web analytics
May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Jewish Education and the Smartphone

iphone

Photo Credit: Apple Store

The evolution of the current state of Orthodox Judaism has proven to be a major success in maintaining and perpetuating itself. That success as evidenced by its exponential growth over the last sixty years is largely based on how it handled its encounter with modernity. That is mostly due to how it educates its children. But all is not well.

A lot of young people from Orthodox homes of all stripes have gone astray from their religious practices and beliefs. This is commonly referred to as going Off the Derech (OTD). This phenomenon seems to have reached epidemic proportion. I don’t know if things are worse now that they were when the age of enlightenment took hold in the Jewish world. A lot of people went astray of their Judaism via the Jewish version of enlightenment called Haskala.

What makes this phenomenon unique in our era is how we have adjusted to the land of freedom and its open society. A society that is a direct result of the enlightenment. When the enlightenment first happened we were not prepared for it.

In the pre-enlightenment era, Judaism was practiced pretty much the same way it had always been practiced in its European (Ashkenazi) incarnation. Life as we know it today did not exist. One generation lived pretty much the same way the last one did. Generation after generation – Jews were treated the same way by their European hosts: shabbily. We were segregated into ghettos and persecuted. We were pretty much cut off and shut out from the outside world.

There was thus much more control over our lives by religious leaders. Pressure to conform was great. Those who did not conform had no place else to go. Not to mention the fact that few Jews had even the slightest notion of desiring to know more than they were taught by their teachers. Because of all this – outside distractions were of little significance to us.

When the enlightenment suddenly opened up new vistas for us, the floodgates of assimilation, free thinking, and heretical thought were opened along with them. Many Jews saw a new world of knowledge and lifestyle previously unavailable to them now beckoning. And they took advantage of it. The rabbis of that era were unprepared for this openness and had no way to control it. A lot of people from observant Judaism went astray of their traditions and beliefs.

Fast forward to 1950s. The Holocaust had just ended. There were millions of European Jewish survivors that had no homes to return to. A large number of them were the most devout among us. They would never have immigrated to America pre-Holocaust. They are the ones that listened to their rabbinic leaders who forbade them from immigrating to America. The fear was that the ‘Treifena Medina’ would (via freedom and the pull of assimilation) cause them all to go astray.

Post Holocaust – all those who refused to go, were suddenly survivors. They could no longer go back to the European cities and towns that were bastions of religious life pre Holocaust. They no longer existed. Furthermore their gentile neighbors were not all the anxious to see them coming back (to say the least!). These devout Jews immigrated to America. And that changed everything .

Over the last 60 or so years these people have created a society of religious Jews which I believe to be unprecedented in Jewish history since the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Because of the very foundation of religious tolerance upon which America is built – the Jewish people had the freedom to build the religious world of their choice in complete freedom.

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.

No Responses to “Jewish Education and the Smartphone”

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Blogs Stories
Rabbi Levinger (zt"l)

Torah is to be lived. Rabbi Moshe Levinger was a completely living Torah, the Torah of Eretz Yisrael

Tadmor - Yerushalmi

“Said Rabbi Yochanan: Happy are those who see the fall of Tadmor…” (Talmud Yerushalmi)

Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi is looking to come home to the Likud he abandoned a few years ago.

Why has Prime Minister Netanyahu given Erdan & Hanegbi insultingly low-level cabinet appointments?

Rabbi Levinger in blue, seated with the author

Without Israel, the Jewish People are scattered nomads lacking Torah’s true national grandeur&power

Will it get better/worse for Bibi or does the wily Bibi know/plan something that will shock us all?

Dr. Vernon Smith, 2002 Economics Nobel Prize winner, on predicting housing markets & economic issues

100% of the ‘First Responders’ helping those Arab school girls were Jewish and they didn’t hesitate!

Women equalizing with men in all areas of Judaism is anathema to the very idea of male/female roles.

Bibi endorsing the “2 State Solution” endangers Israel, moving the policy Center-Right from far Left

Dear Opposition Members… You seem confused… Let me clear it up for you… You lost.

A tribute to Jerusalem by its finest troubador, David Herman.

Do the food giants really care about our health? Are consumers now eating healthier food?

If other pleasures exceed the joy we feel for Jerusalem, then something is wrong with our Judaism.

There will be peace when we listen to G-d and do want he tells us to do – all for our very own good.

We will celebrate and thank the L-rd for our blessings, determined to truly liberate our Holy sites

For the record, the grand total of Jewish grandmothers in Israel that have blown up ANYTHING: ZERO!

More Articles from Harry Maryles
Rabbi Jeffrey Fox,Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maharat

Women equalizing with men in all areas of Judaism is anathema to the very idea of male/female roles.

gay not gay

Kavod HaBriyos and the Halachic prohibition of homosexual sex: How do we honor both laws?

The religious parties’ agenda is to undo the progress they saw as regress made in the last Keneset

There are encouraging reports of increased enrollment in Charedi army and educational programs

Rav Riskin’s desire to strengthen ties with Christians is pure but his methods have crossed lines

Truly, in the modern world, we live in the time of ‘What’s in it for me?’ The time of the ‘selfie’!

Attackers of this innocent religious solider had been brainwashed that Israel is evil & illegitimate

He was a Torah giant, uniquely exemplifying the Hashkafa of Torah U’Mada (Torah & worldly knowledge)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/jewish-education-and-the-smartphone/2014/09/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: