web analytics
July 29, 2015 / 13 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Will Your Grandchildren Remain Jews?


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Sometimes, messages come to us from the most unexpected sources. While, Baruch HaShem, there is currently a substantial upsurge in commitment to Torah and mitzvos, and statistics demonstrate that the Orthodox community is experiencing an unprecedented resurgence, sadly, there is also a flip side to this story. Assimilation continues to eat away at our innards, sapping at our vitality and victimizing our youth. Intermarriage and alienation remain deadly scourges, infecting countless of our people.

Recently, a jarring message came to us from a news article that I picked up in The New York Times. I do not watch TV. I am not familiar with the programs that are currently in vogue, but The Times related a story about an incident that occurred on one of the more popular  salacious TV shows. The program portrayed a young Gentile woman on a date with a Jewish young man. They went out for dinner, during which she brought up the subject of marriage, to which he responded that he could not marry a non-Jew. Absorbing this piece of information, the girl challenged him with a simple question: “So how come you ordered pork tenderloin?”

Without batting an eye, he answered, “I’m Conservative.”

It was only a television show, but his response appears to have ignited a great hullabaloo – so much so that it made The New York Times. A spokesman for the Conservative movement vehemently voiced his objections to the producers of the show, stating that the young man’s rationalization that he is permitted to eat pork because he is “Conservative” was totally fallacious and misleading. The producers responded that the story was based on statistics that demonstrate that the great majority of Jews who refer to themselves as “Conservative” do not adhere to the laws of kashruth.

Now, the purpose of my writing about this incident is not to castigate any one group, but rather, to point out the tragic consequences that accrue when people believe that affiliation with a certain movement endows them with the right to depart from halacha – the laws of our Torah.

Over the years, in my work in outreach, I have time and again encountered this rationale:

“I’m Conservative,” – “I’m Reform,” – “I’m Reconstructionist” – “Therefore, those mitzvos do not apply to me.”

And herein is to be found a major contributing factor to the breakdown of American Jewish life. The average person who joins one of these groups is under the impression that doing so legitimizes his rejection of certain commandments – kashruth being only one of them.

To be sure, there are many Jews who identify with the Orthodox community who are also guilty of disregarding halacha, but there is one fine difference – they recognize that they are in violation of Jewish law, and they do not try to legitimize their lack of observance. They will never claim that they have the latitude to disregard the mitzvot. Rather, they will admit to their weaknesses, keeping the door of teshuva open.

American culture espouses the philosophy that man’s goal in life mirrors the Constitution: “the right to the pursuit of happiness”. Nowhere in the Torah however, is it written that the goal and purpose of our lives is happiness. We have responsibilities and obligations, and even if these responsibilities are in conflict with our proclivities, they nevertheless remain immutable and transcend all cultural, all generational boundaries. Our commitment to Judaism is not based upon vogue or upon that which suits our immediate needs or fancy, but upon our Covenant which was sealed at Sinai – a Covenant that is eternal and non-negotiable. Once you start tampering with that Covenant, however, once you believe that you are not bound by it, and that “labeling” yourself entitles you to declare certain commandments null and void, it is only a question of time until the very structure of your Jewish life disintegrates.

The question posed by the Gentile girl on the show, “If you can eat pork tenderloin, why can’t you marry me?” should make every parent who has come to neglect the observance of mitzvot re-think his or her Jewish commitment. Our Torah and mitzvot as given to us at Sinai have enabled us to survive the centuries, but if we declare them irrelevant, our children will simply abandon all of Judaism, and tragically, that is exactly what we are witnessing today.

I remember over 30 years ago, at the inception of our Hineni movement, I was lecturing in Miami Beach, Florida, when a broken-hearted elderly bubbie approached me. Tears flowing down her cheeks, she related her tale of woe. Her grandson was planning to marry out.

“Oy, Rebbetzin,” she wept. “What did I do to deserve this? I never burdened him with anything. My daughter never asked anything of him. We asked only one thing…. ‘Don’t marry a gentile.’ And now look! Why, Rebbetzin? Why?”

It never occurred to that poor bubbie that perhaps the answer she was seeking was to be found in the very fact that neither she nor her daughter had ever demanded anything of that boy. Her grandson was never challenged, was never charged with his Jewish responsibilities; the yoke of mitzvot was never placed on his shoulders; his soul was never ignited by our commandments, and he never felt the glory and majesty of Sinai. So why shouldn’t he marry out? As the girl on the show asked, “If you can eat pork tenderloin, why can’t you marry me?”

The question hangs painfully in the air and all those who one day hope to see Jewish grandchildren must grapple with it.

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 “Will Your Grandchildren Remain Jews?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Obama on Iran Deal
Is Obama a State Sponsor of Terrorism?
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Before going in, I had told R’ Nachum all of the things we were doing in Philly, and how it was very important to receive a good bracha on behalf of our newest venture, a Russian Kollel.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem

(JNi.media) Tisha B’Av (Heb: 9th of the month of Av) is a fast day according to rabbinic law and tradition, commemorating the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE by the Roman army led […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Devarim often parallels the stories in Bereishit but in reverse & can be considered as a corrective

‘Older’ By A Month
‘…Until The Beginning Of Adar’
(Nedarim 63a)

We realize how much we miss something only after it’s gone.

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

Moses begins Sefer Devarim reviewing much of the 40 years in the desert & why he can’t enter Israel

While they are definitely special occurrences, why are they cause for a new holiday?

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

“When a king dies his power ends; when a prophet dies his influence begins” & their words echo today

In addition to the restrictions of Tisha B’Av, there are several restrictions that one may not perform during the week that Tisha B’Av falls in.

The word “shavat” in the first kina of Tisha B’Av morning indicates a sudden suspension and cessation of time that accompanied the Temple’s destruction.

The two decided to approach Rabbi Dayan. “What is the halachic status of conquered territory?” asked Shalom.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Money comes and goes but its love, commitment, warmth, and kindness that make a family a family.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Pesach bonds families and generations: “So that you may relate it to your son and your son’s son.

Amalek’s hate never dies; its descendants are eternal & omnipresent; Hashem is our only protection

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/will-your-grandchildren-remain-jews/2003/08/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: