Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chaviva G.

Hello and Happy Saturday!

I wish to thank Ven. Jo Jo for sharing his journey with us. A very interesting and indepth piece that I very much enjoyed reading. Thank you Ven. Jo Jo!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome Chaviva G.
Chaviva is a Jewish Convert and I know you will enjoy her interview as well!


Here Is Chaviva G.'s Introduction:


Chaviva, a social media devotee, is the the creator and writer of blogs Just Call Me Chaviva (www.kvetchingeditor.com) and the Kosher Critic (www.kosher-critic.com), among others. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, 12seconds.tv, Yelp, and every other social-networking, music, and media platform the web over. Why the vast virtual presence? Every e-avenue is an outlet for explaining, exploring, developing, and expanding the understanding of and experience of Judaism in the 21st century not only for Jews of every flavor, but also for the larger global community.

When she's not blogging or Tweeting, Chaviva, an Orthodox Jew, is a master's student at New York University, and the future holds more academic promise, she hopes. In a past life, Chaviva was a copy editor for The Denver Post, The Daily Nebraskan, and The Washington Post, and Chaviva still manages to mix her passion for proper grammar with Judaism through Jewish-style editing projects.


1) What religion do you practice?
Orthodox Judaism.

2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I converted to Judaism under Reform auspices in 2006 and under Orthodox auspices in 2010. Before converting, I grew up in the Bible Belt of Missouri and then Nebraska, where my parents raised me largely on the Golden Rule. I attended church regularly, went to Vacation Bible School, and was for all intents and purposes a practicing Christian with the big secret that I didn't believe that Jesus was the son of G-d (not to mention a crop of other Christian tenets). I was a very social person with a big group of friends -- a big group of Christian friends. So I went along, I did the clubs and the retreats, and I got saved a half-dozen times. And then, in high school, I quit. I couldn't fake it. I founded my own religion, my own beliefs, and went a fairly agnostic route. In college, a friend, inquiring about my beliefs, suggested I look into Judaism and thus, I found myself at the doorstep of the house that had truly always been my home.

3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
I consider myself socially liberal, religiously conservative, and politically liberal ... if that exists!

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
Socially, I'm sort of outside the box compared to my religious beliefs. I believe a lot of things that don't float, according to a lot of right-wing Jews I know, because they don't match up necessarily with the simplest understanding of the text of the Torah (Hebrew Bible). For me, however, I think rights, liberties, and acceptance are the underlying message of just about everything in Judaism, so I choose to be socially liberal. Religiously, I see the binding nature of the mitzvot, or commandments, that are found in the Torah, and I live a Torah-observant lifestyle (keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath, dressing modestly, etc.). I don't think the two -- being socially liberal and religiously conservative -- are out of balance. Add to that, of course, that politically I'm a liberal!

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
Nine times out of ten, I think it's how you grew up, what values your parents instilled in you, and how open-minded you are toward a change in those views and sentiments. I think environment plays on people's conservative and moderate sentiments more than beliefs, because we tend to worry more about how people view us and how accepting others are of us than what is right or just.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
In Judaism, there's really no necessarily defined view of the afterlife, what we call olam ha'ba, or the "world to come." Thus, I don't think much about heaven or an afterlife, because as a Jew, my emphasis is on this life, doing good and positive things here, because I know the tangible results that can be had. When it comes to a heaven, it's impossible to know what it entails, so I don't think much about it. I did read a brilliant fiction book by Dara Horn called "The World to Come," in which she suggests that olam ha'ba actually is *this* world, the one we live in. When people die, they spend their lives teaching and preparing souls for this world!

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
Since I don't really conceive of it, I don't really have a good answer to this. My inclination is to say, Sure, why not?

