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August 26, 2009


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Ummm... Why should anyone care? So they do Orthodox Kiruv. So?


All the major (and pretty much all of the minor) players in the Jewish Enrichment Center are Orthodox. Most are haredi.

Oh my g-d! Haredi yet!


I was at an outreachy Shabbat event in a large metro city sponsored in part by Taglit. the person running had his non-jewish girlfriend around, and at least one student seemed to have been involved with this taglit/ohr somayach thing and was set to go to israel soon. the whole situation of the event, hosted by someone who was dating a (nice) goya, funded by Taglit, was incredibly strange and troubling to me.

Dr. Moe

"In Satmar Custody":



Thanks. That's wonderful news. Steinhard, who is not Orthodox by any stretch, reaches across to the Orthodox to work together on behalf of Jewish identity.

Now if you feel that there is a need for non Chareidi outreach, too, let's encourage other organizations, for example the Manhattan Jewish Experience and YU's Center for the Jewish Future, as well as NJOP to join.

Quite obviously, any additional organizations that want to draw birthright alumni need to invest in what draws the people, which, apparently, includes a religious-spiritual component.

Then, competition will push all participants to bring our youth even greater programs.

Thanks for the uplifting news.

Mr. Apikoros

Birthright is supposed to be non-sectarian (as long as you're Jewish, as defined by having one Jewish parent and considering yourself Jewish). Insofar as these trips give kids (if you call a 26-year-old a "kid") the opportunity to connect with their Jewish heritage, it's a great idea. To the extent that Birthright is merely a moveable JAP-fest, designed to propagate the Jewish "race," it's not.

When an obviously Orthodox organization is given preferential treatment, it violates the fundamental precepts of Birthright, as defined by that great atheist Michael Steinhardt himself. I believe, however, that it's the political orientation of JEC, not the religious aspects, which is the driving force here.

Nevertheless, if most of the non-affiliated Jews who go on Birthright trips discover that the post-Birthright activities included indoctrination into Orthodox or Haredi Jewry, a "free" trip wouldn't be enough to get these kids to go.

state of the Jews

The Birthright generation is the generation that elected Obama. The Federation world is dominated by Republican, right-wing Obama bashers. And they wonder why they can't get Birthright graduates involved in Federation?
What kind of drugs are these people taking?
If they want to involve the Birthright generation, they should turn over the lists of Birthright graduates to organizations like Jewish for Racial and Economic Justice, Jewish Community Action and other social action groups more closely aligned with the ideas of this generation of Jews.

Mr. Apikoros

Taglit shouldn't turn over the lists to anybody, at least without the explicit consent of the participants.

Office of the Chief Rabbi

The failure to follow-up belongs to the organziations that sponsor birthright trips. Hillel, the various religious movements (OU, USCJ, URJ) and the assorted Zionist orgs run these trips. They need to reach out to the alumni - and having the funding to do that would be helpful.

state of the Jews

"Taglit shouldn't turn over the lists to anybody, at least without the explicit consent of the participants."

Participants agree to be contacted after the trip. Standard part of the application form.

"The failure to follow-up belongs to the organziations that sponsor birthright trips."

I believe it was Einstein who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again with the expectation that results will be different. These organizations have failed in their mission for years. The vast majority of young Jews do not and cannot relate to them. Its time to try something new.

Elias Johnson

What exactly is the point of this article?

Mr. Apikoros

Contacted by Taglit, sure. At least I'd hope so. But should they get on a list where they're solicited by every Jewish charity on the planet, along with their parents?

Or by every kollel in Boro Park? My late father once gave some kollel $25 and I get bombarded by pleas for money every day (I'm the executor of his estate so his address is also mine).

state of the Jews

The organizations I mentioned do not have as a primary function, asking for money. They are interested in social activism, helping the poor, lobbying for the handicapped, running food banks for the poor, etc. They actually DO something rather then just fund something. If we want young people to get involved, offer them the opportunity to get involved, get their hands dirty, roll up their sleeves, work for something they can believe in. Checkbook Judaism results in zero commitment.


as a birthright alumnus and jec participant, i think the author has missed the point.....mr steinhardt has every right to give his money to whomever he wants....

as for the jec and follow up programming...their agenda is simple...doors are open for discussion and education...if someone does not like what they see or hear....the door is still open for them to leave...

this is america...if there is a group that wants to do what jec has been doing a different way....go ahead and do it...no one will stop you...

and steinhardt may even give you money for it too....all you need to do is ask...

Mr. Apikoros

Hey Mike, can I have $10 million?


state of the Jews wrote: The Birthright generation is the generation that elected Obama. The Federation world is dominated by Republican, right-wing Obama bashers. And they wonder why they can't get Birthright graduates involved in Federation?

Where did you get this incoherence from? The Federation leadership is disproportionally Democrat. It's the Orthodox that are disproportionally Republican, and they are not overrepresented in Federations.

Having both ran programs and having been targeted by direct marketing charities, I must agree with Apikoros that names and addresses should not be handed over to third parties without explicit consent.

