Footsteps’ Underhanded Kiruv Tactics Revealed

off the derech“Excuse me, are you Jewish?”


“Have you eaten any bacon yet today?”

This exchange will become the norm in yeshiva and seminary campuses and on street corners in Borough Park, Lakewood, Williamsburg, Monsey and even New Square if we don’t shut Footsteps down. Everyone is urged to call their state senators and urge them to sponsor a bill to shut down Footsteps.

A recent conference call with Footsteps staff and kiruv volunteers was transcribed by a frum eavesdropper who shared it with Frum Satire. This call was in preparation for Project OTDKluxKlan where OTD folks will invite frum people over to their wild pool parties where there will be untznius women, beer, and unlimited sex and drugs. The purpose of Project OTDKluxKlan was to show frum people that OTDs are perfectly normal, well-adjusted, happy individuals, even though they have endless sex, eat endless cheeseburgers and do drugs all day.

Footsteps staff gave the following tips to the volunteers, who are not kiruv professionals:

  1. NEVER speak about these things:
  • There’s no need to talk about disbelief in God at this stage.
  • Do not tell them that you cut ties with your family because you’re afraid of their religious influence – they can’t understand this.
  • DO NOT tell them that your ultimate goal is to get them to join Footsteps and the OTD crowd, just show them a good time.
  • Women’s issues – do not tell them women are allowed to drive, have whatever friends they choose, ask for sex with more than just a hint, do not have to cover their hair or subject themselves to the mikvah lady every month; they will have a heart attack and die. There’s no need for that.
  1. General Rule

People don’t remember arguments- they remember IMPRESSIONS: were you disparaging or bullying. Don’t bully them about their religion or beliefs, it’s not their fault, they are tinokos shenishbu.

    • Don’t assume that just because your guest went to yeshiva and listens to the rabbi’s drasha every week that he has preconceived negative opinions about OTDs; it’s likely that he has a brother, sister or cousin who’s OTD and although he probably never talks to the relative, it’s still possible that he’s sympathetic. Play on that.
    • Speak about universal morals, how morality developed in primates. Or talk about purpose and meaning in life without the afterlife, they never heard of these ideas.
  1. Things that make big impressions
    • Make sure your wife thanks you for the awesome BBQ, OUT LOUD!
    • Seeing the wife sit back while the husband does housework; they’ve never seen such a thing.
    • Thank guests for coming.
  2. Everything you do during this Project OTDKluxKlan should be infused with “feeling” (see your Footsteps counselor if you don’t know what that means)
  3. Don’t flinch if they say something stupid, like, “so can I have sex with your wife?” They’re just coming out of the cave; you have to have compassion on them.
  4. Don’t play your usual heavy metal or EDM, they’ll feel overwhelmed. Play something they’re familiar with, e.g. Britney Spears, The Backstreet Boys, Eminem etc. Alternatively you can introduce them to something innocuous such as Pharrell Williams Happy, the worst it can do is make them want to kill themselves.
  5. The goal of this project is to make them want to incorporate this lifestyle – OTDness – into their lives.

People choose OTD because of:

  • Our heroes (Leah Vincent, Shulem Deen, Ari Mandel)
  • The ultimate vision of our movement – world domination; who doesn’t want to be on the winning side?
  • They look at the user experience – are people happy living their lives without rabbis looking at their underwear?
  • People are looking for truth, OTD is the Truth. If you don’t have answers to their questions, be honest – say you will find out. Refer them to Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris etc. or tell them you’ll ask one of the gedolim yourself. There’s no shame in not knowing everything – they’re certainly very familiar with that feeling.


These comments were first reported on the blog Jewish Outreach.