Wednesday, June 25, 2008

From Bob's archive: Frum teens

I am away this week, so I am posting one or two items from my archive. Today, the first ever Jogo guest post, from back in January 2005.

A propos of FrumTeens.com - Torah for Teenagers, Jogo writes:

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: , , ,

2 comments:

Frumteens Member said...

As an frumteens reader, who disagrees with a lot of what the moderator says (he might consider me one of the "chilled out" kids who are "off the derech" because I am Chabad or he might even consider me an apikores (hereitic) for being Chabad), you might think that I woul dagree with you on this post bashing frumteens and all "frum" people as it is. Well, that is not the case. YES, in my opinion the moderator is very biased, but I think that before that can be stated it is neccessary to at least know more about what being frum means.
First of all, muslims cannot be frum, as the term frum is yiddish - and means one who is adherent to the 613 mitzvot. Second, you say:
"Moderator is more interested in determining whether Thanksgiving is "religious," because it if is, then it is assur (forbidden) for Jews to partake in."

If I were getting advice from the moderator on this topic, that is EXACTLY what he is supposed to be doing. He is a pasken - one who says what the actual law is according to the Torah and the Oral Torah. And it is a law that Jews may not celebrate religious non-Jewish holidays. Simple as that. I, for one, do not consider thanksgiving religious, bht that doesn't matter. If that is what the moderator believes, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and has a halacha - law - to back him up, then he is doing his JOB.

"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."

No, frum Jews do not have much desire to participate in our "tolerant" society. There are a number of reasons why.
A) We believe that the entire point of our existence is to study TORAH and to keep the laws in the Torah. Spending time in a society that rejects most fundamental Torah beliefs is wasteful.
B) You live in the "secular" world. I have lived in a "normal" society for most of my life (I am a baal teshuva - one who became frum of my own free choice), and can attest that the secular world is FULL of complete garbage. T.V, clubs, drugs, dating, sex. Thats all there really is now. It might be disguised as other things, but it seems like that is the core. No wonder frum Jews want to part in that.

I have morr to add, but I have to go. So I'l continue later.
-C

Anonymous said...

This Frumteens Member is an idiot. Why go there if the moderator thinks you're a heretic? The author of the blog obviously meant 'religious' muslims when he said 'frum', how could you not realise?

The author of the blog is right; we should know who the man behind Frum Teens is, he could be anyone!

As for the secular world, this is where Jews tday are hypcritical. The Jewish world is just as full of the sechs etc, we hide it unhealthily and try and pretend that people don't think about it all the time. Our g'dolim protect paedophiles and our musicians copy goyshe music and try and pretend it is 'holy'. Such nonsense. At least the goyshe world is honest.