Monday, October 27, 2014

The Shabbos Project: New Versus the Old -- Questions and Challenges

Guest Post by RaP 


The Shabbos Project (TSP) of 2014 has now come and gone. Tens of thousands of people partook in this milestone global event. With heartfelt hopes and prayers that TSP will inspire people of all walks to become more Shabbos/Shabbat observant. Congratulations to Rabbi Warren Goldstein (RWG) and his backers on achieving such an incredible success. TSP for 2015 is now in the works and it will no doubt build on this year's amazing success.



update As Rabbi Irons has challenged the accuracy of this article and I have no independent way of checking it - I am taking the article down for the time being. In general RaP has been a very reliable and insightful commentator - but I don't know whether his assertions here are from direct knowledge or conjecture.

Rabbi Irons wrote:
It's very surprising that the author is anonymous and is not willing to write his real name. I suspect that the author is not involved in kiruv, nor is aware that Rav Zelig Epstein was a big backer of Rabbi Buchwald, and the Agudas Yisroel never came out against AJOP. To use this incredible kiddush H-shem of the Shabbos Project as a platform for motzei sheim rah is a chilul H-shem. I recommend that this article be taken down, if not to prevent the spread of motzei shem rah, but also to preserve the journalistic integrity of this blog which comes into question on such hearsay and non-verified assertions.

13 comments :

  1. "Tens of thousands
    of people partook in this milestone global event." It should have said,
    Tens of thousands
    of people participated in this milestone global event.

    I can only wonder what lasting effect The Shabbos Project will have on the non-observant participants in attendance this past Shabbos. What sort of follow-up, if any, will occur?

    I was told this past Shabbos that the Kiruv yeshivas in EY are empty. I do not know if this is true, but if it is, what is to be learned from this?

    YL

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  2. A few more differences. TSP specifically calls for people to keep Shabbos in its entirety, in a halachically correct way, to turn off phones and TV etc etc, in other words RWG is promoting actual Shabbos observance, while SAA/C is calling for Friday night observance and fartig.

    As well, RWG and TSP have explicitly allowed other organisations to get on board, and to use their names in their promotions, in a way that SAA/C would never ever allow - see what Project Inspire was able to do with TSP's permission!

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  3. It's very surprising that the author is anonymous and is not willing to write his real name. I suspect that the author is not involved in kiruv, nor is aware that Rav Zelig Epstein was a big backer of Rabbi Buchwald, and the Agudas Yisroel never came out against AJOP. To use this incredible kiddush H-shem of the Shabbos Project as a platform for motzei sheim rah is a chilul H-shem. I recommend that this article be taken down, if not to prevent the spread of motzei shem rah, but also to preserve the journalistic integrity of this blog which comes into question on such hearsay and non-verified assertions.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Agudas HaRabbonim has nothing to do with Agudas Yisrael. Either you or R' Irons are confusing the two.

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  5. I assume that this is a typo on the part of Rabbi irons and that he meant to say Agudas haRabbonim

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  6. RaP commentary said: "Answers and logic are better than tantrums and stonewalling!"

    Honesty: TANTRUMS seems to be what RaP is throwing over here. What difference does it make why REB has not joined up with TSP? Additionally, would REB joining up with TSP be beneficial to TSP? Will it bring any Jews closer to their rich heritage - closer to Hashem? Do your questions and little tantrums bring anyone closer to Hashem or to Chabad Chasidius, or to the rebbe melech hamoshiach shelita?

    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2014/07/chabad-serious-issues-that-need-to-be.html#comment-1477898472



    Do you feel that TSP is a threat to the Baal Shem Tov?
    Do you feel that the Baal Shem Tov would want you and individual Chabadskers to cast aspirations on TSP?


    The Shabbos Project is not about a charismatic individual.
    The Shabbos Project is not about RWG.
    RWG is not the face of the TSP.
    RWG did have a successful pilot run last year in SA. True. It's quite possible that many hosts and Rabbis involved in TSP have said a Dvar Torah on Parshat Noach in a way that RWG would never say. And, it does not bother RWG one bit! This is not about RWG exposing and promulgating HIS derech! This is only about drawing people closer to Ovinu Shab'shomayim!.


    RaP would do well if he would reexamine his concerns and feelings here.

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  7. @RaP - from information I have received - your deductions - while raising interesting and important points - do not in fact accurately capture the dynanucs of events.

    Therefore anyone reading your comments should view them as conjecture rather than as fact. I am publishing them because they are based on public record and raise important questions. But they are not authoritative.

