Wednesday, February 4, 2009

should OTD's get over themselves? - part 2

The second I wrote this post, I knew I'd created something quasi-controversial. I'm not usually b$tchy on MM (at least I don't think I am), but reading all the anti-relig stuff on the web (not one specific blog) got me in a bad mood. And so there you had it. It needed to be said. I needed to write it.

So far I've read reaction posts written by Off the Derech (Obviously. I should mention that I actually did NOT have him in mind when I wrote that post) and by Freethinking Upstart (which brings a refreshingly level-headed point of view to this whole discussion).

Like I've mentioned before, I do sympathize with someone who has chosen to be OTD. I've written a post to this effect not too long ago where I tried to create awareness about Footstepsorg.org and where I explicitly stated that "I think it shows poorly on the Orthodox community for its failure to properly integrate these people within the community, and also within society in general."

However, as an Orthodox Jew, I do think that the Torah is perfect, and that Torah values are perfect. And I do think that it is sad to see someone who no longer upholds these values - for whatever reason.

I think about this person's great-great-great-grandparents, who battled prejudice and struggled for their very survival, for the survival of these values, only to have this person put an end to it all.

I think OTDs often confuse their community's values, and their hate for these values, with those of Judaism. Because every community has it's failures. (and considering that the majority of Orthodox Jews are still observant must be a tribute to some success). And I believe that one can still find a place within Judaism without necessarily belonging to a specific group.

I have friends of all levels of observance, including some that are completely unaffiliated. And while I may not choose a similar lifestyle for myself, I respect their choice to live their lives as they know it.

What I do not respect are those who devote their time and energy to what could essentialy be considered hate speech.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I don't understand what you think the problem is, either in this post or the previous post.

In your previous post you said OTD bloggers should move on. Why? Most of them don't rant about their experiences just to rant. In fact the best ones, like Hedyot for example, have a very engaging writing style. Ben Avuyah is another one who has written compellingly about his experiences in Yeshiva.

What's wrong about writing about those things? And even those who do rant, isn't that part of the reason to have a blog?

In this post you say:
"However, as an Orthodox Jew, I do think that the Torah is perfect, and that Torah values are perfect. And I do think that it is sad to see someone who no longer upholds these values - for whatever reason."

I don't see why you think those values are perfect or why you are sad when peopel don't uphold them. In many cases OTD people don't think those values are perfect, and in fact they think that those values are far from perfect (just read Failed Messiah). They don't feel any reason to be sad that they don't uphold those values. So why would you feel sad?

"I think about this person's great-great-great-grandparents, who battled prejudice and struggled for their very survival, for the survival of these values, only to have this person put an end to it all."

What obligation do you think a person has to uphold the values of his great great great grand parents, especially when those values were often imposed on them? I don't see what one has to do with the other. If, for example, my great great great grand parents did kaporos with a live chicken, does that mean I have to?

"I think OTDs often confuse their community's values, and their hate for these values, with those of Judaism"

They don't necessariy hate those values. They often think that those values just have no relevance for them. Also some of those values really are those of Judaism as the Orthodox view Judaism.

"and considering that the majority of Orthodox Jews are still observant"

If they weren't observant they wouldn't be Orthodox.

"What I do not respect are those who devote their time and energy to what could essentialy be considered hate speech."

Actually I think cheap shots are more of a problem than hate speech. The best skeptic bloggers don't engage in hate speech--they're critical, and judgmental, but that's not the same as hate speech.



Ichabod Chrain

Ariella said...

Finally someone said it! OTD blogs are just depressing and repetitive. I think 90% of them are, indeed, confusing their hatred of something that happened to them in their community with Judaisim as a whole. It's very sad and frustrating to witness.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

MM: I think that just like chatting with those cheating men on that site isn't for everyone, this too isn't for everyone.

I tried in the beginning to read such blogs, and left comments, but I found it too draining, and it wasn't doing anything, so I stopped.

It could be its just their way of therapy, so even if it doesn't make sense to readers, its beneficial to them. But I understand what your saying about it being sad, and how they mix up values of communities with values of Judaism.

Mikeinmidwood said...

Babysitter

I wouldnt term it therapy, because they obviously arent writing it to get help.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

MikeInMidwood: I mean its therapeutic for them to write this stuff. Not that the commenters are their therapist.

frum single female said...

i get what anonymous says, but i actually agree with you mm. occasionally i have read the otd blogs, and i find the really hard core ones draining, so i usually dont read them. this of course is my perogative. i do think that for the authors of these otd blogs it must be thrapeutic, and they feel they need to discuss these issues via their blogs.

Anonymous said...

You wrote "However, as an Orthodox Jew, I do think that the Torah is perfect,"

Wait, are you MO or O? I'm confused. Didn't you write a whole blog about being MO? :P

Y-Love said...

This post and the previous post are 2 different things IMO. The previous post on the subject was quite callous IMO ("all members of group X should just 'get over' thing Y" is never a formula that ends up well), but this post leaves the issue much more clarified.

Many times, what we read on the blog in 2009 has actually been sitting inside the mind and head of the blogger since 2005 -- today's rant is yesterday's emotional scar. A scar which may have been dwelled upon and festered for years (esp. if the person can't afford therapy). Here is a perfect example of "not judging one's fellow until one gets to his place": who knows what went into the post, the rant, the "hate speech"?

(BTW, while, you know me, I'm always anti-hate speech, I wouldn't classify this hate speech the same way as anti-Semitic or racist hate speech. These people are having issues with the communities in which they were raised (usually in Brooklyn) -- one of the bloggers mentioned earlier brought me a challah for Shabbat when I was on tour. In the Midwest. About 1,500 miles away from where this guy probably grew up. He didn't hate me for being an Orthodox Jew -- mine was probably the only set of peyot he had seen in years.)

The XO (ex-Orthodox) and OTD movements are way too multifaceted to just say people should "take responsibility for themselves", IMO, that can too easily be used as an emotional soother for a guilty rabbi/group/yeshiva. If one beats a dog with a stick, one can not say "the dog should have gotten over it" after being bitten. The Torah tells us "lo tikom" because revenge is a natural instinctive response -- someone who just got punched wants to punch back. Emotional scars take time and therapy to mend.

Rather, like you said -- the point is that the hate speech should stop, people should realize that there is diversity in every community (not everyone in Lakewood believes that the internet is evil; not everyone in Crown Heights is Chaba"d) and not make blanket statements, and we should all contribute to unity.

Because on the utmost real, Hashem wants all of us -- even those not currently believing -- on that plane when Moshiach comes.

chanief said...

MM, perhaps instead of trying to tackle serious, mature subjects you should stick to the things you know about (diamonds, shopping, manicures - y'know, the really IMPORTANT things in life.) A little bit of education on the issues and some tolerance is probably a good idea before you make generalizations and recommendations for a group of people you obviously have no understanding of or compassion for.

Tommy said...

so only ugly, serious and mean people can right posts about serious topics?

Chans said...

Tommy-only people that can actually WRITE should blog.

ChanieF-when the blogosphere is full of people that cant get over themselves, thank G-d we have lighthearted bloggers like maidel, that can actually entertain.

And to all the rest of you negative thinkers - take a page out of maidel's page and get the F%^& over yourselves already.