web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Changing Our Image for the Better


Allison Josephs' website Jewinthecity.com website educates about Orthodox Judaism.

Allison Josephs' website Jewinthecity.com website educates about Orthodox Judaism.

Note from Harry Maryles: I occasionally talk about Jewish heroes on this blog. I am proud to offer this guest post by one of the more quiet ones.

NCSY alumnus Allison Josephs (seen here with her “Partner in Torah” actress Mayim Bialik) is a unique individual. She is not a talker. She is a doer. Allison noticed a gaping hole in our image as Orthodox Jews. One created by – among other things – one Chilul HaShem after another that I often read about in the national and world media and report on here. We have been damaged by so many negative stories and bad apples that it has hurt our mission as “a light unto the nations”.

Some people have complained that I am one of the guilty parties on this front… that my blog carries more than its share of negativity. I must admit that a very large portion of my posts are negative. But that isn’t because I seek to throw mud on my own people. It is because I am trying to make us a better people.

Ignoring the bad just keeps the bad coming. Sweeping it under the carpet and not protesting it is almost tantamount to endorsing it. Shtika K’Hoda’ah. I would like nothing better than to post one positive story after another. Stories that inspire rather than demoralize. Believe it or not I look for such stories and when I find them I report on them.

Unfortunately there are more of the other kind of stories. But there are some very good people out there that seek to change how the world sees us and at least one person who seems to be doing a good job of it – Allison Josephs. She is doing something very unique that counters all the negativity in our world. But instead of my going on about it – I will let her do the talking. Her words follow.

Hello Emes Ve-Emunah readers! My name is Allison Josephs and five years ago I did something kind of crazy – I quit my jobs (I had two at that time and was the sole bread winner for our family and a mother of two while my husband was in law school) in order to attempt to start an online revolution. The problem: the perception of Orthodox Jews in the non-Orthodox and non-Jewish circles. The solution: a world wide Orthodox image makeover campaign, of course!

The truth, though, is that my degree was in Philosophy, not public relations, and my work experience was in Jewish outreach, not public relations! Fortunately, I’ve always had a flair for the dramatics, and right around this time, YouTube was getting popular. I noticed that the mainstream media basically only reported negative stories about religious Jews and that popular books, movies, and TV shows always depicted Orthodox Jews as over the top and extreme.

But with YouTube, *I* could tell the story myself. I’m a ba’alas teshuva and although the religious Jewish world is far from perfect, living a life imbued with Torah wisdom and observance gives my existence purpose. I was a child who despite having a very happy secular upbringing, spent years searching for the meaning of life and I was delighted to find such gems within my own heritage.

As soon as I discovered the beauty and depth of Torah living and learning, I wanted to share the information with every other Jew on the planet. (I started with my own family, who are all observant today.) Rejecting something with knowledge is one thing, but most Jews in the world today have essentially rejected a life of Jewish observance with very little book or experiential knowledge.

I had seen a YouTube show called “lonelygirl15″ about a teenage girl who brought the viewers into her life through the medium of online videos. Being on YouTube, I saw, essentially gives the viewer a sense of “meeting” the person who’s on the screen. I noticed how when people meet nice, normal Orthodox Jews, the stereotypes just naturally get broken down. Having every person in the world personally meet an Orthodox Jew would of course be impossible. There aren’t very many of us and we tend to live in only certain cities.

But if one Orthodox Jew could make a video that could be watched in every corner of the planet – well then a religious Jewish person and personality could be spread as far as the internet could reach. So I started a YouTube show called “Jew in the City” as I asked myself “who am I?” And the answer was “a Jew in the city.” The show developed into a blog (at JewintheCity.com) which features the videos, articles, and Q&A’s.

We just finished our fifteenth video, have gotten a decent amount of coverage in the Jewish press and have even slowly, slowly gotten some attention in the mainstream media. And the results are just as I believed they would be – as soon as the “scary, black and white clothed” “bearded” “unfriendly” image of the stereotypical Orthodox Jew is broken down and people see a laid back, young Orthodox Jewish woman with a voice and a lot of opinions, the desire to explore traditional Judaism is being awakened in so many viewers.

JITC’s videos and articles have covered topics like science vs. Torah, the myth about the hole in the sheet, mikvah, homosexuality, and much more. We now have a team of interns who are helping to spread this information as far as possible. But an Orthodox image makeover campaign need not only be accomplished through JITC. Each and every one of us can do our part to break down stereotypes about Orthodox Jews in our daily lives.

About the Author:


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.

No Responses to “Changing Our Image for the Better”

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad and north Korean  nuclear test.
Lausanne Talks May Be Camouflage for Iranian Nukes in North Korea
Latest Blogs Stories
American-Jews-100413

How do you put a love of Judaism into a middle-aged man when it was never there in the first place?

MK Haneen Zoabi being ejected from the Knesset Floor in July 2011. She flew into an uncontrollable rage while the Prime Minister was speaking.

It is perfectly understandable how someone who has no background in Israeli politics could mistake Bibi’s speech as racist…

Moshe Gafni

Israel’s Charedi world is in financial crisis. If the trend worsens it may be their breaking point.

Doug Goldstein

Why do you need to file an FBAR if you’re a US citizen abroad? What happens if you don’t?

Jews caring for one another, that is how I would explain Israel to someone.

As Iran becomes the North Korea of the Middle East, Nasrallah doesn’t understand where all his friends went.

I pray each member of Knesset will represent the interests of the State of Israel & ALL its citizens

At no time did Kahlon say that he preferred to see Bibi in another term as PM-I don’t trust him!

“Israel has nuclear weapons & it isn’t afraid to use them if necessary-Does that frighten you? Good”

American Jews think they know what’s best for Israel-better than Israelis. Here’s my take…

An old Arab man yelled at me “You’re stupid!” I returned the compliment; He had murder in his eyes.

Why do people feel the need to check their email 50X a day, constantly dipping in & out of Facebook?

Betar is the world-wide Zionist youth movement that refuses to be silent, and as our founder Ze’ev Jabotinsky wrote: “Silence is despicable.”

Life in Europe’s pre-War Yeshiva world makes today’s rulings look like the Taliban has taken over.

Moshe’s the 1st family member in thousands of years to have the honor of serving in a Jewish army

Often wig wearers become more attractive after marriage. Doesn’t this turn the intent on its head?

More Articles from Allison Josephs
Allison Josephs' website Jewinthecity.com website educates about Orthodox Judaism.

Rejecting something with knowledge is one thing, but most Jews in the world today have essentially rejected a life of Jewish observance with very little book or experiential knowledge.

Allison Josephs

By now everyone has heard of Deborah Feldman’s Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots. The book received much more attention than it should have.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/changing-our-image-for-the-better/2012/09/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: