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usuario



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PostSubject: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:40 pm

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Anyone here participate in kiruv programs? These are programs run by Orthodox organizations aiming to educate secular Jews and get them interested in Orthodox Judaism.

I just finished a 10-week online program called JOU Max (Jerusalem Online University), which is sponsored by Aish HaTorah. It was a bunch of live online lectures open to people on college campuses. It was quite enlightening and I learned a lot about aspects and perspective to Jewish holidays and traditions I didn't know about. They talked a lot about the Jewish perspective on things like pleasure, time, and nationhood and not so much about halacha, which was refreshing coming from Orthodox rabbis. It was exciting being able to chat online live and actually see them answer your questions. Now I do hope they make good on the $200 stipend they're promising.

There are some other programs like Sinai Scholars run by Chabad and numerous paid retreats and even subsidized trips to Israel to learn and study with them. Has anyone else tried doing these programs?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:24 am

tamar wrote:
Conservative accept conversions of reform if the rituals of conversion are followed. More and more the reform are requiring the same rituals the conservative expect.

My conversion is accepted by the conservative movement because I studied, went before a Beit Din, into the mikvah and made promises as a Jew.

Conservatives accept reform conversions if they are halachic.

Yes, I know. That is exactly what I said. I'm not sure where we are disagreeing?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:30 am

I didn't think we were.

Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
Conservative accept conversions of reform if the rituals of conversion are followed. More and more the reform are requiring the same rituals the conservative expect.

My conversion is accepted by the conservative movement because I studied, went before a Beit Din, into the mikvah and made promises as a Jew.

Conservatives accept reform conversions if they are halachic.

Yes, I know. That is exactly what I said. I'm not sure where we are disagreeing?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:30 am

tamar wrote:
I didn't think we were.

Oh, okay! Good. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:23 am

I think I have a knee jerk reaction to orthodoxy sometimes and I am sorry if it came across here. My rabbi says there are just some really silly aspects to orthodoxy. I feel strongly that I want to have an understanding of orthodoxy but as to what they believe, well it is not my path in being Jewish.

I want to learn from the progressive streams of Judaism. The type of Jew I want to aspire to is found within the reform/conservative/renewal movements.



Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
I didn't think we were.

Oh, okay! Good. Very Happy
[i]
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usuario



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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:47 pm

Dena wrote:

Lying is lying, and if you get caught not only is it going to be embarrassing for you but it's going to make converts in general look bad. We could be seen as manipulative an deceitful. You know what I mean?

What do you mean by "lying is lying"? Am I a Jew or am I not? I know I am so I know I qualify for the program. Now I think their methods for judging converts is unfair and I am just bypassing their BS in order to be treated like everyone else. No I do not know what you mean, please explain how I am being manipulative or deceitful compared to any other Jew in their program.

Quote :

I admit I am a little curious too as to why you don't just do an Orthodox conversion so you don't have to worry about it?

I can't tell if you are being serious with this question or not.

Quote :

So may I ask why you are making up stories for yourself in order to study with these people if this is how you feel? I guess what I'm saying is I would not go through the trouble to be a part of a group that would feel that way about me if they knew the truth.

Look at the first posts in this thread. If non-Orthodox groups put in 10% of time and money of what Orthodox groups do to promote Jewish literacy and education, there would be programs I would be flocking to. The way it stands, if I want to learn about Judaism without schlepping to Hebrew Union College (the Reform Seminary) or JTS (the Conservative one), I am forced to go to Orthodox places. It is not by choice that I am in Orthodox places. The Orthodox ones are the only game in town when it comes to learning opportunities for unaffiliated Jews. The Reform and Conservative movements are too busy with social justice projects to care about teaching Judaism to Jews who don't have the money to pay for synagogue dues.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:07 pm

usuario wrote:

What do you mean by "lying is lying"? Am I a Jew or am I not? I know I am so I know I qualify for the program. Now I think their methods for judging converts is unfair and I am just bypassing their BS in order to be treated like everyone else.

Is your father an atheist and your mother a Jew? No, right? I understand why you are doing it but that doesn't mean it isn't lying.

usuario wrote:
I can't tell if you are being serious with this question or not.

