Thursday, December 01, 2005

Steinhardt: frum separating themselves


The avowed atheist, active Jewish philanthropist, legendary hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardter had a few choice words about orthodox isolationists:

Gary Rosenblatt in the Jewish Week:

...philanthropist Michael Steinhardt spoke to a group of about 50 young alums of Yeshiva University and issued a challenge, asserting that Orthodox Jews are not fulfilling their communal, moral and religious obligations to support the rest of the Jewish community.
Citing a comment he heard a few years ago from an Orthodox Jew to the effect that “we all know that non-Orthodox Jews are a lost cause, and it’s just a matter of time” before they assimilate, Steinhardt said this attitude is not only self-righteous and “myopic,” but goes against the mandate of Jewish law. He cited Maimonides, who asserted that one must not remove himself from the community.
Steinhardt, who prides himself on being provocative and confrontational, charged that the Orthodox community is “losing its ability to share in the joys and sorrows of the Jewish community,” and that this is a tragedy for all concerned. “We are becoming two different peoples,” he said, and we will all suffer because of it...
...But Steinhardt questioned why so little Orthodox philanthropy went to non-Orthodox causes, like Jewish federations, from whose programs Orthodox Jews benefit, and why the Orthodox community “isolates itself from other Jews and ideas.” He said the dictum of the famous rabbi Hillel, “If I am only for myself, what am I?” applies...
Steinhardt is right that many in the Orthodox community feel the non-Orthodox are doomed to assimilation and that the primary Orthodox contact with non-Orthodox is through kiruv, or religious outreach, which can be seen as condescending...
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 4:28 PM

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