Reformists are at least honest. They demand nothing from the flock. “Jews” can violate every commandment and still be assured of places in Reformist synagogues. The Torah is a saga, and observance is voluntary; all Jewsare good; see no evil. Orthodox rabbis are superficially strict: Jews must observe myriad rules, thankfully including the commandments. Really? Orthodoxes aim high, but accept low results. Observance is mandatory, but it is okay to violate tacitly. Observing minute rabbinical rules is more important than observing the commandments. It’s easy to see whether you switch off the lights on Sabbath, but hard to test “do not steal” or other moral commandments. Good Orthodox Jews abandon Jewish land to Arabs and submit to the anti-Semitic Israeli government. Reformists honestly abandoned Judaism, Orthodoxes did it hypocritically.

Both sects destroy the young Jews. Hebrew schools breed anti-Semites. Young people are honest and sensible. They see Reformism’s emptiness and Orthodox hypocrisy, and reject them. How should the children correlate the talk of Jewish chosenness with professions of human equality? If Jews are no different from blacks, why the fuss? If the Land is Promised, however, what is the peace process about? Children are neither silly nor crooked: if Israel negotiates the land, then it is given by the UN rather than God. If gays are admitted into synagogues, then rabbis rather than God write the commandments; why observe? Whatever piece of Jewishness Hebrew schools failed to annihilate in children, their parents follow through. Sabbath? Pork? Prayer? Honey, we’re in the twenty-first century; forget those barbarisms. Didn’t they tell you in school that those are merely our traditions? Yeah, we respect tradition. Nope, we don’t observe it anymore; are we modern or what?

Children hate lies and don’t accept tangled explanations of the it’s-great-being-a-Jew-but-not-to-be-too-Jewish variety. Schools, synagogues, and parents prove that Judaism is one big lie, or perhaps many small lies. The children despise Judaism. The entire generation will assimilate. Rabbis promote the fiction that children of Jewish mothers are Jewish; to all purposes, that’s a lie. Few Jewish women married to Gentiles raise their children Jewish; most assimilate quickly. A generation of fake Jews or no generation of Jews, you choose the name for it.

It’s easy to instill Jewish values in children: be honest with them. Teenagers in Zhabotinsky’s Betar did not use Shabbat elevators, but they shot the British and Arabs. Young people are very responsive to ideas—but only to sensible ideas. To Torah and Zionism, not Shulhan Aruh. To the consistent Judaism that draws a straight line from Moses’ murder of the Egyptians to Joshua’s conquest of Canaan to the extermination of the Amalekites to the fundamentalist Maccabee war to bar Kochba’s “Die Jewish” revolt to our days. Children quite understand the straightforward truth, “this is our land, not the Arabs’, and Jews are not leftist atheists,” unless parents and society tirelessly discredit the Jewish idea. Some might call it preaching hate to children. I’d call it teaching them truth.

honesty as a toy