Friday, August 29, 2008

Breaking with Orthodoxy

As my readers, all three of you, know, I've been struggling with the idea of being orthodox for quite a while. Because to us, my wife and I, orthodox Judaism, being hijacked more and more every day by the Right Wing Chareidi/Yeshivish riffraff, is rapidly becoming unpalatable.

Does this mean we want to stop keeping Torah and Mitzvos? No. That's what the Chareidi/Yeshivish Right Wing Nut Job riffraff is doing. They conveniently ignore more and more of halacha in the name of keeping more and more chumrahs. Two prime examples rampant in the Chareidi/Yeshivish world: Not paying employees on time (to which I, personally, was a victim more than once), and completely ignoring the halacha of how to treat other people. Further, the trend of supporting an extreme Right Wing government is anathema to being a Torah observant Jew. And this trend may be found in nearly all walks of Jewish Orthodoxy, from Modern to Extreme Right.

No. My wife and I had a different, better idea. The idea is simply not IDENTIFYING ourselves as Orthodox any longer. Orthodoxy can go to the RWNJs, and the trend is quickly moving in that direction. We're not in that camp any more than we are Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, or Messianic.

We have not come up with an identifier, and I don't think we will. Nor do I think we want to come up with one. I think just Jewish does it. No niches, no cliques, no stupidity and nonsense. Just "Jewish." Or Israelite, if you wish. I don't know. But Orthodoxy just ISN'T it. Does it mean there are people who will stop eating at my 100% kosher home? Probably. Do I care? No. It just means they weren't my friends from the start.

Perhaps more later...


Miriam said...

"Not paying employees on time (to which I, personally, was a victim more than once),.."

Hah! Try not getting paid AT ALL!

But, that is the perspn and not the Torah. Torah & mitzvot are lifesavers.

Rafi G said...

simply a Jew. That is what I tell people when they ask what I am....

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Rafi, it's the right answer.

Miriam, that's what I'm saying. I specifically stated I would remain Torah observant, just not identify myself as "Orthodox" any longer. As Rafi said, simply a Jew...

Rafi, if I ever make it back to Israel, I'd LOVE to meet up with you... :-)

cool yiddishe mama said...

More people have identified me "Orthodox" than the number of times I have ever called myself that (for lack of a better label). This has been based on the following:
* I keep kosher both in and out of my home.
* I observe Shabbat and holidays al pi halakhah.
* I cover my hair (mostly) and dress b'tzniut (by most, except charedi, standards).
* I observe tahorat ha-mishpachah.
* I send my children to a Jewish day school that identifies as Orthodox.
* My husband and I daaven in an shul that identifies as Orthodox.

The sad thing is even as recent as 20 years ago, I would have been considered "mainstream". However, I have concerns about people who have taken over Orthodoxy who have NO idea what halakhah is (yet claim to) and teach their children to follow a rigid philosophy (which simply can't accept Religious Zionism as another philosophy of halakha-observant Judaism).

Being the liberal I am, I feel there are places for any philosophy (even charedi Judaism, if that is what floats your boat), but don't judge me because I don't follow what YOU feel I should follow. [Not addressed to you Barak, but to all the judgemental charedim over the years who have made people like me feel like we are not "good" (ie "frum") enough to be in the k'hillah.]