Nov 21, 2012

The Rabbi's Daughter

A video was recently produced which profiled three prominent religious-Zionist rabbis whose daughters have left the fold.  The parents of these girls cooperated in the making of this film, so there is no issue here of publicly embarrassing them.

It has been said that the girls and their parents exhibited great courage in going public.  I think that applies to the parents rather than to their daughters.  The daughters are regularly seen in public and are obviously not religious.  They don't make an attempt to appear religious while secretly sinning.  The parents though, well, why did they appear in this film? Perhaps this is their way of doing what all those articles and speeches say to do, "keep lines of communication open," "be supportive," "don't be judgmental."

It bothers (angers?) me that their daughters put them in this position of having to publicly appear in a video that embarrasses them.  I think it was reprehensible to do this to their parents and maybe the parents felt they had no choce but to appear in a film that would, at least, make them look kindly and reasonable, as opposed to refusing to take part and having who-knows-what kind of film made about them. So no, I don't applaud either the parents or the children for allowing themselves to be exposed to the world. 

I found it interesting that the irreligious men in the video have more respect for the rabbis than their daughters. The rabbis were their teachers, and as such, the men felt they were deserving of respect. 

The daughters don't explain why they are no longer religious.  When one of them whines about Judaism, her husband gently counters with - you haven't searched for answers to your questions.  What comes across with two of them is their tremendous discomfort being the "rabbi's daughter," of being in his shadow, of being held to a higher standard and with one daughter, feeling different than her less religious peers when she was growing up. 

Why was this film made? What was the goal? Simply to fulfill today's mandate of sharing one's private life with the world? Let me guess ... "if it helps one person ..." blah blah blah, that tiresome, often silly line.  Was it meant to support other children of rabbis in going off the derech? Was it meant to show parents in the same situation how to be loving despite being spat at in the face? We aren't told. And at this point, the video was removed and I don't see it available online anymore.

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