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
It focuses on doing good and living a commandment-based life, this life, the hear and now. A focus on the present just makes sense to me. Why live for something that might come later, or put responsibility for your life in the hands of someone else? In my mind, G-d gave each of us the gumption to do good and make this world better for a reason, and I found that reason and realization in Judaism.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
Do you have a few hours? Hah. Judaism has a lot of holy days; we have FOUR new years! Some of our holy days include Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Shavuot, and Sukkot. Each hold historic and religious importance, but going into the details would take me quite some time and probably confuse your readers.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
Of course. All of my high school friends are Christians, I have a few Hindu friends, I have a college friend who converted to Islam. I don't discriminate or not include people in my life for their faith choice. I believe firmly that what is right for me is not right for everyone, and because we can know with no certainty which religion (if any) is "right," then why bother creating divisions or converting others or discriminating? Why not just live your life and your faith in the way that makes you most comfortable.

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
There are a variety of restrictions as an Orthodox Jew as to what I can and cannot celebrate, where I can and cannot go, etc. I would love to invite a variety of individuals with varied faiths for a Passover seder or Chanukah party, but I cannot go to a Christian Mass or celebration because of laws about entering churches and taking part in non-Jewish ceremonies.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
I don't know enough to answer.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
Again, I don't know enough to answer, but in Judaism, we have this issue with women being rabbis and/or faith leaders.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
My synagogue does have separate seating, with a mechitzah, which is a sort of walled separation, dividing us. In many synagogues this is a *beautiful* separating structure, made of etched glass or latticework. In some Orthodox synagogues, women have seating upstairs overlooking the main sanctuary where the men are (it's a very Friendship Meeting House sort of kick-back). I actually really love having the separate seating, because it gives everyone a chance to focus on their own prayers, without the distraction of a husband or possible love match. I know that before I became Orthodox, going to synagogue with my then-boyfriend was hard because he wanted to hold hands and talk to me during the service, which kept me from really connecting to G-d on a personal and in-depth level. The separation allows me to sort of climb into my own world with G-d.

15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
My religion affects EVERYTHING I do -- it affects how I dress in the morning, how I cover my hair, how I leave my house, how I purchase, cook, and eat my food, how I talk and interact with individuals, and more. Judaism allows me to be 110 percent conscious of every small and large thing I do and decision I make. It does play into how I view social and political issues, of course.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion? It would break my heart, but I would understand the need to make one's own place in the world (after all, I did). I would hope, however, that my child would come out of his life at home with the powerful impact of Judaism on his or her heart and mind.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No. Judaism doesn't believe in Hell ... there's (pretty much) always a chance to turn back, to make teshuvah.

18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
Not sure I understand the question. There are a lot of people who claim to speak for aspects of Judaism (think Madonna and Kaballah) who really don't represent or express the positive aspects (or even the true aspects) of my religion.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
Thank G-d, no.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
Never! The common misconception about Orthodox Judaism is that it devalues women, the modern world, and anything that doesn't float back to our earliest sages and Rabbis. This, of course, is a complete misconception. Don't worry, I haven't been brainwashed. But as with all things, you view your religion through your own, unique lenses and if those lenses are dirty or chipped, then you'll see everything you don't agree with as a stumbling block and not a building block.

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes.

22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
There are a lot of curious aspects of Judaism that cater to an idea of reincarnation in a sort of tangential way, but I don't know enough to speak about it at length. There is a thought that a friend once shared with me that the reason there are so many young Jews returning to Orthodox Judaism, to a Torah-observant life, is because the souls of those who died in the Holocaust are being rekindled in these Jews who are returning to the faith as those souls might have, had they not been killed. It's a unique and beautiful thought, I think.

29 comments:

  1. >> In Judaism, there's really no necessarily defined view of the afterlife, what we call olam ha'ba, or the "world to come." Thus, I don't think much about heaven or an afterlife, because as a Jew, my emphasis is on this life, doing good and positive things here, because I know the tangible results that can be had. When it comes to a heaven, it's impossible to know what it entails, so I don't think much about it. I did read a brilliant fiction book by Dara Horn called "The World to Come," in which she suggests that olam ha'ba actually is this* world, the one we live in. When people die, they spend their lives teaching and preparing souls for this world!


    I'm sorry but this is a load of crap. Heaven and Hell come straight from the Old Testament.

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  2. @SJ It's not a load of crap. Please see this: http://www.jewfaq.org/olamhaba.htm

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  3. Olam Haba refers to the messianic age.

