BT Movement coordination of effort
Date: July 08, 2002 04:06AM
A lot of BT yeshivas and the people who run them, are close by each other or know each other. Heritage House, Aish, Diaspora Yeshiva, Chabad on the Cardo, TOPS, etc are all in the Old City.
I've seen them takes rides in cars together although that might seem innocuous to some I don't think it is. In particular,
Heritage House is often a first stop to recruit new BTs as is Jeff Seidel's Sabbathons.
Lubavitch, in particular, has regular meeting of all their "shluchim" or emissaries. I've heard Chabad leaders say things like, "...if he doesn't burn his bridges behind him, we'll burn them for him." Once you get involved with these people you may wind up ruining all the other connections and friends you have.
Any one these people come into contact with is scrupulously screened for potential as a BT and I mean not only in terms of their potential for success as a new convert to othodoxy but also in terms of their being an advertisement for the BT movement.
When I was going out with my ex-wife, her "mashpiah", spiritual overseer, took us to non-Lubavitch orthodox groups to "sell" what Lubavitch was doing with us
He said something to the effect of "this couple has inspired me...". Nevertheless when it didn't work you for us and I left Lubavitch, he told me, "... it's just a good lie". I'm not sure if he meant all of Judaism or just Chabad's philosophy.
Also, most BT outreach organizations tend to be realistic these days. Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach relented on a tape that I had that it was the "vision of the prophets that the whole world [would take up Judasim's point of view and practice]", but he said that most outreach organizations think, "... if they get 100 kids and 2 stay Jewish, it's a success."
A lot of these BT workers are just regular orthodox Jews who think they know better than the rest of us. One day, I heard one haredi give a speech at Aish and he said that since he was spared the Holocaust God must have had some reason.
Well, my family was spared too, because my relatives saw that Europe was no good anymore for them and they left it and ignored the rabbis who told them that God would cure all the antisemitism.
Another day at Aish's dininig hall on a Shabbos, a haredi gave a very long speech. I'd never seen him before, he wasn't a regular teacher at Aish. As far as I know, he was just another haredi. I asked a friend of mine "who is that". And he replied, "that's Dr. Streimel".
It may seem funny and picyune but these people really think they have it all over us in every way.
One noted Rabbi in the Carlebach movement told me that of all the people who ever came to him and left, I'm the only one to have come back. And I'm not sure if it's to my credit or not.