web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Sorry, But I’ll Spend My Money Elsewhere


Recently I received a letter from David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism asking me to help support his movement. He wrote to me as “one Jew to another,” spotlighting certain issues he considers important to the Jewish people and Judaism.

Rather than simply toss the note into the nearest trash basket, I decided to respond to Mr. Saperstein and tell him just what I think.

“Unfortunately,” I began my letter, “I found your appeal to be horribly divisive, ignorant, and completely irrelevant to traditional Judaism.” I pointed to his “us vs. them” mentality, as evidenced by his use of such loaded buzzwords as “reactionary” (three times); “right-wing” or “far right” (four times); and “and progressive” (three times).

“Why,” I asked him, “do you assume that only the right wing of the political spectrum is reactionary?” I told him that my family had lived for more than half a century under a system of force-fed Soviet Marxism, a system that constantly described itself as “progressive.” But it was, in fact, quite a reactionary system, not least in its opposition to Judaism and our Torah traditions.

On the matter of the political affiliation of American Jewry, I pointed out that here, too, labels are meaningless: “I agree with you that for generations the American Jewish community has been an important force in promoting progressive values and social justice. At this time, a significant percentage of this group is moving to the right of the political spectrum. However, you should not assume that because of this shift they have abandoned social justice and tikkun olam.”

I noted that “although I voted for President Bush in the 2004 election, I still consider myself progressive and committed to social justice.”

Using his own words from the fundraising letter to drive my message home, I added: “I also wish to ‘Make America a better place. To seek peace and to pursue justice. To confront intolerance, defend individual freedom, and fight for social justice.’ Unfortunately, I feel that today’s liberals, leftists, and Reformists are no longer committed to these values; they are only making empty promises.”

I noted that the Reform movement’s positions, based both on official pronouncements and the stated opinions of Reform leaders, lean too much in the direction of “giving away Israel’s land, intermarrying outside the faith, ordaining homosexual rabbis, and other desecrations of our traditions in the name of social justice.”

“I support a clean environment as much as you do,” I wrote, “but if you are a real rabbi, how can you honestly support marriage for homosexuals? How can you label our president a reactionary, when he has proven his support for Israel and the Jewish people?”

When I decided to become religiously observant, there were three large Jewish denominations to choose from. I informed Mr. Saperstein that “I chose Orthodoxy because it has proven itself consistent with Torah values without compromising. There are plenty of inconveniences that come with being observant, but when you look at [Orthodox Jews], we are happy to follow the mitzvot without any doubts.”

In conclusion, I suggested that Mr. Saperstein “stop the name-calling and pause for a moment. Ask yourself why Orthodoxy is growing and Reform is shrinking. Ask yourself why Jews, especially in the younger generations, are abandoning liberalism. I know that you have a life of dedication to Reform Judaism behind you, but it is never too late to consider Orthodoxy. You will be in the company of a movement that has securely guarded Torah traditions for centuries.

“Assimilationist movements come and go. They selectively follow some Jewish values, such as tikkun olam, while ignoring everything else the Torah teaches. Throughout the centuries, Jews have been an example to the world of brotherhood, faith, tradition, and family. What’s wrong with living a morally enriched life and teaching it to others? Why should you, the president, or I keep it to ourselves?”

About the Author: Sergey Kadinsky is a freelance writer and political consultant residing in Queens. He previously served as assistant editor of The Jewish Star and as a reporter at the New York Post.


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 “Sorry, But I’ll Spend My Money Elsewhere”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Beit El. early Tuesday morning,
Hundreds of Police Force Protesters out of Beit El Buildings [video]
Latest Indepth Stories
Hamas on the Temple Mount - Jul 3, 2015

Magnanimity by Moshe Dayan, allowing Muslim control of the Temple Mount, led to today’s situation.

Community-Jewels-logo

It was modeled upon a similar fund that had been set up by Sephardic Jews in Venice. But Amsterdam’s Dotar was initially more ambitious in scope.

Brudner-072415-Rav-Aharon

Rav Aharon Margalit is a bestselling author – his book, As Long As I Live, has been translated into four languages – and a standing-room only lecturer. Both religious and non-religious audiences flock to hear him. What makes him so extraordinary? Rav Margalit is a Chasidic Jew who experienced incredible challenges from a very young […]

J Street president, Jeremy Ben-Ami.

J Street is the vanguard (Jewish face)in support of Obama’s Vienna Accords Nuclear Deal with Iran

“I hold the woman’s place over that of men in every fundamental aspect of public and private life.”

The US-UNRWA accord is another example of this White House, hostile to Israel, disregarding truth.

On the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, Tisha B’av, a reflection on the dangerous deal with Iran

The Kotel gained significance around 1550. Previously, many Jews prayed on the Temple Mount itself.

All Jews MUST stand together to oppose boycotts against Israel. So why does NIF & JCF support BDS?

This year it is hard to concentrate on anything but Iran building nuclear weapons to destroy Israel

Bibi failed the moment he transferred Israel’s Iran problem to the international arena.

I was entranced by Kaddish, a song of sorrow of the whole of Israel for the 1000s of years of exile

Like the Avos, we are invested with the mission to inspire humanity to become nobler and greater

Iran accords are worse than Munich; even Chamberlain would be shocked at what is transpiring again.

An unhappy person cannot become happy by acquiring items. Happiness has to come from somewhere else.

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

More Articles from Sergey Kadinsky
Rabbi Manny Behar

On certain public policy issues, Orthodox opinion stands in sharp contrast to the views of most American Jews.

V-E-Day-052413-Grandpa

Nearly half a million of them fought in Red Army uniforms, under communist slogans but with a personal vengeance that was solely the result of Jewish experience. More than the “Greatest Generation,” they were the living superheroes hidden in plain sight.

Finding a classmate has never been easier, with online tools rekindling long-lost childhood friendships. For those whose last school exams took place more than 70 years ago, only to be followed by the ravages of the Holocaust, a long-distance reunion leads to an outpouring of emotion.

He founded a college that spans the world, and served as its president until his death Monday evening at his home in Forest Hills, New York.

He founded a college that spans the world, and served as its president until his death Monday evening at his home in Forest Hills, New York.

Yes, it is your father’s synagogue, and it had just observed its 70th anniversary.

It was shocking to see the writer Hillel Halkin marking the 40th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem by calling for its division. In a May 15op-ed in the New York Sun (“Mounting Figures”), Halkin wrote about the concern of Israeli political leaders with demographics. As a solution, he extended their call for territorial concessions even beyond Judea and Samaria, applying it to the capital city of Israel.

“I support a clean environment as much as you do,” I wrote, “but if you are a real rabbi, how can you honestly support marriage for homosexuals? How can you label our president a reactionary, when he has proven his support for Israel and the Jewish people?”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/sorry-but-ill-spend-my-money-elsewhere/2005/02/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: