Explaining frum in 5 easy steps

One of the hardest things in becoming religious is having to explain to people your decision. I personally don’t think that it such a big deal but people have gone NUTS discussing their new found connection to Judaism.

Generally it’s not anyone else’s business why you beard hairs are in your soup or why you keep having to pick up your kippa/yammaka when you move your head the slightest way, but these things stand out right?

For these unique moments one needs a guide of standard protocol to explain the disposition they find themselves in, to set some necessary rules and guidelines. The following are the 5 easy steps of having the conversation:

Step 1: Smile

Always start talking about important things by smiling, it can’t hurt unless your jaw gets stuck right? Kindness goes a long way. You have to bring kindness into the conversation to be able to have an open discussion about a sensitive subject. Everybody takes religion seriously now-a-days especially with the world culture portraying logic as the antithesis of faith and these serious scientists spending precious sleep hours debating the issue. I don’t think that religion should be such a sensitive subject and your change of lifestyle doesn’t necessary mean that you drastically changed your core personality traits. Smiling portrays all of that in one muscular movement.

Always start talking about important things with a smile.

Step 2: Know who you’re talking to

Your approach should depend on who you are speaking to. If it’s a family member or a friend you might choose a more emotional approach – sharing your experience from the heart. If it’s a distant friend, colleague or strange off the street you might want to choose the more logical approach of explaining the logic behind your lifestyle choice. You will have the most success breaking through with the right approach.

  • Emotional Approach – close friend and family
  • Rational Approach – distant friends and strangers

Step 3: Establish Ground Rules

Always establish ground rules before a serious talk. Now that you know who you’re talking to you have to understand where they’re coming from. Imagine explaining a math subject to a 3rd grader, you would want to ask what material they have already learned and what level they are standing on to establish their point of view. Just like in math there are axioms, so are there in religion. Here are the 4 Primary Religious Axioms you will be dealing with:

  1. Belief Torah has Diving Origin
  2. Belief Moshe Rabeinu as sole transmitter of Torah
  3. Belief in the Great Sages’ Rulings
  4. Belief in Torah’s Modern Day Relevancy to our life

Some people will agree with all, disagree with all, or stand somewhere in the middle. The key thing is knowing where the person is holding, your dialogue will depend on their acceptance of these key axioms.

Just like in math there are axioms, so are there in religion

Step 4: Ask their opinion

A lot of people shy away from “The Frum Conversation”, they believe that religious views should be shared only with close friends and kept off the facebooks, twitter, and other work environments. I agree that it’s best to avoid bringing religion into the office unless you’re working with like-minded people but once you start the conversation tackle it head on. Ask the person what they take is on religion, it won’t hurt to know what the other person is thinking.

Please don’t wear Judaism on your sleeve, you’d be ruining it for the rest of us.

Step 5: Don’t Take it Personally

Whatever the person says, don’t take it personally. Their disagreement with you is not necessary an attack on Torah and its principles, and there is no reason to get heated with your brother about  In short, please don’t wear Judaism on your sleeve, you’d be ruining it for the rest of us.

If you need any help please don’t hesitate to write to us – The Frum Conversation [at] Gmail. com

The Frum Conversation


About the Author
Ben Kazinik is an Israeli, baal teshuva, working in a startup that deals with programming and social media. He is interested in lifestyle design, and emunah outreach.
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