Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Becoming More Orthodox

Young British Jews: more and more strictly orthodox

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It seems - with Evangelical Christianity and Muslim strictness - that in an irreligious society those who ARE religious tend more and more towards the extremes of observance. The Jewish Chronicle reports that the demographers reveal a remarkable growth in the "Haredi" community in the UK. It has grown at 4 per cent a year for twenty years and there is a predominantly young group - of the under-18s one third are haredi. This site About Judaism offers more detail on what Haredi involves: they don't like to be called 'ultra-orthodox' because they consider more liberal forms of Judaism to be unauthentic. They believe God wrote the Torah, live in self-contained communities, have their own financial systems, eschew television and dress as their European ancestors dressed, in wide-brimmed hats and, for women, modest long skirts and head coverings after marriage.

Photo above linked from this website.


I am reminded of what Princess Leia told the governor of the empire that was trying to take over the universe in the first Star Wars movie:

The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

It is not strange that in an era of increasing pushiness towards secularism and away from religious tradition and faith, that those who are seeking faithful ways are "becoming more orthodox". Perhaps they can see how compromise (or even quitting their faith), in the past has actually allowed repression, cruelty and more deviant behaviours to abound in the name of "secularism" (versus freedom of religious expression, that is). But there is always a remnant, and the remnant is always more conservative and orthodox than those who were willing to give in or remain silent in the name of the secular. Didn't your parents ever teach you that you can't "sit on the fence" forever? A person must choose one way or the other.

The more the secular (read, non-faith religions) tighten their grip on those who desire to express their religious faith - by banning head scarves and any other sign of "religiousness" - the more religious systems of faith will slip through their fingers.
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