web analytics
July 26, 2014 / 28 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Who Speaks for Modern Orthodoxy?


Clearly, the Modern Orthodoxy envisioned and informed by the teachings of the great Torah leader Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, zt”l, has been gradually disappearing before our eyes.

Clearly, the Modern Orthodoxy envisioned and informed by the teachings of the great Torah leader Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, zt”l, has been gradually disappearing before our eyes.
Photo Credit: YU News

Last week’s announcement by two prominent Modern Orthodox yeshivas that they will permit female students to put on tefillin is just the latest indication of a widening schism among Modern Orthodox Jews. For a concise overview of recent developments, see Uriel Heilman’s article, Tefillin Controversy Latest Sign of Emerging Orthodox Schism.

And while debate over halachic permissibility has been the focus of this newest controversy, the issue itself has brought to the fore a crisis facing the Modern Orthodox movement. Briefly, there seem to be few universally accepted standards as to precisely what constitutes Modern Orthodoxy and, perhaps more significantly, a crisis of leadership has become apparent.

The movement’s outliers, apparently intent on defying consensus and going where none have gone before, are rarely confronted, at least publicly, by mainstream Modern Orthodox leaders. Thus the new becomes the norm and the movement changes by accretion. Clearly, the Modern Orthodoxy envisioned and informed by the teachings of the great Torah leader Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, ztl, has been gradually disappearing before our eyes.

We are not unmindful of the many social pressures – particularly those emanating from Orthodox feminist circles – that drive the outliers. But for the community of the Ribbono Shel Olam, which believes in the centrality and transcendence of halacha, the questions of who decides for us and by what process are on a par with what is decided.

Halachic decisions affecting the community are not properly made by self-appointed agents of a popular movement. That is a function of those with the greatest erudition in the Talmud and halachic sources, and even within that august grouping consensus building is central.

And so, in the face of this latest assault on the Modern Orthodoxy envisioned by the Rav, we find disheartening the relative silence of the Rabbinical Council of America, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, and the roshei yeshiva of Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. Only these institutions and individuals, as the flagships of Modern Orthodoxy, have the standing and influence to stanch the movement’s creeping leftward drift.

As the old maxim has it, shtikah kehoda’ah – silence is assent.

About the Author:


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.

Please use the Facebook Tab below to leave your comment:

13 Responses to “Who Speaks for Modern Orthodoxy?”

  1. Israel Man says:

    Those who keep silent know in their heart that the leading forces of modernity are correct. Yes, halachically correct, but they have no guts to join in. There is no halachic base to keep women out of the Synagogue. There is historical evidence of great women who put on Tefillin. Keeping modernity out will send poeple out of the camp too. Only a generation ago women were discouraged from learning Torah and look at the women's yeshivot today. Pulling Orthodoxy toward extremism and rejection of modernity will be its demise.

  2. Larry Rosen says:

    With all due respect, I know what I think, and you are totally wrong. I respect the Rabbeim that I grew up with, who I learn with today and that's what is "IN MY HEART'. I know what's in my heart – you don't.

  3. It is worth at least noting that most of the participants in the lively debate that *has* been taking place in Modern Orthodox circles about this question are students (or grand-students) of Rabbi Soloveitchik.

  4. Daniel Schwartz says:

    I don't know who does, but the Jewish Press doesn't.

  5. Shimon Chaim Ben Michael says:

    Really, 'Israel Man', what 'historical evidence of great women who put on Tefillin' would you like to share with us?

  6. Samuel Heilman says:

    I had no idea that modern orthodoxy was "the community of the ribono shel haolom." I thought as Isaiah said (41:10) fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;

  7. Reb Yid says:

    And Moshe Rabbeinu's descendant worshipped avodah zara.

  8. Israel Man says:

    Shimon Chaim Ben Michael
    Bruria, rabbi Meirs wife and Rashi's daughters.

  9. Shimon Chaim Ben Michael says:

    Israel Man oh dear, a peddlar of fairy tales… http://www.ou.org/torah/article/tzarich_iyun_rashis_daughters#.Uuq2PPl_uX8

  10. Rabinic bullies hiding their misogyny in a barrage of halachic jargon.

  11. What could be more true than the subtitle: "Clearly, the Modern Orthodoxy envisioned and informed by the teachings of the great Torah leader Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, zt”l, has been gradually disappearing before our eyes" – of course it is disappearing, since so much of the world we know is different than the world he knew. The Rav created a great movement – in the middle of the last century. Since than we have lived through "post-modernity" and "post-post-modernity". In mystical terms – "the breaking of the vessels". See Rabbi Shegar.

    The past is very important, but cannot be the sole determinant of the present or the future. Has "Modern Orthodoxy" succeeded in bringing people back to observance? Or only in preserving the members of Modern-Orthodox families? How many of the "new orthodox" [over 110,000 in the USA according to PEW] – are Modern Orthodox, how many Hareidi? The movement of the Rav has split into "more Hareidi" and "less Hareidi" than in the time of the Rav, in Israel and in the US. Changing society is a fact – and an opportunity. Nostalgia will not enable us to make the best of the opportunity.

  12. Motti Inbari says:

    they are afraid Orthodoxy would lean to the left. Come on – the left?! Don't worry, it won't happen.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Editorial Board

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

So Hamas needed a way to end the blockade and secure the release of its prisoners.

Many of us thought Mr. Obama’s diplomacy strategy was simply a device to dodge a decision that force was necessary to ensure the rogue state of Iran would not get its hands on nuclear weapons and thereby pose an existential threat to world peace.

In fact, the two suspects were arrested by Israeli authorities – not, as the Times tried artfully to suggest, by Mr. Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

Unfortunately, we must deal with some of the practical lessons of this tragedy. The murders did not happen in a vacuum.

It is no secret the president is furious with Republicans in Congress for blocking his efforts to change immigration laws.

The Rebbe was an acknowledged Torah scholar, seminal Torah personality, and one of the most influential Jewish leaders of the 20th century.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/who-speaks-for-modern-orthodoxy/2014/01/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: