly in your eyes? Or would you review it as a national tragedy?
    If you answer the latter, your blog and its entire premise is disqualified. Because it is not kiruv you wish to stop, but rather traditional Judaism entirely!

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    1. Even if everything you say is true, that the true intent here is to uproot Torah and intermarry with the nations, it does not obviate the fact that deceptive tactics are employed in kiruv as standard modus operandi. Now, from your perspective, there's nothing wrong with that, because the end justifies the means, and 'by stealth you shall wage war', but don't be surprised if in this era of mass media, the incredible proliferation of smartphones and internet, your deceptive practices of kiruv will be publicized. Own up to it, and don't obfuscate.

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    2. Notice dear readers, that e did not disagree that the true agenda is to end Judaism. And so it stands to reason, that practically any method to make people feel welcome he will view as evil and deceptive. Because simply put, he feels that Judaism itself is rotten.
      In other words, each time he criticizes kiruv, his criticism is tainted with a bias against Judaism.
      I happen to be a product of kiruv, and my experience like so many of my friends, was exceptional. Exceptional teachers, a learned environment, and the encouragement to debate and criticize, as long as it was done respecting the other person. Where there are times that I was discouraged? Yes. But I didn't go around blaming everyone else. Human beings, even in a divine system, are subject to human frailties and I am no exception. But the horror stories that are spoken of, I did not witness and I was around a lot. Often, when one of my friends became religious and then they left, I was able to predicted at the outset. There was some sort of character deficiency that Judaism exposed in them. More than half the people in my community we're not born religious and we have a warm loving honest and charitable community. So I am sad if you had a bad experience, but don't pretend your agenda is against kiruv. It is against Judaism entirely.

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    3. This blog is specifically about deceptive kiruv tactics and kiruv strategies in general. There have been times that I have deviated from discussing kiruv, but certainly not to preach or destroy orthodox Judaism. I assume you've read this blog in its entirety as well as all of the accompanying conversations in the comments, but if you haven't, you should. Here is one such post that deviates from kiruv and mentions orthodox Judaism: http://stopkiruvnow.blogspot.com/search/label/Rabbi%20Meir%20Schuster

      In other posts, I have debated with kiruv professionals and it's understood that we have nothing against each other personally, we just disagree on what is acceptable. I've had private conversations with kiruv rabbis who, believe it or not, have felt that it is important to hear criticism because that way they can improve on what they are doing. Imagine, Anonymous, if because of a dissenting voice, there was a bettering of kiruv so that people have nothing to criticize. In that case, you might think that it's silly to even have this blog, because I'm inadvertently working against myself, right?

      To answer your question, I have no problem at all with people practicing any form of Judaism--provided they chose it for themselves and were not deceived along the way. It is not my personal choice, but there's no reason why a person who is given the tools to make an educated choice, shouldn't choose as he or she likes. There is also no reason why people who are secure in their practice of orthodox Judaism and who are advocates of kiruv should feel threatened by a critic of kiruv.

      The issue that I have is when information is withheld and the same missionary tactics used to lure people into other religions and/or cults is used on unsuspecting young people. This is what I've exposed for years on this blog. If people choose to see that as an attack on Judaism, orthodox or otherwise, then I wonder what kind of Judaism they are practicing that doesn't allow for questioning and criticism.

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    4. E is not the operator of this blog, e is only adding his two cents to the dialogue. It doesn't surprise me that you're a product of kiruv, your excellent command of the English language kind of gave it away (this is one of the critiques of the kiruv movement, the recipients of kiruv are not informed up front that the chances of their progeny receiving a top notch secular education are not good- how not good depending on which of the numerous sub-cults is drawing them in).
      Your assertion that those who dropped out of Orthodoxy and reverted back to secularism had some kind of character flaw is laughable. Spoken like a true koolaid cult follower! Anyone who can't see the truth as we see it must be mentally ill! Brilliant! Perhaps anyone who upended his/her entire life to join your cultish way of thinking was deeply unsatisfied with lack of purpose in life and was likewise mentally deficient from the get go?
      Glad you have a warm, loving, charitable community. Honest, not so much.

