The Missing Interviews

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7 Responses

  1. Garnel Ironheart says:

    Why would Bronfman want to talk to an observant Jew? The Judaism we practice, one in which God is accorded absolute authority over our lives and tells us the best way to be through His Torah is the last thing someone like him wants to hear. It goes against every tenet of the secular liberalism in which he was raised.

    Tefillos? Why would anyone get up at 7 am to run to shul? Torah study? Who cares what some rabbis who couldn’t even speak English and lived 2000 years ago thought? Where’s the fun? Where’s the excitement?

    Years ago the non-religious community did a large study on determining how to ensure Jewish continuity. They talked about many of the same things that Mr. Bronfman does – an enriching Jewish life free of commitment to Torah and mitzvos or any recognizably Jewish culture outside of hamataschen and latkes.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  2. Ori says:

    What particularly struck me, though, about Mr. Bronfman’s book was the list of people he interviewed in its preparation. Or, more precisely, what was missing from it: the words of a single haredi Jew.

    This is, at least partially, because the task of convincing people who grew up in a predominately charedi environment to stay charedi is very different from the task of people who grew up in a predominately non-Jewish environment, with a few hours of Jewish activities during the week to continue doing those few hours of Jewish activities.

  3. The Contarian says:

    Rav Shafran’s argument has one fundamenal flaw. It’s validity depends on when one starts history.

    If history begins in the late 1960’s, then he is correct. East-Ruropean Orthodox Judaism has been very successful in transmitting its dedication to its young.

    That is not the case if one begins history 200 years ago. East-Ruropean Orthodox Judaism in that time frame has lost nearly ninety percent of its adherents.

    My family is a case in point. My great great grandfather A’H, my great grandfather HYD and grandfather HYD were Shomrei Torah Umitsvos.
    However none of my grandfather’s siblings remained religious. My father’s aunt A’H married an up and coming rav in Europe who was already a mechaber seforeim in his twenties. Then they immigrated to America When we visited them we could not eat in their hosue.

    During the lifetime of the Chafets Chaim ZATZAL, 1 to 2 million Eastern European Jews went off the derech. That is not a fact to be to be “triumphal” about.

    In retrospect then, the results of the past year 50 years have been largely due to the Chasdei Hashem.

    Some of the non-triumphal reasons for this renaissance.

    1. Small base to start from.
    2. Those who survived the war were usually the most stubborn of individuals.
    3. The good fortune to move to the USA and Israel.
    4. The Forty Hour work week.
    5. The poitical stalemate between right and left in Israel.
    6. The increasing life span and the drop in infant mortality.

    I will give Rav Shafran the dedication to learning and Artscroll. Those are clearly someting to be triumphal about.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    Mr. Bronfman has a well known antipathy to Orthodox Jews and their beliefs. When he once found out that some students from two girls high schools who had never been to Israel went on a Birthright trip, he was very angry about that fact. One of the principals told him to his face that his program had opened the eyes of more than one student to the possibility of making aliyah.

  5. Gershon Josephs says:

    ‘If one were seeking means of empowering Jewish life, connections and learning among young Jews, why in the world would one ignore the buzzing dynamo of Jewish thought and life that is the traditional Orthodox world?’

    Presumably because 100% of the people that Bronfman is trying to reach, and 90% of world Jewry, are pretty sure that Orthodox Judaism isn’t true.

  6. DF says:

    Orthodox Jews, or at least their titular leadership, grant no legitimacy at all to non-orthodox Jews. So why then should it bother Rabbi Shafran that a non-orthodox Jew like Bronfman doesnt think much of Orthodoxy?

  7. Ori says:

    DF has a point, but let’s reverse it. What would it take for Heterodox leaders to listen to Orthodox leaders? Can Orthodox leaders do it without compromising their integrity?

    I’m not sure if we are one people, or two peoples who just happen to share a lot of history.

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