Monday, 6 July 2015

Crisis in Modern and Centrist Orthodoxy

Modern or Centrist Orthodoxy has a crisis to address

Today's secular culture and society is OTD! I thought the culture of the 50's 70's and 80's were highly compatible with core Torah values. The late sixties were an "aberration"

Today's culture is SO antithetical to Torah there seems to remain a black-and-white choice [Hobson's Choice?]

1. A Shift Right to Chareidi Insularism
2. A shift Left to Neo-Conservatism

And a vacuum gap in between.

I don't think the NY Times has been compatible with any Traditional values for 80+ years. I just heard stories about their glowing praises of Stalin YSv"Z during the Show Trial era. We know of their scurrilous record during the Holocaust.

I think Bill Buckley had the NYT correctly pegged by the 1960's.

Kol Tuv,


Mighty Garnel Ironheart said...

Modern Orthodoxy has to find a leader who will stand up and say "These are our standards and if you don't like them, get out".

Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

What you are basically saying is that Modern Orthodoxy -- or, in fact, all Orthodoxy -- actually stands, in contradiction with "Open Orthodoxy", for a certain non-inclusivity. We have standards, and while we can be empathetic to those who may disagree or not abide by these standards (there is only One Judge), this empathy alone cannot lead us to forgo these standards.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Micha Berger said...

I am okay with letting MO/Centrism die a natural death. It is a strategy for how to be O in a given context. If that context evaporates, naturally we would need new strategies.

At this point, there is no Derekh Eretz / Yaft E-lokim leYefes / Mada that is more accessible to a "normal" westerner than to someone living a basically chareidi lifestyle who was willing to expose themselves to higher education and high culture -- Einstein, Steinbeck or Mozart. And we can even pick up R' Hirsch's, R' Aharon Soloveitchik's or R' Aharon Lichtenstein's call to be the moral voice in western society without becoming "normal".

Is the exposure to the elements of general culture that RRW is simply calling "OTD" still justifiable? Or are we just rooting for the lifestyle we were raised with?

I have a weird educational background, going from co-ed classes in Dov Revel to a Jr High that hired rabbeim out of Williamsburg and taught Chumash teitched into Yiddish to R' Riskin's HS in Riverdale a"h, to YU -- but the YU of R' Nisson Alpert and R' Dovid Lifshitz. (I did have R' Willig as a Freshy, which shows you how old I am if he was still teaching Freshmen, but I consider myself a talmid of R' Dovid's more than anyone else.)

So perhaps I'm just abnormally not attached to one version of O over another.

But it seems to me, the team to root for is shemiras hamitzvos and talmud Torah, and MO is simply a player who may have come up for retirement.