Should Kiruv organizations admit to brainwashing?

I have been meaning to discuss the subject of Kiruv organizations bribing people to become religious by taking them on vacation or simply paying them to come to class. Hat Tip to Off the Derech for discussing a long winded discussion taking place on Modern Orthoprax blog for getting me to finally state my opinions and have a little fun at the same time.

From my point of view kiruv organizations all pretty much have the same agenda, they have the altruistic side of making more Jews into orthodox Jews, and they seek to raise their numbers so they can in turn pay for more programs to get more Jews to become religious. Seems like a prety simple concept to me – some of these organizations obviously have power on the agenda and money on the agenda, but it basically boils down to making people religious.

Mr Orthoprax has a ethics guidelines that he wishes Kiruv organizations would follow. You can click on the link to read his original list – mine partially makes fun of but is still serious.

Freedom of Speech

Hey as long as you believe in what I am saying we give you freedom of speech – seriously I have never witnessed non-freedom of speech, just because you say it doesn’t mean anyone will be listening.

Honesty about motives

We want to make you religious so you donate your money to us and we can make other people religious to do the same. What possible motives could there be besides for world domination and money? It only comes down to Aish, Chabad and the OU battling it out.

No brainwashing

You have got to be kidding me, the whole point of kiruv is to brainwash, by taking this away you might as well just tell all of the kiruv programs to stop running. How else would you get someone to throw out all of their secular music, use their Hebrew name and switch out of public school after a free ten day trip to Argentina?

Without brainwashing you can kiss all of the BT seminaries and yeshivas good bye. Without brainwashing you would have to remove all of the flaming BT’s from society and I wouldn’t have anyone to make fun of. Kiruv without brainwashing is not kiruv at all.

Respect for other peoples right to have other beliefs

You have the right to believe whatever you want, as long as your beliefs change after your free trip to seminary.

No mockery

Who mocks? Oh you mean when I state my view and I am wrong no matter what I say. Like when I say Shabbat you correct me and say its wrong and I have to say shabbos.

Not in your face

Personally I love having free chanukah menorahs and little honey sticks shover in my face. Although the whole lulav shoved in the face kind of sucks.

Fair Play

Do you mean Kiruv organizations have to work together? Do you mean Chabad and Aish will hold hands and sing koombaya? Do you mean that Kiruv organizations have to let other kiruv organizations even Jews for Jesus live in peace?

It will never happen

I almost feel that some people go into kiruv for the fights they are bound to have when another organization realizes that the city is a gold mine for kiruv. Just look at Dallas its one big fault line with a bunch of organizations vying for control.

Everyone has an agenda, shoot I have an agenda, I want to meet a wife and become rich and famous, but do people really need to reveal their agendas? It happens to be that bashing other groups is quite horrible but the Kiruv world is known for pitting its people against one another. I met this kid in Dallas who was complaining about a lack of Jewish kids his age and I told him to hit up this class given at the chabad for young people – he immediately responded that he would never attend a chabad event.

I was appalled of course, but I then realized that the people who were mekariv him definitely drilled in the evils of chabad and therefore it would take years to reverse the brainwashing.


On a last note I have been curious what people felt about the new practice of bribing college kids with cash if they come to a class for the whole semester. This kind of reminds me of those age old tactics of giving kids money if they put on tefillin every day.

Does bribing kids differ from paying people to learn in kollel – besides for the brainwashing tactic.