Sunday, December 09, 2007

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Perceptions of Judaism

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

On Shabbos I had a heated conversation with a young lady about the future of Judaism. She presented that the restrictiveness of orthodox Judaism, plus some comments from her teacher (in a MO yeshiva), and her social circle's disdain for orthodoxy, clearly indicated that classical Jewish practice is at odds with G-d's intention for the world, and is toast.

One of her ideas made some sense...she asserted that ultra-orthodoxy's isolation tendencies are at odds with G-d's objectives that the Jews and Torah be a light to the world.

Yet, as she was quoting from the wondrous sage of American contemporary wisdom, Oprah, I had happened to glance at her magazine opening to an article instructing women how to avoid feelings of love to enjoy...temporary interactions. So I asked her, is that what she wants? Is that the way she wants Jewish society to interact? Is that not worthy of staying away from?

Modern society offers so many wonderful tools, conveniences, safety nets. But media is something else all together. Values which few (initially) agree with are spread and pushed, for their titillation value. Without talking about any kind of conspiracy, remember the media makes money by keeping you watching and listening. The longer they own your eyes (the window to the soul, right?), the more money in their pocket. _So they will do anything they can to keep your eyes._

Orthodoxy is like the straight kid at a party where they are passing around drugs. What's wrong with him, he won't take it! Everyone else puts their kids in front of 6 hours of TV a day, what's wrong with you not having a TV?

The fallacy part of her argument is the future of Judaism. Statistically, it's actually the reverse, the non-strict are fading away, and orthodoxy continues to grow at a breakneck pace. It was somewhat humoerous at the last US Agudas Yisroel convention where they started to face the fact that in 20 years, they'll be the majority and faced with lobbying and federation style functions that the non-orthodox Jewish segment has performed till now.

Orthodoxy is coming out of the shadows, but not to run to WalMart to buy big screen TV's.

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