Outreach For Orthodox Judaism

According to Wikipedia:

Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim (1896 – 1981) (Hebrew: יצחק נסים‎) was a former Sephardic chief rabbi of Israel. Rabbi Nissim was born in Baghdad and immigrated to Palestine in 1925.

In 1964, Pope Paul VI visited Israel but refused to visit the heads of other religions, insisting that they come visit him. In protest, Rabbi Nissim boycotted this visit, insisting that he was willing to visit the Pope as long as there would be reciprocity if a Chief Rabbi came to Rome.

In his first lecture on Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim for Torah in Motion, Rabbi Marc B. Shapiro says:

Rav Elazar Schach was against kiruv (outreach) as a goal. For Rav Schach, the only goal was to become a giant in Torah, but if you can’t do that, then it is fine to drop out and to do kiruv.

It seems that for many in kiruv, the be-all and end-all is to make people religious. Because it has become a business, it creates all sorts of problems. I remember once sitting at a table with someone in kiruv who was telling another story about one of his colleagues who for three years every Sunday went out fishing with this guy. When the guy died, he left him a nice amount of money. So the whole point of fishing with the guy was to create a good relationship to get money.

You should love people and bring them close to Torah. I have no doubt that Chabad does that, but for many other kiruv people, I wonder sometimes. If they knew for certain this person would not become religious, would they drop them?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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