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Showing posts from February, 2018

Is Kiruv a lie? Does it drive people away from Judaism…? (Hint: No, it doesn’t.)

In an article at Pop Chassid , Elad Nehorai wrote – with a big headline – “Kiruv is a lie.” Why?  Because it creates the illusion that Judaism is “fun” or “easy.”  Because it lures people in with songs or cheap spirituality or tasty food and then – bait and switch!!! – it turns out Judaism is a hard life and so the Judaism you thought was all about fun fizzles and you drift away from Judaism. And those who do stay religious, who move into religious communities like, I’m assuming Monsey or Lakewood or Boro Park or Jerusalem, suddenly discover that religious Jews are like anybody else, not all “souls on fire” but just regular people trying to make a living, playing loud music, behaving obnoxiously, speaking loshon hora, even stealing from each other in various horrible and petty ways. Nehorai’s solution is a little fuzzy – he recommends “improving the qualitative state of our communities.”  By this I’m assuming he means make every Jewish person behave nicely instead of just a few kiruv r

Sydney Taylor Award 2018 BLOG TOUR: Drop by Drop, A Story of Rabbi Akiva, by Jacqueline Jules / Yevgenia Nayberg

Welcome to visitors here with the Sydney Taylor Award blog tour!  You can find a full list of hosts and featured books at the Association of Jewish Libraries site .  There are some amazing selections this year.  In fact, that’s what I’m going to be talking about – a wonderful new Jewish kids’ book. If you’re not fascinated by Rabbi Akiva, it’s probably because you just don’t know enough about him.  Who wouldn’t be inspired by the tale of someone who comes to Torah learning late in life but persists until he becomes not just an expert, but one of the greatest heroes of the Jewish world. The problem is, how do you turn a figure commonly thought of as being more like this… Into someone warm and relatable, more like this… so that kids can actually enjoy the story and start to understand its full meaning? Well, that’s exactly what author Jacqueline Jules (left) and illustrator Yevgenia Nayberg (right) have done with Drop by Drop: A Story of Rabbi Akiva , which turns this classic and often-