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 20, 2018 07:58PM
Thanks to Moshe Simkovitch for raising this question.

Part of the educational problem with the book from my perspective is the highly subjective view of the author and the unabashedly heroic stance she adopts. This can quickly turn the discussion (with all our best intentions) into a referendum on the author personally or on people like her whom we might know. It is more of a polemical memoir than a thoughtful autobiography, so it risks inspiring these emotions. A thoughtful autobiography about one's spiritual journey, in either direction, would be less problematic as a heuristic tool, in my opinion.

That having been said, given the importance of the issues the book does address, it would be interesting to teach it in the context of other literature depicting those leaving or entering religion. Perhaps, James Joyce's Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, which depicts Roman Catholicism in Ireland, Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus on Victorian Calvinism and Protestantism, or Milton Steinberg's As a Driven Leaf about Hazal in ancient Israel.

This would allow the course to become more than a polemic for or against the book and the authoress. It would also allow it to, in some degree, transcend the MO community the author comes from. Instead of an indictment of or apology for Mirvis' birth culture, it would become an exploration of what it means to stay or leave different religions in different cultures and periods. Certain issues may be local and others universal.

As part of a literature course, this comparative approach would also allow for a serious discussion of the genres of autobiography, memoir, and polemic. How do authors acquire our trust? How do they portray themselves in works of fiction and non-fiction? What techniques are used to seduce the readers? When are they successful?

Perhaps, the students could give religious memoir writing a shot or write private, religious journals/diaries. This might provoke them to seriously consider these issues which in any event are swirling around their unconscious.

All the best,
Meshulam Gotlieb



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/20/2018 07:59PM 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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