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[Laura Schlessinger] Dr. Laura Renounces Jewish Orthodoxy
religionnewsblog.com ^ | 08/13/2003 | LISA KEYS

Posted on 08/15/2003 5:10:35 PM PDT by Destro

[Laura Schlessinger] Dr. Laura Renounces Jewish Orthodoxy

Item 3999 • Posted: 08/13/2003 • Weblogged by Religion News Blog

http://www.religionnewsblog.com/archives/00003999.html

Forward, Aug. 15, 2003

http://www.forward.com/

By LISA KEYS, FORWARD STAFF

With 12 million Americans tuning in daily, controversial syndicated radio- show host Laura Schlessinger — known to all as "Dr. Laura" — is arguably the best-known Orthodox Jew in the United States.

Rather, she was.

In a little-noticed pronouncement, Schlessinger — who very publicly converted to Judaism five years ago — opened her radio show, "The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Program," with the revelation that she will no longer practice Judaism. Although Schlessinger says she still "considers" herself Jewish, "My identifying with this entity and my fulfilling the rituals, etcetera, of the entity — that has ended."

And with that, Orthodox Judaism lost its loudest mouthpiece and its most prominent "rabbi," as it were, with the largest American pulpit — with the exception of, perhaps, presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman.

Syndicated nationally since 1994, Schlessinger has won over listeners with her hard-edged advice and razor-sharp tongue. Yet her brash style, not to mention her espousal of a strict "moral health" code — including controversial condemnations of homosexuality as "a biological error" — put her at odds with wide swaths of the Jewish community. Many found her moralist, black-and-white, you're-with-me-or-against-me stance more representative of evangelical Christians than of Jews, who were often among her most outspoken critics.

Nonetheless, even Schlessinger's detractors were shocked by the news. "I can't tell you how significant this is," said fellow Jewish media star and "Kosher Sex" author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who has sparred with Schlessinger over her comments on homosexuality. "Dr. Laura always equated her morals and ethics with Jewish morals and ethics. That placed the American Jewish community in a real fix; on the one hand, she made Judaism very popular, on the other, she made it vilified and hated by many people."

"I think Judaism is better off not being saddled and directly associated with Dr. Laura's means," he said, adding, "although she is still a Jew."

Schlessinger began her program last Tuesday by noting that, prior to each broadcast, she spends an hour reading faxes from fans and listeners. "By and large the faxes from Christians have been very loving, very supportive," she said. "From my own religion, I have either gotten nothing, which is 99% of it, or two of the nastiest letters I have gotten in a long time. I guess that's my point — I don't get much back. Not much warmth coming back."

Schlessinger even hinted at a possible turn to Christianity — a move that, radio insiders say, would elevate her career far beyond the 300 stations that currently syndicate her show. "I have envied all my Christian friends who really, universally, deeply feel loved by God," she said. "They use the name Jesus when they refer to God... that was a mystery, being connected to God."

In her 25 years on radio, Schlessinger said she was moved "time and time again" by listeners who wrote and described that they had "joined a church, felt loved by God and that was my anchor."

Michael Medved, a conservative, nationally syndicated, radio talk-show host, celebrated the Sabbath with Schlessinger about a year ago. "We had talked about having Shabbat again," he said. When he heard of Schlessinger's defection, "My first response was to pick up the phone and try and expedite [the visit]."

"I think it's a shame," he said. "Though, of course, she was controversial in some eyes, she is one of the most admired women in America. Having the most admired woman in America speak joyously about Passover, Shabbat and Jewish lifestyle events — all of that was quite wonderful."

Of her conversion to Judaism, "I felt that I was putting out a tremendous amount toward that mission, that end, and not feeling return, not feeling connected, not feeling that inspired," Schlessinger said. "Trust me, I've talked to rabbis, I've read, I've prayed, I've agonized and I came to this place anyway — which is not exactly back to the beginning, but more in that direction than not."

"Was Laura naive to think, 'gosh, I'll be the queen of the Jews?' Yes, she was naive," said Medved. "Part of that comes from not growing up in the Jewish community. It's so rare to find a celebrity embrace of Jewish religiosity of any kind, I can see why Laura would think her very public embrace would have led to a more enthusiastic reaction. But given all the crosscurrents and controversies that divide our community, I can see why that expectation was wrong."

In 2001, despite the controversy surrounding her, the National Council of Young Israel honored Schlessinger for her "traditional American values." Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the executive director of Young Israel, was surprised by Schlessinger's defection but declined to comment on it.

Born to a Jewish father and an Italian Catholic mother, Schlessinger was raised in Brooklyn in a home that was without religion. Approximately 10 years ago, prompted by a question from her son during a viewing of a Holocaust documentary, Schlessinger, 56, began exploring her Jewish roots.

Yet last week's revelation was far from the first time Schlessinger has been wracked with religious doubts. Lacking a religious background, she has spent a lifetime searching for that missing something, and "each thing I tried left me feeling empty," she told Philadelphia's Inside magazine in 1998. Having already undergone a Conservative conversion in 1997, after a debacle with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas — a now-legendary affair in which she allegedly rejected three hotel suites, wouldn't ride in taxis and offended the entire audience at a $500 plate fundraiser — Schlessinger was tempted to give up on Judaism completely, but decided to undergo an Orthodox conversion instead.

"A large part of me wanted to make a statement after that experience, to stand even taller about Jewish values," she told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2001. "Besides, if you don't have an Orthodox conversion, you can't get buried in Israel. I want to be close to ground zero."

Rabbi Reuven Bulka, a fellow radio host who presided over Schlessinger's Orthodox conversion, said he was "stunned" by his friend's 180-degree turn. "It didn't make my day, shall we say."

"She obviously has a tremendous impact," said the congregational rabbi from Ottawa, Ont. "When she went through the evolutionary stage of her journey, a lot of people were inspired by her own excitement about it. I can't tell you I know 100 people who became Sabbath observant because of it, but certainly it was a feel-good message for a lot of people. That these feel-good messages won't be coming anymore is certainly a loss."

Other Jews within earshot are far from sad to see her go. "I don't think this is any great loss to the Jewish universe," said Susan Weidman Schneider, the executive editor of Lilith magazine. "I don't think she was a particularly effective or useful spokesperson. She doubtless alienated more people than she drew toward Judaism."

"So, let her say she's no longer a practicing Jew," she added. "Let her be just a garden variety, anti-choice conservative."

"I still see myself as a Jew," Schlessinger said on the air last week. "But the spiritual journey and that direction, as hardcore as I was at it, just didn't fulfill something in me that I needed."

"All I know is, in my experiences with her — which have been considerable — I haven't known her to do anything less than 100%," Bulka said. "Anything she did, she did fully. The scary thing is if she said she's leaving, it's very forboding."

"I thought she was a tough little lady — I didn't think she'd chicken out so easily," said Rabbi Isaac Levy, the chairman of Jews for Morality, who has staunchly supported Schlessinger's conservative agenda. "She's gotten a couple of kicks in the chin and she's succumbed to it."

"It seems incredible that an ethicist and moralist of her standing would invoke such shallow arguments," said Boteach, who was en route to an appearance on the titillating syndicated television show "Blind Date." "I never got great applause from my work from the Jewish community — but my people are my people, whether they love or hate me."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: drlaura; jewishorthodoxy; lauraschlessinger; spiritualjourney
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Comment #201 Removed by Moderator

To: LindaSOG
I love that tag line!

Let's see.......you probably plagiarized that some place.
LOL!
Hang in, gal.
That was good info.

202 posted on 08/17/2003 7:56:27 PM PDT by TexasCowboy (COB1)
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To: LindaSOG
Get a link next time. Bye.


203 posted on 08/17/2003 7:59:00 PM PDT by Sabertooth (Viva la 187!)
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To: lelio
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share this knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

Yes..homosexuality is not only condemned as sin in Leviticus, but also in the New Testament and EVERYWHERE it is mentioned in scripture.

However many of the other commandments you mention are addressed to and intended only for the theocratic state of Israel and have nothing to do with universal moral codes.

204 posted on 08/17/2003 8:08:41 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: lelio
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 3:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

Who wrote this letter? A five year old?

205 posted on 08/17/2003 8:11:31 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: Sabertooth
You did it all wrong. You're supposed to try and blackmail her behind the scenes to force her off of FR. You rookie!
206 posted on 08/17/2003 8:12:46 PM PDT by Sir Gawain (Too much Bozo Spew broke my bozo filter)
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Comment #207 Removed by Moderator

To: Sir Gawain
You did it all wrong. You're supposed to try and blackmail her behind the scenes to force her off of FR. You rookie!

Now, what kind of person would I be if I did that?

Where do you think I'm from, the greater Miami Area?


208 posted on 08/17/2003 8:20:19 PM PDT by Sabertooth (Viva la 187!)
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To: veronica
Veronica....One cannot go from believing...REALLY believing...to non-believing....even my Jewish husband knows this.
209 posted on 08/17/2003 8:24:34 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: veronica
Would you review my post #184 to daveinnewyork and tell me what you think?
210 posted on 08/17/2003 8:27:19 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: LindaSOG
Good advice that you should have given to your "friend."

The advice I gave was to be forthright and apologize, which she did, just like you d...

Oh. I guess you didn't.


211 posted on 08/17/2003 11:57:21 PM PDT by Sabertooth (Viva la 187!)
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To: Ann Archy
Veronica....One cannot go from believing...REALLY believing...to non-believing....even my Jewish husband knows this.

So Jews are "non-believers"? Only your way is the REAL way? Your posts get more revealing of your TRUE nature with every one you make. :)

212 posted on 08/18/2003 1:43:45 AM PDT by veronica (http://www.petitiononline.com/KN50711/petition.html - Confirm Daniel Pipes to USIPF ......sign this!)
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Comment #213 Removed by Moderator

To: Ann Archy
If royalty can refer itself in the first person plural, what about the King of us all? The telling statement is actually in Exodus - no room for translational difficulties, or interpretations: Hear, Israel, Adonoi is our G-d, Adonoi is ONE.
214 posted on 08/18/2003 5:03:10 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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To: Commie Basher
Interesting that you say that, There is an interpretation of the Book of Malachi which says that the nations, who in their ignorance, praise their gods, actually give praise to G-d, while those who know better, go through the ritualist motions, but do not live their lives in accordance with G-d's laws, actually profane the Name.

Those who praise Jesus, and live their lives according to G-d laws, or make a supreme attempt, actually are praising the Name of G-d.
215 posted on 08/18/2003 5:11:21 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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To: Commie Basher
Interesting that you say that, There is an interpretation of the Book of Malachi which says that the nations, who in their ignorance, praise their gods, actually give praise to G-d, while those who know better, go through the ritualist motions, but do not live their lives in accordance with G-d's laws, actually profane the Name.

Those who praise Jesus, and live their lives according to G-d laws, or make a supreme attempt, actually are praising the Name of G-d.
216 posted on 08/18/2003 5:11:21 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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To: Commie Basher
Interesting that you say that, There is an interpretation of the Book of Malachi which says that the nations, who in their ignorance, praise their gods, actually give praise to G-d, while those who know better, go through the ritualist motions, but do not live their lives in accordance with G-d's laws, actually profane the Name.

Those who praise Jesus, and live their lives according to G-d laws, or make a supreme attempt, actually are praising the Name of G-d.
217 posted on 08/18/2003 5:11:21 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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To: veronica
I think I can safely say without hurting your feelings that Jews don't believe in Jesus Christ as the Saviour. Would I be correct is is this bigotry? :)

Please don't be so darn sensitive...there are facts that are undenieable...Jews are non-believers in what Christians believe...if you want to twist that to call me a bigot, so be it.

