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So many opinions! But the article is about problems Jews face.

Reader comment on item: The Orthodox Future of Judaism
in response to reader comment: Even the Orthodox have their problems!

Submitted by Michael A. Shoemaker (United States), Jan 26, 2008 at 03:13

I tried reading all the remarks, but I was distracted by the scantily-clad girls in the advertisements for T-shirts. I think those girls say more about your article, Mr. Pipes, than most of the comments: Jews today, whether irreligious, hareidi or what have you, are being distracted and enticed by a world bent on hedonism, selfishness and ungodliness. Christians face the same problem. This seems to be at the heart of your article, not discussions about Islam, assimilation, the Enlightement, Chabad, etc. The "observant", among whom the haredim seem to be poster children, have set out to practice all 613 mitzvot, to eschew Reformism, Secularism, Christianity and all other "polutants", and to become engrossed in the study ot Torah; but they are human beings, so they fall into sin and disgrace; and many leave the observant life.

Christians have the same problem: There was a Pentecostal church in a city I used to live in, which had a vibrant evangelism program; but, as one of its former members pointed out, "The back door was as wide as the front door", so there was no net increase in members. I wonder if the number of "observant" Jews is actually increasing, when allowance is made for their greater birthrates. And if they are really increasing, does this really matter?

I was in the "Jesus Movement" in the U.S. in the early 1970s, wherein "counterculture"-type people were discovering a "new" form of Christianity -- a form stripped of its externals, and focussing on the lifestyles of people in the Bible. We grew in numbers, and within a few years "Born-Again" Christianity became a national phenomenom: Presidential candidates suddenly became religious, Christian bookstores sprang up everywhere, and the Pentecostalism of rural communes and small store-front churches evolved into middle-class megachurches with "Christian aerobics", "Christian T-shirts", you name it.

So if "observance" really catches on in Judaism, what can we look forwart to? Mega-synagogues, "Jewish aerobics", religious T-shirts? The "Jesus Movement" is headed for shipwreck: Why copy it? I'm all for picking up the Bible, reading it, BELIEVING it, and getting to know God better than I do. Will this make me a better person, a more "observant" person? Probably. Will this mean I won't get divorced, or my children won't get into drugs? Probably, but there's no guarantee. Will this make me Jewish? or Christian? or religious? I don't think God cares much about those things. The bottom line is, we live in a wicked world, and we need God; and amazingly, He wants to fill that need. Filling that need is where we must start, and where must finish. Nothing else matters very much.

Submitting....

