It seems that for some of the less intelligent minds in the blogsphere, any attempt to stand up for Jewish beliefs and Torah ideals is equivalent to trying to mekarev a non-observer. I like to contest that thought because I am definitely not into kiruv.
Well, I should make such a blanket statement. It is my personal position that anyone actually seeking the truth of Torah, who wants to enter the world of valid Torah observance, should be welcomed in, treated with respect and taught the truth of the Creator of the world in all its glory.
It's the person who shows up at kiruv functions but isn't really interested in much more that I don't really have time for.
For me, kiruv should be reserved for the sincerely motivated. I happen to believe very strongly in Torah and that it's the best lifestyle out there. As a result, I don't think it should be marketed, made attractive, or dumbed down just to bring out a larger number of people whose involvement will remain, at best, peripheral.
Too often I have seen the result of this Lowest Common Denominator type of outreach. It results in people coming out who claim to be interested in Judaism but who have no interest in any of the obligations that come with a Jewish lifestyle. They want the humantaschen but chas v'shalom you should expect them to sit quietly through the megillah reading, if they come out for it at all. They'll come out to the exciting and friendly Friday night service and then get in their cars and drive home, even if they live only a few blocks away and you won't see them again until next Friday night. Come out on Monday morning at 7 am to put on t'fillin and daven? Not for them, nossir.
Yet too often programs are developed around attracting just this type of crowd and it results in a dumbed-down form of Judaism that has two main negative outcomes:
a) it turns off many of the genuinely frum people in the community. Who wants to come out to a program where being religious means being ignored while being intermarried or obviously uninterested in anything other than the fun aspects of the religion makes you a VIP?
b) it creates the impression that to be a fully functioning member of a religious Jewish community isn't so hard - you just have to show up and you're on the same level as the guys who come out to shul twice a day, no matter what the weather, who revolve their lives around Torah and mitvzos. And if you're promoted to the "top" just by showing up, why go further? What point is there?
For these reasons I personally believe in a simpler version of kiruv - live a proper, ethical, Jewish lifestyle, be the example Torah demands of one, and hope that those who are searching for God's truth notice it and are attracted to it.