Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Frum Skeptic Married to Frum Believer- Worse than Intermarriage?

This post is dedicated to Godol Hador, who I gave such a hard time today about his post extolling the benefits of believer status over skeptic status. (Also Hyrax, Chardal, Responding to Jblogs, SL Aronowitz, Jewish Atheist, MikeSkeptic, RebelJew, Satyamanand Un-orthodox Jew, all of whom have indulged me with their own advice- amny hae posts on their own blogs about this.)

I realized that I was frustrated because I'm in search of a solution to this dilemma and find it to be a Gordian Knot. I also realized it's foolish to not want to acknowledge personal fears in this setting a) because my concerns are not unique to me, and b) I'm anonymous at present.

I've had many interesting email dialogues with folks in a similar position to me (see title). I started wondering, although I am blessed with a wonderful wife who understands me and is flexible, whether I am destining my kids to embody either/or or to become jekyll/hyde combination of my wife and I.

I realized that this must be just as absurd as the Jews who intermarry and say they'll raise the kids with "respect for both."

Now, I think it might actually be child abuse to raise a kid frum in OJ schools and then when they get old enough to ask "the questions," lie and forever betray their trust or tell them the truth and pull the carpet from underneath them.

It seems a much better option to enroll them in less than Orthodox jewish schools. But that raises another dilemma. I think that isolation from T.V. is a good thing in large part. I like the emphasis on learning and reading and character trait development to the exclusion of video games and the like. As my kids grow older, I hope I will be able to steer them clear of premarital sex and all the rest. Orthodox schools are not a foolproof innoculation against those concerns but it has statistics on its side. The question then, is do the statistics apply to a family like mine? Shabbos is also great for kids and families, and I have no problem with it.

I just hate being a hypocrite myself and wouldn't want my kids to be enrolled in OJ schools as non-believing skeptics! I don't see the alternative very well, as should be clear.

What do you think is the right approach?