Jew in the City (i.e. Allison Josephs) has a new video up in which – not surprisingly, as this seems to be her modus operandi – she attempts to clarify inaccurate perceptions about Orthodox Judaism. This particular video focuses on the professions that Orthodox Jews can have. Alex Clare, Joe Lieberman, boxer Dmitriy Salita and others star in this video which points out that the range of professions available to Orthodox Jews is higher than many people might think.
I might be inclined to nitpick at the basic thesis – that Jews can enjoy any trade they desire – but Josephs does say explicitly “we can’t do every last job out there.”
Is the video useful? Well, I’d like to think that it is. To those engaging in outreach, the video is clearly beneficial. It can be used to demonstrate that Orthodox Judaism does not have extremely rigid professional boundaries, which must help the sales pitch for Orthodox Judaism.
In terms of educating Orthodox Jews about Orthodox Judaism (which I assume is at least a secondary goal of Jew in the City), I don’t think it’s quite so simple. Some of the jobs featured are incredibly challenging for someone who is committed to Orthodox law (professional athlete comes to mind). Is it good for our children to grow up believing that every career path is open to them? Will this keep young Orthodox Jews from straying? Or will it simply serve to frustrate them when faced when they are faced with challenges in the workplace?
I don’t know. I’m inclined to think that the video is a good thing. Career choices are generally made by relatively mature people who have the ability to assess the requirements of a job. Dimitriy Salita and Alex Clare are showing that jobs in “unconventionally Orthodox” industries can be performed, not there are no challenges involved.