This is apparently a photo of the annual gathering of many Chabad rabbis and their associates who are involved in outreach to the broader communities. There are many more photos (gallery one, gallery two) of what seems truly strange and incredible to me. Do they believe that this is really what the God of the Israelites envisioned way back at Mount Sinai?

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Hat tip: Mentalblog

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themiddle

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  • Do they believe that this is really what the God of the Israelites envisioned way back at Mount Sinai?

    You mean masses of Jews, striving to obey G-d’s commandments and proud of it?

    Yes.

    Or are you refering to the external trappings, such as the black garb and red bricks?

  • Ahh- but they love those pics. I know someone who attends each year who used to stick a little arrow on the glass so that we could “spot” him.

    What would be even cooler (and less boring for them, I imagine) would be if they rotated the location around the 3 different 770s in the world- one year in Oz, the next in Brooklyn, the next in Kfar Chabad…

  • Yeah, “Do they believe that this is really what the God of the Israelites envisioned way back at Mount Sinai?” What does that mean? You can’t just make a statement as potentially offensive as that and then leave it open without an explanation as if we’re supposed to get it.

  • “You can’t just make a statement as potentially offensive as that and then leave it open without an explanation as if we’re supposed to get it.”

    If I remember correctly, “Middle” is a loud, proud Conservative Jew. When I was working for the Movement, rabbis were fond of saying horrible,nasty things about their Orthodox brothers and sisters. Really tasteless stuff. So this post doesn’t suprise me. But let me answer the question….

    Middle…I left the Conservative Movement, not for theological reasons, but because there were less than a handful of young Conservative Jews taking God/Judaism seriously. So I started hanging with Ortho folks. And yes, I do believe that they are doing “what the God of the Israelites envisioned”. And I think the Conservative Movement is moving further and further away from that ideal every day, week, year.

  • Let’s see. I was talking about the garb. I was talking about the conformity. I was talking about the absence of any women. I was talking about the distance from this to Israelite religion.

    Is this what god wants from the Jews? Is this the plan? If we were to achieve the goal of bringing the messiah, would it be accomplished when Jewish society reflected this look, this absence of women and the conformity involved in this society?

    Shtreimel, I belong to a Conservative synagogue, but that doesn’t make me a loud proud Conservative Jew, merely one with a bill to pay to a particular congregation.

    I also have no disrespect for the devout men sitting in that photo. I believe that many in that picture are probably fine human beings, who live fine rabbinic Jewish lives, care for their wives and family, and try to live according to the values and precepts of the torah as they understand them.

    (By the way, don’t members of the group in this photo believe the Rebbe was/is the Messiah?)

  • the “woman” to add some color, is going to happen at the international conference for “shlucha’s” which is in about three months, around the time of the of the passing of the Rebbetzin, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. the work these people are doing is amazing and if G-D had anything in mind for 3300 years after mt. sinai, this probably isnt far off. i wish them the most of luck in their praiseworthy quest.

  • They remind me of the Elder Penquins in the movie “Happy Feet”…a must see for “conformists” and “non-conformists” alike.

    Life and religion is about finding your own connection the people around you and to your Creator.

    No one or group deserves bragging rights to being the closest to what G-d intendend. If they did, Maschiach would be here already.

  • btw, the garb is tradition. and also it is brazen chutzpah to call this “distance from isrealite tradition”.
    what exactly do you know from israelite tradition? these men are keeping the ways given them by their parents and teachers for generations, long before conservative came along.
    if anything, i see conservative as veering from the israelite tradition.
    don’t get me wrong. i’m not trying to knock conservative here, but your comment about these Rabbi’s is ignorant and disrespectful.
    also, they happen to be most engaging with the broader jewish community world wide, while still adhering to their strictly observant lifestyles as is appearent from their global outreach work.
    your comments are childish.
    i applaude these men.

  • “I was talking about the garb. I was talking about the conformity. I was talking about the absence of any women. I was talking about the distance from this to Israelite religion.”

    I don’t see why you have to concern yourself with how they dress or how they choose to conduct their meetings (that is, women separately). And I have no clue as to what you mean by “the distance from this to Israelite religion” since Judaism is forever changing to respond to the times and their response is to cling to the stringent way of dressing their parents have for generations, etc. because the world is getting more and more out of hand.

    As for this gem: “Is this what god wants from the Jews? Is this the plan? If we were to achieve the goal of bringing the messiah, would it be accomplished when Jewish society reflected this look, this absence of women and the conformity involved in this society?”