    Otherwise, Judaism and especially orthodox judaism, believes in Heaven and Hell as is generally understood.

    You are free to have your own beliefs on this issue of course but it won't be mainstream. Heck, I'm messianic, and that's not in the mainstream.

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  4. Chaviva: Did you really post a comment on Saturday 12/18 at 2:14 p.m.? If so, is there a branch of orthodoxy that permits computers/typing on shabbat?

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  5. @SJ Judaism does NOT believe in Hell. I'll pull in some rabbinic friends of mine to give you the details if you like. And Olam ha'Bah does not necessarily refer to the messianic age, it also refers to life after death.

    @Anonymous The comment I posted was after Shabbat ended in Teaneck, NJ. I'm not sure what the time zone of this blog is, but I guarantee you I did not post that comment at 2:14 p.m. Perhaps the blog moderator can verify what their time zone is.

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  6. I think there is some room for clarification here. The Five Books of Moses make few references to an afterlife. There is a Rabbinic dictum that an 'hour' of good deeds in this world is worth more then the entire world to come. This world, the here and now, is the focus of Judaism.

    That being said, there is a clear Jewish view on the afterlife. Divine punishment is part of the picture - in fact belief of reward and punishment is one of the 13 principles of faith as listed by Maimonides. Heaven is not a place of corporal pleasures, as understood by other faiths, but rather of Divine knowledge and understanding. Hell is not a place of eternal damnation, but rather a cleansing of the soul allowing it to 'enter' Heaven.

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  7. SJ, Chaviva is right. That's one of the major ideas that modern converts and people who become religious later in life find comfort in. I believe you've been misinformed.

    Anonymous: time stamps are based on the time zone of either the blog owner or the person reading the comments (depends on the website, as far as I understand). Knowing Chaviva, I'm very comfortable assuring you that she did not post on Shabbat.

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  8. SJ - Heaven and Hell come straight from the Old Testament.

    Which verses in the OT?

    And what word is used for "hell" in the OT?

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  9. Just to clarify Chaviva's comment- The 2:14 pm was the time I moderated and posted her comment, and not when she posted it.
    I had to start moderating comments when I started receiving a slew of viagra related comments!

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  10. I find it to be an incorrect approach that some jews feel the need to scrap Heaven and Hell from doctrine. There are ways where the religious establishment can and should be sanitized; but doing away with Heaven and Hell is just not biblically consistent.

    Noone (sane) will think that you are worse people for believing in the same kind of cosmic reward and punishment system that everyone else believes in.

    Isaiah 14:9 among other places refers to Hell as Sheol. In Genesis, Enoch's physical body was taken straight to Heaven.


    By the way, viagra and religion is a good mix. XD lol just kidding. I moderate my blog too to keep out the spam.

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  11. SJ: re: viagra and religion comment- ;)

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  12. @SJ As far as Olam Haba

    תלמוד בבלי מסכת ברכות דף לד עמוד ב
    ואמר רבי חייא בר אבא אמר רבי יוחנן: כל הנביאים כולן לא נתנבאו אלא לימות המשיח, אבל לעולם הבא - עין לא ראתה אלהים זולתך.

    2. B. Berachot 34b
    R. Hiyya B. Abba said in the name of R. Yohanan: All the prophets only prophesized regarding the Messianic era, but regarding "the world to come" no eye has seen except for God. (See Hag 13a - R.Yohanan studied merkava)

    Thus Yemot Hamashiach != Olam Haba (at least acc to R. Yohanan). And regarding the existence of Hell:

    תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדרים דף ח עמוד ב
    ופליגא דר"ש בן לקיש, דאמר: אין גיהנם לעולם הבא, אלא הקב"ה מוציא חמה מנרתיקה, צדיקים מתרפאין בה ורשעים נידונין בה, שנאמר: וזרחה לכם יראי שמי שמש (מלאכי ג:כ)


    B. Nedarim 8b
    Now, he differs from R. Simeon b. Lakish, who said: There is no Gehinnom in the world to come, but the Holy One, blessed be He, will draw forth the sun from its sheath: the righteous shall be healed, and the wicked shall be judged and punished thereby.

