Orthodox Jews and secular culture

Orthodox Jews and secular culture

A reader asked: What do Orthodox Jews find problematic about the secular culture around them?


I was raised to the mantra of a goy works to eat and eats to work. Or אוי אוי אוי, שיכור איז א גוי. Oh, oh-oh, a drunkard is a goy! There was a sense of intense meaninglessness of the secular world evident by the short-sighted hunger for pleasure, a world of instant gratification. When we heard about the high divorce rates and small facilities we could understand the temptation of throwing off the yoke of difficult relationships, but we knew that this type of shortsightedness ended with a lonely old man dying abandoned in the hospital, while the Jewish zeidy’s side of the curtain was always noisy with people who cared.

Today, since I am secular, I know that the goy isn’t a hedonistic, drunken, sex ravaged, and incoherent slave to his every whim, but I think there was truth to the religious criticism of the secular world. I experience a world in which loyalty and sacrifice for others is too often perceived as pushover weakness while selfishness is exonerated as “bravery.” Still, plenty of good people know not to buy into it.


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