What should be our behavior toward radical leftist Jews, reform Jews, and reconstructionist Jews?
First of all you have to know that they are not Jews. Reconstructionist Jews are atheists who don’t believe in Hashem. They don’t believe in a personal Hashem. They have reconstructed the concept of a Creator in an entirely different way. So Reconstructionist Jews are not Jews. It’s out of the question. And the Reformers are also not Jews because they don’t believe that the Torah was given at Sinai.
What should be our attitude toward them? Today, most of them are victims of the environment. They are just plain ignoramuses; they don’t know. We have seen cases of even very radical Jews, the worst of the worst, whose son became frum or daughter became frum, and as a result the parents were won over. Now the son was not a big philosopher. He didn’t come home and give intellectual arguments to his parents. No. But the parent loves the child and the child is his hope for the future, and now he saw the child put on a yarmulke, or the child started making brachos, so the parent began melting away. So we see that people are not principled. People don’t live by principles; people live by emotions. And therefore it’s possible to win over even the irreligious if you’re nice to them. And sometimes you can change them entirely. And that’s why, like somebody said, you can attract more flies with a drop of honey than by a gallon of vinegar. Just by fighting them you won’t accomplish much.
However they should never be given recognition as Jews. Never to invite them, let’s say, and give them a place of honor in the community. They can come in, certainly, why not?! And let them listen, let them participate. But don’t give them recognition; don’t put them up as examples for the people. And try as much as possible to keep away from their company. Because there’s no question that if a man spends time in a certain kind of company, he’s going to change. A man reflects the opinions of those with whom he associates. So be with them as little as possible. But if you’re able, from a distance, to influence them, that you should do. If you can send them subscriptions to frum newspapers, to frum magazines; if you mail them frum books, or invite them to frum lectures, whatever it is, that’s the way. If it’s possible induce them to come that’s the way to gradually influence them.
TAPE # 555 (June 1985)