From the posts at frumteens.com I get the impression we seeing a fairly small portion of the frum-teen world -- that part which is online with ease and familiarity, and has a certain hipness. There are only 7082 registered users of this BB. But does it mirror the nature of the larger frum world? I think it does.
A very strange thing about frumteens is there is no statement of ownership or responsibility. Who is the moderator, and what is his authority? If I were frum I would want to know who my children were getting their religious advice from.
From the questions that are asked you can tell these are very frum children, and learned in Jewish ideas and texts. There is a kind of sweetness in contemplating them, envisioning them as they navigate between their hermetic ways and the larger world. I enjoy the mix of girl-slang, email slang, Talmud hebrew, English ... and of course, poor spelling.
But they are also very insular Jewish children whose relationship with the world -- even as it is curious -- is mistrustful and hostile. The posts in the thread "on the goyim" are fascinating. It is almost unblievable that people raise their children to have such ideas.
One poster asks, innocently, if it's OK to celebrate Thanksgiving. The moderator goes into a long academic rant about the history of the holiday, with no understanding of its social-bonding role among neighbors and fellow citizens in today's United States. He displays no affection for society in general -- i.e, the society that is everyone-but-Jews. He sees nothing of value there. So he has no reason to encourage children to participate. Moderator is more interested in determining whether Thanksgiving is "religious," because it if is, then it is assur (forbidden) for Jews to partake in.
Frum Moslem children are undoubtedly getting similar advice from their clerics. In fact, I did see one time an online Islamic discussion of Thanksgiving, and whether it is Islamic to participate.
As charming as this stuff is, there is a layer in it that is not in harmony with the general contours of the democratic tolerant society. The frum people (including the Moslems) benefit from the tolerant society and are quick to invoke its protections, but actually have no wish to participate in it. In fact, they think it's a bad thing.
I think Jewish multi-culturalist ideologues and fanatical believers in not "evaluating" cultures should read some of the discussions in frumteens.com -- even linger there a while -- because it might be easier for them to understand the value of evaluation if it is their own people being viewed, and they are freed from fear of being anti-somebody (apparently in some circles this is so great a fear as to be almost irrational).
The moderator of frumteens is completely comfortable teaching that Christians will "burn" because they are doing avodah zarah (evil work). You can just imagine what Moselm children are being taught, right under your noses. So this is a bad scene. Multiculturalists need to wake up.
This is why I say there are quasi-religious, faith-based aspects to a number of important, foundational liberal/postmodern positions. You can fairly call some of them "beliefs." They need to be interrogated, not swallowed whole and regurgitated in University classrooms as though they were fact.
Tags: culture wars, judaism, multiculturalism, teens