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Saturday, October 16, 2010

UnOrthodox Judaism

Jewish bloggers like to pick on Orthodox Judaism. But other forms of Judaism are not much picked on. Rarely do I find Reform or Conservative Judaism being picked on. Or whatever other Liberal form of Judaism that there is. It is understandable why not. Because R/C/L Judaism do not bother people. Reform Judaism is probably a lot of fun, I am sure they do not care much if you are a observant or not, they welcome you regardless. And they do not share the "I am better than you and you are beneath me" mentality that I happen to clearly express in my personality, well not just me, but Orthodox Judaism as well. It is not so much really how silly Orthodox Judaism is that it gets picked on but really that is sometimes a very mean religion. So I decided to make a post against UnOrthodox Judaism in its honor.

The thing about UnOrthodox Judaism that I do not like is that the UnOrthodox appear to me to be lost in between the Jewish world and the real world. As much as you may hate the Orthodox Jews they have their own world in which they are perfectly comfortable at. The UnOrthodox Jews do not have their own world. They levitate between the normal world and the Jewish world. They never find their own place to stand on in the world.

Let me try to make it clear what I mean by this. My synagogue is an Orthodox synagogue. Men dress with suit, ties, and they wear hats (fedora hats). It is very Orthodox. There is not much talking at shul, they generally get angry at people who talk. And when they celebrate Shabbos or some Jewish holiday it feels that they belong in this world. These Jews are so perfectly comfortable in this world.

In a strange way these Orthodox Jews look normal. Not normal by outside standards but it feels normal when you are around them. After Shabbos or yom tov when shul is over and Jews stand in the street and speak with one another they do not look strange compared to the outside world (at least to me). You see a group of gentleman dressed appropriately in the street talking with one another. That looks okay. And even if you know they are Juden you still nonetheless see them as looking okay because you can identity yourself and them as separate.

Even if these Juden were to take off their hats (which, oh my science, never happens in the street) they would look okay - I know it sounds strange but I cannot explain it any better. Because their big black yarmulkes mark their own identity. And outsiders can immediately see the difference between them and these Juden.

But this sense of personal identity that I have a difficult time trying to describe (maybe I cannot describe it, it is more of a feeling, maybe you know what I am trying to say) is absent from UnOrthodox Jews. And not necessarily UnOrthodox Jews, but even sometimes Modern Orthodox Jews. Because if you go to an UnOrthodox Jewish temple (they say "temple" not "shul") you often find people there in jeans. Or t-shirts. Or whatever other casual outfit (on weekdays). And that just does not feel normal. It looks funny. Because you do not get a sense that these UnOrthodox Jews have their own identity. You get the sense that these Jews are lost in between the real world and the Jewish world and they want to combine the two together in a harmony (but that harmony never works).

Or consider Jews who wear their titzis out of their clothes, wear decorated yamulkes, and wear casual clothes, like jeans. It looks so stupid! Maybe I am just used to how Orthodox Jews dress, but when I see those kinds of Jews I just think to myself how stupid they look. I know, I know, Orthodox Jews look silly too with their tefillin. However, my point is that Orthodox Jews make it feel "right". Because they somehow manage to give the message that this is exactly who they are. The UnOrthodox Jews are just lost in between worlds.

It looks so ridiculous wearing jeans, titzis out, a knitted yarmulke with your name on it, and a t-shirt as a Jewish outfit. It gives the message that you are part of the normal world and Jewish at the same time. And it just does not go together.

The same is true when UnOrthodox Jews celebrate the Shabbos. When Orthodox Jews celebrate the Shabbos it feels "right". Like this is what needs to be done. When UnOrthodox Jews celebrate the Shabbos with their funny dressed members, with weird dancing, and sometimes music playing, it feels unnatural.

I guess what I am trying to say is that you have natural actors and unnatural actors. The unnatural actors make it feel like they are acting, the natural actors make it seem as if it is real. Orthodox Jews are the natural actors. UnOrthodox Jews just look so ridiculous, even by Jewish standards.

This is not supposed to be some sort of defense of Orthodox Judaism. Rather this is making fun of UnOrthodox Judaism. They are lost without their own identity.


  1. So I see your'e a little like me, killing some time before I show up for kiddush. I hope the scotch is at the very least Glenlivet 16 which goes great with matjdes or pickeled. I guess u could call my brand of Judasim ONP.(orthodox not practicing)

  2. I think it is just a matter of the familiar vs. the unfamiliar. You are used to how things run at Shul, where you go. When you compare it to how they do things at Temple...of course it looks odd to you. And not all unOrthodox Temples are like that, my friend. Also, Messianic synagogues, during services, people are dressed how you described people dressing at Shul. So, let us not stereotype the unfamiliar just for the sake of it, eh? Anyway, good day to you, friend.