    I think that God would prefer that we each care more about our own personal growth than how other people deal with their personal growth. Of course, I have no way of knowing that, but the second temple was destroyed because of sinat chinum even though the people were Torah-observant, so I’d figure that even when the majority of Jews aren’t Torah-observant, we shouldn’t tread on the sinat chinam. Just a thought.

  • At Mt. Sinai, everybody was wearing a beige caftan, if I remember correctly. It looked just as uniform as this.

    This photograph does not depict a woman-free world. (I could say something not nice here, but I will refrain.)

    It is just a woman-free PHOTOGRAPH.

    These men have wives and daughters, and they are activists also, right along with the men, very vocal, very public. There is NOT ONE UNMARRIED MAN IN THIS PHOTOGRAPH.

    If Paris was worth a Catholic mass to Henri IV, maybe having grandchildren is worth two candles every week, to us? Will someone please look out the window at the Jewish Grandchildren situation?

    These men will have Jewish grandchildren.

    Do brightly colored clothes cause sterility? Maybe.

  • I believe…though correct me if I’m wrong…the point of this post was (though the words maybe could’ve been chosen a little more carefully) that the Chabadniks have deemed themselves to be the ultimate judges in this world as to who/who isn’t Jewish. And within their definition of what authentic Judaism is, one must buy into Eastern European ideas of modesty, dress, religious practice etc…Sure, I say let all do what makes him/herself happy, it only becomes an issue when one group decides to play the role of judge/definer of Jewishness (especially when their own interpretation is, for better or worse, far removed from the ways in which our ancestors practiced.

  • There is no more inclusive, accepting Jew than a Chabadnik. Have you ever talked to one?

    This isn’t quite referendum on Chabad, just its practices about gender separation, clothing, and acceptance of authority. They may go a bit far for some, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. They are the future, because their way of life does not cause sterility. (Our friend Darwin taught us about successful life strategies winning the day.) So we should enjo-o-o-oy our secular, Jewish-grandchild-free lifestyle, while it lasts. Perhaps we should call ourselves Mohicans? As in, Last of The Mohicans? Jew-hicans?

  • Yes, Israelite religion should be the yardstick for measuring the purity of current Jewish practice. Let’s all return to those fun and fancy-free days when we were split into a dozen petty, squabbling tribes (oh, wait…), when we got married in our early teens and were middle-aged by 20, when we thought tent spikes through skulls was an acceptable manner of conducting foreign policy, when we kept slaves, stoned rebellious sons at the village gates, cut off women’s hands for interfering in their husbands’ fights, applauded the skewering of people engaged in unlawful sex acts, dealt with communal sin by sending goats into the desert, and bowed down en masse to non-Israelite gods faster than you can say “the modern shower is still about 3200 years away from being invented.”

    AWESOME! Where can I sign up for my coarse woolen four-cornered garment and my head lice?!

  • These guys must be exhausted from all the hot gay sex that went on during their convention.

  • Funny Michael.

    You know the people in the picture don’t do all that. They’re Pharisaic, Rabbinic, Talmudic Jews, not Israelites. It was TM who brought up Israelites.

    There are only two questions in life: 1) what are you reading? and 2) how are the children? Maybe in reverse order, depending.

    Don’t worry. We won’t start throwing people into the water to see if they float, which means they are witches, if we are religious. Religion is not superstition. What’s the difference? Religion ennobles. Superstition does not ennoble.

  • No, no, JM, there is much more to it than what are you reading and how are the children. Really.

    Michael, Israelite religion is what we’re about, no?

    Dina, you’re getting a little defensive, aren’t you? Where do you see any sort of “sin’ah” (hate) here? Is it because I’m questioning something? You wanna see some sin’ah, go to Failed Messiah’s blog or someplace like that, here you’re being asked a couple of questions.

    If you want to go to the issue of why the temple was destroyed and find parallels to today’s world, you might wish to carefully consider which Jews are open-minded about other Jews and which Jews call other Jews ” like or worse than Jews for Jesus.”

    Rabbi Y, out of curiosity, if we were to take a picture of all the women who are active in the rebbetzin group, would they also be dressed alike? Would there be a physical resemblance? If not, and I suspect the answer is that there wouldn’t be a matching look, why not? How is it that the men end up looking and dressing so similar?

    Jerry, nowhere here did I say they weren’t doing outreach. Sometimes they do great work, sometimes less so. Their system works for them and does good to pockets in the Jewish community who benefit from their work. But why is it brazen chutzpah to call this “distance from isrealite tradition?” I can assure you that in Israelite times you didn’t have 16th Century Polish upper class clothing and I suspect strongly that people weren’t wearing their clothes as a uniform. That’s what this picture shows me, a uniform and a uniformity as well as an absence of women. You don’t find it odd that they wear these clothes of all the clothes they could wear?

    How about you try to answer the question. Is this what God wanted from us at Sinai? If we all don the uniform and follow the precepts these folks seem to accept – for example, I don’t see a shaven face in the crowd, along with not seeing any women although plenty of observant Jews believe shaving or at least cutting facial hair is permitted – is the Messiah coming?

    Adam, I actually wasn’t trying to be overly critical, although the absence of women rankled a bit, just pointing out what seemed truly odd to me. In Israelite times, there’s a good possibility that women would also have been excluded from the sanhedrin or leadership of their clans. But yes, these men are definitely representative of a particular Eastern-European-influenced form of Judaism and I can only wonder what they’d look like if the seat of millions of Jews had been Mongolia instead of Poland/Romania/Hungary et al.

    JM, it’s not “woman free” because it’s a “men’s group,” it’s woman free because 1. women cannot be rabbis in this tradition and 2. cannot mix with men lest the men stop thinking about “important” things and be “distracted” by other thoughts. You are probably right that there isn’t an unmarried man in this group and I wish them the finest and best families and great, great grandchildren by the dozens. Does that make their life better than those who have not been married off and, say, left without many other options in life once the third baby came out at the age of 23?

  • There have been too many instances where Chabad has tried to take over the surviving Left-Wing Modern Orthodox synagogues in Manhattan and other places in the Diaspora, like Brooklyn and Pittsburgh. It’s so wrong. Why can’t some people understand we need inclusive Orthodox places that don’t involve Chassidus or Charedism or kiruv?

  • I’ll only reply to your q TM
    “Rabbi Y, out of curiosity, if we were to take a picture of all the women who are active in the rebbetzin group, would they also be dressed alike? Would there be a physical resemblance? If not, and I suspect the answer is that there wouldn’t be a matching look, why not? How is it that the men end up looking and dressing so similar?”

    The women of Chabad have much more style than that men. Of course, they tend to wear the same sheitel styles, and wear distinctive clothing. But I really take you to task for not pointing out that if you took a picture of nearly any major corporation, the men would be uniformly dressed in dark suits. Hmm.

    This has to do with human nature apparently, and I have not had a chance to figure this out. The Gemarra talks about women enjoying wearing bright and colorful and pretty clothing. It doesn’t mention if Hillel’s tunic was rainbow or not.

    So, to recap, women are better dressers, and always will be, in Chabad and elsewhere.

  • Raising children, even several of them, is not like being left out in the rain for several days. It just has wonderful moments and difficult ones.

    The plain fact is that somebody has to do the unsung work of continuing us, or we won’t.

    I had a nice time.

    Secularism is a failed experiment, evolutionarily speaking. Ask any demographer you happen to see. Who’s the Jew of the future? I know it isn’t me.

    You consider yourself modern. But it is I who am being scientific. YOU are ideology-driven. I wish, I wish, I wish ….

    Really, look at the facts. Not wishes. That’s modern. That’s science. Zilch birthrate.

  • This is rank hypocrisy. I have it on good authority that Middle can’t dress to save his life.

  • I have it on good authority that all Christian priests and nuns are cross dressers. 😀

  • R. Yonah, good response…and I will even give you partial points for the business dress analogy.

    Rabbi, I don’t know that I love HaShem. I’m kinda still trying to figure out what I believe and what I don’t. However, I have a great deal of respect for our history and our traditions, even if I reject some of them. And there is nothing wrong with asking probing questions. How can somebody look at these (incredible) photos and not ask questions? You might ask, “How is God so great that he gives us the strength to show up in such great numbers and such great force.” You will ask this because to you, it is natural to have only men in the photo, to see them all with long beards and wearing this outfit. Your focus will therefore be on other issues. Why are they there, what will they do in their meetings, what will they be studying, etc. I ask similar questions, but admittedly, they were not the uppermost questions in my mind. Rather, I tried to understand how they are so close to me in some respects and yet so completely different in other respects. In looking from this perspective, perhaps I see some absurd aspect of this that you do not. For example, imagine the shock Moses would have if he saw this image. No less than the heart attack Jesus would experience were he to see the Vatican with an image of all the Cardinals and the Pope standing before it.

    Tom, to whom are you talking about me behind my back? Second, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Okay, maybe there’s some truth to what you say, but I like t-shirts and jeans.

  • You forgot Mozart, Beethoven and Shakespeare. They might find our dignity-free, charm-free, hospital-attire-resembling pajama-like shamattes a little strange too.

  • To be fair, ™, if you look at the pictures taken from above the crowd, there is that one dude with a tan coat! 🙂

    I failed to spot a single Bay-Area Chabad rabbi. 🙁

  • What really surprises me is the apparent lack of security. By Chabad’s own words, these are their ‘elite forces’; their international network of Shlichim. Heaven forbid, there was a terrorist attack… 🙁

  • I wish I could say something without sounding disrespectful, like, oh relax. They are not so different from you. They are just a bit MORE so. You believe in G-d, in your way, they just believe harder. You own a dark suit, theirs is just darker. You own a white shirt too, they just don’t wear a tie. They are married with children, so are you. They are Jews, and so are you.

  • The don’t believe harder, they just have a harder time voicing alternate opinions or ways, or expressing individual alternative viewpoints.

    They don’t believe more, they are just more afraid not to believe.

    Their is nothing noble in ghettotizing themselves and many, many of their beliefs are superstitions and not actual Jewish law.

    Secularism is certainly not a failed experiment. Secular Jews have contributed to the civil rights of all Americans, and progress in the Arts & Sciences, just to name two good things they’ve done.

    Clearly G-d intended all kinds of Jews and non-Jews or we’s all be the same.

  • JM: Actually, there are two Chabad rabbis that I know who were a tie on a regular basis! One is Rabbi Greenberg of Stanford Chabad House, and the other is Rabbi Levi Shemtov; Chabad’s “ambassador” to Washington, D.C. (not a Chabad House, but a Lubavitch “embassy”). 🙂

  • It’s not wrong to need to belong, and there is a bit of this here.

    From the right vantage point, these men are wearing the beards of the Israelites and clothed in a proud apparel that keeps their heritage alive.

    Stunning pics, and I love the diversity here, in this thread. (pun intended)

  • I’ve always liked their suits. The wide lapels and lengthy cuts. You can easily go between vest or no vest and have no worries with dark shirt and tie. Or even an ascot or scarf. Imagine them with no hat and long beard and it’s Esquire material.

    But they’re definitely better suited for cold weather walks to Shul and northern outdoor Sukkos celebrations. Not for running around airports and sitting crowded planes.

  • themiddle: even though many jews are of the opinion that a man may shave his facial hair, these men are of the opinion that one may not.
    they dont tell others to keep the beard, they just do it for themselves and have full respect for other opinions of the jewish law.
    they’ll keep their beards and you won’t, and i’m sure that the messiah will come as long as we’re all getting along.
    your tone was sarcastic, and it dosnt seem that you were merely wondering why they’re all wearing the same suits.
    and yes, it is wrong to say that this is distant from israelite tradition being that this is, more or less, the garb of traditional jews for hundreds of years, and especially in view of the fact that traditions are created based on times and circumstances.
    back in the day polish nobles used to dress something like this so, in reverence of the shabbat and holidays the Rabbis used to dress like this and their adherents would follow suit. (no pun)
    since then, it has become a custom to dress like this amongst chassidim.
    hence the dark suits and hats (in variations) for sabbath and holidays or special occasions.
    on a regular day they might wear this or they might wear casual clothing. i know this because i’ve seen it.
    i think Rabbi Yonah said a good point as well.

  • it must be a fulfilling exercise to ponder what Moses would think if he saw all these Chabadniks, or if Jesus saw the vatican, or if i could do something that is completely impossible!! Hey, what would it be like to fly?? Hmm, i wonder. Please get a life.

  • Actually, “greedy, sexually immoral well-connected old men manipulating the masses to maintain their influence” pretty much describes all organizations, from the country clubs, to the prestigious law firms, to the Churchs, to Congress, to the Fortune 500 Corporations, to the Rabbinates, truth be told.

  • Some Guy, first you have to believe there was a Moses, a Sinai and a communication with God there.

    Now that’s an interesting exercise.

  • Hey Breed, you’re blind or living in a cave.

    Islam and Judaism the same? How about them yeshiva boys strapping on those bombs…

    1 billion muslims. 16million jews.

    And to think that you had the answer all along, and we have just been duped. Well, no thank you.

  • “Middle” is a perfect name for you and your mediocre writings/ideas. Middle as in average, nothing special. I overhear my wife reading your inane musings from time to time and find you derive most of your pleasure from putting down others. It probably makes you fell better about yourself in some way – which is pathetic. Your comment about no women there is ignorant as there is a separate convention just for women in February. (Your comments often express a level of ignorance.) Also, for someone who claims to be liberal, you are one of the least tolerant people I have ever encountered – any view or lifestyle you disagree with you see fit to bash, making no effort to understand someone different than you.

