Monday, January 4, 2010

Growth Through Adversity - Thoughts for Parshat Shemot

Here in Israel, communities tend to segregate themselves voluntarily. Chareidim like to live with fellow Chareidim, Secular Jews live with other Secular Jews, and Religious Zionists build communities with like-minded RZ's. We don't mix very much. We tell ourselves that we do this for our children. After all, what could be bad about living in a community that meticulously adheres to the Shabbat? Why not choose to live in a place without the enticements of the outside world? What's wrong with insularity?

And yet - the facts don't seem to justify our choices. Speaking anecdotally, it's well-known here in Israel that many of the most religious yishuvim struggle with children who question and abandon their religiosity. So is our desire for uniformity and insularity necessarily a good thing? Or are we somehow doing more harm than good?

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