web analytics
September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Will Modern Orthodoxy Survive?

modern orthodox fun

Photo Credit: israelprograms.com.au

DovBear has an interesting guest post that generated a lot of responses (260 comments as of this writing). I admit I haven’t read the comments. But I do have some thoughts on the very legitimate question posed: Modern Orthodoxy: Are we witnessing its death throes?

The truth is that I have already given my opinion on this matter. Many Times. To review I predict that Charedim will win. But only in the form of moderate Charedism. Which is sociologically very closely aligned with the right wing of Modern Orthodoxy (RWMO). Integrated communities of moderate Charedim and RWMO already exist and are growing. The Haskafos are somewhat different but the values and lifestyles are very similar.

The problem for RWMOs is that there is a dearth of RWMO day schools and high schools. So that in most cases, RWMO parents will send their children to a moderate Charedi day school and high school that has a good secular studies department. That is far more preferable to a RWMO than would be a LWMO day school that for example allows its female students to wear Tefillin during Davening

Because of that, I’m not sure how the Centrist Hashkafos of RWMO will survive in any great numbers. The only saving grace is Yeshiva University (YU). They actually espouse the values of Modern Orthodoxy. But unless a RWMO family is very strong in espousing and living its values and is able to transmit it to their children, this Hashkafa will be buried in the Charedi schools their children attend. And those children will not be likely to attend YU – choosing a moderate Charedi school like Ner Israel for example.

YU will be left to those to left of RWMO. And those on the far left will opt for a place like YCT …or no post high school religious education at all – preferring to pursue their education in a secular university that will advance their chosen careers.

How all this will play out in numbers per Orthodox segment remains to be seen. It is really too complex to predict.

First let us define what MO really is and what it encompasses. Put in simple terms, to be MO is to live and accept the modern world and to see it in a positive light. This doesn’t mean that everything that exists in the modern world is good. But for those things which do not contradict Halacha, MO allows it and in some cases even embraces it.

This is in fact the Hashkafa of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch called Torah Im Derech Eretz (TIDE). It is a mistake not consider TIDE part of Modern Orthodox Hashkafa. Rav Hirsch embraced all elements in secular culture that enhanced Torah. Which is why he made his famous speech extolling German historian, dramatist, and poet, Friedrich von Schiller. He saw Jewish values in Schiller. This is a Modern Orthodox perspective; not a Charedi one that would not even consider looking at a word Schiller ever said, much less praise him.

TIDE is of course not the sum and substance of MO. There is a wide spectrum of Hashkafos that is in included in the broad tent of MO. Included are RWMO, LWMO, and what I call MO Lite – which I define as those who focus more on a modern lifestyle thanthey do on a religious ideology. Unfortunately this is how most Charedim see all of MO.

But MO does not equal MO Lite. TIDE is certainly a part of MO. And it is certainly not a part of a Charedi world that rejects all of modernity and uses only those parts of it that they find absolutely necessary for their lives. Although there are many – probably the majority of – Charedim that do enjoy some of secular culture, they generally do so with a sense of guilt. MO has no guilt in partaking of that part of the culture which is permissible under Halacha.

In light of all this, let us address the points made in DovBear’s post.

1) Yes, Modern Orthodoxy is losing some of its youth to secularism. Indeed some kids are doing half‐shabbos (although this phenomenon is not limited to MO) and some are leaving orthodoxy altogether. It is probably also true that this is partially self‐inflicted by not providing a proper religious education thereby not providing sufficient inspiration to our youth.

I don’t think this applies to RWMO education. To the extent that it exists, it provides just as intensive a Jewish education as does the moderate Charedi world… with the added benefit of instilling in their students a high value for secular subjects and a permissible attitude towards the general culture. Unfortunately there aren’t too many schools like that. So as I said, most RWMO will choose a moderate Charedi school over a left wing MO school.

I agree, however, that to one degree or another – the rest of Modern Orthodoxy not doing a good job with respect to providing enough inspiration for our youth.

2) It is very true that MO is losing some of its youth (and some of its young couples) to Ultra‐Orthodoxy. And that this too is partially self‐inflicted by exposing our youth at their most impressionable time to Ultra‐Orthodox hashkafa and learning.

However, the unfortunate reality is that Modern Orthodoxy by its very nature does not produce that many Mechanchim. They produce knowledgeable Baalei Batim who choose more lucrative careers outside of Jewish education. So, as I said, most RWMO professionals feel they have no choice but to enroll their children into good moderate Charedi schools and subject them to that Hashkafa.

3) Yes, YU is in desperate straits. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, the news of YU’s death is greatly exaggerated. I do not see it closing its doors any time soon.

