On the Kiruv Business

 Posted by on November 26, 2012
Nov 262012

A guy with a Kiruv clown

For those who don’t know, kiruv clowns are those proselytizers who do outreach for the orthodox (often chabad) community. They have a whole schema of devices with which they lure outsiders into their perfect, warm, perfect, spiritual world. The family that was featured on Oprah’s show that did not for-the-love-of-god have a clue what Mickey Mouse is, make for a good example of the frum kiruv clown.

There are the kiruv clowns for outsiders, and then there are the kiruv clowns for insiders – for those who were born and bred with the sweetness and know it all too well. When it comes to defection from the inside, the clown is more like the Batman’s Joker. They have a different face, a different trick, the same beard. I made the rounds to many of them, each coming highly recommended as “open-minded”, each promising to “know” and be a real “professional”. Each time I knocked on a new door I hoped that the rabbi on the other side will take me seriously, that he will understand my concerns, that he will take off that condescending clown smirk and protect me from the bullying of other rabbis and community leaders. Each time I hoped that I will hear that my desire to get an education and raise my children differently does not mean I’m a crazy woman who must lose custody over her child. “I only want to drive” I heard myself tell them, “nothing against halacha” and in my mind they’d understand and promise to help me. They didn’t. Each time I found myself sitting disappointed across from the rabbi thinking “this cannot be real, this cannot be happening to me.” The slippery slope, they’d say, or “your family is this way, you can’t be different”. One rabbi, with a beard as long as a conference table, assured me that he’s finally the right guy because he sees my troubles. “I will talk to your husband”, he said. “I’ll clarify everything to him. You need love… and… he’s just a yeshiva bochur, he didn’t realize!” Then my life will be fixed, my needs gone, he said. Love. Think! What a goyisha idea!

Another rabbi set out to debate atheism even when I couldn’t be less interested in the whole subject. I had come to ask support for basic human rights, what I got was a philosophical debate in epicureanism. When a rav told me with certainty I had multiple personality disorder (MPD is not even a confirmed mental illness, nevermind to make a diagnosis in one sitting!) I couldn’t say anything but stare back wide-eyed. Why thank you, what religious wisdom! Exactly how many of these multiple personalities did you find, and can one give love to the other — because that’s what I actually need? Could I have a moment to talk with my other personalities about how concerning your own is?

In the end they all said that no matter what was going on, it came down confusion. I was confused. And by the time I left their holy rooms with a headache and multiple personalities that was pretty true.

Frieda Vizel

Frieda Vizel left the Hasidic community, the Modern Orthodox community and the Formerly Orthodox (OTD) community. She now lives in Pomona and is actively looking for a new community to leave. She deals with the perplexities of the communities she left by drawing cartoons about them, a habit that gets her into an excellent amount of trouble.

  22 Responses to “On the Kiruv Business”

  1. Takeh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. P.S. “Multiple Personality Disorder” is no longer recognized by the Mental Health community as condition. It hasn’t been for years, shows you how up to date the “Taste makers” (e.g. Rav’s, etc) in “The Community” are!

  3. Look, Miss Oy Vey, you’re a bit צימישט but nothing stands above the altimate truth. That “truth,” you ask? Well, let me give it to you with a משל…


  4. Fuck these assholes. Open mind? Thank god you saw through the manipulation. Vomit.

  5. love that nickname, although I’m not sure the protagonists are so happy with it πŸ™‚

  6. Nice representation of Noach Weinberg’s beard.

  7. if all you wanted was to drive, then why are you not frum today?

  8. Cause at the end of it all it turned out that the Orthodox Judaism isn’t true, Moishy.

  9. Great rant and funny cartoon as always!

    The sad part is that a friend of ours is actually going through exactly what you described above. I showed this to my wife and she also said right away “this is gitty’s story”. Truth is this isn’t gitty’s story neither is it shpitzle’s, this is our story, this is the crap that all of us in the community live with every day.

    The rational (that I don’t agree with) behind it is that the rabbis are responsible to uphold the kedisha of the klal even if it comes at the expense of others. This may be a correct way of thinking, but it still doesn’t mean that one should let themselves become the korbon tzibur.

    It is people like you shpitzle that give the strengths to all the gittys and shpitzles to stand firm and not let their needs, emotions and freedom be overrun by the klal.

    Keep it up!

  10. There is a faith called judiasim, u guys don’t like it u found ur way out go ahead go lchaim ulshulsm… But what’s the pshat of all this bashing charaidim. chasidim. Ortodex. U don’t like it leave who keeps u
    Something here is telling me that all dough with all ur shvoil tug. Liberty. Etc.. Deep deep down u guys feel guilty as hell..
    A rachmunis on u guys my heart goes out for u shpitzel. But remember its never to late there is always a way back

  11. ^^Another Kiruv Clown who’s never heard another point of view.

  12. Dear shragi what exacttley on my comment made u think I never heard another point of view pls explain. And try to be to the point no name calling since u r more from the intelligent part of society u don’t need to take that path

  13. I say you’ve never heard a point of view because you assume that because someone retains an interest in the culture and community they grew up in they must “feel guilty as hell”.
    I called you a Kiruv Clown because you end off your comment by encouraging people to “come back”.

  14. “I say you’ve never heard a point of view because you assume that because someone retains an interest in the culture and community they grew up in they must”
    Smaring bashing and smaring again that’s what I don’t call retaining an interest I’d rather call it obssesed with guilty feelings.

    “I called you a Kiruv Clown because you end off your comment by encouraging people to “come back”.”
    I’m not encouraging anything I’m just letting u know what our religion has to offer for u guys we always have an open door, and of course I’m not a clown for that.

  15. Have you ever met anyone who had to fight their way out of communist Russia? Have you seen how some of them spend their lives writing and talking about their experiences? Do you think that such a person has guilty feelings?

  16. Here is the big difference, when a guy fights his way our of communist Russia his points will mainly be about the pain and brutality of the past, it will not be about mocking and smearing just for the sake of mocking.

    I mean by all means u believe we have a right to be a Jew and pursue it (not talking about orthodox or chasididh cuz they r mocking here the fundamentals of Judaism) and to give it over the future generations. So what’s the comparison to the brutality of Russia?

  17. How do you know when someone is mocking for the sake of mocking, and when someone is genuinely talking about the pain and brutality of the past? How do you differentiate?

    You say you want to ” let(ting) u know what our religion has to offer for u guys” but we are excapees from communist Russia, we know what the motherland has to offer, which makes you the same Kiruv Clown as the rabbi with the beard as long as a conference table who only wanted to pretend to be more open minded than the community but who, in reality only wanted to encourage Shpitzle to not budge an inch from the way she was raised.

  18. I cry in pain for you and your family, for the pain and rigidness you had to endure.

  19. Something tells me that “Guest” above is some bored kolel guy in Five Towns doing a bad imitation of a chasid.

  20. Hey guest!
    You’re right. I was wrong all along. My ideas of freedom, shmeedom were just a result of a stability slip and a tad of confusion thrown in. I feel guilty as hell. Ready to take your offer and come right back into your warm embrace. Just one tiny little problem: I have an 8 year old daughter… Do you by any chance have a son that age, or perhaps a year or two older?

  21. Wow what a shabos I enjoyed b”h and so did thousands of other “jews” around the globe(orthodox chasidics conservative Evan reform)
    But u nabech mr Unah had no other דאגות than be מחלל שבת to do what? commenting on my post.
    ICh lach a gits, it’s so cool isn’t.

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