(Picture: Rav Meir Shuster zt”l ‘picking up a Jew at the Wall’)
What explains the reversal of Jews leaving Judaism to so many returning the last few decades, in a world that’s heading more secular?
I don’t know if the world is becoming more secular, I think the world is heading to schism. There are those trying to deny any Creator or Ultimate Being and the other extreme taking on strong moral codes sometimes in an extreme form such as ISIS or in the amazing movement as you have mentioned in Judaism; the baelei tshuva movement which was really started in the 1970’s.
I believe that is the answer. When you see secularism making movement in people’s beliefs there will be people who will start questioning the reality of believing in nothing. How can there be a world without a creator? How can there be a code of ethics; but no one taking responsibility to explain what that really is? How can Jews who have survived 5000 years of history through murder, mayhem and chaos still be here? How can you know your ancestors were burned at the stake and today Jews willingly throw their Judaism out as they bring in the non-Jewish spouses? How can there be so much intermarriage without someone saying, “Enough”!
What is behind this powerful movement? People who are honestly looking at where the Jewish people are headed in the non-orthodox groups. People who want to bring up their children with real values, real holidays and real meaning in their lives. People who want to have Jewish grandchildren. There is real beauty and the sense of purpose in authentic Judaism that has proven itself to work, survive and to make beautiful families.
When a person can look beyond the here and now and can see consequences of all their actions they start to consider how to build that future.