Friday, December 01, 2006

Kiruv to the Orthodox -- Masorti's role

If you didn't know, I have a shining vision of a new form of non-tribal secular-humanist Judaism that will transcend the narrow limits of the current "Abrahamitic" faiths (i.e Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and ensure the universal spread of Torah without the narrow-minded bigotry and violence that has been an all too often side-effect so far.

But I'm not here to discuss that grand high-level vision. I'm posting about smaller practical steps to set it in motion.

What started this was a recent post by DovBear, who was channeling a post by Rabi Yaakov Horowitz concerning "at-risk teens" in the black-hatter Orthodox community. It seems that there is a growing amount of dissatisfaction with the black-hatter lifestyle, a lifestyle that is circumscribed by their ideology and thus capable of change only with the greatest of difficulty.

Chevrei, this could be the start of the greatest defections from Orthodox Judaism that k'lal Yisrael has seen since the days of my grandparents, when millions of Jews were finally emancipated from Czarist oppression, and realized that a good deal of that consisted of oppression by the Orthodox establishment in the Old Country. These defections can be an opportunity to build a new Jewish community based on the principles of "Torah v'sekoolar hoomaneezm," but we may lose that chance if the defectors leave the Jewish fold so fast that they become totally secular, or even, (God Forbid) become Christian. Or Mormon. Or Buddhist. We must ensure that defectors from Orthodox remain religiously Jewish, as participants on one of the non-Orthodox Jewish movements.

And here is where the Conservative (Masorti) movement can play a vital role, the same role they played in Grandpa's day. These Orthodox defectors, while they may have found the lifestyle of their community difficult and the theology of their community preposterous, have still been thoroughly indoctrinated that black-hatter Orthodoxy is the Only One True Form of Judaism. Thus, when they attend services at a non-Orthodox synagogue and encounter a lady rabbi strumming on a guitar, they cannot accept that this, too, is one of the 70 faces of Torah. These lost souls need to find a way station, a half-way house, as it were, where they can remain within the fold of k'lal yisrael and learn to accept the principles of the new Judaism in a setting that is familar to them. And Conservative Judaism can provide that setting, just as it did from my grandfather of blessed memory, a Lithuanian yeshiva boocher who wouldn't have been caught dead in a Reform Temple ("goyish mishugass"), but came to enjoy and appreciate his local Conservative minyan, mixed seating and all.

But is the Conservative movement ready for this historic task? Alas, they've been navel-gazing and otherwise self-absorbed with issues related to the career ambitions of women and gay rabbis, and they may yet miss this historic opportunity. Orthodox defectors come to Consertaive shuls, and they may be attracted by the similarities in the rituals, but they get turned off by the growing trend of Conservative shuls becoming ritually indistinguishable from Reform Temples. i.e., the Conservative shuls are becoming too goyish. Too many prayers in English, too much explanation during services of the rituals. Too much of major changes merely to accommodate the wishes of a faction outspoken members. Not that all of that is wrong, and may be what that particular congregation of Conservative faithful need. But will such congregations attract the defectors from Orthodoxy?

I maintain that it is in the best interest of the Conservative movement, and indeed of k'lal Yisrael, to make sure that these defectors find a proper Jewish home. To do that, the Conservative movement should consciously work to m'karev this spiritual searchers and be sure that they have Conservative prayer-space that is culturally familiar to them and allows them to be slowly weaned from their fundamentalist indoctrination. This means that the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism should ensure that every Jewish community of reasonable size have some sort of "right-wing" Conservative minyan in a functional state. This could range from an alternative minyan in a larger established synagogue to an independent free-standing synagogue. "Right-wing Conservative" could cover a wide range of practices, including orthodox-style ritual (very little English, use of orthodox prayer-texts, no heche kedusha, full annual Torah reading, no microphones on Shabbos, etc.), to fully or partially ritually non-egalitarian. What's most important is a congregation in which the zeitgeist of the membership is supportive of people who try to be shomrei mitzvot, unlike many Conservative synagogues, where observant people are made to feel like out-of-place religious fanatics. An indoctrinated Orthodox defector is going to be going through enough emotional turmoil, what with feelings of guilt that he or she has rejected the faith of his or her parents, they don't need to be made to feel bad about ritual practices that the need to continue, at least for a while, as a stabilizing force in their life.

And it should be noted that the theology and ideology of Conservative Judaism does allow for the "right-wing" practices, so its not like the movement would be hypocritical by sponsoring such institutions. And these "right-wing" institutions can be safe places where the Orthodox defectors can be exposed to the Sages of Liberal Judaism who can show them that the authentic teachings of Torah need not require and abusive social system or a fundamentalist theology. And so, most of them will slowly grow in Liberal observance and assimilate into the non-Orthodox community, thus helping build my vision of a new universal House of Israel for everybody.


Blogger Halfnutcase said...

I will point out to you that i responded to you on dovbear.

personaly i think you have seriously missjudged the nature of the teens at risk. Most of them leave because they feel they are not wanted and are not good enough. They would be equaly repulsed by much of what would be involved in what you suggest.(or they feel to constrained to fit, as I do)

the pity is that they don't realize MO judaism is actualy a kosher form of judaism. My suspicions are the at risk problem would practicaly not exist if children where informed about this, and that the MO would gladly welcome them with loving arms.

(now there are MO at riskers but...)

the other kind of At riskers, the ones who are disgusted with the lack of ahavas yisroel (and someone i love very dearly fell in to this pot) look elsewhere to find those torah ideals they so feircely cheirish. led my friend to go in to the military in persuit of achdus.

but no, neither camp would likely fall in to the conservative spectrum. there are precious few of them who are actualy repulsed by judaism's teachings, only by it's applications, and don't have the chutzpah to think that conservative judaism isn't full of it's idiocies and idiocyncracies too. It's by most accounts worse than orthodoxy.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

the pity is that they don't realize MO judaism is actualy a kosher form of judaism.

Actually, RW Conservative Judaism is pretty close to Modern Orthodoxy.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

but no, neither camp would likely fall in to the conservative spectrum. there are precious few of them who are actualy repulsed by judaism's teachings, only by it's applications, and don't have the chutzpah to think that conservative judaism isn't full of it's idiocies and idiocyncracies too. It's by most accounts worse than orthodoxy.

You are implying that Conservative Judaism is "repulsed" by the teachings of Judaism?

You are either ignorant of Conservative Judaism, or you believe that certain "repsulsive" teachings of Orthodox Judaism are such essential parts of Judaism that their elimination by the Conservative rabbis is evidence that the Conservative rabbis reject Judaism. The Conservative rabbis would disgaree with you.

The fact that Conservative Judaism has its own idiocies and idiosyncrasies is not evidence that its unsuitability. Any group activity will have these problems, but in the Conservative (and, indeed, in other non-Orthodox movements), at least, one is free to pursue one's own path without official interference from self-appointed guardians of Truth.

9:17 PM  
Anonymous bsci said...

There is no hard boundary between Orthodox and Conservative (and Reform for that matter). Not only isn't there a hard boundary, but there aren't even specific issues. I belong to a Conservative congregation where the service is done mostly in hebrew with no instruments and with many congregants taking shomer mitzvot very seriously. Our congregation also happens to be adamantly egalitarians and pro-gay rights. One of the Orthodox shuls in town is also very pro-gay right so, like I said, there isn't a clear boundary.
I don't see why you are hoping for the solution to come from right wing Conservative. Why not ask the OU to make a string of Left wing Orthodox shuls or minyans?

The strangest part of your post is that you seem to hope for the USCJ to swoop down and create synagogues. For an organization that has trouble justifiying why anyone should belong and pay them tens of thousands of dollars and is barely functional enough to provide relevant services to existing members, I'd love to hear how you expect the national organization to sweep into cities and create synagogues.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello it's called modern orthodox eg Beth Sholom of Lawrence, Hebrew Inst of Riverdale, Lincoln Sq. etc.....There is no problem with "at risk" kids. It's parents who are myopically "at risk". If a young person does not share the beliefs of his parents he (she) is ostracised, seperated, pigon holed and turns to like ninded colleagues because of parents who are embarassed that their son wears jeans or daughter listens to Shakira

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that the idea has a great deal of merit. The problem isnt with the conservative movements values per se, generally, it accepts halacha as valid and it doesnt force congregations to give up more traditional practices (for example, while there are guitar playing women rabbis it is not an obligation of a shul to hire them.) The one area where there is a pretty hard border is on the issue of Separate seating and really wasnt that the original issue all along? Egalitarianism? Is it that hard to believe the there are people of a traditional bias who cant accept that in this day and age.

Why not turn a negative into a positive. Encourage Traditional Jews to join conservative shuls so they can teach traditional Jewish observance (with the exception of egalitarianism) to the people who really dont know what to do at all.

Orthodox Jews can fill the role of Personal Jewish Trainers to a whole generation of conservative Jews, reintroducing them to all of the great things about Orthodox observence without all of the superstition and Rebbe worship.

10:04 AM  
Blogger hartfield zody said...

