Monday, 7 June 2010

Why Orthodox Reform Might Only Work In Israel

I was reading this

and this

(if you can read Hebrew read the full articles they are excellent)

The following is pure speculation based on my inadequate knowledge of the subject. Half of what I say may be completely wrong so feel free to criticize (or bring supporting statistics/details)

Three contrasts between Israeli Orthodoxy and American Orthodoxy:
1. In Israel there is hardly any Conservative or Reform presence. As far as I know nobody in the religious world is scared at all by them.

However in America there is a fear of the more left wing elements of Orthdoxy becoming Conservative

2. In Israel the Chareidim are so off the wall that their is a clear divide between Religious (Dati) and Chareidi

In America there is a blur between RWMO and LWUO. Many Modern Orthodox people respect Chareidim, which is why there is such a leakage of Modern Orthodox to Ultra-Orthodox.

In Israel people like Rav Bigman and Elchanan Shiloh are trying to create a certain amount of reform in Orthodoxy. Similar efforts in the United States would fail, if I'm judging correctly, because of the reasons stated above.

1. Too much reform (which in American Orthodoxy is almost any reform) gets branded as "Conservatism". Look at the Orthodox response to the first Orthodox women Rabbi. I believe that much of this fear stems from a fear that the Left Wing of Orthodoxy is slipping into Conservatism.

In Israel however their is no real competing movement to the left to be afraid of.

Now of course their is always right wing criticism of the left, even in Israel but I feel that it is far less than in America where Modern Orthodoxy feels a bit threatened by the Conservative movement.

2. The American Orthodox care to a certain extent what Chareidim think about them.

In Israel religious Jews are not really worried what Chareidim think (especially because Chareidim ditch the army which is a big no no in Religious Zionist circles.)

Maybe a reformed Orthodoxy will work in Israel but I doubt in America.

טובה הארץ מאד מאד
The Land is Very Very Good

11 comments:

MKR said...

In Israel the Chareidim are so off the wall that their is a clear divide between Religious (Dati) and Chareidi

In Israel religious Jews are not really worried what Chareidim think

I am not familiar with this way of using terms. Why is Chareidi not a species of religious?

Shilton HaSechel said...

In Israel the term "dati" (religious) has a connotation of someone religious but not Chareidi.

There is not really an equivalent to the word "Orthodox" in Israel.

E-Man said...

Shilton, the word Dati would also describe Charadim. You mean Dati Lumi.

Shilton HaSechel said...

I am under the impression that the generic term dati implies a non-Charedi (even w/o the leumi addition)

You will never find Chareidim calling themselves "datiim" because they want to stress their difference from the Zionists

However perhaps when referring to religious Jews in general it includes chareidim

All I know is when I speak Hebrew i say Dati to refer to non-Chareidi religious Jews. (Maybe all the Israelis are snickering at my solecism)

But forget semantics what about the post

jewish philosopher said...

In Israel and in America there is a pretty much continuous spectrum between atheism and Judaism, with all the degrees of liberal, conservative, modern, right wing, left wing whatever in between. The same is true in Christian churches, by the way.

E-Man said...

I would say, based on my limited knowledge of this subject a little something different.

From my experience I would say that Modern orthodoxy in America resists change because they are surrounded by a culture of assimilation. Any change that reduces tradition leads more towards assimilation. Also, there is conservative Judaism and reform Judaism that Modern Orthodoxy tries to differentiate themselves from.

However, in Israel, I think, they try to gain acceptance from the Charaidim. For example, many Dati Leumi Jews care about what Rav Elyashiv says, they do not always agree with him, but respect his opinion. Therefore, they won't want to veer too far off.

That is just my take, but you could be correct.

Shilton HaSechel said...

>From my experience I would say that Modern orthodoxy in America resists change because they are surrounded by a culture of assimilation.

Yeah my point exactly (i should;ve mentioned assimilation another big distinction between societies)

>For example, many Dati Leumi Jews care about what Rav Elyashiv says, they do not always agree with him, but respect his opinion.

really? i was not aware that there were datiim leumim who listened to chareidi poskim. Don;t they have their own poskim?

Even if the more RW elements care about the chareidim the LW elements if they play their cards right might not be labeled as "a break off sect" because there is less of an assimilation/Conservative threat

E-Man said...

True, but the Dati Leumi have always respected the opinion of the Charaidi "Gedolim".

Also, just by the by I think you might enjoy the post over here that explains the swing to the right going on in Judaism http://haemtza.blogspot.com/2004_11_01_archive.html

Recreational Musings said...

In America, Modern Orthodoxy really doesn't have an official stance on most issues. They are floating between right wing Conservative, where they value contemporary issues and an evolving halacha based on tradition, and Chereidim, who are much more stringent and seclusive.

In Israel, I think it would be hard for Dati to officially make reforms because of the fact that the gedolim are still in charge of religious life...wouldn't that pose an issue if the Dati took a stance they disapproved of?

Shilton HaSechel said...

Recreational Musings,
Rav Bigman is making official reforms (though nothing too nuts)

his teshuva on kol isha:
(http://www.kipa.co.il/kolech/show.asp?id=28988)

though as far as I can tell he has little support besides his yeshiva perched on har gilboa.

The Gedolim as in Rav Elyashiv gedolim are not in charge of the datiim leumim at all in Israel
(although if E-man is correct then the RW datiim leumim at least revere them)

The Datiim Leumim are under the auspices of chief rabbi types.

Mellock said...

Jewish Philosopher? That's odd! You decided to comment on the blog of Shilton HaSechel, even displaying the profile picture of your butt-ugly face so we know it is really you, AND you managed to say something relevant rather than speculating that we are all addicted to drugs and sex or revealing your own subconscious homoerotic desires...

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