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Reader comments (56) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
1anat [86 words]kamenkaFeb 18, 2013 10:59203610
History shows... [363 words]JApr 4, 2005 12:0421327
History anyone? [224 words]Adrienne ScholzMar 8, 2005 10:4420869
Bothered [251 words]SimonaFeb 25, 2005 13:2820526
Religious movements [128 words]donvanFeb 23, 2005 14:2120492
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A ll in the family [432 words]Jon B. RosenbergFeb 1, 2005 09:2020028
Why I became orthodox [530 words]S.Jan 31, 2005 16:3420016
Jews-Christians [104 words]Philip LindyJan 30, 2005 17:5419999
Who is Jewish? [82 words]Philip CrownJan 30, 2005 15:5119995
Reformed Orthodoxy? [201 words]AlexJan 28, 2005 18:5319953
Did the orthodox really dip to 5%? [49 words]Peter J. HerzJan 28, 2005 12:2719940
Reaction to the "Future of Judaism" [112 words]Rabbi Howard FinkelsteinJan 27, 2005 23:0219920
Reply to John W. McGinley [124 words]RWJan 27, 2005 22:3819918
From a Gentile [167 words]Arlinda DeAngelisJan 27, 2005 21:3319917
The spread of Islam was not always violent [125 words]Ron Lukens-Bull, Ph.DJan 27, 2005 20:3919915
It Was Not Always By Violence That The Christian Faith Spread [73 words]AnneMApr 24, 2006 17:4119915
Liberals vs Orthodox Jews [72 words]Octavio JohansonJan 27, 2005 17:0219914
confusion [433 words]jon KingAug 12, 2007 08:5419914
Maybe it is a bit silly, but [72 words]Alain Jean-MairetJan 27, 2005 14:1719911
Watch Out for "The Truth" [165 words]Timothy B. RobertsJan 27, 2005 10:4419908
MOMA [31 words]Raphael RothsteinJan 27, 2005 10:3919907
Private opinions and general convictions.. Or sentences? [964 words]Oscar Laurens SchroverJan 27, 2005 06:0119905
MUCH BETTER TO HAVE RELIGIOUS JEWS IN LIMELIGHT [57 words]Catherine FitzJan 27, 2005 04:5819904
The future of Judaism [259 words]Yossi Ben-AharonJan 27, 2005 04:3219903
Remember, at one time even the Orthodox were "Reformed" [36 words]Jeffrey LevineJan 27, 2005 01:0019901
Hasidism developed at same time as Reform in opposite direction. [430 words]Stuart TeichJan 26, 2005 23:1119900
No, it does not seem like Islamism at all ! [59 words]Dr Ahmed Youssif. MDJan 26, 2005 23:0019899
Embrace of Marx has been destructive [138 words]Cal MillerJan 26, 2005 19:4419897
WHO IS LIGHTING CANDLES FRIDAY NITE? [565 words]Carol HermanJan 26, 2005 17:5819895
You should read this Article by Rabbi Manis Friedman [47 words]Ephraim FeyertagJan 26, 2005 16:3619893
Orthodox Were Once Political [36 words]Nikki Roth-SkilesJan 26, 2005 15:3819892
Even the Orthodox have their problems! [354 words]Kenneth S. BesigJan 26, 2005 14:4419890
So many opinions! But the article is about problems Jews face. [441 words]Michael A. ShoemakerJan 26, 2008 03:1319890
If not a good man, what then? [535 words]Oscar Laurens SchroverJan 26, 2005 12:5719888
There are vibrant non-Orthodox Judaism alternatives out there [474 words]Stephen AsbelJan 26, 2005 12:4719887
Lisa Malik - the reason why conservative Judaism is gone [87 words]Disgusted DavenerMay 20, 2011 21:5619887
Anti-Semitism [84 words]George TanakisJan 26, 2005 12:2519886
The future of our nation [345 words]Y.EliashivJan 26, 2005 11:4919885
What do we do with the non-Orthodox? [165 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Sheldon SeltzerJan 26, 2005 11:3419884
Orthodox Jews are the key to Judaism's survival [185 words]Octavio JohansonJan 26, 2005 06:2119882
A great religion of the world [81 words]S.C.PandaJan 26, 2005 05:0219881
Jewish "movements" [95 words]AriJan 26, 2005 01:5219876
Three to one [235 words]Duane GainsburgJan 25, 2005 23:2919875
A response to Orthodox trend toward hegemony and social action [299 words]Rabbi Edgar WeinsbergJan 25, 2005 22:1819872
Careful, Daniel [263 words]John W. McGinleyJan 25, 2005 21:4219870
Common Misconception [151 words]ElliotJan 25, 2005 17:0519866
Orthodoxy on rise...no surprise [576 words]Devorah AngelJan 25, 2005 17:0419865
Thoughts [153 words]BillJan 25, 2005 14:2919862
Does Judaism have any future at all? [450 words]Nora TehillosJan 25, 2005 14:1819860
Faith in non-orthodox circles [231 words]Ben SiscovickJan 25, 2005 13:4619856
It seems like Islamism [56 words]Neila Charchour HachichaJan 25, 2005 13:4219855
The National Jewish Population Survey 2000 [168 words]Tom TimmonsJan 25, 2005 11:4919854
jewish community in usa won't come [47 words]naorFeb 1, 2006 11:2119854
Future of Judaism [179 words]Jean McNealJan 25, 2005 11:4219852

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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