“Backwards, extreme, judgmental, sexist.” These are the words that too often come to mind when people think of Orthodox Jews and Judaism. Scandals that reinforce these associations hit the papers all too often. Popular culture, including movies, books, and TV shows repeat these negative ideas about religious Jewish people and their lifestyles. Public opinion is at best uneducated about Orthodox Jews and Judaism, and at worst, intolerant of them and their philosophy.
Even more troubling, there is a sizable minority of people who were raised Orthodox but had bad experiences (due to unhealthy upbringings and poor education) who feel just as negative as the critics from without. Their experiences are covered by the media frequently, further solidifying the public’s negative perception of Orthodox Jews. Members of this community reached out to us in 2014 asking us to help them actualize the kind of Orthodoxy they see on Jew in the City, which led to our launching Project Makom.
This is the battle our organization, a 501(c)3, has been fighting since 2007. Jew in the City reverses negative associations about religious Jews by highlighting an approach based on kindness, tolerance, sincerity, and critical thinking and makes engaging and meaningful Orthodox Judaism known and accessible. Jew in the City is reshaping the way the world views Orthodox Jews and Judaism. Our team publicizes the message that Orthodox Jews can be funny, approachable, educated, pro-women and open-minded—and that Orthodox Judaism links the Jewish people to a deep and beautiful heritage that is just as relevant today as it ever was.
To read about the impact Jew in the City is having on our readers, click here for our testimonials page.