Saturday, 24 July 2010

Here Come The Neo-Cons

Well this title is a bit disingenuous! Because I'm NOT referring to the Neo-Conservative Political Movement spearheaded by Norman Podhoretz. While that movement seems to have a large Jewish component, I'm referring to another version of Neo-Con. Actually I mean to say there is arising a new version of the OLD Conservative Movement

As per Mordechai Kaplan, the origins of the C movement were rooted in the following coalition

  • The most Traditional Wing of the Reformers
  • The most Liberal Wing of the Neo-Orthodox.

W/O going over the entire history, it is obvious to MOST that today's C movement has lost touch with its Positive Historical [PH] Roots.

Because this PH balance has tilted far to the left - and admittedly Orthodoxy has moved to the right - a large vacuum has occurred.

I'm not sure WHAT would best fill this vacuum. But I do see the following pattern emerging. The most Traditional elements of the C movement and the most revisionist wing of the Modern Orthodox Movement has seen to make Common Cause. And History may be repeating itself.

Instead of the OLD-CON we may have a Neo-Con emerging Phoenix like from the ashes. And this LW-RW coalition will preserve enough Halacha to satisfy the disaffected RW old-cons and be cutting-edge revisionist enough to satisfy the Modern O's who want a mild "Reform". That is those Orthos who disdain Minhag Avot or anything other than a purely scientific Orthodoxy. In effect, I suspect that they will resemble the old "Breslau" crowd circa 1860, a reborn PH movement hearkening back to 150 years ago.

The question remains, what will THEY become 150 years from now? Will they stay rooted in Halachic Judaism or perpetuate just enough cynicism to make that unlikely? Stay tuned for another 1 and 1/2 centuries!



Garnel Ironheart said...

Any religious or political spectrum is like a roof. It's easy to fall off to one side but staying in the middle requires a hard, constant balancing act.
The "neo-Cons" will be a merging of Riverdale/YCT with the UTJ with both sides adjusting to accomodate the other. Within 1-2 generations they will be indistinguishable from the Reformers just as the current Conservatives are.

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

While I do agree with the basic perception that this does seem to reflect similar attempts from the past that attempted to create a new entity from left-wing or liberal traditionalists and right-wing or (small c) conservative reformers -- with limited success -- this time there may be a significant distinction -- a lay population in support of and committed to such a movement, i.e. practicing in their daily lives the form of Judaism advocated by this perspective and believing it to be right. This, to me, makes predicting the eventual result of such a movement much more unpredictable.

Garnel Ironheart said...

No, it's quite predictable. The lay population in this case in small and ideologically minded. They are also probably easily bored.
For example, having pushed through his Maharat idea, watch for Rabbi Weiss to come up with something else equally or more controversial in the next 5 years. That's the inherent danger in calling yourself progressive- you have to keep progressing!

Rabbi Richard Wolpoe said...

Guess What Garnel? R Avi Weiss [RAW] apparently was underwhelmed by the Maharat controversy so he re-ordained her as Rabbah

To top that he had a Hazzanit run a Kabbalat Shabbat for men and women just a few weeks ago!

Garnel: you may Say "i told you so!" Twice