Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?
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Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

October 17, 2018 06:57PM
Dear Shalom,

Judaism has long struggled with the challenge of exposing young people to stories about others leaving our faith community. Sholom Aleichem portrayed the phenomenon well in "Fiddler on the Roof" as did many less famous stories by haskala influenced writers like Grade, Bialik, etc. These writers can be dismissed as writers of fiction but real life stories such as the one mentioned by Rabbi Simkovitch are harder to ignore.

Regarding teaching contemporary books to students that describe leaving our present day faith community, I would suggest teaching selected parts of books such as the one by Ms. Mervis about leaving Modern Orthodoxy or by Shulim Dean leaving his Chasidic community or any of Chaim Potok's books where he portrays his struggles through religious communal member soul searching journeys (the scene in the Chosen where the Rebbi's son sees Freud's book on dreams and has a crisis of faith comes to mind).

This should also be balanced with selections from books about joining our faith community such as "The Bamboo Cradle" or David Klinghofer's book " And the Lord shall gather me in" or Isaac Bashevis Singer's classic "The Penitent".

The traditional alternative approach of altogether avoiding such stories of leaving the community is understandable. Some teachers choose to avoid books like "As a Driven Leaf" that provides an empathetic portrayal of the famous Talmudic Heretic, Elisha ben Avuyah. Even though his faithful student Rabbi Meier could handle the contradictions presented by his teacher's flawed faith, many others could not easily do so.

I agree with Rabbi Simkovich in the sense that ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. Rav Hirsch in Volume 7 of his Collected Writings in his article about educating a child according to the way life will lead them maintains that isolation is no longer possible and inoculation by small exposure to potentially unhealthy ideas antithetical to Torah and learning how to respond to them is the best educational approach in the modern era.

I am saddened by the all or nothing binary choice of joining our community completely or leaving our community completely.

Many less observant Jews can and do find their place in a more modern or less traditional Jewish community that fits them well even when a more traditional or rigid community does not fit them well.

I believe it is ok to tell students that Judaism is not all or nothing and we don't have to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Shalom,
Elisha Paul



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/17/2018 06:58PM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Moshe Simkovich October 17, 2018 06:18PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yaakov Bieler October 17, 2018 06:44PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Elisha Paul October 17, 2018 06:57PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Pesach Sommer October 18, 2018 03:14PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Meshulam Gotlieb October 20, 2018 07:58PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Jonathan Kroll October 23, 2018 11:26AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yosef Goldberg October 23, 2018 11:39AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Russell Jay Hendel October 30, 2018 08:03AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Michael Berkowitz November 06, 2018 01:54PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yitzchak Blau November 13, 2018 08:53AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Michael Berkowitz November 25, 2018 07:45PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Yitzchak Blau December 05, 2018 08:05AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Michael Berkowitz December 09, 2018 06:19PM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Rose Landowne November 06, 2018 07:52AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Gideon Sylvester November 12, 2018 09:22AM

Re: Should Tova Mirvis’ memoir of leaving Orthodoxy be taught in yeshiva high schools?

Moshe Simkovich December 09, 2018 06:23PM



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