218 posted on 08/18/2003 6:55:37 AM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: veronica
You didn't comment on #184....would you?
219 posted on 08/18/2003 6:57:13 AM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: Daveinyork
You think God would need to use the royal "WE".....now THAT'S funny!

Christians also believe in one God, but in the form of the Trinity....3 Persons...One God....Father...Son...Holy Spirit.

220 posted on 08/18/2003 6:59:28 AM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: Lizavetta
And she's gone through her educational background on the air as well....anyone who cares to listen to her knows she's not a shrink. I personally wouldn't care if she was a plumber. Her insight on human nature and weaknesses, even if she can be shrill, are spot on.

Right on. I know plenty of people who would benefit from a 2 x 4 to the head. More Dr. Laura, less Oprah.

221 posted on 08/18/2003 7:10:27 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Commie Basher
Perhaps you should have read the rest of my post to see how I expressed myself on the concept of historical guilt which, by extension, would include the concept of group guilt.

In any event, your position is irrational if you accept the notion of military or governmental action. It's true that D-Day, for example, was the work of individuals but most people accept the concept that the Allies(as a group)landed at Normandy. Hence, individual Syrian mercenaries may have scourged Jesus and pounded the nails but they did so, as soldiers do, while "Following Orders" of the Roman Governor who spoke for the Roman Empire.

It is the Romans who killed Christ in the sense that I've outlined, a sense that most people would understand.

222 posted on 08/18/2003 7:10:57 AM PDT by muir_redwoods
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To: LindaSOG
Nice dodges. Nothing to say, even yet, about your failure to provide credit or a link at #194?

As for what I know, I'll make use of it when I choose to do so.

Cheers


223 posted on 08/18/2003 7:10:58 AM PDT by Sabertooth (Viva la 187!)
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Comment #224 Removed by Moderator

To: Ann Archy
three persons? G-d is three persons?
225 posted on 08/18/2003 9:59:23 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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To: LindaSOG
Wish I knew before I typed it out of the old Hebrew school primer I found it in.  Could have saved some time.

Were you in too much of a rush to actually cite the primer? How is this a logical excuse?

But, after a year of suffering through the well documented and endless false accusations, innuendo and unfounded personal attacks made by you here at FR, on other forums and by e-mail, I consider this statement and your recent actions to be threatening to my personal well being.  I am now going to formally request that you cease posting to me.   

You're posting in a public forum. You may get responses when you do things like post the work of others without attribution. An easily avoidable problem, if you think about it.

If you continue to harass me, I will take action.

Take any action you like, there has been no harassment by me, nor any threat at all to your personal well-being.

Cheers


226 posted on 08/18/2003 10:19:30 AM PDT by Sabertooth (Viva la 187!)
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Comment #227 Removed by Moderator

To: Daveinyork
Three times is enough. LOL
228 posted on 08/18/2003 10:59:23 AM PDT by MEGoody
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To: wardaddy
Photos that weren't terribly flattering

To say the least.

From what I've read she changes with the wind on just about every issue under the sun. ....Fairly unusual for a person of her age. Searching and changing is perfectly fine at any age, of course. But if one does it enough times and then speaks of one's brand new position with an air of self righteousness (as is Laura's wont), I find it difficult to take such a person seriously.

229 posted on 08/18/2003 11:14:45 AM PDT by Mr. Mojo
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To: Daveinyork
Three persons in ONE...it's called the TRINITY. I guess you know NOTHING about Christianity. I thought I had explained it...maybe I need to write a little slower.
230 posted on 08/18/2003 1:32:57 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: Daveinyork
There is an interpretation of the Book of Malachi which says that the nations, who in their ignorance, praise their gods, actually give praise to G-d, while those who know better, go through the ritualist motions, but do not live their lives in accordance with G-d's laws, actually profane the Name. Those who praise Jesus, and live their lives according to G-d laws, or make a supreme attempt, actually are praising the Name of G-d.

