כי לא מחשבותי מחשבותיכם

כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם, וְלֹא דַרְכֵיכֶם דְּרָכָי

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why Kids Flip Out

The Weekly Kefirah once again has a thoughtful insight into why kids from traditional but secular backgrounds may be easily manipulated into kiruv.

An excerpt from his post It's Because of the Book:
The reason why they are so easily victimized is because of the book, specifically in this case the Torah.
The problem arises because while less-fundamentalist versions of Judaism don't necessarily follow the Torah, they still venerate it. They still believe that it was God's divine gift. And they teach this to the kids. The book is important.
Now when the kids grow up, they start looking around and they find some people who actually take the book seriously. Perhaps they say, "If it's God's gift to humanity, then, shouldn't we be taking it seriously?" Because they don't necessarily have the tools (Hebrew) to examine it themselves, they're susceptible to cherry-picked verses and explanations. They can be presented with a very fundamentalist viewpoint, modernized by out-of-context quotes and sketchy interpretations (italics mine). And they eat it up. They eat it up, because they have been taught their whole life that the book is the key.
The only solution, it seems to me, is to create awareness for what outreach does. Rebecca M. Ross does a great job at Jewish Outreach: What Your Rabbi Isn't Telling You.

Also, a positive outlook on skepticism, knowledge about the religion and the tools of critical thinking should help parents to inoculate their children against the dangers of (especially deceptive) kiruv.

3 comments:

  1. When you bear in mind how rapidly non-Orthodox Jewish communities are shrinking,

    http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey/

    the "problem" of secular Jews becoming Orthodox will soon be moot because there will be no secular Jews.

    What happened to the Hellinist Jews of Second Temple period? No one knows for sure, however they disappeared somehow.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellenistic_Judaism#Decline_of_the_Hellenistai_and_partial_conversion_to_Christianity

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many of the Helenists Jews returned after the Makabees where successful. It took over a year for the rabbis to rule that Chanukah should be celebrated.

      Delete
    2. Many of the Helenists Jews returned after the Makabees where successful. It took over a year for the rabbis to rule that Chanukah should be celebrated.

      Delete