Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Contrary to popular opinion, the identity of the next chancellor of JTS is important for Orthodoxy in general . . .

". . . and modern-Orthodoxy and religious-Zionism in particular. "

It isn't every day that an Orthodox Jew comes out with a statement like that. He should know that those of us in the non-Orthodox world appreciate his willingness to discuss a non-Orthodox movement in reasoned terms.

Check out the Out of Step Jew from Kfar Saba's blog at This is from his Sunday, June 26, 2005 post, " The Future of JTS and Contemporary Judaism."

"Without trying to narrow the very wide theological and Halakhic gaps between CM [Conservative/Masorti] and MO/RZ [Modern Orthodox/Religious Zionist] Judaism, it is clear that a more self-confident leadership of both groups, even if it moves them further apart, is needed if contemporary world Jewry is to come to terms with some of the major issues that we will face over the next 50 or so years.

These issues include those that modern biology has presented and will continue to present. These discoveries have already forced us to reconsider our Halakhic and theological definitions of the origins of life, of the meaning of personhood, of the nature of the soul. Modern biology, technology and a changing sociology have also forced the issue of the place of women in society in general and in religious society in particular, in the forefront of our Halakhic and theological lives.

The future of JTS [the Conservative Movement's Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York City] is important because if both the CM and MO/RZ worlds do not approach these issues with the seriousness they deserve (and they need not do them together, they need not agree on them, but they both must work on them) then Judaism will wake up in 50 years to the fact that the world has, for the first time in its long history, passed it by.

And our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences."

While you're there, check out his most recent post on Jewish feminist concerns. This is the guy who, some months ago, complained bitterly about how difficult it was to obtain for his daughter a Jewish education equal to that being given by the Israeli religious school system to her twin brother.


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