December 11, 2012

Chanukah: A Generation in Need of Rededication

The strength and numbers of Orthodox Jews in America has never been greater, and yet any of us concerned with Judaism’s future must admit that we confront a future no less frightening than the future that was evident to Hannah’s noble sons in Modi’in all those centuries ago.
Then, Jewish ritual and belief was crushed by a dominant Greek culture that had been imposed upon but–let’s be honest–a culture gladly borne by the Jewish populace. As much as we might want to argue otherwise, we must wrestle with the understanding that the majority of the Jews of the Hasmonean Era embraced Greek culture.
While in America there is no military or cultural imposition that demands a compromise of Jewish values or practice, there is no less of an embrace of the larger, secular, non-Jewish culture.
The sad fact is, we are losing many of our children.
To believe otherwise is to willfully place blinders upon our eyes and shackles upon our hearts. Anyone who is honest and who works with Orthodox teens, even those who have received a yeshiva (Jewish day school) education, knows that too many do not find meaning, fulfillment or purpose in Judaism. They do not feel the beauty of Judaism, or the power of the halachot (laws). Instead, they chafe against a “lifestyle” they feel is restrictive and complain that being religious simply is not “fun.”

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