A Different Path to Tolerance

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6 Responses

  1. Daganev says:

    Interesting. Where I live, this “religious division” is always thought about as being creations of news papers needing something to write about, and not the reality of the communities. I hope that is still true. In the world I grew up in, there was never a “Musar movement”, pirkey avot and a focus on humility was just part of my Jewish education. I was probabbly taught that Derech Eretz is as important as all the Torah as often as I was taught that wearing Tzizit is like doing all the mitzvot, or if every Jew kept “just one Shabbos.”

    It is a shame to hear that in the larger orthodox communities, outside of Irvine, this doesn’t appear to be the case.

  2. HESHY BULMAN says:

    The concept is a worthy one and seems to fit the bill vis-a-vis forging mutual respect and understanding that goes beyond a shared appreciation for chicken soup and kneidlach, however it pre-supposes a certain level of intellectual integrity and the ability for real introspection on the part of many whose spiritual sensitivities have long been beaten into submission by the steady drumbeat of heavy materialism which most of Western society marches to.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    Our faith should include faith that as Jews we’re up to the challenge of honest introspection. As we speak, the materialistic illusion is already being shattered.

  4. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Eytan Kobre: Perhaps it’s time the Jewish community gave up on the tired eventifying, the contrived “Judaic symposia and workshops” designed to bring us all together in “a spirit of mutual understanding and acceptance” and “a recognition that what much more unites us than divides us.” Yada, yada.

    Ori: If seems to me that US Judaism (at least Heterodox Judaism) relies too much on organizations and beaurocracy. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Israel, but I prefer informal things like this blog or torah.org.

    Heshy Bulman: however it pre-supposes a certain level of intellectual integrity and the ability for real introspection on the part of many whose spiritual sensitivities have long been beaten into submission by the steady drumbeat of heavy materialism which most of Western society marches to.

    Ori: Don’t worry. Those who lost the ability for introspection won’t bother to come to hear Musar anyway. However, the long rows of self help books in secular book stores show that enough members of materialistic Western society do want to improve themselves to create a market. Some of those books may be shallow, but they still prove that the desire for self improvement is there.

  5. HESHY BULMAN says:

    Ori: Self help books in secular book stores are almost exclusively devoted to material self help for members of materialistic Western society who want to improve themselves materialistically (or physically). They have nothing to do with spirituality. Nevertheless, your point is well taken in so far those who have lost the ability for introspection not bothering to join in a Mussar Kumsitz, in any case. My question is how can we relate to them ??? Shall we discuss nothing more than our Bubby’s Gefilte Fish ?? So, again, I feel that the mussar gatherings are a wonderful concept, but can only be effective for those already seriously interested in spiritual growth.

  6. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Heshy, I see your point about self-help books.

    I doubt there is any way to make Judaism relevant to people who aren’t interested in introspection and self-improvement. If they are only interested in materialistic self-improvement it’s different – you can use that as an opening.

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