Yes, absolutely. Have you considered having an Orthodox conversion so you can be a part of any community you'd like without having to worry about it?


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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:50 pm

Honestly even to ask the question about someones Jewishness is not ok. I simply don't volunteer information about my Jewishness. It is my personal business.

To ask makes the Jews who ask look bad. We do not owe others information we don't want them to have.

As to the idea that the progressive synagogues don't care about anything other then social justice projects is not always true. My shul is really involved with social justice, and Jewish learning, and building a Jewish community. Its programs are open to non members and many are free.

usuario wrote:
Dena wrote:

Lying is lying, and if you get caught not only is it going to be embarrassing for you but it's going to make converts in general look bad. We could be seen as manipulative an deceitful. You know what I mean?

What do you mean by "lying is lying"? Am I a Jew or am I not? I know I am so I know I qualify for the program. Now I think their methods for judging converts is unfair and I am just bypassing their BS in order to be treated like everyone else. No I do not know what you mean, please explain how I am being manipulative or deceitful compared to any other Jew in their program.

Quote :

I admit I am a little curious too as to why you don't just do an Orthodox conversion so you don't have to worry about it?

I can't tell if you are being serious with this question or not.

Quote :

So may I ask why you are making up stories for yourself in order to study with these people if this is how you feel? I guess what I'm saying is I would not go through the trouble to be a part of a group that would feel that way about me if they knew the truth.

Look at the first posts in this thread. If non-Orthodox groups put in 10% of time and money of what Orthodox groups do to promote Jewish literacy and education, there would be programs I would be flocking to. The way it stands, if I want to learn about Judaism without schlepping to Hebrew Union College (the Reform Seminary) or JTS (the Conservative one), I am forced to go to Orthodox places. It is not by choice that I am in Orthodox places. The Orthodox ones are the only game in town when it comes to learning opportunities for unaffiliated Jews. The Reform and Conservative movements are too busy with social justice projects to care about teaching Judaism to Jews who don't have the money to pay for synagogue dues.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:42 pm

Dena wrote:

Is your father an atheist and your mother a Jew? No, right? I understand why you are doing it but that doesn't mean it isn't lying.

What would you suggest I do? Tell the truth? I think it would be a greater embarrassment for a rabbi to take you aside from your Jewish friends and tell you that you can't participate in the program that your friends are in because you're not Jewish and that you should leave the Jewish community and be a Noahide instead.

Remember, I am not referring to an Orthodox Jewish community. I am talking about a program for Jews of all types (secular, Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and unaffiliated) run by Orthodox Jews. I am there for two reasons:
1.) To learn about Judaism
2.) to be with other Jews of all stripes.

I am not there to infiltrate the Orthodox community.

Dena wrote:

absolutely. Have you considered having an Orthodox conversion so you can be a part of any community you'd like without having to worry about it?

Of course I have, especially since I've already committed to observing the 613 mitzvot. If Orthodox Judaism remained the way it was sixty years ago, I probably would have been able to get a universally accepted Orthodox conversion by now. But a lot has changed in the Jewish world and it's currently impossible for me (and most other people) to get any Orthodox conversion.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:43 pm

usuario wrote:

Of course I have, especially since I've already committed to observing the 613 mitzvot. If Orthodox Judaism remained the way it was sixty years ago, I probably would have been able to get a universally accepted Orthodox conversion by now. But a lot has changed in the Jewish world and it's currently impossible for me (and most other people) to get any Orthodox conversion.

Why do you feel it's impossible?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:00 pm

tamar wrote:
Honestly even to ask the question about someones Jewishness is not ok. I simply don't volunteer information about my Jewishness. It is my personal business.

Sometimes it just comes up in general conversation. People want to know about you. Where do you live, where are you from, where do you go to services, what shul did you attend in college, etc. I'm sure you get those kinds of question too?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:46 pm

For kiruv and other Jewish programs run by the Orthodox, they almost always ask you whether your mom is Jewish and whether there are any converts in their lineage.

