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Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Vanishing American Jew (And One Rabbi Who Killed All His Students)

By ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ

Introduction
The "Jewish Question" for the Twenty-first
Century: Can We Survive Our Success?


THE GOOD NEWS is that American Jews--as individuals--have never been more secure, more accepted, more affluent, and less victimized by discrimination or anti-Semitism. The bad news is that American Jews--as a people--have never been in greater danger of disappearing through assimilation, intermarriage, and low birthrates. The even worse news is that our very success as individuals contributes to our vulnerability as a people. The even better news is that we can overcome this new threat to the continuity of American Jewish life and emerge with a more positive Judaism for the twenty-first century--a Judaism that is less dependent on our enemies for its continuity, and that rests more securely on the considerable, but largely untapped, strengths of our own heritage.

American Jewish life is in danger of disappearing, just as most American Jews have achieved everything we ever wanted: acceptance, influence, affluence, equality. As the result of skyrocketing rates of intermarriage and assimilation, as well as "the lowest birth rate of any religious or ethnic community in the United States," the era of enormous Jewish influence on American life may soon be coming to an end. Although Jews make up just over 2 percent of the population of the United States--approximately 5.5 million out of 262 million--many Americans mistakenly believe that we constitute a full 20 percent of the American people, because of our disproportionate visibility, influence, and accomplishments. But our numbers may soon be reduced to the point where our impact on American life will necessarily become marginalized. One Harvard study predicts that if current demographic trends continue, the American Jewish community is likely to number less than 1 million and conceivably as few as 10,000 by the time the United States celebrates its tricentennial in 2076. Other projections suggest that early in the next century, American Jewish life as we know it will be a shadow of its current, vibrant self--consisting primarily of isolated pockets of ultra-Orthodox Hasidim.

Jews have faced dangers in the past, but this time we may be unprepared to confront the newest threat to our survival as a people, because its principal cause is our own success as individuals. Our long history of victimization has prepared us to defend against those who would destroy us out of hatred; indeed, our history has forged a Jewish identity far too dependent on persecution and victimization by our enemies. But today's most serious threats come not from those who would persecute us, but from those who would, without any malice, kill us with kindness--by assimilating us, marrying us, and merging with us out of respect, admiration, and even love. The continuity of the most influential Jewish community in history is at imminent risk, unless we do something dramatic now to confront the quickly changing dangers.

This book is a call to action for all who refuse to accept our demographic demise as inevitable. It is a demand for a new Jewish state of mind capable of challenging the conventional wisdom that Judaism is more adaptive to persecution and discrimination than it is to an open, free, and welcoming society--that Jews paradoxically need enemies in order to survive, that anti-Semitism is what has kept Judaism alive. This age-old perspective on Jewish survival is illustrated by two tragic stories involving respected rabbinical leaders.

The first story takes place in 1812, when Napoleon was battling the czar for control of the Pale of Settlement (the western part of czarist Russia), where millions of Jews were forced to live in crowded poverty and under persecution and discrimination as second-class subjects. A victory for Napoleon held the promise of prosperity, first-class citizenship, freedom of movement, and an end to discrimination and persecution. A victory for the czar would keep the Jews impoverished and miserable. The great Hasidic rabbi Shneur Zalman--the founder of the Lubavitch dynasty--stood up in his synagogue on the first day of Rosh Hashanah to offer a prayer to God asking help for the leader whose victory would be good for the Jews. Everyone expected him to pray for Napoleon. But he prayed for the czar to defeat Napoleon. In explaining his counterintuitive choice, he said: "Should Bonaparte win, the wealth of the Jews will be increased and their [civic] position will be raised. At the same time their hearts will be estranged from our Heavenly Father. Should however our Czar Alexander win, the Jewish hearts will draw nearer to our Heavenly Father, though the poverty of Israel may become greater and his position lower." This remarkable story is all too typical of how so many Jewish leaders throughout our history have reasoned about Jewish survival. Without tsuris--troubles--we will cease to be Jewish. We need to be persecuted, impoverished, discriminated against, hated, and victimized in order for us to retain our Jewishness. The "chosen people" must be denied choices if Judaism is to survive. If Jews are given freedom, opportunity, and choice, they will choose to assimilate and disappear.

The story recurs, with even more tragic consequences, on the eve of the Holocaust. Another great Eastern European rabbi, Elchanan Wasserman--the dean of the Rabbinical College in Baranowitz, Poland--was invited to bring his entire student body and faculty to Yeshiva College in New York or to the Beis Medrish Letorah in Chicago, both distinguished Orthodox rabbinical colleges. He declined the invitations because "they are both places of spiritual danger, for they are run in a spirit of freethinking." The great rabbi reasoned, "What would one gain to escape physical danger in order to then confront spiritual danger?" Rabbi Wasserman, his family, his students, and their teachers remained in Poland, where they were murdered by the Nazis.

I call the approach taken by these rabbis the Tsuris Theory of Jewish Survival. Under this theory, the Jews need external troubles to stay Jewish. Nor has this fearful, negative perspective on Jewish survival been limited to ultra-Orthodox rabbis. Many Jewish leaders, both religious and secular, have argued that Jews need enemies--that without anti-Semitism, Judaism cannot survive. Theodor Herzl, the founder of political Zionism and a secular Jew, believed that "our enemies have made us one ... It is only pressure that forces us back to the parent stem." In a prediction that reflects an approach to the survival of Judaism strikingly similar to that of the founder of the Lubavitch Hasidim, Herzl warned that if our "Christian hosts were to leave us in peace ... for two generations," the Jewish people would "merge entirely into surrounding races." Albert Einstein agreed: "It may be thanks to anti-Semitism that we are able to preserve our existence as a race; that at any rate is my belief." Jean-Paul Sartre, a non-Jew, went even further, arguing that the "sole tie that binds [the Jewish people together] is the hostility and disdain of the societies which surround them." He believed that "it is the anti-Semite who makes the Jew."


If the Tsuris Theory of Jewish identity, survival, and unity is true, then Jews are doomed to live precariously on a pendulum perennially swinging in a wide arc between the extremes of persecution and assimilation. As the pendulum swings away from the Scylla of persecution, it inevitably moves toward the Charybdis of assimilation. In this reactive view, Jews have little power over their ultimate destiny. Our enemies always call the shots, either by persecuting us, in which case we fight back and remain Jewish, or by leaving us alone, in which case we assimilate. The only other alternative--the one proposed by Herzl--is for all Jews to move to Israel, where they control their own destiny. But most Jews will continue to ignore that option, certainly if our "hosts" continue to leave us in peace in our adopted homelands. In this respect, aliyah (emigration) to Israel has also been largely determined by our external enemies, since most Jews who have moved to the Jewish homeland have done so in reaction to anti-Semitism and persecution in their native countries.

Historically, therefore, there has been some descriptive truth to this pendulum view of persecution alternating with assimilation. Jews have retained their Jewish identity, at least in part, because of tsuris. Our enemies herded us into ghettos, created pales of settlement, discriminated against us, excluded us from certain livelihoods while pressing us into others. We stuck together and remained Jews, resisting as best we could the persecution by our enemies.

But there is more--much more--to Jewish identity than collective self-defense. There is something important that is worth defending. After all, until anti-Semitism changed from religious bigotry to "racial" bigotry--roughly near the end of the nineteenth century--persecuted Jews generally had the option of conversion. Unlike Hitler, our religiously inspired persecutors--the Crusaders, the Inquisitors, Martin Luther, and the pogromists--did distinguish between Jews who converted to Christianity and Jews who did not. Indeed, it was precisely their religious mission to convert the Jews, by whatever methods it took.

Many Jews did convert--some at knifepoint, others to advance themselves. The story about Professor Daniel Chwolson illustrates the latter phenomenon. Chwolson, a Russian intellectual of the nineteenth century, had converted from Judaism to Russian Orthodoxy as a young man, but he continued to fight against anti-Semitism. This led a Jewish friend to ask him why he had converted: "Out of conviction," the great man said. "What conviction?" his Jewish friend inquired. Chwolson responded: "Out of a firm conviction that it would be far better to be a professor in St. Petersburg than a Hebrew school teacher in Shklop." Yet despite the material advantages of conversion, most Jews resisted it. Clearly, those Jews--who sacrificed so much--remained Jewish not only in reaction to their enemies. More than our fabled "stiff-neckedness" was involved. There are substantive principles that Jews have been so stubborn about--that we have been willing to fight and even die for. For Jews who define their Jewishness in theological terms, it is easy to find that principle: It is God's will. For the large number of Jews who are skeptical about being God's "chosen people," the principle is more elusive, but it is palpable to most of us, though difficult to articulate. It is a disturbing reality, however, that for a great many Jews, their Jewish identity has been forged and nurtured by our external enemies who have defined us as victims of their persecution.

Now, after two millennia of persecution and victimization, we may well be moving into a new era of Jewish life during which we will not be persecuted or victimized. If this comes to pass, we will need to refocus our attention on defining the positive qualities of Jewish" life that ought to make us want to remain Jews without "help" from our enemies. We must become positively Jewish instead of merely reacting to our enemies.
If Herzl's and Sartre's entirely negative view of the reason for Jewish survival were to persist even as we enter this new era of equality and acceptance, then Judaism would not deserve to endure. If Jewish life cannot thrive in an open environment of opportunity, choice, freethinking, affluence, success, and first-class status--if we really do need tsuris, czars, pogroms, poverty, insularity, closed minds, and anti-Semitism to keep us Jewish--then Jewish life as we know it will not, and should not, survive the first half of the twenty-first century. We have been persecuted long enough. The time has come to welcome the end of our victimization without fear that it will mean the end of our existence as a people. We must no longer pray for the czar's victory out of fear that the end of our collective tsuris and the success of individual Jews will mean the failure of Judaism.

I believe that Jewish life can thrive in the next century, not despite the end of institutional anti-Semitism, the end of Jewish persecution, and the end of Jewish victimization, but because of these positive developments. The ultimate good news may be that the denouement of negative Judaism--Jewish identification based largely on circling the wagons to fend off our enemies--compels us to refocus on a more positive and enduring Jewish identification, which will be more suitable to our current situation and the one we will likely be facing in the twenty-first century, when Jews will have the unconstrained choice whether to remain Jewish or to assimilate. We may be entering a true Jewish golden age, during which we will prove, once and for all, that Jews do not need enemies to survive. To the contrary: We can thrive best in an open society where we freely choose to be Jews because of the positive virtues of our 3,500-year-old civilization.

I say we may be entering this golden age; there are no guarantees. Many Jews believe that the end is near, because increasing rates of assimilation and intermarriage are propelling us toward a demographic Armageddon. A recent apocalyptic article in a Jewish journal concluded that "Kaddish time" is fast approaching for the American Jewish community. (Kaddish is the prayer for the dead.) But reports of the death of Judaism may be premature--if we can change the way we think, and act, about Jewish survival. If we refuse to change, if we accept the current demographic trends as intractable, then Jewish life in America may indeed be doomed.

The challenge is to move the Jewish state of mind beyond its past obsession with victimization, pain, and problems and point it in a new, more positive direction, capable of thriving in an open society. For unless we do, we may become the generation that witnesses the beginning of the end of one of the most influential civilizations in the history of our planet--a unique source of so much goodness, compassion, morality, creativity, and intelligence over the past several millennia. The demise of Jewish life as we have come to know it would be a tragedy not only for the Jewish people collectively, but also for most of us individually--and for the world at large.

The thesis of this book is that the long epoch of Jewish persecution is finally coming to an end and that a new age of internal dangers to the Jewish people is on the horizon. Institutional anti-Semitism is on its last legs as governments, churches, universities, and businesses embrace Jews. No Jew today needs to convert in order to become a professor, a banker, or a corporate CEO. Although anti-Semitism persists in many quarters, today's overt anti-Semites--the skinheads, militias, Holocaust deniers, and Farrakhan followers--have become marginalized. They continue to constitute a nuisance and pose a potential threat, but they do not have a significant day-to-day impact on the lives of most Jews, as anti-Semites in previous generations did. Today's marginalized anti-Semites do not decide which jobs we can hold, which universities we can attend, which neighborhoods we can live in, which clubs we can join, or even whom we can date and marry. We no longer look up to anti-Semites as the elites in our society who determine our fate. We look down on anti-Semites as the dregs of our society who make lots of noise but little difference.

As Jews and Israel become more secure against external threats, the internal threats are beginning to grow, as graphically illustrated by the recent assassination of an Israeli prime minister by a Jew, the growing conflict between fundamentalist Jews and more acculturated Jews, the increasing trends toward intermarriage and assimilation, and the decline of Jewish literacy.

For thousands of years, Jews have been embattled. Surrounded by enemies seeking to convert us, remove us, even exterminate us, we have developed collective defense mechanisms highly adaptive to combating persecution by anti-Semites. But we have not developed effective means of defending the Jewish future against our own actions and inactions. This is our urgent new challenge--to defend the Jewish future against voluntary self-destruction--and we must face it squarely, if we are to prevent the fulfillment of Isaiah's dire prophecy "Your destroyers will come from your own ranks."

We must take control of our own destiny by changing the nature of Jewish life in fundamental ways. The survival of the Jewish people is too important--to us and to the world at large--to be left in the hands of those ultra-Orthodox rabbis who would rather face Armageddon than change the religious status quo. Just as Jews of the past changed the nature of Jewish life in order to adapt to external necessities and to survive the ravages of their external enemies, so, too, must today's Jews change the nature of Jewish life to adapt to new internal necessities and to survive the demographic challenges of intermarriage, assimilation, low birthrates, and the breakdown of neighborhoods and communities.

A hundred years ago, Theodor Herzl identified the "Jewish question" of the twentieth century as the literal survival of Jews in the face of external enemies committed to our physical annihilation--Jew-haters in every nation where Jews lived as a minority. His solution--the creation of a secular Jewish state--was to change the nature of Jewish life in dramatic and unanticipated ways. A hundred years later, the "Jewish question" of the twenty-first century is survival in the face of our internal challenges. Herzl also anticipated that this new "Jewish question" might arise if and when our Christian hosts were to leave us in peace. This is now coming to pass. The solution to this Jewish question also requires the creation of yet another Jewish state: a new Jewish state of mind!

This book continues where Chutzpah (1991) left off, in exploring the larger issue of being Jewish today. In the concluding paragraphs of that book I issued the following challenge:

We have learned--painfully and with difficulty--how to fight others. Can we develop Jewish techniques for defending against our own success?

Pogo once said: "We have [met] the enemy and he is us!" As Jews, we have not yet been given the luxury of seeing ourselves as the enemy. There are still too many external enemies who challenge the very physical survival of the Jewish people in Israel and throughout the world. But as we become stronger in the face of our external enemies, we must prepare to confront ourselves.
In confronting ourselves, we must face the reality that the generation of Jews I wrote about in Chutzpah--those of us who remember the Holocaust, the creation of Israel and the mortal threats to its survival, the movements to save Soviet, Syrian, and Ethiopian Jewry, the struggle against institutional anti-Semitism--is aging. Our children, who have no actual memory of embattled Judaism fighting for the life, liberty, and equality of endangered Jews, are now the crossroads generation that will determine what Jewish life in America and around the world will be in the coming century. It is to that younger generation of Jews, as well as to their parents, that I address this volume.

The last decade of the twentieth century has witnessed the end of state-sponsored and church-supported anti-Semitism. The fall of the Soviet Union, a nation that, since the time of Stalin, had been a major source of international anti-Semitism, had a domino effect on ending the state sponsorship of this oldest of bigotries. Other nations within the Soviet sphere of influence stopped espousing anti-Semitism as a matter of government policy. Even most Arab and Islamic countries dropped their overtly anti-Semitic policies. As a result, the United Nations has changed its tone, condemning anti-Semitism and reducing somewhat its pro-Arab and anti-Israel bias. Equally important, the Catholic church--the single institution most responsible for the persecution of Jews over the past two millennia--approved diplomatic relations with Israel, thus annulling its entrenched view that Jewish "homelessness ... was the Divine judgment against Jews" for rejecting Jesus. The American Lutheran Church explicitly rejected Martin Luther's anti-Semitic teachings.

Bill Clinton's presidency marked the end of discrimination against Jews in the upper echelons of government. For the first time in American history, the fact that an aspirant for high appointive office was a Jew became irrelevant in his or her selection. President Clinton--our first president who grew up in an age when anti-Semitism was unacceptable--selected several Jewish cabinet members, two Jewish Supreme Court justices, numerous Jewish ambassadors and other high-level executive and judicial officials. Nor, apparently, was Jewishness a bar to election to the United States Congress, which has ten Jewish senators and more than two dozen Jewish representatives, several from states with tiny Jewish populations. Though we have still not had a Jew at the top of either party's ticket, it is fair to say that in today's America, a Jew can aspire to any office, any job, and any social status.

The wealth of individual Jews grew perceptibly during this decade, with 25 percent of America's richest people being of Jewish background. (If only earned, as distinguished from inherited, wealth is counted, the percentage would be even higher.) An American Leadership study in 1971-72 found that Jews represented more than 10 percent of America's top "movers and shakers in business," a higher percentage than any other ethnic group. Jews' per capita income is nearly double that of non-Jews. Twice the percentage of Jews as non-Jews earn more than $50,000 a year. And twice the percentage of non-Jews as Jews earn less than $20,000. Jewish charitable giving has increased along with Jewish wealth. Jews are now among the largest contributors to universities, museums, hospitals, symphonies, opera, and other charities. "In 1991, the United Jewish Appeal raised more money than any other charity in America, including the Salvation Army, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities and the American Cancer Society." Yet only one-tenth of Jewish philanthropists limit their giving to Jewish charities alone, while one-fourth give only to non-Jewish causes.

A Jew today can live in any neighborhood, even those that were formerly "restricted." Jews live alongside white Anglo-Saxon Protestants in the most "exclusive" neighborhoods throughout the country--Grosse Pointe, Greenwich, Fifth Avenue, Beacon Hill. And they have been welcomed into the "best" families, including the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Cuomos, and Rockefellers. Economically, socially, and politically, we have become the new WASPs, as a perusal of the sponsor list of any major charitable or cultural event will show. Indeed, terms such as "J.A.S.P." (Jewish Anglo-Saxon Protestant) and "W.A.S.H." (White Anglo-Saxon Hebrew) have become current in some circles to denote the full social acceptance that Jews increasingly enjoy.

Of America's Nobel Prize winners in science and economics, nearly 40 percent have been Jews. Of America's 200 most influential intellectuals, half are full Jews, and 76 percent have at least one Jewish parent. Jews attend Ivy League colleges at ten times their presence in the general population. It is no wonder that so many non-Jews believe that we constitute so much higher a percentage of the American population than we actually do. Jews today are equal in virtually every way that matters. What could not have been said even at the end of the 1980s can be said today: American Jews are part of the American mainstream; we are truly victims no more.

