Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Navonim - The Ramblings of Garnel Ironheart

Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Senator vs The Colonel

South of the border the battle for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 federal election has become far more interesting than many thought it would.  Initially it was expected to be a coronation for Hillary Clinton with a bunch of also-rans falling to the side.  Enter Bernie Sanders, former socialist senator and suddenly the new and possibly viable challenge to her majesty, Hillary I.
In fact, attention on the entire race for the next president has shifted because of Sanders' ascension.  I was worried that the Democrats would quickly crown Hillary while the Republicans, led by The Donald, would alienate all but their most devout supporters after months of eviscerating one another.  Instead attention has started to focus on Clinton and it hasn't been at all flattering, causing her poll numbers to dive while Sanders, a socialist, has played to the Obama-enhanced culture of entitlement that has casts its ennui over the United States.
Should we be happy about this?  Let's take a look at Sanders and see.  He's held a variety of public posts at various levels of government (which is more than the current president can say) and that's probably a good thing.  However, he remains a socialist which is a bad thing.  Not just that but he's an old time socialist.  Remember that before American Jews began marching against the Soviet Union in the late 1960's and 70's in support of Russian Jewry, they were marching for the USSR because of its perceived facade of being a workers' paradise.  Sanders seems to be from that type of American Jewish socialist, the kind that still think that Lenin and Stalin were on to something positive even if the tens of millions they murdered were a regrettable but necessary sacrifice in the name of international communism's success.  He believes in bigger government, more regulation and higher taxes, especially for the rich where he advocates confiscatory rates of 90% on the highest incomes.  I guess he looked at Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal and felt that since democratic socialist produced such amazing economic outcomes there it would be prudent to attempt similar things in the United States.
It seems to me that another Sanders has been overlooked in this nomination race and he might make a very attractive candidate.  This Sanders isn't a Senator, nor has he ever held public office to my knowledge.  He does however hold the military rank of Colonel which is a significant achievement in its own right.
But it's more than that.  Unlike Senator Sanders, Colonel Sanders provides people with stuff they can palpably enjoy, that mouth-watering chicken coated in a fatty batter and eleven herbs & spices which is then deep-fried to destroy any possible health benefits.  There's also the tasty fries, let us not forget.  Finally, unlike Bernie Sanders who wants to create high youth unemployment by raising the minimum wage to uneconomic levels, Colonel Sanders happily employs many youth at the current minimum wage, teaching them important life skills like the ability to ask the question "You want cole slaw with that?"  (No one does, by the way)
Therefore, if the Democrats are smart they'll dump both Clinton and Bernie Sanders and put forward the Colonel as their 2016 candidate.  He comes with his own catering and the smell from the hall at the national convention will be irresistible to hesitant voters.  A chicken in every pot indeed!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Surrounding Perspective

One of the recurring themes I notice when I survey non-Orthodox Jewish blogs is how upset Heterodox Jews generally are with Orthodox Jewry's refusal to recognize their versions of Judaism as legitimate expressions of the religion.  One recent post (I forget where) even emphasized that Orthodox is itself a recent invention so it should have no pretensions to greater legitimacy than, say, Reform.
I think a big reason for this is the influence of surrounding society.  No sector of Judaism is immune to this.  In fact, I'd be willing to wager that almost all sectors of Judaism fall prey to this influence.  On the Heterodox side assimilationist tendencies and a desire to be religious "correct" mean allowing surrounding society's value to set the values of what they call Judaism.  On the Orthodox side there is an increasing tendency to set Judaism's values davka in opposition to prevailing secular ones even when some of those secular ones (honesty in business, for example) are quite commendable.
If that's the case, why doe Orthodoxy set itself apart from the other so-called streams of Judaism?
It seems that this is based on the response to secular society's influence as described above.
Consider that in North America we live in a Chrisian-majority society.  Now, how would one define Chrisianity?  Well to keep it simple, it's a religion composed of multiple groups all of whom sharing one belief in common, that God sent Yeshu haNotzri to save us from our sins and then died for us.  Other than that, when one looks at the spectrum of groups within Chrisianity one sees really very little in common other than that.
The Heterodox understanding of what Judaism is has been influenced by this.  When one looks at the various groups in Jewish society one might conclude that Judaism is also a religion composed of multiple groups all of whom sharing one belief in common, that God did not send Yeshu haNotzri to save us from our sins, etc.  How else to describe Reform's rejection of Jews for Jesus when many adherents to the latter are far more ritually observant than the vast majority of the former?  When one looks at Humanist Judaism in one corner and Satmar Judaism in the other, there is really nothing else that the two have in common Jewishly.  Like Chrisianisty, this is a minimalist position.
In contrast to this, the Orthodox position rejects the idea that Judaism is a religion like Chrisianity.  The Orthodox definition of Judaism demands a belief in God, acceptance of the divinity, antiquity and unity of the Torah and the revelation at Sinai.  Any set of beliefs that is missing one of those points is not authentic Judaism.  In contrast to the Heterodox position, this is a maximalist position.
This is perhaps why Open Orthodoxy, despite its continued claims of fealty to authentic tradition, has been perceived as crossing the red line into Heterodoxy.  One of its major decisors openly admits he doesn't believe that any of the history of the Torah is true.  Other leaders extol the desirability of halacha being altered to accept homosexual marriage even if they haven't found a way to do it yet.  Even its greatest rabbinic proponent, an internationally renowned posek in his own right, revealed an unseemly secular influence when he recently proclaimed that it was time to ordain women as rabbis because he wanted to accomplish it before he retired.
Keeping the concept of the surrounding perspective is important for the Torah observant community as well.  The rise of "Taliban Judaism" in Judaism with Burka Babes and segregated buses is linked to the appearance of, well, the Taliban on the world and religious scene as well as a reaction to the increased lewdness and promiscuity of secular society.  But just as the Open Orthodox are wrong to try and redefine Judaism along the lines of secular liberalism, we in the Torah observant community should avoid limiting Judaism to those chumros which oppose society's mores simple because we want to oppose society.  Torah is not a shield from arayos, it is a way of living that serves as an example to mankind and as a result it should lead, not follow even in opposition.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Back To Munich

An Israeli satirist in the 1960's and 70's, one of Ephraim Kishon's best pieces was an essay that start off as a historical retelling of the events leading to the infamous Munich agreement in which Britain and France, desperate to prevent a major European war with the Nazis, y"sh, agreed to split the northeastern half of Czechoslovakia, the Sudetenland, and give it to Germany.  Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister, returned home in triumph waving the agreement above his head and announced that he had arranged "peace in our time!"  Winston Churchill, the dour old codger that he was, replied "You could have chosen war over disgrace.  You chose disgrace and soon you shall have war."  And everyone told him to shut up and stop war mongering.
Peace in our time lasted about a year.
Now while it is easy to criticize the British and French for their absolute stupidity in negotiating with Adolph Hitler, y"sh, we have to remember the historical context of the agreement.  World War I, the Great War as it was still called, had ended only twenty years earlier after devastating large parts of French and slaughtering millions of soldiers and civilians.  Not lost on many people was the absolute uselessness of the war.  It started because a Serbian shot an Austro-Hungarian prince.  It ended with society-shattering effects and caused the rise of the Soviet Union.  Europeans, with the exception of the Germans, were still war weary.  If cutting Czechoslovakia in half meant avoiding a war they were all far it and Chamberlain said as much in the lead up to the agreement.
But back to Kishon.  In his piece he starts off by telling the story of how negotiations began and proceeded but as it goes on he slowly starts changing the names of the politicians involved.  British and French politicians become American and UN ones from the early 1970's.  The German names turn into Arabic ones.  Naturally the Czech names become Israeli.  By the end it's a story about the Western powers along with Russia discussing the dismemberment of Israel with the Arab League while the Israelis sit in the hall, uninvited to the negotiations that will determine their fate.
Sound familiar?
The deal signed between the major nuclear powers and Iran has all the hallmarks of being a repeat of the Munich agreement.  Naive leaders from Western democracies sit across the table from ruthless terrorist thugs.  The Western leaders make it very clear that they either will do anything to get a deal (America, Britian and France) or have no interest in making the terrorist thugs accountable for any deal that gets signs (Russia, China).  The terrorist thugs (Iran) who are in a bit of a predicament due to international sanctions and the low price of oil quickly realize that despite their overwhelming advantage, their opponents are playing to lose.  They drag out negotiations, all while continuing research towards weaponized nuclear technology, continue to openly vilify the Western leaders who can't seem to fawn over them enough and then sign a deal which is possibly worse for the West than Munich was.
