Growing up in a Modern Orthodox community in the Midwest, I always found a special place in my heart for Kiruv organizations. In high school, I was the president of my city’s chapter of NCSY, an organization that aims to bring younger Jewish people closer to Orthodoxy. In my early childhood, I spent many wonderful summers at a Chabad sponsored summer camp. Kiruv organizations have helped me happily maintain my own Jewish identity, which is why I personally support the notion of respectful Kiruv.
At the same time, though, I acknowledge that many younger people in our community have had different reactions to Kiruv. Many see them as forceful and annoying, refusing to grant younger people the freedom to develop a healthy individuality. While I personally do not believe that this represents the intentions – or reality – of most Kiruv organizations, we at the Beacon believe that it is time to begin to address the issue, to discover the true effects of Jewish proselytizing within our community.
I hope that you enjoy reading this issue, as many of the articles hope to shed light on an issue that is all too often discussed, but never held to scrutiny.
Kiruv and Going Off The Derech: