July 2, 2019 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm #1750388
I recently had a conversation with a non-religious coworker who’s a single father to a teenage girl with mental disabilities. They go to a conservative synagogue for Shabbos prayers, and they sit together. His daughter usually cannot daven more than a few words. He told me that this past Shabbos, his daughter sang along with the congregation the entire kedusha, for the first time. He was very emotional about it, and obviously very proud of her.
He then said “And that’s why the conservative shul is the best method. Families should sit together. If we had been at an Orthodox shul I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that moment.”
I wasn’t sure what to say at that point. So I said something like “yes, for you it is clearly the best method.”
What would you have said?July 2, 2019 1:09 pm at 1:09 pm #1750563
I hope you got much NachasJuly 2, 2019 1:31 pm at 1:31 pm #1750632
You must be so happy!July 2, 2019 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm #1750672
The correct answer, that Yiddisheit is not about personal emotional feelings, would not be the right thing to say. So nodding along and saying something noncommittal like you did is the only response.July 2, 2019 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm #1750683
I recently had a conversation with a non-religious coworker who’s a single father to a teenage girl with mental disabilities. They go to a non-kosher restaurant every Shabbos morning, and they sit together. His daughter usually stares at the food and no more. He told me that this past Shabbos, his daughter ate the entire meal, for the first time. He was very emotional about it, and obviously very proud of her.
He then said “And that’s why the going to Chris’s Steakhouse on Saturday morning is the best method. Families should spend time together. If we had been Orthodox I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that moment.”
I wasn’t sure what to say at that point. So I said something like “yes, for you it is clearly the best method.”
What would you have said?July 2, 2019 1:38 pm at 1:38 pm #1750674
If her singing inspires you so much, sit down to a shabbos seuda and sing zemiros. Better yet, both of you come join us at our seuda and join in our zemiros.July 2, 2019 1:38 pm at 1:38 pm #1750693
I don’t know what I actually would have said. But smiling and saying what a beautiful accomplishment, so must be so proud sounds reasonable.July 2, 2019 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #1750728
Joseph it seems you are trying to dramatize the question. But it seems like an identical scenario. Except that it has nothing to do with frumkeit as I just a easily could have been a kosher restaurant on Sunday.July 2, 2019 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #1750814
Apushta yid I hope you wouldn’t talk to the co-worker like that as he would inevitably say no. Also if you would invite them to sing zemiros are you an all women household.orbis kol isha ok out of shulJuly 2, 2019 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #1750825
either ZD’s or balebos’s excellent responses would work in your scenario as wellJuly 2, 2019 9:28 pm at 9:28 pm #1751461
“So I said something like “yes, for you it is clearly the best method.”
You didn’t know what to say so you said apikorsus?July 2, 2019 9:31 pm at 9:31 pm #1751595
Gray Matter. Why do you assume a coworker would outright turn down a polite invitation.
As for kol isha, i’m, really not concerned a non frum teenager with mental disabilities, as the OP puts it, would do much singing of zemiros. The point here is, the coworker in this scenario (I highly doubt it actually happened) is not being very nice and friendly as he takes a dig at frum people, no reason to respond in kind, but invite them to see how beautiful it is to keep shabbos, the torah way.July 2, 2019 9:31 pm at 9:31 pm #1751610
would he be proud if she landed on a cover of a goyish magazine with little clothes on?
Not that much different over hereJuly 2, 2019 9:32 pm at 9:32 pm #1751648
While I’m not sure what the proper response is, your comparison is silly. There’s nothing inherent about the treif restaurant that allows them to sit together. They could just as easily sit together in a kosher restaurant with no compromises. Wheras they can’t sit together in a frum shul during davening.July 2, 2019 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #1751683
Joseph, read the book The Tales Out of a Shul by Rabbi Emanuel Feldman how he converted conservatives to orthodox.July 3, 2019 8:10 am at 8:10 am #1751792
So those in favor of non-Orthodoxy being okay are similarly in favor of the father being Mechallel Shabbos in my example? You said he could’ve gone to a kosher restaurant but you raised no objections to that it was on Shabbos.
And given that there’s no kosher restaurants open on Shabbos, which is the only day he doesn’t work (he works Sunday through Friday) and could take his mentally ill daughter out to eat, surely therefore you’d be okay with a non-kosher restaurant given the circumstances.July 3, 2019 9:23 am at 9:23 am #1751795
Um absolutely Joseph
Your non-religious coworker’s daughter seems to have mental disabilities so severe, that she won’t even eat! Getting her to eat is paramount and doche BOTH Shabbos and Kashrus. Oh can imagine how emotional her father must be.
Baruch Hashem, what a nes.
what is her name so that we can daven for her continued improvementJuly 3, 2019 9:24 am at 9:24 am #1751829
I don’t see why you need to have a nice response here. This coworker is putting down Orthodox beliefs.
