Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are You in a Cult?? Or, Are You Trying to Make Me Orthodox??

Hi!  Welcome to our lovely cult, the Jewish Family Experience.  Here, we attempt to fulfill all the qualifications of a cult, including, but not limited to:

1. Disconnection from family members.
At JFX, we never encourage you to invite friends and family.  Nor are we interested in meeting your friends and family.  Our staff will not attend birthday parties or simchas of non-members.  We encourage solitude and disconnection, preferably by denigrating those in your lives that are non-members.

2. Brainwashing.
Call it education, or call it brainwashing.  Either way we are hugely successful in making people believe what we want them to believe.  Sort of like college. And motivational speakers.  And parenting.  And Madison Avenue.  In any case, we don't tolerate questions, challenges, alternate views, atheists, or lay involvement.  Ever.  The less you think, the better.

3. Our own language.
While we attempt to converse in English, that's just a front.  Often our underbelly of Hebrew and Yiddish vocab emerges.  Or, our more evolved members will use words in those languages.  That's good, because it keeps us exclusive and unknowable: just the way we like it.

4. Charismatic leader.
This is easy for us, since all Rabbis or teachers that are successful fit the bill.  Check.

Now that our cult-status is well-established, all that needs to be determined is: are we a DESTRUCTIVE cult, or just a garden-variety cult?  Methinks the latter, but I'm probably the last person to determine that.  After all, the cult leader denying destructive-cult-status is hardly convincing.  Thing is, finding out what defines a destructive cult is elusive and subjective.  It can be as broadly defined as "emotional harm" which varies depends on what you consider harmful.  So I can't properly establish this.

Our next question is the goal of our cult.  Are we trying to make you Orthodox?  The answer is, of course, yes.  Why else would we be engaged in Jewish education if not to radically reform our members (pun intended)??  We want everyone to be exactly like us.  That's because we're judgmental and critical.  If you've met us, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Also, we're fortunate in that we have the special capability of "making" people into a new denomination.  As you may know, this is very easy.  People, and particularly Jews, and most notably, married ones with jobs, kids, and homes in the 'burbs, are open and vulnerable to new and unfamiliar ideas, especially when they involve change - even more so when they involve denying oneself favorite foods (cheeseburgers) or activities (gossiping).  We can "make" people Orthodox, Reform, or Conservative - and this special power is useful.  We thank our members for being easy fodder for this manipulation, for not resisting our wiles, and for never resisting change or challenging our lifestyles.

When we see that you are not becoming Orthodox, we drop you like a hot potato.  Of what use are you to us?  You are an embarrassment; a neon reminder of our cult failure.  And don't think it's good enough to be a believer on the inside.  Until and unless everyone can tell, you are a black mark on our organization.  This includes a black hat, wig, original Hebrew or preferably Yiddish name to be used at all times, double-digit children, or aliyah.  Such changes initiated inside of six months are rewarded with cult upgrades (extra cholent at kiddush).

We are fortunate that our cult has been hugely successful.  Apparently, the vast majority of Jews are simply weak, stupid, naive, and unopinionated.  This is very, very good.




  1. LOL

    Call me sick, but I got a kick outta this one! :)

  2. The Rambam would have felt that what is backed by reason it is not a cult. This tended to be the debate between the Medieval philosophers--which religion was backed by reason and in particular Aristotelean reason.

  3. I am so glad you had a good time in Israel! My heart is so there- hoping for next summer!

    This was very funny. Anyone who has ever looked at the JFX web site will laugh. You want to post the JFX web site with the blog entry, maybe at the top of the post, so that people can see where you are getting your information from!

  4. Elle, I'm glad... so did I!

    Adam, interesting, but what I find reasonable, others find bizarre. What Israelis find reasonable, Americans find bizarre. So again, a highly subjective litmus test, no?

    Schwevy, good point: www.jewishfamilyexperience.org!

  5. I'm an NCSY success story from its early days. About most things I'm a cynic, but I got hooked on Torah.


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