  • Actually, “greedy, sexually immoral well-connected old men manipulating the masses to maintain their influence” pretty much describes all organizations, from the country clubs, to the prestigious law firms, to the Churchs, to Congress, to the Fortune 500 Corporations, to the Rabbinates, truth be told.

    Those greedy old men whom you mention can be seen, reading (like a Jew) from right to left, in the front row of the third picture:
    1. Yudel Krinsky – Member of the board and executor of the three central Lubavitch organizations. Has been declared the Moshiach by some anonymous jokesters.

    2. Dovid Raskin – Not really a greedy-old-man, more of a holy-old-fuck who assists the greedy-old-men in their nefarious plans by keeping the brainless sheeple distracted.

    3. The aforementioned Levi Shemtov – The cult’s ambassador to the imperialist regime in DC, keeps the sheeple from revolting against the corrupt powers-that-be. He is the uncle of the famed Radloh.

    I’m not sure of who the next three are, nor do I really give a flying fuck. Numbers 4 and 6 look vaguely familiar.
    The last guy on the left is a missionary from somewhere in Texas. He gets drunk quite often; in my Yeshiva days, we used to call him Santa Claus behind his back.

  • Yeesh! I guess people have all kinds of experiences with Chabad. Now I’m no chassid and I’m no Chabadnik, but… All Chabad has ever done for me is to give and give and give and ask for nothing in return. I’ve seen them provide hundreds of free kosher meals to anyone who wants one in Bangkok as well as free Internet and free phone calls and shabbat services… these scenes repeat themselves all over the world. The shlichim I’ve met have all been personable and friendly and always available for anything. The hospitality they show is without a doubt exactly how G_d intended the Jewish people to behave. Who cares how they dress? Some of the comments here have been nothing short of retarded.

  • Oh Muddled One –

    Let’s make a deal:

    You assemble an equal number of Conservative Jews who:
    – know what the Ten Commandments are
    – or who can speak Hebrew
    – or who are involved in Jewish education
    – or who RECEIVED a Jewish education!

    … when you match the number of men in these pictures, you can say whatever you want about Orthos.

    Ready, Set – Gooooooo!!!!!!!

    Good luck to you – you’re gonna need it.

    And we all know it.


  • I guess people have all kinds of experiences with Chabad. Now I’m no chassid and I’m no Chabadnik, but… All Chabad has ever done for me is to give and give and give and ask for nothing in return. I’ve seen them provide hundreds of free kosher meals to anyone who wants one in Bangkok as well as free Internet and free phone calls and shabbat services… these scenes repeat themselves all over the world. The shlichim I’ve met have all been personable and friendly and always available for anything. The hospitality they show is without a doubt exactly how G_d intended the Jewish people to behave

    I actually have had similar experiences with Chabad. Most of the Chabad houses and rabbis I’ve encountered do very good work within their communities. They also tend to have a joy of life and what they do which I find charming, and even contagious.

    The one negative is that they do need to fundraise and become self-sufficient in their areas, but who doesn’t need to fundraise? In this regard, I think they are a terrific organization. They have some flaws (uh, many of them think the Rebbe is the Messiah!), but this post is not about these issues.

    I also don’t care what they wear, they are free to wear whatever they like, I just find the uniform an odd choice, as well as finding the uniformity odd…and of course the absence of color and women from the photo (to those suggesting it’s because there’s an upcoming convention, who do you think you’re kidding?).

  • Ben David, I could do that for you in Montreal, in NYC and probably in LA and Chicago. In fact, since there are 900 Conservative affiliated synagogues, I can get you about 900 rabbis, probably another 750 rebbetzin (that’s right, we’re going to include women in my photo), and I would guess there are probably as many non-pulpit rabbis floating out there as pulpit rabbis, and many of them will be married as well. That alone should get us to the 3000 number that are at this 770 convention.

  • ck – The few Lubavitchers I know (and are related to) have great senses of humor, even when I rip on them about the role of women in their shul. Sorry if you missed the humor in some of the comments. Some of us non P.C. internet explorer guys who can’t find compatible emoticons meant our comments about the Chabadnik’s suits to be in good-hearted jest. In fact I’m sincere that I’ve always liked that cut of suits on them, the Lubavitchers or whatever. That’s my style. I have no personal problems with them and any ethical ones have nothing to do with their attire.

    I’ll agree some of the comments about their attire might have been mean-spirited. I didn’t get that feeling from most of them. Some were insightful. Some of the comments about the Chabad in general were mean-spritited. Some like Breed’s were just plain retarded. (Rabbi Yonah, in his case being blind and living in a cave may not be mutually exclusive).

