Monday, January 14, 2008

Orthodox Sex in New York City

Here is an interesting article, Shomer Negiah in the City, by Matthue Roth. It deals with his experiences with the Orthodox singles scene in New York and the fact that, despite the taboos in Orthodox Judaism against touching a member of the opposite gender, let alone to have sex with them, there is a thriving hook up culture amongst young Orthodox singles. What I love about this article is that it is blunt and hard hitting but at the same time it is not voyeuristic nor is it an attack against Orthodoxy. The author is an Orthodox Jew, who is defending Jewish practice and criticizing those who choose to be lax in certain areas. I think that those who write in the Haredi press could learn a lesson from this article on how to write about Judaism. The Haredi world has a habit of trying to dodge tough issues, like with the Kolko scandal for example. This leads to the accusation, often quite justified, that they are unwilling to face up to issues within their community. Furthermore by not being willing to face up to certain issues they leave the field open to those in the secular world, who will gladly air out all of our dirty laundry for us.


Tobie said...

It's interesting that the article is written by somebody who is seen as a bit of an outsider looking in, even if only by himself. I don't know if the critical factor is the experience that he had before becoming Orthodox that offers him a wider perspective on the community he chose (and according to his semi-autobiography, it was some pretty wide experience) or simply the fact that he is coming into a community and not being born into it, but I wonder if somebody who was born and raised in the Modern Orthodox community would be capable of facing up to the discrepancies.

Izgad said...

I think that one of the strengths of Modern Orthodox Judaism is that we are conscious of the fact that we live in two different worlds. Hopefully this leads to a certain level of introspection, but that is only a hope.