Modern Orthodox

Modern Orthodoxy Has Its Costs – Not Just Financial

When cost of living pushes $300,000, what else is sacrificed?

02/16/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

American Modern Orthodoxy is an elitist phenomenon. According to the well-known 2013 Pew study, it represents less than 10 percent of American Jews but is the best-educated and has the largest percentage of high-income earners. No group puts more of a premium on ethical life, intellectual curiosity, Israel, or community. In the aggregate, Modern Orthodox espouses more "essentials" of Jewish identity than any other segment, and by a wide margin. Its adherents are most likely to understand Judaism as both ethnicity and religion (a mature and correct understanding of reality). This is all in addition to the large families and high rate of day-school attendance that characterize Orthodoxy in general. As its name indicates, a multiplicity of emphases and core values is characteristic of Modern Orthodoxy.

Modern Orthodox teen participate in the Celebrate Israel Day parade in N.Y.C. Getty Images

Why We Need To Redefine ‘Orthodoxy’

Looking to the right for legitimacy is a loser's game for traditional Judaism.

02/10/2015 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Never let the competition define you. Never peg your own identity to a rival. Never allow the other side to dictate your character and never abdicate your own individuality and uniqueness.

Orthodoxy is still moving to the right, the author writes. Fotolia

A Five-Point Plan

How we're navigating the conflict over our partnership minyan.

05/27/2014 - 20:00

I live in a town with one Orthodox synagogue. That is not simple if you prefer progressive Orthodoxy. It's sometimes not even simple if you like old-fashioned Modern Orthodoxy. But the community is diverse, our friends are here and we have carved out a liberal outpost for ourselves in "Kol Echad", a partnership minyan. A partnership minyan is a mechitza minyan, with a divider between men's and women's sections; where women read from the Torah; receive aliyot and lead prayers on for selected parts of the service.

Audrey Trachtman

Quotes Of The Day

"As a member of a 'modern Orthodox' congregation, I am prepared to abide by the minhag of the group. However, I can't help but hear in this article echos of the reasonable segregationist..."

Not A Proud Moment For The RCA In Dealing With The Chief Rabbinate

02/09/2014 - 19:00

The setting was the annual dinner of the SAR Academy, a leading Modern Orthodox day school in Riverdale, enrolling over 1000 students from homes throughout the tri-state area. SAR’s long-standing school president closed the evening by applauding Rabbi Avi Weiss for his tireless advocacy on behalf of the Jewish people in the face of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s efforts to delegitimate him. A standing ovation ensued. For one evening, at least, grass-roots Modern Orthodoxy had spoken out in unequivocal opposition to the senseless and arbitrary actions of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

Israel's Chief Rabbinate council, 1959. Wikimedia Commons

An Open Letter To My Role Model, Rabbi Avi Weiss

01/26/2014 - 19:00

Dear Rabbi Weiss,

While I was relieved to learn that the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has revoked its claims against you, I have been deeply saddened by the entire episode. But I have not been surprised. In their book, “Leadership on the Line,” Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky define leadership as an act that involves “disappointing your own people at a rate they can absorb.” In order to make progress around issues that touch on people’s beliefs and values, it is often necessary to touch on very sensitive issues, challenging people’s understanding of what is true and right.

Rabbi Avi Weiss prays at a vigil for victims of a train derailment in December, 2013. Getty Images

Ramaz Would Permit Girls To Wear Tefillin

SAR High School is allowing girls to wear phylacteries during morning minyan, and Ramaz would do the same, if asked.

01/20/2014 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Following news that the Modern Orthodox SAR High School is now allowing girls to wear tefillin during morning prayer, the principal of Ramaz, a similar institution, said he’d be happy to do the same — should anyone ask.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

The Year Ahead: Modern Orthodoxy at the Crossroads

12/30/2013 - 19:00

Modern Orthodox advocates trumpet a “revival” of daring intellectual excitement and halachic experimentation. Literacy is high. Intermarriage is low. But growth is dwarfed by the booming demographics in the yeshivish and chasidic worlds. Just one chasidic girls’ school (Beis Ruchel) in Brooklyn has 15 first grades, about as many as all the Modern Orthodox first grades in Manhattan, Riverdale, and Westchester combined. Haredi yeshivas will ordain scores of rabbis in 2014; liberal Yeshivat Chovevei Torah will ordain only two rabbis.

The Joseph Problem

12/03/2013 - 19:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Every year, around Chanukah, Jews in synagogues worldwide read the heart-wrenching story of Joseph and his brothers. While not immediately apparent, the festival and the Torah readings that accompany it have much in common. Chanukah, although we may neglect to mention it to our children, is a holiday that commemorates a Jewish civil war. The stories of this season challenge us: How do we deal with conflict among ourselves? Where do we draw the boundaries around our communities, and how do we defend them?

Daniel Raphael Silverstein

Preventing Abuse

04/03/2013 - 20:00

I want to commend David Cheifetz for “coming out” as a victim of childhood sex abuse in a Jewish institution and on his significant and practical imperatives for minimizing the likelihood of our children becoming victims in the future (“Sharing The Secret That’s Haunted My Soul,” March 29).

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