We have noted how, mostly in Israel, the world of the the Da'ati Leumi world is pitted against the world of the Haredim.
See such posts as:
- Koshertube: Interview with Rabbi Dov Lipman
- Jerusalem - Rabbi Dov Lipman: Time To Tell The Truth
- the entire Hareidism vs. Centrism series, with perhaps a focus on Part III
We have also noted that, mostly concentrated in the New York area of the United States, the greater population of this world in in conflict with those more to the left. See such posts as:
Many people may not realize that these two conflicts may respect a larger war. Modern Orthodox seems caught between two opposing forces. The comparison to a physical war with fronts on two opposite sides -- East-West or North-South -- may be very real. The Centrist World fights one battle in one direction. And then, it seems to fight a second battle in the exact opposite direction -- and the challenge of this battle is often times not even recognized. This is not to say that this two front war is inherently inappropriate or problematic. It, though, needs to be recognized and truly understood for what it is.
To be more explicit in this regard, notice how, in either one of the battles, those fighting against the Centrists on one side are their allies in the battle on the other side. In regards to the issue in Israel, for example, in the battle with the Haredim, those to the left are allies even to the extent that some of the issues in the very battle with the left can be ignored. Centrists take offense to the idea of inter-branch relations in the U.S. as expressed by, for example, Rabbi Asher Lopatin, but the statement of Rabbi Dov Lipman regarding generic Torah study in the Knesset is still met with applause -- even though this would include the involvement of Prof. Ruth Calderon whose theological leanings would be similar to the more non-traditional branches of Judaism. The focus on the battle with the Haredim may lead to Centrist Orthodoxy wavering in its battle with the left -- but is that acceptable? It must clearly force the Centrist world to reconsider the issue on the left.
The Haredim are the allies when it comes to the U.S. issue of how to relate to Yeshiva Chovivei Torah. Centrists even take Haredi arguments to bolster their own challenges against the left -- for example, also using the term Mesorah almost dogmatically -- even though they dismiss such usage in the argument in Israel. The focus on the battle with the left may lead to Centrist Orthodoxy wavering in its battle with the Haredim -- but is that, again, acceptable? It must also force us to reconsider the issue with the Haredim.
Clearly, there are differences between what is happening in Israel and what is happening in the U.S. Arguments can be made for the differences in approach on the two fronts. The challenge, though, is whether people even see the inherent issue of these two fronts.
Do we see the wavering? -- not that these waverings are inherently wrong but rather that they should really be forcing us to truly think about the overall issues.
Centrist Orthodoxy's is now truly caught in the middle. The two fronts are battles Centrism must wage to be true to its essential perspective. It is time that we started to recognize the true challenge of this dialectic and challenge.
- Rabbi Ben Hecht