Sunday, November 28, 2021

Is Modern Orthodox Kiruv Possible?

 In theory, the Modern Orthodox community is in the best possible situation to take on this challenge. No other branch of Judaism is so firmly rooted in Torah and mitzvot while simultaneously being full participants in contemporary culture. Many Jews who are not yet observant would likely be able to strongly connect to Modern Orthodox Judaism and find an ideological home within the Modern Orthodox community if such an option were to be presented properly.

In spite of this, much of the kiruv (roughly translated as “outreach”) world is dominated by those representing various shades of a more right-wing Orthodox Judaism, including organizations such as Chabad,[4] Aish HaTorah, Chazaq, Olami, and more.[5]

One of the biggest issues that prevents Modern Orthodox kiruv from being successful is that Modern Orthodoxy tends to be perceived as unattractive to those who are searching for a legitimate religious outlet. One need only look at the traction of Eitan Gross’s now infamous article in which he argues that the Modern Orthodox world is full of “glaring hypocrisy and internal contradiction.”[7] Similarly, Noah Feldman of Harvard Law (who himself left the Modern Orthodox community), assessed the following:


  1. Many bt people want something radically different from what they know. If they know eg conservative, and universities, then yeshiva university might not entice them. It all depends on the reasons for their turning to religion.
    Also, in the post war era, haredi community was trying to rebuild itself, whereas YU had American born rabbis, and rackman was a pioneer in every field. (his agunot stuff was late 1990s).

  2. There are two limitations to MO doing Kiruv
    1) Through strong PR efforts, the Black Hat side has convinced everyone that they, and only they, are the authentic Orthodox Jews and therefore the only ones qualified to do kiruv. Like the article suggests, MO is usually seen as a sloppy second or a refuge for those who want to do frum things but aren't really committed
    2) To do good PR you need passion. There is very little passion in MO. It's why there's no kiruv in Reformative - if you're just "meh" about it, how do you inspire others?

  3. Sometimes people seek mo because they don't like anti academic freedom approach or anti Zionist views of chareidi. Also they have mo / rz bt yeshivas. Or riskins who convert entire Shuls to mo.

  4. I've said this over and over - the real shame is the lack of mass kiruv efforts by the RZ community to both the right and left - bring people in from the secular and catch them as they leave UO.
    The problem with the folks who want an academic approach is again a lack of passion. They're interested in Torah the same way a physicist is interested in physics. There's no personal soul-shaking element there.

  5. If you say it enough times, people might start to believe you.
    Kiruv for otd is very difficult. What approach to take? Wanna try tefillin?

  6. Secular left are already antizionist. No amount of kiruv will change that. Maybe satmar or lubavitch, or brisk. who are anti State.
    In any case if you approach 1000 seculars, maybe 1 will have derech eretz to talk kindly.
    I met a descendant of Mahari Chajes / chayut. They were very proud of their great ancestor. If I was a kiruv professional I would have discussed his sefarim or given one to him. But they knew and were proud of him. Not all are proud of being jews or descendant of great jews.

  7. BTW , what do you think r Goren did in the idf ? Kashrut, religious services are not kiruv?

  8. The modem teshuva movement began with the 6 day war. The fear of wicked enemies, the many against the few; the impure against the pure. In 6 days Hashem handed us Jerusalem, after 2000 years, through his servant Shlomo Goren ztl.
    Many people started to return, even Jonathan sacks started wearing a kipa and grew a beard at that point.
    Modern hesder yeshivas do some kiruv. Both to secular and haredi. But most seculars don't identify with the settlements.
    Also, the first bt yeshivas were Noach Weinberg and the roshei yeshiva of or sameach. Plus itri had a bt unit with Chaim brovender and the precursor to shappells.
    So these 2 split and became 4
    Aish, ohr sameach, shappells and brovenders. Machon Meir was a bt offshoot of mercaz harav. They each have slightly different focus.
    Brovender merged with riskin's ohr Torah stone when I went there. I actually felt happier at ohr sameach.
    I suppose you are right the mo don't have spirituality, but that's not because of being modern, it's the opposite, because they follow brisker derech. The story goes that the rav's father. Rav Moshe soloveitchik never kissed his son. So that miserable, emotionless derech has percolated down to the followers of the rav.

  9. Your "history" lesson is not correct
    read Herbrert Dansiger history of the tshuva movement


  11. And the agudah rubbish you publish?


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