A New Column You Can Do Without

But I do hope that you will pass it along to the appropriate people. You can do without it, because if you are a regular here, you are either frum or familiar with the frum world. The new column I launched yesterday on Patheos.com is not meant for you, and likely won’t do very much for you.

Patheos is a megasite for religion and spirituality. BeliefNet used to have pretty much an exclusive, and then Patheos offered some competition. About a year ago, during its infancy, I was asked to contribute the Orthodox view on abortion, and I did. I pretty much forgot about the site, until my trusty, unnamed research assistant pointed out that Patheos’ star was rising. A piece aimed primarily at the non-Jewish world that I co-authored as part of my day job in Jewish advocacy needed a web presence, and we placed it on Patheos. One thing led to another, and I agreed to do a regular column, which means that I was able to establish a traditional beachhead before the heterodox rabbis follow, which is almost a certainty.

I have long argued that opportunities and responsibilities come along with living at a time that Jews can share their views with much of the world without immediate fear of backlash. More importantly, that our neighbors in a very networked world take it as a sign of rejection and contempt when we have nothing to say to them as Jews about the issues that all of us face.

If you know non-Jews who express some curiosity about how Jews think, you may want to add the column to their reading list. The same applies to Jews who are so distant from Jewish connection that even Aish.com (certainly one of the all-around best-constructed and valuable sites on the web) won’t work. For the kind of person I am trying to touch, I owe much to the heroic example of Binyamin Jolkovsky on JewishWorldReview.com

I will not entertain any unsolicited advice, because herewith all comments and advice are solicited!

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8 Responses

  1. Mike S. says:

    I had seen neither you nor you picture since I moved away from LA 28 years ago, although I have read much that you have written. The picture accompanying the column came as a bit of a shock reminding me that I am not as young as I once was. (My hair has also changed in quantity and color since then, but on one’s self the change is seen gradually and is thus not so shocking.)

    [YA – As much as Stephen Hawking is wrong about G-d, he seems to be correct about the arrow of time pointing in only one direction. I’ve accepted the phenomenon of ageing as a chesed from HKBH so that we can ease into our mortality, rather than face it as a huge jolt.]

  2. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Your title is so very wrong. It is important for many, if not most, of the people who read this blog to see how someone of your conviction and stature can interact comfortably and respectfully with clergy of another faith. Kol Hakovod to you.

  3. Ken Applebaum says:

    Much success to you, Rabbi Adlerstein, on this new endeavor. May your columns create a kiddush Hashem in the marketplace of ideas.

  4. Tehila says:

    I really like your column- that’s a great story in Starbucks, and it’s a message that more people need to hear- that we don’t need to feel threatened by other people’s beliefs, but can work together for common interests.

    Also, another resource you can recommend to people who want to better understand frum Jews the jewinthecity blog. It’s a frum woman answering all types of questions about religious Jews in a meaningful, interesting, often humorous way.

  5. Moshe Shoshan says:

    I’m with Tehila. Your message in The Gentle Synergy of Believers is very much needed in the frum world. The article should be cross posted on Crosscurrents. How many Orthodox rabbis share your positive views towards “frum” priests, ministers and Imams? or is this an example of “The Art of Writing”?

  6. Ori says:

    Free advice, worth the amount you paid for it (except for Internet access costs). It would be a good idea to have a column similar to Dov Fischer’s from day before yesterday. Most of Patheos’s readers are probably Christians, and they tend to associate Judaism with Pharisee-ism (in the English meaning of the term, not the original Hebrew). This is not a matter of malice, but plain ignorance.

  7. Noah Katz says:

    I’m forced to agree with those who disagree with you about the relevance of your new column. Living and interacting in the public workplace, I try to cultivate just such a viewpoint as you described in the column, about standing by my beliefs without presssure or feelings of tension. Seeing reinforcement from my respected teacher (for me, it was 29 years ago at the Yeshiva, in a shiur which included introduction to the MaHaRaL’s Gur Aryeh) helps assure me that I am staying in the correct lane on the right path.

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