Dena, I suggest you look up the term "Conversion Crisis" to understand why it has become impossible to get a UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED Orthodox conversion in the past 20 years. The process to get a mainstream Orthodox conversion in America (that is, acceptable to the Israeli rabbinate, but by no means universally accepted) has become much harder. To make a long story short, I am not allowed to convert Orthodox because:

1.) I do not live within walking distance of an Orthodox synagogue, and there isn't an Orthodox synagogue within an hour of where I live (Chabad Houses don't count). I'm not able to move for the next two or three years because of grad school.

2.) I cannot pledge to enroll all of my future kids in an Orthodox day school from kindergarten to Grade 12 because I don't plan on making six figures. (good luck getting gema''ch as a convert)

3.) Unless I live in a particularly open-minded Orthodox community like Riverdale in the Bronx, there is a lot of unpleasant cultural baggage that I would have to take on. American Ashkenazi Orthodox Judaism isn't just a religion that you practice once a week on Shabbat, it is a lifestyle and culture that is unfortunately not completely Torah-based and has a lot of crap in it in addition to the beautiful.

4.) I am dating someone who is not open to being an Orthodox Jew (the crazy thing is that it doesn't matter whether or not he/she is Jewish: even if she is Jewish, if she is not going to be Orthodox with you, then you can't be with her and still convert)
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:20 pm

I had a feeling that the last time people were really active on this board was about the same topic, and also involved you, usuario, asking whether it was ok to lie about your conversion to be accepted by the orthodox community, so I went and checked the other thread. You may say it's not lying, since you see yourself as Jewish, and I agree with you - you had a conversion that I presume was halachically correct, and are therefore Jewish in my mind, but the fact remains that the orthodox wouldn't think you qualify. You know what they are asking; not whether you think you are Jewish, but whether they would.

You seem enamored of the orthodox way of life in theory, but then just a few short months ago, you posted:
Quote :
We watch TV and DVDs and go on the Internet, though I don't post messages on Shabbat. We also have a Shabbat nap then end with Havdalah whenever we remember to.

This is not living an orthodox lifestyle, or living by halacha as the orthodox see it by any stretch of the imagination! If you are dating a non-Jew (as you posted previously) and using electronics on Shabbat, then I wouldn't say you are observing the 613 mitzvot, as you said. Not that I think that's a bad thing - I prefer to interpret halacha in a meaningful, but liberal way, and I see that as a legitimate Jewish choice.

If you want to study with orthodox groups, I feel that you can leave a lot unsaid, but when they ask you straight out, you shouldn't lie. Have you talked to your rabbi about how you are feeling?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:47 pm

Actually I don't get those questions. I am rarely asked personal questions by people I don't know well. I don't ask those questions of others if I don't know them well. To ask personal questions of folks is not acceptable and can lead to the one asking the question to be put on the spot.





Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
Honestly even to ask the question about someones Jewishness is not ok. I simply don't volunteer information about my Jewishness. It is my personal business.

Sometimes it just comes up in general conversation. People want to know about you. Where do you live, where are you from, where do you go to services, what shul did you attend in college, etc. I'm sure you get those kinds of question too?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:18 am

esf wrote:

You seem enamored of the orthodox way of life in theory, but then just a few short months ago, you posted:
Quote :
We watch TV and DVDs and go on the Internet, though I don't post messages on Shabbat. We also have a Shabbat nap then end with Havdalah whenever we remember to.

This is not living an orthodox lifestyle, or living by halacha as the orthodox see it by any stretch of the imagination! If you are dating a non-Jew (as you posted previously) and using electronics on Shabbat, then I wouldn't say you are observing the 613 mitzvot, as you said. Not that I think that's a bad thing - I prefer to interpret halacha in a meaningful, but liberal way, and I see that as a legitimate Jewish choice.

