What did you think of Aish.com's new Chanuka video? asks a loyal correspondent.
The video begins by listing the values of the Western World. Respect for life, justice and equality under the law, universal education and social responsibility, including respect for the environment and animal rights, among others, are all included. Then comes, the jaw-dropping bombshell. As the music swells, we're told that these values are what the Macabees fought for.
Never mind, that it is historically obtuse to suggest that the Macabees defended ideas that wouldn't develop for another 1500 years. This sort of ahistorical nonsense is too common. The real outrage here is Aish's moral obtuseness. With narry a blink of self-awareness, they suggest that these values occupy the attention and the energy of the average Orthodox Jew in 2004.
It's classic bait and switch.
You can almost hear the kiruv experts at Aish saying to themselves, "Ok, how do we get those liberal-minded Jews to notice us? I know! Let's slap together a video claiming that Judaism is pro-social justice, pro-environment, pro-animal rights, pro-gender equality, and pro-making-the-world-a-better-place. Later, after the hooks are in, we'll let them know that in 2004, Orthodox Judaism is mostly concerned with ritual law, not social activism."
Meek voice of dissent: Isn't that dishonest?
Kiruv experts: Sure, but heter kiruv!