Rabbinic Musings

from Rabbi Gerald Skolnik of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in The Jewish Week:

Breathing Pressurized Air

And, of course, the Jewish philanthropic world being what it is, just about every Jewish organization that raises money amps up the pressure on rabbis to conduct appeals for their cause, or at least speak about them, or hand out leaflets for them, or place them in the pews, or in the mahzorim… And if you don’t do it, it’s hard not to feel as if you’re in some way failing the Jewish people, or at least those causes. But consider the other side… all those Jews who never set foot in a synagogue finally walk in, and the first thing that happens is that they encounter a tsunami of fundraising. I am not talking about fundraising for the synagogue itself.

One very justifiable wave does not a tsunami make. But it can’t be too big a turn-on to find yourself sucked into the vortex of the most philanthropically organized community in the history of the world.

And that can happen before we rabbis have even opened our mouths!

from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach:

Why Orthodox Youth Are Leaving the Fold

I grew up in a modern orthodox Jewish community in Miami Beach. Till today nearly all of my friends remain observant Jews. But that kind of predictability, whereby those who are raised observant remain so, is a thing of the past. Every week I meet and receive emails from formerly observant teenagers and twenty-somethings who have left orthodoxy. This also includes large numbers of Hassidic youth who are leaving the fold. The reason this is so alarming is that it goes against the most basic assumption of the Jewish community, namely, that receiving a Jewish education is the surest way to guarantee Jewish observance and commitment.