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When it Comes to Intermarriage, ‘Experts’ Confuse Cause and Effect

April 20, 2012 – 8:42 am107 Comments

Intermarriage was much rarer when there was more anti-Semitism of the type featured in this 1947 Oscar winner

In an article first published in the New Jersey Jewish News, Paul Golin argues that fear of intermarriage is not a logical reason to fund Jewish day schools. It is equally relevant to the Australian Jewish community.

A classic Jewish-communal false narrative re-emerged recently in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal, of all places, by Peter Beinart, of all people. (See “The Jewish Case for Vouchers”).

The narrative goes something like this: if only Jews were more Jewishly educated, they’d intermarry less.  Let’s increase support to Jewish education like day schools so Jews better understand why they shouldn’t intermarry.

Why is this narrative false? And why does it continue to be propagated?

There’s no debate that intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews began its ascent in America during the mid-1960s, from single-digit rates to nearly 50% of all marrying Jews today. Since the late 1980s, there have been more intermarried households created than in-married (Jewish/Jewish) households.

Clearly, something dramatic happened in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s to foster this change.  From the narrative about Jewish education that Beinart and others suggest, you’d think there existed a flourishing network of Jewish day schools, sleep-away camps, and supplemental education in the early 1900s that suddenly got wiped away in the middle of the century—and then we all intermarried.

Of course that’s not what happened, and in fact, there’s no evidence to suggest that Jews were better Jewishly educated back when intermarriage rates were negligible. Jewish education in all denominations is stronger today than ever before. Jewish educators are more professionalized, colleges across the nation now include Jewish Studies courses and majors, and supplemental education is supported by peer trips to Israel and service-learning initiatives. Exponentially more day schools were created after intermarriage rates rose than ever existed before it.

It wasn’t higher levels of Jewish education that kept intermarriage rates so low in the first half of the 20th Century, and it’s not lack of Jewish education that drives high intermarriage rates today. There are many other, more important factors. Primary among them: the rest of America simply stopped hating us.

While American Jews never faced genocidal anti-Semitism, before the 1960s a marriage between a Jew and non-Jew was equally, if not more, tragic to the Gentile parents than to the Jewish parents. American anti-Semitism declined dramatically after the Civil Rights Movement, pride in Israel’s 1967 war victory, and Jewish success in a wide variety of professional endeavours. Today, Americans are philo-Semites. When it comes to marriage, many consider Jews to be a “catch.”

Of course, if this was still the 1940s and they wanted to “catch” us, they’d have to come to our neighbourhoods to find us, because most Jews were effectively ghettoized and quotas kept us out of many jobs and colleges. Today Jews are spread as far into the suburbs and exurbs as anybody else, and work and study in all the same places as any other Americans. And people marry who they meet, study, and work with. A majority of Jews no longer see choice of marriage partner as the make-or-break statement about their own Jewish identity that many communal leaders still believe it is.

For leaders in the Jewish community who spend almost all their time serving and working among their fellow Jews, it might be easy to forget that Jews are only 2% of the US population. But Jews are only 2% of the US population! That our intermarriage rate is only 50% is actually a remarkable success. Compared to other ethnicities in this country—and many Ashkenazi Jews do see their Jewishness as an ethnic identity—our intermarriage rates are no worse than third and fourth generation Irish-Americans or Italian-Americans. Intermarriage rates among Japanese-American women have reached as high as 90%.

So why is the anti-intermarriage narrative solely focused on Jewish education?  The obvious reason is because nobody is going to suggest we turn back the clock on societal acceptance or the freedom to live where we want, even as we wax nostalgic and recall a time of low intermarriage rates as the “good old days.”

The less obvious explanation may be the more powerful: it’s about money. In Peter Beinart’s case it’s about getting the US taxpayer to cover his children’s day school tuition through school vouchers. For the organized Jewish community, it’s about garnering support for one of its core businesses, Jewish education. Nothing seems to sell to Jews better than fear—in this case, fear of intermarriage and of the intermarried—and fear is best spread by misinformation.

Beinart’s op-ed quotes a pseudoscientific study claiming that day schools increase a Jewish child’s likelihood of marrying another Jew “by 14 percentage points.” To claim, as that study does, that you can “control” for all other factors like whether the individual’s social structure is within an Orthodox or secular community, or whether she believes in God or not, or whether he later lives in Seattle or the Upper West Side, in order to proclaim day-school attendance as the cause for Jewish in-marriage breaks the very basics that any Sociology 101 student would learn about cause-and-effect.

Beinart’s misunderstanding of demography is also apparent when he compares the American Jewish community’s 50% intermarriage rate to those in other countries that send more of their children to Jewish day schools, suggesting that Canada’s 35% intermarriage rate or France’s 40% rate somehow represents “success.” A 35% individuals intermarriage rate actually means that there are as many intermarried households created as in-married households (if three Jews intermarrying at 35%, two of those Jews marry each other to create one households, while one of those Jews marries a non-Jew to also create one household). In France, it means that for as long as they’ve “successfully” maintained “only” a 40% intermarriage rate, there have likely been more children born to intermarried than in-married parents. The difference in Jewish population growth in those countries will not be determined by Jewish day schools, but rather by the lack of denominations that accept patrilineal Jews, which will push away many more families than we lose in the US.

Whether or not Beinart should be responsible for understanding the nuance between the “individuals” versus “couples” rates of intermarriage is debatable, but one group that must understand Jewish statistics better is our Jewish communal leadership, which continues to hire the same two or three agenda-driven advocate/sociologists over and over again for decades. If you really want to know how effective your programs are, or what is really happening among the Jewish population, why hire Jews who care deeply about seeing specific outcomes? Why not hire any of the countless non-Jewish firms who couldn’t care less about what they find, and only care that the way they find it is scientifically sound?

Because, of course, then you have to be prepared to have your narrative challenged.  A new intermarriage narrative has emerged in much of the community, even as the old one refuses to die. The new narrative demonstrates how essential the inclusion of intermarried families is in Jewish life, even in day school communities. In the new narrative, Jewish education is not a vaccine against dreaded outcomes, it’s the sharing of wisdom and heritage that impacts positively on individuals, whether they have two, one, or no Jewish parents. Fear of intermarriage as a motivating factor for doing anything needs to be expunged from our communal institutions, to be replaced by the joy of sharing what we love about being Jewish with all who might benefit.

Paul Golin is associate executive director of the Jewish Outreach Institute and co-author with Rabbi Kerry Olitzky of the forthcoming book, How to Raise Jewish Children…Even When You’re Not Jewish Yourself.

Courtesy of www.njjewishnews.com

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107 Comments »

  • Eli Ajzenman says:

    Nice piece. Couldn’t agree more

  • The recent excellent Gen08 survey

    (http://arts.monash.edu.au/jewish-civilisation/news-and-events/jewish-continuity-report.pdfstudy)

    conclusively proves that education in a Jewish school is the only reliable predictor of Jewish identity, participation in Jewish life and having Jewish children.

    I can understand that it’s the news not everyone wants to hear.

