On The Popularity of Criticizing Chareidi Causes
There was an astonishing level of response to last week's post, Modern Orthodoxy Fails Again, criticizing the Teaneck campaign to support Israeli charedi schools. Whereas most posts on this website receive a few thousand readers, that one shot up within 48 hours to become the second most-read post in all six years of this website - over twelve thousand people read it! It received dozens of "shares" and hundreds of "likes" on Facebook. Furthermore, in contrast to many other posts on this blog, the response was overwhelmingly in agreement. Clearly, there are many thousands of my readers who strongly agree that their charitable donations should not go to institutions whose values and goals are not in agreement with their own.
I didn't think that it was appropriate to merely criticize one charedi cause and not recommend another. So, at the end of the post, I recommended supporting a superb institution for charedim, which does comport with the values and goals of my readership - Derech Chaim, which combines yeshivah studies with army service and an academic degree in computer science. They are a small but highly significant new institution, facing tremendous challenges, and they need all the help they can get.
Then, in a follow-up post entitled Be A Part Of It!, I mentioned a cause very close to my own heart, The Biblical Museum of Natural History. We inspire secular kids with a newfound appreciation for their Jewish identity; we educate North Americans and others about the connection between the animals of our heritage and the Land of Israel; we educate ultra-Orthodox chassidim (who won't go to the zoo, because it's open on Shabbos) about the natural world. Our mission is very much in line with the values and goals of this blog's readership. And, while our long-time financial position is relatively secure, in the short term we do have a budget shortfall and are in urgent need of support.
So, of the over twelve thousand people who agreed that they didn't want to support a cause that they didn't agree with, how many supported causes that they did agree with?
Well, I checked with Derech Chaim, and the number of donations that they received as a result of my blog post was... one.
And I checked the Paypal account for The Biblical Museum of Natural History, and the number of donations that we received as a result of the post was... one.
Now, it could be that with regard to the museum, I didn't present the appeal correctly - the blog post only mentioned putting dedications in our forthcoming book, A Feast Of Biblical Flora And Fauna, for which the minimum dedication is $250. So here is a link that you can click on for making Paypal donations (using either a Paypal account or a credit card) for any amount at all:
And click on this link to visit the Derech Chaim website, where you can also donate online.
So come on, people! Please support one (or both) of these causes. Put your money where your mouse is! And if you liked or shared the Teaneck post on Facebook, please like and share this one too!
Thank you very much, and yasher koach for participating in these important missions! Together, we can make the world a better place - me-chaya le-chayal!