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  13. OK Chaviva believe as you wish. On my own blog, in fact in my most recent blog post at the time of this writing, I quote a nasty comment from the Aish.com website that refers to gehennom (hell) like it's the real thing.

    I'm not going to play talmudic semantics with you, if we go there, I guarantee you, you will lose badly. With respect, you converted to judaism, and I graduated from an orthodox yeshiva high school.

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  14. @SJ For someone who claims to be tolerant (at least, I assume from your blog where you call out the intolerant that you consider yourself a tolerant person), you essentially have violated the commands on how to treat the convert by calling me out as being less knowledgeable than you. Converts in Judaism, in fact, tend to be far more zealous and knowledgeable than their counterparts (FFB) because of the rigor with which we have to prepare ourselves for conversion. (Note: I won't be giving your blog any more time, because it comes off as the rantings of a self-loathing Jew.)

    And, for what it's worth, the Talmudic semantics came from a very good rabbi friend of mine.

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  15. Rabbi V the ex-InternDecember 19, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    Chaviva:

    In this comment thread SJ self-identifies as Messianic, but on the blog linked from their name SJ self-identifies as Secular.

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  16. Rabbi V, believing in the Bible and in most aspects of secularism & modernity is not mutually exclusive. Other than that, I've had this discussion on my blog. Look in the archives.

    And Chaviva, just for you I have answered your post on my own blog ;D XD as I felt it entailed a longer answer.

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  17. > The common misconception about Orthodox Judaism is that it devalues women, the modern world, and anything that doesn't float back to our earliest sages and Rabbis. This, of course, is a complete misconception.

    I’m curious, which stream of Orthodoxy do you ascribe to? Because there certainly are Orthodox groups that try to shield themselves from the modern world and which claim all of their beliefs as Torah True back to the Avos.

    As for devaluing women, I think it depends a lot on the spin it’s given. Is tznius about being a bas melech (a phrase which is a conversation in itself) or is it about keeping women’s sexuality from polluting men’s thoughts? Are women given fewer mitzvos because they’re naturally closer to Hashem, or because women are not expected to fully take part in society?

    > There is a thought that a friend once shared with me that the reason there are so many young Jews returning to Orthodox Judaism

    What then is his explanation for the equal numbers of people leaving Orthodox Judaism?

    If I might ask a personal question, what is it that convinced you to convert? Were you convinced that Orthodox Judaism is the Truth? Did you connect with it emotionally? Something else? As someone who grew up frum and is drifting away, I’d like to understand the motivation for someone to go in the other direction, towards Judaism.

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  18. @G*3 As for your first question, I ascribe to simply "Orthodoxy." Some might say I'm Modern Orthodox, others might say I'm Centrist Orthodox, but those are labels I'm not willing to put on myself. I'm just Orthodox. By that I mean that I believe that Torah is divine, mitzvot are not up for discussion, and that there is a certain way I live my life. G-d is real, and I'm committed. (There's more to that, of course, but in a nutshell.) That being said, I live in a frum community in Teaneck, NJ, where the women are educated, the men are educated, and we all wear head coverings (sheitels or tichels) and modest attire, but we also discuss halacha and kashrut like it's second nature. I'm part of what I like to call an informed Orthodox community. As a result, women are empowered, but not in an Egal kind of way (which I'm okay with completely). I've blogged a lot about tzniut on my personal blog, including discussing what it means to cover one's hair and what it really comes down to (women's sexuality polluting men's thoughts or HaShem). Give it a read :)

    As for the numbers leaving Orthodoxy? Statistics have shown that Orthodox Judaism has the highest retention rate of any of the movements. It's something like 89 percent. That makes me confident that Orthodoxy at least is sticking around. The question is ... is it going to go crazy right-wing insane? I hope not.