What's truly pathetic is watching the President of the United States now stumping for that deal and growing ever more frustrated as people refuse to see it as the greatest deal of the century.  First we are given the false dichotomy - it was this or war.  Well no it wasn't.  It was this or continuing crippling sanctions and an end to negotiating for the enemy against your own country.  It's not surprising that Obama doesn't mention this option as he has worked for years against levelling sanctions against Iran.
When someone brings up North Korea breaking a remarkably similar agreement only a few years ago they get yelled at.  When someone brings up the American political prisoners in Iran and how this deal ignores them, they get yelled at.  When someone brings up Israel's fears of a nuclear Iran they get told that Israel is the actual aggressor in this situation.  Yes, the world is that bizarre.
For Israel this deal, and the eagerness of the nuclear powers to drop sanctions, invest in Iran and suck up to its leaders is bewildering.  Agreement or not, it is generally known that Iran subsidizes proxy armies like Hezbollah in multiple countries throughout the Middle East.  It's generally known that Iran is also a major sponsor of worldwide terrorism and is keen on building up its military capability despite having no current aggressive enemies (other than Israel, of course).  Why is this all being ignored?  Why are terrorist thugs who have an established track record of lying being taken seriously when it comes to their signatures on this wretched document?
I hope and pray that we have not witnessed this century's Munich agreement but when all its supporters can say is "Well it's better than no deal" or angrily attack detractors it's hard not to think so.
What can we as Jews do?  We must remember our Father in Heaven who didn't bring us back to our Land and help us re-establish its sovereignty just to have a bunch of Persian nutjobs wipe it out.  We must pray and learn in the hope that our merit will protect us and give our defenders the strength to preserve Jewish life and society.  We must not take this silently but must plead with Heaven for mercy.  Perhaps we will be heard.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Socialism Is Infantalism

The Greek tragedy that is, well, um, Greece, continues to unfold before the eyes of an alternatively horrified and bemused world.  Grexit, the involuntary exit of Green from the EU end the Euro creeps closer sending financial markets into spasm of uncertainty.
What is most fascinating to watch is the behaviour of the guilty parties in this crisis, specifically the Greek government and their supporters in the public.  Greece didn't enter this position of bankruptcy overnight and without warning.  Rather the situation was created by multiple governments that paid steadily rising benefits to an increasingly less productive workforce.  It was assisted in this by a tremendous sense of entitlement on the part of the Greeks themselves.  They were quite happy to take the money their government didn't really have but when they were asked to cut back to alleviate the situation they weren't so generous.
At the national level the current government has been acting the same way with its creditors.  Sure we may owe hundreds of billions of dollars, they have told an annoyed Angela Merckel, but since we can't repay it you should just write it off and then loan us more!
The final laugh, if you will, was the referendum last weekend in which a majority of Greeks voted to refuse the austerity terms of a further financial buyout. The Greek government, bolstered by the result, insisted that Europe and especially Germany must acknowledge the democratic voice of the Greek people.  The German response was classic: well we also have a democratic voice and it has said that it wants its money back.
They say maturity occurs when a person realizes his parents were right to force him to eat his spinach when he was young.  In Greece it seems they're still having ice cream sundaes for breakfast, lunch and dinner while resenting any suggesting that they might benefit from fruits, vegetables and bran.
Now as Jews we have a long history with Greece and especially Greek culture.  There has been an entwining of theirs and ours for over two thousand years, ever Alexander the Great stopped over in Yerushalayim on his tour of the MiddleEast and south Asia.  Our Chazal held a special respect for the Greek language and a special loathing for its culture.
As opposed to Judaism which emphasized the spiritual and rejecting physical hedonism as a valuable goal, Greece seemed to philosophize its way into a culture in which physical perfection was everything.  A great example of this was Greek opposition to Jewish circumcision during Maccabean times.  For Jews circumcising is a final step towards perfecting the body that God left in our hands to perform.  For the Greeks it was simple mutilation.