  • Sam says:

    Excellent and thought provoking piece. I have couple of observations that may be relevant.
    First, there was a time in my memory not so long ago that Carmel, the only jewish day school in Perth would only accept children that were halachically orthodox jews. This caused much angst to affected families, alienating many from maistream judaism. One eminent judge (he was jewish, his wife was not), was upset enough for his whole family to emigrate to the east as a direct result of his child being refused admission. (That is interesting as he would have known that this discrimination could never have stood up in court, but being a real mensch refused to embarrass the school).
    There is an issue of gender as well in inter-marriage. Males usually have more choice in the matter than females. And in particular as a result of it sometimes being seen as being more cool for jewish males to seek relationships with non-jewish females. I think that the reverse does not apply. Maybe this could be a subject for a research project by a sociologist.

  • letters in the age says:

    Dr Gene Sherman and her family are a great testament to being Jewish and succesful with an Oscar winning son

    None of her lovely and gifted children went to any day school amongst many others who are succesful

    This argument is outdated, boring and another example of ethnocentric practises

    Weird and wonderful!!

  • letters in the age says:

    Natalie Portman daughter of a doctor married out..,

    Gwyneth Paltrow the list goes on and on just like this debate

    yawn

  • Gedalia says:

    I can relate to the noble conclusion of this article, but not the arguement that leads to that conclusion.

    I never attended a Jewish day school, but ensure my kids do. I think the key factor is not whether it is a day school education or some other form of Jewish education, but that there is a Jewish education. This must be of the sort that places a Jewish child in an informed position to determine their Jewish future. They must be literate in Jewish source texts, conversant in Hebrew, understanding of Jewish history, informed about the geopolitic of Israel, and confident with Jewish religious ritual. This must be delivered essentially through the home, and is necessarily supported by the day school movement or some other form of Jewish education.

    The halachic construct will not change for patrilineal descent, and Orthodoxy cannot accomodate non-halachic Jews, by virtue of its tradition. Judaism does not need, and is only confused and distorted by the integration of half-cast and assimilated families. The people involved had a path available to them, but cannot use demography and statistics to debase orthodox Jewish communities.

    Sam may remember that there was a court case in Perth that asserted the status of Carmel School as a Modern Orthodox Jewish day school. It remains so. Any child can attend, and indeed there are some non-Jewish children in the school. However the school cannot in accordance with its credo, and to its credit does not, provide ritual recognition and rite of Jewish passage to students who are not halachically Jewish. As an Orthodox institution it has the right to uphold this, and if it wishes to preserve its integrity as a Modern Orthodox school it cannot do otherwise.

    Bottom line – I do not think that the Amercian situation is synonymous with the Australian experience. There is however a common and universal surety: Whilst a Jewish day school education is not essential to ensure Jewish marriage, nor is it a guarantee that the graduates of a Jewish day school will marry Jewish, it does improve the odds, better the chances, and assist immesurably. The product of a good Jewish day school is less likely to be ignorant of their heritage and less likely to assimilate. Statistics support this, and it is a nonsense to debase this on the basis of the confused matter of attempting to integrate assimilated Jews (and non-Jews) into Jewish communal life.

  • ariel says:

    Intermarriage occurs for many reasons. One way of making it largely irrelevant it is for parents to lovingly care about their Judaism (not just pay lip (or hip pocket) service to it) and to show that love to their children. If Jewish children grow up with an ingrained Jewish identity – that is, knowing beyond doubt that 90%+ of who they are is “Jew” – and that they want to pass this on to their children by having a loving Jewish home just like they had, they will not even entertain the idea of marrying out.

    This is not to say that we should be completely shut off from the rest of society. We should engage with the wider community and share ideas and insights.

  • letters in the age says:

    I met a parent not too long ago from Bialik College

    They were the most arrogant and ignorant parents ive met thus far in my life

    Well educated but having an extreme sense of entitlement that was not normal

    Ugly and selfish with no empathy and respect for the wider community at all!!

    condescending parents like these have a lot to learn and work needs to be done to get rid of this exclusive attitude that resonates within sectors of the school system

    John Safrans documentary exposing the hypocricy of his old school and that of his jewish friends excluding non jews from attending their wedding as guests comes to mind!!

  • Yaron says:

    The research that I have seen claims that Jewish education is almost irrelevant in determining who will marry Jewish. The strongest factor by far is the Jewish nature of the home, and how well that is transmitted to the child.

    It would seem the best way to ensure your children marry Jewish, work a bit less, save the $20,000 per child per year on Jewish schools and spend some quality time with your children at home transmitting the lessons of Judaism.

  • The Gen08 research shows that education is just one factor of several, and on it own is *not* a panacea that magically prevents intermarriage. As long as parents are more comfortable spending the $20K per child per year rather than their own time, they send a clear message that Jewish continuity can simply be outsourced. It’s almost Cats Cradlesque – by the time they realize what really works, it’s too late.

  • letters in the age says:

    Yaron

    Yep hit the nail on the head but some people want to keep up with the Goldenbergs etc

    lol!!

  • Daniel Levy says:

    letters in the age, as a recent Bialik graduate I can confirm that while they do produce some stellar academic results, it can like any private school be a breeding ground for privilege and self-entitlement. In my estimation, however, it is no worse than you’d find at any other private school.

    And it has less to do with the teachers (the majority of whom are amazing individuals who care so much, and give so much) and more to do with the home situation. The effects of this breeding ground of upper-class entitlement are largely exacerbated by parents who want to be friends with their children, rather than do the hard yards as an actual parent.

    Also,
    Yaron: “transmitting the lessons of Judaism”.

    Sadly, this is code for childhood indoctrination.

    But I do agree with you that parents absolutely need to spend more quality time with their children, rather than stuffing a 20 or a 50 in their hands and leaving them to their own devices.

  • letters in the age says:

    Thanks for that lovely reply Daniel i really appreciate it!!

    Having close relatives in the family with masters of education it is the value system at home i agree

    However the diaspora here suffers with the selfish middle class syndrome and chip on the shoulder that migrant fams have in Australia

    Yep gorgeous teachers with passion for their students is alive and well within the school

    Bless them and hope you enjoyed the school experience there

    Its a sociological cliche that i hear so often with the diaspora here

    Cheers ;)

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Interesting piece, and the inverse link between antisemitism and intermarriage is important to note. But I think the article reaches an erroneous conclusion.

    Even if (and it’s a big IF*) you contend that lack of attendance at Jewish dayschools doesn’t cause a higher intermarriage rate, it doesn’t necessarily follow that campaigns to increase Jewish dayschool attendance have no role in the effort to curb assimilation. Dayschool attendance doesn’t have to be part of the cause in order for it to be a component of the answer.

    *I say it’s a big IF because there are many ways to read the statistics from the Gen08 survey. As far as I understand, the survey certainly concluded that the home is the biggest element in forming Jewish identity (and attitude to intermarriage) but it didn’t say that the influence of the schools is negligible either. And lumping all dayschool attendance together is unhelpful – the survey showed that attending an Orthodox school in particular is associated with a higher rate of viewing assimilation with regret. I’m not advocating for everyone to attend Orthodox schools, but it’s an important distinction to make before we make grand statements dismissing the value of Jewish schools out of hand.