I am not yet at that stage where I am completely observant, and neither are most baalei teshuvas when they are starting out and still away from a large Jewish community, yet that doesn't negate their Jewishness. I can list other things that I break and I know are wrong: I eat at non-kosher restaurants, for example. But that doesn't change the fact that I feel like I have accepted the yoke of the 613 mitzvot, and am accountable for whatever transgressions I commit. One day I hope to be more observant, and until recently, that was enough for an Orthodox conversion. It is only in the past sixty years or so that virtually every Orthodox conversion demands perfect 100% observance before one can become a Jew.

esf wrote:

If you want to study with orthodox groups, I feel that you can leave a lot unsaid, but when they ask you straight out, you shouldn't lie. Have you talked to your rabbi about how you are feeling?

Okay, what should I say? How am I going to get the same opportunities for enriching my Judaism that other Jews have if I stick to non-Orthodox movements?
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:30 am

FaustianSlip wrote:
I don't give money to either of those organizations, because I'm not interested in supporting groups whose leadership actively prevents women from being involved in ritual life and contributes to the increasing haredization of Israel, making it that much more difficult for people like me to either visit or make aliyah (and let's not even touch the question of the Western Wall or segregated buses).

You hit something that I find really interesting as an Orthodox conversion program dropout - the staunch politicization of Judaism in the liberal movements. I get asked all the time how I "tolerate" attending Chabad functions when I am actively excluded from the services (plus, I would be because I converted under Conservative auspices anyway). My frank answer is: "Meh, it's not really an issue to me." I was raised Catholic, too, so I guess male-dominated religious ritual is not something I actively need to fight. When my husband goes to make minyan at our small Chabad house, I usually end up helping the rebbetzin take care of her astonishingly adorable children and I find that just as rewarding as the ritual service.

I am forced, in my congregation, to wear a tallit if I am called to the bimah, even though I personally don't feel I need to take part in that mitzvah. It's FORCED politicization and it annoys me as much as the other side.

While learning from a knowledgeable liberal teacher can give you a different spin on things, and can give you perspective, the actual learning really shouldn't be all that different. The laws are the laws and if you learn what's minhag and what's halacha, which you do with an Orthodox learning once you get a little deeper than JewFAQ101, you have the ability to extrapolate it, anyway. I'm even fairly convinced that the learning required of liberal rabbis may be a lot less than the Orthodox. I have found myself astonished at the liberal movement gaffes they encourage (like only one bread on shabbat for Hamotzi) that are clearly halacha and not tradition. It annoys me.

So for me, if you are interested in the intellectual, and nonpolitical, side of Judaism, learning from Orthodox movements (and a vast majority are not leading to charedization of ANYTHING) is a pretty good deal.

But to each his own.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:25 pm

tamar wrote:
Actually I don't get those questions. I am rarely asked personal questions by people I don't know well. I don't ask those questions of others if I don't know them well. To ask personal questions of folks is not acceptable and can lead to the one asking the question to be put on the spot.

Ah, well okay. I work in a Jewish hospital so I get that all the time. I don't consider it rude. I think people are curious and trying to be friendly. They also want to know if they know anyone you know. I ask questions about them too because that's what I'm there to do. I assumed everyone got those same questions.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:49 pm

I really believe asking personal questions of people is not always ok. I think without realizing it we can put folks into a position they may not want to be in. I learned that the hard way so I am careful not to ask questions. A perfectly innocent question can put someone into a spot.

A perfect example is questioning someones religious practice. I don't want to be forced to talk about my conversion and a simple question puts me in that position.

I really do think that we need to be careful about questions we ask.

If it is your job then it is part of your job. I am talking about in everyday conversation. I believe every person has a right to not have to answer personal questions if they don't want to. If I go to an orthodox function I have a right not to answer questions. If I go to my reform temple I have a right not to have to answer questions but I will say if someone asks me a question I am much more willing to answer it. But I know the response is going to be very different.

I grew up in a non religious/secular home. If I am asked I basically say I grew up secular. That is the truth. But the truth of my upbringing is my personal business and I should never be made to answer questions that are not anyone else's business.

As to in a professional situation I honestly don't know why someone in a Jewish facility would ask these sorts of questions. My son goes to a social skills group through JSSA and as a Jewish organization my Jewishness has never been talked of. Many folks who are non Jews go to Jewish hospitals and other Jewish facilities for treatment. The local Jewish community center has non Jewish members.

