Jewish Journal


May 15, 2012

Morethodoxy Is About Embracing our Fellow Orthodox Jews - Even when we Critique Them


One of one of the key faults of the Modern Orthodox/ Open Orthodox/ Progressive Orthodox community:  We frequently - myself included -  take a strident attitude that rejects and attacks other Orthodox Jews without the respect or reverence for who they are or their motivations.  Our first response needs to be one of embracing all of Orthodoxy and being open to learning - sometimes with a critical, but respectful ear - from our fellow Orthodox Jews,

We are not apologists for the Hareidi or Centrist or Modern Orthodox community.  We need to speak from a loving and caring place, rather than from the outside.  I am a pluralist: We need to learn from all Jews, and connect and relate to all Jews - Reform, Conservative, Renewal ; I believe it is critical for Judaism that we engage with the greater society as well.  However, that openness requires that we understand that our spiritual and religious home remains with those who embrace Torah Judaism based on our age old tradition (masoret) and based on a loyalty to Hashem’s divine and eternal commandments.  I understand that sometimes the Chareidi world may seem foreign to Modern Orthodox but let us not surrender to aesthetics and superficialities. It is the responsibility of Modern Orthodox Jews to show how those who live in the contemporary world, embedded in contemporary society, can still recognize their spiritual brothers and sisters - Orthodox Jews - and still remember where their home is.

There are serious challenges in the Hareidi community regarding dealing with the issue of pedophelia and abuse, and stifling those who are crying out for help. All Jews - especially Orthodox Jews - have to work to change the status quo in reporting crimes and protecting victims.  Transparency and speaking out - not being afraid - are Torah values: Lo Taamod al Dam Re’echa - do not stand idly by when your fellow is it at risk.  We should even be angry at terrible things happening. But if Modern Orthodox Jews are to have any impact on the Hareidi world, our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Lakewood, Brooklyn and Monsey will need to hear the love and concern and humility in our voice. 

Morethodoxy - this great blog - believes in the same passionate Yiddishkeit that Hasidishe and Yeshivishe Yiddishkeit have espoused for centuries: let’s make sure that all Orthodox Jews know that we are one with them, and together, only together, we can address even the most heinous crimes and failings in our communities.  Together we can do it.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin

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