Monday, November 12, 2007

Ripples continued

Just a little more clarity on my previous post.

I'm not down on kiruv. I'm not opposed to outreach or trying to interest people in Orthodox Judaism. I'm down on kiruv as a mindless draw into observance without taking into account whom you are being mekarev; I object to kiruv as an industry and kiruv as a feel-good-about -yourself thing. One of the biggest problems with kiruv is that once people become frum, they are often left hanging with half-baked beliefs and misdirected religious zeal. There is not much done about integrating them the rest of the way into the community.

I have a friend who was enrolled in a program at a ba'alas teshuvah yeshiva in Israel. This friend, Sarah, was a Brooklyn FFB, learning in a truncated seminary program that was housed there. One day, she was in a pizza store near the school, eating a piece of chocolate. This particular brand of chocolate was not under Badatz hechsher; it was under Rabbanut hechsher.

A girl from the BT part of the school, Brenda, walked into the pizza store, saw Sarah and started admonishing her for eating the non-Badatz chocolate, which in her eyes, was as good as treif. Sarah explained to her that she had researched the kashrut situation in this part of Israel and had decided that she would eat Rabbanut milchigs but only Badatz fleishigs. Linda told her that it was still baffling to her as to why a supposedly religious girl would eat questionable chocolate.

Sarah was so upset about the encounter, she spoke to one of the Rebbeim at the school, Rabbi Goldberg. Rabbi Goldberg spent the next class (jointly attended by Sarah and Brenda) explaining that while eating Rabbanut chocolate would probably not postpone Mashiach's arrival, publicly admonishing someone about it without any prior understanding of the situation would.

That is kiruv done right.

1 comment:

Nice Jewish Guy said...

I agree again. And this reinforces my opinion that many BTs are severely lacking context; they have no frame of reference, and thigns in frumkeit are black and white. It's like once the kiruv people can get the person to wear a kippah & tzitzit, keep the basic shabbat, and pronunce the brachot, their job is done, and they're off to the next one. A BT I know, who has been observant for a while, can't read Hebrew. All he can do is take someone's word for what something says. He sounds like my father when he repeats what's on the latest shiur CD going around. I don't go for flowery spiritual stuff, like people commenting on life's hardships and vagaries with statements like, "it's all about Hashem", "Have bitachon", etc. A little too shiny-eyed for me.