  • abc says:

    Obviously day school attendance does not guarantee Jewish continuity. But it helps. A lot. That’s why it should be encouraged.

    Parents who work hard to pay the $20K are not outsourcing the Jewish-child-raising responsibility, they’re bolstering it. And they’re showing their children that Jewish continuity is worth making sacrifices for.

    By the way, the Gen 08 survey, which some people erroneously say downplayed the value of Jewish education (try looking at the data rather than just the AJN’s sensalialist summary), was examining graduates of Jewish day schools over the last fifty years. Look how the schools have changed over the last 10-20 years, with vast improvements in Jewish Studies teaching, and the emphasis on informal Jewish education which barely existed less than a generation ago.

  • Mandi Katz says:

    David W – ouch. Many parents choose to send their kids to Jewish schools for things they can’t teach them themselves: Hebrew, a structured and systematic approach to Jewish history and texts…and the cost of doing that is indeed working more which means being available less.

    But the big issue that isn’t being discussed is why/whether in the absence of anti-semitism (which meant Jews pretty much married Jews), it is still important for Jews to marry or partner with other Jews – there is something strange about the way community discourse assumes an imperative to “prevent intermarriage” as if it’s a disease, when the real issue is how to encourage and foster strong and transmittable Jewish identity.

    The elephant in the room of course is that strong Jewish feeling may bring us a rich and full Jewish life but without active Jewish living, that feeling will not be transmitted to our kids – regardless of whether both parents are Jewish.

    Also different kids in one family respond differently to the same education, discussions, and opportunities – anyone who is smug about the job they have done in inculcating a strong sense of Jewishness in their kids might think about the perils of speaking too soon because there is indeed a big and enticing world out there and our kids have access to it in ways many of us (and most of our parents) didn’t.

    Even as recently as 20 years ago, strong positive and negative social pressures meant Jews were more likely than not to end up (1) marrying and (2) marrying other Jews; increasingly to see the value in creating Jewish families, young people will need to find real joy and richness in Yiddishkeit and anyone who thinks they have it nailed is delusional.

  • abc says:

    Funny how Paul Golin complains that communal organisations hire researchers who have a bias in favour of the status quo. Maybe someone who’s intermarried, like Golin, has a bias of his own.

  • James Kennard says:

    For the first time in Jewish history, the absence of discrimination and the vast range of options in our liberal society, mean that our children need positive reasons to stay Jewish. It is no longer the default position for someone who happened to be born that way, as has always been the case in the past.

    Therefore parents have to show, by their own commitment and values, that being Jewish is worthwhile, attractive and meaningful. They need help from schools to provide the educators, experiences and Jewish environment.

    It’s a very tough challenge – and the level of disengagement followed by disappearance shows it. With parents who demonstrate the value of Jewish engagement and schools that provide education working together then we have a chance.

  • letters in the age says:

    Outsourcing education .,.hmmmm

    Children have become investments when that term is used and its not organic in my view

    Hiring a tutor within the home and maybe having composite classes would save costs and parents have more time with their children on a one to one basis?

    Time poor parents need a chill pill and relax about educating their “investments”

    sigh

  • letters in the age says:

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/93475/type-faces/

    Jewish identity……?

    is fluid especially at the wonderful MONA museum

    Yes there is a wider world out there outside of the school system

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Mandi – wouldn’t you say that fostering a strong Jewish identity and preventing intermarriage are 2 sides of the same coin? Just that one puts a positive spin on it, and the other a reactionary negative spin. Sure there are kids with a non-Jewish parent who feel strongly Jewish, but I would imagine that’s not the norm.

  • Eli Ajzenman says:

    Thank you letters in the age. the post at http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/93475/type-faces/
    is well worth the read..now how did i miss that

  • letters in the age says:

    yep cool blog isnt it?

    nice to be in the company of Mr Kennard here

    Welcome sir!

    cheers

  • Yaron says:

    1. I have no doubt that the religious schools would have a lower incidence of intermarriage. But they also have parents who are more active and engaged in Judaism.

    Their presence at a Jewish day school is a reflection of the family values. Could they get the same feelings at home?

    2. If a parent wanted their child to be Jewish without sending to a Jewish school, they could learn about Judaism themselves and personally transmit their knowledge to the child.

    This would create a Jewish atmosphere in the house, far better than outsourcing the Jewish atmosphere to the schools.

    3. This is all about an atmosphere.

    No matter what a person learns and reads, the devotion to any system comes down to belief, which is built through emotion and an atmosphere.

    This is built in the home, not in a classroom. There can be people who buck the trend. Every scientific experiment has outliers, but do we want to suck the community resources dry for a few outliers? Surely there is a better way to get them in without the millions every year.

  • Shira Wenig says:

    Hi Yaron,
    Yes maybe I gave Gen08 more methodological credit than they deserve…you’d think they would have adjusted for home environment in their comparison of different schools, as I agree this is a major confounding variable!

    They also presented the data very selectively. When they took out the Orthodox schools and just looked at “mainstream” Jewish schools vs non-Jewish schools, and compared it against “traditional” vs “secular” home environment, they only did one half of the comparison. They concluded that for each school grouping, those from a traditional home came out with a stronger Jewish identity than those from a secular home. Great, that tells you about the influence of the home, but it tells you nothing about the influence of the school because they didn’t do the inverse comparison by looking at all those from a particular home background and analysing whether their Jewish identity was stronger if they went to a Jewish school.

  • letters in the age says:

    Hi Guys

    I have seen the home experiment and it works well

    If both parents are qualified in education and put in the time and work with their respective children its a wonderful experience!!

    cheers

  • ariel says:

    Mandi’s opening paragraph of “Many parents choose to send their kids to Jewish schools for things they can’t teach them themselves: Hebrew, a structured and systematic approach to Jewish history and texts…and the cost of doing that is indeed working more which means being available less.”

    Do these parents then sit down with their children and say “tell me what you learnt in Hebrew today”
    “Tell me what you learned in Jewish studies classes this week”

    ?

    This would have the desired outcomes…

  • Wolf says:

    I think people have to be realistic about their viewpoints;

    a) IF the child/parents believes in the divinity of the law, then it’s clear cut what they should do, and it inclueds keeping Shabbos and Kashrus and all the mitzvos to the best of their abilities.

    b) IF the child is uncertain of the divinity of the Law, then the only reason to stay within the community is for cultural reasons. Anything short of that would be plain racist, as it would no longer be on religious grounds.

    c) If someone has married out, then that’s there perogative. However, the parent should be aware of the ramifications of such a choice and not pretend the child is Jewish if they’re not. Who is Jewish is defined by Halacha, as that is the Law of the rleigion, and in most countries, that is exactly what Judaism is defined as.

