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December 1, 2015 / 19 Kislev, 5776
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Lessons Orthodox Judaism Can Learn from Mormons


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On the flip side, it seems we too can thrive without changing our more fanatical beliefs. This goes a bit against my personal leanings, but it seems that normalizing wacky beliefs is less important than I thought. It’s true that we can offer a more reasonable set of beliefs that remain true to Orthodox Judaism than what is commonly held now. But it may not be as great a factor as quality of life. So while I will continue my efforts to create acceptance of more rationalist beliefs in Judaism, I think our collective efforts are better utilized in improving day to day Orthodox Jewish life and its challenges like cost of living, abuse, parenting, education, and other issues that arise from a social context and not a theological context.

We can learn from everyone. In particular, I think Orthodox Judaism in America can learn a lot from Mormons. At the very least, I think this is another discussion worth our time and effort.

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About the Author: Rabbi Eliyahu Fink, J.D. is the rabbi at the famous Pacific Jewish Center | The Shul on the Beach in Venice CA. He blogs at finkorswim.com. Connect with Rabbi Fink on Facebook and Twitter.

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5 Responses to “Lessons Orthodox Judaism Can Learn from Mormons”


  2. my rebbetzin (i am only really a rabbi because i married such a chashuva rebbetzin) is an ex-Mormon (now basically Satmar-esque with the shpitzel etc.), and she always says frum yidden can learn a lot about how to organize chesed projects from the Mormons – but still she says i spend wayyyyy to much time (mostly in Torah discussions) on facebook – she is probably right…

  3. Rena Gold says:

    I see many parallels between the Mormons as you describe them here to the Lubavicher Rebbe’s emissaries around the world. Here are the excerpts that I felt were especially valid and illuminating:

    “They have confidence in their religion, despite its challenges in the face of modernity. They believe technology is here to help them.

    “Another principle that sounded familiar to me, was the self sacrifice that Missionaries make for the sake of their beliefs. It is really hard to go to an unknown place and teach uninterested people about your religion. The missionaries are not given a stipend by the Church and live very meager lives. But they all say that it was the happiest time of their life.

    “It’s worth mentioning that the Mormons have a central authority that makes determinations for all Mormons. Apparently, everyone listens. “

    May the Rebbe’s emissaries have much hatzlacha in their holy work, that their light dispel all the darkness, including that of their nemesis as detailed here.

  4. Eva Feld says:

    Rabbi b'chol hakavod, Rabbi, the Mormons came from us Jews. Of course they adopted many of our basic values. Their pages of history are bloodied by persecution and condemnation. The Mormons too have witten some ugly pages which will remain unmentioned. The Mormons are to be admired for their valujs and concerns about children and their faith. They, like us,have their "fundamentalists" i.e, Colorado City, AZ . One of the most beautiful Mormon Temples that I visited was in Southern Iowa near Bear Lake. the hospitality and welcome received was memorable and warm including the Hayden organ concert that we were invited to attend. Alas, we couldn't. We were on our way to Jackson Hole in WY . It was beyond memorable.

  5. Eva Feld says:

    B'chol hakavod rebbetzin Kotakowski for haing converted from the Mormon to Satmar. I admire you. I am a Jew by birth and would not know where else to find so much spirituality. One cannot but admire the Mormons and what they have accomplished in the relative short lied religion born and bred, suffered and persecuted and the Mormons fought back bloodily and forcefully. They learned it all from us Jews, they came from us and they studied well. Then there is Colorado City … fundamentalists to the max writing a nasty chapter in what is basically a peace seeking religion. Yes, at it is a religion in the full sense of the word.

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