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    5. I know that you are the exception. It is the commenters that are using you to try and destroy Judaism entirely. See if any of them will disagree with me.
      However, I still think what you did to Klatzko is wrong. I draw the line when people get hurt. This post is being shared on Facebook and Klatzko, who has helped so many people, is being trashed by strangers. That is not the Jewish Way of doing things, religious or not.

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    6. I may have hit too close to home for e!
      I didn't mean you. You have perfect character, so I am told. Never change!

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    8. I disagree with you. I am not trying to destroy Judaism entirely, or even a part of Judaism. But own up to your deception, don't be one in the mouth and one in heart. That's part of Judaism, isn't it?

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    9. e, my own deception? You think you know me? Or are you clumping me in one stereotype? You wouldn't be so racist, would you?

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    10. You hoo, Anonymous, I am a commenter and I am not trying to destroy Judaism entirely. Just deceptive practices used to entice secular or Reform Jews into Ultra Orthodoxy. That's all. You know, there were many great Jews throughout history and unfortunately, not many, if any, were ultra Orthodox. Salk, Sabin, Einstein - OMG there thousands of influential Jews who bettered mankind. You know what they had in common? They weren't sitting around on Fridays and Saturdays and the months of September and October and two or three days a month on other months praying. They were researching, acting, being contributing members of society. They weren't morons following the advice of a cult leader. Imagine what you could do with YOUR life, Anonymous, if you devoted time to bettering mankind instead of spending your energy rounding up unsuspecting kids to join your cult?

      AEC

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  19. I am referring to the deception involved in the kiruv movement, and whose methods of deception you seem to endorse, since you criticize the author of this blog for exposing this deception

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  22. I reject your characterization of kiruv being a deception since you are biased against Judaism as a cult has already been revealed.

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  23. You can reject what you wish. I reject your perspective since you obviously refuse to address the core issue on the table: Painting a rosy picture of Judaism to newcomers, while hiding the ugly reality until they are already sucked in. Like what I mentioned before about the God of Israel demanding a death penalty for Sabbath transgressors. When are the newbie participants singing lovey dovey zmiros around the delicacy laden shabbos table informed that lighting a cigarette on Saturday is a death penalty offense? No, no, no, says the memo, don't say that, they're not 'ready' for that.
    So wallow in your self-smugness, and continue to dismiss those who wake up to your deception as 'weak' and 'deficient in character'. The readers can make their own decision.

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    1. I am not sure whether you are ignorant or purposefully deceptive. Even a third grader knows that the chances of anyone even in the times of the temple getting the death penalty were astronomically low. That is the "ugly" reality!
      (Why threaten a punishment that is so difficult to carry out? This is to let the Jewish people know how important Shabbos is to the Almighty. In the same way that I would not cheat on my wife, even if I knew that I would not get caught, because simply knowing how much it would hurt her is the deterrent. In that same way, simply knowing how important Shabbos is becomes the deterrent.)

      But why am i teaching you Torah when you don't believe it anyways? You would rather keep promoting your hypothetical version of Shabbos rather than the reality of Shabbos around the world, which is full of family, love, friendship, and peacefulness.

      Come to think of it, I believe you are purposefully deceptive and nobody is fooled.

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    2. Anonymous, you said: I reject your characterization of kiruv being a deception since you are biased against Judaism as a cult has already been revealed.

      I don't think Judaism is a cult. I am a great supporter of Reform Judaism, although I don't practice it. What Iis cult like are the deceptive practices used by ultra Orthodox groups to rein kids into those sects. For instance, love bombing is one specific method used by ultra Orthodox groups that is unethical. It's fake love. It's fake friendship. It's lying to kids for the specific purpose of drawing them into a group. It's wrong. Judaism isn't wrong, but the methods used by ultra Orthodox groups to draw kids into Judaism is wrong. The means don't justify the end. It is 100% wrong to trick people into joining your religion.