  • Of course G-d wanted the Jews to come in flavors! I’m the one ranting that the non-Orthodox should stop extincting themselves! I’m on your side!

    Why can’t ordinary, non-branded, non- black-hat Jews increase their numbers the old fashioned way, while doing mitzvot and living Torah-observant lives, without making a vast big high holy deal about it, as if it were normal. Because it is. For Jews.

    It’s the clothes. OUR clothes, – T shirts and shorts, which resemble the washable, efficient faceless garments issued to institutional inmates, cause sterility. They say nothing except “Don’t shoot. I am a harmless, identify-free worker human.”

    TM has a huge point! He is on to something! These people’s clothes MATTER. They seem to have “Positive-Minded Life and Plenty of Descendents” Rays built into the fiber.

    If everybody wore suits and dresses for a month, seventy percent would be engaged at the end of the month.

    Who is down for the experiment? You have nothing to lose but your rags.

  • Actually, Jewish Mother, their monolithic view that leaves no room for doubt and/or interpretation actually involves less belief than for one like myself who struggles (though believes) and questions and constantly is aware of that struggle rather than blindly accepting human-made constructs.

  • I wore a wig for 9 years and every minute of it felt like my scalp was crawling under it. I’ve worn long sleeves and panty hose in the Summer and was so hot that even Gehenim would be more comfortable. I’ve watched my daughters try to go ice skating, sledding, horseback riding and rock climbing in skirts and felt sorry for how restricted they were. Most importantly, I worked with Orthodox men while wearing a conservative business suit and witnessed how much they enjoyed speaking to the Latinas in the office with the nice cleavage and tight jeans.

    Jewish mother, you are a sweetie, but you are so naive and so afraid to accept any other idea of reality other than your own that it is really frightening.

  • Adam, you are the real thing, bless you. The black-hat people question and doubt, too. Have you actually talked to them?

    Chutzpah, I don’t think Orthodoxy is a magic solution. People are people, even when religious. It just helps, and is better than the alternatives. I expect less of people than you do. I only ask to see families, no matter how strained, and a next generation, no matter how uninspiring. I really think it is more fun.

    That is why my notions are as extreme as they are, and involve weird stuff like wearing less-comfortable clothes that may need ironing (ouch); cooking, which can be a chore (ouch), putting up with a spouse when having your own apartment can be nice (ouch), and doing time in the playground, bored stiff, watching small children do small things, slowly, instead of feeling the delights of business achievement and adult company.

    People may have to consider what it costs to reclaim family life from history’s attic. It may not be cheap, painless or easy. It may feel very difficult, strange, criminal, oppressed and insane. It may involve being picked on by parents and friends for “tying yourself down”, “throwing away opportunities” “saddling yourself with burdens” and “wasting your education”. And, “abandoning reason” and “giving in to empty ritual and superstition”.

    My money is on Adam, see post 57. I bet he could push a stroller.

    Anybody who can have a Torah-observant, though doubt-plagued, FAMILY, while wearing a bunny costume with big ears, is welcome to. I don’t intrinsically care what people wear, or eat, (if it’s kosher). Show me the results. Sober, gender-affirming, non-unisex clothing, home cooking, and adherence to a thought system above one’s self, seem to produce the results.

    T Shirt Jews are not thriving. I only wish they were. Let’s see facts, results – not philosophies.

    As I understand it, Jewliciousness involves finding a way to do that, preferably on the beach.

    You don’t think much of all that black wool? Well, produce what they produce, then criticize them. If you can’t match their production, make an appointment with their tailor.

  • I only break the bunny costume out for special occassions.

    Ok, it’s a bunny costume AND a gimp mask.

    Pssh, don’t judge me…

  • Christ loves you all. Now is the time for righteousness, where you lead, Hebrews, the world will follow, lead us to Jehov-h through Christ-we need him.

  • First of all, I think this is a stupid post, but it has generated an interesting discussion.

    I don’t know how much people are aware of the high numbers of ultra Orthodox youths who are involved in dangerous and certainly irreligious activity. IN Monsey, NY alone, there are 3 public institutions, specifically dealing w/ such wayward youth. There are reports of every illegal being used by these kids.

    So to say that this is the best approach for Jews is really ignoring all of the many problems that they have.

    They have the numbers for several reasons.

    Indoctrination works well for them.

    I cannot imagine any sane person, voluntarily joining their lifestyle. I have also not seen an exceptionally special spirituality in their communities.

    Then again all of this you have in the modern orthodox as well. but personally I feel more able to attain a higher level of spirituality by not being attached to one way of life or another.

    At times, I prefer the liberal Judaism approached as espoused say in Western Europe, at other times, music speaks more to my soul, at other times, the good old time Shabbos religion experience.

    I prefer the multi faceted approach.

    As for having many children, it depends on many factors but we do have modern Orth. w/ large families as well. true, this is a big commandment to do, but they have a better support system and much lower Yeshiva tuition bills, certainly in Israel more help is given to large families.

    If you want to base everything on how many children people have, then yes, they have the most I would say. But do they have less problems than others, do they have a more spiritual and honesty, I am not so sure.

  • hey, er, on behalf of the so called t-shirt jews, some of us do ritual too, ya know? let’s drop the weird nastiness we throw at them all the time here maybe huh?

  • Jewish Mother, what stereotype are t-shirt Jews? So Sarah’s involved in t-shirts. How am I to assume her level of observance and willingness to make little Jews by the product she sells? Or are you referring to some kind of uniform style, sort of the antithesis to the stereotyped Orthodox in a wool suit?

    It’ not about the wool-suiters vs. the t-shirters. I’m not as observant as you and… sigh… childless. But I’m not a t-shirt Jew. Because I don’t wear t-shirts. At least not t-shirts that read Yo Semite under a fir tree even if Sarah’s gonna get a bit of my Chanuka business this year 🙂 Style-wise (sincerely) I’m more Chabadnik minus the hat. And when I take my friends’ kids to the playground I find it far from boring (although I understand if it’s not every day). If this stereotyping keeps up I’m going to become a bunny-suit Jew.

  • I would happily daven at the Mission Minyan in SF wearing one of Sarah’s “Yo Semite” shmatas.

    Observant T-Shirt Jews of the world, unite!

  • i’m not a lubaviticher, chassid, orthodox or very religious, but I’m a jew, I guess I’m a t-shirt jew.

    The lubavitch may not be perfect (who is?), but if it wasn’t for them, judiasm would be gone. They are having children and rebuilding the jewish community. How many children do reform jews have?

    I have elderly relatives who lives in Crown Heights (neither Lubavitch or chassid). The Lubavitch neighbors have been so kind to them, loving and caring. Of course reform jewish neighbors (like me) would be just as good and kind.

    They care for other jews because they’re jews. We shouldn’t trash them because they’re different. How many know they helped during Hurricane Katrina? They don’t ask if your religious or not, they only care that you’re a jew.

    That being said, they have their own internal problems like every other jewish group.

  • If I wanted to trash them, I’d be posting about the fight that went on at this conference and we’d be talking at length about Messianism.

  • Like I said, it’s a stupid post w/ no real point, other than to generate some traffic to the site so idiots like us will click on their ads to generate income for whoever owns/runs this webs site, or Im sorry, blog.
    Because the pic doesn’t show the wives and the incredible hard work that they do, which besides raising their own families and cooking and hosting many guests, usually the woman in these outposts called Chabad house, run a day care for all ages, which means they have to change the diapers of up t0 50 1-2 year olds. But this income allows the husband to engage in his holy work of teaching Torah to all, and establishing a community and minyan.

    But of course they had such pictures, so really there is as I said, no point at all to this.

  • I am NOT trashing ANY kind of Jew, no matter what they wear. I just want results. I want free weddings on the beach. I want joy and wooping. I have NOTICED that some kinds of clothes seem to produce RESULTS.

    So, T Shirt Jews, be happy, go marry, and have lots of little T Shirt Jews. Do not say anything bad about the Bunny Suit Jews on the other side of town. They may dress oddly, but they are Jews, too. They live the Torah way, too.

    I am not asking for Extreme Judaism. Sfad in the summer would be too hot for me, too. But I do the mitzvot, in my quiet little way. Anybody can learn that. It’s not torture at all. It’s better.

    I am ALL FOR a not-especially-branded Torah-observant Jew. G-d’s commandments are the point. Not these brand names, like MO or OU or YI or this or that. They are great, and useful, but G-d did not mention them, and people may have to endlessly shop around, while trying to always do a bit more of G-d’s mitzvot, which WORK.

    The shopping process may be lifelong. That is fine, as long as you keep doing the mitzvot, writing checks, and not talking bad about anybody.

    But you have got to hand it to Chabad. They know their way of life is not for everybody, but, unlike most groups of any kind, they will do anything for anybody, EVEN THOUGH the person is just passing through, and will give little back, or nothing at all.

