The interviews of Rachmuna Litzlon last week were such a huge success that Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer himself contacted me for advice with regarding how to do kiruv to folks who are already frum, or supposedly frum. After reading the interviews and checking out the various closeted OTD groups around the web, he came to the realization that kiruv organizations are too focused on adding new Baal Teshuva blood to the system without focusing on those who are already in the system. Like me, he maintains that the FFB master race needs to be maintained, before we can go about diluting it with mixed breeds.
In order fight the War on OTD, he is having a series of events to try and convince frum people that there are reasons to be frum, other than work, family, and image. That being frum is not just social and actually a belief system. I’m not exactly sure how he hopes to accomplish this considering the fact that 90% of being frum is image and 10% is belief, but I have confidence in him.
The sad thing about the Fingerer (I hardly even know her) event is that it’s devoted to the same “How do I know there’s a God and why do bad things happen to good people” that pretty much every basic kiruv organization does around the globe. Everyone knows the arguments for God and the reasons why bad things happen to God people, but what I’d like to see is a seminar on the hypocrisy of modern day frum society. If the comments on the Yeshiva World News ad are any indication of why frum people go off the derech, it seems that questioning God’s existence and general existential woes are taking a back seat to “my Rebbe molested me, but they made a grand melave malka for him when he got out of prison” or “how come we spent a year learning about dishonesty in business, and my yeshiva is dishonest in business“.
Throughout the years, I have consistently been asked the same question: How can you be frum when you’ve seen so much hypocrisy throughout the community? To which I always answer that if I grew up in a frummer environment and lived on the east coast, I probably wouldn’t be frum, but having the freedom to choose my own hashkafa and not living in a mainstream frum community have allowed me to maintain a great connection to religion and God. Unlike Rabbi Fingerer who believes that people are leaving the path due to existential crisis, I think that our faulty leaders, image consciousness, caste system of the yeshiva world, and general hypocrisy causes many to double take all they were taught and then head to the library.
According to Rabbi Fingerer, many are finding the answers to their questions online, but in reality if those folks asking the questions were proud of their society and community, they may wish to remain part of it while figuring out their existential issues (this is what I do) Unfortunately for Rabbi Fingerer, he, like everyone else in the kiruv world continues to miss the boat. Until one of these guys gets up and questions the community leaders and policies, he can prove God all he wants, but no one will care.
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