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Even the Orthodox have their problems!

Reader comment on item: The Orthodox Future of Judaism

Submitted by Kenneth S. Besig (Israel), Jan 26, 2005 at 14:44

The Orthodox and Hareidi Jewish communities have problems of their own. In Israel, perhaps the only place in the world where the significance of Judaism as a religion can be quantified, the religious public has been diminishing in size for decades and this has been reflected in the political power these groups possess.
Both the Orthodox and the Hareidi communities are plagued by all the problems facing the secular Jewish communities, that is, divorce, family instablity, youth violence, drug abuse, sexual activity, as well as a lack of respect for religious authority. Many Orhodox and Hareidi youth are opting out of a Jewish religious life altogether and can be found in ever increasing numbers among the so called "street kids" common throughout Israel's major cities. I would point out that just last week a Telz Stone yeshiva student died of a drug overdose at his Hareidi yeshiva, and later that week a number of Jerusalem yeshiva students were arrested for dealing large quantities of drugs to other yeshiva students over a very long period.
The Orthodox and Hareidi press are full of articles and commentaries about the problems facing their members and to date have come up with no effective practical solutions.
Both of these communities have very high birth rates and that would seem to assure that in the future they will be ascendant, but tragically, many of the younger members of these communities are just as tempted by the secular life as are their non religious counterparts.
There will be a change in Judaism, both ethnically and religiously, and how this change will play out is anyone's guess. In many ways the past is no longer a guide to the future; what worked in the Diaspora over two thousand years of exile will not necessarily be a map to dealiing with the modern world.
It is reassuring to think that the "old time religion" of our Fathers will save the day, but I fear that answer is wanting and will be incomplete. A modern Judaism, which joins the modern with the ancient, might have to be the new paradigm.
Only God knows!

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