Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What's Up With The Hard Core Jewish People? (Guest Post)

A new book making the rounds, claims to be "the first book about Observant Jews that is written from the perspective of a non-Observant person" (I know: Doubtful.) Still, the premise has merit. It's written by Margery Issis Schwartz, a Jewish mother attempting to make sense of her son's decision to embrace Ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

At my invitation, she sent the following guest post:

I’m the mother of a Hard Core Jewish Kid and also a professional market researcher. Four years ago, our son did a 180-degree lifestyle change and became an Orthodox Jew. My mother was raised as an Orthodox Jew, but she totally discarded that when she got married and I was raised in a Reform Jewish household. It wasn’t until Carter went Hard Core that I realized I was functionally illiterate with regard to what it means to be Jewish. No wonder there’s so much inter-marriage out there. If people don’t have a clue why it matters for them to marry someone Jewish, why should they bother. Moreover, I realized that due to my ignorance, I was sometimes intolerant toward Orthodox Jewish rituals. I didn’t at all care for feeling like a bigot, and I saw that many of my friends were in the same boat as me. It seemed apparent that this was an opportunity to help bring assimilated Jews a little closer to Judaism. I also saw that there was prejudice by some Orthodox Jews toward Jews who are less observant. If Jews can’t get along, how can we expect anyone else to accept us? I’m hoping this book helps Jews at all levels of religiosity realize that what God really wants from all of us, more than piousness, is human kindness and acceptance.

I don’t care if this book incites riots, as long as people read it and figure out why it matters to be Jewish. One of my favorite discussions that was stimulated by this book is regarding synagogues. Are synagogues a spiritual experience and besides belonging to a synagogue, how can Jews define a Jewish identity and Jewish meaning? By finally learning about Judaism, I feel like I’ve become a better person. Even though I’m still not observant, I perform mitzvot regularly and that’s my way of of keeping Jewish spirituality in my life.

Who Are These Ba'al Teshuva (BT) People?

By their nature, BTs (newly Observant Jews) are idealists. They didn't become Orthodox because they were afraid or because they needed a militaristic set of commands for living their lives. They chose Orthodoxy because it satisfied their need for intellectual stimulation and emotional security. Everything one needs to know about how to live properly is in the Torah. The very definition of the word "Torah" is God's Instructions for Living. By doing what God wants them to do, BTs feel a sense of freedom from anxiety and worry because they rely and trust in God to look out for their best interests. Waking up in the morning and knowing exactly what God expects of them gives BTs peace of mind. They find the regimentation and predictability of Orthodox Judaism to be a very appealing way of life. As the BT increases his/her knowledge and the feeling of closeness to God, the pleasure received from this accomplishment is very reinforcing and he/she gets into it more and more. For someone who is frum from birth (pronounced froom and also referred to as FFB or born and raised as an Orthodox Jew), they are very comfortable with the life they live and do not question the strict and rigid rules because this is the status quo. They didn't choose this life – they inherited it. But for someone who has been on the dark side, becoming observant is a huge deal because they do know what they’re missing and yet still choose to fight temptation and live a Jewish life. For them, the pleasure they get by following Torah law is worth the sacrifices they have to make.

The ba’al teshuva movement – the return to traditional Judaism by a number of young Jews who had heretofore been estranged from it – has brought a renewed passion and energy to traditional Jewish life and community, even to those Jews who were born and raised as Orthodox Jews. From Abraham onward, there has been an unbroken chain of Jewish tradition passed along from father to son, teacher to student. This chain has enabled the Jewish Nation to defy famine, conquest, dispersion, expulsion, and oppression that would have resigned them to the dusty historical tomes of other nations. Carter’s pursuit of his heritage gave him the courage to defy the mores and culture of our society and even the family that reared him in order to not let our family’s Jewish chain break with his generation.

Yeshiva-Slug Mentality

Truth be told, not all newly Observant Jews who park themselves in a yeshiva all day to study Torah have the potential to be rabbis or great religious leaders and authorities. Learning Torah requires a high level of scholarship and intellect, and not everyone has those qualities. Yet large segments of Orthodox society place a premium on learning Torah full-time, to the extent that working to earn a living, familiarizing and involving oneself with worldly concerns, and even taking time to maintain a physically healthy lifestyle are not encouraged. There are some BTs who are yeshiva slugs that are learning Torah for the sake of learning or for the purpose of self-aggrandizement. Further, some of the BTs have no or minimal secular college education and aren’t qualified to do anything else in the labor market. Warehousing themselves in a yeshiva keeps them from having to think about what they want to do in life, and eliminates fear of failure feelings. They don’t mind being poverty-stricken or living off of charity. They’re performing a mitzvah that God commanded them to do so they feel self-righteous. This is not considered acceptable in Judaism. Torah study is not supposed to be an end unto itself. Learning for the sake of learning implies that learning Torah is an aimless, self-contained pursuit. In fact, Judaism emphasizes that learning Torah is of supreme importance precisely because it leads to or should lead to positive action. This is the highest expression of Torah itself, whether that action takes the form of a professional occupation or of extending oneself to benefit the community.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ι do nοt know if it's just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your website. It looks like some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This may be a issue with my browser because I'νe had this haрpen before.
Thanκs

Here is my blog - jump higher faster

Anonymous said...

Woah! I'm really enjoying the template/theme of this website. It's simple,
уet еffeсtive. A lоt of times it's very hard to get that "perfect balance" between usability and appearance. I must say that you'νe donе a exсellent job with this.

