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I am a Yid. I like to rock. Veitur!

- [ Monday, January 24, 2005 ] -
 
What does this ad say about a shul?
This ad, found in a bulletin of my former shul, makes me question its commitment to Orthodoxy.
[...] Event: "My God" with Jennifer Bleyer, editor of Heeb Magazine [...date and time...]

"You may prefer sushi to kugel, and hip hop to klezmer, and a nice Friday night movie to a nice Friday night Shabbos (sometimes.) Never fear, you are not alone! Come hear Jennifer Bleyer, the founder of Heeb Magazine, talk about what it means to be a hip, smart, funny, political, 21st Century kind of Jew; how Heeb got started and became one of the most original expressions of Jewish identity in the country; what else is happening in new Jewish culture; and what it all means. [...]
The magazine disgusts me, and the shul's participation in this event saddens me. I wonder how eager the shul would be to display the magazine on the "free-speech" table.


Comments:
Unless I'm mistaken, that program is being sponsored by the Kehilla, of which your former shul is a part. It may be that the shul has an obligation to publicize Kehilla events, even if they don't necessarily support the views presented in some of those Kehilla programs.

Do you think HTC supports the views expressed/presented in every program advertised in the Likutei Pshatim?
 

Anonymous,
Proud member of the community?

I have seen plenty of caveats in a shul announcement when they publicize something reluctantly. I think it's more than reasonable to have a caveat for an event that itself is publicized in an anti-Orthodox way for an editor of an anti-Orthodox magazine. Especially something that says "this does not reflect the attitude of the shul." Or even, "the magazine does not reflect the attitude of the shul."

I have know of many edits. They change words all the time. They could have publicized the event without mitigating Shabbos over a Friday night movie.

HTC does not publish inappropriate events in Likutei Pshatim.
 

Likutei Pshatim won't advertise a kol-isha, or any non- or anti-halachic event.

I'm offended by the suggestion that if you don't like Shabbos, that's okay, they'll show you how to be hip without it.
 

Actually, no, I am not a proud member of the community. Only a fair-minded one.

I said nothing about non- or anti-halachic events in the LP. I only meant that it is impossible that HTC agrees with the views presented in every program that is advertised in the LP. Yet HTC adds no disclaimer such as the one you suggest for the shul.

Besides, shul bulletins are produced by the people who work in the shul office. Not the Board of Directors. I doubt that the office staff carefully read everything that they are asked to put into the bulletin, let alone question whether or not it is appropriate to print it at all. I also highly doubt the Board, or anyone who has any influence on shul policy, even knew that this announcement was going to be in the bulletin. So I do not think it is fair to malign "the shul" for something that the office staff are probably responsible for.
 

The HTC is very picky about events it will publish and the wording. I know from personal experience.

The shul, likewise, is also picky about events it will advertise. Also the wording. I have seen the edits. I have seen the warnings of advertised events that weren't 100% endorsed by the shul. As an example, the word "Knishmas" was edited out of an announcement for an event of Jewish music that was called "Knishmas." If you ask me, that was a pretty heavy edit.

I was a member of the shul, and my opinions mattered very little. I don't think this maligns the members as much as every person who read the ad before it got published.
 

The HTC always screens their ads for obvious offensive content. As does the shul. This is just an example of something I find offensive and the shul's office does not.
 

You seem to allow nothing for the fact that this objectionable program (and yes, I, too, find the program objectionable) is being sponsored by the Sidney N. Shure Kehilla, of which your former shul is a part.

Knishmas, or any other Kfar event, or any other event sponsored by an organization with whom the shul has no formal relationship may be an entirely different kettle of fish. For all you know, the nature of the shul-Kehilla partnership may not give the shul much leeway for editing Kehilla advertisements. Sometimes that's just the nature of the beast.
 

The shul is a part of Kehilla. Unless I am informed by a reliable source that the situation is different, I can't believe that they're required to publish an ad without being able to edit or put up a disclaimer. Especially an ad of this nature.