Yet despite these enormous gains, many older Jews do not seem to be able to give up their anachronistic status as victims. A recent book on the American Jewish community notes: "[A]bout a third [of affiliated Jews in San Francisco said] that Jewish candidates could not be elected to Congress from San Francisco. Yet three out of four Congressional representatives ... were, in fact, well identified Jews at the time the poll was conducted. And they had been elected by a population that was about 95 percent non-Jewish."

Nor is this misperception limited to California. According to journalist J.J. Goldberg, "[T]he percentage of Jews who tell pollsters that anti-Semitism is a `serious problem' in America nearly doubled during the course of the 1980s, from 45 percent in 1983 to almost 85 percent in 1990." Yet by every objective assessment, the problem was less serious in 1990 than it was in 1983, and the trend has clearly been in the direction of improvement.

When I speak to older Jewish audiences, I am often accused, sometimes stridently, of minimizing anti-Semitism and am told that it is worse than ever. Social scientists call this dramatic disparity between the reality of declining anti-Semitism and the widespread belief that it is increasing a "perception gap" between what is actually happening and Jewish "sensibilities." Some of the Jews who believe this are similar in this respect to some feminists and black activists I know, who insist that the plight of women and blacks is worse than it ever was. These good and decent people, whose identities are so tied up with their victimization, are incapable of accepting the good news that their situation is improving. It is not even a matter of perceiving the glass as half full or half empty. They see the glass as broken, even though it is intact and quickly filling up. As the sociologist Marshall Sklare puts it: "American Jews respond more readily to bad news than to good news."

I am reminded of the story of the two Jews reading their newspapers over a cup of coffee in a late-nineteenth-century Viennese cafe. Kurt is reading the liberal Yiddish-language newspaper and shaking his head from side to side, uttering soft moans of "Oy vey" and "Vey is meir." Shmulie is reading the right-wing, anti-Semitic German-language tabloid and smiling. Kurt, noticing what Shmulie is reading, shouts at his friend, "Why are you reading that garbage?" Shmulie responds, "When I used to take your newspaper, all I would ever read about was Dreyfus being falsely accused, the Jews of Russia being subjected to pogroms, anti-Semitic laws being enacted all over Europe, and the grinding poverty of the Jews in the Holy Land. Now, ever since I take this paper, I read about how the Jews control the banks, the press, the arts; how Jews hold all political power behind the scenes; and how we will soon take over the world. Wouldn't you rather read such good news than such bad news?"

With some of today's older Jews, it is exactly the opposite: they refuse to read the good news, even when it is demonstrably true. They insist on focusing on the "oys" rather than the joys of Judaism, as Rabbi Moshe Waldoks put it. This is understandable, in light of the long history of persecution. Like an individual victim of a violent crime who sees his assailant around every corner, the Jewish people have been traumatized by our unrelenting victimization at the hands of Jew-haters. It is impossible for anyone who did not personally experience the Holocaust, or the other repeated assaults on Jewish life throughout our history, to comprehend what it must have been like to be victimized by unrelenting persecution based on primitive Jew-hating. We continue to see anti-Semitism even where it has ceased to exist, or we exaggerate it where it continues to exist in marginalized form. Indeed, some Jewish newspapers refuse to print, and some Jewish organizations refuse to acknowledge, the good news, lest they risk alienating their readerships or losing their membership. For example, in November of 1996 I saw a fundraising letter from a Jewish organization which claimed that "anti-Semitism ... appears to be growing more robust, more strident, more vicious--and more `respectable.'" Well-intentioned as this organization is, it seeks support by exaggerating the threats we currently face and by comparing them to those we faced during the Holocaust.

My students, my children, my friends' children--our next generation--understand our new status: they do not want to be regarded as victims. They do not feel persecuted, discriminated against, or powerless. They want to read the new good news, not the old bad news. A 1988 poll of Jewish students at Dartmouth College made the point compellingly: When asked whether they believed that their Jewishness would in any way hamper their future success, not a single student answered in the affirmative. That is the current reality, and it is different from the reality my parents faced--and even from the reality many of my generation perceived when we were in college or beginning our careers. The coming generation of Jewish adults will not remain Jews because of our enemies or because of our perceived status as victims. They crave a more positive, affirmative, contemporary, and relevant Jewish identity. Unless we move beyond victimization and toward a new Jewish state of mind, many of them will abandon Judaism as not relevant to their current concerns.

If we are to counteract this trend, we must understand the dynamics of contemporary assimilation and not confuse them with past episodes of assimilation, which were based largely on the perceived need to escape from the "burdens" of Jewish identification. Today, there are no burdens from which to escape. Being Jewish is easy, at least in relation to external burdens. Jews today assimilate not because Christianity or Islam is "better" or "easier," but because Jewish life does not have a strong enough positive appeal to offset the inertial drift toward the common denominator. Jews do not convert to Christianity; they "convert" to mainstream Americanism, which is the American "religion" closest to Judaism. They see no reason not to follow their heart in marriage, their convenience in neighborhoods, their economic opportunities in jobs, their educational advantages in schools, their conscience in philosophy, and their preferences in lifestyle. Most Jews who assimilate do not feel that they are giving up anything by abandoning a Jewishness they know little about. They associate the Judaism they are abandoning with inconvenient rituals and rules that have no meaning to them. As one young woman remembers her Jewishness: "An old man saying no."

We must recognize that many of the factors which have fueled current assimilation and intermarriage are positive developments for individual Jews: acceptance, wealth, opportunity. Most Jews do not want to impede these developments. Indeed, they want to encourage them. For that reason, we must accept the reality that many Jews will continue to marry non-Jews, but we should not regard it as inevitable that these marriages will necessarily lead to total assimilation. We can take positive steps to stem that tide--but it will take a change in attitude toward mixed marriages, and indeed toward the tribalism that has understandably characterized Jewish attitudes toward outsiders for so much of our history.

Why is this book different from other books about the Jewish future? Because its author does not have a religious or political agenda. This book is not a commercial for any particular brand of Judaism or Zionism. It does not begin with a priori assumptions about God, the survival of the Jewish people, the superiority of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist Judaism, or the essential conservativism or liberalism of Judaism. I am neither a rabbi, a Jewish fund-raiser, a member of a Jewish studies faculty, an officer of any Jewish organization, nor an advocate for any particular Israeli party. Though I am essentially a secular Jew, I do belong to Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Reconstructionist congregations. Most of my family members are modern Orthodox, and a few are ultra-Orthodox. Some are completely secular. I have generally positive feelings about all Jewish denominations, as I do about the numerous Jewish political, educational, and philanthropic organizations to which I belong and contribute. I have no personal stake in any particular solution to the problem of Jewish survival. I just want American Jewish life to move from strength to strength. I love my Judaism and I feel passionately about its survival, but I do not believe in survival merely for survival's sake. Judaism should not be seen as a patient about to die a natural death, who is kept alive artificially on a respirator for as long as possible without regard to the quality of life. Our goal should be a self-sustaining Judaism that can thrive in the kind of open society in which most Jews want to spend their lives. I strongly believe that it is essential--both for Jews and for America--that the mainstream American Jewish community flourish. It would be a tragedy if the only forms of Judaism the made it past the twenty-first century were insular, ultra-Orthodox Judaism and Israeli Zionism. I hope that they, too, will continue to prosper, but I believe that a more diverse Jewish life has even more to contribute. If I have a bias, it is in favor of an eclectic, tolerant many-branched menorah that is inclusive of all who wish to safeguard and share the future of the Jewish people.

I also bring to this book a unique perspective informed by my experiences growing out of the publication of Chutzpah five years ago. Since that time, I have spoken to well over 100,000 Jews in nearly every city with a significant Jewish population, not only in this country but throughout the world. The talk is usually preceded by a social hour and followed by a question period. I estimate that I have been asked more than a thousand questions by concerned Jews. I have received more than ten thousand letters and phone calls from Jewish men, women, and children. I have also been teaching young students, many of them Jewish, for a third of a century. I have served as faculty adviser to the Harvard Jewish Law Students Association, have been an active participant in Hillel, and have spoken to Jewish student groups at many colleges and universities around the world. Over these years, I have discussed virtually every Jewish issue--from God to intermarriage to Israel to anti-Semitism to Jewish feminism--with thousands of students. These questions, letters, calls, and discussions have given me an extraordinary window into the fears, hopes, and beliefs of a wide assortment of Jews. It has been quite an education. I think I understand what is on the minds and in the souls of many Jews, of all ages, and I try to address myself to these concerns in this book. I also have a unique window into the mind of the anti-Semite, since I continue to receive hundreds of anti-Semitic letters and calls each year, some quite lengthy and revealing.

Though I care deeply about the survival of the Jewish people, I do not believe that survival is assured by any biblical imperative or divine promise. I approach the issue of Jewish survival as I would any other important empirical challenge: with an open mind ready and willing to accept any pragmatic solution, or combination of solutions, that will work. I am committed to doing whatever is in my power to help ensure the Jewish future. I know that many Jews feel the same way.

I agree neither with those theologians who believe that Jewish survival is assured because God promised it nor with those demographers who believe that Jewish disappearance is inevitable because of forces beyond our control. I believe that our future as a people is largely in our own hands, and I want to help define and defend the new Jewish state of mind.

In the first chapter of this book, I focus on what is probably the most whispered-about subject among American Jews today: intermarriage and how to cope with this growing reality. I try to bring this controversial subject out of the closet in all its dimensions. I do not moan and groan and wring my hands. I do not present a religious agenda. I explore the issue from both a demographic and a personal perspective, in an effort to understand it and deal with it instructively and realistically. My analysis and conclusions will be controversial and will, I hope, stimulate a debate within the Jewish community and beyond. My goal is to ask all the hard questions, and to provide a wide variety of responses in addition to my own. I know that many readers will disagree with me, but I hope they will not be able to ignore the challenges I pose.