  • letters in the age says:

    thats their choice ……

    ramifications……

    divine law……

    ouch!!!

    Call a sociologist please peeps

  • Wolf says:

    @ letter in the age;

    “divine law…Call a sociologist”, that’s a very interesting, moderately insulting, and utterly twisted view of what I actually wrote, but the point I was trying to hone in on (that you obviously missed entirely), is that Judaism is a religion in this country first and foremost (sorry to burst your bubble, don’t know what you thought it was).

    Therefore, just like ANY other religion (Chistianity, and Islam included), it is dictated by its religious tenets, not that of each individual secularist who elects to marry out.

  • letters in the age says:

    hey Wolf

    I live in an area where there are a lot of sth african jews and progressive for the diaspora
    (whatever that means)

    Its that attitude where judaism IS a religion and rammed down their throats that they opt out of the school system

    Many are fourth gen and happy to engage culturally or otherwise

    Didnt mean to offend but look at social media and the bubble has been burst with a disengaged youth

    So what its a religion and we can deconstruct it till the cows come home

    Its not cool and not for everyone to be part of the community

    subsequent generations should not be chastised for being on the outer and more liberal in their outlook

    Intellectual bullying occurs as a result and it becomes ugly

    cheers

  • Wolf says:

    @ letters in the age;

    “Intellectual bullying occurs as a result and it becomes ugly”- wrong, if that is your interpretation, then you fail to understand that religion (of any kind), is not purely an intellectual pursuit, it is one’s raison d’être, and it is a spiritual pursuit.

    If people elect to be culturally Jewish, or elect to marry out or whatever, then that is there free choice, and I have nothing against that; however as with all choices in life, one cannot usually have one’s cake and eat it.

    “subsequent generations” of non-Jewish children borne of forbidden relationships with other nations should most definitely not be chastised for being on the “outer and more liberal outlook” of whatever religion it is that they follow. However they should not be tricked by their parents into being told they are someone they are not, and if Judaism was indeed truly that important to these kids’ parents then they wouldn’t have married out themselves (see the utter hypocrisy here?).

    If these “subsequent generations” truly believe in freedom of religion then they should respect that every religion worldwide has ‘religious tenets’ that make it the religion it is. In every single stream of orthodox Judaism that means that one cannot marry certain people.

    Orthodox Jews keep these mitzvos not necessarily because non-Jews are no more or less intelligent, beautiful, honest or decent human beings than us, but because Orthodox Jews that believe in the religion see it as the divine will of their creator, and a law they should respect. If you respect other religions then you too should respect this religious belief.

    It is for these reasons and others that in this day and age I don’t hold “Liberalism” or “Reformism” to be a Jewish religion, but rather a religion for Jews. Whereas ALL major streams of orthodoxy agree on the divinity of the Torah and it’s major laws (i.e forbidden to light a fire on Shabbos).

  • letters in the age says:

    Having their cake and eating it Wolf?

    Some people do and are unusual in that respect

    They have the best of both worlds and its great for them but jealousy is a trait for the few who don’t have that privilege and thats sad

    Trying being more open and engagng in that spiritual bond that unites us all

    whatever context that may be….

    Orthodox or otherwise

    Shalom and hugs

  • Wolf says:

    @ letters in the age;

    I presume that by your comments you mean to say these people have “the best of both worlds” by marrying out, then deluding themselves and their children that they are “Jewish” but of course only when it is convenient? I feel no jealousy for these misguided people, only pity.

    It is a shame that you want to engage “in that spiritual bond that unites us all”, but don’t seem to understand nor respect the tenets of orthodox Judaism.

    Why don’t you just accept that people can do whatever they want and we should accept them for who they are, rather than who other people [seemingly you?] want them to be?

  • Yaron says:

    Shira,
    I think this argument (including my side of the argument) is based on faith.

    In a scientific study could you possibly correct for the home environment? After all the secular parents sending their children to Yeshiva/Beth Rivka may have a home that is better suited to preventing intermarriage than other secular families.

    This leads to a second point:

    It is an impossible variable to determine the Jewish nature of a family. It is mistaken to look at a secular Jew and say they are the same as all other secular Jews.

    The Gen08 did not even ask a question about belief in God. So do we assume that all secular Jews do not believe in God? And what impact that that have on the Jewish nature of the home.

    The studies will give us no solutions to these questions, and even though I am strident in my views on Jewish education, others will have a different view, and will raise their child in their own way. And it is their right to spend their $20,000 per year.

  • letters in the age says:

    http://www.yu.edu/

    Thanks Wolf

    Why not have a private Jewish University sector in Australia and continue that schooling model even further?

  • LMFAO says:

    Daniel Levy has been fighting his anti indoctrination war from the hot chocolate machine in the Bialik College home room. LMFAO… And he wuvs his teachers…. Is that what Bialik produces?? Confused children. LOL

  • Daniel Levy says:

    “LMFAO”, Bialik is an ardent supporter of the values of secularism. They had us questioning the mythological bullshit from a very early age. I am who I am today with many thanks to those wonderful men and women who taught me how to think rationally, and not want to think. I am not confused in the slightest, I am merely grateful for the educational experience I received. I’m very proud of my alma mater, they do some amazing work to broaden the horizons of an otherwise exceedingly insular community.

  • ariel says:

    “They had us questioning the mythological bullshit from a very early age.”

    So basically Daniel and his schoolmates were in fact indoctrinated on the premise that it is all BS.

  • Wolf says:

    @ Daniel Levy;

    “They had us questioning the mythological bullshit from a very early age.”

    I am sad to see that is the warped perspective you have been taught. To be sent to a Jewish school and then imbued with the values of a hard-core far left secularism, defeats the purpose of being sent to a Jewish school.

    May I suggest you spend some time at an orthodox institution (maybe a yeshiva?) and re-evaluate your stance on Jewishness. After all it would be hard to make an informed opinion of any kind in a culture of one-sided bias.

  • Doodie Ringelblum says:

    Hi Wolf
    May I ask you to clarify your views. You argue that Judaism is defined in most countries as a religion. Can I ask where? You say that Judaism in this country is a religion first and foremost. I would like you to flesh out that statement, as I can’t see it being correct in either a theoretical or practical sense.

    I am not aware that either of those claims is actually being true in ANY country. Judaism has a religious component (and that component is recognised as a religion in nearly all countries) but I am not aware of any country that defines Judaism only as a religion. It’s certainly not true of Australia.

    Also, (apart from Israel till a few years ago), I can’t think of a country that only recognises Orthodoxy as the only stream of religious Judaism, so I’m not sure why you use that argument.

    Ultimately however, it matters not at all how non-Jews define Judaism. What matters is how Jews do. Even within Halacha, there is no definition of what Judaism is, only a framework of what Jews should believe and how they should behave. That doesn’t exclude other elements.

    You also call upon Daniel to reevaluate his stance on Jewishness by spending time at an orthodox institution. I fully agree with you that we should all be broadening and deepening our Jewish knowledge and experience as much as we can – particularly in the areas to which we have been least exposed. May I ask where and what you have studied (or plan to) about the theory and practice of secular and cultural Judaism? I am sure you have read significant amounts of secular Jewish literature. But if you are going to reject even the notion of secular Judaism, then I presume you have studied some of its ideologues and theoreticians.

