web analytics
January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


A View of Observant Judaism by a Non Observant Jew

Most of us know right from wrong and live as though it matters because it does. This is what David Brooks reported.
Observant Judaism

I must say that I am both surprised and disappointed at the negative comments about David Brook’s op-ed column in the New York Times. And they weren’t few. They were many. The Forward, DovBear, Failed Messiah, and the many people who commented in the New York Times itself – all of them could not have been more upset about a positive article dealing with Orthodoxy.

I am upset too. Not by the article, but by all the negativity – some of it venomous! It is almost as if the entire column was some sort of a made up lie by an Orthodox cheerleader.

The fact is however, that David Brooks is not Orthodox. Nor is he a cheerleader. He is a respected journalist reporting on his impressions of a community which he is not a part of. Mr. Brooks took a tour of a Pomegranate, a ‘luxury’ kosher food store in the Midwood section of Flatbush a large mostly Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn. His guide was my old (…well maybe not so old) friend from Chicago, Rabbi Dr. Meir Yaakov Soloveichik.

The article was very positive. Brooks describes rather well what it means to be an Orthodox Jew living in the modern world. He explains quite nicely the primacy of Halacha in our lives even among the upscale Orthodox Jews who shop at a store like Pomegranate.

Expanding on his encounter with Pomegranate – he makes Orthodox Jews look like role models for all… suggesting that one could do a lot worse than following our ‘countercultural’ model. For example he quotes Rabbi Soloveichik on the Jewish approach to marriage:

“Marriage is about love, but it is not first and foremost about love,” Soloveichik says. “First and foremost, marriage is about continuity and transmission.”

He seems to praise our “deeper sense of collective purpose”:

They are like the grocery store Pomegranate, superficially a comfortable part of mainstream American culture, but built upon a moral code that is deeply countercultural.

He ends with the following paragraph:

All of us navigate certain tensions, between community and mobility, autonomy and moral order. Mainstream Americans have gravitated toward one set of solutions. The families stuffing their groceries into their Honda Odyssey minivans in the Pomegranate parking lot represent a challenging counterculture. Mostly, I notice how incredibly self-confident they are. Once dismissed as relics, they now feel that they are the future.

I think he’s got that right. Even if one looks only at the statistics he cites one can see a very bright future for Orthodox Jewry versus other denominations. At least in terms of population growth:

Nationwide, only 21 percent of non-Orthodox Jews between the ages of 18 and 29 are married. But an astounding 71 percent of Orthodox Jews are married at that age. And they are having four and five kids per couple. In the New York City area, for example, the Orthodox make up 32 percent of Jews over all. But the Orthodox make up 61 percent of Jewish children. Because the Orthodox are so fertile, in a few years, they will be the dominant group in New York Jewry.

British historian Arnold J. Toynbee must be rolling in his grave. This is how he explained our survival: The Jewish people are an ancient relic of a dead past. (He was corrected by Dr. Eliezer Berkovits who successfully challenged him on that notion.)

I felt really good about this article. But it did not take long for all the naysayers to come out of the woodwork – bashing it.

It’s not that any of the claims they were making against it weren’t true. Many of them are. In fact these problems are discussed right here fairly often.

No one screams louder than I do about the miscreants in our midst. Indeed these people are the cause of so much hilul HaShem – it is a wonder how any objective person could ever say anything positive about Orthodoxy. And no one complains more about how some of the more extreme segments of our world could use some serious tweaking.

Nor is Orthodoxy uniformly observed as one might erroneously conclude from this article. Indeed, there are Hasidic, Yeshivish, Lubavitch, Modern Orthodox, and Sephardi communities whose lifestyles are in most cases quite different from each other. Additionally each one of these has their own subgroups. And just like the non observant world, socioeconomic conditions play a very important part in how any of us live.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “A View of Observant Judaism by a Non Observant Jew”

  1. Chava Yocheved Burnham says:

    Bravo!

  2. Bruce Teleky says:

    young non orthodox kids are hooking up more and more and not building families. so is the country in general. while religious jews may be out of step, it appears as they want a future. that is a value worth of support. be fruitful and multiply and replenish……

  3. Bruce Teleky says:

    young non orthodox kids are hooking up more and more and not building families. so is the country in general. while religious jews may be out of step, it appears as they want a future. that is a value worth of support. be fruitful and multiply and replenish……

  4. WILL YOU CALL ME ???

  5. Bruce Teleky says:

    figured you get up at noon

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Hassnain Aliamin , one of four Muslim teenagers who attacked a Jew in Gateshead.
‘Let’s Go Jew-Bashing’ Muslims Hauled into British Court
Latest Blogs Stories
Auschwitz Entrance

How do we make sure the Holocaust is relevant to new generations?

Brutal evacuation of Amona

In 2006, Amona kids saw their teachers and rabbis being thrown from windows as if they were garbage

Photo posted on Fatah Facebook page, removed Jan.3, 2015.

No money should go to terrorists or their families; anyone involved in terror must pay the price

kiruv-shafran

Responsible Jewish outreach encourages BTs to retain and to enhance their relationship with parents

Israelis will vote for Likud because of Caroline Glick, but she’ll just be Right window dressing.

What are the dynamics of running a family business and what are its impact on family relationships?

The Hareidi paper HaMevaser wanted to have their cake and eat it too: use the photo; lose the women

Producer Chuck Wang explains how you can learn from mistakes and move on towards success.

Chareidi women who want to run for political office don’t suit the full definition of “chareidi.”

France inviting Abbas to the “anti-terror rally” makes me doubt it takes Muslim terrorism seriously

How could a Jewish family hide on the 3rd floor of a hotel where the Germans were on the 1st floor?

No Charedi leader has suggested a change that would make a difference to a failing paradigm

What is the “rookie mindset” and what can new trainees offer to the workplace?

And now for MORE Muslim musings-Go Ask Ayman-

This terror won’t respond to reason or logic. It must be hunted down. Destroyed. No trial/No talking

Israel as the Jewish State insures freedom of worship and security of Jews here and around the world

More Articles from Harry Maryles
kiruv-shafran

Responsible Jewish outreach encourages BTs to retain and to enhance their relationship with parents

Paris anti-terror march

The Hareidi paper HaMevaser wanted to have their cake and eat it too: use the photo; lose the women

No Charedi leader has suggested a change that would make a difference to a failing paradigm

The average Israeli may not fulfill all mitzvos but shops at the mitzvah “store” regularly

The rally tells me that the recent anti-Semitism in France isn’t representative of mainstream France

{Originally posted to author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah} So now there is DNA testing. This is the point made in a Yated article (republished in Maztav) in its crusade to change New York City’s Board of Health requirement of informed consent – warning parents of the dangers of Metzitza B’Peh (MbP). From Matzav: This extraordinary program […]

12 months ago, 27 year old US Army Sgt Jordan Adams suffered a traumatic brain injury

{Originally posted to author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah} I’ve have many times expressed my opposition here to the procedure known as Metzitza B’Peh (MbP). This involves direct oral suction of blood from the circumcision wound. I am opposed because it unnecessarily endangers the child when a Mohel has the herpes virus in the early stages and […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/a-view-of-observant-judaism-by-a-non-observant-jew/2013/03/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: