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Rabbi Waxman, That’s Not What I Meant

Rabbi Waxman claims I asserted that, “The incidence of teenage pregnancy and AIDS in the Jewish community is not a problem that needs to be taken seriously.”

That’s not what I meant.

What I did say was:

“Relative to America at-large there is no teenage pregnancy or AIDS problem in the Jewish community let alone the Orthodox community!!”

Of course there are Jews who have AIDS. This is very sad and should be taken seriously but again “relative to America at-large” this is a non-issue. Among Orthodox teenagers I wonder if there are more than 50 reported cases in the last 15 years! Honestly I dont know. So if someone has some info please post it. The bottom line is the Jewish community has been and continues to be at the forefront of putting an end to AIDS and ensuring that poeple with AIDS get proper medical treatment. The Orthodox Union’s website targets the broader American community and attempts to ingratite itself with the Christian right.


My point is merely that this website is not directed at Orthodox Jews, it’s directed at other groups. But where are their halakhic sources for promoting such a position to non-Jews? Do they honestly think that halakha would deny condoms to people living in Africa?

But dont tell me this is a pressing matter in the Orthodox community!

Read the Full Debate: Should We Teach Abstinence to Teens?

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posted June 4, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Yes, I didn’t understand why Rabbi Waxman was making a fuss. It seemed pretty obvious to me what you were saying.

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posted June 4, 2007 at 11:52 pm

B”H I fail to understand the controversy over this issue. The Torah is clear about moral requirements by the Children of Noach. That’s why the Lubavitcher Rebbe expended much effort in outreach to enourage non-Jews to live a life based on the moral issues outlined by the Seven Noahide Laws. The fact that “right-wing Christianity” embraces these moral ideas, can be a great boost in our efforts to ensure that our non-Jewish neighbors fulfill their requirements as outlined by Torah. Good deeds and moral behavior on the part of non-Jews will assist in Jewish efforts to bring the world to a higher plane of spirituality, thus removing klipah from the world and making the world a place fit for Moshiach. I applaud any efforts to encourage moral behavior for both Jews and non-Jews, this is a basic tenet of Judiasm. Although Judiasm and Christianity are on opposite sides of the concept of who is the Redeemer, there’s no reason we can’t work together to support Torah-required behavior, as well as support for Jews in Israel, etc….Yossel

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Rick Abrams

posted June 5, 2007 at 6:27 pm

Dear Yossel, While your ideals are laudable on the surface, history has shown that they have often lead to “crimes against humanity.” The Torah is not clear. No system of laws can ever be clear. If the Torah were clear, there would be no Talmud, and if the Talmud were clear, there would have been no Rashi, etc. No legal system can be clear because it involves the developing of issues from facts and then attempting to apply the rules in each situation. People should be suspicious of any group that holds itself out as morally superior. This was the modus operandi of the nazis and the communists and of most totalitarians. Many people see right wing Christians as intolerant and hence as quite immoral. They spread bigotry and hatred of people who have different beliefs. They teach parents of Gays teens that their children are lost to G-d. They divide families turning parents against children if the children do not adhere to their demands. They want the government to adopt their religious views as law, e.g. anti-abortion, prayer in school, creationism. Their teachings on sex are based upon their own myths and not on facts. In America, right wing Christians and Jews are free to believe what they wish. When any sect tries to impose it religious beliefs on other people, then they are entering an arena where they should be opposed. The right wing Orthodox want to impose their narrow-minded interpretations of Torah on all Jews. One saving “grace” has been that most Orthodox have not interferred in the lives of non-Jews in the same way many Christians try to meddle in Jewish affairs. The idea that Jews and Christians should work together to support Torah-required behavior indicates that Yossel does not understand Christianity — it has no Torah based behavior. In fact, the idea that the entire world should follow the Orthodox interpretation of Troah is not much different from Osama Bin Laden’s desire that the entire world should be Muslim. The right wing Orthodox approach can also turn murderous as Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir have shown. Whether a sect is Jewish, Christian or Muslim, its belief that it knows the Truth for other people has historically lead to horrible results, e.g. The Inquistion, the World Trade Towers. They are certainly free to explain their ways within the public forum, but when they act as if their way is the correct way for others, then they have over stepped.

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Stephen Davidson

posted June 6, 2007 at 2:50 pm

In the Tanakh, have you ever noticed the actual amount of people that were “right” about what God wanted? Very few. Does the word “remnant” ring a bell?

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