So What Do We Think About Non-Orthodox Jews?

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17 Responses

  1. mycroft says:

    Nothing to disagree with Rabbi Menken’s fine post.

    “is there really no traction within the Orthodox community to the idea that we would be better off without the non-Orthodox”

    Sadly-I believe I have heard such thoughts from students who went are going to some of our finest and largest yeshivas.
    To be fair I haven’t heard such thoughts from the leaders-but the some way where some variations of MO are responsible in an eglah arifah fashion for the Baruch Goldsteins etc-so are some of the chareid responsible for some or the hatred expressed about “frei yidden”

  2. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “To be sure, he can’t cover Project Genesis (as that would entail conceding that the Internet has a positive side)…”

    For the record, I believe that the Jewish Observer recently did an article on kiruv via the internet, alerting readers on how they can refer people to kiruv sites, even if they do not use the internet themselves.

    Hamodia’s policy, however, points to the need for an alternative Frum media– print or online– for those who want, or need to have a more “real” picture of reality. After all, conceding that the internet has a positive side, is a fact, and some people are more comfortable focusing on such facts. I agree, though, that the current system helps the majority of people maximize their potential in avodas Hashem, and that the majority do not lose anything by not focusing on the web’s positive features.

  3. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “Children don’t understand things like “turning people frum.” All they know is how exciting the holidays are, and how nice it is to share them with people…but that you will also share this experience with Jews who may never have seen the beauty of a traditional Seder or the holidays in a traditional home—then you and your guests will all benefit”

    I think the fact that guests sense that children are happy to welcome strangers into their home adds to the guests feeling welcome, and to the positive Seder experience(whether or not they see the children dancing 🙂 ).

  4. Barbara says:

    When I was small, my mother (b”h) always did a big first seder with guests (although always the same ones), and just the immediate family the second night. At some point, it became family only on both nights (after I married and moved away, and she came to me for Pesach), but some years we would have invited guests, including non-Jews. My mother just loved it, and would go all out with the cooking and everything else, including pushing us to explain things to our guests as we went along, although we never deviated from reading every word in the haggadah. Take the opportunity to make it a learning experience for everyone – your kids will love showing off their knowledge of the holiday and the seder.

    We once had as guests the family of one of my chemistry professors, Catholics, who had basically asked for an invitation. His kids’ knowledge of “Old Testament” was astounding, especially considering that at that time especially, Catholics were actually not encouraged to read the bible – new or old. They were fabulous seder guests, fascinated with all of it. You have to take advantage of “teachable moments” no matter what the audience, and without preaching.

  5. Bob Miller says:

    How do we deal with the increasing number of self-described Jews who are really improperly converted non-Jews?

    So far, Orthodox spokesmen have said publically that we don’t deny the Jewishness of Reform Jews, etc., but what becomes of this when the time comes and most of them are objectively not Jewish?

  6. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    First of two points: The question of “who is a Jew” is very complex and is often addressed simplistically by those who know better for fear that the non-frum Jew or the non Jew won’t get it. Jewish identity depends on kosher Jewish birth or halachic conversion. Aside from that, there is the question of what is Judaism and who is a rabbi, implying who is qualified to convert a person. This also has clear implications of what is going to happen to the descendents (if any) of kosher Jews and bogus “Jews by choice” in the coming generations. How do you all explain this to the great clueless masses?

    Second: Those of you who have had or continue to have non-Jewish seder guests, how do you deal with the halachic problem of cooking for a non-Jew for Yom Tov, considering that there is a gezera that the Jew will cook extra on YT in the event of shortages? I have heard a number of anecdotal statements about serious people (one who comes to mind is Chief Rabbi Herzog z”l) who had non-Jews at their sedorim. I have had non-Jewish guests only on Shabbos, although the mekubalim would not like that either.

  7. Jewish Observer says:

    “HaModia has stronger ties to the Chassidic community, which should make it still more insular”

    – this is a myth. In general I find chasidim much more balanced and normal in their approach to life than fahrbrenter charedim. It’s like the myth that Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva is more open minded because the boys (used to) wear grey hats. Strong baalei shitah often wear the garb of the open minded.

  8. Jewish Observer says:

    “they are actually encouraging having a non-Orthodox guest! What is the world coming to?”

    the fact that charedim are trying to make people orthodox is a actually a proof that they DON’T want non orthodox.

  9. Jewish Observer says:

    “how do you deal with the halachic problem of cooking for a non-Jew for Yom Tov”

    – cold cuts

  10. Jewish Observer says:

    “What Do We Think About Non-Orthodox Jews?”

    – what do we think about Orthodox who have sinned?

  11. Bob Miller says:

    The old question: If we love others as ourselves, do we show it by validating their way of life or by helping them to correct it, or by some combination? Every situation is different.

  12. Baruch Horowitz says:

    “The email arrived from a writer for HaModia, which is—as you probably know—as “ultra” Orthodox as a journal can be.”

    I happen to think that the Anerican Yated has many good points, despite that I do not find it “worldly” enough to meet my needs. Nevertheless, if I had to share a newspaper with a non-Orthodox person, it would probably be Hamodia.

  13. Bob Miller says:

    Hamodia is now divided into small sections plus a magazine, so you can share the parts you want to.

    The American Yated innovated a weekly digest of Lakewood NJ news.

  14. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Seculars (Jews and non Jews) often have a “functional” definition of personhood. That is, they see people as being predominately what they do. That, BTW, is the reason for accepting euthanasia and abortion – people who can’t do anything aren’t considered to be really people. As a result, the religious attitude of “hate the sin, love the sinner” is really hard for secular people to grasp.

  15. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Jewish Observer: the fact that charedim are trying to make people orthodox is a actually a proof that they DON’T want non orthodox.

    Ori: Of course they don’t want Jews to be Non Orthodox. However, there is a world of difference between not wanting Jews to be Non Orthodox, and not wanting the Jews who are non-Orthodox. The first is a rejection of ideas. The second would be a rejection of people.

    People have inherent worth. Ideas do not.

  16. Jewish Observer says:

    “Of course they don’t want Jews to be Non Orthodox. However, there is a world of difference between not wanting Jews to be Non Orthodox, and not wanting the Jews who are non-Orthodox. The first is a rejection of ideas. The second would be a rejection of people.”

    – agree

  1. April 11, 2007

    […] Most would agree that the single most consistent and dangerous flashpoint in the Orthodox-Heterodox divide is the issue of “Who is a Jew.” Much of the animosity and anger that the heterodox feel about this issue, however, is misplaced—because they are given an inaccurate portrayal of the positions in the debate. Just recently, Scholastic Books committed to reprinting the “Israel” volume in an educational series, because of the erroneous claim that “some ultra-Orthodox Jews… believe that Reform and Conservative Jews are not really Jews at all because they are not strict in their observance of all the religious laws.” […]

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