      AEC

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    3. AEC, you are judging the sincerity of people? Who the hell are you? You are the decider who really cares and who has a pre-programmed love bomb setting? Did you feel people were unfair to you? Did someone say they love you and then didn't show it the right way? The truth is, you are a reform Jew who hates Orthodox. You are not special. You are a dying breed of Jew who has given much too little, way too late to his children, so you rely on birthright trips to do the job that you should have done. Perhaps if you are slower to judge and quicker to listen, you could have gained from people who are much more sincere than you ever give them credit for.

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    4. You bet I'm judging the sincerity of people who assign people to mekarev others! That isn't sincere, that's an assignment. The problem is that the recruit doesn't know that someone was assigned to him or her. They think the interest is genuine. They believe the crap about being special, awesome, and amazing. They fall for the BS. They are tricked into becoming frum.

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  24. I'm not promoting any 'hypothetical' Torah, I'm quoting what the law states, nothing more, nothing less. The fact that you're incapable of carrying out the law due to living as a minority in a foreign country and not under theocratic governance in the land of Israel doesn't diminish the severity of the law one iota. You claim that the death penalty was adminstered most sparingly, you don't really know what the actual situation was in the Temple Era, only what the Rabbis who lived at a later date say about it.
    No, no one is going to be executed for willfully violating the Sabbath today. I never said there are "Sabbath squads" going around Isis-style whacking violators. But are newbies at the Shabbos table aware that they are entering a community who believes that willful violators are subject to death? Not by a human court, but certainly by the Deity they are enjoined to worship. And not just Sabbath, but a whole slew of other laws as well.
    Family, love, friendship, peacefulness. Lovely catchwords, but truth is paramount. And it's that truth you refuse to acknowledge.


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    1. You are once again mistaken.

      The rabbis that declared that "a court that puts anyone to death for any reason once in 70 years is called a murderous court," lived at the times of the temple. Judaism is built to sustain and promote life. Always has been, always will be! It is the code of laws that all of monotheism subscribe to.

      Once again, I suspect that you knew that but for the sake of a blog entry and influencing its audience to hate on Judaism, you chose not mention it.
      Maybe even more telling is the fact that the Judaism that is practiced the past two thousand years without a temple has offered the kind of Shabbos experience that is healthy and nurturing. Not just "catch words."
      .The fact that you refuse to acknowledge this ( in the name of truth mind you) and harp on the laws of the temple, expose your agenda to seek out and promote the negative. And that is the truth that you refuse to acknowledge!

      Rebecca, are you sufficiently entertained?

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    2. Really, Anonymous, you're going to try to win this argument by explaining Torah to us? Remember, your listening audience is people like me who have to think ... was the Torah written before or after the Bible?

      This isn't about the Torah. This is about lying to people in order to trick them into giving up their ambitions, relationships, careers, hopes, dreams and families in order to spend their days pondering which shoe to tie first and when they can cut their fingernails.

      AEC

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    3. I feel like I'm having a conversation with a 14 year old.
      Amalek?? Really?? That's what you got??
      You have an issue with kiruv not immediately disclosing that we had a fight with a nation that wanted to kill us 3300 years ago? That there is such a thing as evil in the world?
      That is your big problem? And you feel without disclosing this they are sugar coating the beauty of Judaism and Shabbos?
      I think at this point in the conversation we should take a break. Perhaps you should go over to the nearest mirror and ask yourself the following question:
      " Why do I hate Judaism so much? Why do sincere people trying to keep a faith alive through the ravages of assimilation keep me up at night?
      Am I obsessed? Do I need therapy? Was I bullied or under appreciated when I was younger? Did I have a teacher who is less than kind to me?
      I think when you get the answers to these questions, you will find it cathartic and healing. You won't feel the self-righteous need to go on blogs and call people names, condemn total strangers, and pretty much anyone who sees value in Judaism.
      Perhaps with enough introspection you will give Judaism a second look yourself!
      Even the great Rabbi Akiva said that before he learned Torah, when he saw a rabbi walking down the road, he wanted to kick the rabbis teeth out.
      We can all change the world for the better.
      All you need is a little more love and little less hate. I'm feeling optimistic about your chances already!

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    4. You're not arguing with me about Amalek, Anonymous. I don't even know what that is. How about you quit the theological arguments? Nobody here cares about theology. They don't care about the Bible or the Torah either. They care about their families and friends who were tricked into spending the rest of their lives devoted to an ultra orthodox sect of Judaism.

