Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Intolerance Continued- A Letter To Toby Katz and our Community

Toby Katz is being skewered around the Jewish blogosphere for a variety of comments she has made on various issues. I suspect that Toby thinks that what she is doing is noble and worthwhile, but I find it to be exceptionally shortsighted, misguided, ignorant, distasteful and representative of the things that many of us term as being the worst traits of Orthodoxy.

Below I share some of her remarks and links to the places where she made them. I applaud her efforts to protect Judaism and to try and be a role model. I think that theses are admirable traits, but even good intentions may go awry and Toby you are killing us.

"If the person who makes this argument is an atheist, the very concept of guilt and innocence may be foreign to him."

"The people who write the news don’t know beans about anything and were mostly not even born yet in 1967."

"It is not true that Orthodox Jews do not mourn our dead. Just the opposite. We mourn more deeply and more painfully than anyone else, because we knew the victim. We know the life and blood and heart of our Jewish grandparents when they were still alive."

"It is a FACT that liberal Jews do not have nearly as many children as Orthodox Jews do.

Come up with all the excuses, rationalizations, and faux explanations you want to. You guys have careers, lesbian marriages, divorces, lots of money and whatever else you want and value. We have what we value: more kids, more Jews for the future."

"If you are honest with yourself you will admit that R and C Jews do not value children as much as O Jews do, because they see children as interfering with other, more important things an educated and intelligent woman could be doing."
I couldn't begin to defend any of the comments you make here. The suggestion that Orthodox Jews love their children more and are better people is the height of arrogance, not to mention patently wrong.

I am not what you would call a Torah observant Jew. I am not Shomer Shabbos, I don't keep Kosher. Some of my Frum friends have referred to me as someone who hops, skips and jumps around the derech.

They would prefer if I went BT. They think that it is better and will do whatever they can to support me if I choose to go that way. But none of them exhibits the lack of respect and courtesy for my beliefs that you and others like you do.

Now it may seem contradictory for me to say this, but I truly do not care what you think of my observance and how I live my life. But I do have a reason for writing this post.

I really am a firm believer in trying to promote more interaction and dialogue among the branches of Judaism. We are stronger as a whole when we work together then when we operate as separate units.

I want to see unaffiliated Jews come back home, but I don't expect all of them to go BT. Many will find that they are more comfortable with the Reform or Conservative movements and I think that it is better and smarter to bring them back to one group as opposed to not at all.

I think that the unaffiliated miss out on something very beautiful and special. I want to see Jews marrying Jews to continue the line and part of making that happen is to be more welcoming and less intolerant.

So Toby while I think that your heart is in the right place I do think that your actions are wrong and I hope that you think about what you are doing and the harm that you are causing.

My apologies for making this such a public forum, but I think that the message needs to be heard by as many people as possible.

15 comments:

Stacey said...

Bravo, Jack. This needed to be said and you did it so well.

We have enough outside forces working against us. We need to be at peace with each other.

Another meshugannah mommy said...

Count me among the annoyed. We have far more important things to do with our time than attack each other.

Sad to say, the intolerance is there amoung the liberal Jews as well. This blog has inspired me to put together a post on the subject...

Anshel's Wife said...

You have sent the message many times in a much nicer way. By posting what TK says, you are just fueling the fire of hate and intolerance. The same fire you say you want to help put out.

I have much more to say on this topic, but I won't because I promised Chaim I'd "behave" myself.

Jack's Shack said...

Sorry Yetta, you and are going to have to disagree on this. We don't solve a problem by pushing it into the closet and pretending that it doesn't exist.

This will sound patronizing, but when you discipline your children you make sure to explain to them just what it was that was wrong so that they do not repeat the mistake.

Also, if I didn't include the comments they might think that this is just a personality conflict and it is not.

Anshel's Wife said...

Jack,
I'm mad at my husband right now, so I don't want to take out my anger with him on you. So, when I feel calmed down, I'll try to come back to this.

Mirty said...

IMHO, I agree with Yetta on this. We're giving Toby too much attention and she feeds on it. There are much better speakers for Orthodox Judaism. She should be ignored.

Jack's Shack said...

I still disagree, attention whore or not, I am not in the habit of just ignoring bigotry and unpleasant behavior.

I didn't cross post this because frankly I find it to be embarrassing and I am not interested in sharing with folks from outside of the tribe.

This may not be the last of it.

Stacey said...

I'm with you, Jack.

Toby Katz said...

Naturally I did not say that liberal Jews don't love their children. Those who have children, love them.

But liberals certainly don't consider child-bearing and child-rearing to be a desirable, first-choice profession or self-identity for an intelligent woman.

If you have been to college in the last thirty years, you know that large families are scorned and that women who have high-power careers and high incomes have way more status than do women who focus on their children and families.

This trend is MORE marked among Jews, not less so.

Also the number of Jewish women who never marry and who never have children is frighteningly large. There have been many hand-wringing meetings about this in the Reform, conservative and Federation leadership groups, because the Jewish population is shrinking and the donor base is aging and shrinking.

The blogosphere is an echo chamber in which one critic's words get magnified and repeated over and over until the false charge of "hatred" and "bigotry" becomes something like received truth. Please read my own words at Cross-Currents.com

Jack's Shack said...

But liberals certainly don't consider child-bearing and child-rearing to be a desirable, first-choice profession or self-identity for an intelligent woman.

Toby, that is an ignorant statement. It is provincial, divisive and patently false.
If you have been to college in the last thirty years, you know that large families are scorned and that women who have high-power careers and high incomes have way more status than do women who focus on their children and families.

Prove it, put your money where you mouth is. Empty words and hollow platitudes are meaningless.

The blogosphere is an echo chamber in which one critic's words get magnified and repeated over and over until the false charge of "hatred" and "bigotry" becomes something like received truth. Please read my own words at Cross-Currents.com

Toby,

Every quote in this post is your own words. I included links and was careful not to change the context.

I have respect for anyone who tries to help Jews and I think that you are trying to do so.

But I think that you are completely misguided and that you are turning more off then you turn on.

It does not have to be an all or nothing proposition.

Sometimes the more loving thing is to have fewer children so that you can support them emotionally, mentally and financially.

Mirty said...

Geez Louise. I have no children; it's no great tragedy, I have two beautiful step-children that I help parent.

Mirty said...

dang, I said I would ignore her and I didn't. I'm blaming the shlivovitz.

Shoshana said...

I take offense to the quote in the comments from Ms. Katz saying that "liberals certainly don't consider child-bearing and child-rearing to be a desirable, first-choice profession or self-identity for an intelligent woman."

Who says they should? Who says Orthodox women consider it a desirable, first-choice profession either? It is this kind of attitude that pressures bright, young Orthodox women to give up dreams of careers or higher-level education. There is no right way for everyone to do things, and to judge others because of their decisions, which may be different from your own, is close-minded, insular and provincial.

Good luck to your daughters.

SLAMM said...

Read your comments about Toby Katz.True I didn't read the original article, however her article on tahara is beautiful - spiritual - simple-and meaningful - doesn't sound like the same TK
.I'd like to speak to her? any suggestions?
SLAMM

Anonymous said...

phone number lookup