In chapters 2, 3, and 4, I develop my thesis that the nature of anti-Semitism is changing in fundamental and important ways: Mainstream anti-Semitism--as traditionally practiced by churches, states, corporations, universities, and other elite institutions--is coming to an end; today's Jew-haters are largely marginalized and powerless. This change means that although anti-Semitism persists and must continue to be monitored, it has far less daily impact on the lives of American Jews than in the past. Thus we must define our Jewish identity in different and more positive ways than we did the past.

In chapters 5, 6, and 7, I explore the most frequently proposed solutions to the problem of assimilation. To those who are sure that return to religion is Judaism's only salvation, I say, Get as many to return as you can. Maybe you are right. But we cannot rely exclusively on your solution, because maybe you are wrong. Maybe not enough Jews will become religious. Maybe religion--at least as currently defined and practiced--is not the wave of the future for most young intellectuals. Maybe there is a strand of Judaism that can survive and thrive without exclusive dependence on theology and ritual. After all, the Yiddish secularism that flourished between the beginning of the Jewish Enlightenment (Haskalah) and the Second World War was an authentic Jewish culture, which was destroyed by external forces. Political Zionism, which grew largely out of that culture, remains an authentic Jewish civilization of enormous importance to the survival of Judaism. Today's influential American Jewish community is largely secular.

To those who look to Israel as Judaism's sole salvation, I say, Keep trying to get Jews from throughout the Diaspora to make aliyah. Maybe you are right. But we cannot count on Zionism and aliyah alone, because maybe you are wrong. Maybe most Jews will want to remain where they and their families have established a comfortable home. Maybe they will not come to Israel. Maybe Israel will not endure forever as a Jewish state. Maybe it will "normalize"--as Theodor Herzl put it--and become like most other states, which began as religious but became secular and multicultural over time.

To those who believe that an emphasis on Jewish ethics will be enough to transmit the essence of Judaism to our children, I say, Maybe you are right. Certainly many Jews, especially secular Jews, agree with you and hope you are right. But beyond broad generalities, it is difficult to distill from the highly diverse Jewish sources a few programmatic essences that are easily transmittable from generation to generation, without living the kind of Jewish lives that our grandparents lived.

To those who say that Jewish fund-raising, charity, and defense organizations are the answer, I say, Work on, raise money, build buildings, elect officers, bestow honors, monitor anti-Semitism, support Israel. But do not count on it to ensure the Jewish future, because maybe the next generation will not be as attracted to these institutions as the post-Holocaust generation was.

To those who say that Jewish education is the key to Jewish survival, I say, You are undoubtedly right. Whatever the essence or essences of Judaism may be, they are in large part, at least, to be discovered and rediscovered in our books, in our history, and in our approach to learning. But we cannot count on all Jews, so many of whom are busy with their successful careers, to become Jewishly educated, especially since Jewish education today is controlled almost entirely by the religious component of Jewish life and has been one of the great failures of the American Jewish community.

In the final chapter, I propose a series of steps that I believe we must take in order to safeguard the Jewish future. We must change the nature of American Jewish life in fundamental ways if we are to survive the new threats to our continuity as a people. These changes must make us more adaptive to the reality that we can no longer define ourselves--and our children--by reference to our past victimization and persecution. We must adopt a new, more positive, Jewish identity based on a 3,500-year-old tradition of education, scholarship, learning, creativity, justice, and compassion. But first we must figure out a way to make this diverse library of Jewish knowledge accessible and useful to generations of Jews who are abysmally ignorant of their remarkable tradition. The famed "Yiddisher cup" (khop)---Jewish head--is only half full: the typical Jewish college graduate is extraordinarily well educated about general subjects, but goes through life with a kindergarten understanding of Judaism. We must begin to fill the Yiddisher cup with the kind of useful Jewish knowledge that will assure both our success and our survival. To do this, we will have to loosen the monopolistic hold that rabbis now have over Jewish education, so that we can begin to compete effectively in the marketplace of ideas for the minds and hearts of our Jewish youth. Unless we begin to make use of our competitive advantage--as teachers, communicators, scholars, advocates, and strategists--we will lose our children and grandchildren to the seductive drift toward assimilation and away from Jewishness. The fundamental changes we must make will require a reordering of our priorities away from an almost exclusive focus on defending Jews against external enemies and toward new ways of defending ourselves and our children against self-destruction through assimilation. We will have to educate our children differently, allocate our charitable giving differently, select our leaders differently--even define our very Jewishness differently. Jewish life will have to become less tribal, more open, more accepting of outsiders, and less defensive.
When I describe some of the multiple roads we must take if we are to maximize our chances for survival, I think of a variation of the old story of the rabbinical judge who, after hearing a wife's complaints about her husband, says, "My daughter, you are right," and, after hearing the husband's complaints, says, "My son, you are right." When his student observes, "Rabbi, they can't both be right," he replies, "My son, you are right." Under my variation, the rabbi responds to his student, "No, you are wrong. They can both be right." To the differing and sometimes inconsistent approaches to Jewish survival, I would say, "You may all be right. Don't you dare tell each other that you are wrong. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth about the Jewish future. Everything that may work must be tried."

At the end of the last century, Theodor Herzl called for a new Jewish state. As we approach the close of this cataclysmic century, I believe we need a new Jewish state of mind if we are to define and ensure the Jewish future, not only for our sake but for the sake of all humankind.

While I agree with many of the issues written by Mr. Dershowitz, I definitely disagree with a host of his theological, social, and philosophical points of view.
UOJ


The following letter was written by R. Wasserman from Toledo, Ohio, in 1938, to a young student (R. Elchonon Hertzman, from Mir and later of New York) requesting his help in escaping the Nazis. It's a famous letter written shortly before WWII:
1. "I received your letter, but unfortunately there is nothing I can do. The yeshivos in America which can bring talmidim from overseas are the yeshivah of Dr. Revel (YU) and [HTC in Chicago]. However, both are places of spiritual danger because they are run in a spirit of disloyalty to the Torah. Therefore, of what benefit would it be to escape [Europe] from physical danger to spiritual danger."
The letter is quoted in Hebrew in the excellent and inspiring Art Scroll history series book: Reb Elchonon: The Life and Ideals of Rabbi Elchonon Bunim Wasserman of Baranovich by Aharon Sorski.
I do not want to give the impression that R. Wasserman was being heartless. Later on in the letter, he refers the talmid to Rabbi Shlomo Hymen at Torah Va Das (where Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky was Rosh Yeshiva) in Brooklyn, who will help.
Another good book: Silver Era in American Jewish Orthodoxy: Rabbi Eliezer and His Generation by Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff
.
There were only two Torah sages willing to stand up to YU before WWII. R. Wasserman and R. Aharon Kotler. YU sent over the pious rabbi (R. Henkin, good friend of R. Moshe Feinstein, grandfather of the R. Henkin (Nishmat feminist leader) training these putatively Orthodox women rabbis) to R. Wasserman to bring him to YU.
Torah scholar Amitai Bin-Nun writes: "I'm ashamed to admit reading this blog, especially in its current state, but I recall this letter (not to escape Europe to go to YU) being quoted in Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff's book "Bernard Revel: Builder of American Orthodoxy", so it should be easily verifiable. The other Yeshiva, if I recall correctly, was HTC in Skokie.

89 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Saturday, September 10, 2005 8:32:00 PM  
Anonymous sechel said...

why use Alan Dershowitz as an example of anything?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 9:11:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Because he is right on so many issues!(wrong on many as well)

Saturday, September 10, 2005 9:25:00 PM  
Blogger callieischatty said...

Alan Dershowitz is a great man who has done alot of good ( never mind the OJ Simpson mess we all make mistakes).

I agree with some and don't agree with others.

I have in my relatively short life belonged to two shuls that were vandalized.

One by neo Nazi's and one by a Palestinian. ( in syracuse ny no less!!)

I have experienced anti semitism in my own life. Perhaps Dershowitz sees the world as he hopes it would be.

I wish that my children would grow up to not go thru this, but alas I am a realistic type.

I keep a good Jewish home, I love my family, I hope in my heart for the best.

What more can any of us do?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous daat y said...

Dershowitz believes he has 'gone beyond ' religious judaism.Would we have survived without our Torah.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

Dershkowitz is one confused jew.He is faced with the dilema of how to define himself.This scares him in believing that the American jew will vanish. This is total garbage.
The assimulating jew is in danger of vanishing, not the Torah Jew.
There might be problems in our orthodox communities,however, we are very much alive. In regard to
Reb Elchnon , Zecher Labracha, lets not judge him. Lets allow the Heavenly court to do that. The most
verilent problem facing Torah Jews
is extremism in both halacha and education.WE must be able to distinguish between whats the Basic Halacha and what is Kabbalistic practices.Also, its very very sad to have a kollel guy learning for 20 years who has never finished shas and shulchan aruch not even once. This is very alarming.Another disturbing factor is having a frustrated kollel guy
who was told that he would be a gadol one day, and now finds himself teaching our children. This is a very bad combination.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

I posted this blog for the controversy value.
Dershowitz has tasted Orthodoxy and gave it up.That's his business and he paid the ultimate price, he has Catholic grandchildren(his son married out of the faith).
If you read his book, his description of his son informing him of his upcoming marriage brought on the shivers.
His description of the Fundamentalists are not far from the truth.They are destroying the beauty of Yiddishkeit with their chumras that have no root in Halacha.
I wanted our readers to know that my comments previously of rabbis... leading people to their deaths were accurate, unfortunately, even according to the NEW TORAH, Art Scroll.
Gedolim...daas Torah, are myths outside the realm of Halacha.

Saturday, September 10, 2005 11:37:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

dershkowitz is fully to blame for his son marrying a non jew. BUt let me ask you this for contraversy
purposes, Is it better to be killed, or have non jewish grandchildren?????THis is what disturbed REb Elchnon, Zecher labracha.I realize that we are talking about yu, but how did reb Elchonon view yu?It was foreign to him. We are already used to the idea, weve been desensitized to a secular education. Perhapes he was not?

Saturday, September 10, 2005 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Firstly,Dershowitz gave up Orthodoxy way before he entered college.(15 years old)

Why would R' Elchonon get to make that decision for ALL his talmidim?

He was clueless about the "dangers"
of secular education other than what some idiot must have told him.

So he gets to decide that hundreds of people die, rather than being secularly educated in conjunction with learning Torah???!!!

If that's daas Torah, than that is a new invention and should be flushed down the toilet.

Disgraceful behavior and NOT FORGIVEABLE.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 1:09:00 AM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

UO,

This is a very, very serious allegation you are making -- the part that YU tried to encourage people to leave the Holy Land of Poland to come to the treife medina.

Please tell me that a supposedly Orthodox institution did not engage in such behavior, or that YU wasn't, in fact, really an Orthodox insitution, since until European Jewry was eradicated, it wasn't possible for an American institution to truly be Orthodox.

True Jewish life in the U.S. wasn't possible until Eichman made it possible with his haskama. You should know that.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 1:33:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Rabbis playing G-D, the next hurdle that Judaism must wrestle with to survive.

When I look at the list of names on the cherems and the metziza b'peh promoters,I cry for the future generations.

G-D help us if they start making life and death decisions for the Jewish people.

Hashem Yirachem, save us from these ignorant frauds.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:22:00 AM  
Anonymous The Booger said...

UO;

So now that you've been exposed as a plagiarist, fake, phoney, and fraud; you see no choice but to reprint articles from Tradition and other periodicals.

How original.

What's next? TV Guide?

Sunday, September 11, 2005 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Booger,
You had great teachers, Hitler and Goering, keep repeating the BIG LIE over and over again,hoping people will start believing it.

I will leave your postings on anyway,to show the shit and low lifes the frum world is composed of.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous The Booger said...

UO;

What lie am I repeating, Sir? That you've been exposed as a plagiarist on the Kashrus thread? It was not I, Sir, but several other posters who pointed that out.

Is it too much to expect a Yoreh Yadin, 19 year old Class valedict from NYU to be able to come up with original "in your own words" material? What does this expectation have to do with the "frum world"?

Sunday, September 11, 2005 1:06:00 PM  
Anonymous pipik said...

Seems Unorthodox is loosing his cool....
Hey, BTW,
what happened to that dumb member of the 'board' AMECHAD?
He was supposed to 'post' some rubbish.I GUESS he did not pass even the lower than the lows standards of Unorthodox.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 1:44:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Booger,
One last time.

The kashrus thread was in quotation marks from an e-mail I received.I CLEARLY MARKED THAT THREAD BY SAYING "THIS IS WHAT "HE" WRITES".

If you are retarded or just can't read please let me know. I will demonstrate more patience with you.
If you pretending to me a NORMAL human being, you are not succeeding.

Please contact HASC, I will use my connections with the Kahn family to get you in for free!

Sunday, September 11, 2005 1:57:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Pipick,
AmEchad is on assignment in Lakewood monitoring the real estate fraud going on by the HEILEGER LAKEWOOD GUYS ON THEIR FRIENDS.
Stay tuned.....

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Hitler Gorhring!!!!!
Ridiculous anologies. You're closer to Goebbles. Of course when I made that comment I was highly criticized. Explain to all of us how he's like either Hitler or Goehring. It's clear how you're like Goebbles. You espouse wild fanatical lies, and unsubstantiated rhetoric. How is he like HITLER, because he disagrees w/ an oisvorf like you?!?!?!?

Firat all you can do is cry about how the gedolim stop everyone in Lakewood from earning a living, but when they do (real estate) you charge them with fraud. You're in real estate, so what's the problem? You upset because the yungerleit in Lakewood making fortunes left you out. JEALOUSY AND HATRED ARE NOT GOOD MIDDOS. SHAME ON YOU UNORTHO. Just admit the fact that you HATE frum or at least yeshivish charedei Jews and go on with your life. Just stand up and shout I HATE THEM. You'll feel much better. BTW I'm surprised you haven't weighed in more about the metzizah b'peh issue, which deals with an issue close to your heart....male genitalia.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:09:00 PM  
Anonymous The Booger said...

UO;

The responders on the Kashrus thread posted links showing that your "friends" response was lifted verbatim from other venues. You have a responsibility to vet material and make sure that content posted is not plagiarized and passed off as original work.

That much is pretty clear for all to see.

Your hysterical comebacks to me are way over the top and indicate that you're out of control. Nazi's and Hasc! WOW! What's next?

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Hey Shlomo,
Sounds like your upset to have found out that your uncles WERE KILLED by this great G-Dol, Elchonon Wasserman.
Sorry to bring this news to you.
As I said you are being F**** over by your fantasy gods, and you are having a nervous breakdown.
Oh yes, you have a degree in Psyc.,
you should handle the news well.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:17:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Booger Boo!,
An ACQUAINTANCE, not a friend, I was right you can't read!
I had NO IDEA this e-mail was all over the net.
I believe that the e-mail sent to me in 2001, was the original.
ANYWAY IT WAS ALL IN QUOTES,AND CLEARLY SAID IT WAS WRITTEN BY SOMEONE ELSE!!!!!
I e-mailed that e-mail to ALL THE KASHRUS SCAM "NOT FOR PROFIT" COMPANIES, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE HATE SITES PICKED IT UP!
IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THAT RESPONSE,GO AND BUY SOME KOSHER PLASTIC BAGS AND COVER YOUR HEAD WITH THEM.
ATLEAST YOU WILL HAVE DIED AL KIDDUSH HASHEM!!!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:24:00 PM  
Anonymous The Booger said...

OU;

You are incapable of discussing anything in civil terms. Yoreh Yadin? using this kind of vile language.

Your ignorance of that posting having been plagiarized is no excuse. Check your sources.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:41:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Great comeback Unortho. NO SUBSTANCE AT ALL!!!!! VICIOUS crap. My uncles are B"H fine. NOBODY LET UNORTHO in on the real estate market in Lakewood, Ray Charles could see the boom in that area, but astute 19 y/o NYU semicha whiz missed the boat and now he hates those that grabbed the ball and ran w/ it. First he laments their fate at the hands of the evil gedolim, but then when they actually produce substantial they're Hitlers, Goehrings, putzes etc... etc...etc... Here's that claims he could take down the kashrus industry and all the "crooked" rabbonim, but he's realll a powerless helpless nobody that has to attack survivors of Siberian labor camps that lost their entire families, noly to return to a vibrant life of torah and mitzvos to bolster his tiny helpless ego. Good luck 2 you Unortho, I feel bad for you.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:46:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Shlomo,
You great lawyer, you keep changing the focus of my point with
bullshit.
DID ELCHONON WASSERMAN HAVE THE ABILITY TO SAVE HUNDREDS AND MAYBE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE, BUT REFUSED BECAUSE IT WAS YU OFFERING THE HELP?????
ANSWER THE QUESTION!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2005 2:57:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Booger Boo,

The kosher plastic bags that you should use, should have hechsherim from a few different kashrus agencies.

Never trust just one, like Empire chickens and Rubashkin, they have a variety of bearded clowns getting greased for their names and pictures.

When you inhale the fumes from plastic you never know if pigs feet were used in the processing of those bags.

PLEASE don't risk dying while breathing non-kosher fumes.

The "al kiddush hashem" aspect of your death will be debated for years and Art Scroll may have to publish a whole new Shulchan Aruch on this important topic, which will cause more guys to stay in kolel longer to study this shaila.

Madison Square Garden would have to be booked again upon the siyum of this NEW ART SCROLL SHULCHAN ARUCH.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 3:26:00 PM  
Anonymous The Booger said...

UO;

What can I say, other than you're pathetic. Incapable of civilized discussion, devoid of the ability to think clearly and cogently, unable to support your "points"? with facts and erudite debate, you are a sad and bad exemplar of anything Jewish; be it Reform, Conservative, or Orthodox; take your pick.

You are as much a Yoreh Yadin as I am a NASA Space Scientist.

And if indeed you can prove that you are a Yoreh Yadin, you are a disgrace and calumny to the Rabbonim that gave you Semicha.

Bring me Cardinal Lustiger.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 4:17:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

Firstly, reb Elchonon,zlb,did not need some idiot to teach him about secularism. He saw and witnessed
its ugly head with the maskilim and the secular zionists. These groups actively sought to undermine and destroy Torah. This is known and varified. The YU experiment was uniquely american in that it sought to educate an american Rabbi who could learn like a european, and be educated like an american. It was a means to save the american orthodox cummunity from becoming conservative or reform.Anything secular to Reb elchonon was a danger since its roots could be traced to the maskilim anti torah camp.For a young guy to go to yeshiva in europe at that time was very courageous especially since the maskil ideology was very appealing. The maskilim cringed at the sight of an frum yid.It was a time of survival for the yeshiva world.We see from dershkowitz that even with all his harvard prestige
it was at a price, and now hes bemoaning the fate of the jewish people.Reb elchonon fought for the survival of Torah against the anti
torah and vile maskilim. Its always easy to be an arm chair quarterback after the fact, but it was a war for Torah survival. Can you atleast appreciate that? Reb elchonon did not know for a fact that holocaust was for real, nobody
knew. Even the "great" maskilim where being killed, it was not just the talmidim of the rosh yeshivat or rebbes. The Nazi ,yimoch shemo, sought to kill jews period.You never answered my question,is it better to be killed, than to have grandchild who are non jews?