Last year his group had no Jewish kids involved, he was the only Jewish child. This year there are 2 other Jewish children in his group. Religion is not a topic of discussion and when it is no one has asked me question pertaining to my Jewishness. The just know I am Jewish.
Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
Actually I don't get those questions. I am rarely asked personal questions by people I don't know well. I don't ask those questions of others if I don't know them well. To ask personal questions of folks is not acceptable and can lead to the one asking the question to be put on the spot.

Ah, well okay. I work in a Jewish hospital so I get that all the time. I don't consider it rude. I think people are curious and trying to be friendly. They also want to know if they know anyone you know. I ask questions about them too because that's what I'm there to do. I assumed everyone got those same questions.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:08 pm

tamar wrote:
As to in a professional situation I honestly don't know why someone in a Jewish facility would ask these sorts of questions.

Part of my job is to make sure their Rabbi knows they have been hospitalized so they can visit. Therefore, I ask questions about where they attend or ask if they are unaffiliated. There is another Rabbi who will visit if they are unaffiliated. If they don't check the "Jewish" box when they registrar then they don't get a visit from me at all. I only visit those who declare their religion as Jewish.

I also think it's just natural. Two Jews meet in a hospital and they talk about the Jewish community, Israel, that sort of thing. Some people don't want to talk at all and that's fine. Some like to tell me things I probably shouldn't know such as why a particular Rabbi isn't well liked in his congregation. Some have heard about our newer Rabbi and want to know how I like her (she's great!).

As for other settings like schools or camps...I don't know. I'm sure they have their reasons.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:20 pm

These questions are part of your job so that Jews can have rabbinical support during an illness. But not all people in a Jewish hospital are Jewish so to start a conversation means making an assumption. If it is part of your job then the question are you Jewish is necessary. For 2 people who meet I can't imagine asking someone if they are Jewish. I would feel uncomfortable asking that question of someone. When I am waiting for my son to finish his social skills group at the Jewish Social Services Agency he goes for the group several of us are Jewish. We don't talk about Jewish subjects. It comes up rarely and when it has it has been to wish someone a happy holiday.

All I am saying is that I feel uncomfortable speaking about Judaism, Israel or other Jewish topics with people I don't know. I have no problem having these discussions with people who I am friends with. But people I don't know well I don't discuss religion.

This is just my personal opinion.



Dena wrote:
tamar wrote:
As to in a professional situation I honestly don't know why someone in a Jewish facility would ask these sorts of questions.

Part of my job is to make sure their Rabbi knows they have been hospitalized so they can visit. Therefore, I ask questions about where they attend or ask if they are unaffiliated. There is another Rabbi who will visit if they are unaffiliated. If they don't check the "Jewish" box when they registrar then they don't get a visit from me at all. I only visit those who declare their religion as Jewish.

I also think it's just natural. Two Jews meet in a hospital and they talk about the Jewish community, Israel, that sort of thing. Some people don't want to talk at all and that's fine. Some like to tell me things I probably shouldn't know such as why a particular Rabbi isn't well liked in his congregation. Some have heard about our newer Rabbi and want to know how I like her (she's great!).

As for other settings like schools or camps...I don't know. I'm sure they have their reasons.
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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:13 pm

tamar wrote:
These questions are part of your job so that Jews can have rabbinical support during an illness. But not all people in a Jewish hospital are Jewish so to start a conversation means making an assumption. If it is part of your job then the question are you Jewish is necessary. For 2 people who meet I can't imagine asking someone if they are Jewish.

Most patients assume I am Jewish. Others will ask and of course I say, yes and then they feel comfortable talking about how they need to get home to clean for Passover or whatever. I really don't mind being asked. I'm often dealing with people who are in their 70's 80's and 90's who don't feel very well. I am not bothered by anything they do or don't do. I imagine the other volunteers feel similar. As far as I know, all of the volunteers who work with the Jewish patients are also Jewish.

