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Allison Josephs About Allison Josephs

Allison is the Founder and Director of Jew in the City. Please find her full bio here.

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  1. The hilarious part is that if Allison Josephs had walked the streets of, say, Williamsburg and asked these questions (“Is birth control permitted” or “Are you allowed to believe in the Big Bang” or “Which one is the rabbi”), she would get the exact same answers from the Hasidim themselves as Allison got from some New Yorkers on the street.The New Yorkers have gotten their answers right, and all Allison is mocking them is for not knowing that Modern Orthodoxy “also” exists.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      Thanks for your comment, Yoelish. We are not claiming that all Orthodox Jews are the same as we are not claiming that BBT is something your average Chasid believes in. What this video highlights is that people are only familiar with the Charedi world. And you’re correct, that much of the Charedi world is mostly familiar with the Charedi world. The answers that we show as “correct” are “some do this and some do that.” or “you can’t tell looking at a picture.” We’re simply trying to open minds. We’d like to open any mind that is closed.

      • Thoroughly entertaining and spot on! The same thing happens here in ISRAEL of all places! When I’ve gone to work here or go abroad for work wearing a wig and dressed modestly but trendy, the clients I come across have no idea that I’m a religious Jew… they only discover it when my non-religious bosses say, “Hey, don’t shake her hand! She’s religious! ” (I normally just don’t draw attention to it and keep my hands full… or I shake hands if I have to…). But even modern secular Israelis have crazy preconceived notions about what a “dossi” Jew is.

        Great video. And Yoelish: all of these kinds of “talk to the normal man/woman on the streets” type videos are supposed to show people’s preconceived notions. The best answer for all of Allison’s questions should have been, “I’m not sure if I’m not allowed to *not* answer, but I don’t know the answer and shouldn’t generalize or make assumptions.”

  2. I identify myself Modern Orthodox, yet I find your proselytizing of the “MO creed” offensive. What are you on some missionizing mission to convert other Jews to your “narrow” way of thinking? I don’t get it!

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      Thanks for your comment, Chanan. No one is trying to do any sort of missionizing – you are misunderstanding why Jew in the City exists. What we’re trying to do is publicize the range of opinions and practices within Orthodoxy. Most non-Orthodox and non-Jews are only familiar with the most stringent opinions. In terms of Jews who might want to explore a more observant life, many of these more stringent opinions or practices would not be appealing (i.e. birth control, science, long peyos), so besides just general education, so the community is viewed in a more nuanced way, we believe it’s important for Jews to understand that hair covering does not equal head shaving and belief in the Torah does not have to equal rejection of science. Hope that clears things up!

  3. It doesn’t clear things up, because I do think you have an additional agenda and that is to sell to Jews your version of Judaism (one I happen to share, but not push). I very much believe in live and let live, and allow others to find their own path in spirituality. The world is big enough for everyone. One’s heart should be big enough as well.

    • Allison Josephs Allison Josephs says:

      Thanks for your comment, Chanan, but it’s a bit of a bummer to be accused of a “secret agenda” by a random stranger on the internet when I’ve already explained my position to you! 🙂 If you look through this site more (on Kiddush Hashem Corner) you’ll see several posts about Chasidim doing all sorts of wonderful things as we want to publicize beautiful things going on in these communities that many people don’t see. I also recently wrote a Q&A explaining why Charedi publications don’t show pictures of women (even though I disagree) and I wrote a post recently about why many Charedim dress unstyilishly and an important lesson about it (even though I don’t do it myself). So to say this site is only about one opinion is not actually fair as we really try to present different positions. (If you watch the video again, you’ll notice the answer we selected as “correct” was “some do this and some do that.” THAT is the message we want to promote – that Orthodoxy is not monolithic.)

      What our goal around here is to show the range of opinions within Orthodox Judaism – both for Orthodox and non-Orthodox – so people can make educated decisions about how they practice (or don’t). If you take the time to read through this site more (check out the “Green Eggs No Ham” video), I believe you will understand what our actual goal is.

  4. This was really funny.

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