Want to see how the fifteen year old TRS's mind worked? Enjoy:
The problem, as I see it, is that conservative and reform Judaism only work for one generation. This first generation knows of all the strictures put upon them by the Torah; they can truly enjoy the “freedom” given to them by shedding its commandments. The next generation is, however, ignorant of what their parents have abandoned. To them, the rituals which their parents still observe are meaningless, and they have no connection with them. This is the reason that Conservative and Reform Judaism have hard time retaining their population. They have abandoned the safeguards which Orthodoxy has in place to prevent young people from leaving the fold, and consequently, when they try to stop their children from leaving the “Temples” for the gentile world, they can bring no reasons to back themselves up. Telling a child to not intermarry is easy for an Orthodox parent. All they have to say is that Jews are different, and they only marry other Jews. This ia all that necessary in most cases, and if the parents are not listened, a Rabbi can come in and show why the child should stick to marrying one of his or her own. The child of reform has parents who will tell him the same thing-namely that Jews are marry those of their own kind. The child will question this, however, saying that their parents wanted to integrate with the gentile world, and they are only completing the move from Jew to “Citizen of the World.” The “Rabbi” that is brought in can have no words to say to the child. He or she does not know enough of traditional Judaism to bring any proof from that. Bringing up the Holocaust also does know that. In the past, people had a strong sense of Jewish pride, and knew that it was and always had been a them versus us proposition. Reform and Conservative Judaism, on the other hand, has struggled to erase any boundary between Jew and Gentile. They can not have it both ways, integration and separation.
Once their has been intermarriage, reform and conservative try to bolster their ranks by accepting the non-Jewish spouse and and any children that the couple may have as members of the tribe. According to Jewish law, a person is not Jewish unless they have a Jewish mother. Reform and Conservative Rabbis will get around this with conversion. In the orthodox world, conversion of gentiles is not sought after. Proselytizing is expressly forbidden, while applicants for conversion are drilled mercilessly in an effort to prevent them from becoming Jewish. They are told how hard a religious Jews life is, how they have been persecuted by all in the past, and what their families will think of them if they do it. If the applicant is converting for the purpose of marriage to a Jew, they are summarily dismissed. The only acceptable reason for converting is because one has acknowledged the truth of the Torah, wants to live the life it proscribes, and fully abandons the non-Jewish world. No half-measures will be tolerated, only one who has a commitment to a Torah-true lifestyle is allowed to join the ranks of practicing Jews. Once this has happened, however, one is forbidden to remind a convert of his previous status, and they are treated like any other Jew.
On the contrary, reform and conservative Judaism teaches its adherents to be on the look out for converts. Instead of the lengthy process demanded by Orthodoxy, reform and conservative will accept anyone based on “how Jewish they are.” Compassion is not the exclusive property of Judaism. Some people love Jews, but can’t give up that cheeseburger of lobster. Orthodoxy will tell them that they can help Jews in many other ways. For example, they could come to local Synagogues to help on Saturdays when work is forbidden. They could defend Israel, or even contribute money to the myriad of worthy Jewish causes that have constant financial issues. In this way, these non-Jews can help Jews, and yet not abandon their life. Reform and Conservative Judaism will accept virtually any applicant, and these people are then accorded all the status of “true Jews.”