I would also ask someone outside of that setting if they are Jewish. Same as I might ask someone where they go to church and comment that my friend from high school goes there and loves it (that has actually happened a couple times). To me it's just general conversation. It's not like I'm being asked if I agree with all of Rambam's 13 Principles or if I believe in an afterlife. Very Happy As long as a person is being nice and I don't feel like they want to convert me I don't mind talking about Judaism. Frankly, I'd probably rather talk about it with strangers than with people I know really well.

tamar wrote:
All I am saying is that I feel uncomfortable speaking about Judaism, Israel or other Jewish topics with people I don't know. I have no problem having these discussions with people who I am friends with. But people I don't know well I don't discuss religion.

Well, like I said, I'm not being asked detailed religious questions. Monday I was discussing Israel and that is the most in depth I've ever gotten with a patient. She's 90 years old and is worried about it. We talked for nearly an hour and a half. Judaism isn't just my religion. It's who I am. Asking me if I'm Jewish is like asking me if I'm Italian (I am). So, that isn't a question that in most circumstances is going to bother me. Actually, I love being able to say "yes!!"




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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:16 am

I really debated trying to answer anything raised in this comment at all, because I found it incredibly condescending and insulting. I don't know if that was the intent, but the tone of this and a couple of prior comments are making it difficult for me to figure out whether I'm just not expressing myself well, or if I'm being deliberately misunderstood. I didn't want to imply by my silence that I just agree with it, though, so I'll take a crack at it:

maculated wrote:
When my husband goes to make minyan at our small Chabad house, I usually end up helping the rebbetzin take care of her astonishingly adorable children and I find that just as rewarding as the ritual service.

With all due respect, bully for you, but not everyone feels that way. If I did feel that way, frankly, I very likely would have converted under Orthodox auspices. If I currently attended a Chabad house regularly, I would happily donate directly to that Chabad house in order to contribute to its upkeep (that is, as I think I said, what I did in college- honestly, I feel like you're not actually reading my posts before responding except to cherry-pick a line here and a line there). As it happens, I don't currently attend a Chabad house. The one most local to me is aggressively gender-segregated (to the point that women were literally left standing out in the rain, unable to hear the Megillah read on Purim, because there was no more room in the tiny space behind the mechitzah), I would argue beyond regular Orthodox standards and certainly beyond anything I've ever experienced at the multiple other Chabad houses I've attended in the past. The congregation is cliquish; the rabbi has never spoken to me on the occasions I've been there, nor has anyone else with the exception of two people (the rebbitzen, once, and a very nice, secular woman about my age from Brazil who was visiting town). I'm not the only one who has noticed this- a Jewish friend who's been a couple of times commented on the weird atmosphere there the other day. A combination of those factors has dissuaded me from going, so instead I daven at home and, when possible, travel to a congregation about two hours away where I'm more comfortable.

Declining to contribute money to an organization whose values, in a number of significant ways (which I would be happy to list, if you'd like, and several of which are halachic, not what you apparently consider political), are completely opposed to my own, isn't kneejerk politicism, it's putting my money where my values and morals lie. Should I give money to an evangelical Christian group that supports Israel because, hey, they support Israel, even if the majority of other things they stand for aren't beliefs that I share and, in some cases, are things I vehemently oppose? I don't think so. Likewise, I'm not going to go out of my way to give my money to a group that denies as fundamental an aspect of who I am as the fact that I am a Jew.

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I am forced, in my congregation, to wear a tallit if I am called to the bimah, even though I personally don't feel I need to take part in that mitzvah. It's FORCED politicization and it annoys me as much as the other side.

Is it a Reform congregation? If so, that seems weird. If not, I fail to see how that's any different than the fact that I'm forced, in my local synagogue, to be wedged behind a thick, wooden screen, practically sitting in another woman's lap and unable to see any of what's going on with the service, if I want to daven with a minyan. If a community holds with egalitarianism, and it collectively holds that people should wear a tallit while up on the bimah, then it would be binding on both men and women. Are men also obliged to wear a tallit if they're called up to the bimah? If the answer is yes, than the community is simply applying egalitarian standards across the board, which I don't see as political at all. It's a community standard. Either way, you're no more "forced" to do that than I'm "forced" to go to my local Orthodox synagogue. I doubt anyone is coming to tie either of us up and drag us to either of these shuls.

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While learning from a knowledgeable liberal teacher can give you a different spin on things, and can give you perspective, the actual learning really shouldn't be all that different.

Perhaps not, but if I want to learn Talmud with a teacher, I'm certainly not going to be able to do that at my local Chabad. The majority of topics I'm interested in learning about would likely be closed to me in the only Orthodox environment to which I currently have access. I mean, I live in China. It's not like I'm in New York (or even D.C. or, heck, Maine or Colorado or someplace else with a relatively small Jewish population- there are a handful of Jews here, if that, and the bulk of those are either secular or visiting businessmen).

I am not, as I have said at least twice now, opposed to learning from Orthodox sources. I have a shelf filled with Jewish books, the vast majority of which are from an Orthodox standpoint (and a bunch of which I bought from the Yeshiva University book sale and had shipped here). I do object to learning in an environment in which I will be told, repeatedly (either explicitly or implicitly), that either "women don't/can't do XYZ," a la the Artscroll Women's Siddur (see also here and here- none of these are mine, but they sum up my feelings well), or that I am not Jewish. Unfortunately, that applies to all of the learning options in my immediate vicinity and a lot of learning options generally. It's easier to filter that stuff out online- just skim past it. It's not as easy to do so sitting in a class (or seeing a class that looks interesting and finding it's for "men only," which has happened to me more than once). And sometimes, I'd actually like to learn with someone (especially since that's traditionally how one learns limudei kodesh) instead of sitting alone in front of my computer.

That said, I am not going to lie about who I am or what my status is to participate, but I'm not going to fling money in the direction of organizations that promote these attitudes because my funds are (relatively) limited, and I would prefer to give my cash and energy to something that actually, y'know, promotes a worldview that I mostly share. I don't think any of this is particularly shocking or unusual, by the way.

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The laws are the laws and if you learn what's minhag and what's halacha, which you do with an Orthodox learning once you get a little deeper than JewFAQ101, you have the ability to extrapolate it, anyway.

I already know the difference between minhag and halacha, thanks. I'm not sure why you seem so convinced that I'm a complete neophyte. I was unaware, however, that learning "what's minhag and what's halacha" is what people (well, men, in the circles we're talking about) do for years upon years in yeshiva and kollel or in Daf Yomi or the like. And as I've said, repeatedly, I'm happy to sit and read books and texts and whatever on my own, but it would be a nice (and, IMHO, necessary) change to learn with someone. You don't learn much by sitting around, reading and nodding to yourself. You need to have your views challenged or expanded upon or something. No one learns to their potential in a vacuum, regardless of the subject they're studying.

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I'm even fairly convinced that the learning required of liberal rabbis may be a lot less than the Orthodox.

I'm not sure what your point is here, except to try and browbeat me into learning with an imaginary Orthodox rabbi who likely wouldn't teach me because as far as he's concerned, I'm not Jewish. I also can't help but wonder why you would convert with a movement that you seem to disdain (and whose rabbis you don't appear to respect). I'm not asking, incidentally, because that's your own business, so much as I'm observing that that's how your comments here are coming across, at least to me.

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I have found myself astonished at the liberal movement gaffes they encourage (like only one bread on shabbat for Hamotzi) that are clearly halacha and not tradition. It annoys me.

I don't know where you go that that's "encouraged," but I've never encountered a liberal synagogue, of any stripe, that did this. At last count, I've attended shuls in six countries on four continents. If the "liberal movement" (which one? All of them?) is encouraging this practice, they seem to be doing a really crappy job of it. I'm not discounting that you've seen it, only that it's as widespread as you indicate here. More broadly, if the liberal movement annoys you so badly, why attend a liberal shul? I understand if there are no other options where you are, but you've mentioned Chabad, so that's obviously not the case.

Quote :
So for me, if you are interested in the intellectual, and nonpolitical, side of Judaism, learning from Orthodox movements (and a vast majority are not leading to charedization of ANYTHING) is a pretty good deal.

