|Rabbi Slifkin on Haredi
||[Nov. 8th, 2011|01:14 am]
What surprises me about this article is that Rabbi Slifkin was once Haredi. He does a pretty good encapsulation of the dynamics that went into creating Haredi society and how the "move to the right" was defined as young Jews not going to college for fear of learning science or being around loose women.
Furthermore, with the increasing laxity and encroachment of modernity, the conservatism of Orthodoxy accelerated to an unprecedented degree. As contemporary culture became ever more antithetical to religious values and became harder and harder to keep out of the home, haredi Judaism responded by building ever higher walls in an attempt to keep it out.
The resultant problems are well-known to all observers of haredi society. The system of mass open-ended kollels, originally created to recover the losses of the Holocaust, has long since exceeded its original goals and is ultimately unsustainable.
Increasingly, the extreme conservatism of haredi society results in intellectual and social mores that are often excessive in their restrictions.
For a convert, this group is a fascinating thing because if you are a convert outside of New York, chances are that your community subscribes to a fairly pro-haredi bias. The Agudah seems to be the only way to define a community against a non-Jewish and non-observant surrounding. I hear that the Lincoln Nebraska Orthodox community is particularly rightwing. Even the MO shul gets stuck with an "accommodating Yeshivish Rabbi" instead of a rabbi that subscribes to the tenets of a form of Orthodox Judaism that doesn't hide from the rest of the world. So if you get into the community, you got to deal with a lot of people who are either gungho for the Haredi or practically apologizing for not being what they were after their year in Israel. Hell, the whole year in Israel experience seems to be a great brainwashing experiment that was put in the world solely to keep Orthodox Jews from getting too fucked up in college. Instead of rebelling (or should I say experimenting in extreme cases of self-definition) by fucking around, getting drunk, getting stoned and embracing Communism, these kids come back from their years in Israel as Yeshivish believers who want to stay away from the corrupt decadent Western society as much as possible.
It lasts about as long as the bisexual Communist phase and there are less STDs and blackmail pictures.
But that doesn't mitigate the fact that there are many Jews who find the Haredi version of Judaism as some sort of "higher standard" of Judaism, instead of a creepy cult-like group.