    The relationship of kiruv organization to Reform and Conservative as well as with each other is much more nuanced and complicated than you are presenting.

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  8. RaP commentary said: “Thank you!”

    Honesty says: You’re very welcome!

    if it was a "tantrum" please tell us which is the "tantrum" part.

    Fair question. I [mis]used the term tantrum, just as you [mis]used it. Now, lets get past this.

    You wrote in another post - which also appears to have been removed - that it is “Time for The Shabbos Project to come of (Torah) Age”! Let’s slow down a little, RaP commentary. May we?

    Exactly which part of TSP is contrary to Torah? You have not raised one issue. However, you raise a possible issue that there may eventually be proselytizing by some unknowing individuals. OK. Your fix is to therefore set up an international rabbinical committee.

    Do you really feel that your fear of possible eventual proselytizing by some unknowing individuals, on an individual level has removed The Shabbos Project from being Torah-true?? Is this not a little tantrum-ish?

    RaP commentary said: “After each line there comes a question. Every one knows they must ask a "kashya" like on the Seder night when we have the "Ma Nishtana" right when we become a people.

    You missed one essential component: R-E-L-E-V-A-N-T. A question should be relevant. I would assume you do not ordinarily spend your seder night discussing the intricate details of how to manufacture tiles. At what temperature are ceramic tiles baked. Single glazed vs. double glazed. Glazed vs. through-body construction. etc. etc.

    RaP commentary said: how come we now have not one but two massive Shabbat/Shabbos programs in the Kiruv world that are using Shabbat/Shabbos as a selling point, marketing tool and motivational launching pad,

    They are reaching different people. You also pointed out some issues with SAA/C, which TSP does NOT have. Why should the TSP merge with a program that has issues (at least according to some people)? ,

    Is this the extent of your unanswered question that “if you have a brain, you would ask”? Is this your definition of “intellectual curiosity”?

    "Additionally, would REB joining up with TSP be beneficial to TSP?"

    RaP: Yes!!


    In what way would it be beneficial to TSP? Do any potential positives outweigh the negative consequences?

    RaP commentary said: “If you wish to ask something and debate like a mentsch by all means but making stupid cracks and resorting to pejorative terms like "Chabadskers" does not impress anyone...... Bottom line, stick to debating the points.

    The Chabadskers that I know, and I know quite a few, take pride in the fact that they are a “Chabadsker”! They pride themselves on what they feel is Chochma Bina V’daas! They like its gematira as well (as their most recent rebbe taught them)!

    Do you feel saying things like “the obvious comes to mind, or it should if you have a brain” is debating like a mentch? Do you feel that using sweeping slights such as “Time for The Shabbos Project to come of (Torah) Age” is debating like a mentch?

    Bottom line, stick to debating the points.

    Good idea! I agree. Can you please model this for me? Thank you.

    "RaP would do well if he would reexamine his concerns and feelings here."

    RaP: Why?


    Because RaP commentary is continuously raising imagined territorial kiruv wars here and creating false red herrings. TSP has been inclusive of all Torah-true Jews. The idea is that each community run their own programs. Has anyone - other than RaP commentary! - raised a complaint about TSP? So, why are you searching and searching to see if their may be some sort of territorial war???? And the most you found was that two distinct programs - which have SOME similarities - do NOT mention each other. Is that it?

    So then, yes. Please reexamine your concerns and feelings here. Thank you.

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  9. @RaP - you are making some important and needed clarification here about your concerns and fears

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Honesty wrote

    Because RaP commentary is continuously raising imagined territorial kiruv wars here and creating false red herrings. TSP has been inclusive of all Torah-true Jews. The idea is that each community run their own programs. Has anyone - other than RaP commentary! - raised a complaint about TSP? So, why are you searching and searching to see if their may be some sort of territorial war???? And the most you found was that two distinct programs - which have SOME similarities - do NOT mention each other. Is that it?

    good summary. Not every conclusion which doesn't violate the rules of logic is true.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dear RaP:


    Thank you for taking the time to answer my post and to clarify your concerns. Being that other well-intentioned people fell into trouble, you're mentioning some potential pit-falls that TSP should actively seek not to land into, C"V. I now understand your concerns.


    I still have a question for you:


    1) Would a rabbinical board, through its very nature, not polarize TSP? Rabbis of certain persuasions and ideological beliefs are controversial. If they are placed on the board, there will be others who will object and therefore disengage from TSP. (Think of the 2012 American Siyum Hashas.) If you do not include rabbis from all persuasions, then certain groups will feel slighted and choose to disengage from TSP.