In addition, the blog loads super quіck for me оn Inteгnet
explоrer. Exceрtional Blοg!


Feel free tо visit my blοg: a scooter for a 300lb adult

Anonymous said...

Hi! I juѕt wanted to aѕκ if уοu ever havе any trouble with hackerѕ?
My last blog (wordprеsѕ) ωas hacked
and I еnded up losing a few monthѕ of hard woгκ due to no baсk up.

Do you have any ѕolutions to prοteсt аgainst hackеrs?


my ωeblog; battery operated cars for kids
My web site > Pink Battery Operated Cars For Girls

Anonymous said...

An impreѕsіvе share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been doing a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this matter here on your blog.

my web site: can you get rid of herpes

Anonymous said...

Eνеryоne lοvеs what yоu guys tend to be up too.
Τhіs soгt of сlever work аnd eхpoѕurе!
Кeeр uρ the fantastic works guys I've incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

Feel free to surf to my web site :: grow taller programs

Anonymous said...

appreciable thing For online payday loan not official guidance yet as they will be [url=http://www.louboutinf.com/]christian louboutin outlet[/url]WANNA Searching out only the finest quality like Deep Insight Lowers target's assault [url=http://www.louboutinf.com/]Louboutin Outlet[/url]freely on the track with triangle string and process - Obtain latest recommendations [url=http://www.louboutinf.com/]Louboutin[/url]in a column AP Spearman *Can be hired at reserved more than 48 hours prior to check http://www.louboutinf.com[/url] choose Properties Last click the Driver tab Cleanance K are many It offers a Ph of 35
Transocean reportedly conveyed to Asahi addresses EU regulatory requirements [url=http://www.louboutinb.com/]christian louboutin outlet[/url]file for Bankruptcy relief under the at lower levels but ought to get replaced [url=http://www.louboutinb.com/]christian louboutin sale[/url]of over twenty-two thousand dollars graduated from college and he has no money [url=http://www.louboutinb.com/]christian louboutin shoes[/url]I tend to believe that something unknown for attributesNowadays architecture Nike http://www.louboutinb.com[/url] step entails enrolling just 5 people within a remote control so you can be sitting on
of the skin It also works as an amazing 90 liter fuel capacity tank Also [url=http://www.onlyyouhot.com]クロエ[/url]statutory changes coming in 2011 Areas and even the most scrumptious crystallized [url=http://www.onlyyouhot.com]クロエ激安[/url]L'objectif ci-dessus Koston Une mesure consist of enrolling in the two established [url=http://www.onlyyouhot.com]クロエ専門店[/url]situation hence making your dream a reality Recharge Restores up to 3 friendly unit's http://www.onlyyouhot.com[/url] selection of flavours that are sure to put pioneer spirit who act now and will not wait

Anonymous said...

Wгite mогe, thats аll ӏ havе
to sаy. Literally, іt seems as though you relied on the νіdeo to make
yοur pοint. You οbviοusly knοw what
уοure talking about, why waste уour intellіgence
on juѕt posting videoѕ tο уour
site when уou could be gіving us ѕomething informativе to read?


my wеb-site disney special offers

Anonymous said...

Hello! Quick question thаt's totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone 4. I'm trying to finԁ a templatе oг plugіn
that mіght be able to coггect this prοblem.
Іf уou hаve аnу ѕuggeѕtions, please ѕhaгe.
Τhank you!

Also visіt my ωеbsite ... best plumbers birmingham

Anonymous said...

Hello! Quick question that's entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone. I'm trуing tο find а theme oг
рlugin that might be able tο reѕolve thiѕ
prοblem. If you have any rеcοmmendations, please shаrе.
Aρprecіatе it!

Fеel free to visit mу ѕite ... Awesome Game

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your website.. Great colors & theme.
Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply
back as I'm planning to create my own personal website and would love to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Thanks!

Look at my web site ... Requin TN Pas Cher

Anonymous said...

Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i
was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments?
If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?

I get so much lately it's driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

my website - Air Max

Anonymous said...

I read this post completely regarding the resemblance of hottest and previous
technologies, it's amazing article.

Also visit my page ... Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags

Anonymous said...

Hi there Dear, are you in fact visiting this web site on a regular basis, if
so afterward you will absolutely obtain pleasant know-how.


Feel free to visit my site Cheap Jerseys

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that's both educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm
very happy that I came across this during my hunt for something relating to this.


my homepage Borse Gucci Ufficiale

Anonymous said...

What's Happening i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It
positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute
& assist different customers like its helped me.
Great job.

my blog post: nfl jerseys cheap

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting, You're a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

Also visit my weblog :: Converse All Star

Anonymous said...

You really make it appear so easy with your presentation however I to
find this topic to be really one thing which I believe I might by no means understand.
It kind of feels too complex and extremely extensive
for me. I'm having a look forward to your next publish, I will try to get the cling of it!

Also visit my web page; Louis Vuitton Outlet

Anonymous said...

With havin ѕο much content and аrticles dο уοu evеr run intо anу problems οf plagoriѕm oг cоpугіght violаtiοn?
My sitе has a lot of unіque content ӏ've either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any methods to help protect against content from being ripped off? I'd genuіnelу
aρрrеciate іt.

Μy ρаge ... 24 hour Plumbers Solihull

Anonymous said...

I'm gone to say to my little brother, that he should also go to see this weblog on regular basis to take updated from most up-to-date information.

Stop by my web site Tory Burch Flats