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Extreme Makeover: Orthodox Edition


Here’s an article I wrote for the Jewish Press about the mission of Jew in the City. Welcome to Jewish Press readers. I hope you stay a while!




  1. This is a really cool article and I’m impressed that you mentioned my comments in it as I assumed asking if Moshiach stood us up would be offensive to the Orthodox Community and would be rejected as heresy by them.

  2. Questions should always be allowed in traditional Judaism, in fact, sometimes we answer one question with another!

  3. Your article was well written and impressive, but my question lies in the overt discussion of Jews reconnecting with their birthrights. What about Jews by choice? I have an Irish name, I was born to a catholic family. I became a Jew in college. I’m alienated all over the place for lacking the “birthright”. But it doesn’t stop my hunger for Torah, my thirst for Talmud, and so on. What about us? Can you do an article about Jews by choice in the future perhaps?

  4. Hi Kathleen-
    I’m sorry if you’ve been alienated. Unfortunately not all Jews live up to Judaism all the time (which requires us to treat converts especially kindly).
    In terms of not including “Jews by choice” in my piece: the reason that I didn’t make mention of converts is because I was talking about reaching out to Jews who haven’t had the chance to experience the beauty of traditional Judaism.
    If someone chose to convert to Judaism, I would assume he did so because he saw something worthwhile about it.
    This issue of alienation is certainly a serious one and an article should be written, it’s just not exactly connected to the Orthodox image makeover campaign that I have begun.

  5. Shades of Gray : October 18, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    I read the article in the Jewish Press. I hope you have success developing this concept, and in terms of funding , finding people who appreciate the potential of an “Extreme Makeover”(R. Shimon Apisdorf also touches on the concept in the preface to his “Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur Survival Kit”).
    This is not the place to go into the causes and solutions, but there has been a lot of negativity on blogs about the Orthodox Jewish community, because of various controversies and scandals(this was the topic of a previous week front-page article in the Jewish Press by R. Gil Student). Some of the discussion raised, in my opinion, is valid and sincere, but some negative and exessive.
    Be that as it may, blogs can be used for both positive and negative. If someone can find a way to use this technology, creatively, in a way which enhances appreciation of Judaism , that is certainly a good thing.

  6. Shades of Gray : October 19, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    One more comment, if you are talking about smashing sterotypes, how about R. Grossman of Migdal HaEmek?
    During halftime of the recent benefit Knicks-Maccabean game, he got the crowd to sing Am Yisrael Chai, Shma Yisrael, and to boot, argued with the referee not to eject the Maccabean coach Pini Gershon!
    He is a sixth-generation Jerusalemite, not a typical Rabbi, although I don’t think that it’s expected for most rabbis to emulate him 🙂

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