    I've heard that ever since Dr. Joe passed away, even Torah Umesorah has to hire "secret agents" to advance and support Hebrew Day Schools in certain communities, since TU is perceived to be too "black" by those communities.


    What other possible solutions are there?

    ReplyDelete
  12. From the self-declared, carefully-crafted, diplomatic-but-Halachic, eight-point "manifesto" of The Shabbos Project (TSP) it is not likely, in fact it is impossible, at this point in time, that they will ever cooperate or combine with the Reform and Conservatives and official non-Orthodox movements, just by going over the heads of all the official non (and anti)-Orthodox entities by reaching the people directly online through social media-like method using cyberspace to promote and foster and implant TSP, unless of course if the Reform and Conservatives and secular Jews do a complete 180 degree turnaround and become ba'alei teshuva agreeing to keep the Halacha as STP states that's the way Shabbos observance must be (it still does not answer the deeper question of what will be TSP's policies regarding non-Jews, non-Halachic Jews (people who think they are "Jewish" but are not so according to normative Halacha of Orthodoxy), and intermarried Jew's request to participate in TSP, time will tell...):

    From http://www.theshabbosproject.org/#manifesto

    "MANIFESTO


    1. Together we will  keep the Shabbat of 24/25 October  from sundown to stars out. 

    2. We will keep it in its entirety, in all of its halachic detail and splendour as it has been kept throughout the ages.

    3. Its rhythm will unite us with each other, with Jews around the world and throughout the ages.

    4. On this day we will create a warm and loving space, holding our families together.

    5. On this day we will lay down the burdens, distractions, demands and pressures of daily life.

    6. On this day we will renew ourselves, emerging spiritually, emotionally and physically invigorated.

    7. On this day we will own our precious heritage, wearing it as a badge of pride and honour.

    8. Together we embark on this great adventure to rediscover our G-d-given gift of Shabbat.
    "

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  13. The to-be-expected attacks on and rejection of The Shabbos Project (TSP) start with the to-be-expected reaso, they don't like the mention of the word "Halacha" and they don't like that TSP has "ultra-Orthodox" connections. Maybe they should just contact SAA/C that works with Reform and they will be a lot happier with the watered down version of how to go about keeping "Shabbat". See this report from the left-wing Haaretz:

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/.premium-1.621970

    "Progressive Aussie Jews fear global 'Shabbat Project' misses the point

    Melbourne’s Progressive community declines to join this weekend’s global initiative, citing the activities’ Ultra-Orthodox bent.


    Oct. 21, 2014

    SYDNEY – The Shabbat Project, a unique initiative launched in South Africa last year that will go global this weekend, has captured the zeitgeist Down Under, with local organizers anticipating up to 30,000 Jews participating in events.

    Supporters from around the world include celebrity singer Paula Abdul, basketballer Tamir Goodman and former United States senator Joe Lieberman, but not everyone here is swept away by the tidal wave of Jews planning to keep Shabbat in more than 212 cities across 33 countries.

    The majority of Progressive (Liberal, Reform and Reconstructionist) congregations in Melbourne have declined to affiliate, many citing item two of the Shabbat Project’s manifesto: “We will keep it in its entirety, in all of its halakhic detail and splendor as it has been kept throughout the ages,” the manifesto states.

    Rabbi Gersh Lazarow of Temple Beth Israel, Melbourne’s largest Progressive congregation, told Haaretz this week that he appreciated the invitation by organizers, but noted multiple flaws in the initiative.

    'The prescriptive nature of the program didn’t work for us,' Lazarow said. 'We see the religious laws of halakha as being guiding and not binding. Over millennia we haven’t always followed the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. I worry that aspects of the Shabbat Project are too focused on the letter of the law, without spending enough time on the spirit of the law.

    'Shabbat is meant to be for all of us, not just for those who observe it in a halakhic way.'...

    Philip Bliss, secretary of the World Union of Progressive Judaism, told Haaretz that the local organizers in Melbourne failed to convince him.

    'It certainly had very much an Orthodox flavor to it. With a bit more thought it could have been a lot more appealing to the wider community generally.'

    Bliss, a former president of the Melbourne Jewish community, added: 'A lot of the PR that’s coming out is Orthodox-oriented. I don’t think they made much effort.'..."

    And this article also from Haaretz also shows the sour grapes belly-aching response that is sure to grow:

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/the-jewish-thinker/.premium-1.622386

    "The Shabbos Project: Global Jewish outreach gone wrong


    This initiative preaches to the converted by targeting Jews who are already open to observing a halakhic Shabbat, rather than engaging non-observant Jews on their level.
    ..."

    ReplyDelete

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