  • Wolf says:

    @ Doodie,

    You say that Judaism being seen as a religion first and foremost is simply not correct, you say that you “can’t see it being correct in either a theoretical or practical sense”.

    It is an objective fact that one cannot ‘convert’ to an ethnicity (although I think Michael Jackson made his skin white?!?). However, one can convert to a religion. One could convert to Judaism. Therefore I think you don’t have much of an argument.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Ariel, you simply cannot grasp an education scenario that doesn’t involve brainwashing. Being taught to question and to probe is not the same as being taught something is true or false either way. For example, investigating the Noah’s Ark mythological bullshit reveals that there is absolutely no way a ship of that size could hold 2 animals of each kind. The geological record indicates that there was no global flood, and it is patently ridiculous that Noah is supposed to have lived for 1000 years.

    It’s that kind of critical analysis (of which you are so obviously devoid of ability) that leads one to the fairly obvious conclusion that it is all mythological bullshit. You can do this with hundreds of bible stories. They’re simply fairytales written by goatherders.

    And that brings me to answer Wolf’s point. Why on earth would I waste years of my life (in your case all of them) on a fairytale? Let me throw that question back at you. Have you spent years living as an orthodox Christian? What about as a Hindu? A shintoist? A buddhist? How do you know they’re not correct? How can you simply reject them out of hand without trying them?

    The simple fact of the matter is, you do the same as I do, but I go one god further than you do. And there’s a really good reason for it: there is ZERO credible evidence for a deity. Show me some sort of evidence, empirically observed, and I’ll acknowledge the existence of your god. But the fact of the matter is, there are simple logical tests to perform to show that even if there is a god, it is NOT the god of the bible. But the problem of evil quite simply disqualifies that version of a god who describes himself as omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent.

    As an agnostic atheist, I do not know if there is a god, but I can be quite certain that the Judeo-Christian version is a load of immoral (amoral, given the time period?) horseshit.

    And in the absence of not knowing, and not having any evidence whatsoever to point to the existence of a god, I am not going to be weak and fragile like you are. I am not going to invent answers, and make haphazard guesses simply because my weak human mind yearns for answers. I will investigate the truth and only commit to an answer once a deserving answer with a convergence of evidence presents itself.

    You have wasted your life on the fairytales of goatherders and I will not make the same sad mistake.

  • Wolf says:

    @ Daniel Levy,

    I understand where you are coming from, and it may surprise you to know that I do take an active interest in many religions worldwide, I won’t deny I have a definite bias though.

    I also would not have a scientifically valid argument to any true agnostic (atheists are a different story). In that sense you are 100% spot on right.

    However I would still advise that in a culture of one sided bias (of any kind), one cannot get the full picture, and some time spent at an orthodox institution could enlighten you to the ‘other side’, so to speak.

    Look at it this way, in a worst case scenario, you would come out of a Yeshiva, still agnostic, but with a solid historical understanding of your personal background and culture. To be clear here, Jewish culture is beautiful, and has permeated the entire western world with its ethical values, from a purely secular cultural point of view, that is something to be very proud of.

  • Doodie Ringelblum says:

    Hi Wolf
    People change ethnic identity all the time. One can assimilate out of Judaism without converting to any other religion. Such people may still regard themselves as ethnically Jewish, or they may assimilate out of the Jewish people entirely and see themselves as Australian, Greek, gypsy or citizens of the world.

    One can also assimilate into Judaism without converting. From a halakhic perspective, that doesn’t make you a Jew. From a societal perspective, it may.

  • Wolf says:

    @ Doodie,

    No, you cannot change your ethnicity, it is ridiculous to suggest one can.

    The fact a white person cannot become black or visa versa proves this objective fact (Michael Jackson aside).

    The fact people can convert to Judaism proves it is a religion first and foremost.

  • Doodie Ringelblum says:

    “Black” and “white” are not ethnicities. I think you are confusing or blending the concepts of race, ethnicity, religion, nation and people. Each is quite a distinct idea.

  • Marky says:

    Doodie, when was the last time you saw a Jew becoming a Gypsy?

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Wolf, you reveal yourself to be vastly ignorant, as Doodie explains, when you appear entirely unable to compute the differences between race and ethnicity. Your statements about white/black are disgustingly offensive to people of mixed race who identify one way or the other. You’re going to tell a kid who’s raised in a family with one aboriginal parent, one non-aboriginal parent that he’s not a true aboriginal because his skin has the phenotypical trait of being white? You truly have no clue.

    You also have no idea about the fact that agnostic/gnostic and atheist/theist are far from mutually exclusive. A woeful deficiency that you share with Frosh. This is a simplification of the scenario, but please use this to educate yourself: http://i.imgur.com/fe6dG.jpg

  • Mandi Katz says:

    Wolf, identity is a construct. Ethnicity, religion, cultural affiliation aren’t tangible qualities about which absolute statements can be made- they are all ways of describing how people feel or behave and how that affects the way they do or don’t belong to a community and their sense of self.

    So I’d argue that ethnicity is fluid – for example, it happens from time to time that people discover at a mature age that they have an ethnic heritage they weren’t aware of and so they adopt that and over time feel a very strong sense of their “new” ethnic identity – perhaps learn the language or the history.

    Migrants tall about the complexity of multiple ethnic identities – migrants even those who migrate at mature ages might say they feel “very French” or “more Jewish than Russian”, as examples – surely that is about acquired ethnicity.

    And people who convert to Judaism often do so out of reasons that have more to do with belonging than faith, and they live ethnically and culturally Jewish lives but don’t feel a strong (or any) sense of religious connection.

    And I suspect many people for whom religion is very important and who have very deep faith would regard that as a “lesser” form of Jewish expression but isn’t it kind of silly to get into identity contests – where the weight and quality of a person’s jewish identity is questioned and measured ?

  • Mandi Katz says:

    “more Jewish than Russian” was probably a bad example but you certainly hear migrants say (for example) that they feel more Australian than English… isn’t that about fluid ethnic identity?

  • Wolf says:

    @ Mandi

    You say “feel more Australian than English”, in regards to ‘ethnic’ identity, but in fact this is NOT an ethnic identity. It is a national identity.

    @ Daniel & Doodie,

    Ethnicity is defined below;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnic_group

    You will notice in the definition that it “stresses common ancestry”, not something one may choose.

    Judaism is first and foremost a religion, not an ethnicity. That is the reason there are Jews from all corners of the earth that are ethnically different to each other, but all Jews nonetheless.

  • Doodie Ringelblum says:

    Hi Wolf
    Wikipedia’s definition emphasises heritage, language and culture and/or may stress common ancestry. Which is quite different from saying that ancestry is essential to an ethnicity.