This Greek philosophy seems to have found its way into the culture of its descendants.  Modern Greece as it collapses today is the final end run of a philosophy that demands physical gratification without consideration of its cost.  The Greeks have been happy to take hundreds of billions of Euros for their pensions but refused to believe that the tap would be turned off if they refused to be accountable.  Faced with the consequences of that idiocy they simply insist they should not have to be "punished" and demand more free candy from the story.
Why does this matter to us?  Because the Green attitude is contagious.  In any prosperous society there is a greedy tendency to demand entitlements from the government but resent any attempt by the government to receive the finances to pay for those entitlements.  We are instead subject to moronic statements like "Well just tax the rich more!" and "Tax the corporations!"  Tax anyone, just not us!  For the West Greece (and soon Spain, Portugal and Italy) is an advanced warning as to what happens when governments allow their populations to become spoiled brats who want a five star society while paying one star rates.  As citizens of the West we ignore this vivid warning at our peril.
But worse and perhaps very ironically, the Greek attitude has infected the part of the Torah observant community that styles itself as the true vanguard of the Jewish nation against assimilation and outside influence - the Chareidi community.
Take a look at the Chareidi community in Israel, especially that segment that sits and learns all day long while living on outside donations but more significantly, on Israeli government largess.  Look at the behaviour of their politicians, especially over the last few years when they were in opposition and forced to deal with cuts to their entitlements.  The resemblance to Greece couldn't be more obvious. Give us the money, they and their representatives shout, but don't expect anything back from us, not even a 'thank you'!  The degeneracy and immaturity of the socialist entitlement system has created a culture of dependency that is not to be ignored.
When the very community that imagines itself exemplifying the opposite views to Greece is itself displaying those values we need to seriously appreciate the power afflicting the Torah community and the battle that will be needed to overcome it.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Finding The Right Balance

One of the interesting facets of Judaism is the perceived divide between mitzvos bein adam l'Makom and bein adam l'chaveiro.  Despite there being no real distance between the two categories since the latter are also part of the former, all mitzvos being done at the command of the Creator, common practice seems to suggest that people really do see them as mutually exclusive categories.
What's more, those people who do often seem to see Jewish practice as embracing one or the other.  Thus you find many folks on the left side, including the Reformative community, who seek to excel in bein adam l'Chaveiro through "tikun olam" efforts while disregarding what they perceive as the archaic ritualistic side of Judaism or seeking to make it egalitarian, again as part of "tikun olam".  On the right side you see a desire for mehadrin and chumra often at the expense of human decency.  The same guy who insists on four hechsherim for his jug of milk having no trouble cheating his fellow Jew blind, for example.
Why does this divide exist?
I would like to suggest that it's because we really don't build ourselves a relationship with the Creator like we should. 
Now on the surface that sounds silly.  On the right we have people who shout Baruch HaShem at every opportunity and on the left we repeatedly hear justifications for ignoring mitzvos starting with the words "Well, what I think God really wants is..."  But in both cases there is a fundamental misunderstanding of what that relationship is supposed to be.
Let me bring as an example the Carlebach-style kabbalas Shabbos services that are currently in vogue.  Full disclaimer up front: I can't stand them and haven't gone to Friday night services at my shul since the Rav made them a permanent feature.  Why?  I used to think it was because it took so long but I've davened at Sephardi and Ethiopian kabbalas Shabbos services that are just as long and didn't get annoyed or too hungry.  I think what bothered me most were many of the attendees who, during the singing parts, really got into things but when Maariv started and it was time to actually pray, shut their siddurim and started to have conversations which kept up straight through to kiddush at the end.  I mean, it's great that these folks come to shul to connect but at the end of the night when they get in their cars and drive home one has to ask: what did they connect to?  They didn't come to pray, to open their hearts and souls to God.  If the service had just been quiet, contemplative prayer they'd feel no reason to come out at all.  In short, they expect God to entertain them, to serve them instead of it being the other way around.
The disconnect is no different on the right side of the community either, mind you.  Every time you read about a frum Jew involved in a financial scam, a pedophilia incident or some other despicable act and see a black hat, bear and peyos staring out of the mugshot on the screen you are looking at someone who really wants to connect to God but only through certain actions.  He has compartmentalized God into a supervisor of rituals, not daily life, his protestations to the contrary.
And what can one say about a kollel culture in which performance of many public mitzvos is shunned because it would take away from learning?
Perhaps one of the biggest priorities of Jewish education, both elementary and adult, has to be the emphasis on the lack of divide between the two types of mitzvos and that attributing a perceived lesser importance to one is as Jewishly destructive as abandonment of both.  People who spend their lives helping the poor need to know that keeping Shabbos is just as important but people who do everything they can to ensure an enhanced Shabbos also have to know there is a world out there that needs Jews acting in consonance with the Torah to improve it.  In that way we can perhaps progress towards being the example to the nations that we are supposed to be.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Unending Insecurity

On one hand, history has given us Jews enough reason to feel insecure in our identities.  We have enough expulsions, massacres, rapes and devastations to keep up from seeing the world through rose-coloured glasses.  Even now in the early 21st century in a place like North America, the insecurity continues.  Like the battered child who is rescued from years of abuse but can't get past jittery anxiety in a safe foster home because of the depth of the trauma, diaspora Jews as a population seem to believe that the good times we currently live in are a facade that will eventually disappear.
The problem is that coping mechanisms that have developed to handle this belief are both dysfunctional.  On the religious side we have many Torah-observant Jews who miss the old ghettos of Europe and have voluntarily rebuilt them her in Canada and America.  You know the type.  They dress like their grandparents did in the alte heim, they insist that Yiddish should be our first language and they continue to insist that the Gentiles around us are the same nasssssssty goyim as they were in Europe.  Can't beat 'em so avoid 'em.
The other group are the secular part of our brethren.  Like their predecesors in Western Europe they see assimilation and eventually abandonment of our heritage as the solution to the hatred hiding below the surface.  Can't beat 'em so join 'em.
However, both these approaches ignore the single most important positive Jewish event in Jewish history of the last two millenia - the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.  This has created a third group of Jews, one which is aware of its insecure position in the world but sees its Jewishness like the British see their Britishness and the Chinese their Chineseness.  They are Jews, they have no jealousy of other groups and see no reason to either hate or suck up to them.  This third group is quite unsettling because neither the first nor second quite know how to handle it.
For the ultraOrthodox the idea of Jews confidenly living in this world with their Jewishness simply being part of it is difficult to comprehend.  Their philosophy is that Judaism is at odds with life in this world.  For the secular population which is happier being Jewish American or Canadian as opposed to being Canadian or American Jews the idea of a Jew without a hyphen on either side of the world is also bewildering.
This explains perhaps why Israeli jews are getting increasingly frustrated with their North American brothers.  Israel, despite all its successes, lives under the black cloud of hatred that covers the skies of the MiddleEast.  It knows that it is one whackjob with a bomb away from a mortal crisis.  It desperately wants to live in peace but isn't prepared to commit national suicide to achieve that peace.  But when it reaches its hand across the ocean for help or support what does it get in response?
From the ultraOrthodox it gets no hand back.  Like their cousins in Israel the Agudah community and those to the right of it are parochial.  They have little interest in the greater good of the Jewish nation.  Only those pan-communal causes that might affect its well-being draw its attention. 
From the secular community there is a hand back but its swatting the Israeli one away.  American Jews, or rather: Jewish Americans, long ago lost that family feeling that should bind all Jews one to another.  For them tikun olam is about recycling, not about bringing the Divine into this world.  Alternative marriages, abortion on demand, Obamacare and ecofasicm are their priorities, not their brothers in Israel who are on the wrong side of the politically correct debate since they're oppressing those supposedly poor so-called Palestinians.
It's a mindset I've always been curious about.  At one point in North American history Jews dealt with open hatred and exclusion from the majority population by building up their own communities and showing they could be as diverse and successful as their Gentile rivals.  Jewish hospitals, schools and universities are the legacy of that fierce desire to succeed with or without the approval of the Gentiles.
Something changed in the middle 20th century, it seems.  With the increasing acceptance of Jews into Gentile institutions like universities and country clubs the pride that demand that our fathers and mothers build their own society disappeared.  Suddenly the greatest Jewish goal was to be accepted as a member of the local WASP club or get into the local university.  Jewish success was measured by how assimilated you could be while still calling yourself a member of the tribe.
To this day that lack of Jewish self-respect haunts and harms us.  What is J Street other than a Judenrat desperate to seek the approval of the politically correct Jew-hating crowd?  Why does the ADL oppose Sheldon Adelson's latest initiatives to ensure Jewish continuity other than because it makes Jews stand out instead of making them seem like just another member of the American mosaic?
Israel is the future of our people.  Israel is the centre of our national life.  It is time we took a cue from the confident Israelis and recognized that we need no approval from society around us, that we don't need to tailor our views to their approval and that our destiny is decided by the Divine will, not that of the Western world.  We don't need their country clubs.  We need our Land, our Torah and our self-respect.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Questions Not Asked

With the recent news that Rabbi Avi Weiss has finally pulled the trigger and pulled out of mainstream Orthodoxy there is much discussion across the Torah observant community with how to interact with this new "denomination".  Is it a form of Torah observance, as its adherents claim?  Is it simply right wing Conservatism with a mechitzah as its detractors point out?
Based on what I can see from my lonely perch out here in the Jewish hinterlands, I think the entire discussion is missing a very important point.  Rav Avraham Gordimer's critique of this recent move on Rabbi Weiss' part exemplifies it perfectly.  He points out Rabbi Weiss' various innovations which are certainly openly to criticism for their lack of halachic fealty, for example.  No argument here.  Rabbi Weiss has made a career out of being controversial, sometimes for excellent reasons (his support of Israel and Soviet Jewry back in the day) and sometimes for politically correct ones (his obsession with creating women rabbis and somehow normalizing homosexuality within Torah observance).  All along he has acted with the authority reserved for a major posek or Gadol haDor, positions for which he is unqualified but which he has arrogated to himself.  Yet he seems completely mystified by the hostile response genuine Torah-observant leaders have given him and seems to have concluded that their approach is "ossified".
He certainly makes his goals sound laudable.  He wants to be more inclusive, he wants a greater spectrum of observance and these are all great things but the problem occurs when people announce that their Torah observance must accomodate their personal preferences, not the other way around.  A lax approach, a "customizable" denomination might attract more people but it is not proper Torah observance.
But all of this focusing on women's ordination and legitimizing "alternative lifestyles" misses the important point and here it is: can I still eat in Rabbi Weiss' house?
Not that I'm in danger of getting invited, you understand but the question stands.  Recall that the three pillars of Jewish life are kashrus, taharas mishpacha and Shabbos observance.  They are not shul, tikun olam and Carlebach-style services.  By focusing critique on these areas we fall into the trap of redefining the priorities of Judaism and change it from a national-religious system in which the home is the centre and preserve of the faith to a synagogue-based ritual system in which Judaism is practised in certain parts of one's life while being irrelevant in the others.
In all the writings of the YCT crowd that I've seen there is no mention of redefining Shabbos observance.  The Rabbi Kanefskies of the world who are so troubles with the blessing of Shelo Asani Ishah don't recommended that husbands and wives do mikveh trips together or any abrogation of niddah requirements.  There is no call to certify non-Jewish wine or cheese like the Conservatives did. 
So can we eat in their homes?  And should that not matter?  After all, the reason Torah-observant Jews feel cut off from Reformatives is because of their rejection of the authority of the Oral law.  Off the top that means that any claims they make to have "authentic" Jewish practice in things like food and Shabbos can be swiftly rejected. 
With the Open Orthodox this will be much trickier.  If someone insists that they accept the truth of Matan Torah and the authority of Chazal along with the Shulchan Aruch then I might strongly disagree with some of their decisions but I still have to accept that many of their practices have an authentic legtimacy.  If they don't but still act Orthodox in many areas of their lives is it still as acceptable?
For all I know, Rabbi Dov Farber keeps a strictly kosher home.  On the other hand he rejects the truth of Matan Torah which means that he lives a Jewish lifestyle not out of any sense of a binding legal obligation from God Himself but because he thinks it's just what the right thing is for Jews to do.  Is his kosher home a real kosher home?
By focusing on public roles and community rituals we obscure these more important questions.  It is entirely possible that Open Orthodoxy is a new "stream" of Judaism, a right wing Conservatism with a mechitzah.  if that's the case then they join the other Reformative groups and sit outside true Torah-observance.  But if they are still genuinely Orthodox in some way, are they not worth the effort to keep them within the fold?