I also don't think the Kehilla should force a program that is offensive to a member shul. If Kehilla is forcing this program on the shul, then my complaint is with a shul that wants to call itself Orthodox and still be a member of Kehilla.
 

It seems to me that not all Kehilla events are advertised by the shul. I did a search for "Latkepalooza" and even the fragment, "looza," and couldn't seem to find anything.
 

Regarding Kehilla, the member shuls are required to publicize its programs. I think it was a poor choice of words in describing the program. But in marketing, you have to remember your audience, and Kehilla's audience is the unaffiliated young adults, and ASBI's membership in it is in theory a stepping stone to their membership at the shul.

FYI, Latkepolooza is not a Kehilla event, it is a "co-op" event in which kehilla takes part and the member groups have the option to participate.

An anonymous- drop the veil if you're coming out slugging against groups like KFAR. 'Ya WUS.
 

I don't think the Rabbi was required to wave it around in shul, and I still think it's disgusting to put those words in an Orthodox bulletin. Also, there is a huge problem if Kehilla requires the shul to use those unedited words (which I don't believe is the extent of the requirement).

Jewish has nothing to do with hip. Jewish is timeless. Hip, by definition, is temporary. Eventually the hip will assimilate, and only Orthodox will remain.
 

Jewish,
no one is "slugging against groups like Kfar," here. I can't even imagine "a different kettle of fish" being taken the wrong way.
 

Jewish,

I'm choosing to remain anonymous because I don't think my identity is important in this discussion. Besides, it's a bit hypocritical to taunt me for remaining anonymous when you're using a pseudonym.

I was not saying anything against Kfar. I like Kfar. I merely used Kfar as an example of an "organization with whom the shul has no formal relationship" because I know that Velvel is acquainted with Kfar.

Back to the topic at hand, I don't think it's that disgusting for a shul with ASBI's demographics to advertise the program the way that they did. After all, many of the young people who wander into ASBI are still trying to figure out the whole Orthodox thing. The ad does not say "Shabbos is bad! Shabbos is for losers!" Instead, it acknowledges that some people are sometimes tempted to go to dinner or a movie or some other "normal" Friday night social thing rather than go to shul.

For ASBI to publicize this (and I still believe that they had little choice, given the ASBI-Kehilla cooperation), they are saying that not always being enthused by shabbos doesn't make them "bad Jews" and doesn't mean they can't come to ASBI and learn more about what it means to live a shomer shabbos and shomer kashrus life.

Would you rather that they shunned BTs for not being fully frum yet?
 

Heeb is flaunting "hip" as a substitute for meaningful ritual. Both directly in the ad, and as the basis for their magazine. The ad is offensive to me, and some Orthodox members I've spoken to.

We obviously disagree on the "ASBI-Kehilla cooperation" details. Please don't bring it up again unless you have new information. This is getting tedious.

Also, it's besides the point. The "ASBI-Kehilla cooperation" is seriously flawed if ASBI is forced to run anti-Orthodox ads, for anti-Orthodox events.
 

I think we're talking past each other. I see several disagreements.

1. I find the wording of the ad offensive to Orthodoxy. You don't.
2. I find Heeb offensive to Orthodoxy. You don't.
3. You think the shul was forced to run the ad as is, and you don't think any modifications or disclaimers were permitted or necessary.

1.
I think there is a positive way to attract the non-Orthodox/non-observant. I don't think putting down Shabbos is a good start.

2.
Can you imagine ASBI distributing Heeb? Heeb relies on encouraging alienation from Judaism's roots by embracing stereotypes and avoiding ritual. How about a magazine for blacks called "Nigger" about swapping recipes for grits and fried chicken?

3.
Do you think there may have been better ways to word the ad?
 

1. I find the wording of the ad clumsy, but not insulting to Orthodoxy:

"You may prefer sushi to kugel, and hip hop to klezmer, and a nice Friday night movie to a nice Friday night Shabbos (sometimes.) Never fear, you are not alone!" -- Many people who have not been exposed to a heimish shabbos environment would be understandably hesitant and possibly even skeptical. How does it insult Orthodoxy to acknowledge that not everyone enjoys or understands a traditional shabbos? I sometimes prefer sushi to kugel and hip-hop to klezmer. In college, I often wished that I could go to the movies on Friday instead of going to shul. Does admitting those sentiments make me non-Orthodox or anti-Orthodox? It doesn't mean that I acted upon them, just that I feel them. Again, where is the insult to Orthodoxy?