Sunday, September 11, 2005 8:05:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Kjef1,
First the Halacha.

One must give their OWN life, rather than convert.The Halacha will not permit one to give their own life so their grandchildren will not convert.

Secondly,you are making assumptions that there is no proof of.
1-There are many secular Jews who would NEVER marry out of their faith.Dershowitz, as I said, paid the ultimate price.
I know so many Jews that are totally secular but they would never do that.(their kids are a different story, but not even the frum have guarantees ie; R'Shneur Zalman of Lubavitch,his son converted to Christianity R"L)

2-According to Halacha, R'Elchonon was NOT permitted to make that decision on anyone's behalf.
He could not assume SHMAD, because of one's learning of secular studies.
3-He was offered visas for his entire yeshiva and their families by private American Gvirim which had nothing to do with YU(chas v'sholom)and turned them down because he was afraid of America, period.Bear in mind that at that time there were other yeshivas that were beginning to flourish and had raised a generation of frum kids by then.
He was a godol B'Torah but was derelict in his duties as a Rav, and was DIRECTLY responsible for an untold number of Jewish deaths.

Nothing you or anyone else would say can change the facts of history.

HE DIED WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S BLOOD ON HIS HANDS AND SOUL,FOR WHERE THERE IS NO TESHUVA KLAPEI SHOMAYIM!

Sunday, September 11, 2005 8:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Cardinal Lustiger said...

Mr. Booger,
When can we get together over a cheese danish?

Sunday, September 11, 2005 8:59:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Unortho:
Absolutely not. You don't know the first thing about R' Elchonon, and you're certainally not in any position to judge him or anybody else for that matter. If he paskened it was with a clear decisive knowledge of the issues at hand.

"HE DIED WITH OTHER PEOPLE'S BLOOD ON HIS HANDS AND SOUL,FOR WHERE THERE IS NO TESHUVA KLAPEI SHOMAYIM!" Yeah, based on which siman in Shulshan Aruch? R' Elchonon had Shulchan Aruch at his finger tips. I doubt you could understand the English Mishnah B'rurah. BTW the Mishnah B'rurah was written by R' Elchonon's Rebbi Muvhak the Chafetz Chaim ZTVK"L.(I cringe t think of your opinion of him) You aren't worthy of cleaning the latrines of the Radun Yeshiva. YOU KNOW ABSOLUTELY NO HALACHA and you have absolutely no idea as to what took place in Baranovitch. Some of the top minds in Europe flocked to R' Elchonon to learn from him. Who flocks to you? A bunch of disgruntled underachieving idiots baalei machlokes v'sonei Hashem. You missed the boat on the real estate boom in Lakewood so you hate them. You couldn't make it in Yeshiva so you hate them. You were probably once a mashgiach and that didn't work either so now you hate Kashrus. All you do is hate. I hate to think of the image of Yiddishkeit you project to your kids. Don't worry about their frumkeit, because growing up with you as a father (if you're old enough) they'll reject the whole Jewish thing. BTW first you contend that R' Elchonon failed to save his yeshiva then you alledge that he killed hundreds of thousands. Is it his fault that your life is an utter failure?
You are clearly an ignoramous with an axe to grind. You are a sonei es Hashem, a machteh es harabim an baal loshon harah, and baal gaaveh. The chutzpah you have to judge ANY aspect of R' Elchonon's life. R' Elchonon inspired yiras shomayim, ahavas hashem, ahavas Yisroel and a love for Torah. You represent the opposite. I'd rather be a dead R' Elchonon (in Shomayim) than a live Unortho (headed downtown ) any day of the week. You fancy yourself as a latter day Maskil, but the problem is that you're just an ignorant spoiled American baby. You don't know enough to be a maskil. You live a life of relative luxury, but all you do is complain and cry. When you're challenged by anyone you resort to profanity and infantile tirades. You never respon with anything substantive. Do you need some attention. Do you like too incite others?

You don't trust Empire or Rubashkin, what do you eat? I suppose you're a shochet also. You probably eat Tyson and justify it in your warped head. Are you frum? Are you Shomer Shabbos? Do you go to shul? Do you have a Rav, or do you just make up whatever suits your esteemed opinion? You might not like the fact that I stand up to yuou and yours but how do you respond? You malign my uncles who happen to be tremendous talmidei chachamim and baalei tzedekkah, after surviving Siberian work camps.

We all know htat you never attended NYU. We all know that you never got semichah. We all know that you are
full of sinas chinam and we all know that you are an ignorant baal gaaveh. I'm just giving you fair warning so you don't have ANY excuses when the YOM HADIN comes that each of your posts results in your Olam Habah (do you believe in that?). "As I said you are being F**** over by your fantasy gods, and you are having a nervous breakdown." I' dput my money with R' Elchonon any day over YOU> I wish you a refuah shleima b'mhairah.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 9:55:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

i did not pose my question so that i could get an halachic answer. It was retorical in a sense. Any frum jew would tell you that to have granchildren who are non jews is worst than hell.How far would a jew go to prevent this from happening?Thats all i wanted to bring forth.LIke you said yourself
you know many seculars that would never marry non jews, but their children are a different story. Don't you think this pains their forebeares? THey had a sense of being jewish from their frum parents, but this they did not pass on to their children. What a pathetic lot.To produce frum children is trully one's nachos.
Its interesting to note that reb Elchonon name is used 100 of times daily in yeshivos, yet no one ever hears about a famous maskil. JUst something to think about

Sunday, September 11, 2005 10:18:00 PM  
Anonymous The Booger said...

Cardinal Lustiger;

Let's meet for that cheese danish in the Beis Medrash of Y.U. where you visited a few years ago with nine of your Cardinal colleagues. (Story was covered in the New York Times, Section B). Or we can go across the street for a tasty Falafel and Chumus.

I heard you had a "Geshmak" going over a blatt with a few of the Yungerleit.

It is indeed refreshing to see a man with authentic Jewish roots, a man with the "pintele" yid in him, a man that can discuss and debate without vile, vitriolic, scatalogical rhetoric and references. Too bad UO wasn't around to experience your visit...some good might have rubbed off on him.

Maybe next time...Shalom.

Monday, September 12, 2005 7:14:00 AM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Khef1,

you wrote,

"Its interesting to note that reb Elchonon name is used 100 of times daily in yeshivos, yet no one ever hears about a famous maskil."

Surely you must be joking. Did you learn that from Shlomo?

Maybe they don't know I.B. Singer at Touro, but he is well know throughout the world.

And then there is Spinzoa, whose "cherem" did nothing to stop his fame.

And then there is Sholom Aleichem. Oh, no, nobody has ever heard of Fiddler on the Roof.

Nope. No maskils anywhere to be found.

Monday, September 12, 2005 1:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Cardinal Lustiger said...

I would love to meet with you, and learn the sugya of "shnayim ochzim b'cheesecake".
Please remember Goyim get hungry too, so please leave me a bite or two!

Monday, September 12, 2005 2:07:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

To assume that one who studies mathematics or history or biology is a "maskil" is so crazy that I can't bear this insanity.

Yitzchok Hutner, Lubavitcher Rebbe(JB- who maybe wasn't even Jewish) and thousands of ehrliche yiden have not shmad zich because they understood and studied geometry or algebra.

The great Art Scroll" Moshe Rabeinu", Noson Sherman, graduated college.
Does that make ALL THE ART SCROLL OSSUR????
Your fanaticism is so over the top that you're pitiful.

To assume that R'Elchonon MUST HAVE KNOWN WHAT HE WAS DOING, is the new Bin-Ladenism of Judaism.
Hashem Yirachem!!!

Monday, September 12, 2005 2:16:00 PM  
Anonymous the booger said...

Cardinal Lustiger;

It's a date. Shnayim Ochzim is right up my alley. But cheesecake is not what UO wants to grab. Make sure you wear a steel jock.

Monday, September 12, 2005 2:41:00 PM  
Anonymous gross said...

"Cardinal Lustiger" & "Booger":

You both are far from funny.

Monday, September 12, 2005 3:04:00 PM  
Anonymous gross said...

kjef1,

It takes more than a child being frum to bear nachas. I don't think having non-Jewish grandchildren is hell. A chid marrying a non-Jew, I can understand the pain, but once the grandkids come along, the blow is softened. I don't know how many cases you've studied...

Monday, September 12, 2005 3:08:00 PM  
Anonymous the booger said...

gross;

"funny" is not my intention. I'll leave that to UO.

BTW; UO rails agains the "frum", hareidi's, etc. Why no comment from him, you, or the other 'board members' to YU's allowing the 10 Catholic Cardinals to enter their Bais Medrash for a good period of time and sit down with the Yungerleit, "farhering" them on the sugya's they were learning? That is really stretching "Torah U Maada" IMO. I don't believe Harav JB, ZTL would have been too keen on that at all.

Monday, September 12, 2005 3:22:00 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Booger,

Can you give a news link to this event so it can be studied without hysteria or hyperbole?

Monday, September 12, 2005 3:56:00 PM  
Anonymous American Jew said...

UO,

Just stumbled across this hate filled board of yours in cyberspace and felt likr responding to your first thread (I didn't bother reading past your latest posting....)when I saw the l;atest response from "Shlomo" which just about sums up everything I wanted to say.

You come across as a self hating Jew with absolutely no morals. If you indeed come from Orthodox parents all the way up, then I can only imagine how they must be turning over in their graves from the embarrasment you are causing them up in the heavens.

I probably never met you, and I would therefore never try to judge you.
I'm sure that somewhere in your mind you rationalize these postings, possibly even telling yourself that it is a mitzvah to expose the injustices you see being commited. Please understand that in principle I do respect this. However, I beg you to think about it from a different angle. If there are injustices being perpetrated by our brothers and sisters, then this blog does not serve to correct those crimes. If you truly feel that "Kol yisroel Areivim Zeh Lozeh" and the responsibility that comes along with that of exposing the harmful elements in our midst, then how are you possibly accomplishing that with this blog???

Any way you slice it, this blog at the very least is DOING MORE HARM THAN GOOD, TO BOTH YOUR NESHOMA (L'NETZACH NETZOCHIM) AND THAT OF ITS READERS.

You are obviously an intelligent person with much to say. I am not suggesting that you don't let your voice be heard. On the contrary, I think you have the mandate to seek a proper venue from which to conduct your mission. If you feel this is the right thing to do, then do it. There is however a means and a method for everything, and I just cannot believe as we approach these days of awe and reckoning, that G-D is smiling down on you for your efforts with this blog.

I ask that you please not respond to this with some demeaning put-down or childish insult. Not because I cannot handle it, but just because I would feel like you did not accept my posting in the nature that it was written.

Again, I don't know you and mean no disrespect. I only ask and beg as a fellow Jew that you sit down and really consider whether this blog is going to be a credit to you/ zechus (long term)where it matters most; in the quality of this life as well as the after life.

I hope you always have the fortitude to make the right choices and I will not be contributing here any longer. This will be my first and final posting.

I am not naive enough to think that there are no problems with Am Yisroel today. There are obviously may issues that beg to be addressed. This blog however will not constructively serve to address these issues and effect any real and substantive change. In its current constitution, it only serves as a major liability to the spiritual well being and merits of both its readers and contributers.

THIS IS ACTUALLY THE ONLY THING OF WHICH I AM QUITE CERTAIN.

May I ask that you please not censor this posting. If you must respond negatively, you certainly have the right to do so. However, at the very least there may be someone else who reads this that might think twice about the pros/cons of participating here. Thank you.

Monday, September 12, 2005 4:03:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Where did you get your degree from DK? There's nothing wrong w/ Touro or any other school as long as someone makes something of himself. You cry that the frum do nothing, but when they do you degrade them.

So again my question to you is where were you educated, or did the big bad kiruv gedolim stop you from pursuing a higher education?

BTW Spinoza was much too early to be described as a Maskil as commonly referred to. I'm not sure if I.B. Singer considered him a Maskil either. He was a rebel and a heretic, but a great writer. I personally perfer Chaim Grade. Chaim Nachman Bialik is probably one of the best known Maskilim and he regarded Torah and its scholars in very high esteem. He knew something. You do not.

Still waiting for a substantive reply Unortho. BTW I never meant to imply that I thought that you studied "mathematics or history or biology, because I don't believe you have. You're a real estate agent crying about how the Gedolim ruined your chances for parnossoh. I don't believe you have a degree. I also didn't mean to imply that you possessed any noteworthy talent of intellect, because it's clear that you do not. I just meant that you have somewhat of a yeshiva backgrpound that you're rebelling against. Maybe a misuse of the term "maskil" but i thought you'd be proud.

Monday, September 12, 2005 6:01:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

American Jew,
I will respectfully adhere to your wishes.
I do not censor even my biggest critics, unless they go over the top with profanities.
I will respond to your post with an entire blog, not just a comment here.
I want you to know that for years I brought these issues to the fore in the kindest and gentlest manner.
I got nowhere.
I appreciate your respectful tone and your extremely heartfelt comments.
Unfortunately, my harsh tone and disrespectful rhetoric IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE!
What a paradox, the more shrill I get the more I accomplish.
Trust me, if you will, when I tell you that two yeshivas are being audited by the baal habatim as we speak.
Enough for now.
Thanks for writing!

Monday, September 12, 2005 6:05:00 PM  
Anonymous the booger said...

David;

Here is the link to the abstarct of the article:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F40C17F83E5D0C738EDDA80894DC404482

$3.95 gets you the entire article or perhaps a visit to your local public library will allow you to access it for free. Good Luck.

Monday, September 12, 2005 6:09:00 PM  
Anonymous the booger said...

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/
abstract.html?
res=F40C17F83E5D0C738EDDA80894DC404482

Got the whole thing this time.

Monday, September 12, 2005 6:12:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

If yeshivas are being audited at your behest, WHICH I HIGHLY DOUBT then you're a moser. The Aruch Hashulchan states that a moser has no cheilek in Olam Habah. He goes down to Gehinnom and does not rise up. Have a nice trip Unortho!

Monday, September 12, 2005 6:20:00 PM  
Anonymous gross said...

Shlomo,

Clean your glasses. The Yeshivas are being audited by the Baal Habatim, not the IRS. The Baal Habatim that the Rosh HaYeshivas schnorr from.

Monday, September 12, 2005 6:32:00 PM  
Anonymous JewBoy said...

shlomo,your attacks against uo are wrong.you dont know him and all his postings have been verified as true.nobody seems to ever contradicted anything he writes.he has exposed ugliness that is true whether you like it or not.look at his A list, alot of people on that list.he hates bad jews and there is alot of good jews where he does not criticize,you should ask for mechila.

Monday, September 12, 2005 7:21:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

jewboy,
Absolutely ridiculous! NONE of his postings "have been verified as true."

Monday, September 12, 2005 8:11:00 PM  
Anonymous JewBoy said...

shlomo,i dont know you or him but me and my friends 4 smart guys verified all the names that were indicted or convicted,and all the other names including the real estate holdings and all of them were accurate. we did not find not even one lie.we were looking to catch him in a lie,one guy even had to buy us dinners because he bet uo lied on one thing.we looked hard and not one lie.we even verified the latest story on rabbi wasserman.sorry,we wish he lied also.

Monday, September 12, 2005 8:24:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

jewboy,You're obviously a fraud. "Me and my friends 4 smart guys verified all the names that were indicted or convicted,and all the other names including the real estate holdings and all of them were accurate." OH YEAH PROVE IT! Judging by the way you write it doesn't seem like you or 4 smart guys could verify anything. I think you're Unortho posting under another name and writing like an idiot to try and fool us. Well, it won't work. SORRY, nice try Unortho but let's see some substance.

Monday, September 12, 2005 8:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this blog has died.

Monday, September 12, 2005 8:49:00 PM  
Anonymous jewboy said...

its not nice for a frum person to talk like that

Monday, September 12, 2005 8:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you wish

Monday, September 12, 2005 8:51:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

To dk , the maskilim are a dead movement. They did their damage, but their movement is non existent.
The only people that study them are historians for informational sake only. Nobody follows spinoza.
Do ypou know any spinozians? Your a smart guy, you have to understand Reb elchnon,Zlbracha, in the context of his time. The maskilim sought to destroy the Torah. They were anti torah. Reb elchanon sought with all his soul to save Torah. There is nothing wrong with geometry ect. These are neutral subjects. My point is that we must judge the individual in the context of his time period. Also, do not be an elitist in regard to Touro. It helps people get a livlihood. Not everybody can go to harvard or columbia. The graduates of touro are successfull.Theirs nothing worse than an elitist intellectual. In reb elchanon time period learning secular studies was tantemount to shmod. Its not the same now. Rav Hutner was an exception to the rule. He was solid
going into college, as apposed to someone who was not as well grounded in his torah learning. Lets judge reb Elchanon in the context of his time period. Reb elchnon Torah will always live on though his talmidim who loved him.
The maskilim have no die hard followers. There is no maskil movement any more. Their influence is has pertinent as is george washington, historical only.The love of Torah will be for ever because its the part of our soul. CAn i prove it? perhapes.I feel it and so do other jews, including unothodox. This is where i disagree with shlomo. Shlomo is a torah elitist.

Monday, September 12, 2005 11:51:00 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Kjef1,

You are incorrect in that you are simplifying things tremendously and are grossly inaccurate. Washington and the Framers of this country are not merely for the history books and those intersted in them, their words are constantly being studied and interpreted, and applied. It is called the court system. If even the House and Senate pass legislation which is then signed by the President himself but is deemed contrary the U.S.Constitution written by and large by those Framers from the latter 18th entury and not properly amended, it is chucked by a living breathing body called the Supreme Court.

There are plenty of people in the past who have their ideas, works, and non-halachic laws studied quite seriously with practical application outside of the religious Jewish world.

The maskilim specifically are no longer dominant like they were, that is true, but their secular focus is still around and active in many ways. It has simply changed. It is not necessarily anti-religous, but secularism as a general, decentralized force is quite alive and well in the Jewish community--the bulk of it, in fact.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 12:19:00 AM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Kjef,
I don't see where you disagree with me at all. I don't understand what you mean when you refer me as a Torah elitist though. Please explain.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

to my friend shlomo, what i mean is
I think your being to harsh concerning unorthodox. People are frustrated about what they see or perceive in the torah community.We can not hide from whats going on. Its painfull. Unorthodox is just expressing that pain. I believe him to be totally off concerning Reb Elchonon, zlbracha.Yet i can understand the conflict?I love the Torah, and i think unorthodox does too. THis is why he is so pained by the things going on. This is in regard to dk as well. He tried to be frum, do we have to mock him because he could not find the beauty in yiddishkeit. HE was turned off, is this so hard to believe? WE have to try to atleast
feel the pain. We can not be elitist to someones failures or pain. Understand the conflict, yet be respectfull in the arguement.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 12:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 1:02:00 AM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

to dk,i just used geoge washington as an example. Of coarse, the framers of the constitution are important and still being studied today. YEt geoge washington contribution is only historical. This was his role.The maskilim influence is felt, but no one follows singer as his guide to en lightenment. His stories are at most entertaining. The maskilim sought to destroy Torah. This is a fact. This is why dershkowitz is bemoaning what will become of the jews. If jews are secular, and their children marry non jews....
what becomes of the jewish people.
What makes us jewish? Or what will keep a kid from a secular home "jewish"? Bagels and lox on sunday.Lets be real about it. The Torah is was makes us uniquely jewish. How do we distinguish ourselves from our irish neighbors?
The maskilim did their dirty deed, but at what cost ? Non existance.
What will keep a secular jew from marrying an irish girl? and what will keep his son from marrying a peuto rican? and who will remember they were even jewish to begin with.Do you feel the conflict?
Never did i say studying geometry
is shmod. Its a rediculous statement. A secular jew is in danger of nonexistance.Yet this secular jew does not even know where his secularism even stated.
Do you really think he delves deeply into the words of spinoza to find out> Its all academic now.
Yet a yeshiva student will always delve into the words of reb elchnon
even on train to a job interview.
Reb elchonons words live on.HIs very words have meaning, and are alive.Proof of this is in the fact that his words are still revered and studied.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 1:13:00 AM  
Anonymous JewBoy said...

i agree with kjef that shlomo is hurting his cause by his treatment of uo.uo maybe alot of things but he is not stupid.anyway its before rosh hashana,time for jewish people to unite.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 1:17:00 AM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

DK,
The maskillim specifically chose secularism as a way of life, as opposed to the religious environment in which they were raised for various reasons. Today secularism prevails amongst most Jews because they have no religious background whatsoever They don't even know what they're supposedly so against. The reject "authentic" Yiddishkeit because it's completely foreign to them.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 1:37:00 AM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

kjef1.

You wrote,

"Yet a yeshiva student will always delve into the words of reb elchnon
even on train to a job interview."

This may explain the financial dysfunction of the Ultra-Orthodox world.

Shlomo,

For the first time, you have said something intelligent. Unfortunately, it is still wrong. You are correct, secular Jews have not rejected traditional Judaism nor chosen secularism.
But they are still secular, and have been handed that down from their parents.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Still waiting for you to post your credentials DK. Make fun of Touro and complain about "the financial dysfunction of the Ultra-Orthodox world." What do you do for a living? Further, I don't believe secularism is handed down per se, it manifests itself by default. There is a secular humanist branch of Judaism, but secularism as an ideology is not very popular, probably because the notion of Judaism without G-d is ridiculous.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Shlomo,

I am not claiming it is radical secularism, or fundamentalist secularism, bit it is certainly handed down, and hardly by "default."

The fact that a child of somewhat more or less secular Jewish parents is not shown an English dictionary while his hand is dipped in honey does not negate these values, it just means they aren't as intensely or uniformly formalized or dogmatic. There are different levels of secularism just as there are different religious levels.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous gross said...

Shlomo,

"What do you do for a living?" What a stupid, Yeshivishe remark! Who cares what he does for a living and why does that matter? Wow, the greaseballs know how to game the system with BTLs and correspondence schooling and "still we make so much money!"

It doesn't matter - Touro is still GARBAGE and you know it. Don't equate it with real college.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Thanks, Gross. I didn't really feel the need to brandish educational or vocational credentials to satisfy the curiousity of our resident "Touro Scholar", not because he (obviously) went there, but because he (odiously) reeks of having gone there.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 12:49:00 PM  
Anonymous yaakov said...

I attended Touro College due to pressure from the rabbinical institution that I attended at the time. Touro College is just another way of wasting money and time. The athmosphere is the same as growing up in the yeshiva world with the same shysters cheating on their exams just as they had while they were in the yeshiva world. Students couldn't accept the grades( when less than an A) even though they were well deserved. They would approach their "professors" to raise their grades after every exam. (That was after cheating off another dummy who didn't know what he was doing.)
The institution is nothing more than a kindergarten with with a bunch of "morahs" masquerading as professors.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 1:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Cardinal Lustiger said...

Shlomo,
You are one of the reasons I left Judaism.You are a self righteous ignorant shlemiel. If you represent the frum world, I am surprised there has not been a mass exodus out of Judaism.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 2:30:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

It's your funeral Cardinal (unortho?) GOOD RIDDANCE!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 3:08:00 PM  
Anonymous yaakov said...

Cardinal:

If you left judaism because of your surroundinds i.e. people like Shlomo or other people who didn't fit your profile, you obviously aren't very intelligent. When you see people who don't meet the requesites set by our religion it's your job to seek the proper conduits that would satisfy your needs. Shaking off an entire religion because you don't like the way Shmerel picks his nose, is only a sign of lesser intelligence and low self esteem.
It is my belief that the other commentators on this blog haven't sold their religion to the lowest bidder. They would just like to see some needed adjustments in how we administer ourselves as a nation.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 3:21:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

First of all I happen to have absolute incontrovertible knowledge from the IT manager @ my law firm that Gross, DK and Unortho are all the same person or at least they often post from the very same location. Seems fishy, huh? That answers a lot of questions, but only confirms my suspicions.

Gross comments: "What do you do for a living?" What a stupid, Yeshivishe remark"! How is that Yeshivish? He makes fun of others credentials, let him answer for himself. He didn't. Why? Because he doesn't have any credentials other that embittered yeshiva reject. Same for alter ego Unortho. No substantive reply at all to any of my posts above, but just a ridiculous manifesto in the form of a new post, filled with wild delusional fantasies.

Then we have Lustiger. Who does he emulate? A MESHUMAD!!!! He can be proud, and why? Because of the mean yeshivaleit. I hope you all (unortho, DK,Gross & Lustiger) get the treatment you so desperately need.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:41:00 PM  
Anonymous the booger said...

Well said, Shlomo.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:49:00 PM  
Anonymous yaakov said...

Shlomo:

The problem is that some of the issues raised seem to have validity if one is associated with today's ultra-orthodox community.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 4:54:00 PM  
Anonymous yaakov said...

Booger:

Mezonos Maven was recently caught baking on shabbos.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 5:01:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

Yaakov:
I agree with you 100%, but you can't maligning chashuve talmidei chachamim and b'nai Torah to no avail with unsubstantiated nonsensical claims, is not the way to fix the problem.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 5:14:00 PM  
Anonymous gross said...

Shlomo,

There you go again with your Yeshivishe hock. What IT guy? BS! Yo've got some imagination. I think it's time to outsource your IT Dept. to India - they do a much better job than the ones you know from Touro (my suggestion is sarcastic, nice try though. Now I know you're completely full of crap.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 6:03:00 PM  
Blogger Shlomo said...

"NOW" you know I'm full of crap! I've known that about you since your first post. I don't know about India, but I'll suggest they outsource the IT dept. to B'klyn so you can have a job Gross unortho and DK.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Guys,
I am cracking up!
This Shlomo is right out of the nut house!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 6:54:00 PM  
Anonymous gross said...

Nebuch, he's losing it...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 7:44:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

dk, why is it that any jew studying torah on the train to a job the reason for ultra othodox jews financial problems. I hate to break it to you but not every jew threw his gemara or tefillin into the river on their way to america.
Also, being a secular jew is no guarantee to financial stability.
Is your aim to make us all secular?
Will this solve the jewish problem.
THeir are some jews out there who love their torah. Surprise, we do exist.WE do not need to throw off the shackles of torah to really enjoy life.Secular judaism is a dead "religion", we should all call ourselves "other" on the ethnic questioneer.I guess fidler on the roof is our guide. When a secular jew takes his non jewish granchildren to see the play he can then proudly proclaim-"you know you once had a granfather that looked lkie that jew on stage.
THey can then have a big laugh, but i guess thats where secular judism ends because his grandchilren are non jews so who cares any way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 8:55:00 PM  
Blogger Un-Orthodox Jew said...

Kjef1,
You speak from the heart, very refreshing.
I do not believe anyone is trying to PROMOTE secularism, I think that when a person is secular, they would need a real good reason to accept all the mitzvos and give up the pleasures that surround them.
So when someone gets a negative view of Orthodox Jews, it becomes an unbelievable challenge to be one of them.
I would never have been able to make that change, knowing what I now know.
The challenge for me and thousands of FFB's are remaining frum, seeing the way oh too many so called rabbis, rebbes and rosh yeshivas conduct themselves.
They are suppose to lead by example, and they are everything but examples(there are good guys as well-refer to my A list)
Especially around money, people prostitute themselves, I know I have seen it FIRST HAND growing up.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 9:12:00 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

kjef1,

I am not advocating bagel and lox Judaism. I am recognizing that there still is a lot of bagel and lox Judaism.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 9:29:00 PM  
Blogger David Kelsey said...

Also Kjef1,

There is a difference between "learning" on your way to a job, and on your way to a job interview. You gave the latter in the first example, and changed it in your redux. That is unfair - that is not what I was criticizing. If a job us worth having, you shouuld be doing hazura on the company and industry and preparing questions for possible answers to ensure you get the job prior to the interview. Learning instead is not doing your hishtadules.

Be fair, Kjef1, it doesn't suit you not to be.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005 9:38:00 PM  
Blogger kjef1 said...

dk, sorry about that. I just mixed it up. Yet the point is that a frum jew feels a connection to his learning. Obviously, on a train to a job interview he or she should be concentrating on the job. THe mix up is just semantics.

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