      AEC

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  25. Yes, monotheism upholds life, except for those deemed to have forfeited their right to life. All life is precious, but some lives are apparently more precious than others. Your monotheistic brothers in the Middle East today can heartily attest to that. And let's not forget our genocidal duty to exterminate the nation of Amalek. But no worries, that's just hypothetical as well!
    It is you who is harping on the laws of the temple, I am simply positing that your deceptive practices of not being upfront and honest about the nature of your faith that you sugarcoat to newbies with a 'healthy and nurturing experience' is exactly that: Deception.
    You claim that my agenda is to seek out and promote the negative. At least on this front you have finally acknowledged that there IS a negative, the same negative that you so earnestly attempt to hide from neophytes. So at least some measure of progress has been achieved. Thank you for your admission.



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    1. I feel like I'm having a conversation with a 14 year old.
      Amalek?? Really?? That's what you got??
      You have an issue with kiruv not immediately disclosing that we had a fight with a nation that wanted to kill us 3300 years ago? That there is such a thing as evil in the world?
      That is your big problem? And you feel without disclosing this they are sugar coating the beauty of Judaism and Shabbos?
      I think at this point in the conversation we should take a break. Perhaps you should go over to the nearest mirror and ask yourself the following question:
      " Why do I hate Judaism so much? Why do sincere people trying to keep a faith alive through the ravages of assimilation keep me up at night?
      Am I obsessed? Do I need therapy? Was I bullied or under appreciated when I was younger? Did I have a teacher who is less than kind to me?
      I think when you get the answers to these questions, you will find it cathartic and healing. You won't feel the self-righteous need to go on blogs and call people names, condemn total strangers, and pretty much anyone who sees value in Judaism.
      Perhaps with enough introspection you will give Judaism a second look yourself!
      Even the great Rabbi Akiva said that before he learned Torah, when he saw a rabbi walking down the road, he wanted to kick the rabbis teeth out.
      We can all change the world for the better.
      All you need is a little more love and little less hate. I'm feeling optimistic about your chances already!

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    2. AEC, oh learned one,
      Before we can discuss the silliness of tying shoes or cutting fingernails, please explain to all of us where this practice comes from. After all, in order to judge an action, it behooves us to understand the significance behind it.

      What? You don't know? You don't care? That's what I thought. Let's say we all condemn a practice that we don't understand! This will make us sound very intelligent!

      As far as career goes, I'm sorry your career flopped. The community that I live in, which happens to be full of BTs, almost everyone is a professional and has managed just fine juggling career and Judaism. Perhaps I can recommend a life coach for you?

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    3. I am glad we agree that letting a religion dictate how we tie our shoes & cut our fingernails is silly. I'd take it a step further & call it ridiculous. I don't care where the practice comes from and I'm not interested in learning. Thank you very much, but I am well without that bit of trivia.

      This discussion is not about my career. I am discussing the lost dreams, ambitions and careers of BT's, especially the lost careers of BT women, who are busy contributing to the world's over population.

      AEC

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  26. If having a conversation with a fourteen year old keeps you up till one o'clock in the morning (assuming you're eastern time zone), you obviously are being stumped by one very erudite teenager. In regards to Amalek (may the name of the wicked be destroyed!), I was merely pointing out that your sweeping generalization of monotheism loving all life is just that: a sweeping generalization, and that such grandiose statements as these- which are undoubtedly plied upon your gullible kiruv recipients who lap it up along with the scrumptious shabbos delicacies and fake love bombing- belie the fact that the same God of Life demands death for a multitude of infractions- infractions that would seem laughable and illogical to your kiruv recipients were they to be made aware of them. Hence, the conscious and deliberate decision to hide the truth of your convictions. Read: Deception. Also, the destruction of Amalek illustrates another fact: Your attempt to sweep the Torah's demand for capital punishment as 'hypothetical' is facetious, when in reality it is all on the books, in this life or the next (or both).
    I guess you have too much personal baggage and emotional attachment to view this objectively, so I'll use an analogy from the Messianic movement. Much criticism has been leveled at the Messianics for dressing up their Christian theology with Jewish rituals and paraphernalia, and thus to entice potential Jewish recruits to their faith (I can see you mentally nodding affirmatively as you read that). Never do the Messianics let on to the neophytes what they really believe: Jesus is the Son of God, and is God. That will only be initiated to them once they're 'in the system', so to speak. Why can you so clearly see this deception, but not your own? Is it because the end justifies the means?
    I love Judaism, but I hate when people try to pull the wool over my eyes. You insult my value as a rational, thinking human being.
    In the spirit of a little more love and less hate, remember truth above all. וצדיק באמונתו יחיה

