כ"ג לחודש השנים עשר ב' תשע"ד
A respondant to a string on Facebook warning of the dangers of assimilation, particularly outside of Israel:
The solution lays in adjusting halacha (Jewish Law) to make it more attractive for the people, less oppressive towards woman, less misogynistic, ethnocentric and sexist. We can deny all we want, but why would anyone want to be a part of a religion that makes them feel bad? Assimilation happens as a result of something, maybe instead of locking up the girls of Israel, make them apart of the leadership, halachic bodies and allow them to take an active roll in who they can be in this religion. Marriage is the point where woman clearly have a disadvantage, look at the get situation among many woman who actively choose to remain religious. Arabs aren't the issue and neither are the "none-Jews" it's close minded Jews who want to stay in the Galut/holocaust mentality that drive assimilation.Esser Agaroth (2¢) Response:
We are not here on this earth do whatever we want (ie. adjust halakhah), nor are we here on this earth to do whatever we want, and delude ourselves into thinking that it is, in fact, what HaShem wants, too.
We are here on this earth to do what HaShem wants. How do we know what that is? His Holy Torah, which includes the Oral Torah.
When we attempt to "adjust" halakhah, based on nothing but how we feel and what we want, then we are doing nothing less than disregarding it, if not cancelling its proper place in our lives.
I would like to suggest that you (and many others) arrived at this idea as a result of 1,700 to 2,000 years in galuth (exile). Such an experience can, and has, most certainly distort the authenticity of a people's traditions, not to mention their beliefs.
That being said, I am just as critical of all of the humroth (stringencies) which also came out of galuth, as I am of those with perspectives such as yours. These humroth may have had their purpose in galuth, to keep us together, whole, and on track. However, I do not see that they have much purpose here in Eretz Yisra'el.
In support of you, I believe that you are right about people not being attracted to Judaism, but I disagree with your solution. The solution, I believe, is two-fold:
1. Seek out the learning of authentic halakhah. One possible resource for this is Machon Shilo and its companion YouTube Channel, which is updated weekly.Here is an example: When Passover Became a Holiday Again.
2. Learn to differentiate between Western values and sensibilities (eg. feminism, egalitarianism, state-ism, Christianity, haskalah) and Jewish values and sensibilities. In time, we can all learn which is the wisdom of the goyim (non-Jews) that we may embrace, and which is the failed attempts of "Torah" by the goyim, that which we must discard, if not speak out against them.
Most Jews forget that Passover is a holiday, a happy time, but rather see, and inaccurately so, as a time of suffering, if not during Passover itself, then certainly beforehand, scrub brush in hand.
Who wants to spend six to eight hours in schul on Rosh HaShannah? I sure don't! Although there are some out there who find this meaningful and gratifying, I, personally, am not one of them. And I challenge anyone to show me how this is the halakhah.
I am happy to report that every year, I spend 3:20 hours in a minyan on Rosh HaShannah morning. That's right only 3:20 hours, and I can even set my watch by it.
But this is not about "less" being "more." Otherwise, the so-called Jewish "movements" would be the bearers of the solution, which they most certainly are not.
This is about stepping up to challenge of accepting an authentic Jewish identity, and investigating what that means, and perhaps more importantly, what that doesn't mean.