    Re: Conversion. You'll notice that I converted Reform first, in 2006. I discovered Judaism while living in Nebraska in 2003. I like to say that Judaism saved my life, because it did. I'm the proverbial wanderer looking for that place where I fit, and Judaism was it. The community, the religion, the tradition, the language, it was all second nature to me in no time. But, like most converts, as I became more myself as a Jew, I realized I needed/wanted more. From the moment I took my Reform dip in 2006, I already knew that the Torah was m'Sinai, and so I had contradiction: I believed the mitzvot were binding, but I wasn't observing them. Slowly, I started observing, educating myself as I went along, making sure I wasn't blindly doing things. And then, eventually, I ended up Orthodox and at an RCA beth din. I connect to Judaism spiritually, emotionally, physically. It's in everything I do, say, and breathe. I blog about this, too. I like to call what I have "positive Judaism," because so much out on the web is negative Nancy junk.

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  19. > I ascribe to simply "Orthodoxy."

    A nice thought, and one I can empathize with, but somehow in real life it doesn’t work that way…

    For example, the Teaneck and Lakewood communities are both Orthodox, but neither (in general) thinks much of the other.

    > As for the numbers leaving Orthodoxy? Statistics have shown that Orthodox Judaism has the highest retention rate of any of the movements.

    Which is great and all, but beside the point. You related your friends nice idea that baalei teshuvah are gilgulim of people who died in the Holocaust. I was asking about the corollary; who are those going OTD gilgulim of?

    > I'm the proverbial wanderer looking for that place where I fit, and Judaism was it.

    Ah.

    > From the moment I took my Reform dip in 2006, I already knew that the Torah was m'Sinai,

    How? I spent some eighteen years in yeshiva and all my life in the frum community, and I can’t say that I know for certain one way or the other what you say you knew only three years after discovering Judaism (though I lean heavily towards not). What’s the secret? What did you learn that convinced you?

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  20. @G*3 What do you mean it doesn't work that way? It works that way for me. I'm Orthodox. If someone else thinks it is or isn't, well, that isn't my problem.

    As for those going "off the derech," I don't have an answer for you, sorry.

    I'm not sure what your "ah," means, but it feels a little condescending.

    How did I know? I just did. It was something I felt. The thing about being a convert, is you can't explain everything to people who were born Jewish or who aren't Jewish. I can't pinpoint the precise moment when I knew that I had a Jewish neshama. I can't pinpoint the second when I decided "this is for me." On the same note, I can't pinpoint the very instance when I knew the Torah was from Sinai, that it was divine. You cannot tell me what I do or do not know, nor can you tell me when I did or did not feel it. Just because you spent 18 years in yeshiva and grew up in that lifestyle and culture and religion does not mean that you know these things better or worse than me, just as me being where I am doesn't mean I know more or less than you. Our experiences are different, it's what makes the varied Jewish community so beautiful and expressive.

    The secret is that there is no secret. I didn't have to learn anything to convince me, and I surely did not learn this in my regulated Reform Judaism studies. I read the Torah, I learned Hebrew, I felt in my heart of hearts that Judaism is what fit with me and that the Torah was divine. That it couldn't have simply come from the minds of men (even knowing academically how similar narratives are from the flood to the Tower of Babel). As an academic, I get to question everything I know, I get to hypothesize how the biblical narratives were altered and changed over time, and all the while, I know what I know.

    I can't give you some magic answer. If I could, I'd be bringing Jews back to the "fold" every second.

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  21. > What do you mean it doesn't work that way?

    Come on. You live in the frum world. Satmar and Lubavitch. Lakewood and YU. Etc.

    > It works that way for me. I'm Orthodox. If someone else thinks it is or isn't, well, that isn't my problem.

    Fair enough.

    > I'm not sure what your "ah," means, but it feels a little condescending.

    Sorry. Wasn’t meant to be. Just meant that you answered my question.

    > You cannot tell me what I do or do not know, nor can you tell me when I did or did not feel it.

    I’m not trying to tell you what you know. I was asking, in all seriousness, what it is that I missed.

    That said, I think you and I mean different things when using the word “know.”

    > I can't give you some magic answer.

    That’s a shame. It would make my life simpler if you could. Oh well.

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  22. @G*3 Evidently, the Jewish population in the U.S. is up 20 percent. :)

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  23. Ok... Yay?