I would have responded, “I’m glad you had a good experience, but I don’t appreciate the insult to my beliefs. Saying that Conservative is better than Orthodox is inappropriate. I don’t try to convince you that my beliefs are better than yours, and I’d appreciate you showing me the same level of respect.”July 3, 2019 9:26 am at 9:26 am #1751793
I like zdad’s, balebos’s and GreyMatter’s responses. Thanks.
apushatayid, this really did happen, first off. And to me it is clear my coworker had some negative experience with frum people in the past, which is why he has a chip on his shoulder. I wouldn’t simply brush this off as him “not being nice”. He’s hurting, obviously. So responding coldly is not the way to approach this, in my opinion.
5ish – the guy is clearly not ready to be told what he should or shouldn’t be doing with his daughter. Care to offer your own response to my question?
I’m going to ignore Joseph altogether, and I highly encourage everyone else to do the same.July 3, 2019 9:44 am at 9:44 am #1751867
☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
There are actually two separate points here; what the best response is, and whether or not the OP’s response was acceptable.
The easier one is the second. It clearly wasn’t. You may not like Joseph’s analogy, and you may choose to ignore him, but that doesn’t make his point wrong. He, and DaMoshe, and apushatayid, and 5ish, and CA are correct.
As far as the correct response, I don’t see how you can ignore the affront to the Torah. How to show disagreement with the sentiment expressed is hard to say, especially not knowing the co-worker or the relationship.July 3, 2019 9:52 am at 9:52 am #1751870
I would have told him, I’m glad you had a wonderful experience, however a religion is not and cannot be built around the possibility of something specific taking place in a unique situation.
To posit that conservative Judaism is better than orthodox, because one time a father of a special needs child had a beautiful experience that he would not otherwise have had, is akin to saying it’s better to eat all your food pureed because I know someone who once broke a tooth biting into something hard.
You don’t create standards, based on unique exceptionsJuly 3, 2019 10:18 am at 10:18 am #1751902
“I like zdad’s, balebos’s and GreyMatter’s responses. ”
The father in this story has already formed an opinion. There isn’t much to be gained by trying to disprove him. It would likely descend into an argument of “My way is the best way.” “No it isn’t.” “Yes it is.” “No it isn’t.” etc. It won’t get very far. I’ve been there. I know.
It would be better IMHO not to take the bait, and instead to find some non-judgmental, mutually-relatable common ground, such as the love that parents have for their children. Once you make that connection, you can start to build from there.
One of the reasons that movements such as Conservative and Reform exist is because people wanted to do their own thing while maintaining at least some flavor of Yiddishkeit, or because they felt judged in an Orthodox community. Now that they are so far removed from the Yiddishkeit of their grandparents and great-grandparents, we are spending millions of dollars in kiruv to try to bring them back.
Sadly, the whole point may be moot in a generation or two, as Conservative now finds itself in a state of irreversible demographic decline. Their congregations are shrinking, their synagogues and schools are closing, and their members are older and fewer. According to one survey, only 11% of American Jews under age 30 identify as Conservative.
So connect with your co-worker now, because the odds are that his grandchildren and your grandchildren will never meet each other in a Jewish context.July 3, 2019 1:32 pm at 1:32 pm #1751985
I do not know the motivations of the father, however I do know there are some people you just dont debate religion with and even if you are correct, you dont want to make this debate over someone with a disabilityJuly 12, 2019 2:01 am at 2:01 am #1757457
I don’t think it s helpful to him or his religious future to start fighting about the utility of mechitza’s. Even if that would be a good idea the timing couldn’t be worse. It is often only appropriate to fight malicious people, but then it become insensible.July 12, 2019 10:20 am at 10:20 am #1757481
I probably would’ve said something along the lines of, “that must have been such a special experience for you. I hope you weren’t implying that there’s something inferior about my practice as there are many reasons that we do the things we do. But I’m happy for you that you got to have that experience.”
What you said was great but I would’ve probably commented gently on his attacking orthodoxy.July 15, 2019 10:19 am at 10:19 am #1758254
Was it explicit that the daughter was post-bas-mitzvah age? Little girls come into the men’s section pretty commonly in Orthodox shuls.
Either way, he was probably just using her as a sob story to bash Orthodoxy. He can say whatever he wants, and if you defend your beliefs you might as well be Jewish ISIS. It’s a societal problem, not a personal one.
By the way, everything Joseph has said here is true and shouldn’t be controversial on a frum site. The lengths to which some of you have gone to disagree with him on this thread is borderline kefira at best.July 19, 2019 7:40 am at 7:40 am #1761554
I empathize with this father and his emotions, but unfortunately, he did knock the Orthodox system.
It would have been more appropriate to point out that one can be just as proud even if one sits in a different section.
L’havdil, was a certain person any less proud of her spouse Mr. T.B. when he won the Super Bowl even though this person was not physically in the huddle with him? There’s time afterwards for celebrating together. In shul, as on the playing field, play by the rules which have stood the test of time.
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