Jewish Journal


by Rabbi Barry Gelman

July 21, 2009 | 12:49 am

Many people often claim that the Modern Orthodox Community lacks the commitment of the Chareidi community. After all, they argue, the Chareidi community is more engaged in Torah learning and seems more committed to regular Tefilla.

I recently had an experience that reminded me that Modern Orthodox Communities in America exhibit a high level of commitment to Torah and mitzvoth. While sharing Shabbat dinner with Rabbi Avichai Ronski, Chief Rabbi of the IDF, I shared with him the tuition cost in our local Modern Orthodox day school. Rav Ronski had no idea and was, needles to say, shocked.

The Modern Orthodox community is marked by extreme commitment to Jewish continuity. Many Modern Orthodox families spend upwards of $20,000 per child in tuition costs for day schools. Since many other families cannot afford tuition, many families make significant charitable contributions to these schools to allow for scholarships. These same families pay dues to their synagogues, contribute to Benin Akiva, Torah MitZion Kollel or a Yeshiva University Kollel and some even “invest” to make sure local kosher establishments continue to operate and provide kosher food.
Still there is more. Almost every Yeshivat Hesder, Israeli hospital, Israeli University and many other charitable organizations hold annual fund-raiser and many Modern Orthodox families participate very significantly in those efforts. The list goes on and on. There is a never-ending stream of causes, all of them good that are supported by Modern Orthodox Jews. It is important to note that many Modern Orthodox Jews contribute to Chareidi causes as well (why that is, is good material for another post).

All of this amounts to a picture of extreme commitment and devotion to Torah. These commitments and accomplishments should not be overlooked.

I am not suggesting that all is perfect in the Modern Orthodox community and I am aware of the challenges we face, but it is important to offer all of these details to highlight the level of commitment that exists in the Modern Orthodox community. Our communities should recognize where we can improve and build on the significant accomplishments and commitments that we exhibit.

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