And there is also doctrine (I think it's the Catholic Chruch's Good Works Doctrine) that one can only reach heaven through Jesus. However, by doing Good Works, one has accepted Jesus and his sacrifice, even if one doesn't know who Jesus is.

231 posted on 08/18/2003 4:22:52 PM PDT by Commie Basher
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To: muir_redwoods
individual Syrian mercenaries may have scourged Jesus and pounded the nails but they did so, as soldiers do, while "Following Orders" of the Roman Governor who spoke for the Roman Empire. It is the Romans who killed Christ in the sense that I've outlined, a sense that most people would understand.

Well, the Pharasees were Jewish leaders, of sort. And they tried to convince the Roman authorities that Jesus had committed treason against Caeser, because only the Romans could put someone to death. So the Jewish leaders certainly played their part. But that doesn't mean "the Jews" killed Jesus.

In a sense, it always seeemed to me that Jesus committed suicide. He wanted to die on the cross, no? He had the opportunity to avoid the cross, simply by telling the truth. If He'd simply told Pilate that, no, He wasn't calling for revolution against Caeser, He could have gotten off, no?

BTW, while I look forward to Mel Gibson's The Passion, I thought Scorsese's Last Temptation Of Christ was the most powerfully pro-Christian film I've ever seen. The first film in which Jesus was not a caricature.

232 posted on 08/18/2003 4:30:43 PM PDT by Commie Basher
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To: Ann Archy
You think God would need to use the royal "WE".....now THAT'S funny!

I don't think God would "need" to use the royal we, but the King James Bible is an interpretation that was written in royal times. Is it "we" in other editions?

I personally favor the interpretation that God was speaking to the animals. The notion that Man is made in the image of both God and beast seems to gel nicely with the rest of the Bible's message.

233 posted on 08/18/2003 4:32:50 PM PDT by Commie Basher
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To: Daveinyork
three persons? G-d is three persons?

Radio's Dennis Prager once said that the Christian Trinity qualified as one God under Judaism. Prager added that this was lucky, since under Jewish law, Jews are forbidden from doing business with pagans (polytheists). So without the Trinity, Christians might be regarded as polytheists, and religious Jews would be forbidden from doing business with them.

234 posted on 08/18/2003 4:36:20 PM PDT by Commie Basher
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To: Commie Basher
..only the Romans could put someone to death. So the Jewish leaders certainly played their part. But that doesn't mean "the Jews" killed Jesus..
 
 
Saul was a Jew and a Roman citizen. Saul was complaisant in the killing of Christians and he was a promoter of the persecution of the Christian cult. I wonder who the "me" is supposed to be in the following verse.   
 
Acts 9:4
And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
(Whole Chapter: Acts 9 In context: Acts 9:3-5)
 
I am not wanting to debate or to be argumentative. It is just sometimes it seems that people leave certain things out. King Herod himself was a Jew. Other Roman leaders were also born or converted Jews. At the time of the first century it has been estimated (I am quoting a source from memory, but I can verify, if that is now a requirement to document all sources for comments posted on a FR.com thread) that up to 10 percent of the Roman Empire's citizens were born to, or converted to Judaism. (Gosh I sure hope that I can dig out my old college text books in order to prove that I am not making stuff up.)

235 posted on 08/18/2003 6:25:44 PM PDT by Radix
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To: Commie Basher
>>>And there is also doctrine (I think it's the Catholic Chruch's Good Works Doctrine) that one can only reach heaven through Jesus. However, by doing Good Works, one has accepted Jesus and his sacrifice, even if one doesn't know who Jesus is.<<<

Why, then, did they burn heretics?
236 posted on 08/19/2003 4:41:07 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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To: Daveinyork
>>>And there is also doctrine (I think it's the Catholic Chruch's Good Works Doctrine) that one can only reach heaven through Jesus. However, by doing Good Works, one has accepted Jesus and his sacrifice, even if one doesn't know who Jesus is.<<<

Why, then, did they burn heretics?

