Kiruv vs. Orthodoxy, a new game irreverently pokes fun at 'frum Judaism'

On its crowdfunding page on IndieGoGo, the game refers to itself as "like that other game but much more frum," referring to the popular satirical and subversive card game Cards Against Humanity.

A card pairing from Kiruv vs. Orthodoxy. (photo credit: Courtesy)
A card pairing from Kiruv vs. Orthodoxy.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A new satirical card game has arrived in time for the Passover holidays to poke fun at Judaism, tongue in cheek.
The game, titled Kiruv vs. Orthodoxy – A game for very shtark people, was created by Shalom Shore, a former haredi Jew from Israel who now resides in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Shalom Shore. (Photo credit: Michael Alvarez Pereyre)Shalom Shore. (Photo credit: Michael Alvarez Pereyre)
On its crowdfunding page on IndieGoGo, which can be seen here, the game refers to itself as "like that other game but much more frum," referring to the popular satirical and subversive card game Cards Against Humanity.
The style of Cards Against Humanity is very humorously replicated, including the basic rule set and in-game terminology, though this game comes with a more religious twist, which the IndieGoGo page sarcastically says is the point.
"You know what's wrong with our generation? We play games with no religious content," the page says, tongue firmly in cheek.
"We forget about hakodosh boruch hu while we engage in gashmiyus and leitzonus.
"Kiruv vs. Orthodoxy is here to change that. You can continue to engage in halachah, hashkafah, and machshava of Judaism, The Best Religion in The F**king World TM, even whilst socializing with your friends (of the same gender, obviously)."
While Cards Against Humanity comes with black cards and white cards, with the goal being to collect the most black cards at the end of the game, this game has Sephardi and Ashkenazi cards, with the goal to collect most of the Sephardi cards, which the rules – or "Halachic Details" – point out that this is another way the game differs from real life.
The Sephardi cards come with various prompts, while the Ashkenaz cards come with various statements that can be used interchangeably when applied to the Sephardi card. Everyone in the round plays a card they feel applies to the prompt, which is judged by whoever is judge (referred to as "Card Czar" in Cards Against Humanity and "Card Nazi" in Kiruv vs. Orthodoxy).
The prompts include various statements like "Raboysay, it's time we stopped ____ " as well as "The meaning of life is simple. It's ____ ." The other cards, meanwhile, include such humorous gems as "Drowning in a lake because you went swimming during sfira like a total dumbass," "Visiting Tzfat like a delusional hippy," "The ways of the goyim" and "Drinking from the Rebbe's cup to make a baby."
The product even comes with its own humorous false endorsement.
"This project has haskamos from the greatest minds of the generation, who came together from arguing about absolutely everything to agree that 'this was the best f**king game they had ever seen, and whoever backs it will be zoche to a ton of yeshuos and his family definitely WILL NOT get ANY [coronavirus].'"
To fully complete the parody, the IndieGoGo page lists Shore's store as being in Boro Park.
The game is also fully compatible with Cards Against Humanity and though they are in no way affiliated, Shore encourages people to mix them together – a practice he refereed to as "assimilation" in a reddit post.
Shore refereed to the game as a personal project of his and he uploaded it to reddit, where people began asking to buy them. The original goal of the IndieGoGo campaign was to raise $500, which he surpassed by 357%.
However, there is a serious side to his creation.
"Something about taking these concepts that are touted ad-nausem and used to abuse and manipulate our emotional world, and seeing just how interchangeable they are, and how they are applied in every f**ing (yes, I like this word a lot. I only recently learned how to use it. Am I doing it wrong?) opportunity, helped put things in perspective," he said on the IndieGoGo page.
He elaborated this when speaking to The Jerusalem Post. "There’s this tendency to colloquialism concepts, ideas that are used against you," Shore said. "Take Mashiach as an idealized goal. We spend our whole lives working towards this and it becomes cliche. And then when Mashiach hasn’t come, it’s used as a source of guilt. Like, 'what did you do wrong?'
Well, what you did wrong is completely interchangeable. This is continuously used in the hands of the religious leadership in a way that suits them at any given time. Now, this doesn't make any sense, does it? They take an idea that everyone holds as true and use it as a way to abuse you."
This, Shore told the Post, is what makes the rules of the game so applicable to the message he's trying to send. "You have guilt-inducing statements on the black cards, and you link it to the white cards, which is wherever the statement of the day. I think it exposes the secrets of the rabbis. Now, anybody can take anything and use it. Like, if it was just Mashiach coming because your sheitel isn't long enough, I might feel bad. But when I see it could be 90 other cards? Now, none of them have any weight."
Shore grew up in HaRova in the Old City and spent his life in religious institutions, even becoming a rabbi before he went off the derech. However, he was still surrounded by religious messages, and turned to satire as a coping mechanism. This started on Facebook by making photoshop posts parodying the typical inspirational messages found on some popular contemporary religious books. However, he soon developed his own website, freidomfighter.com, where he uploaded his own satirical content as well as sharing a multi-entry biography of his personal journey.
Kiruv vs. Humanity is, essentially, a culmination of this journey and exploration into satire, using humor as a means to express his message.
"I'm not about to get rich off this," Shore explained on his IndieGoGo page. "I just hope I don't lose money. Catering to the niche OTD [off-the-derech]/Frum-yet-cool niche is not a very lucrative model. But I care about you, because you are my bros."