This watering down of Orthodoxy is presumptuous and dishonest. And since most of the advocates for change are renegades from Modern Orthodoxy, I think it is incumbent upon the current leadership of Yeshiva University and the Rabbinical Council of America to address this problem openly and publicly. I know the RCA has released statements opposing the ordination of women as rabbis, but how about some action against member rabbis who ignore that directive?
Israel’s Socialist Pioneers
In Shalom Pollack’s terrific Aug. 9 Jewish Press Magazine article, “Eliezer Ben Yehuda – The One-Man Revolution,” mention is made of the support Ben Yehuda received from the socialist pioneers in pre-state Israel for his efforts to revive Hebrew as a workable daily language.
I think we should remember that the thrust of the earlier pioneering effort in pre-state Israel, both under Turkish and British rule, was the Hebrew labor movement. (I am not in any way degrading the importance of Orthodox pioneers or the great Zionist Revisionists – from whose midst emerged the Irgun, the Lehi, and the Bergson Group.)
One of the best witnesses for my case is Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Writing in The Story of the Jewish Legion, Jabotinsky said that in addition to the Jewish Legion that he, Joseph Trumpeldor, Yitzhak Ben Zvi and David Ben-Gurion organized during the First World War, he discovered there was another Jewish legion from within the Land of Israel:
“In Jaffa and Tel Aviv, too, all the volunteers were workers, or college graduates who were preparing to join the workers’ movement. Berl Katznelson, later editor of Davar; Yavnieli, who in previous years first brought Yemenites to Palestine; Dov Hos, Eliahu Golomb and many others today [c.1927] prominent in the Labor Movement, were the leading spirit of the volunteers.”
When Jabotinsky arrived at a refugee camp in Egypt that housed Jews deported by Turkey from pre-state Israel, he met Trumpeldor, whom he called one of the two main inspirations for the Jewish Legion. Describing Trumpeldor as a “socialist,” Jabotinsky noted that while Trumpeldor was a prisoner of war during the Russo-Japanese War he “organized Zionist societies and collected money for the Jewish National Fund.”
Jabotinsky was so inspired by Trumpeldor that he named the Betar youth organization after him.