Thursday, 2 September 2010

Centrist Orthodoxy vs. Modern Orthodoxy

Actually - what's in a name?! After all can't both Centrist Orthodoxy AND Modern Orthodoxy be used interchangeably?

The Issue with the term "Modern O" is that a SEGMENT of Moder O is what we called on Avodah - "O-Lite". They keep Shabbat and Kashrut but are not z'heerim on many things EG
N'tillat Yadayaim
Davening with a Minyan
• Learning Torah

Thus the
Centrist to me implies more - a "modern thinker" combined with Traditional Observance.

Par Example, Think of
Rabbiner Hirsch
R YD Soloveichik
Rav AY Kook


If I could found a new movement it would be an "open-minded" Orthodoxy SANS the Liberal Halachic agenda that has recently grown attached to that appellation

Unfortunately for me, the current crop of Open-Minded Orthodox have used this as a license to revise traditional practice. And indeed, I must therefore truly consider that this is an inherent danger in that enterprise.

Perhaps only R Azriel Hidesheimer and his followers were the one school that could pull off a completely Traditional Observance while tackling such controversial issues such as Biblical Criticism. Even R Hirsch himself was suspicious of pulling this off.

The JTS's - both in Breslau and in NYC, have imho used modern scholarship to compromise Traditional Observance by implementing a Liberalization of Observance. Success in textual criticism has succeeded there at the expense of Piety.
And thus We bear witness - through the prism of History - that this has taken them off-the-derech.

The question remains, CAN we have an open-mindedness without compromising our fealty to Halachah, without fostering a campaign to Revise or Reform "orthodoxy"

It's tricky. I have not seen it done on a large scale. Maybe the nature of Open-mindedness - especially in North America - will inevitably undermine strict Observance. And Only in a more rigidified society like 19th Century Germany, such open-mindedness did not succeed in tempting the highly Traditional types to sway.

And what we call this movement? Pious Modernists? Critical Traditionalists?


1 comment:

Garnel Ironheat said...

The problem with calling oneself a Centrist is how to define who is to the left and right of you. Rabbi Avi Weiss and the YCT gang are a prime example of how tricky this can be. They call themselves Centrist but there ain't nothing Orthodox to the left of them which implies that they grant legitimacy to the Reformatives.
However, if you were to explain the centrist concept to a Satmar chasid he'd probably also suggest that Satmar is centrist.
In order for Modern Orthodoxy to work, it needs to adopt a contradiction: closed minded open mindedness. For example "We accept that the first chapter of Bereshis doesn't have to be read literally" combined with "We demand that you cannot read that chapter literally".
Who could pull such a kuntz off?