Thoughts on Judaism

Friday, May 31, 2013

Leadership in Crisis

New week of hachlatas:

Some of the bachurim and bachurot today are reviving a ba'al tshuva movement, even among the FFB's, a new rededication to try and reel in the youth as they bleed away from religious Judaism at alarming rates.  Not a bad idea, one would think.  After all, the original "ba'al tshuva" movement of our times, that of the Besht, was all FFB and spawned a new type of observance that slowed the same bleeding over 300 years ago.  After all, this group of young people is the source for the Jewish leadership of the next generation, and one hopes they will inject a new spirit of leadership into the current lobotomized style of "follow me" drones that "lead" Judaism today.  They have the mistakes of their direct predecessors to learn from.

Some of the proposals center around becoming more insular and cutting off exposure to the outside.  No Internet, only "Jewish books", "Jewish music", "Jewish videos", and "Jewish news" media for starts.  What makes a book or music "Jewish", I have not a clue.  However, the books that my children had to read, as children, are not changing much. (and the bleeding continued with the status quo) But those are not the kids who are leaving.  What are we offering the 12-16 crowd? The 16-24 crowd?  The Jewish books for teens are plotless, bland, and worst, completely predictable.  Jewish music all sounds the same.   Entertainment is a huge part of influence and it thrives on variety.  Even Torah learning does not stray from the path of the core curriculum into the more interesting realms of the rarely broadcast.  "Jewish videos" are also very sparse, even though the medium has been around for a century.  We offer no competition for the books, music, adn movies that are circulating in the world at large.  What are we giving our kids to compete with what they see around them, to inspire them to want to stay?  Is the whole game plan to simply hide all of that from them?  Most babies grow out of peekaboo when they realize that when Mommy covers her face, she really IS still there!

One sentence summation for any budding leaders out there.  Does anyone, anywhere have a plan to keep our kids in the fold that does not involve BORING THEM INTO ETERNAL GROGGINESS???  

Newsflash: Even the hypnotized wake up eventually.