    Thinking about your blanket statement that black can’t become white (a much tougher challenge than just assimilating or adopting an ethnicity) brought to mind William Ricketts, a white fella who regarded himself and was regarded by the aboriginal community as one of theirs. A good example of how people may not change race but can certainly change ethnicity.

    Marky – Gypsy was perhaps an ill-advised throwaway word. However since you ask – there are a lot of European pre-war Jewish folktales and literature on precisely that happening, and I am sure that is a fiction based on at least some reality. I have recently started reading Yingele Ringele by Leon Bassein (1929) with my kids and it certainly touches on the topic – perhaps that’s why it came to mind during my posting.

  • ariel says:

    Daniel,

    If you were to follow Wolf’s advice and spend some time in an Orthodox yeshiva, you’d discover the numerous rabbinical commentaries which explicitly say that many of the Biblical events are exagerated and are intended to teach us a lesson about something in life.

    Did your teachers at Bialik go over these commentaries with you?

  • LMFAO says:

    Daniel… You are hysterical. Put your parents on the line so we can ask them if they’re happy with their Bialik investment. LOL. You’re hysterical! You went to one of the most elite/elitist Jewish Day Schools in tfe world to discover that there was no chance a boat could fit all the animals of the world. Ha ha ha. LMFAO… Genius.

  • LMFAO says:

    Sorry Daniel I don’t mean to be too rough on you but Reading your stuff is sensational. You are so messed up! This article is about Jewish Schools reducing intermarriage. If you marry Jewish it will either be by accident or because you find a Jewish girl who has been educated well enough to be as confused as you. So you can keep the lineage of your confusion going!! LOL and pay 25k a year for Bislik to teach that there is no way the Walls of Jericho could have been brought down by a shofar… And don’t even get us started on the parting of the sea… Think about it people… I mean the science just isn’t there. LOL…And who the fk uses the word alma matte you stuck up loser… Prouder of Bialik than judaism…LMFAO… You’re a case study!

  • LMFAO says:

    Sorry it’s probably much more than $25,000 per year. I haven’t checked lately. Hope that didn’t offend you Daniel. I know how proud you are… Indoctrination…classic… It’s just so funny!

  • Daniel Levy says:

    LMFAO, you seem rather obsessed with me. I like it. Coffee? ;)

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Ariel, I know more about the old testament than you do. Because I’ve actually read it. And yes, we did go over the commentaries and quickly realised how absolutely fucked up the bible is.

    Tell me what good morals can be derived from this passage, allegory or not:

    “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”

    Or what about this one?

    Deuteronomy 22:29

    “he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”

    What morality can be derived from saying a man who rapes a woman can force her to be his concubine by paying the father 50 pieces of silver?

    It really does sound like the words of a bunch of desert savages from thousands of years past don’t you agree? And not really the word of god ;)

    There’s also the question of how do you know what is allegory and what is fact? How do mere mortals divine god’s fables and truths? How do you know who is truly divinely inspired? Really, all you’re doing is becoming god and saying “Yes, I interpret this this and this to be what my god wants” and in that moment you insert yourself as god. That’s why you get the MILLIONS of divisions within the same religions. Isn’t it interesting that your god always seems to hate the same people you do? :)

    There are numerous Harry potter commentaries on the subtexts of each book. Do you think in a thousand years time people will interpret them as what the gospel of our lord and saviour Harry Potter truly intended?

    It’s just all a load of ridiculous mythology. There is literally the same amount of proof for Harry Potter as there is for your version of god, that’s how sad your entire belief system is. They’re both just books for crying out loud. Books that spawned other books and commentaries on them.

    Congratulations, you worship the millennia old equivalent of harry potter. It’s just fiction written by goatherders.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Also Ariel, have you spent a few years sitting in the New England Warlock’s school of Muggle Studies? There are many important and wise allegories to be learnt from the Harry Potter tome! You must study all of the popular commentaries. What? You’re not willing to devote years of your life to reading into the subtext and moral teachings of Harry Potter???????????

  • LMFAO says:

    Daniel, coffee might have been fun but I don’t live in Australia.
    You are fascinating because:
    you are anti indoctrination yet you have clearly been extremely indoctrinated as a secularist.
    You are anti insular yet you have been raised through one of the most insular schools in the world.
    You are Jewish (I assume) but I no idea why?
    Ironic on all fronts?
    So Daniel why do you consider yourself a Jew at all…. Time to let it go? No? I think you are a glowing example of how Jewish
    Schools fail.
    And I think you Ariel and Wolf need to get a room. Although I am very entertained by the three of you.

  • TheSadducee says:

    “it is patently ridiculous that Noah is supposed to have lived for 1000 years.”

    -maybe Noah was more scientifically advanced than we are today, eh Daniel? :P

  • Wolf says:

    @ Daniel, you write;

    “he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”

    What morality can be derived from saying a man who rapes a woman can force her to be his concubine by paying the father 50 pieces of silver?”

    Actually however, you have not understood this, the rationale for the punishment, nor the true punishment itself (the man CANNOT force the woman to marry her)!

    Your argument, is akin to those American tele-evangelists that look to principles of Darwinism and say stupid things like ‘I ain’t no monkey, so I obviously never came from no monkey'; or other religious groups that claim that ‘intelligent design’ is a ‘scientific hypothesis’… when to anybody in their right mind it’s obviously a religious doctrine.

    The point here is that you haven’t understood the meaning of what you’re reading, and you seem to be twisting and misinterpreting it to get the far-left answer you want, rather than the meaning the text actually conveys.

    Seriously, go to a yeshiva, learn real Torah, and learn about your heritage. You may be pleasantly surprised.

  • ariel says:

    Ditto Wolf.

    Well done Daniel. You have clearly proven how right you are by misquoting the Tanach in English and completely out of context.

    I wonder why you didn’t ask what moral lessons can be learnt from “lo tirtzach” or “lo tignov” or “v’ahavta l’re’acha kamocha”.

    All fable from desert savages…I suppose we should revert to the times prior to these savage demands and just rape and pillage everyone and everything.

  • Check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urzJkoM1xys
    It’s quite long, but along the way he makes some interesting points about Judaism and how it is incorrectly perceived.

  • David, That definitely *is* way too long for a youtube video. Daniel, I’m really not sure why I’m even bothering with this discussion. But against my better judgement, on the very slight chance that you are interested in thoughtful, rational approaches to Judaism, this website isn’t a bad place to start: http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/

  • TheSadducee says:

    I’m curious to know if the administrators of Bialik would be happy with the characterisation of their education concerning Judaism that Daniel mentions in his earlier post?

    Perhaps the eds (or someone else) could do a bit of investigative journalism and see what Bialik is teaching about Judaism?

  • LMFAO says:

    Sadducee that’s a great idea. Sounds like daniels last VCE paper was titled, “Harry Potter or thousands of years of Jewish Scholarship… Which is more meaningful” And Daniel’s conclusion is “because Jonah couldn’t possibly have lived in a fish, Harry Potter has more to teach us”. I have only started reading Galus recently, could it be that Daniel is in fact just a smart ass ten year old who likes taking the piss?

  • LMFAO says:

    Interestingly and getting back on topic Bialik calls its Judaism “inclusive” not secular. Their website values quote Pirkeh Avot. It is unclear what inclusive means but goes to the original question of whether hanging out with rich, homogeneous private school kids from similar backgrounds without exposure to any classmates of alternate religions, races or values reinforces or erodes Jewish identity? Whether the alma mater (latin: nourishing mother LMFAO) is Torah values or the finacial review.

  • letters in the age says:

    lets not start with the Jews that attend Scotch College.,.

    Daniel take a chill pill

    dunning kreuger has set in with ego

    relax peeps

  • LMFAO says:

    @letters just looked up Dunning Kluger… Brilliant. Spot on. Good to be aware of. :-)

  • LMFAO says:

    Sorry… Dunning Kruger… iPhone typo

  • letters in the age says:

    what i saw to end on a serious note is that Australian Jews adopt the worst aspects from both cultures and sadly saw this at uni all too often

    When that European sensibility is lost they are not Jewish culturally

    sigh

  • LMFAO says:

    Yep… Personally I wish that was a more important “measure” of successful Jewish education than intermarriage rates…appreciate you bringing us back from the ridiculous letters.

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Wow, once again I get inundated with work for a few days and look at all the replies! I’m still a bit under the pump so I’ll try to be brief with everyone (in hindsight after writing this, I tried but failed!):

    LMFAO, consider the definition of secularist.

    “Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis”

    Can you really be indoctrinated to have no doctrine? That is not to say that I have no doctrine, it simply isn’t formed on the basis of myths and superstition. Rather, reason and empiricism inform my views of the world. You seem to throw it around like it’s a bad thing. Tell me a society that ever suffered because its citizens suddenly became more rational.

    You and “letters in the age” then have a wonderful circlejerk about a woeful misinterpretation of the dunning-kruger effect. DK is about competence in a person’s skills, and rather not applicable here.

    LMFAO, in fact my thesis would be: “If so much of the bible is untrue and reinterpreted over the centuries as allegory, then it is rather obvious that the book is not to be trusted as the complete and true word of any supernatural being, and anyone who claims to know the correct interpretation is a charlatan.

    There is also the small matter of why the infallible word of god is so fallible. After all, what is the moral of rabbits being falsely described as animals who chew the cud, other than you shouldn’t so blindly believe everything you read?”

    Something to that effect :)

    LMFAO, Bialik is more about Zionism than Judaism, to be perfectly frank. I also don’t agree with the zionistic brainwashing. (I’m just going to nip this in the bud before you try to start an Israel debate: I’ve been twice, explored it thoroughly and cannot see what all the fuss is about. Don’t really pay the conflict too much attention because there are so many bigger problems to solve first that this pales in comparison)

    That said, of all the brainwashing types it’s the most futile. What are they going to do, wave a few Israeli flags and eat hummus more often? An argument could be made that jingoism is never any good, but jingoism for a foreign country really just breaks down the barriers we so needlessly set up.

    And I suppose that brings us full circle back to the topic at hand. Humans are humans whether they are Jewish or not. If you want to end conflict, you need to stop putting up all these barriers and segregating based on crap like whose imaginary friend is cooler and who was born in which country. In the words of Amanda Tapping as Sam Carter in Stargate SG-1:

    ” Yeah… of all the things I do around here … in many ways that [keeping the stargate secret] is the hardest … sometimes you look at what’s going on, here on earth and it … I … It makes you want to scream, you want to tell people it is so much bigger than what they think.”

    I think when you’re so insular as to worry about people, shock and horror, marrying people who aren’t of your religion, you have to take a look back and see how that is a massive contributing factor to conflict. Why must it always be us and them? Why can’t it just be us?

  • letters in the age says:

    Daniel,

    get a grip with your rant above;)

    why didnt your parents send you to a normal school then?

    why because they were wanting to instill those arrogant attitudes you so nicely displayed above

    hugs and respect

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Letters, you have nothing to contribute to this discussion but snipes on my character. Perhaps it is you, who appoints himself judge and jury of my character on an internet forum, who is the one displaying arrogance.

    Have you considered that scenario?

  • letters in the age says:

    Daniel

    i was being nice not snarky
    genuine response

    this topic is over Galus

    sigh sigh

  • LMFAO says:

    @Daniel
    you wrote earlier letters in the age, as a recent Bialik graduate I can confirm that while they do produce some stellar academic results, it can like any private school be a breeding ground for privilege and self-entitlement. In my estimation, however, it is no worse than you’d find at any other private school.

    Mate can you not see that is what you are: over priviledged, spoilt, self entitled, conceited and way too persuaded by your own views. Bialik, your parents, teachers and Zionist leaders should be ashamed: not by the fact that you question meaning… That’s what spirituslity is about… But rather by the disgraceful ways you communicate your views. You certainly reinforce the ungrateful private school boy stereotype. That’s enough for me… I was finding it funny… Now just sad. And your contribution here proves both that the Provste Jewsish School model creates cultural-self loathing and academic conceit… Where you just take it all for granted… And does nothing to improvethe
    chances of your Jewish commitment… If anyone from Bialik is participating here I invite you to defend the reputational damage Daniel is doing…

  • LMFAO says:

    BTW… If Bialik is following the definition of

    “Denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis”

    then calling it a Jewish School is a farce… The Bialik website doesn’t match this view.

  • letters in the age says:

    http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/05/04/3094681/beastie-boy-adam-yauch-dies-at-47

    I didnt want to continue this thread but after the passing of a famous jewish white boy today whos identity was fluid

    My childhood ended today…

    Spat over guys and i dedicate an album of The Beasties to Daniel and the rest on this thread in memory of his wonderful work

    A nice Jewish boy

    RIP

  • letters in the age says:

    http://www.communicationstudies.com/the-age-of-self-importance

    Great read within the Jewish context

    Bless

  • LMFAO says:

    Gotta fight for the right to party…

    RIP MCA

  • letters in the age says:

    nice riposte there LMFAO

    Re: Bialik

    cheers

  • LMFAO says:

    I realise everyones probably over it but can someone share a link to read the Gen08 conclusions? I’m very interested. Did the study define what intermarriage is? Just the orthodox definition? And did they define a Jewish school? For example is a Liberal School … A Jewish School in the study?

  • LMFAO says:

    Sorry was shared earlier by Dr Chelom… Thnx.

  • LMFAO says:

    @ Dr Chelom

    Hi everyone… sorry to keep this going but I had a read of the Gen08 stuff… Dr Chelom perhaps you can help me… Do they define any of their terms anywhere?
    What is orthodox?
    What is traditional?
    What is progressive?
    Isn’t that different from conservative?
    And secular… well I’ve heard from Daniel… that can’t be it.

    If a study can’t define these terms with specificity how can the research make any of its claims with reliability? I mean surely a liberal person doesn’t care about intermarriage… Um… yeh why would you ask? So sending their kids to a liberal Jewish school um… supports a liberal view of intermarriage… but it isn’t anywhere near an orthdox idea… apples and oranges on single tables.

