Posted on | August 15, 2006 | By Neil Harris | 23 Comments
Fighting is never fun. I remember being in a fight with my younger brother once. It went on for days. One trend I’ve noticed after reading blogs for over a year is the constant in-fighting between the (and I really don’t like labels) “Modern and Charedi” world. The truth is that it’s a feud that exists outside the confines of a computer monitor, as well. We see it with our FFB children who attend day schools. We see in when we meet someone in our own cities and they give us a “look” when we mention which shul we affiliate with.
Often people in the frum world are quick to condemn others who won’t hold by our views, yet at the same time, demand that people accept our minhagim and hashkafah.
My wife always says, “If you want respect, you’ve got to give respect.” The funny thing is, as BTs we should pave the way for Achuds and tolerance within our communities. If anyone knows what it takes to navigate through relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, is it not the Baal Teshuva?
A Baal Teshuva wants others to be tolerant of his lifestyle choices. It is only fair that we should set the example of tolerance within Orthodoxy. We have been described as “pillars of religious conviction” and as “people who are passionate about their Judaism”.
We also have, hopefully, learned how to co-exist with our parents, in-laws, and friends who do not share our views on religion. If I wear a black hat and the guy across the street wears a knitted kipah, then so what? It’s time we look for common ground among our fellow Jews. Tisha B’Av is behind us, but the reasons why we mourn are still present today. Rosh Hashanah is around the corner, and soon we will be judged. How we choose to act towards our fellow “Modern” or “Charedi” brothers and sisters could be one of the greatest contributions of the BT movement to orthodox society. The choice is ours.