Sunday, July 12, 2015

Kiruv-Proof Your Kids, Or Else...

If the message you send your kids - consciously or unconsciously - is that Orthodox Judaism is the truth, and the only reason you aren't Orthodox is laziness or you're too busy enjoying modern life to commit to that restrictive lifestyle, then don't be surprised when they're swept off their feet by evangelizers like Aish or Chabad. Non-Orthodox Jews make up the overwhelming majority of Jews the world over, and the modern concept of "Orthodox" is relatively brand new, yet for some reason, I see people across the Jewish spectrum, from Conservative to Reconstructionist defer or lionize - implicitly or explicitly - Orthodoxy, as if they have a monopoly on the truth. Too many non-Orthodox parents also give their kids absolutely no training or background in Judaism or Jewishness, and are then shocked SHOCKED when a smiling rabbi razzle dazzles them with a plate of kugel and a bowl of half-truths. I'm not advocating for a yeshiva education, I don't even send my kid to Hebrew school, but if all they know about Jewishness is Adam Sandler and temple twice a year, they will be susceptible to manipulative kiruv (outreach) tactics. 
If you believe in the tenets of Orthodox Judaism, then by all means live that lifestyle and be proud of it, but it's an all-encompassing, highly demanding lifestyle, that dictates every aspect of your life, and you should be aware of that reality before you decide to join it. Kiruv people are notorious for avoiding tough questions and downplaying the negatives.
Be proud to be Conservative, Reform, Humanistic, or whatever shade of Jew you are. Explain your version of Judaism to your kids, or Evangelical Jews will do it for you, and you (and your kids) might not like the outcome.

5 comments:

ksil said...

I don't think most non-affiliated Jews are "proud" of being non-affiliated, just as they are not proud of being a non-vegetarian. It is meaningless.

A parent should train their kid not to be taken by any cult, jewish or otherwise.

But your point i do not think is valid. One can convey to their kids that there is beauty in their heritage (even though the parent dropped it all) and that it has significance, it has meaning and value (for some people) - and not worry that some loon will brainwash them when they hit 23 and do a birthright tour

Anonymous said...

Here's what I wished I knew before the kiruv people spotted us--older Jews--for the easy marks we were. I'm from a small town in southeast Texas, and I was definitely taught how to handle myself politely among evangelizing Christians. You'd think I'd have been able to apply those same skills 50 years later to evangelizing Jews, but no. I do not believe liberal Jewish synagogues do a very good job here of preparing their members and I wish they'd put some thought into the task.

Anonymous said...

kiruv rabbis are ensorceling pimps. rebettzens are madams. they coo in your ear (it works) tell you you're their only one (what about the other girls out there??) that they will love you better than anyone else. And that OJ is the only place you will get your freak on.

It's all about mentally banging you. And it works on many people. because being mentally seduced feels ---- good.

Good luck. These pieces of s&*t should be sued by parents. but the parents can NEVER meet them. otherwise the costume, the seduction, the hot breath of the scumbag rabbi on your neck...it can get the parents too.

sue them in a class action suit. tie them up in court. f*&k these guys.

Anonymous said...

Teach your children critical thinking skills. They will then be able to research claims of others. Regarding Kiruv arguments see here http://altercockerjewishatheist.blogspot.com/2014_04_01_archive.html

Anonymous said...

I believe, the most important thing in the world is, to live with your kids in mutual respect, never humiliate your kids, listen to them, be together with them as much as you can and show them how you understand being Jewish and teach them early on, that there are different opinions in the world, also the Jewish world.
I believe that mostly kids end up being kiruved if there is a lack of something, of relationship, of security of whatsoever...yes, and I agree teach your children critical thinking skills.

I am orthodox, and we live observant, but this doesn't have to mean that you have to think all other Jews are less worth than you, if they don't keep like you or live the same livestyle. The world and also G'd is so much bigger than we can imagine.