Digesting the New Pew Data on the State of American Orthodoxy

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10 Responses

  1. Joel Rich says:

    Lesson # 1 – courtesy of R” R Zimmerman
    prophesier with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no telling who that it’s naming
    For the loser now will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changing

    The eternal nation does not fear the long road

    “עם הנצח לא מפחד מדרך ארוכה”

  2. Mr. Cohen says:

    According to the Pew Survey, how much growth in Orthodox Judaism’s numbers came from Orthodox parents intentionally having more children than they can afford to support?

    According to the Pew Survey, what percentage of Orthodox Jews are exemplary in: Derech Eretz, Kavod HaBeriot, Shmirat HaLashone and Business Ethics?

    Or should we thank G_d that those questions were not asked?

    • Bob Miller says:

      How would you answer if some survey asked you about your own level of shmirat halashon? You’re implying some negative things about us in general.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      The Pew Survey was focusing on indicators of identify on a group and individual level-while we all need improvement in each of the areas that you mentioned, they are not really relevant to the criteria used and conclusions reached by the Pew Survey-that it now recognizes the fact that Torah observant communities ranging from MO to Charedi are alive and well in the US, and the factors that sustain those communities on an individual and communal basis-a conclusion that prior demographic studies studiously avoided discussing

  3. Bob Miller says:

    Also, the mainstream society, and not only in the US, is becoming ever more eager to impose its PC norms (abnorms?) on us, whether we like that or not.

  4. Daniela says:

    1) Those percentages cited re: not lighting, not keeping kosher, etc, could also easily refer to people who are about to leave the Orthodox life they were raised with. It’s not happening “by the droves” that some anti-Orthodox claim, by no means, but it is happening more than in the past. I myself have begun seeing it, when I never used to.
    2) It was Spongebob, come on! And with a funny voice – – in *California* ! People passed him by because they saw right through it and knew it was a joke. Put that same situation in Kansas without a stupid sounding voice and see what happens. How much you wanna bet those boys came to the rescue only because they had never seen Spongebob before?

  5. Daniel Alter says:

    Rabbi Gordimer. I think the video you reference at the end of your piece is from a late night talk show. They stage things for ratings. If I saw a costumed Sponge Bob lying on the floor, (and probably making funny comments while he was lying down to make people laugh) I would also probably laugh and think it is part of the act. They are on the street to entertain people and have people give them money in return. I am not sure that this is the best example to use to show how the Orthodox world is strong. Not sure that this merits being “mortified and sickened”.

    • Mikey says:

      Here’s an example of the same phenomenon NOT staged, from popular psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman – http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_goleman_on_compassion/transcript?language=en:
      “One day soon after that — it was a Friday — at the end of the day, I went down — I was going down to the subway. It was rush hour and thousands of people were streaming down the stairs. And all of a sudden as I was going down the stairs I noticed that there was a man slumped to the side, shirtless, not moving, and people were just stepping over him — hundreds and hundreds of people. And because my urban trance had been somehow weakened, I found myself stopping to find out what was wrong. The moment I stopped, half a dozen other people immediately ringed the same guy. And we found out that he was Hispanic, he didn’t speak any English, he had no money, he’d been wandering the streets for days, starving, and he’d fainted from hunger. Immediately someone went to get orange juice, someone brought a hotdog, someone brought a subway cop. This guy was back on his feet immediately. But all it took was that simple act of noticing, and so I’m optimistic.”

      It’s indeed sickening, yet purely natural.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Mikey-One morning I was riding to work on the subway and a young woman passed out on the train. A young frum MD in his scrubs applied the necessary treatment immediately. I told him the next morning in shul where he sometimes davens that his actions were a great Kiddush HaShem, which he brushed off as just doing his job

  6. tzippi says:

    Are we playing Dueling Kiddush Hashem Stories? Rebecca Dana (Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde) has a beautiful piece about her chasing after a black hat that someone lost, and a moving and heartening encounter she had pursuant to it.

    And of course there’s the legendary Bronx Youth Poetry Slam: http://www.aish.com/j/fs/Jtube-The-Bronx-Youth-Poetry-Slam-2013.html.

    Attrition in the non-observant circles might better be called hemorrhaging. Thank G-d we don’t have that. I won’t say yet but no one can deny that it’s happening. Of course we have to recognize it, and we have to work on ridding ourselves of all the ills and causes for disillusionment mentioned in other comments. But surely we have to spend equal if not greater energy on supporting, maintaining, and building on the positive, if we want to make authentic Judaism attractive. We can legitimately recognize and acknowledge our successes.

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