Posted on | June 22, 2006 | By Rabbi Max Weiman | 37 Comments
I recently heard of non-religious Jews in the New York area publicly complaining about observant Jews blocking the street on Shabbos, taking money away from public school funding, and not letting their kids play with the non-religious girls who wear pants.
Well frum Jews are certainly not without fault. We’re not perfect. If we were, moshiach would be here already. But let’s put things in perspective.
The secular world is plagued with unwed pregnancies, sex on the school busses, drug problems, theft, vandalism, and even an occasional child murderer. Our problems pale in comparison. We have some of the same problems as they do (their problems seep into our society) but always on a much smaller scale.
Sometimes the secular media expands and embellishes upon a problem in the frum community. We don’t want to ignore our faults, but we also want to put them into perspective. The secular media often seem to have an agenda to discredit anyone religious.
I heard a report on NPR that highlighted the idea of Rumspringa, a custom of the Amish community to send out teenagers to the “real” world to decide if they want to assimilate or stay in the Amish community. The callers were appalled at how little preparation the teenagers were given to be able to deal with the secular world.
“I heard of one case in which an Amish boy had a beer that one of the public school kids had urinated into,” one caller lamented.
They were appalled at the fact that the Amish didn’t prepare the teenagers, so the secular kids took advantage of the Amish teenagers’ naiveté. Yet the callers weren’t appalled at all at the cruelty of the secular teenagers. I guess because it’s all too common. Instead of criticizing the community that raises innocent teenagers, why not criticize the community that raises cruel teenagers?
Sometimes BTs are put in a position to defend the frum community from reports in the secular media of money laundering, rude behavior, and other transgressions. It’s good to know how to respond.
When we’re at our worst, our transgressions are still few and far between, and they also pale in comparison with the number and the severity of the transgressions of the secular society.
Let’s keep things in perspective.