    If Paris was worth a mass, having Jewish grandchildren is worth lighting two candles and forgoing a cheesburger. Shabbat is great. You can adjust to this. You would do a lot more, to have Jewish grandchildren, than singing and eating by candlelight with friends every week.

  • JewishMother, why are you so obsessed with people producing Jewish children and grandchildren? It’s really odd.

  • A Jewish woman who cares about Jewish children and Jewish grand-children! Alert the media! Something odd’s going on here! :-p

  • For hundreds of years ALL Jews have conducted themselves with a similar manner to these men pictured. Dressing in a manner befitting G-D’s holy people and behaving in a modest way where men and women don’t mingle because that’s leads on to sin.
    OK everyone!! Newsflash!! After all these years “themiddle” has something to say “Do they believe that this is really what the God of the Israelites envisioned way back at Mount Sinai?” Excuse me but who the heck are you, an angry young lady to come along and act as if you know it all?
    Do you think that after all these years and after all we have been through as a nation that you are really observing Judaism the way it’s supposed to be observed?
    I DONT THINK SO

  • Joseph,

    1. Reform have been around for 300 years, do you agree with their views as well since they’ve been practicing as Reform Jews for “hundreds of years?”

    2. Although there is an image of a young woman at the top of this page, I happen to be a non-angry middle aged man.

    3. Yes, I do act as if I know it all. Thanks for noticing.

    4. I have no idea whether I’m observing Judaism the way it was meant to be observed, but chances are I’m not.

    5. In my opinion, and I stress that this is my personal opinion and I don’t suggest for a minute that I am as learned in Torah or Judaism as the men in that photo – the older ones or the younger ones – they aren’t observing Judaism the way it was meant to be observed either. Parts of it? Certainly. But they’ve added and taken away quite a bit, in large part because the world itself, technology, societies, etc. have changed.

  • 1) Dude, from Moses to maimonides to R’ MM schneerson it’s all Orthodox Judaism. Practicing the laws of the Torah the way it’s supposed to be practiced. You know as well as I do that reform judaism is just a couple of words which you use to help you sleep better at night.

    2) I must have misread something for one of the previous posts. My sincere applogize for calling you young.

    3) Good to know my point rings true.

    4) Right again!! Good for you!

    5) G-d forbid to even think they have taken away. Thats YOUR job as a member of the reform movement.

  • 1. Duuuuude, Maimonides would have had a heart attack if he saw what these guys wear as “the uniform.”

    2. Moses would have had a heart attack if he had seen how Maimonides was practicing. He would have been very curious about what these guys in the photo are wearing, though.

    3. There’s a good chance that Moses would have been willing to click the camera and take the picture on Shabbat since he wouldn’t have perceived it to be “melacha.”

    4. I am young. At heart.

    5. I am not a member of the Reform movement. I am not a member of the Conservative movement either, although I pay dues to one of their synagogues right now. Labeling me isn’t going to get you far.

    6. Don’t make me send you to Failed Messiah or The Kvetcher cuz then you’ll really take a fit.

  • Hee hee, you mean because I sent Joseph over there? 🙂

    I like Kelsey and hope this generates some traffic for him.

    Besides, I understand where Joseph’s coming from and would love to be able to agree with him since it would anchor me and take away so many of my doubts. Since I disagree but still believe I’ve been fair to the folks in these pics, I think he needs to read people who have a much harsher view. It’ll help with his perspective.

  • TM, at first that’s what I meant but the more I thought about, if you were doing it to be mean you would’ve hooked him up with Mobius 🙂

    In any case you’re right Joseph would be interested in reading Shmarya’s bio. Any discussion about the way Judaism was intended to be practiced or how it was originally practiced needs to look at the controversy between the Orthodox and Beta Israel after Ops Moses and Sheba.

  • TM is missing that underneath the superficial stuff such as clothing styles there is a core belief system that would be just fine with all the historic figures he mentions.

    Reform Judaism dates from the mid-nineteenth century, which is only a hundred and fifty years ago. Conservative is a little younger because it was a reaction to Reform.

    Electricity would not have made any sense to Moses until it was explained, and the ruling that it was fire, was explained. As Moses was smart, that would not take more than a few minutes.

    The whole amazing thing is that there is a core unchanging vision. It is an invisible vision. Do you like the pun?

  • JM, Reform is much older than that. Conservative is about 150 years old. While Reform does have a core belief system that differs from what we’re calling Orthodox, it also shares quite a bit. Conservative is very close in terms of its core belief system. It’s the observance that is the primary difference.

    The figures I mention would be quite surprised to hear and see some of the stuff that went on at 770 this year, and would be amazed at the fashion.

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