Monday, June 12, 2006

kiruv?? no.. Look a bird.

Ynetnews has just published an article that will convince a number of Israels to go to Sweden and commit crimes. This is not out of hatred for Swedes or protest against an unfair foreign policy, such as writing on every product made in Jerusalem that it is made in an illegal occupied territory. The story is actually about what great living conditions prisoners in Sweden get. Private television, Steaks every Saturday, a shopping trip every half a year and sex once in a while in a luxury apartment. I can imagine some of them turning down the offer of probation.

We were at a sheva brachos on shabbos afternoon for some people we don't really know. I think we still get invited on the oleh who's new in the community ticket, because a large percentage of the community was there, but nobody our age. I was talking to Don who used to run the local chapter of Elul, an adopt a chiloni program. I used to go to the program but the timing was bad for me so I dropped out. I asked him how the program was going and he said he stopped it because the main office in Jerusalem put out too many requirements. I said that was too bad and he said he didn't like the program anyways. Elul is a group of religious and not religious learning together, but it is supposed to be a from a "your ok" perspective. More of a culturally jewish learning then a religious jewish learning. So for sefiras haomer, he had to get poems written by secular jews and discuss what the meaning aside from also throwing in some traditional jewish texts. I remember one session that I went to where a woman said that she loved doing certain mitzvot because they made her feel good. I explained to her that those weren't mitzvot, she was doing it for herself and not because God told her too.

The word mitzva means commandment, not feel good social behavior. If you only do the ones that you like, then you didn't do any because you are not doing what God wants you are doing what you want.

Don is now working on another type of kiruv where he has performances with mostly chinolical groups and they tell and act out stories of "Jewish History", mostly stories of holy rabbis with Jewish messages. He says as long as you don't put a religious context on it then the message penetrates deeply. He also told me a story of a univrsity in Israel, I forget which one, that had a Chinese philosophy class. It was the most popular class in the university. The professor made up names for the philosophers and taught them pirkei avos. At the end of the semester, he told them that it was really pirkei avos and explained who the philosophers that he talked about really were. Jews love hearing about other nation's cultures, but it is very hard to get them to pa attention to our own.

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