4) Although some of its leaders have some Charedi tendencies, most of them are nevertheless in the RWMO camp. Although I’m sure they don’t like being put in any camp.

5) What impact will the obscene and constantly increasing costs of Jewish education have on the future of MO? I don’t know but the current situation is unsustainable. My guess is that new schools will pop up that will have less frills and lower tuition. But this is more of an issue for the left where those tuitions are indeed obscenely high. As I said,RWMO will opt for the somewhat less expensive moderate Charedi schools.

6) That LWMO is pushing the envelope of Orthodoxy so far is certainly a disturbing development. In my view they have not as of yet crossed a line that would put them outside the pale. My hope is that they never will. But if they do, they will no longer be in the MO tent.

So are we in the death throes? I wouldn’t say that. RWMO will evolve together with moderate Charedim and both will constitute mainstream Orthodoxy. I call this new entity the ‘new centrists’. They are the wave of the future. Does it really matter whether they are called MO or not?

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “Will Modern Orthodoxy Survive?”

  1. Rafi Finkel says:

    I work on a college campus (hence my choice to be anonymous), the truth is college modern orthodoxy is dead. They come from the MO yeshivas here with their kippahs and tzizus. With lines like, if we dont challenge ourselves how will we survive in the real world. Within 2 weeks they lose their yarmakahs, many engage in premarital relations many with non jews. Some are in frats and sororities, and many have the challenge of missing a test during yom tov. It is not much better at YU at least in the lower sections (BMP, IBC). On my campus i would say only 15 percent of those kids coming from MO backgrounds are frum throughout college. I would highly suggest the parents of these kids man up and make the choice between Secularism and Judaism . The truth is most of the readers here have really conceded Secularism has won. This is why MO is dying . The truth is in the push to be involved in the world you forgot Judaism . Please if you are smart let you kids go to Ner Israel and Hopkins . Sacrifice a few thousand dollars for your kid to remain a religious Jew

  2. George Harsanyi says:

    Other than the chasidism every other Jewish denomination loses significant number of young people to secularism.

  3. Modern orthodoxy is also losing its youth to anti-Zionist orthodoxy

  4. no clear answer but I hope it will!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Section of the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial, just one of several Jewish sites and institutions struck by anti-Semitic vandalism in 2014.
Swastikas Again in Series of Philadelphia Attacks of Anti-Semitism
Latest Blogs Stories
pashkevil WAR

Pashkevil: “Come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and all the traitors in Nahal Haredi…”

Jo-map

Jordan: Only M.E. country with no historical basis and ruled by occupiers placed by European powers.

Doug Goldstein

Why is an IRA a worthwhile account for retirement? And how can you use it to the best advantage?

Questions-Answers-logo

Like the fighter pilot’s letter, I wonder if certain units are simply too sensitive to allow certain leftwingers to serve in, and to entrust in their hands the security of our country and our lives.

There is only one thing more tragic than experiencing a terror attack, and that is allowing those who attacked you to do it again!

Smuggling Gazans into Europe is cheaper than fighting with Gaza, and then rebuilding all the destruction.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Why did I feel so uncomfortable around people with special needs? It’s not like they’re contagious.

The US government ignores Saudi policies, focusing narrowly on Saudi oil and military cooperation.

Imagine if the Arabs would not have attacked Israel in ’48, or any other year…

How do you reach the top of your profession, and are you always aware of your own talents?

Rabbi Fink: “There are many ‘true believers who can’t even be in the presence of Orthodox Judaism.”

People act not because they think it’s right; they do what they do because it’s what they want to do

During the years of attacks on Gush Katif communities no residents either wished to leave or left.

Israel far outranks every country in the MENA region in the freedoms of press, speech and assembly.

” the Americans mistakenly led Israel to believe that Hamas accepted an unconditional 72-hour cease-fire “

More Articles from Harry Maryles
pashkevil WAR

Pashkevil: “Come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and all the traitors in Nahal Haredi…”

happy ort

Rabbi Fink: “There are many ‘true believers who can’t even be in the presence of Orthodox Judaism.”

“The Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends.”

1st thing that must be done: tear down that wall; 2nd thing: allocate empty classrooms to Charedim.

The CBD has still stood its ground because there are teachers on staff that knew and did nothing.

No appropriate response by Charedi leaders to terror tactics aimed at Charedim that joined the IDF.

Now everyone has easy access to the culture and all of its vices, both social and intellectual.

Is it because of corrupt values and lack of meeting opportunities that we have a shidduch crisis?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/will-modern-orthodoxy-survive/2014/02/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: