Sunday, June 29, 2008

What We Have Here, Is Failure To Communicate
by; Schvach Yid

No jadies and jents, this is not a reprise of Cool Hand Luke. Rabbi Levi Brackman, who writes an opinion column for, and who writes his own blog site, has just written a piece on a recent study conducted by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and the Reform Movement, which reports on the egress of Jewish men from most things Jewish, especially synagogue attendance. You can read it at:,7340,L-3559850,00.html

Has anyone mentioned that non-Orthodox Jewish men and women have a propensity for not marrying each other, or for matrimony at all?

I think the current trend in non-Orthodox Judaism is best called ‘shooting oneself in the foot’ (actually, in kopf). We Yiddin seem to have become fairly adept at it, me included.

At my local ‘Reform Movement style’ synagogue (no, I’m not a member and I don’t attend; I’ll stick with Chabad), which is a formal member of the United Synagogue of Judaism (in other words, the Conservative Movement), the big deals are significant Jewish religious events such as Sunday morning (never afternoon – who wants to waste a perfectly good Sunday?) bagel sales and ‘men’s prostate health issues’ get-togethers. Some of the ‘guys’ even manage to wile away their local synagogue Shabbat experience by congregating in the parking lot. After all, who wants to hear some dribble about feminism or Darfur? Those topics may make ideal pc social concerns, but they are no substitute for Judaism, to be used as replacements for ‘the religious stuff’ – you know, davening, sermons which are employed as vehicles for Torah shiurim, etc.

R’ Brackman’s article is okay, but he barely goes into the muck and mire of American Judaism’s present day auto-destruct mode. To put it bluntly, we’re wiping ourselves out of existence with political bullshit - and don’t the Jew-haters know it, and love it!

I think we Jews may have taken the bait, swallowed it whole, and now suffer the consequences. Suicide is not painless, not by a long shot, and it’s a violation of halachah.
So much of what the Reform Movement does is a devotion to eschewing and negating the ‘Jewish way’, and it has proven to be utterly self-destructive.

So what’s the news in this new social study of the American Jewish community? Jewish men who go to, or who are coerced into attending, Reform synagogue prefer to opt out. No kidding.
They prefer the swelteringly hot parking lot to the nicely air-conditioned synagogue sanctuary (but not too cool, please, my wife….) where they can behave and feel like men, without the overlord of political oppression dictating that to be labeled a bigot is the worst fate any person can suffer. And of course, as any non-Orthodox Jew knows, traditional Judaism is all about bigotry, right? Just ask the now deceased Joseph Campbell (not Jewish); he absolutely loved the Hebrew Bible.

Judaism is not about equanimity between the genders. When it comes to Judaism and ‘gender concerns’ (don’t you just love pc jargon), men and women are not separate and equal, we’re separate and different. Men this, women that (estrogens are one thing, androgens another). Shul, jadies and jents, is the designated stomping ground of men. Sorry ladies, you aren’t permitted to show up in shul to declare that men’s religious garb is ‘unisex’ and displace us from our religious functions. When that’s done, we guys take a hike, and we have a tendency to stay gone.

So what, one may retort, who needs men anyway? After all, we’re Jewish by virtue of our mothers, and it is she who is charged with the responsibility of providing an [religious] education to her children. The guy’s just a drone. Women can, and frequently have, taken over the major synagogue functions, so who needs the men?

Fine! You’ll find us in the parking lot. When you’re done inside, we’ll drive you home (and on Shabbos to boot!). And please let us know if the thermostat is set too low (actually, if you try wearing a tallis made of wool…).

And if you’re really interested in what guys do when we get together, look here:


chaviva said...

Indeed, Schvach ... indeed. Loved this post :) I'll probably repost it to my own blog if I come up with something coherent to say about that study. It seems I'm the last one to the party when it comes to these big ticket issues (conversion crisis, men and shul) -- I just can't really formulate my comments until everyone else has blogged about it.

Fashionably late, perhaps?

Shavua tov!

Schvach said...

Thanks for your comment, and mazel tov on your listing on Haveil Havalim. Where the egress of men from non-Orthodox shuls is concerned,
there has to be some sort of compromise that's achievable. The current situation is an absolute no-win.

Shabtai NY said...

i am nonplussed by your fear of the unknown.. that is to say- anyone who worships unlike you. Is it that you have the direct pipeline to what Hashem wants? As it turns out, I myself am frum, but not to the point where I can mock openly those who may connect to the al-mighty in a different fashion than I do. Do you think running to minyan only to find out about the latest real-estate deals- than talking through layning and rushing through maariv to go out for motzai shabbos pizza ( which is apparently m'divrei sofrim) is how Jews kept shabbos b'zman hamikdash?
I didnt thnk so. Your arrogance only ratchets up the noise, it does nothing to further the discussion to bring it to a more understanding place.
Shame on you.

Schvach said...

Dear Shabtai ny:
I'm not frum; the members of my shul don't talk business, or anything else during davening, and my beef is with Jews who replace religion with politics. You are only partly correct - I am plenty arrogant, but I have no shame.

evanstonjew said...

I think it isn't politics....most liberal Jews are not reactionary or sexists in their thinking.

I think egalitarian minyanim fail because guys want homosocial bonding. They can talk all they want to their spouses. They go to shul to hang with other guys.

A Reform minyan with a mechitza would be a sucess. They never try it because the rabbinate is now a woman's profession and because it seems a bit cracked from a Reform Perspective.

rebecca said...
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