Probably something they read in Exodus or Leviticus. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," or some other not so nice stuff in there about stoning or smiting.

Seriously, Christianity has Jewish roots -- for good and bad. So let's not point fingers.

237 posted on 08/19/2003 5:40:07 AM PDT by Commie Basher
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To: Commie Basher
So now God needed help from the ANIMAL KINGDOM to make man??? You need help.
238 posted on 08/19/2003 3:19:13 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: Ann Archy
So now God needed help from the ANIMAL KINGDOM to make man???

You need lessons in reading comprehension.

I never said God NEEDED help from the animals. God chose to make Man part beast, part divine.

Are YOU saying that Man is a god, the equal of God? No? Then you must agree with me, that Man has a carnal nature. In which case, who made Man part animal? God, obviously.

239 posted on 08/19/2003 4:22:11 PM PDT by Commie Basher
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To: Commie Basher
God said: "Let US make them in OUR image".

I say the "US" and "OUR" he is talking about is Jesus....you say he was talking to the animals!!! Are you perhaps Jewish?

240 posted on 08/19/2003 4:36:06 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: Ann Archy
God said: "Let US make them in OUR image". I say the "US" and "OUR" he is talking about is Jesus....

YOU think YOU are GOD! You think you are made ENTIRELY in the image of God and Jesus, and nothing else. Gee, I thought Man had a dark, animal nature. But I guess not.

Are you perhaps Jewish?

I don't know if anyone is perhaps anything. I think religion is a choice.

I'm a lapsed Catholic. I have 12 years of Catholic education under my belt.

And being human, I'm also an animal. It's strange, since you assure me that I am ENTIRELY divine, the equal of God and Jesus, but as near as I can tell, I'm at least part animal.

241 posted on 08/19/2003 4:47:24 PM PDT by Commie Basher
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Comment #242 Removed by Moderator

To: PhilliesPhan
a people forceably coverted to Judaism by the Maccabees...

That is an interesting comment. It does not ring familiar. That is, it does not remotely sound familiar to me. Would you have links to sources available?

243 posted on 08/19/2003 5:12:45 PM PDT by Radix
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To: Commie Basher
I said your were DIVINE??? I don;t THINK so....Trust me...I would never say you were divine....No mortal is.

I doubt that you were EVER Catholic. You know so little of the religion.

244 posted on 08/19/2003 5:35:15 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: Ann Archy
I said your were DIVINE??? I don;t THINK so....Trust me...I would never say you were divine....No mortal is.

No mortal is divine? Then it seems you think that Man IS made in the image of God AND animals. Make up your mind!

245 posted on 08/19/2003 7:18:30 PM PDT by Commie Basher
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To: Commie Basher
You must have had a bash yourself if you think man is divine or is an animal....some Christian you are...you don't even know yor religion, but you indeed have leftie tendencies.
246 posted on 08/19/2003 8:48:58 PM PDT by Ann Archy
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To: Ann Archy
You must have had a bash yourself if you think man is divine or is an animal

Are you learning-disabled, or do you just enjoy putting words into people's mouths? I never said man was divine or and animal. I said (one more time!) that Man is made in the image of both God and animal.

That's what that Genesis passage means, when God says "let us make Man in OUR image, after OUR likeness." He's talking to animals, so Man is made in both image of God and animal.

You're the one claiming to be made entirely in the image of God and Jesus, hence, divine.

247 posted on 08/20/2003 12:42:22 AM PDT by Commie Basher
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Comment #248 Removed by Moderator

To: Sabertooth
excellent catch!
249 posted on 08/20/2003 9:50:13 AM PDT by MistyCA (For some...it's always going to be "A Nam Thing!")
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To: Commie Basher
I asked about heretics, not witches.
250 posted on 08/24/2003 7:29:56 AM PDT by Daveinyork
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