Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kiddush Hashem and Chillul Hashem

In Judaism there is the concept of Kiddush Hashem, or sanctifying G-d's name and the concept of Chillul Hashem, desecration of G-d's name. What it means in a nutshell is to do things that reflect well on the Jewish people (Kiddush Hashem) and the converse, to do things that reflect poorly on the Jewish people.

Last Saturday night, the Skokie Yeshiva had as its guest speaker, Alan (Shlomo) Veingrad, a former NFL football player who became a Baal Teshuva (newly observant Jew) and his story from his days growing up in Miami, through his time as a professional football player and now a proud observant Jew. He said that his dad told him that he was more proud of him with a yarmulke (skullcap) on than he ever was when he had a helmet on.

Conversely, in recent days, a Jewish sportscaster desecrated the name of G-d by use obscene language at a roast of two sportscasters. I won't go into the details (this isn't a gossip blog nor do I wish to condone the conduct). Suffice it to say, that I believe this sportscaster did a major league Chillul Hashem. Even though she isn't observant or doesn't do much Jewishly, what she did is unacceptable.

I know a lot of people who are Baalei Teshuva and I don't remember any of them or their non-observant families, friends, etc. engaging in such conduct. If she was a private citizen, that's one thing. However, she is a public figure, working for a major sports network, so in my humble opinion, that argument goes out the window.

I would encourage the opinions of those who aren't in Rogers Park to see if I am off base.

It's funny, I have commented on the Don Imus situation and other Political Correct offenses. This is different because the offender is Jewish and reflects poorly on us.


Blogger frumhouse said...

The Skokie program sounds interesting! I agree with your opinion about making a chillul Hashem (although I am not familiar with the sportscasting incident you refer to).

I will say that so many Jewish public figures are so distanced from their Jewishness that few even know they are even Jewish!

In fact, the main people who probably know that bit of trivia about these celebrities are Jews themselves (ever played the informal game of "Who's a Jew?"). So really, the only people they are causing a chillul Hashem with is other Jews - which can turn some off of Judaism.

The stakes are much higher for frum Jews in the public eye, because everyone knows they are Jewish. It comes with the territory....

January 30, 2008 3:26 PM  

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