Ah, yes. If I'm really studying Torah for the "right" reasons (i.e. intellectual and religious reasons, as opposed to "political" reasons, which seem to be whatever you decide they are), then of course I would be happy to learn in an Orthodox environment. Ignoring the fact that I don't know of a place so magical that an Orthodox kiruv rabbi wouldn't eventually start asking questions about the status of regulars coming to learn with him, this is not an option for me, because the only shul to which I have access right now would not instruct me in the areas I would most like to learn due to my gender and wouldn't instruct me at all if I'm honest about my halachic status. And, being completely frank, I'm not in love with the prospect of learning with someone whose motive is to try and convince me to be Orthodox, which is Chabad's raison d'ĂȘtre. I'm definitely not comfortable learning with someone with whom I have to be constantly worried that, should they ask me exactly how I'm Jewish, may refuse to continue learning with me. If I had a modern Orthodox synagogue around, or an independent minyan like Shira Chadasha, this might be a different conversation. But I don't. In part because the only groups that seem to do any kiruv outside of major Jewish areas are Chabad and Aish, both of which are haredi, and in part because I currently have the misfortune to be living in a country with virtually no Jews as a result of my job. The latter will change in another year or so. I hope the former will change that fast, but I doubt it.

The fact that Chabad and Aish are around doing a ton of kiruv and have been at it for a while is no excuse, in my opinion, for Reform, Conservative and other, more liberal groups to completely ignore it. Wanting outreach options that aren't Orthodox (or, y'know, where I could actually feel like I belonged as a Jew instead of a Jew with an asterisk) doesn't mean that I hate Orthodoxy or would never set foot in an Orthodox shul or would never learn with an Orthodox person. It means that occasionally, some of us would like the option of finding a learning environment that matches our religious bent. It's not "forced politics," it's looking for a community in which we fit. I don't know why you seem to have such a hard time with that (and seem to be taking it upon yourself to lambast people for expressing this particular need).

Apologies for this being so long, but I felt like I needed to respond. With that, though, I think I've said my piece, and this exchange is getting frustrating enough that I should probably bow out before I say something I'll regret, especially since I don't think anyone is likely to change anyone else's mind.
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FaustianSlip

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue May 01, 2012 1:57 am

And look at that! Here are some articles on Jewschool doing a great job of elucidating exactly one of the major reasons why I don't as a rule give money to organizations like Aish or Chabad. They're a few years old, but still discuss, in depth, the lack of available kiruv options for post-high school kids who previously attended MO groups like NCSY:

Beyond Haredi Kiruv

NCSY: a Gateway to Fundamentalism

Usuario and I aren't simply hyper-political paranoids who are imagining that the lack of other-than-haredi kiruv organizations to be a problem. It's a very real question for Modern Orthodoxy as well as more liberal movements, and they would do well to start addressing it sooner rather than later if they want to interest young seekers in something that isn't haredi Judaism (or even if they disagree with the opinion that right-wing Orthodoxy is what "real" Judaism looks like, and anything else is at best a washed-out imitation or at worst apikorus). Now, if we want to question whether anyone should be trying to recruit young people to their particular brand of Judaism, that's another discussion.
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usuario



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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon May 14, 2012 9:08 pm

Update on the Kiruv situation: I just got my $200 check from the Aish-sponsored program I did. Very Happy

Where do these organizations get their money from? I wonder if a non-Orthodox or non-denominational program were to start up whether they'd get enough donors to give out stipends.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Mon May 14, 2012 9:56 pm

usuario wrote:
Update on the Kiruv situation: I just got my $200 check from the Aish-sponsored program I did. Very Happy

Is that the online thing where if you take the class they give you $200?

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usuario



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PostSubject: Re: Kiruv educational programs (e.g. Aish, Chabad)   Tue May 22, 2012 7:12 pm

Yes it was. It's a program called JOU Max (Jerusalem Online University). The form asked for whether your father / mother is Jewish. I read on a someone's blog that she got accepted even though only her father was Jewish, so it may be that they don't want to make the local Hillel-on-Campus's angry by excluding them.

I'm still waiting on hearing about some Reform, Conservative, and non-denominational-sponsored paid/subsidized kiruv programs.
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