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@beisyosef – Thank you for your post. I respect your sincerity and candor. All too often we hear stories of young men and women who have difficulty in shidduchim because they are pressured to conform to what is considered “normal.” I know of outstanding boys who were turned down again and again because they communicated that their goal was to learn for a few years, and then study for a career and go to work so that they could support their family. Eventually these boys were told never to speak about any ambitions to do anything other than learn full-time. Similarly, I know of girls who wanted to build a home with a lifestyle that only a working husband (or a two-income professional couple) could provide. The girls were told to say that they wanted a husband who only learns, whom the wife would support. The whole dating process was a charade, with everyone pretending to want things other than what they really wanted. The attitude of the parents, shadchanim, dating coaches, etc. was, “Just get them married first. Then they’ll figure out what to do.” In some cases B”H the marriages worked out fine. In other cases the couples struggle, in part from continued external pressure to keep up the appearances of being some kind of ideal, fantasy kollel family. I appreciate that there are young adults like yourself who are honest and up-front in the dating process. It gives me hope that well-rounded, self-aware people can succeed. Hatzlacha raba!
“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.
Why is “unacceptable” grammar accepted? It is accepted because if an Ashkenazi goes through the frum world talking about Shabbatot, talitot, etc., people will think that he is weird, or worse: that he is a Tzioni, ha ha.
One could write a book about all of the mangling of pronunciation and grammar (English as well as Hebrew) that are part of the normative frum dialect, but it would not change the way that people speak. As an example, take the expression “shala shudis”. Shala is not a word, nor is shudis, but everyone knows what shala shudis means, and hardly anyone thinks twice to say “shalos seudos”, or more precisely, “seudah shelishees.”
Perhaps there is some measure of pride and identity that come from not speaking in a fancy way; for example, to show that we are not like Maskilim who taught vocabulary and dikduk for the sake of their literature and theater, but neglected (or outright rejected) teaching Torah u’mitzvos.
Personally, I “am mispallel” to “be zocheh” to learn the intricacies of the Torah and Loshon Hakodesh. 🙂May 10, 2019 4:14 pm at 4:14 pm in reply to: Why is Kiruv Rechokim becoming much more challenging? #1725376
It is true that we have had, and continue to have, many successes in kiruv. If kiruv rechokim is perceived as being “no longer successful,” it might be because of two challenges.
The first is demographic. The population of non-Orthodox Jews in the United States is aging and becoming fewer in number. With an intermarriage rate of over 50%, and assuming that roughly 50% of those intermarriages are between a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, a large portion of Americans who even identify as Jews are not halachically Jewish. Some kiruv professionals have told me that they need to gently and tactfully learn whether the person they are speaking to is actually Jewish, no matter how sincere the person seems, or how “Jewish-sounding” the name is. I know of several cases where individuals engaged with a kiruv organization, only to learn that they were not Jewish, and to have their “kiruv” process turn into one of geirus instead.
The other challenge is cultural. Americans, particularly those who went to public school and especially those who went to universities, are taught that all people are equal, that all religions are the same, that there are no absolute truths, and that anyone’s beliefs are just as valid as anyone else’s. If you say that 2+2=5, then 2+2=5, because you said so, and therefore it must be true for you. Add to the mix the belief that universalism is good, that tribalism is bad, and that Jewish tribalism is the worst of all. Modern liberal thought is diametrically opposed to Torah concepts such as schar v’onesh, am nivchar, etc., but this the mindset that the kiruv professional must confront.
All that said, we must give tremendous hakaras hatov to the kiruv professionals who make great personal sacrifices and persist with incredible dedication to draw our fellow Jews closer to Torah and mitzvos.
Edison/Highland Park has several shuls ranging from Modern Orthodox to Agudah, plus a kollel. It’s a diverse community that prides itself on achdus and a “live and let live” approach that works well for some people. There are schools and amenities in town or close by. Geographically E/HP is in the center of NJ and close to NJ Transit and all major highways, although traffic on the local roads can be challenging (like almost everyplace else in NJ). While E/HP is located only 45 minutes from Brooklyn, housing is a fraction of the cost, and there are many homes on the market at any given time. I have often wondered why E/HP is not more “on the radar” for families that are looking for an out-of-town lifestyle.