Thursday, May 26, 2005

Summary and Comments on the previous 3 posts

I appreciate the comments and corrections on my posts. Please feel free to leave more, and I do read them all. I was hoping for more discussion of the thrust of the posts, that Orthodoxy today still reflects in part the changes wrought by the battle against reform. Feel free to leave those comments on this post, leaving the other comment sections for more discussion of the particular details.

Comments-[ comments.]

3 Comments:

Blogger bluke said...

Unfortunately the Charedi world has not been able to change with the times. They are still fighting the battles of the last war.

I heard the following story about the Chazon Ish. Someone in the 1940's wanted to start a cheder in Beni Brak in Hebrew. At the time all the chadarim were in Yiddish. many were opposed to this stating that R' Yosef Chaim Sonnefeld and others fought tirelessly against this 30-50 years earlier. The Chazon Ish answered that 30-50 years ago Hebrew vs Yiddish was the battleground. Today it is not and therefore we can open a cheder in hebrew.

The Charedi world in 2005 needs to realize the same thing. The battleground has changed since the Chasam Sofer and reform 150-200 years ago and what may have been important then is not so important now and today we have different battles to fight.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Ke'evei Beten said...

There is a great book all about this topic - by Chief Rabbi J. Sacks called "Arguments for the Sake of Heaven". It is a fantastic survey of Jewish history since the enlightenment.
In particular interest is the chapter "The radicalization of ORthodoxy".

There is a feeling, among many orthodox jews that changes that could be halachically acceptable are not made becoz of the fear of looking reform,,,, or becoz the change is tainted by association with reform and that this is particularly true on womens issues.

obviously social effects do affect halacha... but sometimes they are paralyzing.
Rabbi Lichtenstin wrote an article in tradition about the social factor in halacha (it is a good article, but I was heartbroken to see him write that an orthodox posek would not be too troubled by the suffering of an aguna. )

4:43 AM  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Over at "Go West, Young Jew," GoldaLeah’s blog, Conservative rabbi “Charles” posted this comment to her Monday, May 16, 2005 post, “High Holidays in a Church?” (see http://westernjew.blogspot.com/2005/05/high-holidays-in-church.html#comments)

"I would encourage you NOT to use the Unitarian church. Precisely because their theology is not that different from Reform Judaism you want to maintain that boundary so that people don't think that it's a matter of indifference whether they are Jewish or Unitarian.

It may interest you to know that the late Rabbi Solomon Freehof who was head of the Reform Responsa Committee allowed Reform temples to share buildings with Protestant churches but not Unitarian ones, precisely because he felt that the boundaries would be unclear."

dilbert, much as I agree with you that the shift rightward in Orthodoxy may have originated, at least partially, in the Orthodox reaction to Reform, I often wonder whether what we’re seeing today is more of a reaction to *Conservative* Judaism. After all, at this point, the demarcation point between Orthodox and Reform Judaism is so clear that it’s hardly worth worrying about any more. The divide between the *Orthodox* rabbis’ interpretation of halachah and that of *Conservative* rabbis, on the other hand, is far more problematic for the Orthodox rabbinate, in my opinion. After all, the Conservative rabbinate considers Conservative Judaism a halachic movement. As someone who’s been a member of Conservative synagogues for most of her life, I’ve thought for many years that the *real* reason for Orthodoxy’s backlash against such feminist innovations as women’s tefilla groups, as well as the recent trend toward more stringency in the observance of the prohibition against a woman singing in a man’s presence (kol isha), of a married woman going bareheaded, of women wearing pants, and of mixed dancing--much of which I see ignored among *older* Orthodox Jews in my neighborhood--and, in some circles, less sympathy for agunot, is that the *younger* Orthodox rabbis are afraid that, if they’re too mekhil (lenient) in their interpretation of halachah, they’ll be accused of being Conservative. Obviously, this applies not only to women’s issues—look at what happened to Slifkin. This siege mentality—you’re either with us 100% or you’re a “Conservative apikores”—probably originated in the break between Orthodox and Reform, but I think it’s more about Orthodox vs. Conservative, at this point.

8:47 PM  

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