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  27. Posting content of a conversation or call that was surreptitiously recorded without consent is unethical. Where have your morals gone, young lady?

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    1. Perhaps you should contact Agudah of Bayswater regarding this matter, young Deep. Are you telling readers that religious institutions should not be trusted as they are disseminating stolen "content of a conversation of call that was surreptitiously recorded without consent?"

      Delete
  28. Straw man argument. Irrelevant. I will contact the Agudah separately but now i am contacting you. Now that you know it was unethically recorded, why are you disseminating it?
    Would you post a photo that was stolen from someone's iCloud?

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    Replies
    1. What makes you convinced that it was "unethically recorded?"

      Delete
    2. Why would anyone think the word of "Deep" is correct and the email from a Synagogue was both stolen and "surreptitiously recorded without consent?" That sounds like an absurd assertion.

      That aside, what exactly is wrong with the content of the "surreptitiously recorded without consent," email? For instance, does Klatzko NOT promote #4 below?


      "4- Everything you do on shabbos should be done with PURPOSE and JOY
      sing with feeling, say kiddush with feeling; make them feel comfortable.

      AEC

      Delete
  29. Thank you Klatzko, I mean you Holiness, or whatever you call yourself, for directing my attention to this - (it took me this long to figure out that this is what Klatzko thinks the entire OTD world thinks is the only source of his kiruv letter):

    http://www.frumsatire.net/2015/07/19/footsteps-underhanded-kiruv-tactics-revealed/#more-18831

    It made my day.

    AEC

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    Replies
    1. AEC. You are so bitter. You are so angry. For what? Have you thought to stop for just a minute, and think about someone who you are disrespecting and publicly disparaging- a man who has sacrificed his entire life- spending huge sums (almost every ounce that he has) of his time, money,energy, etc... on other people. If you knew him youd know, he does not "mekarev" people with his "arguments" or "strategy" but with his genuine love for the welfare (physical, emotional, spiritual) of ALL Jews.

      Your brand of bitterness is reason enough not to go off the derech. I will stick with the path of kindness and bring something positive into the world.

      Delete
  30. Spoken like a true narcissist, Deep. Someone complains about what you're doing and you fire back with "poor me!" Let's dispense with Remember The Holocaust, cries of Anti Semitism, and the Self Hating Jew rhetoric and discuss the actual issue, shall we?

    Klatzko is involved in an organized effort to trick people into becoming frum. Omitting a little information here, re-directing the conversation there and putting on a show for potential recruits without their knowledge or consent is deception. It's lying to people.

    What happens to those people? They dumb down their majors or drop out of college in favor of Yeshiva, they dump their friends, they alienate their families, they marry partners who are assigned to them by match makers in the kiruv system, they move to frum neighborhoods, produce children, and eventually wake up to the fact that they were duped into this life, and that the life they're living is not the one that was sold to them. You know, the life with panty inspections.

    This isn't a life these people chose, it's a life they were tricked into. That's my problem with Klatzko's brand of outreach.

    You claim that Klatzko loves ALL Jews. Really? The families who raised the BT's? I think those families either come on board the BT train or they're labeled anti-religious, anti-Torah, anti-whatever it takes to get rid of them. The prize is in producing a BT, no matter what it takes or how many families are ripped apart in the process.

    Klatzko proudly contributes to this shameful and deceptive system of tricking people into uprooting and derailing their own lives and the lives of their families. It's an abomination.

    AEC

    ReplyDelete

Your respectful comments are welcome.