Jews Aren't Perfect

Don't judge Judaism by the Jews.

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Comments (22)

(18) Nancy, February 13, 2015 9:06 PM

Another opportunity for self improvement

As we approach another Shabbat, I will take the next 25 hours to reflect on how I can improve myself. Shabbat Shalom to you Lori, as well as to everyone else at aish.

(17) Owen, July 27, 2011 2:07 AM

An excellent reminder re the human condition

Excellent piece. Remember when you gain the higher ground the risk of sliding back down is very high as well ! Thank heavens for God's forgiveness ?

(16) Anonymous, July 16, 2011 1:25 PM

Mere mortals

The one commonality that we have with all religions is that we are all mere mortals with the ability to do good in the world and bad. We all bleed red and I am not naive enough to believe that one group is better than the next. Maybe one group is more commited i.e. the orthodox and hassidim, the mere rituals they go through on a daily basis are mind boggling and evidence of that comitttment. Does that make them better human beings? Probably not. We are all made up of good and evil, religion keeps us accountable, but not necessarily free of ill will. Also many are born into this lifestyle, they know no other. Until they are older, they have no choice... I have come to understand (for me) that I am most accountable to myself. If I do wrong, I cannot escape the lack of self respect that I suffer as a result. I know that I am what I live. I want my own respect and self-admiration for living a good, clean life. That keeps me accountable. I suffer emotionally when I don't do the right thing...every time I suffer because I know I could have made a different choice. I try to learn from my mistakes. It's not religion that led me there, but wanting to like myself and feel that I have "logos" (greek word for meaning) that dictates my life. Without having a meaning in my life, I have no life. Again, is that religion....I don't know, if it is, then it is a by product of wanting to lead a good, moral life. And by the way, I am Jewish, but not religous.

Eva, July 19, 2011 6:46 AM

Rays of light to make us shine

Judaism is a light, a lighthouse, to dispel the darkness; if people don't want to be in the light, stay away from the light and stay in the darkness. While in the darkness, can't see those in the light. Don't judge Judaism by the Jews? Don't judge Judaism by those in the darkness. You can be in the light and not in religion, you can be in religion and be in darkness. Judaism is about morals and ethics to live by "logos" (written and spoken words) that forms the moral & natural laws to live by. Not everyone is concerned about living a moral life, quite the contrary for many. The reason for the title. Anon, if all was like you, with putting you best foot forward, the title COULD be "Do judge Judaism by the Jews." We should all expose ourselves to the light of the word. to dispel our own inner darkness so the light can shine through us, I for one can struggle and need reminded over and over again. Thanks for reminding us Anon, and continue being the best Jewish version of yourself you can be.

(15) am. abukasis, July 16, 2011 11:16 AM


I really needed 2hear this. You're speech was/is beautiful and I think more people (goiiam) should hear this.

(14) Anonymous, July 14, 2011 4:06 PM

We need version 2 of this

After reading about Leiby Kletzky and seeing reports of the man believed to be his killer, I think we need a second version of this "video" reminding everyone that when one Jew does something terrible - it doesn't mean Judaism is to blame.

(13) yonah, July 13, 2011 10:53 PM

preparing people empowers people

Rather than let disillusionment strike the uninitiated (which can & does lead to cynicism and bitterness), empower freshly BT's with the truth and not platitudes: the Yiddishkeit theyve experienced (and learned to love) in their little bubble kiruv enclaves doesnt exist in mainstream FFB communities, and is in fact ridiculed and disparaged.

(12) Jerry, July 13, 2011 7:52 PM

Lee Diin and Anne Brady

I call myself a secular humanist, but acknowledge themes in Judaisn that I learned early in life--tikkun, repairing the world, education, etc. I think Lee was saying he is proud of practicing kindness without need of institutional direction.

(11) Anonymous, July 13, 2011 6:23 PM

Sin not lest ye be judged

I have found that Jews take credit for other Jew's successes but also feel shame for another Jew's moral failures. I know this in crazy, but non-Jews judge Jews the same way. I,personally, as a Jew, was mortfied by the recent actions of Spitzer and Weiner and the media seemed anxious to point out that both were Jewish (I'm not even going to mention Monica Lewinski) Maybe that doesn't show that you can't judge Judaism by the Jews, but it does show that the bad acts of a few Jews, reflect badly on the rest of us.It has always been my goal to be the best I can be, knowing that I am being judged, not only as myself, but also as a member of my Jewish community.

jake, July 14, 2011 11:24 AM

Perfectly put. Thank you.

Perfectly put. Thank you.

(10) Anonymous, July 13, 2011 4:23 PM

Don't judge a person by their actions, but by their intentions

I'm not Jewish, but I've seen Jews behave badly. Enough to make their own people cringe. Stealing and lying. However, I feel Judaism is wonderful and have met people who are observant who do NOT act this way. So, you're right, you cannot judge it based off of the bad ones. Besides, isn't this true of any person no matter what his background? I have learned in life, it isn't someone's actions you have to look closely at, it's their intentions. Just my opinion.

(9) Ann Brady, July 13, 2011 3:21 PM

Lori, love your comments

Loved what you implied about it being easy to look 'perfect' if one shows up to Shul twice a year, and how things can get " a little too casual" with those who attend three times a day, every day. Perhaps the best definition of being human is not that we are flawed but that we try to be more like G-d. It's a good aspiration.

(8) Lee Dimin, July 13, 2011 11:51 AM

Who is"

Are Christians perfect? Are Muslims perfect? Are any members of the human race perfect? If there be any religion where all its members are perfect, then the religion is dead as are all its members. As an Athiest, I am as perfect as any religionist can hope to be, and much more so than most of them. After 91 years oif life, there is little I have to done to feel ashamed of, much to feel proud of, and still trying at this age to continue doing that which will help, not harm, my fellow humans, unlike those who attempt to spread their individual faiths by discriminating against those of,other faiths. "This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." - Dalai Lama

Ann Brady, July 13, 2011 3:12 PM

Lee, if you're in Aish... must still be searching. You've come to the right place. In my old age, I've come to understand that being 'proud' of atheism, or any other belief, is about human ego, not Truth.

(7) Do Lern Hwei, July 13, 2011 11:18 AM

What is your ultimate spiritual and moral yardstick?

I read the comment by "Aspiring Father" . Judging a tree by its fruit means gauging a person's professed faith and spirituality by his/her words and actions. In a faith community there are always black sheep. We need both Scripture and human role models. We always need to pray for guidance which person to emulate. Like Lori, I believe that Scripture will be the ultimate yardstick

(6) joe derosa, July 12, 2011 2:32 PM

this is true of all faiths.

let the individual stand for himself and take the ups or downs in the same vernacular.

(5) Anonymous, July 12, 2011 2:17 PM

Beautiful message

Well said. I often get embarrassed by other people's behavior, until I look at my own. I'll keep trying!

(4) Anonymous, July 12, 2011 1:23 PM

too bad

Don't judge Judaism by the (mis)conduct of Jews? - how sad!

(3) Ari, July 12, 2011 1:19 PM

Thank G-D for Ba'alei Teshuva

This reminded me of a recent article from Harav Yonasan Rosenblum in Mishpacha where he says" the baalei teshuva insist that the Torah world live up to it's own highest ideals... That's why the Torah world is never fully cofortable with the baalei teshuva. And that's why they are so desperately needed". they prevent Clal Yisrael from falling to complacency and mediocrity!!

(2) Aspiring Father, July 10, 2011 5:28 PM

But we MUST judge the Jewish COMMUNITY by the Jews

Lori is right only to the limited extent that the TORAH is not a religion of "judge the tree by its fruit." The Torah stands irrespective by where its primary heirs are in their moral and personal rectitude. However, the Jewish COMMUNITY does rise or fall in moral estimation by the conduct of its constituents. It is because of a broad range of attitudes in the Jewish community that have nothing to do with Torah and are likewise antithetical to the derekh eretz of normal American towns that I will not be raising my family in a Jewish community. Oh, raising my family with Torah, absolutely. But not in a Jewish community. Too many of our brethren worship the Jewish community. When that community is stricken by the cancer of immorality, it is time to leave the cesspool and elevate Torah in a clean beit.

(1) Anonymous, July 10, 2011 4:02 PM

Hi Lori, All of your blogs are great! I really loved this blog. I went to my first religious service on Saturday morning. WOW!. The women were talking, the men were talking. I had a hard enough time trying to understand what was going on. "Don't judge Judiasm by the Jews". Also, are there any programs that you are doing via Project Sinai? WIth warmest regards from Cleveland, Ohio. Stacy

Anonymous, July 15, 2011 1:13 AM

Saturday morning in Cleveland -good options

Hi Stacy. You don't mention whether you were at a conservative synagogue a reform temple or an orthodox shul - it doesn't matter. If you'd like 2 authentic / traditional options: Aish HaTorah has a program each Shabbos for learners-- here's info for this week July 15--- always amazing people and ideas --- 10:50 a.m. Weekly Parsha Class For Men and Women Dynamic Children's Program Young Israel Synagogue 2463 S. Green Road AND The Jewish Learning Connection has a standard full service, open to everyone, 2195 South Green Road Cleveland, OH 44121 (216) 691-3837 Men and women do sit separately as for all traditional services- -- you might want to call before Shabbos and identify yourself / find out if you can meet up with one of the women there . Much smaller, everyone is very supportive, but the first time in a new place and a new language can be daunting. Good luck!!!!


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