Tuesday, March 01, 2005

What does "Orthodoxy done right" mean to you?

In the last couple of days, two bloggers whose work I enjoy very much have referred to the idea of "Orthodoxy done right."

Mobius (aka Orthodox Anarchist, aka Dan Sieradski) wrote in his wonderful "Becoming Shomer Shabbos" post:

. . . Esty is amazing. She makes me want to be frum. She's seriously my favorite frum girl in the world (like I said), and I have the utmost respect and appreciation for her and everything she's about. She consistently amazes me and just makes me feel very good about Orthodoxy and Orthodox people, because she's so emblematic of what happens when Orthodoxy is done right.

The same day, Da'as Hedyot, in a post about Wendy Shalit's "Could all the fiction writers please only write basically positive things about frum people" piece in the New York Times, wrote:

Orthodoxy done right can be a wonderful, inspiring, fulfilling lifestyle. I truly believe that. But not everyone has a great Orthodox experience. Not every Orthodox person is so wonderful. And not every Orthodox experience is so inspiring.

Here we have two people -- one who is on a very individualistic path toward traditional Orthodox observance, the other trying to extricate himself (herself? Do we really know?) from the Haredi lifestyle in which he (she?) grew up -- both indicating that when Orthodoxy is done "the right way" it is inspiring to others who may have negative feelings or just ignorance about it.

So I'm wondering -- and I'm hoping that, in particular, people who are not Orthodox will answer this question -- what does "Orthodoxy done right" look like? What kind of Orthodox person is it whose personality or lifestyle or approach makes other people think, if only for a moment, that being Orthodox might be meaningful or worthwhile? What are those people doing that make you say not just "oh, that's a nice person" but also "if Orthodoxy produces someone like that, then Orthodoxy must have something meaningful to offer"?

In other words, what does "Orthodoxy done right" mean to you?


Just to be crystal clear: I'm asking for character descriptions of Orthodox people you find inspiring, or what traits in Orthodox people you find inspiring. I am not providing an excuse for people to vent about Orthodox people they do not like. Not here, not on this blog, not now. Any comment that I deem to be more about venting than about answering my question will be deleted. Period.

As you were.

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