The Zionist Conspiracy
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Last week while eating breakfast at Circa in midtown Manhattan, two middle aged men at the next table were expressing their fear that their sons would be "converted" by Aish Hatorah or Ohr Samayach. One of the sons is at Hebrew University for the year, the other went on a Birthright trip and was staying for a little while longer.
One of the gentlemen said that his son is "thank G-d very strong," but mentioned that he still warned him that a charming man would appear on a Jerusalem street and invite him to a nice meal, and within a month he could be brainwashed if he didn't resist. The other guy agreed, saying he got into a big fight with his son for attending a meal with some guys in a Jerusalem yeshiva. He told his son that he didn't send him to Israel to go join "a cult."
Apparently both are affiliated with the Conservative movement. They agreed that their denomination was "partially to blame" for failing to develop a religious infrastructure that would counter the Orthodox outreach yeshivas.
Speaking of Ohr Samayach, Adi Neuman, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan, is now learning at its Center program, and is blogging about his experience there at Home Beis. A few friends of mine learned there a few years back before moving directly to the Upper West Side. In 1985, Michael Levin wrote a fantastic book about his experience becoming observant, including his introduction to Judaism in an initial unplanned two week stint at Ohr Samayach.