    And the continuity of Jewish values, without specificity is also useless no? I mean charity, good deeds, fear og Gd these are egenric to all monotheistic faiths and will continue and they are Jewish values too?

    I found the research perplexing… can anyone help?

  • letters in the age says:

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/spiritofthings/my-spiritual-diary3a-dr-howard-goldenberg/3982534

    what a lovely jewish doctor

    this is a must hear podcast

    nice

    im changing doctors!!

  • letters in the age says:

    LMFAO

    no response by the peanut gallery…..

  • LMFAO says:

    No … hope Daniels ok?

    Be good letters. I’ll look out for the next article…

  • letters in the age says:

    yep…..

    Love this blog!!

    shalom

  • Daniel Levy says:

    LMFAO, I have never, nor will I ever deny the immense privilege in which I grew up. To simply be born in Australia places me in the top 5% of living conditions in the world. To benefit from my socio-economic conditions and attend a private school, well I truly did win the genetic lottery.

    If you want to take snipes at me and assume that I am a spoilt brat who takes everything for granted, that is your prerogative, but I suspect that if you actually took a moment to investigate me, and I leave an ample trail of internet evidence to do so, you would see that it is my life’s work to bring the opportunities that I have so enjoyed to other people.

    You say that I am self-loathing but that is merely a projection of your own insecurities. I do not identify with that which I loathe. I have eradicated any superstitious part of my identity. I am extremely proud and comfortable in my skin as a rationalist.

    And you might argue that I am ‘too brazen’ in my communication with other people here, but it is a result of a motto I adopted from Edith Sitwell: “I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it.”

    I would never insult or denigrate somebody who believes in religion simply for believing in religion. They have to be doing something harmful, like poisoning the minds of children, or rorting money out of naive victims to draw my ire. The ire that you so despise. Or they can be like you, who thinks it’s a joke that children are being indoctrinated every day by people like you.

    I would hope my educators would be proud that I am attempting to stand up for the rights of those who cannot defend themselves, and if not, then that’s too bad. But for all your sputtering you still haven’t offered up any sort of rebuttal to my arguments. You’re quite a petty little thing. I more feel sorry for you. You’re too cowardly to even put a name to your comments. Is that a tacit admission that you’ve wasted your life on fairytales and done nothing worth being proud of? I’d say so :)

  • letters in the age says:

    be good letters….”

    After that Kroger/Costello spat whatever i write or for that matter any Galus threaders unleash here we pale into insignificance

    lol

    dont ever go there peeps!!

  • letters in the age says:

    I dont use a name as i dont want my ego stroked

    dont trust blogs and the internet

    please take time to listen to the radio national interview with the doctor

    brilliant stuff Daniel on spirituality

    ;)

  • Mandi Katz says:

    The doctor – Howard Goldenberg – will be presenting at Limmud Oz in Melbourne. He is an outstanding speaker – http://www.limmudoz.com.au/

    His photo isn’t up yet but he will be in the program which will be published this week!

  • LMFAO says:

    OMG so Daniel Levy is really your name… Sorry you’re even dumber than I thought. Apologies.

    Everything you say contradicts itself…you thank your educators but call others who educate brainwashers. You say you are proud but have nothing good to say about being Jewish. You claim that those who educate about Judaism are indoctrinating but there is no Judaism without education.

    I honestly don’t get you. Your rationalism is irrational. I’m sure many bloggers have tried to get you to say something nice, genuinely insightful or even reflective in a non self centric way and failed. I’m sure I cannot help you but let me just conclude that you see yourself as some genius when all I read is babbling of a spoilt, poorly disciplined child. Peace out.

  • LMFAO says:

    I originally started Reading this blog not because of Daniel but because of the original article and the really thoughtful comments made by people about schooling and the Gen08 research.

    I know when I’m a parent this will be a critical decision for me and the research seems very inconclusive. Can anyone either explain the Gen08 conclusions to a point where the research makes any sense or offer me other analysis that actually explores the costs and benefits of the education decision in a truly analytical way. Daniel need not respond. So far I have concluded that if I were to move back to melbourne Bialik is not for me… I could afford it for my children anyway.

  • LMFAO says:

    Sorry that last line should have read I could not afford it anyway… And I refuse to be a charity case for the likes of Daniels parents! OMG!! I pray that if I am ever lucky enough to send my kids to Israel that their response won’t be “I don’t get what all the fuss is about”…

  • letters in the age says:

    Thats great Mandi

    Wow!!

    cheers

  • letters in the age says:

    lmfao

    There are some lovely people at Bialik

    We must remember it denigrates Melbournes reputation when we engage in nasty stuff

    :)

  • Daniel Levy says:

    Did I just get called dumb by a fully grown man (or woman) who still has imaginary friends? And they said it without any sense of irony! Beautiful.

    Educators do not have to indoctrinate. You fail to understand this.

    “in·doc·tri·nate/inˈdäktrəˌnāt/
    Verb:
    Teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically: “broadcasting was a vehicle for indoctrinating the masses”.”

    The key word there is UNCRITICALLY. We were taught critically, and so it is not indoctrination. Is English not your first language? If it isn’t, you get a pass for the fact that it is a more nuanced and complicated word to understand.

    If English is your first language, then your ‘educators’ (or should I say indoctrinators) truly failed you.

    There is Judaism (and other religions) only with indoctrination. You tell me of any cases where a kid grows up in complete isolation to Judaism and suddenly thinks one day “I believe in Moses and the flood and the Judeo-Christian God”. It just doesn’t happen.

    It has to be brainwashed into them.

    Also, you most certainly wouldn’t like Bialik. If you want your children to uncritically accept your beliefs as your own, you would do well to just homeschool them like all the other fundie crazies.

    Enjoy!

  • letters in the age says:

    you guys need to smoke a “joint” together

    far far away from here…

  • LMFAO says:

    Keep repeating your same crap… I’m embarrased to be interacting with you… Even anonymously! Blah blah blah indoctrination … Blah blah smarter than everyone else… Blah blah… Tell it to tour alma matter pompous loser…

  • abc says:

    It hardly seems worth debating with Daniel, and I know his response will be some pathetic Monty-Python-style insult that he will think clever and other readers think sad, but I must respond to his demand that:

    “You tell me of any cases where a kid grows up in complete isolation to Judaism and suddenly thinks one day “I believe in Moses and the flood and the Judeo-Christian God”. It just doesn’t happen.”

    Actually Daniel, it does, often. That’s recisely the story of one of my most respected and brilliant teachers and he is far from unique.

  • LMFAO says:

    Thanks ABC totally agree… So many people go through life just longing for identity. Something that fills their void of purpose. They discover they’re Jewish and are renewed. They may not become orthodox but feel a belonging that we who are lucky enough to know of our history often take for granted.

  • letters in the ase says:

    pompous loser….?

    If one is so” pompous” why is one educated in this country then?

    Don’t see an elite international school on peoples credentials…

    just saying

    ;)

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