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Losing Rational Orthodoxy


We must seek that balance that allows us to use the chochma bagoyim, the rational scientific information available to us, and not dismiss it simply because of its source. To do otherwise would be to place ourselves in an even worse situation. We should find a way to increase chesed, not chumras, to engage without a fear of becoming enmeshed.

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There is a growing crisis in the international Jewish community that I believe must be acknowledged if we are to survive intact and preserve our children’s future. The crisis is related to, but goes well beyond, the fact that we are in general too indulgent and tolerant as parents; it goes beyond the fact that we have acquired a level of wealth and comfort that we take too much for granted – even if we are not all wealthy nor all that comfortable; and it goes beyond any individual’s intensity ascribed to religious custom and tradition.
It is more about our willingness to abandon the balance of faith and reality that has helped us endure for centuries. This is not a crisis of abiding religious faith or observant practice per se, but rather a calamity of application and interpretation. And it has the potential to be a disaster of significant proportion.

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