Conservative judaism is a faiure you are loosing out to Reform Judaism!

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No orthodox person in their right mind would have anything to do with a movement that doesn't believe that the Torah is the work of God. Separate seating is actually a far bigger deal that you make it out, as is women rabbis and women reading from the Torah so frankly, your idea has no mileage.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its like you read my mind! You appear to grasp a lot approximately this, like you wrote the ebook in it or something.
I think that you just can do with some percent to pressure the message home a little bit, however instead of
that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

Here is my weblog social bookmark

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not resist commenting. Well written!

Here is my blog; How to lose belly fat

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are really a just right webmaster. The site loading
pace is incredible. It kind of feels that you're doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you have done a magnificent activity in this topic!

Feel free to visit my website; how to lose belly fat

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post's to be what precisely I'm looking
for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself?

I wouldn't mind writing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome blog!

Here is my weblog ... World Of Tanks Hack

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.

Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on.
You have done a formidable job and our whole community will be
grateful to you.

Feel free to visit my web site; Download 7Zip

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the reason that the admin of this website is working,
no doubt very shortly it will be renowned, due
to its quality contents.

Here is my blog; Microsoft points

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally
I've found something which helped me. Thanks!

my webpage Unknown

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this article fully about the difference of most recent and preceding technologies,
it's awesome article.

Here is my web-site Unknown

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right now it looks like Drupal is the top blogging platform available right now.
(from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

Feel free to surf to my webpage :: how to lose belly fat

2:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful, what a blog it is! This weblog gives helpful data to
us, keep it up.

Also visit my site Corazonne.Lovelyish.Com

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's amazing for me to have a site, which is helpful in support of my know-how. thanks admin

Stop by my homepage: Unknown

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your site, how
can i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal.
I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea

Feel free to surf to my weblog Unknown

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with useful info to work on. You have performed a formidable process and our whole group can be grateful to you.

My web-site dragonvale cheats

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was recommended this website via my cousin. I am no longer sure whether this post is written
via him as no one else understand such special approximately my trouble.
You are amazing! Thanks!

Feel free to surf to my web site ... Unknown

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!

It's the little changes that make the biggest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

My homepage: Psn Code Generator

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In fact no matter if someone doesn't know afterward its up to other viewers that they will assist, so here it occurs.

Feel free to visit my homepage :: World Of Tanks Hack

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I
could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
I've been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

Feel free to surf to my web-site; Generateur De Code PSN

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey There. I discovered your blog the usage of msn.
This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn extra of your helpful information.
Thanks for the post. I'll certainly return.

Look into my weblog: pirater un compte Facebook

8:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very simple to find out any matter on web as compared to books, as I found this piece of writing at this web site.

Here is my webpage: refinishing hardwood floors cost

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there, I found your website by way of Google while searching for a related topic, your web site came up,
it seems to be good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

Hello there, just turned into aware of your blog through Google, and located that it's truly informative. I'm
gonna be careful for brussels. I'll be grateful should you continue this in future. Numerous other people can be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

my web site: Unknown

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why viewers still make use of to read news papers when in this technological globe all is available on net?

Feel free to visit my site - Psn Code Generator

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not my first time to go to see this site, i am browsing this website dailly
and obtain nice information from here every day.

My web blog; Microsoft Office Gratuit

2:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey there and thank you for your information – I have
certainly picked up anything new from right here.
I did however expertise a few technical points using this
site, as I experienced to reload the web site lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly.
I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK?
Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently
affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
Well I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot
more of your respective interesting content.
Ensure that you update this again very soon.

my blog; Dragon City Cheat Engine

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi!,I really like your writing very a lot!
share we be in contact more approximately your article on AOL?
I need a specialist on this house to resolve my problem. May be that is you!
Looking forward to peer you.

my page: Your anchor Text

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello! I could have sworn I've been to this blog before but after looking at a few of the posts I realized it's new
to me. Anyways, I'm certainly happy I came across it and I'll be book-marking it and checking back

my web-site; The interlace

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I blog often and I really thank you for your content.
This great article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about
once a week. I opted in for your Feed too.

Here is my site World Of Tanks Hack

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks very nice blog!

Feel free to visit my blog post: Code Psn Gratuit

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good day! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok. I'm definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

Also visit my web site Minecraft Gift Code Generator :

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog here! Additionally your site a lot up very fast!
What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate
hyperlink on your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours

Here is my blog post - Free Psn Codes

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I'm inspired! Extremely useful information particularly the closing section :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

Feel free to surf to my website Minecraft Gift Code Generator []

1:07 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home