However, the golden mean is what is known as renting, not buying a mailing list. In this scheme, the third party does not get the names and addresses, but they hand their promotional material over to the mailing list owner, which sends it around. That, of course, needs to be done with care, so as not to drown and alienate the customers through excessive marketing of even very good programs.

Handing names over to charities for the sake of fundraising is not appropriate. They could, instead, give seminars on giving (and they do, google for Jewish giving circles) and compile catalogs of qualifying organizations, without giving those outside charities the opportunity to pester people at dinner time or fill their mailboxes with dead trees.


The ultimate question is not whether JEC is Orthodox or not, the question is are they effective? Right now only 4% are involved post Birthright, is JEC changing that statistic? If they are, then they deserve funding, if not then another organization should be chosen.

So far I haven't seen thousands of Birthright alumni embracing Orthodoxy, so I'm not exactly sure what the purpose of this article is.

state of the Jews

"The Federation leadership is disproportionally Democrat."

Name a Federation whose leadership is disproportionally Democratic other than Boston. New York, Miami etc have been and continue to be dominated by Republican, right-wing Jews.
You assume the objective of social action groups is to ask for money, which is ridiculous. Their objective is to create social change. Problem is organizations like AJ Committee, AJ Congress etc, have one objective: to perform a walletectomy. Most of the young groups actively Jewish are groups who want to involve individuals in real community organizing/social action. The failure of Federations - and for that matter most conservative synagogues - is a reflection of failed policies that expect the Mountain to come to Mohammad rather then starting the other way around.
As I said earlier, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again with the expectation that results will be different. So what is your solution to the obvious failure of Birthright?

Mr. Apikoros

If I wanted to join a left-wing group and save the world, I'd join the Sierra Club. Or Greenpeace. Neither of which is especially Jewish.

If I wanted to get drunk and get laid, for free, I'd go on a Birthright trip.


the fact is, friends, that it is the orthodox in whose hands the future of the Jewish people lies. The state of Israel is a disaster, and most nonfrum people couldn't give a rat's ass whether their children were Jewish or not -- they might prefer that their kids marry other Jews, but when Kathleen O'hara brings father McCarthy to co-officiate at the wedding with Rabbi Shira Slobovowitz (name made up - no offense to any existing people by that name) they will still dance and make merry, even as their grandchildren light the hanukkah candles under the Christmas tree.
There is no Jewish future without Judaism. Unfortunately, or fortunately "Judaism" is what the Orthodox do best.


NotParticularlyFrumButSickOfBS , if the only future for Judaism is an Ohr Somayach/Gedoylim Judaism, then may the Jewish people cease to exist.

Better out than haredi.

Let me be blunt: Liberal Christianity is a far, far superior religion to Haredism.

Mr. Apikoros

Give me an O'Hara any time over an O'Haredi.

Get the battery acid ready, frumbag.


""""My late father once gave some kollel $25 and I get bombarded by pleas for money every day (I'm the executor of his estate so his address is also mine).

Posted by: Mr. Apikoros """"

LOL This happened to me- Mr A should write out a couple of $1.00 checks- get a wood stove and get free fuel this winter. As the Post Office deliver sacks of fuel err mail

Mr. Apikoros

Rebecca Sugar is the daughter of Harry Freund, who was Michael Steinhardt's roommate at the U. of Pennsylvania (class of '60). According to Steinhardt's autobiography, the two shared an apartment until they both got married. Steinhardt described it as a real-life version of "The Odd Couple." Guess which one was "Oscar" and which was "Felix?"

David Steinhardt and Rebecca Freund were fellow students at the U. of Pennsylvania in the late '80's and early '90's.

Failed Messiah SUCKS

"Better out than Hardei"

Then die out DK.
Hope you don't have any kids, (though they probably wouldn't be Jewish anyway).

A rabid animal like you needs to be put down!


Hey FSM,

Why don't you convert to Islam already? Isn't that what you really want anyway?

Failed Messiah Sucks

Hey DK,
It's FMS thank you, and had I been born a Moslem, it would be perfectly acceptable to practice Islam. Thankfully, I was born a Jew, and as such, I observe authentic Judaism, so no I don't really want to convert to Islam already :) Have you been baptized yet?

Balaam's Donkey


Are "Failed Messiah SUCKS" and "Failed Messiah Sucks" two different people?

They seem to hate on DK with slightly different voices...

Failed Messiah Sucks

B'sD -
There is no hate on DK as a person, only for the garbage he spouts. Unfortunately sometimes the cancer spreads to a point of no return. No different voices, just posted twice from 2 different IP addresses, is that what you're referring to? Because I know you guys like to check on that kind of stuff.


Moshe Rabeinu actually said the following, at Har Sinai: Baba Booey! Fafa Fo hi!And f--- Jackie!

Can't we interpret this to mean that the Challah must be turned 138 times to the right on Shabbos, or else we have utterly failed god and here comes another holocaust as our discipline?

i think the torah was written by men who's fathers beat the crap out of them...no disrespect meant.

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