The Single Greatest Problem?

Jewish Atheist has decided that he has pinpointed the greatest problem in Orthodox Jewish communities,

It’s because the communities engage in social shunning of anybody who doesn’t fit in…Orthodox Jews have gotten so terrified of exposing their children to anyone who they deem a bad role model that they just kick out everybody who’s not perfect (by their standards.) And they do it to kids, too. In many right-wing communities, if you talk to girls on a Saturday night, you might as well be a crack dealer. They’ll treat you the same way.

This is the biggest problem?  I can probably think of at least 5 more important problems that need to be dealt with.  But since it has been brought up, I will address it.

First of all, I don’t see lot of shunning that you speak of.  It is far from a rampant problem in the Orthodox community because usually when the parents find out they just cover it up because they are so embarrassed.

Second of all, the shunning and sheltering of their children are two totally issues.  Yes while parents do shelter their kids in order to protect them, its not because they feel they will be shunned, but because they don’t want their kids doing it!

Third of all, lets say that the fact that people leaving Orthodoxy is a major problem and it is based on the fact that they are sheltering their kids, what is JA’s solution?

Let them have beliefs that aren’t 100% Orthodox.

Excuse me? So its not the things that we are protecting them from that are wrong, rather it is us for being mad when the kids misbehave?  So kids in certain communities who have a tendency to do drugs or join gangs they kill people…we should let them do a little bit of it?  Its fine if they aren’t 100% law observant!

Show the kids that there are alternatives in life.

Introduce them to drugs! Show them the awesome effects that crack and violence can have on a community.

I do agree that we cannot shun people who act differently, we cannot take the drastic actions that JA calls for.  In fact, the whole kiruv movement, and really the Torah in general, teaches us that our goal isn’t to shun these people but rather to teach them the right way to act.  Sunning someone doesn’t get them to stop doing it, it merely blocks them access to the people who can convince them to change their lives.

However, to change our lives and permit some actions that are wrong or to even allow for the possiblity that its ok not to keep halacha is not ok.  We cannot compromise our beliefs merely because society disagrees with us.  It is at times like these that we must be extra viligent to protect the Torah way of life.

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