No holds barred: Godly is as godly does
Aug. 3, 2009 Shmuley Boteach , THE JERUSALEM POST
Orthodox Judaism has reached a moment of truth. Many people no longer believe that Jewish learning and observance make you a better person. They no longer believe there is any correlation between keeping Shabbat and keeping honest, between wearing tzitzit and avoiding adultery, or between lighting Shabbat candles and seeing the light of God’s grace in every human being. And we Orthodox have no one but ourselves to blame. We are often "religious" without being spiritual, prayerful without being humble and ritually precise without displaying the same punctiliousness in business. I am a passionately Orthodox Jew; not even the threat of death will come between me and the God of Israel. But Orthodoxy without morality and basic humanity is a religion without God. It is cold, harsh, an abomination. The notion that Orthodox Jews are no more moral than anyone else could prove to be the single most catastrophic event to ever befall religious observance. Simply put, if learning and honoring God’s will doesn’t make us better people, then most will choose to discard Judaism as an empty relic of a superstitious past. PICTURES OF five handcuffed New Jersey rabbis had already rocked the American Jewish establishment when the even more gory news of a double murder in a gay Tel Aviv community center gave Orthodoxy an even greater challenge. To be sure, no conclusions can be drawn about who did it or why before the facts are in, but what is undeniable is that many Orthodox Jews vilify gays, thereby sowing seeds of hatred.