    I'm not sure why you're telling me, but it's nice to know.

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  24. Neato! Good stuff. Really enjoy reading Chavia's blog.

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  25. To answer the question of the number of people leaving Orthodox Judaism vs retaining them

    the National Jewish Population Survey (2000-2001) presentation regarding Orthodox Jews, slide 9 presents the following statistics:

    Of the 587,000 Jews who were raised Orthodox and currently consider themselves Jewish
    - 240,000 are currently Orthodox
    - 347,000 are currently non-Orthodox

    http://www.jewishfederations.org/local_includes/downloads/4983.pdf

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  26. @Shalmo You realize that was 10 years ago? You also realize that there was no NJPS for 2010 because of Madoff? You also realize that in the past 10 years, the amount of Jews returning to Judaism has risen insanely? The statistic cited re: Orthodox Jews having a retnetion rate of 89 percent compared to Reform/Conservative were are by far lower can be found in Elazer and Geffen's book, found on Google books at http://books.google.com/books?id=hghdpWG_Z0oC&pg=PA213&lpg=PA213&dq=elazer+geffen+conservative+judaism&source=bl&ots=88OsLaFLHo&sig=a4qyxtRh8NayzrRvT2FitHcC1uQ&hl=en&ei=B-whTY_RFoX7lwe07Oi-DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false, on page 106.

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  27. With all due respect, these stats have been consistent for a long long time. I am fully aware of how the orthodox world likes to brag about how they represent the future of the jewish race, but reality is much more complex. How many of us are familiar with the orthodox PC line of how reform and conservative jews are going to intermarry out of existence and only orthodox will remain. And they have been saying this for years, it has never come to fruition. And there is a very good reason for this

    Which has been addressed here: http://www.threejews.net/2008/09/will-your-grandchildren-be-reform.html

    "Of all children raised Orthodox, only 42% have remained Orthodox as adults. 29% become Conservative adults, 17% become Reform adults, and 12% become "Just Jewish". Thus, the basic demographic facts are clear. Orthodox Jews have a lower intermarriage rate and a higher birthrate than more liberal or moderate Jews, but a much higher denominational-switching rate. Of all Jewish adults who were raised Orthodox, fewer than half are now Orthodox. No other Jewish denomination has such a high switching rate."

    All of which basically means the higher birth-rates of orthodox are doing nothing to counter the phenomenal and unprecedented 50% intermarriage and assimilation rate among the world's jewry today

    The ultra-orthodox who rip of the state both in the US and Israel are unlikely to continue maintaining their livelihoods given the impending economic collapse, and the modern orthodox are drifting more and more into outright conservative judaism. So it indeed is an interesting question of how long orthodox judaism can last.

    I recommend ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ; "The Vanishing American Jew" as some important reading on this matter.

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  28. @Shalmo So ... you ignore my statistics in favor of your own. The blog post you cite is two years old. The Jewish population today is at 6.5 million people, that's according to the most recent U.S. census. How do you explain a 20 percent rise in those identifying as Jewish? And what about my statistics on retention? You simply ignore them. And Dershowitz's book, which I have read, was written in 1997. That's 13 years ago. The demographic of Jewish peoplehood in the U.S. has changed in the past 13 years, as has its future.

    And, for what it's worth, I've never heard your quip about all Reform and Conservative Jews outmarrying out of existence. I know more traditional Conservative Jews than I know Jews who prefer to be on the Reform end of things. I also know more Reform Jews who cherish tradition. The Reform Movement released, recently, a book on kashrut. Does that scream disappearance into oblivion to you? No, it says Jewish.

    I think your negative view of the future of the Jewish people, probably scarred by personal experiences with the Orthodox community, is unfortunate, and for that I am sorry. But I do not think your perspective helps the cause of Jews -- all Jews, no matter what their preference of observance or not.

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  29. This is old, but it looks like you're still answering peoples'...er, concerns. I'm glad that there is someone like you on the internet to counteract all those who have blogs only to proclaim that this or that denomination is "dying", to judge others, and to complain and argue all day long.

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