"Come hear Jennifer Bleyer, the founder of Heeb Magazine, talk about what it means to be a hip, smart, funny, political, 21st Century kind of Jew; how Heeb got started and became one of the most original expressions of Jewish identity in the country; what else is happening in new Jewish culture; and what it all means." -- The only thing I find possibly insulting here is the implication that there is only one way to be a "hip, smart, funny, political, 21st Century kind of Jew" and that this woman is going to tell me the secret to being that kind of Jew. Other than that, I see nothing inherently anti-Orthodox in the phrasing.

2. I never said anything about Heeb magazine itself, so I really don't know how or why you can assert that I don't find it offensive to Orthodoxy. As a matter of fact, I loathe Heeb, and find it deeply insulting.

3. Yes, I think there may have been better ways to word the ad. Lapse in judgement? Yes, probably. Worth condemnation and questioning the shul's committment to Orthodoxy? I don't think so.
 

1. Heeb is not in the business of attracting people who go to movies instead of shul/Shabbos meal and then turning them on to the better choice. Heeb is in the business of attracting these people and reveling in non-practice.

2. If you find Heeb "deeply insulting," you should have a problem with an Orthodox shul's involvement with the event.

3. "Lapse in judgment?" The shul printed the ad twice, and the Rabbi announced it in shul at least once.
 

Sorry to be rude, but who are you to tell anyone else what they should or should not have a problem with?

You seem to make no allowances for intention. I don't think the Kehilla had any intention of holding an anti-Orthodox event. And since neither of us was at this event, we don't know what was said or how it was presented. I have a feeling Kehilla was just trying to get young Jews together to talk about Jewish-themed things. Inviting someone from Heeb may not be my choice of speaker, but if everyone were just like me, there would be no need for this kind of event to begin with.

I don't know why the rabbi announced the event. And that I also have problems with. But your original post, to which I took offense, said nothing about the rabbi announcing it. You only mentioned the bulletin.

Furthermore, if I understand matters correctly, you left the shul a while ago. So I don't understand why you are making it your business to slam it, and its rabbi, on the Internet. Again, I realize this comes across far ruder than I mean it to be. I just don't understand your motives at all.
 

You sound pretty pissed that my opinion is different from yours.

You may want to consider asking yourself this question: "who are you to tell anyone else what they should or should not have a problem with?"
 

"I don't understand why you are making it your business to slam it, and its rabbi..."

I was trying to avoid mentioning the shul's name.

I would like to visit my friends in Lakeview for Shabbos. I would like to daven at an Orthodox shul when I visit Lakeview. I like the neighborhood and the people of the shul. My post was to illustrate that I'm saddened by the bulletin. You don't have to be offended. I am.

Do you wonder why the shul chases all the Orthodox people away?
 

I'm upset that the shul and its rabbi chased me away. I'm not the first. I still get the bulletin because I like to stay in the loop with my friends there, and there are occasionally events of interest to me. So whenever I see something that exemplifies the reason I left, I highlight it.
 

Actually, I'm not at all pissed that your opinions differ from mine. I would expect them to, seeing as how you left the shul. But nowhere in any of my comments did I tell you that you shouldn't feel the way that you do. I only questioned why you feel the way that you do.

You said "You don't have to be offended." But you also said, "If you find Heeb "deeply insulting," you should have a problem with an Orthodox shul's involvement with the event." Together, it comes across as though you're saying "You don't have to be offended. But there's something wrong with you if you're not."

As far as your motives, I understand better where you are coming from. Thank you for the explanation. I misread your original post as being smug that you left, rather than upset that you felt the need to leave. I apologize.
 

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