The children of reform and conservative couples have no grasp of what Judaism truly is. One method of keeping them in the fold is by exposing them to Israel. This is fine, but then they are taught that Israel is a sacred land, and must not be given away to Arabs. This is ridiculous to all but the dumbest reform or conservative child. Why should the Israeli government keep “poor Palestinians” locked up in squalid “refugee camps?” They have just as much a right to the land as the Jews, and perhaps even more! For an Orthodox child, this is no problem. The Arabs may have lived in Israel for 2000 years, but the land was not given to them by G-D. It was given by G-D, however, to the Jewish people and so it is theirs by right. To a conservative or reform child however, G-D does not even exist. Certainly, they must have compassion for all the poor Palestinians who inhabit the country, and seeing as the land was their before 1948, they should get it. To the original Zionist settlers of what was then Palestine, the land of Israel was theirs by right. They had been raised in Orthodox households, and still held onto certain beliefs. Their children were not raised with these beliefs though, and fail to see why the Israeli government represses the poor Arabs. In much the same manner, the children of reform and conservative people come to Israel and see only the repression of an entire nation. It goes against everything they have ever been taught. They remember their lessons on the Holocaust, and how 6 million Jews were murdered. Is this not the same thing? It takes a fanatic to believe that it is not, and these children have no sign of the fanatic about them. They are merely typical American children, forever questioning authority, forever lapping up cynicism. When they question their parents, they say that the Jews have a right to the land. This argument makes no sense to their children. The Arabs have lived their since 70 CE. The Jews have lived there since 1948 CE. When these children's parents tell them that when the Palestinians stop resorting to violence they will be negotiated with, their children are puzzled. Didn’t the American colonials “terrorize” the British. Isn’t terrorism just a normal response to repression? The parents have no answer for this. There is a paradox in the Middle-East, one that is not understand by the Western mind. In the Arab world, if you don’t stand up for yourself, then you’ll be killed. To the western mind, bred on peace and the idea “working out differences,” this is seemingly incomprehensible. They can not understand how it is impossible for Jews and Arabs to live on an equal footing.
Once these children of reform and conservative think the Israeli-Palestinian issue through, they will come to the only natural conclusion that they must help the repressed Palestinians establish a state of their own. Their leaders, rather than despair of them, decide instead to incorporatee their ideology into their Judaism. Thus is born Humanistic Judaism, a pseudo-religion which is based on its practitioners own beliefs. Orthodox Judaism works because it demands complete subjection to the notion of a supreme being. It does not allow its adherents to base any of their belief system on their own intellect. In the Ten Commandments, their is a Mitzva to honor ones parents. This makes sense, and everyone subscribes to it, regardless of race or creed. The problem with saying that this commandment is solely based on ones own intellect is that if this is followed, then their is no reason for following another commandment, not to commit adultery. In a world without a bible, man would have no moral code with which to conduct himself. As can be demonstrated, kindness without a central authority commanding it is useless. In Nazi Germany, there were strict fines imposed on people who abused animals. In such a seemingly moral environment, 11 million people were killed. This is because Nazism was based on the intellect of man, and the belief that there was a concept of undesirables, and that such people had to be wiped out. This was the morality of the time! The same reasoning applies to the issue of homosexuality in America today. There is no reason why they should not be allowed to marry. A self-professed Conservative atheist can bring no divine authority to bear; only someone who believes in G-D can say that since He has forbidden homosexuality, it should not be done. Without this, there can be no reason for denying anyone the ability to marry. This could be carried even further, to the point of saying that there should be no concept of marriage. Too many people, however, benefit from this venerable institution, and such a thing would never happen.
For a conservative or reform Jew, who has thrown off all divine authority, there is no reason for them to continue to even be Jews. Why not just be a moral citizen of the world, a man just like all other men? Religious Jews have the answer to this, but it is not given to the reform and conservative youths. They continue to rebel until there is nothing left, and then search for meaning in their meaningless lives. They try out a myriad of Eastern religions, but these leave them with an empty feeling. They give one a sense a belonging, a feeling of an authority smarter than oneself, ready to give sage direction. Unfortunately, when the guru is human, he or she will make a mistake, and this will make the student disillusioned. True Judaism will give them a feeling of belonging, because there is no supreme human intellect guiding them along. Instead there is a divine authority, one that directs and and has never made a mistake before. This belief of infallibility needs to have a leap of faith just as much as any other religion, but also fills one up like nothing else can. Saying that living like a Jew is hard is not a good excuse. Freedom does not mean that one can do whatever one likes. That type of “freedom” just means that instead of riding along a straight track, one is taken on a roller-coaster, jumping from one fad to another, feeling no satisfaction from any. Without responsibility, there can be no savoring what one is working to. This is why there is the concept of a workaholic. He or she has the responsibility to provide for any number of people, and throws themselves into their job, but feels no happiness from it. Freedom to many means freedom from all moral restraint, the freedom to pursue all pleasure, without taking into account what this pursuit will make on into. Judaism offers the freedom of a set of rules that have been followed forever, and that almost without exception, there has been little deviance from them.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Want to see how the fifteen year old TRS's mind worked? Enjoy: