Sunday, November 18, 2007

Orthodox Leadership and Anti-assimilation

As far as I am concerned the position of the orthodox, that is that one should be orthodox, is indefensible. It is an unnecessarily difficult lifestyle. They may say, oh so its like the Olympics, an Olympic runner wants to be in prime physical shape so he changes his lifestyle completely to this end, and we (orthos) want to be closer to God, so we change our lifestyle completely to that end.

Ok. Interesting point. Lets analyze. How does not being able to boil a young goat in its mother's milk (indeed, not a nice thing for someone to do) translate into meat and dairy products not even being able to be in the same room? It seems like too much of a stretch if you ask me.

The thing is orthodox leaders rant and rant about how one should not assimilate into secular society, it is not inherently *jewish* and *gasp* it can lead to intermarriage! Oh no! We should all live by stringent insane rules instead and be branded heretics for disagreeing with any of them.

Lets take for example two of the many horrors of assimilation that orthodox leaders want to protect us from- jeans and Superman (orthodox leaders want to protect us from television as a whole). I don't know of a yeshiva that allows jeans and once I was at a beit midrash where the rosh asked that I not talk about Smallville there with friends cause its secular (Puritianistic religion going way too far if you ask me).

Jeans was invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, both Jewish. Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both Jewish. While they may indeed be apart of secular society, they are apart of a secular society that Jews have contributed alot to, and that is why it is silly for orthodox leaders to view the outside world as something completely not Jewish that we secular jews and jews who are religious on one level or another needs to be saved from.

About that intermarriage thing, orthodox leaders whine, rant, and cry about people marrying out of the faith more than any other denomination, yet orthodoxy keeps guys and girls separate more than any other denomination.

Why someone who is a guy not born into orthodoxy, want to join into that society where talking to girls is greatly discouraged?

That, orthodox leaders need to think about.

3 comments:

Garnel Ironheart said...

Well, about time you showed up again.

Okay, where to begin? Where to being? Ah...

> As far as I am concerned the position of the orthodox, that is that one should be orthodox,

That is not the Orthodox position at all, at least not the thinking Orthodox position. The actual position is this: The definition of a "good Jew" is one who keeps halacha to the best of his ability. One has free will and can choose whether or not to be a "good Jew", and naturally those who are Orthodox would like all our brethren to be "good Jews" because we perceive that to be the best situation but you make up your own mind. Practice through coercision has no value.

> It is an unnecessarily difficult lifestyle.

Some might say that about doctors. Not everyone can be one and the lifestyle is quite difficult and full of all sorts of rituals that laypeople can't comprehend. Difficult is in the eye of the beholder. Some people like challenges and complexity.

> translate into meat and dairy products not even being able to be in the same room?

That's your big analysis? First of all, there's no rule that they can't be in the same room. Heck, they can even be on the same shelf under most circumstances. Don't exaggerate and then condemn based on that.

Is there an Oral tradition? Of course there is. In the Torah, for example, the process of Shechita is never spelled out. Moshe simply says "Do it as I have shown you here today." Get it? There's stuff that isn't written down. If the entire prohibition on meat and milk was simply about goats and their mothers, why is it written three times? There's a depth to the text that isn't obvious on first glance.

> The thing is orthodox leaders rant and rant about how one should not assimilate into secular society,

Maybe, but it's your local secular UJA's and Federations that hold all these big conferences year after year on how to stem the tide and how much money should you put towards stemming intermarriage and assimilation. So it's not just the religious leadership.

> jeans and Superman

I wear jeans and I've seen all the Superman movies (including the two that should never have been made, the one with Richard Pryor and the one about world peace. Yeech!) So what's you point?

> (orthodox leaders want to protect us from television as a whole).

Not all, just some. Again, you're exaggerating and condemning from that position.

> I don't know of a yeshiva that allows jeans

That's odd, because I don't know a hospital that allows interns to wear jeans while on duty either, especially in sensitive places like the OR or the ICU. Boy, what a bunch of archaic reactionaries they are.

And is that why my banker looked at me funny when I went to my last meeting with him dressed in a T-shirt and jeans? Gosh, just because he was wearing a suit...

One shows respect for where one is by dressing in a certain way. You would wonder if your lawyer had a problem if he showed up in court in jeans. These yeshivos, by enforcing a dress code, are no different than any other private school with a uniform.

Jeans was invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, both Jewish.

Of course, the Mohammed al-Dura video in which Israel is false accused of killing a 12 year old boy was invented by a Jew as well. And then there's communism which owes a lot to Jews. So a Jew invented it. That makes it proper?

> Superman was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both Jewish.

I know very few Orthodox people who have a problem with Superman. In fact, his ideals of truth and justice without compromise are something we should be identifying with.

> yet orthodoxy keeps guys and girls separate more than any other denomination.

So?

> Why someone who is a guy not born into orthodoxy, want to join into that society where talking to girls is greatly discouraged?

Maybe because he's tired of the social pressures of secular society and wants to be in a lower pressure environment.

You're not doing well with the insight thing. The same theme keeps coming up. YOU don't see the point of something, so therefore you conclude there is no point. YOU seem something as difficult so therefore it is difficult. Take a step back and consider that others might have a different point of view.

SJ said...

>> That's your big analysis? First of all, there's no rule that they can't be in the same room. Heck, they can even be on the same shelf under most circumstances. Don't exaggerate and then condemn based on that.

Not in the chumra-land that I live in.

>> Is there an Oral tradition? Of course there is.

There is no rule that says its impossible for God to have told Moses extra informtion on Mount Sinai that adds to the Torah, however there are inherent problems in having an oral tradition.

>> I wear jeans and I've seen all the Superman movies ... So what's you point?

Don't tell this to your superiors.

>> These yeshivos, by enforcing a dress code, are no different than any other private school with a uniform.

Going to school is not a job. For that reason it is erroneous to say that because there are dress codes at work that there should be dress codes at school.

Anyways where I am from, outside of the religious Jewish community, dress codes in schools would not be tolerated. I agree with that sentiment.

Garnel Ironheart said...

> Not in the chumra-land that I live in.

I've met secular Jews who have been arrested for theft. Are all secular Jews theives? I've met ssecular Jewish girls who have had more sex than some small European countries. Are all secular Jewish girls whores? You're taking a few bad examples and assuming that they're representative of the minority. That wouldn't be acceptable with blacks, Oreintals, women, dwarves or secular Jews. Why is it okay with religious ones?

>> I wear jeans and I've seen all the Superman movies ... So what's you point?

> Don't tell this to your superiors.

I don't have to. My superior, God, knows all about it. In the end, when I die, I answer to Him and Him alone so I live in a way that I believe will please Him, by observing His halacha as best I can. He decides what happens to my soul when I die.

>Anyways where I am from, outside of the religious Jewish community, dress codes in schools would not be tolerated. I agree with that sentiment.

Maybe things are different where you live but up here, all the Catholic schools have strict uniform requirements. Every non-denominational private school in town has its own uniform and a few of the local public schools have brought them in as wel. Your comment makes absolutely no sense. If anything, uniforms are on the upswing.